If you were to believe everything you read, starting up a website to earn passive income would be a lost cause these days. Those who have certified the death certificate blame the overwhelming competition and Google updates as reasons that traditional passive income, through affiliate marketing, is no longer a viable source of making money.
However, not everyone seems to have received the memo. In fact, there are still many people on the web who are making a pretty penny though passive income from their website.
How Passive Income Was Made on the Web
Investopedia defines passive income as that "which an individual derives from an enterprise in which he or she is not actively involved."
Web properties became a solid source of passive income for many who were able to create a few pages of content that would rank high on Google or other search engines. Relying on this, site owners would promote products as affiliates; earning money for each customer they send to the site they are an affiliate of. The owners of the web property would, from time to time, update some content, build some backlinks or reach out with a guest blog post but other than that the expectation was that the web site would run without much intervention and produce a healthy profit.
But times have changed. Google's algorithm updates have made the unnatural backlink structure that so many passive income websites lived on a penalty in the search rankings. Too many affiliate links and advertisements also caused a number of these sites to lose their place among the top of the results. Without a high ranking, the income from these sites dried up.
However, just because one model of passive income is no longer producing the same results doesn't mean that the field is dead. In fact, there are still many ways in which websites are producing great results in the form of passive income.
Making Web Sites Work in 2013
Back in 2012, Forbes magazine ran a piece titled, "The Top 4 Reasons Why 'Passive Income' Is A Dangerous Fantasy." In it, they explained that no web site can really capture and retain customers passively. There is always work to be done in order to stay ahead of the competition. While this is true, the idea behind passive income can still be a great moneymaker - if your website provides information that people want, you can profit. That's the passive part, but one must actively market and adapt that content.
In 1999, well-known investory Tim Sykes made close to $2 million day-trading penny stocks between classes at Tulane University. Nowadays, he takes the strategies that made him that money and turned it into a wealth building class delivered online. He interacts with his students, and he markets his product but the content of the course isn't something that requires a great deal of change.
Teaching a valuable, or at least sought after, skill is one way to turn a web site into a source of income.
Newsletters are another way that many web properties generate revenue. Not through a subscription fee, but through affiliate marketing.
Building a large list of interested individuals can turn a respectable profit. But building that list starts by earning the trust of the visitors to a web site. When they eagerly await more information, the likelihood of them signing up to receive a newsletter is much higher. The newsletter, if it has valuable content, can then be used to sell products via affiliate marketing.
Take CopyBlogger.com, for example. Throngs of bloggers follow this site for information on how to make their blogs better, and each one who registers to receive mailings from them are always introduced to an offer that will help make the site money.
The same can be said for podcasts, blogs or any other type of Internet medium. As long as the information is reputable and helps people solve a problem, it can benefit both parties.
Websites can still be a good source of income if they provide value to users in some way or another. The old tactics of throwing together a few keyword-rich pages to garner search traffic is dead, but this isn't entirely a bad thing. The noise and clutter that these types of sites provided only took away from sites offering something that their visitors could actually use.
The key to success is to provide something that people need. There will always be money to be made on the Internet when this simple concept is executed effectively.
© 2013 DK New Media.