For most people, making money online would be a dream come true. When you make your first dollars online, you realize it is possible and all the work you put in was worth it.
There’s all kinds of things people don’t think they can do until they just start. Making money online is exactly one of those things. In a couple of years time you will think back and say why didn’t I get started earlier.
Unfortunately, there is a lot confusion about making money online. There is a lot of misinformation and people selling get rich quick schemes. Hopefully this beginner’s guide will cut through the noise and show you how start making money online.
I’m talking about making $1,000 or $10,000 or even $100,000+ per month online. Making $10,000 per month or $100,000 per month takes a fair amount of planning and smart work, but making $1,000 per month is very realistic within a year or two of working on an online business.
There are 2 reasons people don’t make money online:
- They don’t know how to make money online
- They are scared to start
This guide, along with other articles on this website will help show you the method of doing it. If you’re scared to start you need a mindset shift. First of all it is possible, you visit websites every day that make thousands and even millions of dollars a month.
The 3 Things You Need To Make Money Online
A monetization method
The 4 Ways To Make Money Online
There are only 4 ways to make money online. They are very broad categories, but every single person making money online is using at least one of these methods. You can start a website that uses more than one of these methods, but there are no other ways to make money than these 4 ways.
- A content-based business that’s monetized through advertising (affiliate websites, niche sites, authority sites, any websites with banner ads)
- Running a service-based business (Freelance copywriting, SEO services, business coaching, resume services, etc.)
- Running an eCommerce business with physical products (T-shirts, lamps, computers, etc.)
- Selling your own digital products (ebooks, software, courses, photography, music)
For beginners I recommend you do create a content based business that’s monetized by advertising. Specifically through Affiliate Marketing, the holy grail of internet marketing. When you have a website that advertises through affiliate marketing you get paid whenever someone clicks through a link and turns into a customer for the advertiser. For example if you are part of the Amazon affiliate program and someone clicks through to a link on Amazon and buys a product you get a certain % of Amazon’s revenue, usually 4-10% depending on the product category.
If someone buys a $100 product you could make between $4-$10. If someone buys a $2000 product you could make between $80-$200. Once you start getting traffic to your site you can make some serious money through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is usually one-time payments, but certain programs do recurring monthly payments once you have converted. Also, if a visitor gives you their information (e.g. by signing up for an email list) you can re-market products and services to them.
The Simple Math Of Online Income
Making money online always comes down to a very simple calculation. You need to have visitors to your website (traffic) and a certain percentage will convert into customers and for each customer that converts you will be receive a certain amount. The math is as follows,
Traffic (views) * Conversion rate (sales/view) * Revenue (per sale) = Profit
You can increase your income by increasing your traffic, conversion rate, and offering higher revenue products or services. The name of the game is increasing your traffic which can be done with time, skill, or money (or any combination of the three).
Focus on the Big Money
The simplest and best tip I can give you is to try to maximize your revenue per sale. For example if you are in eCommerce you should focus on selling a more expensive product that has higher margins. If you are in affiliate marketing, the products you advertise should have higher payouts. By doing this you need much less traffic to make the same amount of profit. It’s a lot easier to make money by advertising big ticket, expensive items than it is by advertising books with Amazon’s affiliate program.
Choosing A Website Topic
This is what a lot of people refer to as choosing a niche. This is the complete wrong idea, I’ll tell you why after we define a niche.
Niche (adjective): denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
Choosing a niche is the wrong thing to do! When you are starting an online business do you want to appeal to a small, specialized section of the population? This limits how many people your business appeals to and lowers your maximum profit.
An example of a niche site is a site that advertises vacuum cleaners. The problem with this is the fact that the website can only get so grow to a certain size. You don’t want to put in all the effort of making and growing website to realize you niche’d down too far and therefore limited your profit potential.
I recommend you choose a vertical instead of a niche. Verticals are massive industries that have billions of dollars spent on them ever year. There are 12 evergreen verticals – these are verticals that never go out of style and are not subject to extreme seasonal fluctuations in consumer demand or traffic. Here are the 12 evergreen verticals:
- Health and Fitness
- Sex and Relationships
- Business and Finance
- Science and Technology
- Home and Garden
Think about these 12 verticals above and find one that fits the following 3 criteria for you:
- What you are good at
- What pays well
- What you are passionate about
You need to be good at something (or at least look like you are good at it) for people to pay you for it. You need to pick something that pays well so your online marketing efforts are worth it. You need to pick something you are passionate about so you can work on it for months and years on end. It will be almost impossible to build a website and create content for months and years on end about something you are not passionate about.
Make sure it is something you are passionate about, but do not choose a hobby!
Monetization will take all the fun out of a hobby. Think about someone who is a hobby gardener. They see that home and garden is an evergreen vertical. They make a plan to start a home and garden website and drive traffic through Youtube videos, social media channels, and personal branding. They start to get traffic and make money so all is swell. However after 6 months they realize making a business out of their hobby took all the pleasure out of it. They used to enjoy their time gardening but now since it has became a job for them it it tedious and they don’t enjoy it anymore. Keep your business and your hobbies separated.
Choosing A Domain Name
Your website’s domain name is it’s address on the internet. Just like physical real estate, domains are bought and sold for profit and most of the best domains are already taken. You will need to use a bit of creativity to pick a good domain name. Consider thegritzone.com, it’s a great domain name and it was available, but it took me a few hours to come up with. You can get your domain name at NameCheap.
Your domain name can be any domain that isn’t already registered (taken). There are a few general guidelines for picking a domain name that I recommend you follow
- No numbers or hyphens. The main reason not to do this is because it’s too similar to the domain you want to replicate that is already taken. For example if someone made thegritzone100.com anyway who searches for “The Grit Zone” on Google will get thegritzone.com as a result above thegritzone100.com.
- Choose a brandable domain. A brandable domain is a domain that you could turn into a real business and brand. Think of the difference between starting a domain called calvinklein.com vs. starting deluxmenswear.com. Calvin Klein is a brand, delux menswear is not a brand and cannot be turned into one.
- Stick to .com extension. People choose alternative extensions because the .com version is already taken.
I cannot express how important choosing a good domain name is. I picked thegritzone.com because it is brandable, rather than selfimprovementblog.com which is not brandable and looks horrendous. People choose terrible domains like this to try to match search results. Creating a domain that precisely matches a search query is called an EMD (exact match domain) and people create them because they think it will get them more traffic. This doesn’t work and will simply cause a pain for you later on down the road.
Get a brandable domain and take the time to pick the right one so you save headaches down the road.
Setting Up Your Website
This is where you take the action to set up your website. It is by not a difficult process, but you need to use the right resources (most importantly) and follow a guide (to save time).
The 3 Steps To Setting Up A Website
- Register your domain name, you do this over at Namecheap. This is the best domain name registrar, avoid sketchy ones like BlueHost and GoDaddy. Some domain registrars will hold your domain hostage if you forget to renew, when it’s time for renewal NameCheap makes it super easy, that’s why they are the best.
- Sign up for web hosting at Siteground. Your web host is the company that provides the technology and service that allows your website to be viewed on the internet. The web hosting landscape is still a bit like the Wild West, and some unsatisfactory companies have amazing marketing teams. The best web hosting (I use them and have done a lot of research into the best hosting) is Siteground.
- Build your website with WordPress and a Premium Theme. You should use WordPress as your content management system (CMS – allows you to manage your website content, and easily create, edit and publish new content) and use buy a theme. A premium WordPress theme will make your website for functional and look more professional. I recommend you get a theme from Studiopress, they are very professional and look stellar. A good WordPress theme this is the difference between looking like a professional and an amateur.
If it is your first time starting a website I have create a full step-by-step guide. This will show you the technical side of starting a website as well as providing the very best resources I have used.
It is important to set the right recommendations for beginners starting an online business.
Don’t expect to get rich quick
There is no such thing as passive income without a lot of effort up front
There is no “build it and they will come” on the internet. You will need to do real marketing to get people to see your content and slowly but surely as you your domain ages and you get more inbound links you will start to get traffic from search engines.
No one will hold your hand or show you real step-by-step guides to make real money online. The best they can do is guide you and help you avoid massive mistakes.
Online Business Recommendations
With any online business, my recommended domain registrar is Namecheap and our recommended hosting is Siteground. These are both the premier resources in their respective areas. I have done the research on many websites and forums and these are the best, and I use them both for this website. As always, if you need guidance starting a website, there is a full step by step guide to start a website, this will help you with the technical side and give you the best resources.