Websites. Pretty much everyone needs one nowadays, not just business owners, especially if you're a person in a creative field who needs to showcase their works to potential employers or collaborators. So, you might have a website, but are you really getting the most out of it? What if I told you there's a way to use your website to make money from your craft? Interested? Well, keep reading this blog post because today I'm talking about how to build a website to make money from writing, music, artwork, and more!
Best website-building platforms
There's a wide range of ways to build a website, some free and some paid. Some generate passive income, and others are full-time jobs. There are online platforms that will make things easy for the inexperienced and bare-bones, hands-off options for the advanced when it comes to building a website. When figuring out which platform you want to use when building your website, you'll need to do your research. Some important things to consider are:
What kind of prices do they offer?
Will a free service suffice?
What about hosting?
Where will you purchase your domain from?
Does the platform have options for e-commerce?
How do you plan to monetize your creative work?
It's a lot to think about! I'll provide you with a jumping-off point. Here are a few well-known website-building platform options:
A top-rated website building service, an estimated 37% of all websites run on WordPress! WordPress is easily customizable to look however you want. You can easily add plugins to a WordPress website enabling you to do pretty much anything you can imagine. Email signups, shopping cart, check out, social media sharing- you can do it all on WordPress! WordPress is free but also has paid options depending on your needs. There's a bit of a learning curve to WordPress, but once you get the hang of it, it's relatively accessible.
Another popular option for building your website, Wix offers a free basic website building option with ads, as well as a premium ad-free version for $14 a month. They also offer a $49 a month option for those who need to build an eCommerce store. None of this includes a domain; you'll need to purchase that separately. One drawback is that Wix doesn't offer any analytics, so you'll need to use a third party if you want to keep track of your statistics. Wix is generally considered one of the easier website builders for the less experienced to use!
While not as intuitive as Wix, Squarespace has many tools, templates, and add-ons. Praised for lower transaction fees, Squarespace can be an excellent option for small or medium-sized businesses. Squarespace starts at $12 a month with a domain, unlimited storage, and bandwidth. They also offer a business website plan at $18 a month and an online store version from $26-$40 monthly.
I think of GoDaddy as more of a no-frills type of place to build a website. Mostly known for hosting and domain names, they also offer website building software. GoDaddy offers a free tier, followed by paid levels that add on things like a search engine optimization tool at $15 a month and e-commerce capabilities at $25 per month. Despite GoDaddy selling them, domains aren't included in their paid offering prices and need to be purchased separately.
Ways to monetize your website and earn an income
There are many ways to monetize your website and your creative work. Depending on the route(s) you choose, you want to make sure your website is set up in a way that allows things like e-commerce, email list subscriptions, advertisements, and inquiry forms.
You can sell your work directly to consumers. Whether it's a song, artwork, a movie, or digital products, you can cut out the middleman and sell your work directly to fans.
Signing up for something like AdSense, which allows Google's network of advertisers to post ads on your website, can be a great way to earn extra money. You get paid every time someone clicks on an ad while visiting your website. You might make anywhere from $0.50 to $5 per click, which can add up to a nice sum with enough traffic. This is a fairly passive endeavor, earning you money with just a little bit of effort and spare time.
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by promoting products or services that you believe in. If someone buys something because of your recommendation, you get paid a commission.
Allow people to commission you to create artwork at their behest! This can be a fun way to use your talents to make money. You can also sell your services as a freelance writer or as a hired musician or composer.
Merchandise & Other Products
Is your work resonating with people? It might be time to consider making merchandise! Making fun merchandise or other physical products can be a great source of income in addition to whatever you're making off your creative work and digital products. While it requires an initial investment to make the products, cool merchandise can be a great way to spread the word about your work.
Other things to consider before you build a website
Websites aren't only about making money
Don't get solely focused on making money from any content you post on your website. You want your website to be a place to discover and connect with your work in addition to making money from it. Offer a taste of your music, artwork, films, writing skills, etc., and then have more content behind a paywall. You need to get people interested enough in your work to be willing to pay for more of it.
Create a mailing list
Have people submit their email address in exchange for additional content. This is a great tactic to get people on your mailing list and be able to keep them up to date with your latest news! Investing the energy in developing a mailing list is a great way to contact your fan base and help you sell more content in the future.
Include ways to share your work on social media
Include ways to share your work on social media. You want people to share your (free) content with others, and the best way to do that is through social media. Allowing people to share your content on various social media platforms can help draw traffic back to your website. Making your content easy to share and encouraging visitors to do so is an excellent way to encourage others to put your work out there.
Hopefully, this blog was able to help you in building your own website and give you some ideas on how to monetize it successfully. Website building can be daunting, but don't sweat it! If you don't get things right the first time, that's okay! I would know. I'm currently redoing my website for the nth time! Happy website building.