How to Make a Profitable Microsite: 7 steps

Making a website is becoming incredibly easy, from Squarespace to Webflow and the God of all website-making, WordPress.

Making a profitable website, that’s much harder. Ads are dying out, and Search Engine Optimization competition is only getting stronger.

Here are 7 tried steps on how you can make a profitable website. This is my personal playbook that has allowed me to make websites that reach millions of users every year.

Step 1: pick a monetization method

That’s right, before you even start thinking about what to call your website, you need to think about how you want to make money.

You have to remind yourself that the goal is not to make a beautiful website, or a cool concept, or a nice sounding brand – it’s monetization.

Some popular ways to monetize a website:

  • Affiliate marketing: getting a commission from referring users to products.
  • Ads: looking into Adsense or other ad exchanges
  • Selling ad space: if you’re making a job board, you can make companies pay to promote their job on your site
  • Selling your own product: an ebook for example
  • Donation based: this is becoming more popular as cryptocurrencies become more popular

The more you innovate here, the better. The more you spend time thinking about this, the better. If your goal is to make a profitable microsite, this is the most important piece of the puzzle.

Step 2: think of a way to reach users

The second thing that should influence your concept is how you plan to acquire users.

If you’re going to go the SEO route, then you’ll need backlinks (links from reputable sources).

If you’re going to go for direct traffic, then you need social media posts like Reddit or Product Hunt.

If you’re going to go for referral traffic, then you’ll need to build a solid PR plan to reach out to big publications.

Step 3: find a domain name that will allow you to stay flexible

Even after you have done step 1 and 2, you will still find that your concept will change with time. This is why I recommend going for domain names that are general enough to allow you to stay flexible.

Step 4: find a standard template (ideally one you have already worked with)

Go for a standard template, don’t waste your time on making your own template. If your microsite becomes successful, you can think about redesign later.

I recommend using WordPress because it is easy to use and has an infinite number of great free templates.

If you have experience working with WordPress, see if you can use the template you used in your past sites for your microsite.

Step 5: find a standard hosting plan

Again, since WordPress is the name of the game, I recommend going for what’s called a “Managed WordPress”. This means that the hosting provider will “manage” all technical aspects for you, but you’ll still get to customize and run your website as if it was a standard WordPress install.

A Managed WordPress is easy to scale: you can simply pay more as you get more traffic, without needing to worry about things like migrating servers. It will offer less surprises in the future: most Managed WordPress(es?) will auto-update themselves.

Step 6: dedicate a week to trying to get exposure

If you want people to find your website, then dedicate yourself to making an outreach plan.

This means reaching out to websites that might be interested in what you’re trying to do, and getting them to feature you.

You can also post on public sites like Reddit or Product Hunt, but this becomes more complicated.

Step 7: stick to the plan

If you’re serious about making your website succeed, then keep on working even if nothing happens! If you plan to acquire users through Search Engines, for example, it could take anywhere between 3 months and a year for your page to get to the first page of Google.

Be patient and have fun while doing all of this!