I was first enthralled with the idea of earning passive income online when I discovered Clickbank products about five years ago. So I created my first information product and started buying pay-per-click traffic which was directed to an awful landing page that I had created.
I lost money.
However, I had glimpsed the power of the internet, and knew that I could create a system to produce income. I want to show you how I created a profitable website, and how you can do the same thing.
Get-rich-quick schemes hardly work, if at all. It takes time and effort to build a successful income online.
Can you really make money with this stuff?
At first I had doubts about my online business’s lucrativity. Then some income trickled in from a website that I was working on. I was running advertising on the website and I got a click that paid me over a dollar.
It was then that I had my “Aha moment” and realized two things: that if I built a website of sufficient volume, I actually could make a living out of it, and if I could get a single click for a dollar, then I can get one hundred clicks and make one hundred dollars.
The only thing holding me back was volume. I needed to expand my website so that it would earn more income in shorter periods of time. Eventually my flagship site grew and thrived, perhaps due to the following factors:
* Varied article length – I mixed long with short articles.
* Varied content type – Aside from text, I also posted videos, pictures, free eBooks, etc.
* Community – My site had an active user forum with lots of returning visitors generating thousands of words of new content.
* Premium quality – I made sure that my articles were genuinely helpful to the site visitors. No fluff.
* Link diversity – Not a ton of links, but quite a diverse backlink profile. A couple from “real” websites in the same niche.
* Age – My site has been growing for over 5 years, building more trust with the search engines.
If you want to build a similarly lucrative site, review this list carefully. The idea is to build a “real” website that actually helps people, rather than just a bunch of text that is spam for the search engines.
There is plenty of time and room online for a one-website approach
Some topics online are probably out of reach for most people due to their competitive nature, such as “insurance” or “credit cards”. Those topics are off-limits, and other hyper-competitive topics should also be avoided. As for “real world” topics, it’s all about search volume and casting a net wide enough to bring in plenty of searchers.
One of my most important suggestions is to concentrate on one website then work on it every day for at least a year or two. If you try to run five or ten websites in the hopes of “diversifying” then guess what? None of them will go anywhere. Instead you will be stuck with ten worthless websites.
Profitable topic, sufficient volume, expert knowledge
You need an intersection of three things in order to chose a topic for a website:
1) Profit potential – The topic has to be able to generate decent income (avoid “free sewing patterns”, etc).
2) Sufficient volume – How many people are conducting searches about your topic in Google each month? Can that amount support a business?
3) Expert knowledge - Can you talk for two hours about your topic with some authority, without running out of key points?
You have to find a topic that fulfills all three requirements. Just having one of those things is not enough.
Don’t go after a topic that has profit potential, but of which you know very little. On the other hand, if write about what you just love, there may be no money in it. Instead, brainstorm a list of topics of which you have some working knowledge, then investigate to see if any are potential money makers. Qualify each topic, and see which ones have the potential to be lucrative.
One quick way to check for profitability is to search for you topic in Google, and see how many ads are displayed on the first and second result pages. Generally speaking, the more ads shown, the better. If the ads are “thinner” on those first result pages then you might consider a different topic.
Premium content sets you up for success
The web is full of spam. New articles are churned out by the hundreds of thousands each week in order to try to game the search engines and make a few cents off random clicks.
Building a real business online relies on standing out from the sea of web spam. In order to do that, you have to create amazingly useful and high-quality articles and not just a bunch of 400-word articles that are all perfectly optimized for different keywords.
However, volume is still important, being a key factor in netting plenty of long-tail traffic that will result in passive income. So one of your goals should be to have at least one thousand interesting, outstanding, and useful articles published on your website.
That is the real challenge in producing content: you want quantity and quality.
How to do it?
Start slowly, publishing one quality article each day. Push yourself to create better articles, while testing for responses to measure what your most useful and helpful articles are. Useful metrics for this include comment counts and bounce rate.
As you progress, your publishing speed will increase. Your goal is to publish three quality articles each day. Any more than that and you risk burnout.
Publishing three articles per day will result in more than one thousand each year. If you can maintain a high quality then this is more than enough volume to build an amazing business.
Two more tips about quality content:
1) Check out competing websites and see what content is behind their pay wall. That is the level of quality that you want to give away for free on your website. Don’t copy them, but use their paid content as a benchmark for your own free content.
2) Marketing and promotion are so tough that the shortcut these days is to create such amazingly good content that it sells itself. Take the energy that you would have spent on promotion and refocus it on creating high-quality on-site content instead.
Focus on building income and passive traffic rather than readers or social followers
It is so easy to get a quick burst of traffic from social media sources — such as Facebook or Twitter — that many people end up focusing all of their efforts on chasing more and more of that type of traffic. This is a notorious trap and if you fall victim to it you will likely never make much money at all.
In contrast, growing your daily search engine traffic creates a powerful foundation for your website. Social media promotion pretty much takes care of itself when you have amazing content and several hundred search engine visitors per day.
Let your audience handle your tweeting and Facebook sharing. It’s better to focus on building precious search engine visitors.
Why is search engine traffic so important? Because it shows up every single day. Once you build it, once your site has established authority with quality content, the search engines tend to send you a steady stream of traffic with no further effort on your part. Your work ends after you build an amazing website and gain authority through incoming links.
Live on monthly earnings or cash out for a huge windfall
When my flagship website went over $1,000/month in earnings, I seriously entertained the idea of quitting my day job. A few months later the earnings had risen to $2,000/month, and so I turned in my two-weeks’ notice.
Then something completely unexpected happened: Someone offered me $200,000 dollars for the website. Since I can always build another website, I decided that this was a good deal for me, and I sold the site.
Now I am busy building my next business online so that the monthly earnings can cover my living expenses.
I’m not saying that every website created will generate huge amounts of wealth. But if you are serious about building an online income, the opportunity is certainly there for anyone gutsy enough to pursue it.
To recap, the most important points of this article are:
1) One website approach - Concentrate your effort into a single website. Avoid diversification.
2) Topic selection – Brainstorm workable topics and then screen them for profit potential.
3) Quality + volume – Build a highly useful website. Make it big by publishing multiple articles daily.
This is a plan for building a large authority website. Anyone can do it, but very few will have the drive and discipline to actually make it happen. So if you want an amazing six-figure payout then you have to build something amazing!
Photo credits: www.techfilipino.com, www.fivequidexpert.com, http://3.bp.blogspot.com
PATRICK MENINGA of The Freedom Blogger has recently built and sold a flagship website for $200,000 dollars, and is eager to share his insights with you.