Create a profitable website
Whether you're providing content, services, or physical products, there are many ways to make a website lucrative.
The obvious first step towards creating a profitable website can go one of two ways, depending on how you as a person function best. You can either go with a plan- figure out what sort of content, service, or product you intend to create and create a flexible, long(ish) term plan. Or... You can start creating or offering something you enjoy and allow the evolutionary process to take place. I personally like to blend these two options with a simple, general plan while allowing enough wiggle room for things to evolve and change without having to re-do a hundred page+ business plan.
Either way you go, at least initially, one of the best tricks you can use is to niche down. Waaaaay, way down. Find your little piece and give it all you've got, even if that means changing niches as you learn and change yourself. The 'big' markets are saturated, unless you're an absolute genius and have something new which poses its own issues, you have to establish your name and your brand before you start trying to break through into the big leagues. This is assuming you're a sole proprietor who may hire a few contractors, but generally speaking you're not trying to invest ridiculous money before you start turning a profit. I'm talking most blogs, small products, freelance and contracting work... Things of that nature.
Either way you go, do some market research and understand the audience you're trying to reach as well as you can. Figure out where they go on the internet, why they want/need what you have to offer... And what things sway these people. Google analytics can be very helpful for this because it can give you insight into demographics. There are many other tools you can use to find out more about your potential audience, but the best way I have found is to CONNECT with that audience. Really connect, not just basic level networking. Get to know them and their habits and wants, ask them questions, be their FRIEND. Really.
Now.. CREATE! Have a nice 'store' of creation that you can offer your audience before you delve too deep, unless you're offering services. If you are offering services, it might not hurt to do a few projects for a highly competitive rate so you can establish your name and collect some testimonials.
Now, LAUNCH. You can start before you launch. Never underestimate the power of witholding information and getting people expectant. Google has lots of tips on how to perform a good launch.
Now, network and market like crazy!!! Don't forget to continue creating and adding and evolving your ideas as you see what your audience enjoys and prefers. Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, forums.... anywhere. And don't forget.. Lot's of things can be marketed in the real world too! However, don't be a spammer. If you're offering quality, you just have to spread the word and let people know why you are offering what they are looking for. Just like telemarketers, no one really enjoys dealing with an impersonal internet marketer either. Creating a solid brand here can be very helpful, if not necessary.
Now that you have a base of people... SELL. Sell ads, participate in affiliate programs, sell products... and listen to criticism! Split test. Ask questions. Figure out how to give your audience just what they need. Don't convince them to pay you, have them WANT to throw their money at you because what you offer is that good. Put your heart into it and keep growing, and you'll get there.
It helps at this point to have a good knowledge base of branding and CALLS-TO-ACTION. Whether that be a “Buy my book” button in your eye-catching color or a newsletter signup, or what have you... Learn how to guide your audience's attention and make it simple for both you and them to get to the end goal quickly and easily.
As you begin making money, don't spend it all on yourself. Put it back into your business. Get higher quality designs or services or, especially if you're a blogger who might go viral... Invest in better hosting such as a VPS (virtual private server)
I also highly suggest creating multiple streams of incomes. Balancing projects can sometimes be difficult, but the security that comes with creating multiple streams, be they profitable website of what have you, is a blessing and can really help to decrease stress.
And, of course, HAVE FUN! What's the point in working for yourself if you don't enjoy it? You need to have heart in your project to keep it going, in my opinion.
What about you?
What are your tips to create a profitable website?
Do you have any affiliate networks or ad acquisition services you go to? Do you use Aweber, Mailchimp, something else?
Tell me what works for you! Or even what you think you might use in the future.
I think that people underestimate the power of using social media like this. It's crazy to me, that's free advertising!