Among my friends and family, most people think of me as the “internet business guy.” Because of this, they pitch me an idea every now and then about a website they think of.
Sometimes, the ideas are ok. Sometimes they are difficult to impossible to implement. Most of the time though, I think people have a hard time understanding just how hard it is to make money off of any one website.
When it comes to a website business, people immedietly think of the youtubes or the facebooks of the world and think that if they make a good enough website, it’s a hundred million dollar windfall. It just doesn’t work like that. There are very few big websites like that out there.
Most of the time, when people try to shoot for some huge idea like this, they ultimately fail and just lose their investment. This is because they try to do everything at once or try to tackle something they don’t really know about. Remember Facebook? Even Mark Zuckerberg started out small there. He just made a simple website where Harvard classmates could create an account and have their own page. He then expanded it to various colleges across the US before opening it up to the world. Bit by bit, not all at once.
If you want to make extra money online though and want to actually make money, it’s best to not think in terms of facebook or youtube. Instead, think small. Think of something you actually understand and know about. Think about how you can develop a website cheap and efficiently.
If you want to create a media website, essentially an information website, then write about something you know about. A good way to monetize a website like this is through Google Adsense or an affiliate program that matches your websites content. Keep in mind though that even if you are on top of Google for whatever niche you are in, you still probably won’t make that much money. Each daily visitor will probably be worth $.01-$.05 and most of these websites don’t get much more than 100-1000 visitors a day. But hey, an extra $300 a month or so never hurt anyone!
If you are going to try to sell something, understand the business first. Keep track of how much you are paying for your visitors (via PPC or whatever) versus how much money you make per visitor. Don’t blow all your money all at once by overpaying for traffic.
Likewise, if you are trying to hit a homerun with the next big social network….just stop. That’s all I can say. The whole social networking thing is a huge bubble. Facebook and Myspace are already here. People say there is still room for niche social networks, but can you name one niche social network that is that succesful? Don’t spend a lot of money building a userbase and hoping someone will buy you out for a huge sum of money. Chances are, you won’t find anyone interested.