How to create a website that will make money using WordPress

You want a website that will make money? The first step is to build your website the right way. I am being serious. Read on and I will explain.

There are many point-and-click ways to build a website today. And often they will lure you in with the promise of free. But to be honest, we need to invest a bit of time, effort and money to build a website that will make money.

When you research how to create a website you will hear about the importance of keyword research and writing great content. And this is true. But there is more to it than that.

These are the 5 action points I would list to create a website that will make money.

1. Define sub-niche with money making potential

Before you start you need to decide where you can make a difference.

I believe your sweet spot in choosing a niche lies where your passion meets with your expertise and experience.

And then you need to make sure it can be monetized.

And finally you need to assess whether you can compete.

It is not enough to be passionate and knowledgeable about the niche. You also need to make sure that there are ways to monetize the content. 

The rule of thumb is to niche down to find a sub niche and then assess the level of competition using for example the Mozbar.

When we use the Mozbar we know that a higher Domain Authority will mean more competetive on the scal of 0-100. It can look a little bit like this:

SubjectNicheSub-nicheDA (low)
TravelCruiseCruising as single woman10
GardenHome gardenEvergreens in cooler climates22
FinanceCreditBalance transfer credit cards61
Niching down and assessing if we can compete

Cruising as a single woman” holds the most promise and we then move on to look for companies and programs to promote as an affiliate. 

If we find enough alternatives we would have a winner.

Needless to say you may want to spend a few more minutes looking at secondary keywords etc. before deciding. But the process would be the same.

2. Get the basics right setting up your website

You can find detailed information in the “Build a website with WordPress the right way” guide but there are a few key points I want to stress.

Choose a fast Theme

Your visitors will not want to hang around while your website loads. And user experience is key if you want visitors to stay on your website and also if you want Google to index and rank your website. 

You see Google cares a lot about user experience. And so should you if you want visitors to come back and convert into customers or members of your mailing list.

I recommend Generatepress but there are several others like for example Astra. 

Cookie scripts and legal requirements

You need to have cookie scripts and the necessary legal pages to operate within your geographic area. The bad news is that it is no fun setting it up. The good news is that there are free as well as paid for alternatives to get you set up properly.

In the WordPress Dashboard you simply click Plugins > “Add new” and then search for your desired keyword. When I searched for Cookie I received several alternatives where this was the top one.

Example of a cookie plugin via WordPress search

One example when searching for “Cookie” in WordPress Plugins

Connect your domain to Google Analytics

If you have a Google account it is actually not that difficult to use Google Analytics to track visitors, engagement, goals and campaigns for your domain.

Analytics will track user activity across your website and while not overly useful when you first start you might as well get it in place from day one.

See it as a “Hello Google” moment where you announce that you have arrived!

Start learning about Google Analytics and do try to avoid getting lost down the rabbit hole.

Your website needs to be https and not http

It used to be that only pages that handled actual transactions needed encryption of the data that was being sent when you made a purchase.

Today, however, all pages need to be secure and the good news is that any web hosting company worth their salt will offer SSL support for free.

But do check, as it is important. You see non-SSL web pages will trigger warning messages in most web browsers and that will scare visitors away.

Get a fast web host and keep expectations in line

We all want the fastest and best web hosting company – as long as it is cheap or at least affordable.

I still recommend Bluehost for most people starting out as it is a good host and it is very  affordable when you are working to establish your website.

Later on – when your web hosting needs or wants change – you may consider changing to a faster web host with a higher price tag.

Set up Google Search console

For me Google Search Console is the best thing since sliced bread.

When you have a Google account you can sign up for Google Search Console and connect your domains to the account.

It takes a little while for the account to “shake hands” with your domain name but after that short period you have a window into how Google views your website.

The first thing you should do is to submit your sitemap to Google so they know which pages to index and hopefully rank.

But it is more than that. I had a page that did not index. It turned out that some of the areas on the page had clickable elements that were placed to close together in the mobile view. I corrected the error and submitted the page again.

Google accepted my corrections and proceeded to index the page.

Without Google Search Console I would never have known or guessed the problem.

Optimize images

We have already talked about the importance of user experience. And I do hope we agree that a fast loading website is a key factor in keeping visitors happy and coming back for more.

Noone likes to wait around when it is not necessary. And today a 3 second wait is deemed as forever. I am not saying it is right – but you know it is true.

One easy way to make sure your website is not slowing down is to manage your images wisely.

And it is really easy. All you need to do is to make sure that the images you display are sized to the correct pixel dimensions (height x width) and are compressed to have a reasonable file size.

Please have a look at the article about how to optimize and compress images with Affinity Photo to learn more.

3. Structure content and stay on topic

Great content is a must when creating a website that can make money.

And I maintain that you need to have a goal to write every day. That does not mean that you create content to be published every day.

But you need to keep the creative juices flowing. One day you may write outlines for articles to come. Another day you may perform keyword research to create article ideas for your publishing schedule.  And some days you work on actual articles. 

And to create article ideas and outlines are important tasks as we need to have a clear direction when we create content.

We need to stay on topic and stay relevant to create a content hub.

We never post poorly formatted, hastily written or off-topic content. 

Rather we need to have a clear idea about what we are going to write stretching at least 10 posts ahead.

 And when we live by these principles we will become an authority in our chosen sub-niche.

4. Affiliate marketing

The point I want to make here is that as soon as we have a professional and informative website we need to start looking and applying for relevant affiliate programs.

Your website will need to be approved by the merchants offering the affiliate programs and sometimes there are requirements to be met.

Start the relationship with the Affiliate programs you are interested in by applying for the programs and if you are lucky they may even reach out with special campaigns and offers. 

5. Create Pinterest account and start “pinning”

Create a Pinterest account, sign up for Canva and Pixabay and start publishing pins for the content you have created.

Now, Pinterest is no longer the “easy” traffic source that everyone is talking about. But it is a viable alternative for traffic.

Work the creation and pinning of pins into your morning, afternoon or evening routine and be pleasantly surprised when your work finally pays off.

Summary and food for thought

And there you have it. These are the 5 action points I would focus on first if I was to create a website that will make money.

Now, making money from your website is a long game. It will take time to get there. There are several steps to get there but for me it is easy. There are plenty of people making more than $10,000 per month from their websites.

I see no reason why I cannot be one of them in a year or two.

I am definitely willing to work towards the goal.

And to get there I just need to make conscious, small and smart decisions along the way.

Have you started your journey?

Meet the author: Serial entrepreneur and travel industry expert with more than 20 years working experience from web development, Wordpress and the travel industry. Mattias is a big fan of Open Source and will show you how to build and manage a website using Wordpress and a bit of optional PHP for the true enthusiast. Mattias identifies with self-starters and entrepreneurs and also shares ideas on how to monetize a website.