If you want to create your own website and set it up to start bringing in an income, you have a few different options, each with their own pros and cons.
You can create your own products (physical or digital), and you can also sell your own services (for example, web site development, mentoring, life coaching, etc) There really is no limit to what you can do. And while all of these are very valid options that can build a wonderful income, it can take a long time to create your products and to do the technical work needed to ensure that you are attracting enough traffic to be successful. I will discuss this option in upcoming posts, but first I wanted to talk about another option that’s a little bit quicker to get set up:
Affiliate marketing, in simple terms, just means that you serve as a middle man between a customer and a company that sells a product (ANY product). So say you have a website about makeup techniques. You would fill your website with great content, posts, reviews, and tutorials, as well as links to buy products from companies such as Amazon – who you’ve signed up with as an affiliate. The customer buys their products through your link, Amazon does the rest, and you earn a commission. Pretty simple, right? It is simple. It just requires the ability to work hard, and to follow step-by-step instructions in getting everything set up properly.
There are thousands of different websites, trainings, and videos online to show you how to do this, but you can save yourself a lot of time, aggravation, and headaches by signing up with a step-by-step program. These have everything you need to get started, and will walk you through the entire process. Below are two free training programs I’ve personally tried, what’s great and not-so-great about each, and which one I’d recommend over the other – and it’s just by a nose.
The good – Jeremy Schoemaker really created a neat product here. He wanted to launch a course that was not only free for people to take, but also paid them for completing tasks along the way. Pretty cool, right? Once you sign up, you start working through the levels, and you make your first dollar (for sharing a link to his program on Facebook) within a couple of minutes.
His course covers everything you need in a step-by-format: from web-hosting, to installing plugins, to the ins and outs of Google Adsense, to creating Facebook pages, to getting it all in front of an audience. He pays you from $1-3 per task, and by the end you should have earned $15. I didn’t complete it all the way to the end (I’ll tell you why in a minute) but the,money I did earn showed up promptly in my PayPal account as promised.
The format here is incredibly stream-lined and straight-forward. You’re presented with a list of a levels to work through (apparently Schoemaker is a martial arts fan, so at the end of all the levels, you earn “belts” as you progress), and you just work your way through, one-by-one. As long as you can follow directions, you can complete this program. It’s especially good for beginners, as it assumes you have zero knowledge of this sort of business-building when you begin.
The bad – It’s not even really “bad” per se, but it’s something to keep in mind. All of the levels are locked until you complete the previous lesson. This means that if you already have some knowledge and are just looking to expand it, you still need to click through and complete coursework that might end up being boring repetition. Also, while the course is free, you do need to sign up and pay for web-hosting very early in the program. This in itself isn’t a deal breaker – if you want a website, you’re going to need hosting – but it’s not ideal if you already have your own hosting, or if you wanted to shop around and compare hosts. If you want to continue on with his program, you have to sign up with the hosting that he recommends. There are other costs as well (as there are with starting any business), such as auto responders.
Overall though, if you’re a beginner who wants a step-by-step program for free, and to get paid a few dollars just for completing it, Shoemoney is not a bad place to start.
The good – Like Shoemoney, Wealthy Affiliate offers a free, step-by-step program containing everything you need to know (and then some!) about getting started with your own online business. It walks you through keyword searching, choosing a niche, properly setting up and launching your website, installing your plug-ins, and so much more. This is a very comprehensive program.
The starter membership is 100% free, and there is no requirement to upgrade. (Please note that this isn’t a “free trial” where you have to give your credit card, so it can later be charged if you forget to cancel. It is completely free, and there is no credit card required.) They have a free website building platform, and your starter membership comes complete with two free websites, so you can get started right now, without spending a penny.
Along with your program, you also have access to an entire social network of fellow business builders. You can follow others’ profiles, ask questions of longtime members, and learn from the wealth of knowledge available on the site. The support you’ll receive is incredible. The owners themselves will check in on you and your progress, and cheer you along as you complete the steps.
If you like the program – I think you will – and want to take it to the next level, you have the option to upgrade to a premium membership (with a monthly fee) for all the information, education, tools, and support that you could ever need for running a successful online business.
The bad – The website is huge. Massive amounts of information. If you don’t take your time and focus, it can be overwhelming. There is also the social element, which can be a distraction for some people, sort of like Facebook.
If you are brand-new to internet marketing, you really can’t go wrong with either Shoemoney, or Wealthy Affiliate. Both will give you the tools and the step-by-step instructions you need to get started with very initial little out-of-pocket cost. But if I had to choose? Wealthy Affiliate edges out Shoemoney due to its wealth of information (truly, it is the only program you will ever need) AND the fact that it gives you the option to get started completely for free, without even having to pay for hosting. You also have the option to look around at upcoming lessons, or to skip something if you’re already familiar with it, something that’s just not possible with Shoemoney.
If you are on the fence, or are just wanting to slowly dip your toes into the internet waters… Wealthy Affiliate is a 100% risk-free way to get started.