||With the advent of the Internet and the
World Wide Web, not only big and not so big companies are making big
bucks by marketing and selling their products and services through the
virtual world, many individuals are able to make enough money to
supplement their incomes from their salary by having a personal website.
On top of that, many of them even get rich or at least make a living out
of it. A lot of people with a personal website can generate a few
hundred to a few thousand dollars (US currency) a month, a handful of
them even achieve six figure income a month. As for myself, I use my
spare time to maintain a website about Visual Basic Programming and I am
able to earn an income equivalent to half of my monthly salary every
month after only about four months in the business, and the income is
increasing month by month. So, How could so many of us can make that
kind of money with just an amateurish web site in a relatively short
To be able to generate substantial income from a personal web site, the first thing you must do is to pay a lot of attention to the contents of your web site. You must make sure that your contents are interesting and rich enough to be able to attract many visitors and also able to retain most of them. In this way, your website will be able to bring you good profit based on economy of scale. In order to create good contents; you must decide what should be your web site's topic or theme. You should work on something you are good at. For instance, you can do something about programming, sports and games, travel, books review, astronomy, health, education, any hobby, and etc. Next, do some research by reading books, journal, info from the Internet and etc. Follow by designing a framework for your contents; get the main topic and subtopics properly arranged. After that you can start writing your contents. Secondly, you must design an attractive template for all your web pages. You should also ensure it is easy for the users to navigate around various sections of your web site. You can use GUI-based webpage development programs such as MS Frontpage, Macromedia Dreamweaver and etc to accomplish the above tasks. Besides, you should also learn some basics of HTML so that you can customize your web pages better. After you have done all your web pages, you must get your web site hosted by a reliable web hosting company so that it will be available online 24 hours a day. Although you need to pay a nominal fee of something like US80, it is worth the investment and normally you can earn it back in days. Lastly, you must update your web site regularly because people normally get bored with old contents
The second way to promote your website is to join various discussion groups that are related to the contents of your web site. For example, because my contents are about Visual Basic, so I join the groups such as visual_basic_programmer, Visual_Basic_Languages_for_everyone, Visual Basic and so on. Try to participate actively in those groups but be careful not to promote your web site overtly because you may be banned from those groups. What you should do is you can try to solve their problems and lead them to refer to solutions available in your web site. For example, some group members might ask a question about VB programming and I always ask them to refer to one of the tutorial lessons in my web site, in that way I am promoting my site covertly. The main advantage in joining discussion groups is when you send a message to a particular group, all the members of the group can receive it, so the reach is very wide, even global.
Another way to promote your web site to search for those web sites that are related to yours and participate in forums provided by those web sites(if there have forums). This is an interactive way to promote your web site to people having the same interest. If forums are not available in those web sites, you can also leave messages in guest books or whatever message boards provided.
And lately, I found another very effective free web site marketing tool but you need to use it carefully otherwise you might be banned forever. It is the Yahoo! Answer section. If you have participated in Yahoo! Answer section, you should have noticed that this section is made up of categorized topics and you can always find the topic which is related to your web site. What you do is you can try to answer some questions that are related to the topics of your web site, and covertly try to lead them to visit your web site which you think it can provide the answer. Abstain from using the phrase like "Please visit my web site.." but use phrase such as "Please refer to the following web site for further info" instead so that you won't violate terms and conditions laid down by Yahoo!. It is important that you genuinely want the person who ask the question to obtain useful info from your web site rather than to mislead them to visit your web site. If you can do that, you can ensure your web site traffic can increase many folds.
Now you might want to ask how to make money with high web traffic . The secret is you must participate in all kinds of web business models provided by those big players like Google, Yahoo!, Amazon.com and the likes. For me, the best model is the Ad Sense program provided by Google. It is a free advertising program that will automatically generate the advertisements that are related to the contents of your web site. It is a pay per click program which means you earn an income when the user click on any advertisement that appears on your web page. The earning from each click varies from a few cents to a few dollars. Let say you have 100 clicks per day and average earning per click is 50 cents, then you would earn $50 per day. The best thing is you will be earning income 24 hours a day, even while you are sleeping. Google updates your earnings every minute of it and it is thrilling to see your earnings increasing continuously. My website generates most of the income from this model.
The second method to earn money is to sell products and services through your website. As for the products, you can sell physical or digital products. Among the two, I would say selling digital products is a better option because you can do away with the hassles of sourcing, packing and delivering the products. Digital products such as video clips, software, e-books, songs and music, paintings, drawing, designs, photos, sounds and etc can be encoded as downloadable files, and so it is extremely convenient for the sellers and buyers to complete the transactions. Some of you might want to know how a personal website able to accept payment from the customers. Yes, it is very costly to engage the service of the credit companies to install an online payment system. However, fortunately there are quite a number of online payment companies that were able to provide cost-effective online credit card payment system, one of them is paypal, a subsidiary of ebay. I am using this service to sell my e-book on my website, I find it very convenient and easy to set up, and it is not expensive. Paypal allows you to sign up for the service for free; they will only charge a nominal fee when you successfully close a sale. For example, if you sold something for $10, paypal will deduct an amount like $0.50, and you still earn $9.50. On top of that, they also minus $5 for any fund withdrawn. Funds can be transfer to your credit card; your bank account and so on. Paypal even help you to set up a shopping cart, which will cost you a substantial sum if you engage somebody to do it for you. I have been using the service for a few months and I can tell you that I am extremely satisfied and grateful for the services rendered by paypal. I am selling only one e-book on my website at the moment and the income generated is enough to pay the petrol bill(or the gas bill as you call it in the US) for two family cars. The trick to get the visitors to buy your digital products is to do a brief but good write-up about your products and place them prominently in your website.
The third way to earn money is to join any affiliate programs such as the Amazon.com associate program. Once you become an associate member of any affiliate program, you can start earning commissions by selling the products provided by the company through your website. Normally the amount of commission is about 5% to 10% of the product price. Amazon.com provides a very lucrative commission system whereby the more you earn, the higher the percentage. I have been with Amazon.com for around 10 years and I would say that the income I get is satisfying, although it may not be as good as Google's Ad Sense.
Lastly, I wish to say that you have to do a lot of homework to create a good web site and you must promote them in order to generate a lucrative income. Besides, you need to be imaginative and creative too. But I can ensure you that the initial efforts you put in will allow to enjoy the kind of income that will be way beyond your expectation, and it will bring you revenues even while you are sleeping! You will become a person that can enjoy uncommon freedom by having a lot of time and money. I am already walking along this path and I hope you can join me too!