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The 7 Secrets of a Profitable Website

By Stuart Reid

Published February 01, 2006. Copyright © 2006 Stuart Reid. All rights reserved. Published at with permission.

There are many ways to build a profitable website. You can offer a service, sell a product directly, sell something indirectly, sell advertising space, sell affiliate products, and everything in-between.

There are a number of methods you can use to improve your site. Follow these steps and you too can have a moneymaking site that will practically run on autopilot. These sites make money in many different ways.

I don't say this idly. I, and a thousand of other marketers do exactly this. It's a guaranteed blueprint if everything is set up correctly. And it's not difficult.

The type of site discussed here is the “free” site - one that offers a valuable product at no cost up front. These are powerful ways of generating income.

Here are the top 7 elements that make a website into a cash-cow...

1. The Copy

“Copy” is basically the text on your website. It will take up most of the page, apart from the graphics and interactive elements (e.g. forms or buttons). In fact, you shouldn't use too many graphics. Focus on the wording instead. A header image, a cover image, and a screenshot are usually sufficient.

Copywriting is a skill that can be worked on, and the subject is far too big to go into detail here. However, one of the worst things you can do is to endlessly tweak the page. You should get *something* up as soon as you can and edit it over time. Copywriting is one of the two most important tasks for a website (the other is promotion) and it's an ongoing process.

There are a number of factors to be taken into consideration.

(Tip: If all this seems a little confusing just view existing sales-letters on the web. You'll soon get a feel for it. All top Marketers 'copy' and have a “swipe file” of great ads.)

Google AdSense is an easy way to a monetise a website and would be your first income stream (see point 3). However, don't just jump the gun and place ads everywhere, as they can take your visitor away from your site.

Everyone seems to use Google AdSense these days so it's also important to know there ARE alternatives, which are reported to have varying degrees of success. AdSense provides context-targeted ads (they automatically relate to your site), and some of the others don't. If you're interested, look into Chitika MiniMalls, Yahoo Ads, or the clickbank-based Affiliate Power Ads.

2. The Form

Some sites are not interested in selling up front. The point of these pages is to capture the visitor's name and e-mail address.

After we do this we provide the download. It's a quick and easy process and most interested prospects are happy to do this. It's a win/win situation. The webmaster gets the new subscriber, and they get a quality ebook bundle.

You create a form easily, as most autoresponders (whether you use a third-party or a script on your site) will build one for you.

Getting new subscribers is very important, as they could be customers for a long time to come. Just don't abuse the relationship.

3. The One Time Offer

This is the first income stream on a “free” site. It's an 'upsell', even though there is no real sale on the first page (just a subscribe action).

Income Streams are simply the various ways you can make money. For example, if you are an online business person you could be selling software, using Ebay, consulting, designing websites, copywriting, promoting sites and more. Each of these would be an income stream. If you also work in a regular job that too would be an income stream, possibly your primary one. It's far easier to 'get rich' if you have a number of options working for you.

The One Time Offer here will show another related product, in this case a premium bundle of marketing-related software and books. For a One Time Offer to work you should price it low and over-deliver on the contents.

4. The Product

Your main product should provide whatever you promise. That is a given. It could also be working for you in many more ways and act as your ambassador on the Web.

5. The E-Course

Since you've captured the prospect's e-mail address, it's worth your time setting up an e-course to be delivered over a period of days, and it can both provide valuable information to them and keep on plugging your product (or an upsell).

Make sure you tell the customer that they will receive this information.

Each e-mail in the course can also promote another product, so even after the free software is downloaded the e-mails will continue to make sales.

It's usually considered OK to keep subscribers past the course as long as they are aware of this fact and can unsubscribe at any time (a legal requirement). Automated un-subscribe links are usually available from your Autoresponder, or you can allow them to contact you manually - the usual way is by replying to the message with 'Remove' or something similar. I prefer the latter as I have had many, many subscribers who report clicking the automatic link by mistake.

6. The Upgrade

This is the third and main income stream at the “free” site. There are many ways a visitor could get here, from clicking directly, from the links in the free ebook, from the links in the e-course, or from links from affiliates.

The entire website could have easily been more traditional and just offered a sales page for this package (as most do). However, the techniques described above provide far more scope for sales, as I hope you can see.

This premium package is again priced realistically and over-delivers on its content. There are also other benefits included that can help promote the site, and as above, they are a win/win situation.

First, the package comes with a 50% Affiliate Program, paid instantly. This turns all your customers into a potential affiliate. It's a fair system used across countless sites on the internet, since any profits are split equally.

Secondly, there is a brandable version of the giveaway and a copy of the website. This gives the customer the power to be a copy of your “free” site themselves. It allows them to give away the product, as before, but now with potential of making an income from it.

Sometimes branding rights are given with the product as an incentive to purchase. In our case, the main product is free, so the upgrade provides those rights. However you do it branding can create a massive viral effect.

7. The Future

To summarise the action of a visitor so far:

The book and course link back to the upgrade page. That is the “visitor path.”.

The income streams are:

So, what now?

About the Author

Stuart Reid is (apart from creator of the site mentioned above) webmaster of Netpreneur Now - dedicated to helping you make money online.

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