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How to Make Money from a Website

Making Money is a Possibility if You Have Your Own Website

Perhaps one of the best ways to make money from home is by starting your own website.  This approach is not for everyone, as it requires you to have some original ideas and to learn how to build and market your web site.  In fact, building a site is easy, the hard part is getting people to visit it.

Since our website is focused on offering free advice, we have provided this page so that you can learn how to create and market your own site without having to pay someone for their "secrets".  In fact, we recommend you don't pay anyone for the "secret" or "proven" information they provide, as most of the e-books and articles they offer are probably out of date; and most likely do not work nearly as well as they promise.  In reality, the only way to make money with your own website is by spending a lot of time working on it.  The good news is that once you get it up and running you'll be able spend as little or as much time as you like on it.  Your goal could be to make enough money to pay the cable bill, or it could be to be able to work solely from home.  Theoretically, there is no limit to the amount of money you can earn from building your own site; however, the amount of money you earn will depend directly on the ideas you create and the way that you promote them.

Case Study:  The site you're on now was started while we were working for another company.  We'd do research on web design and promotion during our breaks at work and then spend our evenings designing the site, writing the content, and learning to promote it.  It took months before people started visiting, but eventually we were able to use the advertising money from the site to pay for the expenses and to buy the software that added a financial forum, newsletter, calculators and link exchange directory.

To get you started, we've outlined the steps that we recommend you use to start your own web site below.  These should be enough to get you started and help you understand how it all works.  We suggest you

Steps to Start Your Own Website Business:

Step 1 - Create Your Idea

Step 2 - Create Your URL

Step 3 - Find a Web Host

Step 4 - Design and Build Your Website

Step 5 - Write the Content

Step 6 - Promote Your Website

Step 7 - Add to and Improve Your Website

Step 1 - Create Your Idea

By far the most important step and the most difficult.  Create an idea for your website by asking yourself these questions:  What can I offer that no one, or not many others have offered?  What would make my site different than other sites in that category?  Are there already too many sites doing it?  Am I going to sell things directly on my site, using affiliates, or am I going to offer useful content to my visitors?  Is this something I care about deeply enough to spend day after day, month after month, writing about and improving?

Try to find something you have experience with and enjoy.  Don't choose topics that are clearly overdone (like debt consolidation, online pharmacies or gambling).  If you can find a niche market that doesn't seem very small, it can work to your advantage because you are more likely to gather a large percent of a smaller market than a small percent of a larger market.  Think long and hard about what it is that you want your site to do.

When you have some ideas, write them down.  Use a spreadsheet or online notepad to write down all of your ideas.  Then, start doing searches for sites that offer what you are trying to provide.  Are there too many sites doing what you want?  Do the sites you find fulfill the same thing you are trying to do.  If your site is different or offers more unique ideas, put it on the narrow list.  Keep thinking about your ideas and narrow it down to one idea.  Be as specific as possible, don't try to cover everything related to a particular topic, unless the topic is manageable.  If you have other ideas, keep them handy and you can create more sites after you are finished with your first.

Once you are sure that you have an idea for a site, sleep on it.  A few nights if possible.  When you are sure that you have an idea worth promoting, go to step 2.

Step 2 - Create Your URL

Finding a good URL is not an easy task (URL is the same as domain name).  First of all, there are tens of millions of domain names already purchased, yet only a fraction of those domains are actually live websites.  Furthermore, you can choose between several domain types including .com, .net, .us, .biz, .ws, etc.  There are two approaches to choosing a domain.

The first is to choose a domain that is easy for your visitors to remember and type.  These domains should be .com if at all possible.  They should be as short as possible and have no abbreviations if possible.  These domains are impossible to find if you want to name your domain directly after the product or service that your site is selling.  All of those names will be taken.  However, if you come up with a unique name that doesn't necessarily coincide with the service or content you are offering, but that can remind someone of it, then you may be in business.  For example, our site is about free financial advice, but if we wanted to come up with a shorter, easier name to remember, we could choose something like:,,, or any other name that has something to do with the site content.

The second approach to choosing a domain name is to use keywords related to the site content into the URL itself.  Our site, for example, is called  We named it that because 1) all the .com names were taken, 2) financial-advice was taken, and 3) because at the time we though having those keywords in the domain name would help the site come up higher in search results from the search engines.  It is unclear whether domains with keywords stuffed into them work better than domain names without hyphens and without keywords, so we would recommend the following:  If you are going to create a site that you want people to remember easily, use simple .com name. If your traffic will likely come to your site almost solely from search engines, then use the keyword approach.

We recommend that you purchase your domain using   They are the largest and cheapest domain registrar in the world.  Once you have identified and purchased your domain name, proceed to step 3.

Step 3 - Find a Web Host

Web hosting is where your site actually exists.  It is stored on a hard drive and the information and pages are served to your visitors by a web server.  Although it is possible to configure your home computer to be a web server (We did it when we first got started), we recommend that you find a web host provider that can do it for you.  Hosting your site on your own computer requires a static IP address, a dedicated computer, backup systems, and a lot of difficult software installation.  Instead of doing it yourself, a web host provides the services for you, along with thousands of other people's websites.  And the web host provider offers an easy to access interface that you can use to get your site up and running, create and manage databases, and easily install such things as shopping carts, page hit counters, email forwarding and management systems, and much more.

Finding a web host is easy, but finding a good web host is a little tougher.  You should look for the following:

  • High Reliability - The host you are using should give their reliability stats, and they should be up and running at least 99.5% of the time.  Poor hosts often have failures in their system which will cost you visitors and sometimes exclusion from major search engines (if they think your site is no longer active because of a lot of downtime).

  • Bandwidth and Storage - Make sure that your host gives you enough bandwidth for your site.  If you are running a site that streams high definition video or has a lot of downloads each month, you will need a lot of bandwidth and storage.  If you have a site that is visited millions of times per month, you may need higher bandwidth than the base packages.  However, if you are running a typical startup site, you are usually okay with the base package that most hosts offer.

  • User Interface - Find a web host that is easy to log in and easy to manage your files, databases and other applications such as email and traffic reporting.  Most hosts will have a demo user interface that you can try before you buy.

  • Virtual Hosting with Static IPs - Virtual hosting is the ability for you to add multiple domains to one account and share the bandwidth and storage for your web host package.  Most hosts offer this because it is much cheaper and it saves them space (versus dedicated hosting).  Also, it is useful to get separate IP addresses for each domain you host.  Some hosts share IP addresses with all your domains and sometimes even with other people's websites.  When IP addresses are shared, you could get blocked from major search engines, forums or email lists if that IP address gets blacklisted because of something someone else does.

  • Options - As your site expands, you will want as many options as possible.  Important options include FrontPage extensions (which allow you to easily access and modify your website from FrontPage), MySQL databases, shopping carts, blogs, forums, security certificates, extra domain names, RSS feeds, hit counters, traffic reports, email management and email sending programs.  Most hosts offer basic options, but the quality of options differs dramatically.  For example, the quality of shopping carts at different host varies dramatically.  Some are free and of good quality, and some are expensive and low quality.  Luckily, when you start out you won't need a lot of these options, but keep them in mind in case you'll need them later.

  • Upgrades - Make sure that your web host package is upgradeable, in case you run out of storage, bandwidth, or just desire more options.  Some hosts charge astronomical fees if you exceed your bandwidth, while some hosts will disable your site until the next month.  If this would happen, you'd want to be able to start upgrading your package.

Step 4 - Design and Build Your Web Site

Designing a website can be intimidating, but it isn't that hard.  Many hosts offer quick and easy solutions to create your website.  Start with something simple and clear.  If it works, expand and expand to make it look better and make it easier to navigate.  If you're successful, or if you decide you're not cut out to build the site yourself, find someone to build the site for you.

Step 5 - Write the Content

Start writing the information that will be on your site.  You can do this from anywhere at anytime.  By jotting down ideas when you get them and creating an outline for the site.  Once you get organized and focused, start publishing the content to your site.  If you have a blog, you can add random articles each day.  If you have a traditional site, you can add new articles as issues come up or as you expand your site.  Try to write your site in a simple and concise manner.  Most visitors only skim your site before they leave and find another, so try to cater to their needs.  Don't be too promotional or no one will believe you.  Keep things simple and focused.

Whatever you do, don't copy other peoples' sites.  We have had people copy our entire site countless times and the sites that copy it are never found by anyone because they are marked as fraud by all the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.).

Step 6 - Promote Your Web Site

If you want people to visit your site you need to show up in the search engines.  To show up in search engines, you need to have other sites link to your site.  The more sites that link to your site the better your site will rank in the search results and the higher your SEO Score will be.  If you are successful, you can get a lot of traffic just by having other sites link to your sites.  However, it is very difficult to get the right sites to link to your site because usually only low quality sites are willing to link to you, and almost always for a link back to their site.  We use link trades to help our site, but we don't rely on it.  We try to create a site that people want to link to.  This method of promotion only goes so far, after that you need to pay for advertising.

To promote your site with advertising, you'll want to pay search engines or search networks to list your site in their results or on other sites' pages. 

Step 7 - Add to and Improve Your Web Site

This is exactly what it sounds like.  If you leave your site alone for too long it will get stale and outdated.  Try to keep your site fresh and up to date.  This will help your visitors stay interested and should make your site easier to find in the search engines.

See Also:  Money Saving Tips