Are you ready to expand your online presence and monetize your website?
This blog post will walk you through how to set up and monetize your website with next to no start-up cost. Are you thinking about starting an online business or increasing your market by moving your business online, but don’t know where or how to start? Do you have very low or no budget for marketing and start-up costs?
What do you need to get started?
A Domain Name
A domain name is the address that people use to visit your website. For example, the domain name for this site is smalltechtalk.com. There are some websites like wordpress.com, blogger, or tumblr that let you get started without one, but you don’t want to skip this step.
Why you Need a Domain Name
A domain name helps establish your web presence and ranking. It can help spread awareness to your brand name. When search engines like google are determining what rank to display your website in search results, the domain name is one of your most powerful assets if it relates to the keywords and audience that you want to target. Another benefit of having a domain name is that you can display a professional contact email address at your domain name.
The Cost of a Domain Name
You can find domain names as low as $12 / year. WordPress.com gives you an option to add a domain name, but their costs are a little higher at about $18. I use google domains. The great thing about Google Domains is that you can easily set up email forwarding from your domain to your current email address and they provide instructions to set up your domain name with WordPress, Wix, or Blogger. Setting it up with Blogger is free!
Web hosting is paying a company (there are free options) to keep your website up and running on the internet.
The Cost of Web Hosting
The price depends on the amount of control you want over design and functionality. If you don’t know much about creating/editing HTML and are looking for basic functionality and no start-up cost, start with Blogger.
I like Blogger a lot because it connects with Google domains, it is free, and you are able to monetize your website with Google Adsense without any fees (as long as you have had your account for a few months).
WordPress.com is another great option because they have excellent SEO plugins (YOAST) to help your keyword rank in search engines. You are also able to extensively customize the design and functionality with many amazing templates and plugins. The problem with wordpress.com is that there are increasing monthly fees to allow customization and monetization of your site.
I personally install wordpress from wordpress.org on a server with a pure hosting company such as Go Daddy. This lets me use all the functionality of the wordpress templates and plugins without the fees. This option is definitely more advanced to set up, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you aren’t able to complete the installation yourself, hire a freelancer to help out. A skilled freelancer can get you up and running in minutes!
An SSL Certificate
Have you noticed the lock on websites in the address bar? This is because the website has special encryption to protect your data. This is usually only an issue if you have forms on your website and are collecting data. However, Google shows preference to secure sites when ranking search results so it will start to severely hurt your rankings if your site is not secure.
If you use plan to use Blogger, you are able to enable SSL with your blog with no additional cost. Follow the instructions in this wikihow to set up SSL on Blogger.
Check with your hosting company from the step above (before purchasing hosting!) to make sure they support SSL and see if other fees are required or if you need to purchase your own certificate. A reasonable cost for a SSL certificate for a single domain is about $20 per year. Keep in mind that if you plan to have several sub domains (example.techtalk.com, me.techtalk.com, etc), these are considered separate domains and would need separate certificates or a multi-domain certificate.
If you host your own website, setting up a SSL certificate can be tricky and may additionally require a static IP address.
Social Media Accounts
Social media accounts are free to set up and you should set up all the major accounts. Try to match your domain name with your social media accounts.
What Social Media Accounts do you Need?
Whichever account you choose, the most important thing is to maintain consistency in posting, tone, and branding. Choose the social media platform(s) that most closely embodies your target audience. For example, while Pinterest is an invaluable resource for Etsy sellers, it might not be as beneficial for posting technical articles.
How Often Should you Post to Social Media Accounts?
Again, choose a schedule that works best for you and your brand and stay consistent to your schedule. You want to post often, but not overwhelm your user accounts with notifications. Aim to post great content between 1-2 times per day.
Set up a Mailchimp Account
Email marketing is a great marketing strategy to keep people up to date on new items and features and returning to your website. Mailchimp has a free option that lets you maintain mailing lists and send targeted newsletters, coupons, and information.
Monetize Your Website
Before you begin to monetize your website, you need to clearly set your goals and define your strategy-mwebsitesitetow t. How do you plan to make money? Some common options to monetize your site are to sell goods and/or services, affiliate links, and pay per click or pay per impression ads.
While there are some great opportunities to monetize your blog or website, it is A LOT of work and you may make cents or dollars per month for a VERY long time. The key to your online success is consistency and to work smart! Working smart means that a lot of your time is spent researching. You need to research trends and keywords, create useful content that aligns with those trends and keywords, and keep consistent in your posting, keywords, branding, and design. Most importantly, you need to find what works for you.
If you consistently put in effort to improve your brand, you WILL see results. You very likely will not see large or immediate results, but you will see cents turn to dollars, and dollars turn to tens of dollars. Within a year it is not unlikely to end up with a couple hundred extra dollars a month.
Your goals should start out realistic and based on your personal history. If you are starting out from nothing, make your initial goal to get your 1 sale. From there, keep making little goals until you start noticing patterns in your metrics. Always strive to move forward and let yourself celebrate in the wins no matter how small!
Sell Physical Goods and/or Services
A common reason to have a website is if you are already selling goods or services. For example, you may sell handmade goods locally or teach music lessons. In these cases, you are trying to get more sales or students by advertising your goods or services.
In these cases, you want to clear identify your audience and location. If you have a physical business or location, you want to Register your Business with Google. Google will then show your business on the map and provide your contact information in local search results.
If you are selling physical goods, you want to locate a relevant e-commerce solution or community such as Shopify, Etsy, or Ebay to list your goods. In this case your goal is to drive traffic to your shop to complete purchases. Make sure to link to each item from your Facebook page and website to drive traffic to your good.
Sell Digital Goods
If you are looking to start a side-hustle and art great at drawing and designing, you might want to consider selling digital goods. You can use free design software such as Inkscape to create custom designs and sell the files for people to use in printing and for hobby and business. You can even consider uploading to print on demand websites such as Printify or Merch by Amazon to earn royalties on design.
Add Affiliate Links
By including affiliate links in your website, you can link to goods or services where you earn a royalty when someone purchases a good or service using your link. You can easily get set up with Amazon Affiliates. In the Amazon affiliate dashboard, you can search for products relating to your blog or website.
Pay Per Click & Pay Per Impression Ads
There are several ad programs such as Adsense that pay per impression or click from your website. These ads are most beneficial for sites that have a large amount of monthly views. One post suggests that in order to make $100 a day with Google Adsense, you need roughly 150,000 visitors per month. View the Post: How Much Traffic do I need to get $100 a day with Adsense?