The real money with web development (when you aren’t selling a product or service) is in direct relationship deals with advertisers. Instead of having to hope for clicks with Adsense or a parked page, you can work with someone to build a website, add space for 5-6 advertisers, charge a fair rate for top placement, and blow your PPC earnings away.
Depending on the industry and traffic, a fair rate can be anywhere from under $100 a month to thousands of dollars per month. If you have a great generic domain name, chances are good that if you add relevant, interesting, and useful content that visitors will want to see, advertisers will want to capture the attention of those visitors. Also, if you have a great industry defining domain name, you better believe people in that industry will listen when you tell them who you are. This sounds oversimplified, but I hope the information below will be helpful.
My advice is for you to find the best possible domain name that you can afford in an industry you are passionate about. Search for domain names for sale at companies like BuyDomains and Sedo, and also make direct inquiries using the Whois database. Just keep in mind that when you are trying to buy a domain name in private, make sure you make a good offer, or it will be a non-starter.
Once you have your domain name, write up a small business plan with details about how you plan to build and monetize it. I personally recommend using WordPress, which is easy to maintain, gets lots of Google search love, has considerable development support, and there are plenty of people that can help you manage your blog. With WordPress, you can visually set it up in any way you’d like, and you can add many plugins and widgets to enhance your site. You can also purchase fairly inexpensive templates, so much of the hard work is already done.
After the look and feel of your website is created, it’s time to start discussing what you like and know about that particular industry. Write interesting posts and articles about the “buzz word” topics, helping to share what you know with others. Since you are an afficianado of that industry, you probably know the most popular blogs and forums already, so begin letting people know about your website – but don’t ask for links. One thing that annoys people is when you ask for a link back without a reason for them to give it. Don’t be annoying when you post in the forum, but if you really like that industry, this should be obvious.
Sign up for news aggregation sites that are specific to the industry (like Domaining.com is to ours). You will also want to submit your site to the major search engines, and you may want to submit it to the Yahoo Directory, which costs about $299/year – this should help with SEO. Later on, you will want to submit your site to DMOZ, but don’t do that until your site is fairly established. Some people think you should sign up for a search engine submission service, but others say it’s a BS waste of money. I really don’t know so I can’t give you advice on this.
By doing what I’ve mentioned above, you will begin to get traffic – both naturally (via type-in and links) and via organic search. The companies who make the products or sell services to people like you will hopefully begin to notice your website, and you should start looking to find the contacts who manage marketing or advertising. Use company directories, search engines, or attend tradeshows to find these people, and let them know who you are and what your site is. One way to do this is to request an interview with people within the company – not only to provide interesting content, but to make them more aware of your existence. When they know your domain name, website, and traffic, they should want to advertise – or recommend their affiliate program, which can be even more lucrative.
I know all of this sounds time consuming – it is. However, you will end up with a website about a topic you enjoy, and not only will you have increased the value of your domain name, but you should also have a good opportunity to sign on direct advertisers, which is lucrative, since you are able to cut out the middle man. There really is no easy magic way to make a lot of money online – except by the people who sell the books about making a lot of money online 🙂 You will need to put the time in, but it will pay off.