When I’m in my car I like to listen to talk radio. I hear commercials all the time about buying real estate with no money down and parlaying it into a fortune. It always seems so far fetched. In the Internet world it’s a pretty common success story, though it may be a small fortune rather than a huge one. Any fortune is good though.
For an example we need look no further than Markus Frind of PlentyofFish.com. In an interview with Andrew Johnson of WebPublishingBlog.com, Markus tells his rags to riches story of going from $40 a day in AdSense (which is pretty good) to millions in months.
Before we get to putting your site together on a shoestring, I need to let you know that it’s very unusual to make serious money without investing in PPC ads or other paid traffic driving. Once Markus’ site started to gain popularity and momentum I’m willing to bet he invested in PPC advertising, and/or an affiliate program and/or some other way of driving traffic to the site.
Consider this the two sticks you need to rub together to get the fire started.
1. Read as much free information as you can absorb. There are many good sites out there like this one that offer good information. Try these to start:
I’ve noticed that good sites quote other good sites, so follow links and you’ll get some good information. Also keep in mind that free isn’t always — they may try to sell you something. Here are two great resources for free information that have a sales goal in mind but are good anyway:
2. Come up with your niche or idea. My series on Making Money Online – Niche Research can get you started.
3. Find a hosting company and register your domain name. You may be tempted to use a free hosting site, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. There will be extra ads on your pages that you don’t control (including annoying popups), the load time will be slow and it’s difficult to get your own domain name. You work hard enough to get visitors to the site — you don’t want them to never come back because the site was too slow or there was too much advertising. Hosting is not the place you should try to save money.
If you still really want to use a free service, try FreeWebs.com.
4. Learn how to design websites. There are plenty of tutorials out there. You might also want to start with a template and customize it for your site. TemplateMonster is the template site I use. Visit a site that is in your niche. What do you like about it? How can you make it better? Visit another one. Or ten. Or twenty.
5. Look for offers for your audience. Make a list of the types of programs your visitors might like. I always like to make a list of my visitors’ characteristics and demographics. I like to have that list on hand when I visit sites to get my answers. Go Visit the major affiliate networks and find programs you think your visitors might like. Sign up for AdSense and/or another PPC program. You should have both PPC and affiliate programs on your site.
6. Spend your time on viral promotion and marketing strategies. Since you have no money you need to spend time on viral marketing. Read the Viral Marketing Post to get you started. There’s also a Viral Copyrighting post with a link to an excellent Copyrighting book.
To get the ball rolling and get some traffic to the site, I would suggest the following strategies:
Post in forums with your website address as the signature. Here are some tips.
Write some articles about your niche and get them published. EzineArticles has been my best site.
Publish an ezine on your niche. It’s tough to get this rolling but I pays off in the long term. Ezine Directory
Submit to free search engines. This can be a waste of time, but every bit of traffic helps. Here’s a great list of free search engines.
Get some incoming links. Seek out other sites where you think prospective visitors hang out, and send an email to the webmaster of the site suggesting a link exchange. I’ve done this and been 100% successful.