WordPress & Earning Money Online Part 1: Introduction

Building a website with WordPress is one of the most popular ways that people do to earn money online. The release of the content management system (CMS) by its founder – Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little back in 2003 has helped millions of people around the globe to establish an online presence, grow online businesses and earn money online without coding a single line.

With WordPress, people with no technical skills in web development such as HTML, CSS & PHP were able to establish a strong digital presence. Although WordPress is not the only system that enables non-developer to create a website or a webpage in minutes, it has become one of the most popular tools on the internet today with 26% of the websites around the world are powered by WordPress.

In the 1st part of this course, we will answer the following questions,

  • How does WordPress help you Build websites
  • The different types of websites
  • How to use WordPress to start Earning Money Online

Before anything else, let us first answer the question “Why do people build websites?”. If you search the internet, you will find thousands of answers to this question, but the 3 most common are,

  1. To build a blog
  2. To make money online (reviewing & selling products, freelancing, online marketing)
  3. To build a brand/Business website

Blogging is basically the most common reason why people build websites. And because some people are still confused about the difference between a website and a blog, let us try to differentiate the two.

A blog is a web page or a group of web pages on the internet whose content is written by a specific person or a group of people about a certain topic. Examples are.

  • Blogs about how to make a cake
  • Blogs about travel experiences
  • Blogs about self-development
  • Blogs about How to make money online

Blogging can be done in multiple ways. Here are some common ways a person can blog.

  • Build his/her own website
  • Post on Facebook
  • Post videos on YouTube

On the above list, building your own website is the most common and effective way to start blogging. The reason is that social media platforms like YouTube & FaceBook were not designed to be a blogging tool. Building a website gives a blogger limitless control, from the colors of the buttons to the fonts on a paragraph.

Having your own website means you will have the freedom to choose as to how your post or article will look like, you will have the freedom on what kind of functionalities your website should have, and most importantly, a blogger with his own website can do ALL the known ways to make money online.

So in short, if you post articles on your website about a certain topic and do it on a regular basis, then you have transformed your website into a blog. A website or blog can be interchanged. However, in order for a website to be considered a blog, it has to have the contents/articles about a certain topic and must be updated on a regular basis,

How does WordPress help you Build websites

In this part, let us discuss how can WordPress help you build a website in minutes w/o a single knowledge in coding.

To build a website that is accessible anytime & anywhere around the world, 3 things must be present.

  • A domain name – www.yourwebsitename.com
  • The files of your website – it is here where the codes are written, HTML, CSS, PHP
  • A hosting plan –  an online service which allows you to store your website files on their servers

Most of the time, when you purchase a hosting plan, a free domain is included in the package. Like this one from Inmotionhosting. If you purchase this plan, which is billed annually, you will have a hosting provider and a domain name. (Domain name is also billed annually but is usually free on the first year of the hosting package)

Now, the next thing to provide in order to have a fully functional website is the website files. This is where WordPress comes into play.

To put it simply, WordPress is responsible for providing all the website files needed to build your website.

So how do you build a website using WordPress? There are basically two ways in which you can build your website using WordPress.

  • Build the WordPress website locally (offline)
  • Build the WordPress website online

When you choose to build your website locally, you will have to set-up WordPress on your computer and build the website on your localhost. After building the website, you will have to upload all the files (w/ its database) on your hosting provider in order for it to go live.

For beginners, I recommend building the website locally before transferring it to a live server. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set-up WordPress and build your website offline.

Step-by-step Guide in Building a WordPress Website (From Start to Deployment)

After you set-up WordPress on your localhost, you will be building your website by accessing the back end of the software, this is where you add your logo, articles, & pages. Here’s how your website looks like if you’re the admin working from the back-end.

Another very powerful and useful functionality of WordPress is the ability to choose the design of your website by simply choosing a WordPress template/theme which can be downloaded for free.

Here are some examples of WordPress themes that you can download on WordPress.org.

There are also premium WordPress themes with lots of functionalities and with amazing design. ThemeForest is one of the places where you can buy pre-built WordPress themes if you want to have a really good looking website complete with functionalities.

A WordPress theme makes the website development much faster compare to building a website from the ground up. With WordPress themes, you can easily change the color, add functionalities, & modify the website layout according to your needs with just a click.

The different types of Websites

Generally, a website is classified based upon the purpose of the developer. According to xislegraphix.com, there are 9 types of websites.

  1. Personal Websites
  2. Photo Sharing Websites
  3. Writers / Authors Websites
  4. Community Building Websites
  5. Mobile Device Websites
  6. Blogs
  7. Informational Websites
  8. Online Business Brochure/Catalog
  9. E-commerce Websites

Each website above requires different functionalities in order to serve its purpose. Let’s examine how WordPress can help us build those different types of website.

By default, WordPress is designed for the following types of websites.

  • Personal websites
  • Writers/authors website
  • Blogs
  • Informational websites
  • Community Building Websites

Here is the basic layout of a basic WordPress theme.

wordpress theme default layout

For a photo sharing website, there are multiple WordPress plugins that will provide the functionality needed for this type of website. One example is a Photo Gallery Plugin. Here are some photo gallery plugins that you can download in WordPress.org.

image gallery plugin wordpress
Image from codecanyon.net

WordPress plugins are used to add specific functionality for a WordPress website. Plugins are free to download on WordPress.org

For a Community Building Website, having a forum built-in to the site is essential to keep the online members engaged. Plugins like wpForo ForumAsgaros Forum can easily add a forum functionality where anyone can log-in and post interesting topics for the community to discuss with.

wpforo forum screenshot

Because WordPress is an open source website builder, building a beautifully designed Online Business Brochure/Catalog site is one of its main advantages compared to other content management systems.

Here are some WordPress themes that can be easily configured to create a professionally looking Business Brochure/Catalog site.

example of wordpress theme for online business brochure catalog 2
example of wordpress theme for online business brochure catalog 3
example of wordpress theme for online business brochure catalog

In the world of e-commerce, WooCommerce stands out from the crowd as one of the most well-known e-commerce solutions for any type of WordPress websites. This plugin can literally transform almost any WordPress themes into an e-Commerce website. WooCommerce gives the basic functionality of an e-Commerce website by giving the site owner’s ability to add product pages, a cart & a payment system.

Here’s an example of a WordPress website integrated with a WooCommerce plugin.

example of a website with a woocommerce plugin installed

WooCommerce extends its ability to another important aspect of an e-Commerce website. The plugin has the ability of a sales & inventory management system that can be accessed from the back-end of the website itself.

woocommerce reporting capability

WooCommerce is just one of the hundreds of plugins that makes WordPress one of the most powerful content management system on the internet today.

How to use WordPress to start Earning Money Online

Now we know how WordPress can be easily configured to get the functionalities that we wanted for our website, the next thing to talk about is – how can building WordPress websites help you earn money online?

There are basically 3 ways you can earn money with WordPress,

  1. Build it for someone (offer web development services)
  2. Build a WordPress website, populate it with useful contents/articles and integrate a monetization method (AdSense & Affiliate Marketing)
  3. Build a WordPress website, grow the site’s traffic and income, and then sell it (Website flipping)

Build it for someone or offer a web development services

So how can we use WordPress to start a web development business? As stated above, there are 3 things you must have in order to build a website. A domain name, the files for the website & hosting service.

Assuming you have a client or someone who wants to have a website for his/her business. You can provide a web development service by building the website and setting up the domain name & hosting plan for them.

The domain name & the hosting service can be bought as a package, if you’re offering web development services, you will have to inform the client to provide a hosting package. Meaning, your client will be the one to pay for the hosting package.

If your client does not want to pay for his/her own hosting package, then, you can host his/her website on your own hosting. Be sure however to charge the client according to the needs of the website – bandwidth, disk space & the domain name registration.

$1.00/mo* Trust your web hosting to the #1 web host provider, GoDaddy!

Remember, however, that if you host your client’s website to your own hosting account, you will have to address all of his/her concerns regarding the site’s hosting issues like server downtime & malfunctions.

The next thing to do is to build the website. You can download free WordPress themes from WordPress.org, however, if you want to really impress your client and provide a really good looking website, you should consider buying a premium WordPress theme.

Here are some of the premium WordPress themes that you can buy from Themeforest.

If your client is looking for specific functionalities, be sure that those functionalities are available before choosing your WordPress theme and WordPress plugin.

As the web developer, you have to make sure that after you transfer the website files & database to the live server of your hosting provider, all of the website functionalities are working well. You can provide some support for the 2 or 3 months to make sure that your client will able to run the website alone.

Build a WordPress website, supply it with useful contents/articles and integrate a monetization method (AdSense & Affiliate Marketing)

Another powerful way of earning money online through WordPress is by building your own Website. Meaning, you will have to set-up the website and provide all the necessary contents/articles and decide how you can monetize those contents/articles.

The idea is to build a WordPress site, populate the site with useful & relevant articles for a specific niche or subject, and offer a related product or services either by advertising or promoting.

Say example a blog about computers. The blog owner may want to create an article or a guide on how to assemble a PC. While discussing the process of building a PC, the blog owner can provide links or place ads about PC parts like mouse, headsets, and keyboards.

This is done through affiliate marketing and/or an advertising program like AdSense & the Amazon Affiliate Program.

AdSense – AdSense, is a program by Google where a website owner places relevant ads on his/her website. Every time a site visitor clicks the ad, Google pays the site owner.

Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate programs work by placing a link to your website that is directed to a specific product. Once the site visitor clicks the link and decided to buy the product, the site owner gets a percentage of the sale.

Here are some stories about people making serious money doing affiliate marketing & advertising. This one is about a Newbie who made $33000 doing affiliate marketing in his spare time.

Build a WordPress website, grow the site’s traffic and income, and then sell it (Website flipping)

Another way of making money online through building WordPress websites is by website flipping. The idea is,

  1. Build the website in such a way that it will give value to its visitors
  2. Wait until the traffic & income grow
  3. and then sell the website

There are many places on the internet where you can sell your website. The most popular is Flippa.com. Here, you create a listing for your website, disclose the site’s income & traffic and set a price where you’re comfortable selling the website. Repeat the process, and you should be making a living flipping websites.

These are just a few of the multiple ways that you can make money by building a WordPress website. The point is, if you want to make money online, WordPress can be a very effective tool in helping you achieve your goals.

For the next part of this article series, we will be discussing AdSense and how to make a blog and generate income by using ads.

But before that, it would be easier if you first build your own WordPress website first. I have created a VERY detailed guide on how to build a WordPress website on your localhost.