Internet marketing and attempting to make money online can be a real minefield. There are so many different approaches you can potentially take, so many different business models, different ways to monetize, and so on.
It can be completely overwhelming to the newcomer.
What typically happens is that time is wasted trying different approaches without really building any of them out to fruition. The newcomer dabbles in a little of this and a little of that, and nothing really goes anywhere. They build a niche site and try to rank well for what they believe to be a lucrative keyword. Then they build a landing page to try and sell an affiliate product. They might test out some different ways of acquiring traffic in order to generate sales. They hear of different business models and they see other people having success with them so they immediately jump on each new bandwagon and give it a whirl.
The other possibility is that instead of wasting time with all of this experimentation, the newcomer wastes a lot of money trying to buy “the secret” to internet riches. They buy products, eBooks, membership courses, and all sorts of other information products on the internet that promise to lead them to a stable online income.
So newcomers tend to waste either time, or money, or both in an attempt to earn an online income.
This article is a guide to help you avoid doing both of those things, and start you off on a solid plan to earn a passive income online. This article also summarizes what I did in order to build a successful authority website myself and sell it off for a large sum.
Here is what is covered in detail in order to avoid the typical newcomer traps:
* The simple plan that will generate income for you in the long run.
* (save money) Keeping your expenses low by buying only the essentials to make your online business work.
* (save time) Avoid wasting time by focusing on on-site quality and volume of articles.
The simple plan that will generate income for you in the long run
Here is the simple plan in a nutshell. We will expand on it a bit of course for clarity:
Build an authority website over several years that has profit earning potential.
Now let’s break that down a bit and see what exactly it is that you need to do.
Authority website – There was a time when the internet was younger that a person could create a very small website and get it to rank very high up in the search engines for a specific keyword.
This is changing more and more over time, and the search engines are leaning more and more toward large websites that have lots and lots of quality content on them.
With a smaller website that has only a few dozen articles, you have to rely on massive amounts of promotion and link building in order to generate income. This is risky in that the search engines frown on most forms of link building and so the threat of a penalty is always hanging over your head with a smaller site.
On the other hand, say that you build a large website that has oodles of quality content through and through. Every article has value for the visitor. It would look very much like a “content farm” but the quality and depth of the articles, combined with their usefulness to the searcher, makes it into an authority website.
Rather than just cranking out hundreds of spammy articles that do not provide much value, you will instead focus on high quality content that actually serves the searcher.
Several years? – Yes, I would encourage you to take a long view of the timeline for this business.
If you are hot to jump online and make money within the next few months, then you need a different business model than the one I am presenting here. Perhaps you could buy and sell on eBay or something.
No, the plan with an authority website is not going to have you earning buckets of money next month, or possibly even next year. I would seriously look at it as a long term journey, with a full time income not being realistic until you have put in 2 or 3 years of part time work at this.
That might sound like a daunting timeline, and many people will probably throw in the towel at this point and say “it’s just not worth it to work for that long without better results.” But therein lies the opportunity. Most people who start a website like this are going to actually give up, precisely because of this barrier to entry. Those who hold out and keep producing quality content through “the dip” are going to emerge with a successful business some day. It takes time, and if you are only putting in an article or two per day, I think it will take over a year.
If you choose a good topic that has interest for you, then being on this long of a timeline should not be too daunting. As you build your authority website over time, there are other rewards that you get from the process other than monetary rewards. Connecting with your site visitors, building a useful community, and having meaningful discussions are all part of this reward process. The end result is intended to be a full time and relatively passive income, but these other rewards should keep you motivated along the way. If they don’t, then you probably did not pick the best topic for your situation.
Bottom line: it’s going to take time. Possibly several years. What else are you going to do though? You are building a business. The end result is totally worth investing several years into it.
Profit earning potential – If you write a masterful website about “free knitting patterns” then you are not going to make any money. Why not? Because there is no money to be made there. If you go to Google and type in “free knitting patterns” there are only 3 ads showing next to the results. This is not competitive enough to make the topic worthwhile.
As an experiment, go to Google and type in “credit cards.” You will see dozens and dozens of ads as you click through page after page of the search results. This topic is ultra competitive and should not even be attempted.
Somewhere in the middle of those two extremes is a topic that has a decent amount of advertiser competition, but that also has room for you to be able to rank somewhere for the long tail keywords. Your goal is to find such a topic that also has special meaning for you within the sphere of your life experiences.
For example, my parents wanted to start a website with the goal of possibly earning some money from it. They had two choices for topics: jogging, and timeshares. We looked at the advertising for each of those and it was a slam dunk: the jogging topic would make very little money, and the timeshare topic had real potential. Why? Because jogging shoes cost much less than property and vacation real estate. Think about these sorts of things when you go choose a topic.
Really experiment with your potential topic in terms of analyzing the web. Search for it in Google. Search for “running shoes” and search for “10K races” and all sorts of different things. See how many ads there are and think about how much the products and services cost that the advertisers are selling. Obviously, you want to go where the money is without getting too ultra-competitive. See the mini course for more details about choosing a profitable topic.
So that is our blueprint for a passive income generating business: building a useful and high quality authority website over the next several years. It takes time to build up your success but you should be OK with that. If it happened overnight then you could lose it easily overnight, right? Easy come, easy go. What you are doing instead here is to take your time and really make a solid effort at building up a quality website.
A profitable topic.
Super high quality content.
A timeline of several years.
That is our path to success. Now let’s look at how we can optimize that path, so that we are not wasting time or money in the process.
Here is what you need to spend money on in order to create your authority website:
Hosting – this is where your website lives and is then served up to your site visitors from.
A way to build links.
For the domain name and the hosting I would simply go to a reputable shared hosting solution such as Hostgator or Bluehost and do it all in one shot. What you want for the first few years is known as “shared hosting.” You do not need anything more than that such as a dedicated server or a virtual dedicated server or anything like that.
Second of all you will likely spend about 10 dollars (per year) on the dot com and then about 5 to 10 bucks per month on the hosting. If you sign up for a full year of hosting it is probably closer to 5 per month or so. Pretty cheap when you get down to it and keep in mind that if you actually start producing decent content, targeting keywords, and building a few links then you should be able to easily covering your expenses with a little AdSense income by the end of the first year. You won’t be making bucketfuls of money right away but you should be able to cover your costs within the first year as your traffic starts to build.
Ultimately these are the only 2 critical expenses that you have in this business; the third expense for link building is optional.
You can probably get the domain a bit cheaper than 10 bucks and you can probably find cheaper hosting somewhere but in my opinion you should just go with a reputable company and do it all in one shot.
Both Hostgator and Bluehost have excellent phone support and they will talk you through this entire process of buying a domain and hosting and getting it all set up. Both have the ability to install WordPress (the blogging software you should use) on your domain. If you have problems with it they will help you via phone.
You pretty much cannot go wrong and so your expenses will be very low for this part of your business.
Now the third thing you will likely need is a way to build links. This is optional, but I think realistically, most people are going to be discouraged if they do not have some sort of helping hand when it comes to creating real links. Link building is tough.
My top recommendation in this area is to go sign up for a free trial at The Keyword Academy. They have a great solution for this part of your business and it is definitely the most white hat and least spammy method of promoting a website that I have ever found. After the free trial their monthly fee is about 30 bucks but it is well worth it for the tools you get. I have been with them for several years now and this is the only additional expense that I find necessary beyond my hosting + domain costs.
Don’t ever spend money on anything outside of these things. You need a domain name (a dot com) and shared hosting. That will run you less than $100/year. If you are not getting any traffic or visits then you need a way to promote your site and build links as well. Or, if you are ultra patient and can wait a few years to see some action, you can forego the link building. Most people will not have that kind of patience though and will want to see some results sooner.
Think about your goal for a moment here:
You want an authority website about your topic with over 1,000 quality articles on it eventually.
That is your goal. Quality articles, and lots of them.
In order to be successful, you are going to need to have some links pointed at your website. This is hard to do but there are ways to outsource this sort of thing as well. You may not want to do that until your website is generating some revenue first (chicken or egg problem! You need some links to generate revenue!).
But realize that at some point in the future it will all boil down to your daily publishing speed. You will have your website, it will be growing, you will get the theme tweaked how you want it, you will have your ads running and earning revenue, and you may even have a system by which you build a few links each month. All of that stuff will get done and you will be left with a challenge:
Your website will be averaging 1 dollar per day in income at some point. How do you get it to $100 dollars per day?
Volume. Quality articles. That is the answer.
So ultimately you want to learn how to focus on activities that produce future income. This is how you save time in this business.
If, for example, every single day you woke up and produced 3 quality articles for you website before you even glanced at your email, that would be outstanding. Nothing could be more profitable for you in the long run than to have that sort of discipline and workflow whereby you have a daily publishing quota (such as 3 articles) and you meet it every single day, without fail.
This is how to save time. Have a daily publishing quota, and meet it every day without any deviation. Getting those 3 articles done each day should become the most important thing in your life. Making sure they are of very high quality is also of primary importance.
This may sound obvious, but you would be amazed at how much time is wasted by internet marketers. One of their favorite things to do is to read about how to make more money online, online. This is a great time waster because you are learning little tips and tricks and it makes you feel like you are being productive.
The truth is that you are wasting valuable time when you could be publishing articles. If you publish quality articles on your website every day, then that becomes future income that will one day set you free.
The complete and simple plan recap
Start a single website on a shared hosting account.
Publish quality articles on your site every day.
Find a way to build links to your site if you are not happy with your traffic levels.
That’s it. Eventually, your only job will be #2: “Publish quality articles on your site every day.”
Therefore, if you want to be successful in this business, you need to publish quality articles on your site every day.
Pretty simple. Hard to do though. Most people burn out before they ever see a dime. Hopefully you are hungrier than that to obtain your freedom.