Simple Website Ideas

As a teen, the internet has a whole range of business opportunities, and simple website ideas that can be easily executed in relatively little time which run on autopilot are great for having fun and making money in your spare time

Awesome website ideas can easily become really quite complicated however. Fancy designs, flashy features and lots of different activities and applications can make a website a headache to run, and soak up your time trying to promote it.

Websites, generally, are easy to make. The biggest problem comes from getting targeted traffic who will buy a product, click on an advert or generate money for you in some way. Shockingly, most websites on the web receive barely any visitors each day – and without visitors, you make no money!

Don’t be this guy.

Simple websites you can create easily in your spare time, that don’t require lots of maintenance and updating, can create passive income and are – most importantly – fun to create are theme-based content sites.

What is a Theme-based content site?

A theme-based content site is essentially a website which covers a specific topic in detail. It is a focused, reader-driven site which is created to rank for search queries people type in at Google and other search engines.

There are plenty of other website ideas, like blogs or e-Commerce websites, but these are far harder to pull off as a teenager with limited time and money. Successful blogs are rare, and require constant attention to build and maintain a subscriber base, whilst e-Commerce stores require lots of work on maintain stock and dealing with customers.

Instead, become an information business. Your biggest cost is your time, and you’ve got plenty of that. Go become an infopreneur.

The reason why is because they work, they don’t cost more than a couple of hundred dollars to successfully set up and they’re ideal for teens, like you, to create in your spare time. They are also the perfect springboard to creating other types of websites like membership sites, blogs, e-commerce stores, social networks etc.

Generally, theme-based content sites are typically quite large – growing steadily to around 100-200 pages – enough to cover a topic in enough detail. This means they can adopt a ‘long tail marketing strategy’. The concept of the long tail was coined by Chris Anderson, Editor at Wired Magazine, and essentially shows how in the digital age of the internet, limitless choice leads to never-ending demand. Think of music; there’s so much beyond iTunes Top 10.

In fact, the long tail means you can pick off a niche within an industry and dominate that quite easily. With a large theme-based content site, you have the best chances of capturing a large segment of the total long tail traffic.

Some suggested ideas...

Make a Local Website

A simple website that talks and promotes your local community. Local search is hot, and is far less competitive than global niches. You’ll write about ‘best restaurants in new orleans’ and other terms which have search demand, and local businesses will pay handsomely to appear in, similar to Groupon.

You could also do this, but with somewhere out of your area (harder, but still possible). Found a favourite holiday getaway? Create a website about it.

Create a Hobby Website

You write about your hobby or passion and publish it on a website, covering all sorts of aspects about it (e.g. tennis training, tennis racket reviews, tennis contests etc.). Something you’re really interested in, skilled at and know lots about and have experience of some sort in. The more the merrier!

This works well ONLY if you turn your hobbies and interests into strengths. Interests = hobbies. Strengths = Business Advantages, and in an world as cut-throat as the internet, you’ll need every business advantage you can get. Just because “you’re a little interested in stamp collecting” doesn’t promise you a successful online business.

You make money by selling and offering advertising space, referring visitors to merchants selling goods online for commissions and selling your own digital and hardgoods. You could even charge for people to come to training sessions you carry out.

Parenting/Teaching Tips Website

Fed up with parents? The internet lets you voice YOUR side of parenting. A good example of someone who’s done this is jellyellie.com. Or something similar for teachers or something similar from a teenage perspective. Perhaps a site for teen musicians, artists, about teenage jobs, diets and nutrition, fitness or something related to revision and schoolwork.

Current Affairs/Trends Websites

These are typically much more risky and hard to pull off as a teenager since you’ll likely not have the passion or extensive knowledge that perhaps industry experts have. So you’ll have to teach yourself, which is a bit of a pain, but can be done.

The concept is to find something new or on the rise, and build a website about it. Just one thing.The aim is to become such an authority site, that when the market for whatever you’ve chosen to theme your site on begins to mature, you’ll be high up the top and earning a substantial income.

This was the model I chose with my first website. Quite honestly, I regretted it. In 2008, when netbooks (mini laptops) were on the rise, I decided to build my first website all about them. It was a tough industry competing with heavy-weight tech blogs and review sites who had dedicated teams of journalists. Whilst it was very profitable, it was hard work to create quality content about stuff I didn’t know enough about.

There are three main considerations you need to consider first:

  1. Is it profitable? Since the other main factors for success (passion + knowledge) are limited, the topic must be very profitable. That doesn’t mean it has to be massive; heck, if it’s a tiny niche then you can dominate it easier. But there does have to be clear evidence that money is being spent, and being spent online.
  2. Can you master it? Expertise is one of the currencies of the net and although you’ll likely be coming from scratch, you need to identify BEFORE you start, where you can go and learn about it all. Be prepared to invest a bit of money.
  3. Is it marketable? Some ideas are simply passing fads. They’re not clever, smart solutions to problems. Other products really are quite awesome – these are your best bets. The marketing graveyard is littered with good ideas which simply weren’t marketed correctly.

You’re going to have to learn how to identify what could make money from what isn’t, and for that reason – with this website concept specifically – you’ll need to intimately master the science and art of marketing.

How to Find an Emerging Niche

Start looking at newspapers. Read articles online. Follow blogs about stuff you’re interested and try to find subjects which people will want to know about and are on the rise. Admittedly, this is quite tricky – frustrating even. But if you keep you’re eyes peeled, you may well come across a simply fantastic idea which no one else has really done well before.

Enter you.

In the same way as a hobby site works, you’ll create a website all about the product or idea in question, in a totally uncommercial voice – no hard sell. Consider writing about the problems it solves, possible solutions and then working towards to why this idea is such a great solution.

Building content and traffic is important before you start approaching any advertisers or anything. These are tangible assets (targeted prospects) which will have high perceived value to advertisers – it makes sense to lock them in at rates which are higher once you’ve got potential traffic sources already.

This will also mean your website will have a higher value itself, which makes it a very plausible exit strategy – to sell your website. I did!

Without doubt, this is the hardest and most unpredictable of these four ideas. There’s very little assurance that you’ll make any money, or that the topic your choosing to write about isn’t a complete flop, or goes catastrophically wrong, or something better comes out or whatever…

...and that’s why I like it.

With risk comes reward, and if you can create an authority site in a growing industry then the potential pay-off can be well worth it. Plus, in the process, you’ll learn practical marketing skills which will prove invaluable in whatever you decide to do in the future.

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