What does it take to make a millionaire website?
Oh, how I wish that I could be writing this post from my own perspective… but sadly that is not the case. I’ve made enough money from this blog to cover the cost of a six pack of beer. Yeah, not even good beer. But I’d like to think that one day this website will go from “barely any money maker” website to millionaire website. But for now, I will write my posts, run my social media, and pray to the holy gods of the internet that at some point this site will gain some serious traction.
Well, at least that’s what I used to do. I’m trying to be much more proactive about getting the ball rolling when it comes to monetizing this site. But from everything I’ve read, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get to full time salary status. So how, you ask, do I keep myself from death-spiraling down a dark hole of despair?….
I read lots millionaire websites to keep the juices flowin’ so to speak. So today, I’m going to go through a relatively small list of millionaire websites. I’ll show you why I think each millionaire website is doing so well, how long it took to get there, and the lesson I take away from each site.
Wait… What do you mean, “Millionaire Website”?
When I say, “Millionaire Website”, I’m simply stating that these are the websites you’d go to to pick up a sugar mama/daddy to fund your exorbitant lifestyle. After a couple years, you’d divorce, get your half of the settlement, and spend the rest of your days turning your kids into little douchebags and sitting out by the pool with various fruity drinks.
By “millionaire website” I mean these are websites that through various monetization techniques earn a million dollars or more per year. That’s it.
A lot of places actually give their income reports by month as opposed to by year, so what we’re looking for is right around the $80,000/month mark. Think that’s crazy?
Cuz it is.
However, just because it’s crazy doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. All you need to do is look at the current presidential election to know that just because you think something isn’t likely to happen doesn’t mean it won’t.
Alright, buckle your seat belts, because we’re about to hop on the INSPIRATION EXPRESS!!! First stop… Pat Flynn…
Millionaire Website #1 – Smartpassiveincome.com
The Dealio – Pat Flynn started his online business journey back in 2008 as a result of a layoff from an architecture firm. Little did he (or they) know that Pat would turn into a demigod of the digital world, at whose feet bow hoards of bloggers hoping for the one tip they need to turn they’re blog from passion to profitable.
What they sell – Dammit, what doesn’t this guy sell? I suppose it’s important to note that Pat makes a solid chunk (like 1/3) of his income from being a Bluehost Affiliate. Obviously he’s had a little bit more success than me…ok a lot. But I use Bluehost as my hosting company, and they’ve been nothing but rockstars (especially when I deleted my entire blog. HA. Not fun). He also has 4 different niche sites, ebooks, podcast sponsorships, a ton of affiliate programs, all which total up to between $100,000 and $150,000 a month.
Why are they doing so well? – Well, there are a couple things to keep in mind. One, the man has been doing this since 2008. I have been blogging since June. Clearly, the head start has done wonders for him. Secondly, he’s done very well with the niche sites he first created. Third, he started niched, and then broadened out. He went from “LEED certification” ebook to “online income”. Smart move on his part.
How long did it take? – This’ll be Pat’s 8th year earning income online. Clearly the guy has some staying power.
Key Takeaways – Get nichey, real nichey. Don’t tackle the big, competitive online industries until you’ve got some experience and authority under you belt. (He says, as he’s writing on a personal finance blog. Life can be funny…)
Millionaire Website #2 – Makingsenseofcents.com
The Dealio – Michelle got the personal finance bug when she had to pay back $38,000 in student loan debt. She and her husband live in Colorado, and she’s been kicking ass and taking names in terms of online income ever since.
What they sell – Michelle is another rock star when it comes to affiliate income. In September, she was able to earn over $55,000 in affiliate income alone. That DOESN’T include her online course she offers (which was able to nab over $35,000) and also advertising that hit over $10,000. At this point, it seems like affiliate income really seems to be the way to go.
Why are they doing so well? – Her site layout is absolutely adorable, as are her and her husband. But let’s not just resign her success to the fact that things are “cute”; this girl has some serious business acumen. After all, she’s been featured in Forbes, Yahoo, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post. She’s simply awesome when it comes to getting the word out about her site.
How long did it take? – Looks like she started the site back in mid-2011. So yeah, it took her a couple of years. But if you told me that it would only take me a couple of years to get to a million dollars/year, then I’d write till my fingers were nothing but sad little nubs.
Key Takeaways – Affiliate marketing matters. Making your own course matters. Getting featured on huge websites matters. Having a cute website… doesn’t hurt. 🙂
Millionaire Website #3 – Iwillteachyoutoberich.com
The Dealio – Ramit Sethi went to Stanford to study psychology. In 2004, he decided to start his blog to give out sound financial advice that people would actually listen to. He’s a huge proponent of using psychology to make sure you actually achieve your goals, as opposed to giving the same robotic financial advice.
What they sell – This guy is all about courses, and you can’t be in any personal finance circle or online entrepreneur circle without hearing some mention of his “0 to Launch” course. He’s got loads of other courses, like “Earn $1000 on the side”, “Overnight Resume maker” and “50 Proven Email Scripts”. Oh, and you know, his New York Times Bestseller.
Why are they doing so well? – Well, if you’ve read his books, you’ll know he has a great writing voice that really speaks to young people. He’s Indian, so he’s a super strong negotiator (that’s not racism, that’s him). Also, let’s call it out for what it is: the man studied psychology at Stanford. Chances are he’s going to have a pretty easy time getting into your head.
How long did it take? – Blog was started in 2004, and the book was published in 2009. So he’s been going at this for a REALLY long time.
Key Takeaways – Go to Stanford. Be Indian. Know your audience. And probably the most important thing… don’t ever stop. I’m sure that at some point over the last 12 years Ramit’s hit some bumps on the road. But that’s a long time to maintain a blog, you must admit. Tenacity can overcome a lot.
Millionaire Website#4 – Timothysykes.com
The Dealio – Tim Sykes is pretty famous for taking $12,000 and turning it into over $1 million by the time he was 22. He did this by investing in penny stocks. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU STOP READING AND GO START RESEARCHING THIS! There are statistical anomalies out there when it comes to stock trading and I can with certainty guarantee that you’re NOT one. But that’s how he made his first million. He now dedicates his time teaching others how to become Wall Street millionaires.
What they sell – Well, he now spends a lot more time training people how to be traders than trading himself. After all, he did admit that his trading strategy wasn’t “scalable”. But he’s got a couple trading penny stock courses, and a couple affiliate links. I would imagine that he’s also got some sizable investments, but those are well hidden. 🙂
Why are they doing so well? – Christ, the easiest thing to sell has got to be “how to click buttons on your computer till your bank account is big enough”. Yeah, I’m sure it’s a little more complicated than that, but still… also, when you’ve actually made the money that he claims to have made, it’s really not that hard to make people listen to you.
How long did it take? – Not a ton of info out there on how long it took him exactly, but if wikipedia and basic arithmetic are to be trusted, then he was able to become a millionaire in 3 years just trading him money. The amount of time he put into his website, however, has proven to be more elusive.
Key Takeaways – Big risks mean big rewards. Big rewards means street cred. Street cred helps marketing. ’nuff said.
Millionaire Website #5 – Mashable.com
The Dealio – Quite sick, bedridden, and all of 19, Pete Cashmore started Mashable.com as a way to bring technology to a mainstream audience. 10 years and a boatload of cash later, Mashable.com has become one of the behemoths of tech blogs. Lol, blog. It’s more like a giant newspaper at this point.
What they sell – Ads. Ads. Ads.
Why are they doing so well? – Well, it’s a great looking site, but just looking at the title you can see the content is not only interesting, but it’s not quite the same stuff you see all over the internet. Way to keep it interesting, Mashable.
How long did it take? – Mashable was launched in 2005, and according to therichest.com he’s worth $120 million dollars. After 11 years, I’d say it was probably worth the sacrifice.
Key Takeaways – Make something interesting. Make it beautiful. And work your f*cking ass off. The guy apparently worked 18 hours a day to keep the articles flowing. Oh, and he and his wife are hot af. Check it:
Millionaire Website #6 – theblondesalad.com
The Dealio – Chiara Ferragni is a freaking rockstar. End of story. She started her blog back in 2009, which back then was just a personal style blog. However, it has ballooned into a huge fashion blog and brand, and the blog can expect to make around $8 million this year. She’s so fly there’s even a Harvard Business Review Case Study about her business. She’s also got 16 staff writers. What a boss.
What they sell – Chiara is notable for making tons of sales just in footwear alone. Just through looking at her site, you’re not going to find much in the way of advertising. But she’s got an e-commerce fashion store that could literally rock the socks off most e-commerce sites.
Did you catch that pun there?…
Why are they doing so well? – Well, again, longevity seems to count. But her layout is super cool as well. She is also pretty well known for maintaining her brand, even in the face of some pretty big paychecks. Now, I’m no fashionista, so I won’t claim to understand exactly what her brand is. She also let the influence of her blog build organically, and that’s when the bigger brands took notice.
How long did it take? – 7 years, $8 million. Again, not a bad return on investment in terms of time.
Key Takeaways – Make sure you’ve got a product to sell. But don’t just jump at the first opportunity to make money. Your brand is your most important asset; treat it as such.
What does it take to make a millionaire website – The Wrap Up
Is every website going to turn into a million-dollar, money-making machine?
Probably not No. But it’s good to know that there are sites out there that do allow for a pretty amazing lifestyle. Here are some of your key takeaways for your millionaire website:
- Niche Niche Niche. The further down you go, the less competitive everything becomes. Don’t start a blog about cats. Start a blog about main coone kittens.
- Get featured on big, authoritative websites. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll see a huge influx of traffic.
- Be relentless in your pursuit of monetization. You have to expect that making money on line is going to take years, not weeks.
- When you do sell something, make it irresistible.
- Working 18 hours a day is ok if you need to get something off the ground.
- Your brand is your most important asset. Treat it as such.
Now I want to hear from you!
- What’s your favorite monetized website? Would you consider a monetized website a “smart” way to make money?
- How much money do you think would be enough to run your online business full-time?
- What’s the most interesting monetization method you’ve heard of?
And as always…
Keep trying to crack the code,