Running a profitable website pays about the same as owning a rental property. Even better, you don’t have to deal with annoying tenants or unclog and backed up toilets.
Sadly, like investing in real estate, there is a lot of BS surrounding online business.
There are countless gurus, “sure fire money-making courses,” and $97 eBooks. There’s also lots of jargon about cold conversions, lists, and other nonsense that really isn’t that important (at least when you’re getting started out).
Below are the three most important aspects to building a successful website. If you can do all of them you’ll make a lot of money.
Start Off With A Niche Site
(Comparing traffic to profits, every unique visitor is like me getting $0.50)
When it comes to starting a business, most men make the mistake of thinking too big. They think they have to write a book or develop some killer new product. As a result, they sink countless hours into a project that might not payoff.
The easiest way to make money online is to find a product that you use or like and then build a small niche site around it.
There’s very little investment cost (maybe $150 for hosting and your domain as well as $200 to test some products) and you can easily earn a few thousand dollars a month.
Over the summer of 2015 I bought some products, tried them out, and spent 20 hours building a niche site around them. This little project pays me more than someone working a minimum wage retail job would earn all year.
(Start-up costs for a website can be as little as $60 or $70)
Instead of spending months trying to write an eBook or develop some new product, find something that already exists and start selling it. There’s very little risk and you can collect a few thousand bucks a month without too much effort.
The “Buying Mood”
(From Great Leads: Niche sites target customers who are in a “buying mood”)
30 Days To X generally receives 1,000 to 2,000 visitors a day (more on weeks when I publish something new). It also makes very little money (maybe $10 to $20 per day).
This is because the majority of people coming to this site are not looking to buy anything. As a result, 99% of visitors will never spend a cent here.
In comparison, my flagship niche site gets between 150 and 200 unique visitors a day. On average, it sells between $300 and $500 worth of goods during a 24 hour cycle.
How can a site with very little traffic be profitable? The answer is visitor intent.
If 100 people looking to buy something visit your site, you might get 5% of them to buy. That’s five people. Five $75 to $100 sales is going to give you a nice little profit.
Likewise, having 1% of 1,000 people buy a $9 to $25 Amazon book (this is what happens on 30 Days To X), means you’re only getting about $5 – $7 per thousand visitors (Amazon commissions are only 4% – 8%).
Side Note: Good Looking Loser has an awesome post that goes way deeper into conversion rates.
(I have a niche site that outpaces 30 Days To X by a ratio of about 4:1)
Even with low commission rates (like Amazon’s) you can still make decent money as long as you attract customers who are looking to buy something from you.
If you can sell ten $40 products a day through Amazon (that’s one sale per 2.4 hours) at a 7% commission rate, you’re still making $800 per month.
The quality of your traffic, and whether or not they’re looking to spend money, is far more important than the quantity.
Focus On Selling (Not Giving Away Free Stuff)
(If you want to learn how to make a complete sale in 30 minutes, watch infomercials)
Now that we’ve talked about getting customers who are in a “buying mood,” it’s important to understand why most people never manage to do this. The majority of folks make the mistake of trying to “raise awareness” rather than focusing on selling.
Here’s how the average website operates:
- Spend two to three years building up high levels of traffic and “gaining reader trust” by putting out tons of free content
- After years of giving stuff away and answering tons of questions (for free), create a product
- Get 1% – 5% of your audience buy, in the meantime continue putting out more free content and answering more of those exciting questions!
(When you give something away for free the Communists win)
That’s great if you want to publish thousands of blog posts and answer hundreds of email and comments. However, it is not a very good business model if you want to actually make money.
Building up a big “authority site” would be like opening up a restaurant that only hands out promotional flyers for the first two years before they finally start serving food. It makes no sense!
Most of the stores and business you shop at are able to sell you a product in less than 30 minutes. It doesn’t take you three years to pick out a pair of shoes or a new computer. Shopping on the Internet is no different.
You can pitch a product, demonstrate its value, and build up trust with your customer all within a span of minutes.
If you sell a quality product with benefits that are easy to understand, you don’t need to spend years building up trust with your buyers.
The concepts above cover about 80% of everything you need to know about running a successful website. If you use this business model with some basic copywriting skills it’s virtually impossible not to make money.
P.S. In business it is crucial to think for yourself. While you build your site, take one month off from reading any blogs or websites (including this one).