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The concept of making money online through websites and blogs is no longer new, but only to those that have been exposed to this industry for some time now.
The last time I checked, there are somewhere around five websites and blogs created every two minutes, which equates to millions more with each passing year. Google has been around since the nineties and the web is ultra saturated today, so it must be true that the train has left the platform, and it is too late for you to seize the lost opportunity to make money online – right?
Absolutely not. The facts remain the facts, and there is no denying that, but the good news is that for the vast majority of humans that live on this planet, the internet, and thus making money online is still an “industry” in its infancy. I am a practical example of this statement. I have several niche websites in all kinds of niche markets, which are all making very good money for me on a passive and residual basis.
That said, for those of us who are exposed to the internet in a way not many others are (from an income generation perspective that is), many of us may initially feel that the web is super saturated with blogs and websites that teach us internet marketing and how to make money online. Because of this saturation, it is natural for many aspiring webpreneurs to have doubts and second thoughts of making money online, often thinking that there must be tons of others who are doing the same thing.
As a reminder, we (the ones who think of the internet from an income generation perspective) have a slightly skewed view of the broader macrocosm. Truth is, the majority of people, who are web surfers, do not view the web as an income generating platform. These hundreds of millions of web surfers still have a need to be fulfilled, and the internet is the best channel available today in terms of reach, ease of entry and low cost experimentation for an aspiring entrepreneur to fulfill that need.
Given the (what seems like) apparent saturation in the online space, the simplest key to success in my experience has been to stray away from the “make money online” and “internet marketing” niche. You will find one guru after another preaching the next best hidden secret, which does not exist. Rather, spend your time pursuing a niche where you can successfully fill in a void in the marketplace.
“But Sunil, you have a blog on entrepreneurship and personal finance that teaches how to make money online as well.” That statement is true, but my blog is not my bread and butter. In fact, I am brand new to blogging and thus my blog is merely an experiment that makes me less than a couple hundred bucks a month. It totally sucks from a profitability perspective.
“What a failure,” you might think? Not necessarily, because income is not the motive behind my blog, at least not right now. My blog is a journal recollecting my accomplishments, failures, experiences in entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the processes and my overall journey. It is also a place where I can rant and rave openly and freely, while entertaining and helping others at the same time.
So how do I make the bulk of my money online? I created 16 profitable niche websites and an ecommerce website, which I sold back in 2007 for $250,000 before I started my Extra Money Blog. I did exactly as I propose in this article – I stayed AWAY from the make money online niche.
Consider this: My blog generates the least traffic of all my websites, as well as the least amount of income. My highest traffic generating and most profitable websites have nothing to do with making money online. My website on Rotator Cuff Exercises is one such example. Have a look at this screenshot showing revenues from book sales:
I know these numbers are not monster figures by any means, but they represent a consistent stream of income from a niche that has nothing to do with making money online. Add to that the advertisement revenue generated from ads that look like this:
. . . and commissions from sales of affiliate products that my visitors purchase either directly from the website or from a recommendation proposed to them through the free newsletter series (also boxed in red in the image above).
Also consider the fact that this is a niche website that was built with a fixed number of hours (no ongoing work involved). Because the website provides value, and is built on a “set it and forget it” business model platform, I can leave it alone and still profit from it over time.
The website also has several methods of monetization incorporated into it, and as traffic further grows over time, several more are on my “to do” list. For example, I am starting to get offers for private placement ads.
I am contemplating implementing a discussion forum where people can share stories, resources and help each other in the process, thus further increasing traffic. I am also contemplating including a paid directory of qualified practitioners who can help those who are suffering from rotator cuff pain. As you can imagine, the possibilities to make money online from just one niche website are endless.
You must be thinking that rotator cuff treatment is also a super saturated niche. You are absolutely correct. It is, but not nearly as much as the internet marketing or make money online niche. That said, there are some things you can do to differentiate your website and value proposition from the rest.
For example, you can write the content of your website from a fresh, practical and first-hand perspective. You can write in active voice and talk to your reader, rather than at the reader. This allows you, the author, to build a relationship with your reader. There are many commercial websites out there that are built just to sell sell sell. A fresh perspective in my experience is always welcomed by web surfers.
Offer a free incentive such as a free tips newsletter to further build and hone relationships with your readers. When your readers like you, trust you and are warmed up to you (a tactic called pre selling), you can soft sell them products and services that they will gladly pay for.
Your individual style itself can be your unique proposition that earns you a place in a saturated environment. People want relate-ability, people want to connect to you as an individual, so don’t be afraid to try this new approach if you haven’t yet.
The success of these methods mentioned is predicated on your ability to effectively execute search engine optimization, as well as internet marketing strategies that help give your website or blog a place on search engine rankings. Though it is advisable to learn how to execute these, you can easily outsource this work in today’s environment.
Saturation is relative to time. The web is certainly more saturated today compared to yesterday, and will be tomorrow compared to today. The bottom line is that as saturated as the online space looks, there is still a ton of opportunity for webpreneurs to make money online.
The folks that visit my rotator cuff therapy website know nothing about making money online, nor are they interested. They do know how to use the internet, however, to search for answers to their questions. They clearly have a need.
So as long as you fulfill a need, financial success should follow providing you execute adequately and appropriately. The internet is just another channel to do business in the modern day, and fortunately for people like you and I, it allows us to operate globally at a cost next to nothing.
Get out there and let the market dictate your direction. There is absolutely no doubt that you can still make money online despite the apparent saturation of websites and blogs on the internet.
Do you agree or disagree? What are the biggest barriers to entry today? What is stopping you from capturing a piece of that profit pie?
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