There are thousands of different strategies you can use when you’re learning how to earn money online, but at the end of the day they all follow the same model.
If you want to build an online business, whatever type of business that may be, there are certain steps that you’re always going to take to get from point A to point B.
Many people fail to make any money online because they get stuck in a state of paralysis, typically because they feel that they need to have every aspect of their new business perfected before they ever start actually doing any of the work.
The biggest cause for people failing to achieve their dreams isn’t the model that they’ve chosen, it’s their lack of action and thinking that they need to perfect the model before doing anything.
You can avoid that process by getting the big picture completed, and tweaking your model as you proceed forward. To do that, there’s 7 steps that you’re going to need to follow, regardless of the model you choose.
As long as you complete these 7 steps, and work on tweaking your model as you proceed through them, you’ll be further along than most people that are trying to make money online, and have built a solid foundation for your business.
Always remember, that taking action and working through your goals, even if your execution isn’t perfect, you will be further along than what you’ll ever be if you think that your execution needs to be perfect before you can start promoting yourself and making money from the business model you’ve chosen.
Step #1: Choose A Business Model
Before you start doing anything, the first thing you need to think about is the model that you’re going to follow to make money.
We’ve put together a post that outlines 9 of the most common monetization methods people are using for their websites, so if you haven’t already read it, you should go through it now by clicking here.
If you’re short on time, the general idea behind choosing a business model to follow is that you want to figure out how you can help people solve a problem that they’re having in their life. If you can help them solve a problem that they’re having, they aren’t going to have a problem paying you for the solution.
How you make money depends on where your skills lie, and how much time you’re wanting to devote to the business. Some models are easier than others, but the most common ways that people make money from their websites are:
- Affiliate marketing, or getting paid to promote other people’s products and services.
- eCommerce, or sourcing products yourself and selling them through your website.
- Dropshipping, or selling products that you don’t hold in your own inventory.
- Displaying advertisements through programs like Google AdSense.
- Generating leads for other businesses and collecting a fee in the process.
- Selling t-shirts to communities that have rabid fans.
- Publishing books on Amazon’s Kindle platform.
- Providing coaching and consulting services to other entrepreneurs and business owners.
- Providing freelance services and using your skills to make money.
Once you’ve figured out which business model you’re going to use to make money, everything else will fall into place. To get started, you’re going to need to start building your website.
Step #2: Build Your Website
After choosing how you’re going to make money, the real fun begins. Unfortunately, building the website is another area that many people get hung up, trying to “perfect” every aspect of it. This just isn’t necessary, because some of the ugliest websites in the world have generated millions of dollars for their owners.
You can get away with using a basic WordPress website on a shared hosting account, and then allow the website to evolve as time goes on, you start making more money, and can afford to invest in the website by hiring a designer to tweak it for you.
All you need to get your website started is a basic header or logo that you can have designed through a service like Fiverr or Upwork, a couple of pages that let your visitors know what your site is about, how to contact you, and how to navigate through the site, and then content.
Everything else, as far as which platform to choose, who to host the website with, what plugins to use, which theme to use, and then tweaking everything to get it all working together is a waste of time if you’re not already making money and can justify the time you’re spending perfecting the design.
In fact, when you’re just getting started, your time is much better spent focusing on activities that are either going to bring more visitors into your website, or are going to get your existing visitors to help you make money or pay you for the services you’re offering.
To get going, a basic WordPress installation on a shared hosting account is more than enough to help you get started making money, then you can focus on income generating activities -- like creating content that will attract new visitors.
Step #3: Create Content Your Readers Want To See
Content is the backbone of every website, whether it’s designed specifically to make money or it’s more of a passion project that someone devotes their life to building.
Creating content is another area that people tend to get hung up and start overthinking the process, which ends up stopping them dead in their tracks.
You can avoid getting hung up if you stop and realize that there are 4 main types of content you should be creating:
- Content that’s focused solely on sucking in search engine traffic.
- Content that’s designed to be promoted on social media.
- Content that’s going to get other blogs to link to you.
- Content that’s designed to funnel your visitors and earn money for you.
Let’s break each type down, then you can start putting together a content strategy for your site.
Search engine focused content, as the name implies, is designed to rank in the search engines for various different keywords.
Social media content is focused more towards getting people to click on your links and invoke an emotion inside of them so they’re willing to share the content with their friends.
Link bait style content is typically full of information, and makes it a no-brainer for other blogs to link to you -- which increases your referral traffic and helps you rank higher in the search engines.
Your “money pages” are pieces of content that are designed solely to make you money and are generally separate because many people will not link to your money pages, won’t share them with their friends, and aren’t as easy to rank in the search results.
Now, something to keep in mind is that these aren’t hard-fast rules. Search engine content can also be promoted on social media and may even attract it’s own links. When done right, it can also be used to generate an income.
The idea behind the 4 types of content is just to give you an idea to get started so you’re not getting bogged down in the minor details.
Step #4: Promote Your Content Where Your Readers Hang Out
Your website is up and you have content ready for your readers to see, now what?
Now, you start getting that content in front of the people, where your target audience hangs out.
To get you started, there’s a few places that are easier to navigate than others when it comes to driving traffic to your brand new website.
Here are 3 different places you can start targeting to get in front of your target audience:
- Social media groups.
- Other blogs.
- Forums and message boards.
Nearly every niche topic under the sun has Facebook groups devoted to help members connect with each other and share in their interests for the topic. That means you can join the same groups and start getting involved in the conversation, while promoting the content that you’ve created.
Like Facebook groups, there are also a ton of forums and message boards available where your target audience may be hanging out, discussing the topic every day. If you contribute to the conversation, you have a built-in audience ready to see what it is you’ve created on the website.
Finally, you’re going to want to spend time getting to know other bloggers and working out how you can collaborate together to help grow each other’s audiences. When you get your content featured on their blogs, and help them grow their own following, you’re both going to win.
As you spend more time promoting your content, the search engines are going to take notice and as long as you’ve worked keywords into the content you’ve created you will start seeing trickles of traffic work their way into your site automatically.
Generating traffic to a brand new website doesn’t have to be like learning rocket science. As long as you figure out who your audience is and where they’re hanging out at online, you just have to spend time getting in front of them.
Step #5: Start Collecting Your Visitor’s Email Addresses
If there’s one way to guarantee longevity in your business (not to mention increased revenue), it’s to collect the email addresses of people that visit your site.
When you have a list of email addresses from people that have come to your website, you have a built-in audience ready to tap into anytime you want to send out a new broadcast email or have a new piece of content that you want to promote.
Likewise, if something should happen and your website falls out of the good graces of major search engines, you don’t have to worry about being reliant on them to continue sending you traffic.
As time goes on and the size of your email list increases, you will also stabilize your income. Any time you need a fresh influx of cash into your business, you can send out an email to your list letting them know about a sale you’re running or a new offer you’re promoting and make some quick sales.
Should you ever decide that you want to get out of the business that you’ve built, having an email list in place is also going to substantially increase the amount that you’re able to ask for the site during the sale.
Investors and business owners are going to appreciate having a built email list that they can improve upon and mail their own offers to start seeing a return on their investment.
There’s no denying that the “money is in the list” and if you’re looking to make money, especially in the long-term, you’re going to need to focus on building up your email list once you have traffic coming into your site.
Step #6: Get Other People Talking About You
One of the best things you can do when you want to make money online is to get other people talking about your website and what you’re doing to help other people.
If you can get other people talking about your website and your business, they’re going to work on your marketing for you so that you can focus more on doing what you want to do -- helping people and making money.
Promoting a website and getting it in front of the market so you can make money is one of the hardest aspects of making money online, and one that most people simply don’t want to focus on. However, it’s one of the most important things you can focus on, especially in the beginning.
It doesn’t matter what business model you’re choosing to pursue, getting other people in your industry to help promote your cause can have dramatic effects on your income levels.
To get other people talking about you, you’re going to need to do some creative thinking. If you can start a movement, though, either by causing some controversy, doing something cool, giving away your products and services to help those in need (and without the financial means to afford what you’re offering), your business is going to continue growing without you having to keep working for it.
That’s the ultimate goal for any business, and if you hate doing the marketing and promoting, and would rather spend time on creating content and making money, you’re going to need to figure out how to get the rest of the community to spread the word about what you’re doing.
Step #7: Scale By Investing Profits And Hiring
The end goal for every business should be to scale what they’re doing so they make more money while doing less work, and to eventually hire other people that can help them keep their operation moving forward.
Whether you’ve build a blog focused on making money from affiliate marketing, or you’re selling your books on Kindle and t-shirts on Teespring, every business that makes money online can benefit from hiring people to help scale their income and profits.
By putting systems in place that other people can fulfill, you’ll be able to step back and focus on the bigger picture aspects of growing your business while freelancers and other employees help manage the day to day operations.
Even if you don’t necessarily want to hire a full team of people down the road, you want to keep the possibilities in mind when you’re just getting started so you can help your business evolve around the possibilities.
At a certain point, too, you’re going to want to start devoting some of your monthly earnings back into the business so you can help scale your efforts.
Whether you use the income to pay for advertising, writers, marketing, or even for a new website design, you want to make sure that you have a plan in place for how you’re going to return some of your profits back into the business.
Earning Money Online Isn’t Rocket Science
Earning a livable income and even growing a business that supports yourself and any employees you may hire in the future isn’t rocket science. That being said, learning how to make money online is easy, but keeping yourself focused and dedicated to the process is where things start to get difficult.
When you figure out the model that you want to follow to make money online, and then realize that every online business follows the same basic 7-step process, keeping yourself motivated becomes that much easier.
Taking the process slowly and making sure that you’re embracing it along the way, rather than trying to force things to happen, will ensure that you’re going to enjoy what you are doing and that you will be better equipped to help the people that you’re getting in front of.
Then, the more people you help, the more money you will have flowing into your business.
At the end of the day, every successful online business is built around helping people in some way.