Making money online is an enticing prospect, but without the proper planning, it can be a fool’s errand. With these four tips, you’ll be able to start off on the right foot to give yourself the best chance at being an online success story.
Think Carefully About Your Niche
It’s easy to pick a broad niche like “health” or “finance” and fool yourself into believing you can revolutionize the field. Delusions of grandeur will do nothing but sink your investment before you’ve even begun. Instead, think critically about what subject you’re actually an expert on, and how your unique insight could set you apart from the crowd.
One easy way to do this is to focus on a “micro-niche”, which involves honing in on a very specific topic. For example, if your broad niche was health, you might start by zeroing in on diets, then finally aiming at organic food sources as your micro-niche. The advantage of this is that it is a lot easier to position yourself as an authority in a micro-niche than it is to spread yourself out over something broader.
Another aspect to consider is your direct competition. Using that same organic food example from the previous paragraph, consider the fact that there will be plenty of sites talking about the same topics. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to figure out what people are searching for in your niche and then carefully look over the top 10 results to see what you’re up against. When you’re starting out, you’ll be best off aiming for low competition keywords before eventually working your way up.
Have a Monetization Plan
As with any investment, your website should be diversified when it comes to income streams. If you rely exclusively on one source (like Google Adsense), you put yourself at the mercy of changes in cost-per-click (CPC) and click through rate (CTR) on your website. Most niches lend themselves to multiple options, so consider things like affiliate marketing and cost-per-action (CPA) marketing as well.
That said, just listing out options doesn’t constitute a true plan. When thinking about how to monetize your site, think about when you will implement different phases and approaches. For example, in the early going you might stick to simple things like Adsense, which does a great job of adapting itself to your visitors’ browsing preferences. But as your traffic increases, other options may provide a better return on your investment.
You might have this great vision for your site right now, but over time you’ll have to be ready to adapt to changes in what your visitors want and what your competition is doing. This is true whether you’re a small micro-niche site or a massive authority. Consider the example of how the news is delivered today vs. twenty years ago. These days, no one is willing to wait a moment longer than they have to, so short, quick bursts of info (even if it’s poorly fact-checked) wins out over carefully investigated feature pieces. Publications that refuse to change with the times are struggling financially.
Always Build a List
If your website is going to be a business, it’s important to turn visitors into buyers and buyers into repeat buyers. The best way to do that is to build an email list. It doesn’t matter whether your niche is cross-stitch designs or high-end furniture, get people to sign up for an email newsletter that keeps them engaged with your site and/or product.
While flashy banners and pop-ups can help convince people to sign up, by far the best approach is to offer something for FREE (or rather, just their email address). Write an eBook or offer a discount code and people will be far more willing to give a working email address to get it. People who sign up like this are very important to the future of your business, because the list you’ll create from these opt-ins is very highly targeted to the types of services/content/products you provide. That means that when you send them an email, they’ll be much more likely to open it, click, and ultimately convert into sales. If you’re not good at writing your own newsletters, enlist help from a writing service. Good writing might cost a bit upfront, but assuming your list is good and your products are profitable, you’ll see a terrific return on your investment.
Now Turn These Tips into Action
There’s no money to be made sitting on the sidelines, so if you’re still on the fence, there’s no better time than now to get started. Crystallize the big picture using the advice above, then set your plan in motion. Your odds of success will improve dramatically, and you’ll be a lot happier with the progress you’ll make in a shorter period of time.
Already an accomplished graduate student and a published scientific author, Neel enjoys writing on a wide range on topics for pleasure.