How to Create A Website and Earn Money

Learning Objectives

Level: beginners
Target: anyone with a website who want to earn money with the website

In this How to Create A Website and Earn Money tutorial, you will learn how to earn money with your website. There are lots of opportunities in the online world and the entrance threshold is very low. You just need to have a website in order to earn money with it. However, the low threshold also means that the online world is extremely competitive. You need to be among the best in order to earn your a living with your website. This guide will show you all the essential knowledge to be successful in earning money online.

How to Create A Website and earn money

The Complete Guide to Helping You Earn Money with Your Website

Why Should You Earn Money Online with Your Website? The Big Picture

Different people may have different aims or targets about earning money online. All the followings are very doable and there are plenty of successful cases. Just think for a moment what is your ultimate goal with your website. You should have a higher goal, money is not an end in itself. By earning money with your website, you want to:

  • Earn enough money to quit your day-time job?
  • Generate additional income alongside your day-time job?
  • Develop your own killer products?
  • Get people to purchase or subscribe your products (either digital or physical products)?
  • Establish yourself as an expert in a field to open up new opportunities in consultation/freelancing/job opportunities?

Keep this goal in your mind as you begin building your own website. Don’t be distracted or discouraged along the road. Keep doing, keep learning.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing. ~Pele

The internet has opened up a multitude of opportunities unheard of in the past. You just need to create a website in order to earn money online. Just think: without the internet, you will at least need to rent a shop or office, purchase physical products, advertise in newspaper, print your leaflets and name cards, etc. The amount of money needed is tremendous and the threshold is high. The risk is very high too for you might lose all your savings.

Building your website to earn money is cheap, fast and easy. The only monetary input is the domain registration and hosting fees for your website and that’s all (though if you invested in some quality paid tools, you will have your learning and earning process accelerated). Of course, the amount of money to be earned from your website differs depending on a number of factors such as whether you have chosen a good topic with lots of customers or whether you have good exposure of your website to the target audience. These will be discussed in more details below.

Ways to Earn Money With Your Website

List of ways to earn money online

There are literally hundreds of possible ways to earn money online:

  • freelancing or consultation services
  • selling your own products – either physical or digital
  • direct advertising – selling banner or link spaces on your website
  • advertising network – make use of advertising services like Google AdsenseChitikaKontera or BurstMedia
  • affiliate marketing – recommend others to purchase a 3rd party product with a commission for each sale
  • blogging – writing sponsored service or product reviews or posts for others
  • members-only premium contents – access can be subscription based or article based
  • selling your website – websites can be sold at auction websites like Flippa to earn a one-off fee
  • completing paid survey

The internet provides great opportunities for people to earn money and  your website can be a great money generating machine. Among the ways to earn money, according to many online entrepreneurs, the most effective ways being

  1. Create your own digital products / services / contents for sale / subscription
  2. Purchase physical products first and sell them to other with higher price
  3. Create a website to sell products / services by others for commissions (affiliate marketing)
  4. Create an attractive website to attract a vast volume of visitors and sell advertising spaces on the website

Method 1 is most difficult and may require a lot of resource input and monetary/time investment. If you are an expert in a much sought after field, you can try to create training products / e-books / premium posts / webinar / etc. and your chance to succeed is high. Or if you have a great idea to build an internet service like Instagram or Tumblr, that would earn you billions of dollars.

The second method is just like traditional trading to be carried out online through auction websites like ebay, which requires you to pay the cost of the products first and involves certain risks that are out of your control (e.g. shutting down of the auction website, raising the auction listing fee, the products you have purchased are not popular, etc.).

The third method has the lowest entry threshold and is suitable for anyone even with a full-time paid job. You will need only a website plus your spare time as the initial investment. But the gain can be infinite. Many people have reported earnings north of US$10,000 per month!

The fourth method also has a low entry threshold. As long as you have a website, you will be able to put up advertisements and earn. But the amount of money to be earned this way will really depend on the quantity and quality of your visitors. We will discuss how to create a website and sell advertising spaces in a separate post.

For this post, we will focus on earning money by affiliate marketing. Don’t worry if you don’t have any knowledge of building a website or affiliate marketing. Read on to understand and follow along with the step by step guide. A list of resources will be included to help you further enhance your ability to earn online with your website.

Am I Eligible to Earn Money Online With Affiliate Marketing?

Not everyone is suitable to earn money online. Don’t be blinded by the overnight millionaire stories you might find through searching. Most of these stories are too good to be true, they are probably made up to lure you to subscribe to their expensive training programs. You do want to earn money but your aim is not just earn money, you should aim higher (e.g. be an expert in a certain field, an internet star or a successful entrepreneur) and grow yourself toward the goal.

As a eligibility test, ask yourself these two questions and answer honestly:

  • Do you have the determination and perseverance to earn money online?  (It would take several months or even a full year to see initial results)
  • Do you enjoy creating a website about a topic you love and writing contents about the topic even if you cannot earn a dime from it? (It is not difficult to earn a dime actually)

Earning money with your website is somewhat a trial and error process. Sometimes you will earn a lot, but other times you might just break even. But the experiences gained along the way will make you come competent and increase your opportunity to earn next time dramatically. In addition, there are lots of successful internet marketers who have shared their success (and failure) stories so that you can stand on their shoulders by learning from them what work and what don’t. This will greatly accelerate your learning velocity.

If your answer to the above two is a resounding “YES”, congratulations, you will be able to earn online! I hear you ask: wait, wait, what if I don’t have any money? Don’t worry! Several bucks a month is enough. What’s crucial is a willingness to learn and determination to succeed. Most of the tools described below are FREE, you don’t need to have lots of money to succeed.

Overview of the Steps Involved in Creating A Website and Earning Money Online Through Affiliate Marketing

The following outlines the steps involved to earn money with your own website.

  1. Select Your Website Topic (Niche) with a Good Affiliate Product/Service – this is the most important step: choose a niche (a small topic) that you love and there is a potential to earn money
  2. Know Your Target Audience – research who will be interested in the niche you have chosen
  3. Create A Website – refer this How to Create A Website guide to help you create a website in under an hour
  4. Add Content and More Content – write more and more quality posts around your niche topic, don’t sell for money, only add affiliate links as appropriate
  5. Drive Visitors to Your Website – get more visitors to know and visit your website by link building, advertisements or social sharing
  6. Build A Relationship With Your Readers – this will keep your visitors coming back to your website
  7. Continue Improving Yourself and Your Website – better design, better user experience, better everything! You will need to repeat steps 4 to 6 for quite a time in order to be more successful in your affiliate marketing campaign.

Read below for detailed descriptions of the steps involved:

1. Select Your Website Topic (Niche) with a Good Affiliate Product/Service

You can virtually choose any topics like baby food, dog supplies, lose weight programs, etc. on a website. But don’t go too broad. Will you trust your baby to food sold on a website selling cockroach poison? Probably not.

A niche is a subset of a topic. It is a very focused area of interests. A broad topic is good for mega websites like amazon.com or ebay.com. For your small website, you should have a focus. For example, “traveling” is a broad topic whereas “travel tips about Paris Disneyland” is a good niche. “Earning money online” is a broad topic whereas “how to select niche” is a good niche. “Baby supplies” is a broad topic whereas “baby carriage for men” is a good niche. The most popular niches for affiliate marketing are:

  • Make money online
  • Weight loss
  • Health
  • Dating
  • Muscle building

In order to select a good niche for your website in order to earn money online, you need to:

  • Carry out research about the needs –
    • You will need to know demand about the niche by getting the number of searches for that niche in Google Adwords Keyword Planner. (You will need to create a free Google Adwords account before using this tool.)
    • You will also need to understand the trend of the searches over the years (whether it is rising or dwindling) by using the Google Trends tool.
    • You can also learn of the demand by visiting popular forums about the niche (e.g. Trip Advisor forum for the travel niche).
  • Understand the competition – The easiest way to understand the competition is to search for your niche (in double quote) in Google, e.g. search for “Paris Disneyland” (quotes included) to try to look through all the results to see how many websites are selling affiliate products for this niche.
  • Check to see if quality affiliate products are available – Do not just promote anything. Promote only quality products. You will need to carry out due diligence for service and quality of the affiliate products. Best of all, you only promote products which you are a happy customer. Be honest and do not break the trust with your website visitors just for some fast money. Your goal is to build a long-term relationship with your website visitors so that they will continue to trust your website and recommendations. Below are some ways to look for affiliate products:
    • When you have purchased a quality product, you might look at the navigation menu or the footer menu of the website for the “affiliate” section (if any) to sign up for an affiliate account.
    • There are some large affiliate networks carrying tens of thousands of products you can choose from, e.g. ClickbankPayDotCom, Commission Junction, Shareasale, you can register to become an affiliate with these websites and search for quality products/services in your niche.
    • The affiliate accounts will provide you with a unique link that identifies you as the referrer, you can put the link in your website.
    • For digital products, the affiliate payout is around 30% to 70% of the cost while it is around 5% – 15% for physical goods.
  • Estimate the lifetime value of customers – You should not aim at selling a product/service to your visitor once and for good. Try to think about if there are any further opportunities you can sell other products/services to them to help them even further. For example, if a customer buys baby food from you, it is logical to sell toddler food and child dining utensils at a later time. If your customers are satisfied with your previous recommendation, they are more likely to buy from you again. That’s why building a relationship with your visitor is important.

One word of caution is that you must love the niche you have chosen as you will need to write articles after articles about the niche for several months or years. You should be very interested in the niche to keep you going.

2. Know Your Target Audience

Carry out your research on the types of people you intend to make the website for. Since you want to get your messages across, you would need to tailor your language, website design, content selection based on your audience. In particular, you might want to know:

  • Gender
  • Age group
  • Ethnicity
  • Household income
  • Education level
  • Interests

To carry out the research, you can make use of the following free tools: Google Display Planner and Alexa.com:

  1. Go and search your niche keyword in Google.
  2. Copy the URL of the first few results.
  3. Sign up or sign in the free tool Google Display Planner and paste the one of the URLs from step 2 into the “Your Landing Page” and click “Get ad group ideas”.
  4. Go to Alexa.com and paste the same URL in the search box.
  5. The above two tools will give you an estimate of the demographic info of the visitors to websites in your niche. Repeat with other URLs for a more accurate estimate.

You can also try to understand more about their interests and concerns in forums, Q&A websites (such as Yahoo! Answers), their comments on other websites with the same niche or in Facebook (by searching for your niche keywords).

Your findings might surprise you that your previous assumptions on the type of target audience are all wrong! Believe in the data and try to develop your website plan based on the data, not your pre-occupation!

3. Create A Website

The “How to Create A Website Guide” helps you to create your very first website in under an hour. The steps are explained in simple English. Even if you have no previous knowledge of what it takes to create a website, you will be able to follow the guide through. Basically, creating a website involves four steps:

  1. Choose a name for your website (domain)
  2. Sign up a web host to house your website
  3. Install the website software (WordPress)
  4. Do website design and add contents
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4. Add Content and More Content

  • Add Content – content can be in any form as long as it is appropriate for your audience. Writing, blog articles, audio, video, podcast, e-book, e-guide, infographic, etc. are some examples. Your content should be useful to your visitors and relate to their current situation. Try to write several articles full of tips and values first. These would form the basis of your website (some would call these pillar articles). For example, if you would like to sell baby food, write well-researched articles on when and how to wean and switch to baby food as most parents will need advice on these.
  • Add More Content – hopefully, more contents will keep your visitors staying longer and find your website more valuable and trustworthy. Visitors are more likely to come back or even subscribe to your RSS or newsletters if they consistently find useful updates.
  • Add Even More Content – content is the meat of your website, keep it growing!

5. Drive Visitors to Your Website

  • Search Engine Optimization – In the past, when people needed recommendation for a product, they would ask their friends. No more now. Close to 80% people nowadays will ask the Search Engine (Google in particular) for their problems. For a small to medium sized website, nearly 60% – 80% of all traffic are brought to you by search engines! This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. SEO is the techniques carried out to make your website easily findable and indexable by search engines.
    • Link Building – links on other websites are a indication of the vote of quality of your website contents. The more links you can get, the better your website will be seen by the search engines.
    • Technical SEO – your website structure and tags should all be correctly coded and most importantly the robots.txt file should not exclude your website from search engines.
    • Internal Links – different articles on your website should be inter-linked to show their relative relationship

    You might refer to the How to Create A Website: Ranking High in Search Engines for more details on how to make your website search engine friendly.

  • Social Sharing – This is the hottest topic in how to drive visitors to your website. You can include sharing buttons virtually about any social network websites using services like Addthis. You can also share your website with your social network every time you publish a new article. However, major search engines have little regards towards the social sharing signal (traditional webpage link building is still considered more important).
  • Commenting – This is considered a kind of reaching out. You go to other websites with similar niche as you and provide useful comments to the articles. Usually, you can include a link to your website when filling your personal particulars. The key to the success of commenting is to add invaluable insights or information to the discussion.  In this way, you can draw visitors to your website from others.
  • Discussion Forum – This is similar to commenting. You go where the people are and offer help to them. You can include a link to your website as part of your signature. As long as you are providing values to them, they will want to know more by visiting your website.
  • Advertising – This would include purchase of banner/text links on website or use a advertising network such as Google Adwords. Some of the advertising networks (e.g. Facebook) allow you to target very specific user groups such as age range, location, interests, gender, etc. The only downside is that you need to pay money to place advertisements.
  • Mobile Visitors – The number of mobile visitors will soon overtake the number of desktop computer visitors. Try your best to embrace the mobile age and mobile visitors. Follow this mobile website guide to make your mobile friendly easily.

6. Build A Relationship With Your Readers

  • Build a Relationship with Your Readers – people are skeptical, they will not trust you if they have not know you before. That’s why people would not make purchase immediately upon your recommendations. Researches have shown that people will buy a thing from you only after at least 3 contacts with you. They get to know you before they trust you with your recommendations. Below are some of the ways to build a relationship with your readers:
    • Publish new articles at regular intervals
    • Provide RSS on your website for subscription
    • Obtain email from visitors and send them regular newsletters
    • Build an Q&A or discussion forum in your website and participate actively
    • Allow comments on your article and respond to each comment individually
  • Give to Get – provide free stuff to your visitors before asking them to pay. Free stuff can be tips and tricks, guides, samples or services. As long as you provide them with wonderful values for free, they would have built a trusting relationship with you.
  • Be a Trustful and Inviting Person – this is the most important element of a good relationship. Will you trust a stranger? How about a close friend? People buy not because they trust your website, they trust you. Emotional motivators are much more powerful than logical motivators. That’s why building relationship is so important. Write content with your personal experience and insights in a personal tone. You may use a pen name if you like. But always aim to build an image of trustworthy, knowledgable and helpful in your interactions with your visitors. Treat your visitors as your friends.

7. Continue Improving Your Website

  1. Traffic – Try to drive even more visitors to your site. The normal conversion rate (the percentage of people buying your recommended product) is usually 1% – 5%. The more visitors you have, the more sales (and thus commission) you will get!
  2. Be Patient and Invest More Time – There are hardly any overnight success in affiliate marketing. You need to work consistently for months or even more than a year to reach success. Trust in yourself, be patient, be disciplined. Work on your website continually. Don’t give up too soon. For many websites, the largest portion of earning will only be seen after several years. It takes time.
  3. Invest Your Earning Into the Website – Once you begin generating revenue from your affiliate sales, you might consider buying you the latest gadget or whatsoever. Wait! The most successful internet marketers will first invest their earning back into the website to make it even better to drive the growth of the website and earning. You might hire someone to design the logo, enhance the website design, write more quality posts, improve the user experience, etc. You will then be able to see a soar in your earning and you can really use that money for your pleasure. 
Improve the website

By: BK

 

Tools Mentioned in This How to Create A Website and Earn Money Guide

  • Google Adwords Keyword Planner – This is a free tool by Google initially aimed at advertisers but you can free take advantage of it to research and select a niche for your website. You will be able to know the demand for the niche by the number of times a specific keyword has been searched in a month. A must-have for any website owner wanting to do affiliate marketing.
  • Google Trends – As its name tells, this free tool by Google will be able to tell the trend in the search volume of a specific keyword. You will know if there are more or less people search for that keyword over the decade.
  • Google Adwords – If ever you want to place an advertisement in Google or network website of Google (usually Google Adsense content producers), Google Adwords is the tool to go as Google is accountable for around 80% of all search traffic in the internet. You can specify which keywords your advertisement will appear and your advertisement budget.
  • Addthis – A free service to add “Social Sharing” buttons as well as “email” and “print” buttons to your website. Addthis will also track the amount of sharing your website has and provide you with a weekly report. You will only need to copy and paste a block of javascript codes to your website and Addthis will take care of the rest. There is also a paid “PRO” plan with more functionalities and analytics.

Conclusion: Try Now and You Will Not Regret

Creating a website and earn money is very easy and doable. You do not need to quit your full-time job to begin a career in affiliate marketing. The internet brings about a new era where everyone can build an enterprise working only with a computer connected to the internet. There are already numerous success cases. Follow the “How to Create A Website Guide” now to build your first website and begin implementing the strategies outlined here to earn money online instantly!

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Edward Chung

Website Creator at edward-designer
Edward Chung, PMP, is a graphic designer turned full-stack web developer and project manager. Edward learnt how to create a website the hard way, spending hundreds of hours in learning programming languages before rolling out his first design portfolio website. Edward understands the pains and thus wrote this Fast and Easy Guide to help fellow wannabe website owners to create a website in an hour’s time.
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