Making A Website Makes You Happy - Month 30
This website is depressing. It is not making a lot of money and progress is slow. Months go by and nothing happens. Now and then I spew out a a blog post complaining that having a website is a lot of work with slow results.
And it is not just me getting depressed writing about it. Visitors find this website bleak. They arrive thinking that they will find a quick and easy way to make money. Instead they discover that I have worked on this website for over 787 hours and have made only $1,018.85 - a little over a dollar per hour worked. Two years have slugged by and this website still only makes a dollar a day.
That’s depressing. Here is what an anonymous visitors said about this website:
"I have to say, this website is pretty depressing and totally unmotivating to do just about anything in life."
This website sucks all energy out of him - after visiting this website he has no reason to do anything in life. If that's what people get out of this website it certainly cannot be good for business. Visitors warning their friends, don’t visit that website or you will end up wondering the streets in the rain contemplating the purpose of life.
The problem is that there is nothing I can do to make this website less depressing. The fact is that to make money with a website you need to put in a lot of work for very little gain - at the beginning. The fact is that progress is slow, that you need to wait, that at the beginning, regardless how great your content is, you are invisible and nobody cares.
The fact is that if you expect to make money with a website fast, you will end up depressed. Its a lot of work, it takes time, and positive feedbacks which provide the needed boosts to keep going are few and far between.
Positive feedback is rare - but it does happen. Good things happen. Not as often as you might like, or as others claim, but they are there.
This page is all about the positive, happy and non-depression inducing things that happen along the way. Yes, most of the time you are working and getting little results. But good things happen.
For the last 36 months good things have happened. The kind of good things that enable you to keep going. The good things that come right at the moment when you need them the most. The sunny days in the middle of winter.
A History Of Website Achievements The Make Webmasters Happy
The Idea To Make A Website
One day out of the nowhere it came to me - make a website. A search online found lots of information about making a website and earning money with it. Looks easy, I can do this.
The few days right after I decided to make a website were twinkle toe bliss. My head filled with great website ideas and sleep was filled with dreams of my rich self employed future.
Deciding to make a website for money changed everything - instead of a bleak future in a boring cubical job, I was looking forward to working from home and owning a website business.
Make a website and make a lot of money. So simple, so happy.
Day 0 - Website Is Live For All To See
A gambler gets a shot of happiness through his body when the slot machine’s bells jingle and lights flash. A new webmasters gets the same feeling when they figure out how to upload a image or manage to change the font size via CSS.
HTML and CSS and the whole process of making your first website live is daunting. At the beginning it is confusing and you do not completely understand what you are doing. But when you start to grasp how it all works your body tingles with joy.
You fiddle around and it does not work, you fiddle some more and it is still does not work, you fiddle some more and it works - that is one of the best feelings in the world. It works, now you understand.
It takes time but you learn something new everyday. From a single page of plain text your website grows into a multi page image filled piece of living art. You wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is look at your website.
A month after I decided to make a website it was live. At work I proudly typed in the URL of website and smiled as it appeared in the browser. Happy times.
Day 4 - First Backlink and First Visitor
Website is live, but no visitors. For one month I’ve had a very personal relationship with the website. Only I know what it looks like, it speaks only to me, nobody but me knows it exists.
Time to show it to the world.
The first backlink to the website was easy. I joined a webmasters forum that allows you to add a link to your website in your profile. You write a post in the forum and the link to your website appears for all to see. People read your post, they like what you say, so they click on your link and visit your website.
I wrote a few posts on the forum and waited. Instantly I checked my website states - nothing, no visitors. I checked again in an hour - nothing, no visitors. I walked the dog and then checked the stats again - a visitor. Somebody, a real person, visited my website and saw what I made.
It was an odd feeling. My website, my soul and thoughts are out there and exposed to the world. Will they like it, will they laugh at me, will they think it is as great as I do?
I have no idea what the first visitor thought. They stayed for 2 minutes and clicked through 4 pages. But I did not care what they thought, what matters is the proof that the concept works:
- create a website
- make it live
- tell people about it
- visitors will arrive
I now know how happy Alexander Graham Bell must of felt when in 1886 he spoke the first words into a telephone, "Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you." and seconds later Watson appeared at his door.
Day 28 - Website Indexed and Appearing in Search Results
Creating a website and making it live will not get you into the search engines. A Google search for my website, even my domain name, had 0 results. Google does not know the website exists. The only way search engines can find out your website exists is if you tell them about your website or you create a backlink. I did both.
To let Google know about your website you can visit their addurl page. Fill in the form and wait - when Google feels good and ready it will send one of its bots to visit your website and and make a record of it. This method is begging Google to notice you - you are saying - nobody has noticed me, not even you, so here I am, please notice me. It is a desperate method and probably does not make your website look good in the eyes of Google.
A better way to get Google to notice you is to get a backlink to your website. In my case I had a backlink from the forum I joined. Google visits that forum frequently, suddenly it noticed a link to a website that it does not have in it database, so it goes and visits. This method is better (Goggle will probably send a bot to your website sooner) because it is not you mentioning your website but somebody else. Obviously somebody else mentioning your website looks a lot better then you mentioning your own website.
For weeks my morning routine consisted of doing a Google search for my website. Every morning, before my first gulp of coffee, I noticed the same thing - 0 results. Not surprising since it is claimed to sometimes take months for your website to be indexed.
Then one morning to my surprise I do a search and pop, there are results. I see my website on Google. Google, a multi billion dollar international company, knows about my website. My coffee went down really smooth that morning.
The king of the land mentions my name. That makes me happy.
Day 77 - First Guest Post Accepted - Got Courage To Write More
Getting good backlinks is a major aspect of creating a successful website. Great content and cool images is worth nothing if nobody is aware you exist. You need other websites to mention your website.
More backlinks from quality websites and blogs means more people will visit your website and more traffic from Google search.
Besides paying for backlinks, which Google does not want you to do, the next best is submitting guest posts. Guest posting is writing content for somebody else and in return a backlink to your website.
Guest posting is a good method of acquiring backlinks because everybody wins: you get a backlink and the other guy gets content to put on their blog/website. It is very similar to what an author does with a new book. They write an article in a popular magazine or contribute to a news story, and in return they are allowed to mention their new book.
As with everything else in life the better the backlink the harder it is to get. The most powerful guest post backlinks are from very popular sites. Problogger is an example of the backlink that everybody wants, Problogger has over 150,000 subscribers to his blog, so if you get a backlink that is a lot of eyeballs looking at you. The competition to be a guest poster on Problogger is fierce so he only accepts the best of the best.
When I started this website a guest post on Problogger seemed an impossible dream. The notion was as absurd to me as thinking I would one day write an article for the New Yorker. I did not even try to submit to Problogger - a mouse does not try to fly.
My first attempt at a guest post was for a smaller blog. At the time David Risley had about 8,000 subscribers. Although a lot less then Problogger, for me this wass still a big peice of cheese. I spent an entire day writing the guest post and sent it to David after more than a couple rewrites. A week later I got a reply. “Great, will use it. Thanks”.
That was one of the best emails I ever received. For me it was a long shot that paid. I remember when the email arrived I did not want to open it. I did not want to read the “sorry, but no” - all that work for nothing, and rejection is never good for the ego. Finally I clicked it and clapped like a seal at the good news.
More then anything else this first guest post gave me confidence. Suddenly a guest post on Problogger did not seem that absurd.
Since that very first guest post I have written over 20 guest posts - 3 of them on Problogger.
Day 187- Spent A Lot Of Time On A Post That Pleased Darren Rowse
Because your time is limited you need to decide between quantity and quality. Are you going to write lots and lots of content - a blog post everyday, or are you going to write less words but of higher quality?
There is a ongoing debate about which is better - will you have more traffic with lots of content updated every day, or will you get more traffic with less frequent but higher quality content?
I decided to focus on quality. I believe that quality, well thought out, content will prevail in the long term. Every page on this website is a struggle - its takes me many hours and even days to have a finished product. Spewing out a page written in 20 minutes is something that I choose not to do.
On day 187 this approach paid off in a big way. I spent a few days writing quality content and posted my results. Darren Rowse, the famous Problogger, a big name in blogging, commented on my post. Imagine Oprah Winfrey commenting on her show about your work - that's how happy I felt.
Day 188 - Received First Not Asked For Backlink
Backlinks are good. Each backlink to your site is a mention. The more mentions you collect the more popular you become. Imagine a room full of people; you are standing in a corner by yourself. If nobody in the room is mentioning your name and talking about you then nobody will visit you. But if the people in the room start talking about you and mentioning your name then you will not have to wait long before someone comes up to you and asks, “Hey, how are you doing?”.
At the beginning nobody is going to talk about you. You have to talk about yourself - force yourself into the group of people and mingle. “Hi I am Roman, how are you?”. They might be interested or they might roll their eyes and hope for any excuse to leave your company, “Excuse me, but I think I left my car running, I will be back”, of course they spend the rest of the night hiding from you.
Regardless of the awkwardness, you have to get backlinks by mentioning yourself on forums, blog comments, facebook, etc. Mention yourself every opportunity you get.
Of course this can get boring, people find it pretentious, and it is not really the most effective method of promotion. Better is when somebody else mentions you. If you are talking about yourself people tend to not to hear, but if somebody else mentions you people listen.
A not-asked-for backlink is what you want. A backlink that somebody puts on a website because they think your website is good. Somebody talking about you not because you asked them but because they think you are worth mentioning..
The difficult part of not-asked-for backlinks is getting people to want to talk about your website. You need good content. People are only going to link to you if you have content worth talking about.
Not only does a not-asked-for backlink increase your exposure it also provides you with real confirmation that you are writing good content. You can gauge the quality of your website by the number of not-asked-for backlinks you have.
188 days after this website went live I received my first not-asked-for backlink from Mike’s Life . I wrote good content and Mike started talking about me.
I was happy that people were coming to talk to me in my little dark corner on the internet.
Day 189 to 678 - The Gap Of Nothing Much Happening
After day 189 nothing special happened for a long time. I added more content, improved the website, and wrote guest posts but nothing exciting or happy happened. It was a long quit period of no surprises and no big jump progress.
Traffic did not one day jump up. There was no sudden expected increase in revenue. There was no news story in the New York Times. It was plateau. Fortunately by this time I understood that making money with a website requires patience. Excitement does not need to happen every day, week or month.
So for this period of 490 days I humbly worked and expected nothing. I did not eat my supper in front of the computer checking stats and scratching my head over the slow progress. I did not read countless blogs looking for new techniques for increasing traffic or optimizing every nook and cranny of the website. I simply worked on the website when I had time and I felt like it. I kept to the basics - build content and write what people need to read.
I did not try to force progress. I relaxed. During this period my life returned to normal, back to before I this website. I was able to read with a clear head and think about other things then just this website. Days passed by in which the website did not even enter my mind.
But I did not stop working on the website. I kept going. Kept writing, kept adjusting, kept improving the website - slowly and constantly.
As you can see progress was happening during those 490 days:
Day 679 - Cost Equals Revenue, Next Comes The Profit
Day 1 as the website went live I was negative $435.50 dollars. Domain name,. hosting and website creation software all cost money. But that is OK - like any business you need to put down capital to get started. You need to buy the tools and knowledge that will enable you to make money in the future.
Although $435.50 might seem like a lot, compared to other business it is very little. Imagine you want to start a Yoga business. You need to rent a room for the class, you need furniture, you need a phone, a website, a receptionist, a marketing budget, and trained vegetarian Yoga instructors.
Before your first class starts you have already spent 1000’s of dollars and months of preparation. And it can all be lost if nobody shows up.
A website business, on the other hand, has very small start up costs and can be running in a matter of hours. At no point do you need to put down a lot of money. All you put down is your time.
In my case I put down a lot of time. It took around 550 hours of website work to break even. On day 679 revenue finally equaled cost. My initial investment and the recurring costs of hosting and domain name were all paid off. From this point forward the website will only cost me time.
Even though I was only breaking even, it was a major turning point. From that point forward all money I make is profit. Every advertising click, every purchase of my product, every affiliate sale is profit.
I wake up in the morning and find that somebody purchased my product as I pleasantly snored the night away - literally money in my sleep. Let the good times roll.
Since day 679 I have had plenty of happy dreams.
Day 879 - Reached $1000 Revenue
At my day job, the one I go to 5 days a week for 9 hours a day, it takes me 13 days to make $1000. With this website it took me 879 days to make $1000.
A long time, but that is not surprising because I started with nothing. On day 0 I did not have the knowledge, I did not have the website, I did not have the experience - I was nobody with nothing.
You cannot expect to make money right from the first day. Its takes months before you even have a product. It takes years to understand what you are doing.
So the first year does not count. The first year is about building your website and learning by experience how everything works. After a year you will have a website with content and you will have a basic understanding how to market your product.
The second year’s focus is marketing. You need to make people know you exist. Visit forums and make yourself popular, leave comments on blog and become part of the community, write guest posts to reach a mass audience, improve your ranking in search engines. After a year of marketing you will start to notice more traffic to your website.
Only after the second year can you expect to make money with your website, because it takes two years to build and market your product.
The good news is that after two years you have a website and you have visitors. Now everyday, without you doing any work, visitors arrive. Just like writing a book. You do not start making money the first day you write. First you need to write the book and then you need to market it - this takes years. But once the book is written and the marketing done, if the book is good, it will sell itself. Stephen King doing not need to visit blogs and leave comments hoping that somebody will click on his link and buy his book.
The first $1000 took 879 days and 770 hours of work. But the next $1000 will come quicker and easier. I could probably stop working on the website completely and still make another $1000 dollars - that makes me really happy.
Day 896 - Google Search Results Page 1 of ‘website money’
According to Google Keyword Tool 201,000 people search for the term ‘website’ every month. Also, according to the Keyword Tool every month 673,000 people search for the term ‘money’.
Do a Google search for the term ‘website money’ and you will find this website in the third result. You might think this means that this website receives tens of thousands a visitors for this term, but unfortunately according the Keyword Tool only 260 people search for the term ‘website money’.
But that does not matter. The important thing is that Google knows that this website is about ‘website’ and ‘money’. These are main keywords and although I get no traffic from the term ‘website money’ I get lots of search traffic from terms closely related to ‘money’ and ‘website’.
It means that Google knows what my website is about and understands that this website as an authority concerning anything related to ‘website money’. For example, this website is number one for ‘how a website makes money’
When someone wants to know how a website makes money (the answer is: with a lot of work and time) Google thinks that my website gives the best answers. Nothing can make me happier.
Want to know more? Read How I Make My Own Website - A Complete History Of This Website
If you enjoyed this website, please share. Thank you.