If you’ve started a website in the past and didn’t make much money from it or if you are looking to start your first website, then this is the definitive guide you need to read. I’m going to cover everything you need know in order to have a successful money making website in 5 part “website building” guide which I’ll be releasing over the next couple days.
With so many well built websites on the web today you’d think that everyone would know how to build a website correctly, but the reality is that only around 15% of the people who start websites do it the right way. That explains why website failure rate is at 90%.
Now please note that this guide covers how to build and make money with Blog or Dynamic website, these are content websites usually built in a news format that are updated on a regular basis. If you want to build a online store or subscription based website, we have different guides for those.
Enough rambling from me, lets get this thing started.
1. Choosing a Niche
This is the most important part of building a website, no matter how complex or how simple you want your website to be, it all starts with your niche and how popular it is. There is 2 ways and 2 ways only you should choose a niche, you must either have a passion for the topic or be very knowledgeable and interested in the topic.
Trust me on this one passion and interest will be the deciding factor for how successful your website project becomes, now when I say interested I don’t mean “wow that’s a popular niche I could make make mad money with that.” No that’s not interest, If you enter a project with that perspective you will fail, never lead with the money the money is a by product of the success of your website which will be dependent upon how much passion or interest you have for the topic you choose. Passion and interest is the life blood of your site, it’s for this reason why a small one man powered website can come along a disrupt a major conglomerate website.
Just look at the majority of my websites, I love Hip Hop and thus started iHipHopMusic.com, I’m a video game addict so I created VideoGamePlayer.tv. YOU GET THE POINT.
OK so so you have the passion and knowledgable part down, but that’s just the beginning. Along with having a passion for the niche or topic you’ve chosen they’re 3 other factors you need to have down before launching a website. These 3 things apply to any type of website you want to start whether it’s a blog, online store, service etc.
The service has to be easy to use, it has to be interesting and something people want to use. Interesting and usability could be due to a service being simple or complex, a good example of this would the comparison between the 2 social network giants Twitter and Facebook. Twitter does one thing well and is a very simple service which is why it’s popular, Facebook is on the opposite side of the spectrum it does many different things very well and is a complex service by definition. Both services are able to co-exist because people like to use the services and because the services are needed.
The same rules that apply to those big guys also apply to small blogs and websites as well. Your site’s content needs to be in demand, interesting and usable. No one wants to read a blog about your day to day life (unless your famous), that’s not interesting, in-demand or usable content and won’t make any money.
The site must have the ability to go viral, this is very important for the longevity of your website. This is dependent on how big the niche is that you choose. If you choose a micro niche that has low search volume and a small audience then going viral might be a problem. But this doesn’t mean that your micro niche won’t make money especially if that niche has high priced and in-demand products, but remember your building Blogs and dynamic content websites here so for that purpose you shouldn’t be in a mirco niche since you will need to write about the topic on a regular basis.
3. Monetization (Making Money)
Oh yes, making money. At the end of the day making money is the name of the game. Though when building a website you shouldn’t lead with how much money the site will make, you must still research the profit potential of your topic or niche. Once you’ve got the passion down, usability, and viral aspects now it’s time to get a business model together. Your site has to be able to make money, period. One thing to always remember is that your business model could change, so how you start out might not be how you finish.
4. Keyword Research
keywords are also known as search terms, the terms people use to find something they’re looking for via search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Most people completely avoid this when building content websites especially when building Blogs. Back in 2005 I was fortunate enough to be coming from a internet marketing background when I started my first blog, so I knew enough to do some keyword research for my blog iHipHopMusic.com . I did about 2 hours worth of keyword research for my first blog until I came up with a list of 20 both competitive and not so competitive keywords, a healthy balance of both is good.
These keywords or search terms will later become pages on your blog or website.
To find popular keywords or search terms in a niche, I use the Google Keyword Tool, this is always the first place I go to when I’m thinking about starting a new site. To take the research a step further and find out more details about search terms and the competition I use tools like KeywordSpy, GoodKeywords and WordTracker, these tools provide so much information about search terms, I find it strange that everyone doesn’t use these tools. It gives you such a edge over the competition.
5. Choosing A Domain Name
Note: You’ll see me use the term “keywords” allot, that simply means things people are searching for in search engines, aka search terms.
People always get a domain name before they do anything else, including keyword research. Me on the other hand I do the keyword research first and then I choose a domain, I recommend using this method. Let the keywords determine what your website will be called, I use this method in order to rank in search engines for a certain search term. You see if you use a name that isn’t a name that is being searched for then it’s harder to rank for a targeted search term when it comes to SEO, and easy is what we want right?
Here are some examples, my websites HipHopMusicDotCom.com (Now named iHipHopMusic.com), Mixtapes.tv, MusicVideoCast.com and even SiteBuilderTips.com were built specifically to rank for a certain search term.
HipHopMusicDotCom.com though a stupid sounding domain name now ranks number 1 in Google for “hip hop music,” Mixtapes.tv is now in the top 10 “mixtapes” and SiteBuilderTips.com which is a new website is already ranking number 8 for the search term “website building tips” and eventually I will rank for all the above search terms.
I’m not writing about my websites to impress you but to impress upon you the importance of doing the keyword research before you pick a domain name, and hey if later after you’ve achieved the ranking you desire you can always change the domain name of your website to a cooler domain name the way I’ve done with HipHopMusicDotCom.com which is now iHipHopMusic.com. You will still get to keep the rankings you achieved with your old domain name, though it may take some time for Google to update those rankings to match your new site.
Now of course picking a domain name based on what people or searching for may not be suitable for your situation, maybe you already have a brand and you want to continue promoting that with a brand domain name.
Maybe you want to use your own name because your the brand, I’ve seen many popular blogs do this.
Examples like PerezHilton.com for entertainment, ZacJohnson.com for affiliate marketing, and Marie Forleo for Marketing Ideas & Business.
Those are 3 examples of people using their name as the brand in different industries, all of which are million dollar businesses.
Choosing the right name all depends on exactly what it is you are trying to achieve. Take your time with this step and get it right the first time.
Either way you go, you’ll still need to do research.
6. Where to Buy Your Domain Name
Godaddy.com, their web hosting sucks but as a domain name service provider they are the best in the biz. One thing you should never do is register your domain name the same place you host your website, because in many cases whenever you stop hosting your website with that provider you could end up loosing your domain name. When you host your domain name with Godaddy it makes it easy to host a website anywhere you want.
Since I mentioned iHipHopMusic.com it will be the example I use for explaining the importance of keyword research. Below is a list of search terms I gathered after research.
Please note when
“hip hop songs”
“hip hop news”
“hip hop music videos”
“listen to albums online”
“hip hop music downloads”
Above are some of the keywords I used on my site, I used both short keywords like “hip hop songs” to long tail search terms like “hip hop music downloads.” Any keyword that has 3 keywords or more are called longtail keywords and are much easier to rank number for in search engines that short term keywords.
For example “music videos” is a highly competitive search term which is very difficult to rank for, it would be much easier to rank for “hip hop videos” and to go even further it would be even easier to rank for “hip hop music videos” than “hip hop videos.” I will go more into this once we get to the SEO part of this guide.
That’s it for this guide, the only thing I want you to do at this point is do research and then choose a domain name and that’s it. In the 2nd guide I’ll cover setting up hosting and picking the right CMS (Content Management System).
Until next time.
Part 1: How To Start A Website Or Blog
Part 3: Publishing Your Content To World