10 Easy Steps To Build A Website That’s Ready To Make Money

Blog Promotion

21 Sep 10 Easy Steps To Build A Website That’s Ready To Make Money

Do you know a LOT of people abandon their websites?

I’m sure you do…

Perhaps you too have abandoned one in the past or maybe you’ve seen someone do it.

Now, there are lots of reasons that lead to such instances. But the most common one of them all is when a website fails to become a monetary success.

It fails to make the money it was meant to make.

And when it does so, the thought of abandoning grows strong.

If you’re afraid that your website is heading in this direction, or if you want to stop it from becoming one that gets abandoned, there are a few things you can do. In this post, I’m listing 10 of them. You can follow these to secure your current or future website.

(I’m assuming that you’ve already set up a website. If you haven’t, read this resource where Jamie shows you how to make a website in 3 easy steps.)

Okay – so here goes all the prep work you need to do:

Step #1: Identify how your website will make money

Different websites use different monetization methods. For example, a business website makes money by generating leads and making sales whereas a niche website earns from affiliate commissions.

Likewise, your website too needs a clear monetization plan.

So, the first step to building a website that’s ready to make money is to identify a monetization plan. To do so, take a minute and complete this sentence:

“My website will make money by  __________________”.

You could fill in with entries like:

  • earning affiliate commissions
  • showing ads
  • offering newsletter promotions
  • finding clients for my freelance services / consultation
  • getting customers for my product
  • attracting students to my online course and coaching services

Now that you’ve chosen the primary monetization tactic for your website, you can decide which of the following steps you need (and the ones you can skip).

For example, consider my website’s monetization model. Since I’m a freelancer, my website’s purpose is to land me freelance projects.

Now, for me, the step of adding a media toolkit to my website is meaningless because I’m not looking to make money by publishing ads. But yes, the step of creating a dedicated services page sure makes sense.

In your case too, you may find a particular step doesn’t feel necessary. If you come across any such step(s), move on to the others.

Step #2: Build the profile of an ideal website visitor

Reader/visitor profiles help website owners in 3 main ways. Let me explain how they benefit us here, at MakeAWebsiteHub.

Benefit #1: They help us attract the right audience

Knowing whom we’ve built this resource for (i.e., for people who want to build websites) stops us from wasting our efforts in entertaining people who aren’t interested in our domain – for example, individuals who’re looking to run a DIY hand craft university.

Benefit #2: They help us create the right content

Even if Jamie (or one of the contributors) were a fan of DIY hand craft, we’d still not cover a post called “X Craft Project Ideas That are Easy to Make and Sell” because we know “YOU” wouldn’t care!

Knowing whom we’re creating our content for helps us write posts like this and this. And when we write them – we know you’ll find them helpful.

Benefit #3: They help us promote the content right

Of course, we know our audience is more on Twitter than on Pinterest. So, yes we’re on Twitter and not on Pinterest. And that’s where we promote our content.

Now, back to your to-dos:

Based on the main monetization tactic you chose in the first step, identify the people who will PAY you. These payments could be from people who:

  • buy your product
  • buy products based on your recommendations (affiliate revenue)
  • publish ads on your website
  • hire your freelance services
  • enroll in your online courses or buy your coaching sessions

Once you’ve broadly identified the people who will pay you, your next step is to identify “WHO” these people are. Marketers have forever used the concept of “PERSONAS” to identify such people.

So, now it’s time to draw the ideal reader persona. Let’s see how we’d write the profile of an ideal MakeAWebsiteHub reader.

There are lots of tools and templates to help you with this, but my favorite is the Personapp tool.

Personapp lets you create useful user personas using fun avatars and a beautiful interface. Once you name your ideal persona, Personapp asks you to identify the user’s details like their behavior, demographics, needs, and goals.

As you start filling out the following screen, you’ll realize that you’re learning more and more about your ideal reader.

Personapp

After identifying a wannabe blogger “Joe” from the MakeAWebsiteHub’s audience, I created his profile.

Joe

Use Personapp and create about 3-4 ideal reader personas for your website and see how you can help them with their “Needs & Goals”.

(Oh and don’t take personas lightly – they’re among the top 3 drivers of blog content strategy.)

Step #3: SEO-proof your website

SEO isn’t something you can build on top of a website – it’s something you bake into it.

No matter how you plan to monetize your website, you’ll want to make it SEO-friendly. Because if the search engines don’t know about your website or if they can’t crawl it, it’s unlikely that you’ll show up in the search results (even for your brand keywords).

A SEO-happy launch is the best way to begin a website that’s to be monetized. To start with, you need to:

  • Tell Google about your website’s launch
  • Create and submit sitemaps
  • Install analytics software
  • Create custom 404 pages

And a couple more things.

I’ve covered these points with the exact implementation steps in this post on the perfect SEO-happy website launch. (Even if your website is NOT new and well past the launch stage, still go and check out the post because it WILL help you improve your overall user experience.)

Step #4: Write your website copy

After you’ve scored some brownie points with SEO, your next step is to write a website copy that is optimized for conversions.

To do so, we’ll start with the 2 pages that almost every website has, and then we’ll see some optional pages.

The pages you need to write first:

  1. Homepage
  2. About

Relax…

You don’t have to be a copywriting guru. Just make sure that your pages convey the right information and aren’t littered with typos or nasty grammar mistakes.

Here are some quick tips for creating the pages:

Page#1: Homepage

The best advice for writing a website’s homepage is to NOT start from scratch.

You’ll do great if you just choose an effective copywriting framework and build upon it. Just like an outline is to a post, your homepage’s copywriting template will make writing the copy as easy as filling in the blanks.
Copy Hackers suggests using a copywriting framework called “AICPBSAWN” for writing the homepage copy:

Attention – Biggest benefit, biggest problem you can solve, USP
Interest – Reason why they should be interested in what you have to say
Credibility – Reason why they should believe you
Proof – Prove what you are claiming is true
Benefits – List them all
Scarcity – Create scarcity
Action – Tell them precisely what to do
Warn – What will happen if they don’t take action
Now – Motivate them to take action now

Joanna from Copy Hackers also shows how to fill it up for a great homepage:

Hero Section

Sections

Close

The above copywriting template suits all kinds of product websites. However, you may not need such a long or loaded homepage if your website’s purpose is to get you client work.

Maybe, the following 4Ps template would solve the purpose better:

Problem – This is typically a visitor’s problem stated using a bold headline.

Promise – Mostly, this is a small text blurb stating how you or your product solves the stated problem.

Proof – These could be testimonials, reviews, and recommendations.

Proposal – Basically, this is just a rehash of how the visitors can solve their problem with your product / service. The most important element here is your CTA. So, in this section, tell your readers what you want them to do.

You must know that the headline of your homepage impacts your website’s performance. And writing headlines is no easy job. But you can find some good homepage headline writing tips here and here.

Page #2: About page

The second most important page on your website is your “About me” page because your visitors will read it to learn about you. Often, a website’s “About me” page is its most visited page; thus making it the website owner’s best chance to build a relationship with their readers.
Speaking from experience, writing about yourself is not easy. But 99u shares a helpful fill-in-the-blank style template to give you a headstart:

I’m a ______.

I help ______ {make/build} ______.

When I’m not ______, you can find me ______.

Want to work together? I’d love to hear from you.

By just filling out the above template, you’ll have a decent start to writing your about section. You can always polish this rough draft until it’s perfect.

For some inspiration, check out Jamie’s about me page:

About me

A few things that really stand out in Jamie’s simple about me page:

  1. A friendly picture
  2. A lightweight bio
  3. Listing experience to boost credibility
  4. Links to social media profiles
  5. Encouraging conversation

Some people recommend using a headline on this page. I prefer the simple “About me”, but it’s totally up to you.

After this page, the next page that might want to create on your website is the CORNERSTONE page. A website’s cornerstone page acts as the linchpin of the website and it leads the readers to the most important sections on the website.

Here’s a post with detailed step-by-step instructions for writing cornerstone content pieces and putting together the perfect cornerstone content page.

Step #5: Add a blog

If your website’s purpose is to earn affiliate money, then, of course, you will need a blog because that’s where you’ll review and promote affiliate products. Same goes for publisher websites – more content translates to more page views.

Business websites, too, acknowledge the importance of blogging. According to Hubspot, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. So, if you’re making a simple business website, again, you will probably start a blog.

However, the idea of adding a blog might not be so intuitive if you offer freelance or consulting services. But you must still add it. Doing so will help you give your take on the different topics that your potential clients care about.

When you plan content for your blog, remember Gregory Ciotti’s tip: … create content that will attract people who will want to PAY YOU to do what you do!

Just like the UX Designer Samuel Hulick does.

Through his website, Samuel sells:

  • The Elements of User Onboarding – his book about user onboarding
  • Training packages
  • Consultation services

He uses his blog to publish extensive onboarding teardowns of popular products. His blog ranks for some of the most competitive onboarding terms (thus getting him a lot of organic traffic).

And given that his customers are people/companies looking to optimize their onboarding experience, he sure makes a great hiring case with his website.

Using a blog to sell

Okay:

So you got it – the blog’s indispensable.

That brings us to the question of “What should you write about?”

You can answer this by going back to the persona you built in the second step and choose topics that resonate with your reader’s needs and goals.

For example, let’s go back to MAWH’s Joe and list his needs:

  • Wants to build a portfolio website (we can help with this)
  • Needs more clients
  • Wants to diversify his income and expand into new services (we can give tips to do this)
  • Wants to learn about marketing his services online (we can help with this)

Now, for each of the needs we can help with, let’s brainstorm some ideas using a terrific tool called AnswerthePublic.

To do so, I put the keyword “build a portfolio website” into the tool and here are the results:

Answer the public

In the following suggestions (the same as above listed serially), I’ve highlighted a few ideas that can be developed into posts:

Choosing post ideas

All that I now need to do is to take these potential post ideas and turn them into jazzy titles.

There are lots of tools and methods to come up with ideas for posts. But I like the one above because it does the job fast. Plus, the results are all popular long-tail phrases.

Remember:

It’s easy to start writing about the topics YOU care about. But when you do this, you discount your blog’s potential to land you clients or to get you more sales or to meet your website’s real purpose for that matter.

Step #6: Add signup forms in relevant places

About 70% users who abandon a website don’t return to it. So if you want your visitors to keep coming back to your website, you need to collect their emails.

Before you start building your email list, prepare for these 2 list-building power moves:

Power move #1: Create freebies or content upgrades

The best way to build email lists is to offer an incentive for subscribing. Most blogs do this by adding a freebie to their signup form. If you can’t think of anything else to give away, just bundle up your best-read posts and use them as a lead magnet.

Here at MAWH, we’ve converted this post into a guide, and it’s available for you to download here.

Power move #2: Setup content-based targeting

Content-based targeting helps you show specific lead boxes on specific content.

For example, if someone’s reading a post about “How to make a website,” we’ll offer them a guide to do the same.

Or

If someone were looking at our website launch tips post, we’d give a signup offer using a SEO launch checklist.

Step #7: Write a services page

If your website’s purpose is to sell your consultation or freelance services, then your “Services Page” will be one of your most important pages.

Despite being a freelancer for about a year now, it never occurred to me that I didn’t have a services page on my website. I only realized it after I submitted my website to Contena’s portfolio review service and the good Amanda Scheibner told me that my website lacked a dedicated services page.

Portfolio review

I’ll admit: writing a services section can feel taxing because you want to do it right, and you want to do it right in the first go. I’ve tried it and I’m speaking from that experience.

Instead of trying to create the “perfect services page” right away, create a basic page and keep improving it.

I’ve shared the ideal copywriting framework for writing the services page copy in this post (see point #1).

Step #8: Create a media kit

If your website’s monetization model is advertising or sponsorships, then you’re going to need the advertiser’s toolkit. This toolkit will have all the important information about your website that will help advertisers make informed decisions.

An advertising toolkit typically includes information like: the average website traffic, the demographics of the visitors, the different advertising packages and more.

BuzzFeed has a really creative media kit. In their kit, potential advertisers can learn about BuzzFeed’s traffic and the different advertising options.

Buzzfeed kit

 

In addition to all this data, BuzzFeed also publishes detailed success stories of their advertisers. These stories give breakdowns of how the BuzzFeed team optimized the campaigns for different companies.

Another great advertising example is that of Goodreads. Their advertising page quickly introduces Goodreads’ audience along with the different advertising options. Along the right hand side, you can see that Goodreads lists the different benefits of advertising with them.

Goodreads advertising kit

No matter what style of a kit you create, remember to include information about your website’s audience, the breakdown of the traffic sources, and the various advertising options.

The team at Monetize Pro has created a useful media kit generator tool. It asks you for lots of details about your website and then creates a media kit for you … automagically.

kit generator

Step #9: Signup for affiliate programs

If you’re building a website with the affiliate income revenue model, then signing up for (and getting approved by) affiliate programs will be crucial to you.

Hopefully, you might have already shortlisted all the affiliate programs that you’d want to enroll in. If not, do so now. Create a spreadsheet where you track your application status, the program’s payout details and more.

Once you’re done with the shortlisting, DON’T jump to applying.

Wait.

Go back to your website and look at it as an affiliate marketing manager would. Most affiliate programs verify the authenticity of the applicant before approving the application. Generally, an affiliate marketing manager will evaluate your application.

The affiliate application caveat:

Apply early and get rejected.

When I launched my website, I almost immediately rushed to all the products that I used and tried signing up for their programs.

But do you know what happened?

Most affiliate programs REJECTED my application.

I felt bad because these were all products that I had paid for and I just couldn’t figure out why they didn’t enroll an authentic, paying customer. But then … I got the following rejection message from Grammarly – a proofreading tool – and I understood what was wrong with my website.

Affiliate application

If you’ve still not got it, it was this:

I applied too SOON.

As you can see from the note above, the Grammarly team found that my website was a little bare on content, and so they couldn’t approve my application at the time.

While I didn’t get detailed messages from other affiliate programs, I did understand why certain things were not working out.

So I used my new-found insights (find them in the next section) and fixed my website’s copy.

And BOOM, when I re-applied to the same programs, all my applications got approved (except for Grammarly – I haven’t reapplied yet, will write to them when I publish a detailed Grammarly review!).

Based on my experience, here are the 3 top things that an affiliate manager looks for in a website:

1. Credibility

The first thing that an affiliate manager might look for on your website are signs of credibility. Writing a good about me page, linking to your social profiles, and adding a real picture act like strong credibility boosters.

2. Content

Of course, if you don’t have a blog, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to promote the product. (You can do it via email lists and more, but most affiliate programs look for the blog section.)

If you have a blog but your content isn’t of great quality, again, you’ll have a hard time getting approved for affiliate programs.

3. Social following or influence

If you’ve a new website with zero social followers and without a list, again, you can’t be 100% sure of getting the approval right away.

There can also be other eligibility criteria like belonging to a specific country and more. So read the fine print before investing your time!

Whatever you do, DON’T apply for affiliate programs TOO early. Keep some patience, write a few posts, and then apply.

A Power tip for identifying the “REAL” selling affiliate programs:

Look for bloggers in your niche who publish income reports. In their reports, you can easily spot the affiliate programs that are easy to sell and generate the most income.

Also, study the style of the posts that get the most affiliate sales. You can copy their style to base your post on it.

Step #10: Setup social proof

Social proof can take many forms:

  • Social following (and shares)
  • Testimonials
  • Email list strength
  • Recommendations
  • Reviews
  • Interaction in the form of comments

Depending on your website, decide what kind of social proof you need to monetize it better.

For example, for business and portfolio websites, you might want to focus on testimonials because testimonials would encourage potential clients to work with you.

But for a publisher website – one that aims to monetize with display ads – a widget that shows page views or some Google Analytics screenshots could mean social proof. Advertisers could look at these as a means of gauging how much exposure your website could get them.

The one that you will almost always need is proof from social media. Creating stunning profiles gives you a head start here, which is something you can easily do if you get your social media images right.

Also, don’t forget to set up the right legal pages

Since you’ll be making money from your reviews, ads, and more, you must tell your readers about it. Don’t fear that your audience will doubt your recommendations. In fact, they’ll trust you even more when you’re honest about your affiliate relationship with a product you endorse. If you don’t tell the readers yourself, they will learn about it anyway because of your affiliate links.

Besides, many affiliate programs REQUIRE you to disclose your affiliate status.

The other legal pages like the privacy page and the terms and conditions page also keep you safe from a lot of potential legal hassles. Some countries also need websites to seek permission from their users to store information in the cookies.

If you’re a WordPress user, you’ve plug and play solutions for adding the right legal pages to your website. I’ve suggested 2 of them in my earlier post – check out point #13.)

Conclusion

No matter how you plan to monetize your website, it’s unlikely that you’ll get instantaneous results. But following the above 10 steps will make sure that you start with a strong foundation. And then you can build upon it.

Do you have any questions about any of the steps, or do you need help with any? I’ll be happy to discuss in the comments!

The following two tabs change content below.
Disha Sharma is a freelance writer specializing in the digital marketing niche.
1Comment
  • Trevor Leigh
    Posted at 16:27h, 07 October Reply

    Hey this blog is really helpful. Thanks for all the inspirational ideas! Just a quick thought. Have you tried http://www.nichemasterly.com?
    I’m thinking about putting a similar plan into action.
    Thanks for all the great ideas. Keep it coming!
    Cheers
    Trevor

Post A Comment