Is there a strategy that is guaranteed to help you create a profitable website? While it will be up to you to determine which are the best decisions to make, there is a recipe that will give you the best chances of creating a highly successful website, which you can then monetize in order to make quite a bit of money.
Before starting, let’s put things into perspective. The number of websites on the internet is growing at an astounding rate, due to the fact that tools which help people create them are becoming increasingly accessible. However, numbers do not always mean profit. In reality, only a few of these websites actually make any money.
This means that the websites that do make money and help their owners/bloggers make the equivalent of a full-time salary from them, can be analyzed in order to determine what they do right, and where they fall short.
Most of these websites share a few common characteristics, regardless of how different they are from one another:
- They cater to the needs of a certain niche;
- They have a great design;
- They offer native products;
- They have authority and authenticity;
We will take a better look at each of them, however, let’s first talk about how realistic it is for someone to create a successful blog from scratch. Keep in mind that most of the people who are now successful bloggers started out with no knowledge of how to properly build a website, and learned along the way.
So, creating and making money from a blog is perfectly achievable, as long as you pay attention to the four elements mentioned above, as well as to a few other details which will be discussed in this guide.
Now, let’s take a look at the characteristics mentioned above, and see how they affect how successful your website can become.
- The niche that you choose
Before starting to actually build your blog, you will have to take care of a few planning details, such as which niche you want to choose.
A successful website must serve a single niche, and do it well. If you choose more than one, then your audience, as well as your content structure, will be fragmented, and people are likely to get confused and ignore your blog.
Contrary to what most people may think, having a more diverse audience is not always better. As with any other business, you will have to find your target, and stick with it, providing products and services in order to cater to its needs.
While this may mean that your audience will also be smaller, that won’t be a problem as long as they buy what you sell.
This is where the niche comes into play. You will basically have to find a skill or subject that you have extensive knowledge of, which a certain category of people would be interested in.
Remember, that although this will help you find your niche, you will still have to do a lot of research in order to get as much information about it as humanly possible.
If you already own a blog, then you will have to do a few things in order to have it serve a single niche:
- Look at what topics you can eliminate, in order to leave only those that are closely related to each other;
- Think about how you can stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of people in the same niche;
- Decide what you want your readers to know about your blog, for example, if it’s a great place to look at “Top 10” lists, guides, etc.
Finding your perfect niche isn’t extremely difficult. You will have to apply a simple formula that looks like this:
Your Passion + Skill that audience members may be interested in = Niche
Next, you will have to spend some time researching your niche idea. Look at other websites that approach the same subject, or at products designed for your chosen niche. You will have to understand how your target audience thinks and to determine what they like and dislike with the products and services that are already available.
This will help you offer better content, which will be appreciated by your audience.
- The design of your website
Design is extremely important when it comes to creating a successful blog. Having to navigate through endless lists of articles that don’t have anything linking them, or through poorly positioned menus that offer little functionality will make most people leave your website before even reading a single post.
Design refers to two things. First of all, the website must be functional and intuitive, and secondly, it has to look great. Oddly enough, the difficult part isn’t making your blog intuitive, it’s making it look appealing to your audience.
This is due to the fact that everyone has their own definition of beauty, and determining what your target audience wants can be challenging. This having been said, keep in mind that when it comes to design, less is more.
In other words, you should avoid confusing your readers. Just think about what you want them to do (buy one of your products, subscribe to your services, etc.), and then place visual calls to action and directions, on your website.
While you are free to choose your priorities, it is recommended that you focus on gathering emails before asking anything else of your audience.
The reason behind this is simple. Very few people will buy your products the first time they visit your website, and by asking them to give you their email addresses, you will essentially have a way to follow up and turn them into customers. And if they don’t buy anything, they will become fans, and this too will help you, by spreading the news about your products and your website.
Let’s look at a scenario that is often encountered when it comes to successful websites: A visitor opens up your blog and only wants to look around. This means that you only have a couple of minutes to convince that visitor to take a certain action. So, what do you want him to do? Find the answers, and then place them at the top of your sidebar.
Also, avoid cluttering the sidebar or other menus. People like simple things and they are more likely to have a positive response if your blog has a clean, intuitive design.
- The products that you offer your audience
All the extremely successful blogs out there offer native products and services that audience members can purchase directly from the website. There is no perfect product, so it is up to the website owner to choose whether to sell an eBook, a course, a subscription-based service, courses, or anything in between. You can even sell physical products if they fit your niche and you know that your audience will buy them.
Now, you should keep in mind the fact that, although you may have read, or been told that there is also money to be made from selling ad space, this will only bring a small income.
The websites that really make large amounts of money from selling ad space have millions of users, and even those websites make the bulk of their income from selling products and subscriptions.
Content creators are the people who make the most money when it comes to blogs. Affiliates simply get a small percentage of how much the product costs, and that doesn’t amount to much.
While you can make a living as an affiliate marketer, you will never make nearly as much as the content creators are earning, so it’s better to always look for ways of rolling out new products, and, if you have the time, you can also make some money from affiliate marketing. However, always look at it as a side income. If you start earning more from affiliate marketing than from your own products, then you are doing something wrong.
Always remember that ad space is important, but it will always be more useful to you, than to anyone else. So, use it for your own products, instead of selling it to other companies.
- The website’s authority and authenticity
These two are extremely important when creating a successful website due to the fact that both audience members, as well as search engine algorithms, use them in order to establish if you should be taken seriously.
So, the higher these two are, the higher you will rank on search engine results pages, and the more people will come to you when they need help or advice.
Now let’s take a look at how you can increase your website’s authority and authenticity.
There are a few ways to do this, however, there are no shortcuts. You will have to work hard, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as you’re passionate about your niche.
- Write extraordinary, comprehensive articles that offer a lot of value
The best way to show people that you know your stuff is to write awesome blog posts. Avoid simply writing about generic issues and subjects, as this will make readers ignore your content. However, if you actually create content that helps them take care of their problems, then they will start trusting your advice more and more, and this means that your authority will grow.
Also, most bloggers who are just starting their websites tend to be afraid of writing larger articles. Nobody is saying that you should write a book’s worth of text in each of your posts, however, setting a limit of about 5000 words for your content will have a large impact on how people perceive your website.
You ideally have to write articles that readers will want to share and to bookmark so that they can show them to other people, or read them again in the future.
Find a great topic that you’re passionate about, talk about your experiences, and don’t be afraid to turn the post into a case study. Add real figures so that you can prove what you are saying, and place some nice visuals in the article, in order to catch the eye of your readers.
In the end, your readers will appreciate a longer, more helpful article, more than several smaller texts that are not in-depth enough to matter.
Always focus on creating amazing content, and the people will love you. They will ask you for advice and look at your posts as guides that can genuinely help them, so start thinking about great topics as soon as you can.
- Create free content for your readers
Another great way to get your readers to trust you is to create great content and to offer it freely to your readers, as a token of appreciation for supporting you.
For example, create a course, and offer it for free. Forget the fact that you could have put a $200 price tag on it. The influence that you earn by giving it away for free will help you earn much more money that you would have made from selling the course.
If you don’t like the idea of giving away courses, then there are a lot more things that you can offer for free. You can write guides, videos, downloads, and more, and ask your readers to give you their email so that you can send them the free goodies.
If you do this right, you will get two things. First of all, you will raise your website’s authority, and secondly, you will gather emails for your list. This way, you will be able to establish a connection with your readers and will actually feel that you are, in some way, looking out for them.
- Give away almost all that you know on a topic, and save the rest for your products and paid services
Many people are afraid to write too much information in their posts, thinking that they will essentially lose money by doing so. In reality, it is perfectly normal to share most of what you know, free of charge, but you do have to keep some things to yourself so that you can build products around them.
Why does this work? Simply because most people want to know how to put the things that they learn from you into practice. Let’s say that you write a comprehensive guide on a particular subject. While it does offer all the information that people would ever need, there will always be some who will need help to implement your methods into their lives and businesses.
This is where paid products start being extremely valuable. You don’t have to actually offer a lot of new information, but you do have to offer personalized help. Guide your customers through their issues and difficult situations and you will make a lot of money.
You can do this through one-on-one coaching sessions, or paid webinars, or anything in between. There are a lot of options.
In essence, you will be sharing a lot of what you know, for free, but you won’t tell people how to put the knowledge into practice, relative to their particular situations.
Now, let’s recap.
In order to create a successful blog, you have to pay attention to four important factors:
- Niche – The focus of your website is important when it comes to determining your audience. Choose a niche that you are comfortable with, and never write on unrelated topics in order to avoid confusing your readers;
- Design – Keep the design as simple and as intuitive as possible. Keep in mind that you have to show the user what you want him to do, so use all the screen space wisely;
- Products – Remember that you will always earn more money by selling your own products. You can sell some ad space, and also do some affiliate marketing, but your main focus should be towards your own products. You will make more money as a creator, as long as you market your products properly.;
- Authority and Authenticity – These are essential if you want your website to be successful. Share your knowledge and skills, and take a genuine interest in your audience’s problems, offering advice where and giving a helping hand where possible. If you are to have authority over a matter, then you will have to build a community around your blog.
Lastly, be professional if you want people to take you seriously. Show people that you mean business and they will respect you.