This Website Is Two Years In The Making Without Making Money - Month 24
At month 18 I made a prediction about this website: At the two year point this website will be getting 500 visitors a day and will be earning 5 dollars a day. It is now the two year point and the results are grim. Currently this website receives about 200 visitors a day and earns a dollar a day.
This Website Is Two Years Old
It is unbelievable how fast two years burn by. I still remember the day I was sitting slumped at the bus stop looking at the people shuffling by. I was tired of going to work everyday, I was thinking there has to be a better way. That moment I decided something had to be done.
That evening I did a search for ‘how make my own website’. An hour later I was pacing back and forth in my little room with a big smile on my face. I can make a website. Its perfect. Making a website does not cost a lot of money, I can do it on my spare time, I enjoy creating things, I like writing. So many people are making making with their websites, so can I.
It was hard to fall asleep that night. My head was a engine room of ideas. I thought about all the websites I could make, how they would look. I thought about all the new things I will need to learn. This is going to be fun. It will be challenging, a few obstacles but no walls. That night I dreamed of a bright future making money online.
Two years - I cannot believe it has been that long. The first few days working on the website I was a kid laughing at Disneyland. Everything was big, new and shiny. Every corner held a surprise. There were big rides, bright fireworks - my eyes wide. I was so high that if someone asked me where I would be with this website in two years I would reply the moon.
Two years have passed and I am still on earth. I still wait at the bus stop everyday. Every morning I still watch people shuffle by. I am far from Disneyland. Excited, I use to have a hard time falling asleep, but now I fall asleep almost instantly. I do not run to the computer fist thing in the morning. I could not keep the dream alive for 2 years - it is dead.
But dreams are for kids anyway. If you are thinking of making money with a website you will need more then dreams to keep you going. Dreams will help you for the first few months but dreams are not enough to keep you going for two years.
Things usually happen fast on the Internet - Lady Gaga puts a piece of Salami on her head and everybody knows about it in 4 minutes. But making money with a website is slow. To get you through the months and years it takes to become successful you need to be in the proper mindset.
Can You Keep Going After The Excitement Is Gone?
At the beginning your mindset is excitement. That will take you a long way. You will digest as much information as you can and you will be a creation machine. You will learn that you need write compelling content. You will learn that you need to first focus on getting traffic before worrying about money. You will learn how to get more traffic by gathering backlings and engaging in the community. All this is true and all this you will learn in the first few weeks.
So in the first few weeks you have all the motivation you need and all the knowledge you need. Driven by dreams of a bright future you write compelling content, gather backlinks and engage in the community. That is a great start, you are on your way.
But there is a problem. Six months go by. You have written piles of compelling content and gathered heaps of backlinks. Countless mornings spent in the coffee shop pecking at the keyboard - a new web page every three days. Evenings spent reading blogs and leaving comments and gathering backlinks. Six months of your heart and sole. And yet, even with all this effort, you are receiving only twenty visitors a day. Excitement is replaced with disappointment.
Six months is when most people quit. It is the period in which the excitement leaves and nothing remains to motivate. No traffic, no money, no praise, no fame. You ask ‘what’s the point’ and the answer is ‘there is none’. The site and dream dies.
I made it past the dreaded six month period. I have survived for two years. What is the secret? How did I do that?
You need to find something to that will help you stay motivated. Something you can turn to every time you get into your ‘whats the point’ mood. There will be times when you feel like quiting, you need something to motivate you through these dark times.
How To Keep Motivated For Two Years - Find A Mentor Website
What keeps me motivated? I am motivated by the fact that I know that one day this website will succeed. How do I know that? I know I will succeed because I am copying a website that has already succeeded. Before I started this website I looked for a successful website to copy. I looked for a website that was created by one person, because I am one person. I looked for a website that has a similar writing style to mine, I looked for a website that is not beyond my website abilities. In about an hour I found a successful website that I could copy.
This successful website is number one on Google and gets thousands of visitors a day. By copying the website I should be able to become at least number two on Google.
Of course by copy I do not mean steal the pictures and copy the words. I mean copy the essence. The layout, the number of pages, the tone of the writing, the use of graphics, the same backlinks. Copy the look, the feel and the purpose of the successful website.
This is not stealing. You are not doing anything wrong. It is normal in the marketplace. Apple creates the iPhone and its a success. If you are a new phone maker you have two choices. 1) design a completely new type of phone and introduce it to the market. 2) Take the iPhone, copy it, add some personal touches and sell it as the uPhone. If you choose option one your chances of failure are extremely high, with option 2 you have a chance at success - a chance of being number two.
So I copied everything I could from the successful website. I took all the good stuff. Everything that took years for the successful website to hone and tune to perfection I simply copied on my site. What took that website years to get right took me minutes. They did all the hard work, they went through all the failures until they discovered something that works. It works for them so it should work for me.
For the last two years I have been trying to keep this website as close as possible to the look and feel of the successful website. It is all my own words, my own tone, my own graphics, my own layout but is was all inspired by the successful website. And of course, I added content that I believe the successful website is missing - right now the goal is to be second place, but in the long run I want this website to be better.
How does copying a successful website motivate? Every time you are feeling down, you feel like you are wasting your time, you feel like this can never work, you feel like you must be doing something wrong, every time the ‘whats the point’ moods arrives go to your browser and have a look at the successful website you are copying. Think to yourself if they can be number one with that website, then I can be number two with my website.
The successful website constantly reminds you that success is possible. Having real proof that success is possible a necessity if you want to survive for two years. Without the real proof the successful website provides you will succumb to the relentless torments of ‘whats the point’.
The Only Encouragement - Search Engine Traffic Keeps Going Up
Nobody encourages me. When I mention this website to anybody they say ‘that's great’. But they say it the same way a busy father says ‘thats great’ when little Timmy shows him a rock he found on the beach. People do not take it seriously - they think I am just playing around. How cute, he has a hobby.
My circle of friends do not take this website seriously. They consider it the least important aspect of my life. Working on this website is never an excuse if something needs to be done. If dog needs a walk, I should go walk the dog. If we need potatoes, I need to go to the store to get potatoes. For them, if I am working on this website, then I am not busy - working on the website is the same as laying on couch.
There is no encouragement from the internet public either. You will spend hours creating, you will spend your entire weekend tweaking and adjusting to make it perfect. Sunday night you upload it to your website and finally lay your head to rest. Monday you check your email - no response. You check your traffic - no increase. Nobody is emailing you with thanks, nobody is linking to your website. Total silence. You bust your back creating content and there is no reward.
This happened to me a couple times. For example, I wrote a blog post which took me about eight hours of gathering data. Then another four hours to present the results in an entertaining and informative blog post. I hit publish. I expected some kind of thanks, some kind of encouragement, a well done or a great job. What did I get - nothing.
I tell you this not so that you feel sorry for me, I tell you this so that you are ready for it when it happens to you.
If I was a little more social and was part of a online social community then of course my ‘friends’ would write in the comments ‘great job’ or ‘thanks for this post, its exactly what I needed’,or ‘awesome!’. But these are not real encouragements. They are a courtesy, people are just saying that to be nice because they are in your social community and it is the proper thing to do.
I need real encouragement. Pure, from the heart. No ulterior motive, no I scratch your back you scratch mine, no I will say something nice if you say something nice. There is only one thing that gives me real encouragement is my search engine traffic graph:
Every month it goes up. Google keeps sending me more and more traffic. This is real encouragement. Every month Google tells me I am doing a good job. A pat on the back and a ‘We like what you are doing, we are going to send you more people’.
My search engine traffic graph is what makes it all worth while. It is all the encouragement I need to keep going even after two years of silence from everybody else.
Google Knows What This Website Is About
Need to know ‘how Jesus makes money’? Like with most questions the answer is a search away. Go to Google, ask the question, hit search. First result is this website.
Of course I have no idea how Jesus makes money. Maybe he gets monthly disability payments or maybe he gets a royalty check from bible sales. Whatever the answer might be this website does not provide it. So why does Google think it does?
The main keywords I push with this website are: how, websites, make, money. I make an effort to slip these words into every page I write on this website. I try to include it in the page tile, most internal link have at least one of these keywords in it, for guest posts I ask the blogger to link back to my site with the anchor text ‘how this website makes money’ instead of the domain name.
By focusing on these few keywords I am telling Google what this website is about. It is about ‘hows’ and ‘websites’ and ‘making’ and ‘money’. Because of all these efforts I rank high for these words. So when somebody is searching for ‘how Jesus makes money’ this website appears because most of the keywords are ranked high on this website and I have a blog post with the word Jesus in it. If I created a blog post about cheese then this website would be first result for ‘how cheese makes money’.
Unfortunately almost nobody wants to know how cheese makes money. So ranking number one for that term is useless. A more popular question amongst the masses is ‘how a website makes money’. After 2 years I have managed to get this website in the fourth place:
This is really good news because it means that Google knows what this website is really about. Is it about how websites make money.
Here is a list of my most popular search phrases sent to this website from Google:
It is clear that Google knows exactly what this website is about. Google is sending visitors with a specific type of question to this website for answers.
Visitors with a question or problem are called targeted traffic because they have something specific on their minds. They have a specific problem that you can target and solve. Its easy to sell umbrellas when the customer walks in soaked from the rain, it is easy to sell to someone when you know what their problem is.
That's what make money with a website is all about. It is about getting people with a specific problem to your website so that you can sell solutions to them.
Step one is complete - make sure Google understands what this website is about. Now step two - get Google to send more traffic.
More Traffic - Page One On Google Is All That Matters
More traffic - the Holy Grail, the youth elixir, the mighty Aphrodite - once I get it everything will be perfect.
The problem with search engine traffic is that you either get almost none or you get lots. If you are on page two or more you get almost none, but if you are on page one then you get lots. How many times do you need to go past the first page on Google when doing a search - almost never. That's why all that matters is being on page one. You need to get your website on page one.
Six months ago this website was on page 70 for the very popular search phrase ‘make money website’. Obviously I received no traffic for that phrase. So I set a goal to get onto page one for ‘make money website’. To reach this goal I submitted guest posts on popular blogs for backlinks. All the backlinks had the anchor text of ‘how this website makes money’.
As the months went by I watched this website move from page seventy to fifty to thirty to twenty. Up and and up it went. Currently this website is on page four. Twenty seven thousand people search for ‘make money website’ a month. Being on page four this website receives about ten of them. I need to get to page one. I need more quality backlinks. Just three more pages to go.
Created a Burger Flipping Monster That Makes Me A Dollar A Day
After two years of being online, 690 hours spent creating content and promotion this website makes $1 dollar a day.
It is not a lot money, almost enough for a coffee, but it is a milestone. Usually a dollar a day is the first goal most webmasters strive for. It starts with a dollar a day, then ten dollars a day, then a hundred. After two years I can proudly claim to have achieved the first benchmark.
It is not an ordinary dollar - it is a special dollar. This dollar is made while I sleep, darn socks, mow the lawn, peel potatoes. It is made automatically. I do not need to do a single thing to make this dollar. It makes itself. This website works for me now. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and on national holidays to earn that dollar.
A burger flipper has to work 7 minutes to earn a dollar. For 7 minutes with a greasy spatula, he has to stand over a steamy grill in a crowded kitchen. I do not need to do anything to make the same dollar. From now on I get a dollar a day without doing any work. That is the magic of passive income.
Passive income is the dream. Create a website that works for you. You put in the long hours at the beginning to build something that will make money for you. You are Doctor Frankenstein creating a monster to flip burgers for you. You build him and tell him to go work a McDonald's. He slaves away flipping burgers for 24 hours a day without taking breaks and without complaining. At the end of the day he gives you his salary.
Rich people with many millions of dollars say that the most difficult million to make is the first one. This is also true for the first dollar earned with a website. Soon I will have hundreds of burger flippers working for me.
Website Excitement Goes Away And Real Life Returns
Exactly two years ago on this day I was all jitters. I was starting a new journey that promised a new life. I went to bed late and I woke up early. This website occupied all my mental energy, thoughts about work, family, dinner where quickly replaced with what should the banner look like and what should the domain name be. If I put on a grey sock on the left foot and a white one on the right I did not notice and I did not care.
The excitement was good for the website because I got a lot done in a short period of time. But it is not sustainable and it is no way to live. Having the same sock color in each foot matters. There is life beyond the website.
Now I can live life again. I have settled down. This website is important but not all encompassing. I can go a few days without touching the website and not feel guilty. I get up in the morning and have a shower before checking the stats. My heart does not sink when the inbox is empty and the revenue is 0. The panic is gone, the impatience is gone, the urgency is gone.
I am on cruise control. Still excited about the website but not on a minute by minute basis, instead it is general overall excitement. I like this website, I enjoy adding to it, I enjoy gathering backlinks, and I enjoy watching it progress. It is slow, but it keeps moving forward.
Will You Be Rich In Two Years With a Website?
I get advice all the time. Add more banners, submit to more directories, be more involved in the community, sell more, sell less, be more optimistic, write more. I say thank you for the advice, but ignore it.
Its good advice, but it is not right for me on two counts. Firstly most advice if followed would mean that I would have to act in a way that is unnatural to me. I might be able to keep it up for a couple months but it is doomed to fail. The reason I have been able to survive for 2 years is because I am doing what is natural and easy for me. I am utilizing my natural talents and inclinations. I am going down stream, not against it.
The other type of advice I get - add more advertising, banners, sell more products and the most proficient advice given does not apply to this website. This advice is useless if you do not have traffic. This kind of advice is good only if you have traffic. Selling more products will not increase revenue if you do not have traffic.
Currently I am in get traffic mode not make money mode. Writing content and gathering backlinks. Before giving serious thought to advertisement and products I am focusing all my attention on creating a website with lots of content and value for visitors. Only after the website is packed full of goodies can I expect the traffic to increase, and only after the traffic increases can I begin to think about making money.
Two years have come and gone. Two years ago I thought I would be rich by now. That was silly of me, making money with a website takes time. I will be rich in two years.
Want to know what happened next? Read Month 30 - Making A Website Makes You Happy
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