Coming up with great website ideas can be tough. To make it slightly easier, we’ll overview 7 top opportunities for an online side business.
Earning money on the web is a pipe dream for a lot of people. We’ve all heard of individuals who have made huge figures from their websites without doing much work (or at least that’s what they claim).
Still, finding website ideas that can actually make you money – and realistic explanations on how to get started – can be a challenge.
They are out there, however, and chances are at least one of them will be a solid fit for your needs. Here are the websites ideas we’ll explore in this article, each of which can be a source for monetization:
- Affiliate blogs
- Small online stores with a focus on dropshipping
- Reseller hosting
- Online learning websites
- Job boards for specific niches
- Service websites
- Websites you can sell
These are all website ideas that almost anyone can develop with some guidance. Plus, they can earn you some decent money without taking up all of your time – if you play your cards right. With that in mind, let’s get to work!
Should You Start an Online Side Business?
You’ll run across a lot of articles and blog posts featuring stories about people who’ve made a lot of money for very little online work. Those stories – with a few exceptions – are usually gross exaggerations designed to get you to sign up for expensive online courses or buy into various tools and solutions.
The truth is that starting an online business is possible for nearly anyone as long as you have two things:
- Time to develop it.
- Some capital to get you started.
Some types of website ideas are more expensive to tackle, whereas others require more of your time, and a few require a significant investment in both areas.
Take affiliate blogging, for example. Setting up a blog from scratch is remarkably cheap these days. You might spend around $10 on domain registration, and a starter shared hosting plan will probably cost you around $5 or less per month, depending on which provider you choose.
If you go with Hostinger, you’ll get a free .com; .xyz; .net; or .online domain registration with all annual website hosting plans – which is everything you need to go online!
Aside from that, you can set up WordPress effortlessly with a robust auto installer. Then it’s just a matter of signing up for affiliate programs and creating content.
Of course, it’s also important to realize that it will usually take a few months before you start seeing results, and that’s if you’re posting new content regularly. As your library of posts grows, you’ll get more and more traffic pouring in from search engines.
However, a lot of people expect to create one or two articles and start raking in the money, then give up when they don’t see immediate results.
We’ll talk more about affiliate blogging in a moment. For now, suffice it to say that all the website ideas we’re going to discuss in the next few sections require a significant investment of time, money, and sometimes both.
If you think you’re in a position to make those investments, however, the results can be well worth it.
7 Top Website Ideas Overviewed
Each of the ideas we’re going to explore below is a viable side business you can run even if you have another primary business or job.
However, the more time you can spend on each one, the faster you’ll start to see results. With enough effort, you can even scale all of these into full-time endeavors.
1. Affiliate Blogs
We talked a bit about affiliate blogging already, but let’s take it from the top. Affiliate websites use targeted content to promote products or services their visitors might be interested in. Then, they get a cut from each sale they drive to the makers or distributors of those products.
Take Amazon, for example. It runs the most popular affiliate program online, and if you sign up with it, you’ll get paid for each sale made after someone clicks on one of your affiliate links.
If someone is looking for a new lawnmower, for example, they might encounter an article you wrote called “10 Best Lawnmowers in 2018“. When they follow an affiliate link within that article and purchase a lawnmower (or anything else from the same website), you get paid.
The concept of affiliate blogging is simple. However, it has grown so popular that creating a blog that can compete takes more work than it used to. Still, it’s very possible to make this a productive side business. It’s a very scalable option since you can simply publish new posts as you have the time to write them. If you have the patience for it, your affiliate blog can eventually grow to earn you a respectable income, so it’s one of the best website ideas to pursue.
With that in mind, here are a few tips you’ll need to keep in mind if you want to give affiliate blogging a go:
- Focus on a specific niche. For example, you might want to specialize in orthopedic shoes rather than footwear in general, so you can attract a targeted audience. Ideally, your chosen niche will be something you’re already familiar with.
- Research the best affiliate programs for your niche. Some niches have their own affiliate programs, which may pay out more than juggernauts like Amazon. In other words, doing some research before signing up can lead to higher profits in the long run.
- Set a content schedule and stick to it. Once you make blogging a part of your routine, it will become easier to stick with it. Plus, publishing regular content increases the odds that your site will become profitable.
If affiliate blogging sounds like something that could be up your alley, then you’ll want to follow a guide on how to start a blog.
Also, keep in mind that once your blog begins making you money, you might want to hire more people to help you create content and scale your site upwards.
2. Small Online Stores With a Focus on Dropshipping
Creating an online store is more involved than setting up a blog, as you might imagine. However, putting aside the technical aspect, the real problem with running an online store as a side business is that dealing with inventory and shipping takes a lot of time. If you’re selling products you make on your own, then you’re dealing with the kind of operation that can take over your entire schedule.
With that in mind, drop shipping is one of the best website ideas if you want to run an online store that you can manage as a side business. With drop shipping, you make the sale, and then someone else ships the product. They pocket most of the money, and you keep a cut in return for making the sale happen.
From your customer’s perspective, they’re buying from you, and they’ll still get their items just as they expect. The benefit is that you won’t have to deal with shipping, inventory, and customer support.
In other words, you can focus entirely on getting more traffic and optimizing your conversions. You’ll also see less revenue from each item, but this can often be worth the trade-off.
If you’re interested in setting up an online drop shipping store, we recommend using WordPress alongside WooCommerce. In addition, keep these two tips in mind:
- Focus on a specific niche. Just as with affiliate blogging, attracting traffic for niche products is easier than trying to sell dozens of different types of products.
- Look for drop shipping partners with a sterling reputation. Products should get to your buyers on time and in good condition, so you don’t get a bad reputation. Therefore, you’ll need to choose your suppliers carefully.
As your store starts to grow, you can consider adding more products to your catalogue. At some point, you might even want to ship some items yourself, if you want to transition to online sales as a full-time business. Where you ultimately take the store once it’s off the ground is up to you.