How Long Does it Take to Make Money?
I have to be honest. That is the least favorite question I get asked by online entrepreneur hopefuls.
The reason is there is no right answer to that question. It's going to vary greatly from person to person depending upon several factors...
Wanting to make money is not enough of a motivation to succeed. If that was the case, everyone would have a successful money making website or blog.
Motivation comes from enjoying the process, even prior to seeing that first dollar.
Before I started making money I enjoyed learning HTML, how to use web software and creating my pages. There was also something very fascinating about watching my daily visitor count go up every month, where my traffic was coming from and learning ways to promote my site.
The bottom line is you have to be patient and realistic about your goals. The average person takes six months to a year before they see any worthwhile money, so you have to be prepared to learn and make mistakes.
Your Understanding of Marketing
In order to have a successful website or blog you must spend time learning how to market your site. People are not just going to stumble upon a website like they would a store on a busy street.
Start by clearly defining WHO you are trying to target and finding out where these people are on the Net.
A lot of people start off with a "great idea" but don't spend enough time considering how their site will reach or benefit a specific audience. So once their cool idea has launched, they're left scratching their head because they don't know how to drive targeted visitors to sign up, read, and/or participate on their sites.
There are a variety of ways to market a website and you don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money doing it. The key is to be innovative, creative and keep abreast of what's going on with the Internet marketing world.
One thing I highly suggest you do is subscribe to other successful sites and blogs to help inspire and educate you on various ways to promote a site or blog and make money. ShoeMoney, John Chow, Zac Johnson, Allan Gardyne and Darren Rowse are sites you'll want to keep on your radar.
Like myself, all of those people make a full-time living online with their sites and blogs. I'm constantly reading their information and gathering ideas from them.
Google, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Squidoo, partnerships with other sites and blogs, etc. are all ways to drive traffic to your site. But it's going to be up to you to determine what works best.
Networking is an important step. Once you've created your site, you will want to scope out potential partners (related sites) and see if you can work out some kind of cross promotional deal with other bloggers, webmasters, etc.
So much of your search engine traffic is determined by how many quality, related sites are linking back to you. So it's important you get your name out there and linked from related sites.
People spend a great deal of time in the early days just getting a feel for how this whole process works. Participating in webmaster forums and chatting with other people with similar goals is another great way to learn.
In fact, you can start by joining my forum, WebsiteBabble.com.
The biggest lesson to be learned here is that no one is just going to arrive on your site accidentally. Marketing takes work, time and patience.
Breathe... you'll get there. :)
Some people choose niches that are overly saturated. Topics like sex, employment, making money, debt, etc. are topics that are very popular.
I personally wouldn't recommend broad, competitive niches like this, but if you do decide to go this route, be prepared to fight through the thick competition.
So of course if you choose a saturated topic, your success could take longer than someone who chose a topic with less competition.
Thinking outside of the box is a skill that will help you greatly out here. Developing your own, fresh perspective on a topic and coming up with interesting ways to present it will take you very far.
Many sites fail simply because they are not original enough. Paraphrasing or re-working someone else's successful idea is just not a good way to get started.
Take the time to scope out potential competition and look for ways you can make your site or blog stand above the rest.
Put yourself in the minds of people you want to target and think of information, features, products, etc. they would value in regards to the topic you choose.
Sites that solve a specific problem do very, very well out here. So if you have a remedy for adult acne or tips on relieving stress, these are examples of good topics to write about if you have an interest in them.
Problem-solving sites are big. And the more creative you can be when it comes to educating and communicating solutions to your audience, the better chance you'll have of succeeding.
If you can absorb the preliminary information on this site, you will have a huge advantage because most people rush and don't take the time to plan and educate themselves before they begin.
If your goal is to make money with a website or blog, absorb the content on this site like a sponge.