Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
Generally, good business names are somewhat descriptive of what the business does or sells, and frequently include the USP in some fashion. It’s also common to include the names of the owners or founders. While this is a good formula to start with, you shouldn’t just stick these three things together and make that your business’s name — you can come up with something much better if you put some more thought into it.
How many times have you told your friends about a great service or product you love? Could you have been compensated for that referral? Many companies today have refer-a-friend programs that will pay you in cash or store credit for bringing them new customers. Look in your online profile for these opportunities. The website will often provide you with a link you can share on social media or in an email. If it’s a product or service you are asked about a lot, it may even be worth your time to get cards printed up with your link for handing out.
The fewer words it takes you to explain your business, the more solidified your idea has become. You need to be able to craft an elevator pitch: a succinct description based on the concept that you’re quickly describing your business to a stranger within the time it takes to ride in an elevator. Usually, this means explaining your business in about 50 words or less. For comparison, this paragraph is just over 120 words.. Don’t be afraid to modify your idea while you’re in the planning stages. Creativity and flexibility will serve you better than rigid adherence to the first concepts that crossed your mind. However, your idea does need to be at least solid enough to work with in order for you to effectively begin your business plan.
If you're crafty, join Etsy and set up your own shop. Sell your crocheted scarves, patterns or even blog templates you've designed. Etsy is full of a variety of products for sale. Just take a look for inspiration. However, because Etsy is full of other sellers, you'll have to work extra hard to make your store stand out from the crowd but Etsy has plenty of tools to help you monitor your traffic, put your products on sale and find new ways to increase your revenue.
Some subjects are much better paid than others, so although you may love the idea of writing about travel (badly paid) a better bet would be a niche like finance (much higher rates of pay). Check out the Pro Blogger job board for high paid freelance writing jobs – other places to look might be Textbroker or you can look at the “gigs” section on Craigslist.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).

Selection. One of the keys to success on Etsy is selection, according to industry insiders. In fact, the goal of most serious shop owners is to have at least 200 items for sale. If you’re creating all of those items yourself, that’s a pretty big time commitment. But the more options you give to your customers, the higher the chances that you’ll make a sale.
For example, if you register for free with Textbroker.com and submit a writing sample, you’ll receive a rating based on your content quality. Then you can choose which projects you want based on your quality rating and earn 0.7 cent to 5 cents per word, or more. FreelanceWriting.com provides a long list of freelance writing opportunities culled from several top sites. Many of the recent listings offered hourly rates of $25 or more. For $21 a month, you can join Mediabistro’s freelance marketplace to post your qualifications for review by media managers seeking writers.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund.  It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts.  If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you.  Try out Paribus.
If you’ve got expertise in a certain area, package up your knowledge into an online course and sell it. This has become a very popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years. The two big websites that are used to sell online courses are Udemy and Teachable. Check out this awesome article by Regina on How to Create an Online Course that Sells.
Focus on what makes you stand out. If you’re using an ecommerce marketplace, pay particular attention to the quality of the images you use on your page. Good product photography can set your listing apart. But remember, hosting your own ecommerce site isn’t a free pass for using mediocre images either. Either way, customers will rely on images to form an opinion about your product or service’s value.
User-friendly App: Decluttr is a mobile-ready platform made for selling on the go. The mobile app is a great help when you’re hunched over miscellaneous boxes in your dank basement or sweltering attic. You can use the app to scan in your items directly and utilize Decluttr’s “valuation engine” to quickly and easily see exactly how much you can earn. Many popular online selling platforms, including eBay and Amazon, are designed first and foremost with desktop and laptop users in mind.
In 2010, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entrepreneurial journey. I had paid a developer a large sum of money to develop a couple of WordPress plugins I had ideas for. I had seen others successfully create and sell WordPress plugins, and I wanted in on it. But the problem was that I rushed into it. I made the mistake of chasing the money, and didn’t actually validate the idea, or consider who the plugin was for. The result? Nobody wanted them. I didn’t even sell one. I spent $15,000 to get the plugins developed, and they didn’t go anywhere.

Robert said he did an average of 4-6 of these gigs per year for a while depending on his schedule and the work involved. The best part is, he charged a flat rate that usually worked out to around $100 per hour. And remember, this was pay he was earning to advise people on the best ways to use social media tools like Facebook and Pinterest to grow their brands.
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