This guest post is by Roman from how this website makes money.
Two years ago I stumbled across the concept of blogging for money. Instantly it hit me as the perfect thing: sit behind a computer, design a site, write, be my own boss, work from home, what could be better? I knew nothing about traffic, SEO, backlinks, Pagerank, or keywords. I knew nothing about how to make money with a website. So what did I do next? I registered the domain name howthiswebsitemakesmoney.
Looking back all I can do is laugh at my arrogance. Like thousands before me and thousands who will come after me, my first attempt at blogging was a site about making money online.
Two years later, I know how to start a site, I know how to write content, I know about SEO, I know about backlinks, I know how to add advertisements … but I still do not know how to make good money online. The site makes dimes a day, not dollars.
The site has been two years of disappointment. Two years of waking up in the morning and seeing the same green egg in AdSense. Two years of waiting for a four-digit affiliate check with my name on it. Two years of working without pay. Two years of scratching my head.
So I asked for advice, and every time the reply was the same: create a site about something else. Create a site about what you know and what you enjoy. Do not create a site with the intent to make money, create a site with the intent to help people by doing something you enjoy doing.
What happened when I changed my intent
Six months ago I created a new site. This time my intent was pure pleasure.
I live in Prague and I love it here. So I made a little site about how great Prague is and what people should do when they come for a visit. It was built in a month. In a gust of activity I designed the site and wrote the content.
It was so easy. I did not agonize over what to write about. The content flowed effortlessly from my head to the keyboard. I did not have to take long walks with the dog or waste water standing dazed in the shower coming up with new ideas. I just sat down at the computer and wrote about what I know. It was so easy I actually looked forward to it.
As an afterthought, I created a simple page where people can order a real postcard from Prague. Visitors select a picture of Prague and fill out a form indicating what they want written on the postcard. After they hit the Submit button I get the request by email. I grab a postcard and, like an ancient scribe long before computers, lick the tip of the pen and write. After pounding a Prague stamp on the postcard I toss it into the mailbox on my way to work. I charge $4.00 for this five minutes of work.
I created this site with no aspirations of becoming rich, no day dreams of shaking hands with Oprah, no imagined scenes of telling my employer to find some other donkey to kick around. I created the website because it was easy for me to do and I enjoyed it. I made it because I needed a break from my ‘real’ website. I expected nothing to happen.
Again, I was wrong.
My hand is ink blue from all the postcards I have written.
I wrote a postcard from a son playing a trick on his mother: “Hi, Mom! Sorry for not calling in last few days. But I am in Prague with friends. Having a great time and the beer is sooo cheap. Say hi to Dad.”
I have written postcards to countries all over the world. Some of them in languages other then English—I have no idea what I am writing. Fortunately, the order form does not allow Chinese characters!
I get emails from people thanking me for the information they found on the site, thanking me for the postcard, asking for more information.
I feel like I am making the world a better place. I made a website about something I know about and am interested in and people are thanking me. Emotionally it is a soft, warm, fuzzy ball.
And yes, I am making money.
Intend to enjoy and you might make money
I learned a lot about making money online not from my site about making money, but from licking postage stamps.
New arrivals to the make-money-online scene go through the same initiation—they start out with the intent to make money, then fail to make more then a pile of pennies. For some it means the end and they quit, but for others this brutal introduction teaches them that their intent needs to change.
Of course, making money is about traffic, clicks, affiliates, backlinks SEO, but it’s also about finding something you enjoy doing. If your intent is only to make money the odds are stacked against you: you will probably quit. But if your intent is to do something you enjoy then you will keep moving forward until one day, you will be surprised to find that you are making money.
What’s your intent?
Roman intends to figure out how this website makes money. He has been trying to do that for two long years, so when he needs a break and do something fun he goes onto his other website to send a real postcard to his mother who misses him very much.