We’ve discussed many ways to monetize a website (check out some great posts here and here for more information), but have not yet discussed the fundamentals in how to build a website that generates income. Therefore, we’ve put together a few simple steps to help get you started. These steps are based on building content focused website such as a blog.
Step 1: Architect A Website
Yes, this is a very obvious first step, but getting this right will help make subsequent steps that much easier. A website that attracts visitors, keeps them returning, and generates income needs to check a number of characteristics:
- Modern Design: The internet has grown and changed quite a bit in the past couple decades. Gone are the days of cluttered websites and animated gifs calling for your attention. Today’s websites are simple and clean leveraging negative space to create a natural flow. There are several Content Management Systems (CMS) that make designing a website very turnkey. They also provide plenty of modern templates to choose from. Check out Squarespace, WordPress, and Blogger to get you started. All CMS platforms have their benefits, from very quick setup with no web development experience required to more customization and technical support. Each, however, will allow you to build a website that generates income.
- Mobile Optimized: Mobile traffic was responsible for 52.2% of internet traffic in 2018 and continues to grow at a rapid pace. Therefore, it’s important to think mobile first when building a website. Most CMS platforms allow for the content to dynamically scale based on screen size (desktop vs. mobile vs. tablet). It’s important to test your design on different screen sizes to ensure the user interface works well no matter what device is used.
- Clear Navigational Structure: User experience is crucial for a website that generates income. You want to make sure that your visitors are able to find the content they want fast. Setting up menus and linking structures to help visitors navigate across your website is important.
Step 2: Content Creation
Perhaps the most important (and difficult) part of building a website that generates income is crafting a content strategy plan that attracts visitors. Content is king, after all.
The most efficient source of website traffic is through organic search. Therefore, the content you produce should be optimized for the best search engine results. Here are a couple characteristics to help you produce high-quality content that attracts and keeps visitors coming back:
- If you are writing articles, the articles should be focused around a topic area that is both popular and useful. You should have an expertise in this topic and understand what your audience is searching for.
- The content should be fresh and relevant. Keeping a very consistent posting schedule like a magazine or news site will help boost your search engine results. Also, more content means more landing pages with real estate for advertisements.
Step 3: Generate Traffic
You can’t make income from a website without getting visitors to your site. There are several ways to do this. Some popular ways include search engine optimization (SEO), paying for advertising to drive visits, and leveraging email subscriptions and RSS feeds so you can inform users when new content is available and send them back to your site.
Step 4: Setup for Monetization
Finally, if you want to build a website that generates income, then you will need to design your website for monetization. At this point you should have a sleek and modern site with a steady upload of quality content. You might also be seeing an increase in traffic to your website. Here are a few ways you can capitalize on this traffic to generate income:
- Setup a Google AdSense account to run advertising on your site. You can place these ads anywhere on a landing page. But it is easy to overdo it and clutter the site making it more difficult for readers to get to the information they desire. Be wise and experiment.
- Utilize affiliate marketing. This form of marketing requires you to promote or endorse a product or service on your site (one that is likely aligned with your topic area) through an affiliate link. If readers of your website click the link and purchase the affiliate’s product or service, you could receive a commission. There are several affiliate marketing networks to choose from. Here are a few to investigate:
- Commission Junction
- A third option you can use to generate website income is through the OffSite Marketplace. This marketplace allows you to share your site audience with advertisers, but keep their privacy. Site-owners approve all ads, but the ads don't show on the site owner's website. Perfect if you want to keep a clean design aesthetic mentioned above, but still generate income leveraging your site's audience data.
Time to Start Making Money
In conclusion, learning how to build a website that generates income can seem daunting at first, but following these steps can ensure you have a solid foundation. The key is to create a plan and learn and grow as you move forward.