This is one of the most misunderstood questions I’ve ever come across regarding the Internet. Most start-ups believe “If you build it, they will come.”
We had an inquiry a few years back from a woman that wanted to sell her hand made peanut butter cups via an online store. That’s it, just peanut butter cups, like the ones Reese’s sells. She had no previous experience running a candy store or any store for that matter. She was also pumped up because she was a member of a number of young professional entrepreneurs clubs, so she assumed the marketing feedback from them was enough. Although, based on her insistence, I could have taken her money and built the site, I knew this was a bad idea and told her as much. Her feelings where hurt, and she eventually built her site; it was gone within 6 months.
This “Field of Dreams” marketing approach simply doesn’t work. Combine that with the fact that far too many entrepreneurs want to start an online store with no experience or familiarization with what it takes to run a brick and mortar store. This is almost always a recipe for failure.
The lesson is, a website is only a tool to make money, it’s not the catalyst. You need to have a product or service that is already established and in demand.
That said, there is one item that we already know sells and is easier to manage than tangible products. Information. Good, unique and well-written content that entertains or educates sells. You won’t get rich overnight, but with some patience, training and a good idea, making money on the Internet is possible for just about anyone. Coupled with an attractive design, your original content sets the stage for advertisers to place ads on your website. When visitors click, you get paid.
Take for example my website. It sells our web design services. However, look at the Google ad block in this post. If you click it (please don’t unless you’re really interested in the ad), I make money. Usually as much as $1 or $10 per click, and sometimes more depending on the ad and how rich some of my content is.
Now, imagine if you had a blog that talks about some specific interest of yours, like travel, star gazing, wine, antiques, or gaming. If, over time, your site becomes popular and your daily visitors start to exceed the 1000 mark, you could be on to something pretty big. Let’s say that you grow your web site to about 400 significant articles of content. By drawing on my experience in building and maintaining these types of sites, I’d estimate your daily income from ad clicks to be approximately $200. That could mean $6,000 per month, which is a decent supplemental income.
Now, getting to the 400 significant articles of content and 1000 visits per day is quite a challenge. However, if you work on your site for 1 hour every day, writing and actively engaging your target audience through social media, blogs and online press, you could be there comfortably in 1 to 2 years. After that, you could let it go, and the money will keep coming in but why would you do that? You’ve carved out your corner of the Internet, and with 1000 visitors per day, in many circles, you’re a celebrity or at the very least an authority. Keep writing content and promoting the site and you’ll attract big business ads… more money!
Keep in mind, this takes a lot of work and dedication and it may not even produce the desired results the first time around. However, if you stick with it, it could be a life-changer. Imagine never having to “go to work” again.
As far as the initial cost for set up, budget about $5,000 for the actual website, components, and Internet marketing. You could teach yourself web design and SEO (search engine optimization) but I’d recommend WordPress if you go that direction. I’m not crazy about WordPress but it is easier then most other options out there.
If you’re interested in working with us, we can figure out a payment plan to make the endeavor easier on the wallet. If you’ve got your idea ready, shoot us an email and let’s talk!