make-money-online

Starting a Website to Make Money – The Definitive Guide

make-money-online-2017

How about starting a website to make money online in 2017?

Many people tried making a living from the internet, but only a fraction of them have ever succeeded. Up to 90% of aspiring internet entrepreneurs fail to any make money online, and a vast majority of them quit before they even see their first profit.

It doesn’t help that there are so many scams looming around the internet, much like sharks circling around their clueless preys. If you’ve tried to earn an income from the internet, you’ll know how hard it is to find legitimate programs. Chances are you have already been scammed at least once.

I’ve been a victim of multiple internet scams, and that’s why I’ve put together this guide that details the proper way for starting a website to make money online. Do note that this by no means the only way to generate income from the internet, but it is one with the lowest risks and costs to get started with.

It’s also the exact method in which I built this website, and grew it to a money website that generates more than $1,000 per month consistently in less than 8 months.

This guide includes the following sections:

There are a lot to cover when it comes to starting a website that makes money, so get ready for a rather lengthy guide. First, let’s get started with the concept of making money online.

Understanding How to Make Money Online

 

There are many ways to earn money from the internet – from selling your used items and products on eBay and Craigslist, providing freelance service on platforms such as Fiverr and Odesk, to day trading with trading instruments such as the stock market and Forex market.

The problem is that people often get distracted by the “latest and greatest” ways to generate income online, that they are unable to settle down and build a successful (and profit generating) online business.

Most people who are looking to make money online don’t have a large capital to spend on building their own products or investing in risky investments, so one of the best ways is to leverage on existing brands and their products to generate profits for you.

And that is what we call affiliate marketing. It’s a proven technique to make a full-time income from the internet, and it’s also the one we will use to start a money making website.

The idea of affiliate marketing is to generate income without creating products of your own. Affiliate marketers make money online by introducing and promoting existing products, and make a commission when an internet user ends up making a purchase.

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Basic framework of how a niche money website works

There are 2 billion people on the internet and they are looking (searching) for things all the time. They are looking for information, and a sizable proportion of them are looking to buy stuffs online.

This is where you will come in with your website and help them by offering information on what they are looking for. You will be helping your website visitors and earning a revenue stream through the process.

Amazon is one of the many companies out there that offer an affiliate program. There are literally millions of products and services that you can write about, so don’t worry about running out of ideas or products to promote.

Promoting stuffs on Amazon is a a good start for anyone because we can leverage on the authority and popularity of Amazon. Almost everyone knows and trusts Amazon, so you won’t have problem turning your readers into customers.

As an Amazon affiliate, you earn commissions when your website visitors end up purchasing things on the Amazon website.

I always recommend beginners to start their first money website with their own passion – a topic they are interested in and know something about. I’m interested in personal finance, that’s why I started MasterMyFinance.com as my first website.

In that sense, personal finance and making money online was my first niche.

How to Choose a Niche

 

niche1

A money website starts with a niche

Choosing a niche is one of the scariest task for people who are just starting out. However, the idea of choosing a niche should not scare you. Instead, it should be exciting!

A niche is a distinct segment of the market. In other words, it is a rather narrow topic in which there is an internet audience that you can serve.

When you choose a niche, ideally you want to choose your own interest or your hobby. If you don’t have a particular interest, you can try tackling a problem, a need or a want of the general population.

Almost anything you can think of is a niche, and that’s why you should choose your OWN niche based on your interests. You can earn money from absolutely any single niche, as long as there is a product or a service catered towards it.

To put things into perspective, let’s take a look at a niche that we can get into right now.

toasterovenniche

Have you ever thought about promoting toaster oven?

Before I get into a niche, I usually search the trend of its main keyword using Google Trends. It gives me a good idea of the search volume for this keyword, and the demand for the products related to it.

In fact, I came up with toaster oven as an example because I saw one across my work desk just now. Look around you and you’ll realize that literally anything can become a niche where you can build your money website upon.

In this case, toaster oven seems to be a good niche judging from its consistent demand and trend. If you made a website 10 years ago about toaster oven, it will still be relevant and get visitors today, and for the next 10  years. Toaster oven will remain relevant for a long time to come, and it’s not gonna get phased out anytime soon.

Does it mean everyone should go out there and make a website promoting toaster ovens? NO. There are many things that you can write about, and niches that you can excel in. I want you to follow something that you are passionate about.

Your online business should not feel like a day job. Making money online should be fun, and it is fun. So you should start with a niche you are interested in and will enjoy working with. I sound like a broken recorder, but it is important to keep you working on it consistently.

You can also get a bit creative with your niches. Let’s say you like baking, but you don’t know how to get started with the baking niche. In this case, you can also start with the toaster oven niche, and then write about recipes and ways of baking with a toaster oven.

From there, you can expand your niche to cover other baking utensils in your guides and recipes, and linking them up to Amazon store when you mention any of the utensils in your articles.

Don’t get stuck at deciding on your niche for too long, though. Don’t worry if you absolutely have no idea what niche to get into. You can still get started with any niche to learn the ropes. Once you’ve mastered the skill set, you can conquer any niche that you want to get into.

Who said you can’t build more than 1 niche website?

Setting Up Your First Website

 

buildwebsite

It’s time to carve your own territory on the internet!

Now that we have sorted our direction and decided on a niche, it’s time to get to work. Having your own domain name is ideal and gives you a huge competitive advantage when it comes to succeeding online.

If you have your own domain, it will look something like this:

www.yourwebsite.com

I host all my money website domains on Wealthy Affiliate hosting platform, because it provides the best price to performance ratio when it comes to speed, number of domains hosted, and website security.

You can host up to 50 personalized domains on secure and dedicated servers, and it is a lot cheaper ($49/month) than other hosting packages offered by Pagely ($149/month), WP Engine ($250/month), or Pressable ($90/month).

Why do we need to host up to 50 domains? When you get into the business of niche websites, you want to diversify your portfolio and expand your earning potential in the long run.

Once you have learned the necessary skills, you’ll want to slowly get into other niches and build multiple money websites. Having multiple websites or domains hosted under 1 single platform makes it easier to manage.

Of course, not everyone has the capital to invest in a business right away, so Wealthy Affiliate offer a free membership account where you can get 2 domains for free and host them for as long as you want. This is ideal for those who wants to try out the process without putting in any financial commitment.

You can get your free Wealthy Affiliate domains and hosting through the link below.

Get Access to Free Domain and Hosting

Once you have an account with Wealthy Affiliate, you can register for a free domain within your membership account via SiteRubix.

Normally, purchasing your own domain will cost around $10/year for registration and renewal, but you are entitled to 2 SiteRubix domains that come with your free membership.

Here’s how to register for your siterubix domain and set up the basic framework.

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Step 1: Register your free domain name

In your Wealthy Affiliate account, create a free domain name on a SiteRubix.com domain. Your website name will look something like this:

yourwebsite.siterubix.com

You can check for the availability of your desired domain name and register it for yourself if it’s not taken yet. Since it’s a free website by siterubix, you’ll have the siterubix domain name attached.

You can transfer the entire free domain to your own domain name (such as yourwebsite.com) after you have purchased a domain name of your own.

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Step 2: Write a short description for your website

Next, write a very short description for your website. This is what your audience will see when your website appears in the search engine, so make sure it gives a good summary on what your site is all about.

You can change it anytime in your website settings panel after installation, so don’t worry too much about it.

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Step 3: Choose a theme for your website

Now comes the fun part! You can choose a theme for your website, which dictates how it will appear. Prefer a visually attractive website layout? No problem, choose from the wide variety of themes available to you.

Again, you can change the theme for your website anytime after installation, so you don’t have to pick the perfect one right away. Experiment with different themes after installing your website and find the one that suits your purpose the best.

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Step 4: Install WordPress website

Once you are done, click “I’m Ready, Build My Website Now!” button to begin building your site. It takes a few seconds to install and set everything up, but once it’s done your website is officially online.

You will be able to access the settings of your site and configure how it looks, add contents and customize it. Now that we have the basic framework, it’s time to work on keyword researching and adding content into it.

How to Find Content Ideas and Keywords

 

keywordresearch

It’s essential to have a good tool for keyword research

You have likely heard of the word “keyword research” if you have done any online marketing before. This is the process of finding suitable keyword phrases that are relevant to your niche, and deciding whether or not it is appropriate to build content around that particular keyword.

Good keyword research ensures that your content will get ranked by search engines and found by visitors, so we will be tackling keywords before we get into content creation. This is the first step of search engine optimization, or SEO in general.

A keyword is simply a word or a phrase that people look for in the search engines. Every time you do a Google search you are typing a “keyword” into the search box.

I use Jaaxy, an excellent keyword research tool whenever I build a new niche website to look for money keywords that I can build content around with.

Take our toaster oven website as an example.

jaaxyscreenshot

Get insights of potential keywords you can rank for using Jaaxy

As a starter, I plugged in our main keyword – “toaster oven” into Jaaxy keyword tool to have a rough gauge of its demand and competition. We also get to see other related keywords that we can consider ranking for.

The metrics of Jaaxy are as below:
Avg: Average number of search queries per month
Traffic: Number of estimated visitors to your website if you rank 1st for this keyword.
QSR: Number of competing websites that rank for the same keyword.
KQI: Difficulty to rank the keyword. Green is easy, amber is difficult.
SEO: Difficulty to rank the keyword in numeric form. The closer it is to 100, the easier to rank.

As you can see from the screenshot above, our main keyword “toaster oven” is in high demand, with an average search queries of 35321 per month in Google alone.

It’s difficult to rank for a highly competitive keyword like this, so we will turn our attention to the easier keywords for now.

Some of the keywords in this list that caught my attention were “stainless steel toaster oven”, “proctor silex toaster oven”, “spacemaker toaster oven”, “infrared toaster oven”, “toaster oven recipes”, and “black decker spacemaker toaster oven”.

All of these keywords have very low competition (QSR <200) and a relatively high search volume (AVG >100), so we have a good chance of ranking for them and get visitors. We will build our initial content around these keywords.

With just a simple search from Jaaxy, we have a decent list of starter keywords that we can build our content around with. Note that each of these keywords are highly specific, and all of them contain our main keyword “toaster oven”.

Get Free Jaaxy Keyword Tool Account

Note: Your free Jaaxy account comes with 30 free search, which is more than enough for a niche keyword research.

When Google see your website with multiple high quality articles targeting various long-tail keywords that contain “toaster oven”, over time it recognizes your authority in this niche and you will slowly rank for the main keyword as well.

When people search for particular long-tail keywords like “black decker spacemaker toaster oven”, they are in a purchasing mode. They want to look for this particular model, so there’s a high chance they will buy it if you can present good information and a place to buy it.

And what better place is there to buy than Amazon?

amazonoven

Amazon carries all sorts of products you can sell

I searched for “black decker spacemaker toaster oven” in Amazon, and turns out that they carry the exact product. In fact, you can look for any product in Amazon and it’s extremely likely that Amazon will have what you are looking for.

You can sign up for an affiliate account with Amazon, and you’ll earn a commission for every product that your website visitors purchase from Amazon within 24 hours.

It doesn’t have to be the product that you are promoting. Sometimes the visitors that you send to Amazon may end up buying other unrelated products that you didn’t promote, but you will still earn a commission for these sales.

So your job is to provide good information about your target product, and send your visitors to Amazon through your affiliate link. Amazon is a very well-known website, and they have an extremely good track record of converting visitors into customers.

How to Write Quality Content

 

Content-is-king

Quality content will drive a lot of traffic to your website

There’s a phrase we like to use when it comes to internet marketing – Content is king. The most important aspect of any good content, whether it’s in text or video format, is that it’s created with the audience in mind. You want to deliver something that is relevant and helpful.

There is nothing wrong with getting some concepts or ideas from somewhere else on the internet and incorporating them into your page, but refrain from copying other people’s content word-by-word.

You don’t want Google to slap you with a penalty because they detect duplicate content on your website.

Remember that real people will navigate through your website, and they will read your content. Most importantly, they will be buying the products based on your recommendations. So make sure you do your due diligence when you create content on your website.

For our toaster oven example, you want to write about various toaster ovens in such a way that will benefit your readers. You want to write reviews on different toaster models, recipes that involve toasters, as well as handy hacks and tricks with toaster ovens.

It’s unrealistic to buy every single toaster and try them out for your reviews. What I do to give objective facts is to get some ideas from customer feedback. This technique can work for any niche that you get into.

When I write a review about a physical product that I haven’t used before, I usually go to their product official homepage to get the accurate facts on dimensions, features, specifications and other relevant information.

Then I list down the product facts on a blank document before I hunt for genuine customer feedback. Ideally, you don’t want to base your review article on personal opinion, especially for something that you haven’t used before.

amazonreviews

Amazon can be a great source of genuine reviews

Fortunately, Amazon itself can be a great resource when it comes to getting genuine feedback and reviews on products. There are hundreds of  reviews on most Amazon products, and what you need to do is to spend some time checking them out before adding them to your own review.

You can list down the key points and important feedback into a blank document before you begin to create your own content. This way you have a clear guideline and content flow when it comes to penning them down.

Rinse and repeat the steps for all your low competition keywords, and soon you’ll have a collection of quality articles that appeal to your target audience and help you rank high in the search engines.

If you don’t have time to do your own research and write the content, you can always outsource it to good writers that will do all the work for you.

I use iWriter.com to find good writers that generate great content for my niche websites for as low as $3 for 500 words article, and $5 for 700 words article. I’ve tried multiple freelancing websites such as Odesk and Fiverr for content creation, but the price to performance ratio just isn’t as good as iWriter.

With iWriter, you can request your article to be re-written if you are not satisfied with it, and you won’t be charged. Of course, make sure you give clear instructions to the writer when you order your articles to minimize the hassles.

It typically takes just a few hours from ordering to receiving your articles. You can even set up a long term working relationship with your favorite writer if you like a particular writer’s style.

Visit iWriter Website

How to Rank Your Website

 

There’s no use in generating tons of great content if your targeted audience can’t even find them in the search engine. You need to publish your content to the internet, and more importantly you want to rank them in the search engines.

You want people to see your website and articles when they type in the keywords, which is why we need to make sure our keywords and articles are getting indexed by search engines like Google.

Indexing is a process where search engines such as Google find out about your website and content, and adding them into their database. When an internet user search for a keyword, Google will display the relevant webpages that are already in their database/index.

In other words, if Google didn’t index your website, you have no chance of appearing in the search results at all.

Normally, Google use bots/spiders that crawl the internet to find new websites and pages to index. However, this process can be slow, and it can take up to a few weeks for your new content to be found and indexed.

You don’t want that to happen to you.

This is why I always proactively nudge Google to index my new content as soon as I publish it. My contents are usually indexed and ranked within minutes of getting published. You can do so by using the fetch content function in Google search console.

I’ve detailed the process of instant indexing and ranking in my Wealthy Affiliate profile, and you can view it through this link.

Where Did I Learn All This?

 

I have multiple readers who asked me the same question – where did I learn all this despite holding a full-time day job in a completely unrelated field (for anyone who’s curious, I am from biomedical background working in healthcare industry).

I was lucky to stumble upon Wealthy Affiliate after getting scammed online multiple times. Since then, I was introduced to the genuine way of making money online, and I stopped buying into hypes and false hopes that many scams tend to generate.

You will need to exercise some patience and persistence when it comes to making money online. You won’t get rich overnight, and most likely you won’t even see the results within the first few months.

I worked my butt off when I created my first website because there are just so much to learn. Fortunately, Wealthy Affiliate provides a comprehensive training that covers all the necessary steps to build your first money website, and it has worked wonders for me thus far.

Keep learning and keep building your website knowing that this is a tried and proven method to make money online. Most importantly, keep your focus and don’t fall for the online scams that promise you quick riches. Starting a website that makes money is one of the safest and surest ways to generate income online.

It’s been a long post, and I hope it’s helpful for my readers who make it this far. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I’ll try my best to answer them.

 

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28 Comments

  1. Pamela

    Hey I really enjoyed reading your article. On building yoyr website. What i would like to know is there a way that you can have an affiliates website that i could set up without all the.work. For instant. Like using template with the contents. already and then use it as my own with my own domain name would that be very expensive

    • Hi Pamela, yes there are services such as Niche Site Azon and Human Proof Design that create a niche site for you with a fee. However, be ready to shell out at least $400 to $500 for ready-made affiliate sites.

      But the sites are not ready to rank and make money just yet. They usually consist of a homepage with an additional 3 to 4 review articles (which is called a thin affiliate site and won’t rank just yet). You have to manage it and add content, as well as learning to rank the site over time.

      If you have the money to spare, I’d still recommend that you invest in yearly Premium membership of Wealthy Affiliate and learn the ropes yourself. It’ll give you a much better return on investment in the long run.

  2. Simon

    Wow, this is a looong article! I tried to read everything but after a while it is difficult because of the big amount of information. Maybe it is easier to read when you seperate it in different parts. Or maybe with an index to jump directly to a part somewhere in the middle. That will be very helpful! All in all your site is now in my Favorite-List, to come back for further information 😉

    • Edward

      Hi Simon, thanks for dropping by! Creating an index is a great idea, I think I’ll do just that.

  3. Andrew Latta

    Great article Edward! This is a great introduction for anyone that wants to get into affiliate marketing at a beginner’s level.
    Quick question. How did you find a website like iWrite? I love learning about sites like that that I can use to improve the content on my own website!

    • Edward

      I was looking for good freelance writers and think I discovered iWriter from one of the search results. It’s a really handy way to reduce your own workload!

  4. Sangeeta

    Hey Edward, I found your article very interesting and informative. After reading the article, I can understand that how you become successful as an online entrepreneur.
    The information you covered here are so concise and easy to understand. And the way you presented all the information on an article is commendable.
    Thanks and all the best for your site.

  5. James

    What a great article. I love affiliate marketing especially when promoting products on Amazon.

    I like how you can earn a commission on anything a person buys, not just the product you promote.

    I agree that your first website should be a niche you are very interested in as you are more likely to stick with it.

  6. Bain Metcalf

    Wow, this is a really useful guide. I specifically enjoyed you walking through the process of picking a niche using Google Trends. I had never seen that before!

    I’ve also used iWriter extensively and can testify to its usefulness. The writers on there just seem very skilled at understanding what I want and delivering to perfection – I rarely have to ask for rewrites!

    Wealthy Affiliate really is a game changer, and Jaaxy is a great tool as well. Great article!

  7. Steve

    Edward, this is a great way to explain the ropes of internet marketing using the Wealthy Affiliate formula. Even though WA is not really the only way to go, it seems that more and more, as you dive deeper into WA, how it all become more logical. It’s all about the basic education of how to get it done. And you’ve done that here. And it’s all about serving a customer.

    You’ve done an excellent job of inviting people to discover the freedom of financial expression and power of learning how to do so in the internet age.

  8. Ray

    Hi Edward,
    This is a really excellent guide for anyone wanting to set up properly online, with their own profitable website.
    You have covered in detail a number of areas that those who are new to online marketing can often struggle with. Of course, I cannot agree with you more in recommending Wealthy Affiliate to your readers, as this really is the place to be if you want to be successful online.

    • Edward

      Hi Ray, glad to see another WA member here that shares the same opinion. Thanks for dropping by!

  9. Hilton

    Congratulations on being so successful, making $1,000/mth online in less than 8 months. That’s a living testimonial anyone would be impressed by.

    Great advice for writing reviews on products you may not be that familiar with yourself. When it comes to hiring writers to ghost write articles, or rewrite your reviews, did you also try looking for talent on Craigslist at all? But I guess if you’re finding success with iWriter, you don’t need Craigslist.

    • Edward

      Thanks for dropping by. I don’t find ghost writers on Craigslist, I use iWriter because they have a user friendly platform and a lot of good writers with cheap price.

      Since they have a standardized procedure, you can get your work done very easily. And the best part is that you can request for re-write if the end product is not to your liking, a feature not found in many other platforms. It’s hard to find consistency in practice when you look for freelancer on sites like Craigslist.

  10. Derek Marshall

    Hi there Edward!,

    Stumbled across this tutorial somehow, Thanks to my usual late night internet searching. Gotta that this is an excellent description on exactly what I did when I made my first money making site after being scammed by a few despicable individuals.

    Blogging is definitely the way to go as means of building a business that is sustainable.

  11. Wendy

    Excellent article. The pacing and information offered is so easy to follow. If I were new to internet marketing and looking for information I could find it all in one place.

    Very clear and concise.

    I did notice something that I would like to bring to your attention:

    “Ideally, you don’t want to based your review article…”

    Should this not be “Ideally, you don’t want to base…”

    Not trying to be nitpicky here – your article is amazing and I’d hate to see minor things detract from that.

    I can see why you are successful!

  12. Cathy

    Awesome guide on how to build a website for affiliate marketing. Of all the points that you have mentioned, I think the most important skills that a newbie should master is understanding how to do keyword research.

    With a good targeted keyword, you’ll know what kind of content to write for your audience and how to funnel them into your sales page.

    • Edward

      That’s right, this is why it’s very important to have a good keyword tool that shows you all the relevant metrics when you are doing keyword research.

  13. Chris

    When you call a website a ‘money website’ I get a little confused – it’s something that interests me greatly but I’m afriad this work online sector is new to me! Are you on about adverts – I hear that Google adverts can bring in a lot of money if your website is popular and get’s visitors? Also, where could I learn more about this affiliate marketing?

    • Edward

      Hi Chris, adverts is just one of the many ways to monetize your website. Adverts work well when you have consistent flow of visitors to your site.

      You can learn more about affiliate marketing at Wealthy Affiliate, which is where I learned everything from. But keep in mind that just like anywhere else, you need to learn and put in the work to be successful online.

  14. Jim

    Very nice website Edward. I am impressed with your knowledge of how to make money on the internet. And your success is inspiring. I want this kind of success. Do you think I can have these results in only eight months? What about in a couple of years? One more question, How much time is involved in order to succeed? I work about six hours a day right now, I can’t retire yet. How many hours a day would I have to put into this? Your answers will be appreciated, JIm.

    • Edward

      Hey Jim, success is very subjective. How do you define success? If generating $1,000/month is what you’re looking for, 8 months is a very reasonable timeframe. But if you are talking about $10,000/month, you’ll need multiple niche sites, some content outsourcing and probably a few years to make it work.

      But don’t get into multiple niches right from the beginning. Just start with one and learn the ropes. Try to learn and do everything by yourself, so you can replicate the success in the future.

      Personally I put in 2 hours after my day job on the weekdays, and more during weekends to work on my sites. But of course, you don’t have to follow exactly as everyone learns at different pace.

  15. wilson

    Hi Edward,

    Nice article and review for affiliate platform.
    It is straight forward and easy to understand. I have a question about the niche. I am interested in gardening, for your advice how should I start for this? And how it associate with the amazon. Appreciate to seek your advice.

    Thank You

    • Edward

      Hi Wilson, gardening is a broad niche, you might want to start with a particular sub-niche, such as growing tulips. Look for relevant long-tail keywords using Jaaxy and gardening tools that you can promote in Amazon.

      Don’t pick a domain name that’s too narrow if you want to expand your site afterwards. Domain name like growingtulips.com will pretty much limit you in the sub-niche of tulips. But if that’s your focus, of course you can go ahead with it.

  16. Greg

    Hey Edward! I really enjoyed reading through your page on money making websites. It was very informative, well paced, and balanced well with media and content. You know so much about this stuff and I enjoyed your presentation. Good content style! The only thing that comes to mind is that it’s a lot of substantial content (which is a good thing!) at once that might overwhelm a reader. Maybe breaking it down into several posts might make it easier to comprehend from a beginner’s standpoint. How long have you been working online?

    • Edward

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for dropping by! I put them all in once place for beginners who want to know the entire process but aren’t sure how to piece them together. It’s meant to be digested slowly.

      It’s been around 1 year since I started working online, but I’m just doing it on a part-time basis after my day job.

  17. Winny

    Hey there Edward!

    Nice review of Wealthy Affiliate. You also gave great examples so that it’s very easy to follow. I myself am a member of Wealthy Affiliate and it is my wisest choice I have made ever so far. For beginners it’s definitely a program to consider.

    Very clean website! Well done!

    Keep it up man! 🙂

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