Two years ago I started writing online content and for months it seemed like I was wasting my time. Squidoo was my first try at making money online which ultimately led me to starting my own sites. So after months of nothing, I logged into my Squidoo account and saw that I had made some sales. Wow, sales! Somebody had actually clicked on my link and then bought something. A few months later and a few more sales I got my first payout of $12.37. I was just starting to get excited as things were picking up, but then the traffic on squidoo tanked and for the next few months I again saw next to no sales. My dream of earning an online income was disappearing.
Then I heard whisperings of other online writers starting their own sites, nothing huge like squidoo, but personal niche websites that had no interference from anyone but yourself. So there I was thinking I would be stuck working at a mine for the rest of my life as internet marketing had failed me, when I decided to try my hand at my own site. Starting my own site turned out to be the best decision I had ever made. I had tried Squidoo (which now no longer exists), Zujava, Wizzley, Hubpages and Yahoo contributors network. I had some nice success with Zujava, but my hopes that it would continue fizzled recently. I had a strong feeling that these web 2.0 sites were a dying breed. Now, a year later, I am so glad I spent that time on creating my own sites. Squidoo is putting the last nails in its own coffin and Zujava was just dealt a massive blow.
Writing platforms are starting to dwindle. The main drawback with creating your own site from scratch is the cost. The cost isn’t huge but it feels like a gamble. Will your site take off and pay off? That is something that I can’t guarantee.
Most make money quick scams will offer you false guarantees, stay away from those, they do not work.
First up I had to find out about hosting. which host is best, cheapest, and easiest to use, were among some of my questions. Hostgator turned out to be one of the most reliable hosting sites around according to my internet marketing friends. So Hostgator it was. A year later I don’t have any problems to report. One thing that I wish I had done is taken out the hosting plan for 3 years up front. When you pay for subsequent years up front you end up with a highly discounted rate. I paid for just one year because I was afraid the whole endeavour wouldn’t work. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the first couple of months income paid for the hosting plan.
The second thing I had to do was find a Domain name and a good domain registry. Picking the domain name was far harder than finding a cheap registry. I went with godaddy and paid $2.95 for my domain for a whole year. Godaddy are one of the biggest domain registries around, they are also cheap and quite reliable with good support. Namecheap is also good and most hosts also offer domain registration.
It is nearly time to start adding content, but first you should find a theme. A theme is basically the structure of your site and how it looks. There are so many theme developers that it is hard to say which is the best. Of the ones I have tried I really liked themejunkie and mythemeshop. Currently all my sites have mythemeshop themes. My blog Daddynerd.com uses a theme from mythemeshop, feel free to check it out and see how it looks. There are many free themes available, this will give you a good starting point but I much prefer to pay a small fee for my themes. When you pay for themes you get on going support and updates which I find is well worth it. I like to be able to customize my themes and the support team help you with coding the minor changes you may want or need. Well worth the one off price. Once you have downloaded the theme you can use it on as many sites as you like.
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Creating great content is a must. If you have been successful at making sales on a web 2.0 site then that same sort of content will do the same on your own site. One of the reasons that people use the big writing platforms such as Hubpages is that they have authority. Google is supposed to like a URL that has hubpages in it better than others. I actually found it to be quite the opposite. Pages that I had on the big sites often did better when I moved them to my own websites. I think the power of a small yet well maintained niche website is often underestimated.
Outsourcing can really help you keep to these schedules. If you don’t have time to write an article you can just assign a title/keyword to a writer on a platform like Zerys. The writers on zerys are great, I have a few favorites who write for me regularly. I write a lot of my own content but there are times when other duties get in the way. I give one of my writers an article a week to write, it keeps him going and keeps my backlog of articles full. So I never run out of content to update my site with. The prices for an article vary, I started off only paying 1 cent per word, which is very cheap. Once I had found some writers that I liked I offered them a bit more to keep them on my side, plus the quality of the work is definitely worth a bit more money. Zerys have just updated the platform and it is now even easier to use and the online support chat service is very handy.
Every one of the companies I have chosen to use have a great support system and most have an online support chat system to help you through all the nitty gritty parts of installing wordpress and setting up your new domain on the server and all the other bits that seem really hard at first.
Now just to help explain why I think building your own websites is a much better idea, I will let you know that in the three months after letting my site go live, I had already made more money than I had in an entire year on Squidoo and Zujava. I had doubled what I out laid to get the site up and running, so it had already well and truly paid for itself. My first complete year has just finished and although it won't yet let me leave work, the few thousand dollars that my site made me in the first year is more than I ever thought I would actually see from online. Remember, I only ever dreamed of leaving work by working online, I never actually thought it would happen. But now, with a bit more time and effort, it might really be possible.