Website Income

How to Make a Website That Makes You Money

In 2017 my team and I will each start and build a website that will make enough money to cover the cost of our mortgage and will show you everything we do here so you can join us! This page will grow into a MONSTER free course on how to make a website that makes you money! We will provide you with everything you need to build a website! Whether you are looking at how to start a blog or how to build a website for your business this detailed tutorial and support community will help! Want to Participate in a FREE Community to Build or Grow a Website That Makes you Money in 2017?

  • Step 1 – Signup Here
  • Step 2 – Join the Facebook Group HERE
  • Step 3 – See module #1 below and follow the Step by Step Video

If you think there are others that would benefit from participating in this challenge, PLEASE SHARE!   In this free training on how to make a website you will…

  1. Have access to videos/tutorials where you can build a website in 15 minutes (but that is just the start)
  2. See NO affiliate link to HostGator, BlueHost or other CRAPPY hosts that just pay a huge commission!
    1. NOTE – Other training that recommends Bluehost or HostGator is almost always only doing this because of how much $ the affiliate commission is and NOT because it is the best hosting solution for you!
  3. Get advanced training on all the aspects you need to be successful!
  4. Month by Month PLAN to achieve results!


Sections of Training

  • Module 1 – How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps
  • Module 2 – How to Make a Website (in under 5 minutes – seriously set a 5 minute timer for part 1 of this section!)
  • Module 3 – How to Grow Your Website (Easy Option and Advanced Option – Still Coming!)


Module 1 – How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps

“Do what you love BUT follow the money” Business Brilliant

Objective – Identify the topic and “blue-ocean” for your website topic Step 1Write Down a List of Problems/Passions/Knowledge Areas/Fears you have. If you are struggling to identify some of these aspects, look at your Internet History and your Amazon Shopping history. Pick 1-2 that jump out at you and continue working through the next modules until you have validated your idea. Expect this process to take a couple of iterations!

  • Personal Example –My case study “idea” (which still needs to be validated) is wanting to build a website around one of my staff’s passions… Nails and cool nail designs

Step 2 –Identify Similar Sites – In this step, find a list of sites that are along the lines of what you want to create.

 Step 3Define Your Blue Ocean – This step helps you define your unique “angle” where you combine 2-3 sites that show what your website will be about. In the book, “Made To Stick,” the authors talk about how pitching Hollywood movie ideas is done. For example, “think jaws in space” was for the movie, Aliens.

  • My Case Study Example – The site will be a combination of a beauty blogger, amazon associate site and consumer reports site specifically focused on the topic of nails.  

  Identifying the potential gap in the market was the central theme of the book Blue Ocean Strategy, in it the authors discussed case studies where entrepreneurs identified the under-served intersection of 2 existing markets. This strategy was described in the offline world but is just as applicable online. Step 4 (Optional) – Validate your idea with keyword research – At this point we don’t want you to spend TOO much time doing keyword research. It is more important to have a topic and blue ocean strategy then it is to have identified the “perfect” keyword but we do need to verify that people are also interested in the topic. If your goal is to build a website for profit then doing some basic keyword research will verify that there is a market.

  • Step 1 – use Ferzy (great free trial and easy to use!) to identify some potential keywords. We are looking to see keywords related to our topic with over 500 and ideally over 1,000 searches with SEO difficulty (a measure of how hard it will be to rank in Google) for

  • Step 2 – Identify some competitors and use SEMRush to verify that they are generating over 5,000 monthly visitors and the estimated cost of traffic which is just a measure of how valuable the traffic is is over $1,000. We don’t want to build a site in a space where no one has been able to be succesful and so seeing that both the keywords get some decent traffic AND there are succesful other sites in the space is a great sign we have a niche worth pursuing.

  Now that you have an idea of what your focus area is going to be it is time to identify a domain!  

Module 2 – How to make a website:

Over the last few years, I have been making websites, starting blogs from scratch and running them. I have come across different problems (Joomla, HTML, Shopify) and have had to find solutions on my own and systematize the process to maximize the chances of blogging success. I have decided to write this post to give beginners a fast, easy-to-follow guide to starting a website or blog, without having to learn HTML or waste your time reading long, boring tutorials. This step-by-step guide with videos will allow you how to setup a good site and get off on the right foot as well as avoid making expensive mistakes. Today, I am going to be taking you from start to end on creating a website which will work for your business and grow your online presence. The goal of this post is to not only help you grow your business but to do it the right way. I have had lots of experience and I’ve seen many people make mistakes when starting their blogs. I am here to help you so that does not happen. Take the time and read this post thoroughly. By the end, I hope you are confident in your ability to create a successful site. I am going to walk you through the entire process, one step at a time, so you get it right the first time. This is super easy for anyone to do. The process:

  1. Pick out and register your website address
  2. Getting started with WordPress
  3. Get your website online to be viewed by visitors on the internet

WordPress is used by millions of people all over the world including some of the biggest companies such as Forbes, Sony, Mashable, and many famous celebrities. You can easily grow your website using WordPress and in time, gain thousands of visitors. Why use WordPress?

  1. Highly Customizable
  2. Designed for everyone, not just developers
  3. Hundreds of themes and plugins to make your website the best
  4. It’s FREE for everyone to use.
  5. Safe and Secure

Before we get started with WordPress, we will have to pick out and register a website address (domain name).

Step 1: Pick out and register your website address

Choosing a domain name can be difficult, there is a lot to keep in mind;

1. Easy to Remember, type and pronounce

Don’t pick a domain that has lots of different symbols. You want something that people will remember; something that is brandable.

2. Trustworthy

Domain extensions like “.com”, “.org” or “.net” are the most popular, with “.com” being the one most people think of first. Try to avoid crazy or questionable extensions.

3. Unique and Descriptive

Choose brandable over generic. You want a name that reflects who you are and what you care about.

For finding a domain name – I recommend a very cool free tool from Shopify and their NameGenerator.

Here you can go to the site, enter a query that suits your business and it will generate ideas for you to use as a website domain.

What is Web Hosting and Why Do You Need it?

Web Hosting is the service that keeps your site available for all to see. It displays and stores all the files, images and content that your site has. You need a web host in order to use your own domain name and allow your visitors to access the site or blog. There are hundreds of different web hosting providers. They all offer you a similar service (domain + hosting) with a similar price, but after many years of experimenting and creating hundreds of sites, I definitely recommend using SiteGround as your web hosting provider. Once you have a set domain name for your site in mind, head to SiteGround to officially get started.

NOTE – I Highly recommend not using BlueHost or HostGator… these 2 hosts are most commonly recommended but the reason they are so prominently recommended is because of their affiliate commissions! They offer up to $200 affiliate commissions so be wary of those recommendations!

SiteGround support is great, price/value is the best and it is the EASIEST to get a site setup with! You can have a domain bought, account created and WordPress installed in under 5 minutes. Trust me… set a timer here for 5 min and go through the next steps!

The first thing you will have to do is choose a blog hosting plan. There is three to choose from…

  • StartUp
  • GrowBig
  • GoGeek

The StartUp plan is the best choice for one site, especially if you are new to website building however the other available options are good to if you want to have more then one site.

After choosing a plan, click “Get Started”. If you found a domain that interests you on NameGenerator then you can insert it and click “Register a New Domain”.

If you already have a domain and you are just looking to create a website you can click “I already have a Domain” and proceed. Once you have chosen your plan and found a name you like that’s available, you’ll need to register it by putting in your contact and billing information.

At Checkout, I recommend adding the Domain Privacy service so you know you are protected and all of your information is not posted to a public database.

The other Extra Services are not necessary.

Complete your registration and go to your email to verify your account and get started with the link.  You will also get an email that shares your login information, including an Admin URL. Software Installation will automatically create a WordPress site for you and have it installed. All of  your details are here, and your website is set. Login to your ‘Admin URL’ and get started. If you forget this URL, it’s simply (where “yourblog” is your domain name).

  • This is the easiest way to go. You are now done and WordPress is installed in no time at all! No need to worry about a download and having to find it in your files.

Did you do it? Were you able to setup your site in under 5 minutes?  

Step 2: Getting Started with WordPress

Congratulations! You have now set up your website and it is live on the internet. You have set up your site all on your own. As you can see, it was easy and straightforward to create a website from scratch.   You will first reach your WordPress dashboard in your web browser where you will have a toolbar on the left with lots of different options such as posts, pages, comments, appearance, plugins and settings. All of these will be useful and I will tell you how they work.

Step 3: General Site Set up

Here is a video walkthrough we had created to help you see over our shoulder as we setup a brand new website… Before you start adding content to your new site, you will want to create the infrastructure for your site in “General Settings”. In General Settings you will need to:

  1. Site Title: Enter the Title you want your site to be called (usually similar to the domain name).
  2. Tagline: Enter the tagline you want for your site (note this is usually not the same as it was in this case)
  3. Site Address (URL): 99% of the time keep this the same as WordPress Address URL
  4. Email Address: Contact email address; used for admin purposes
  5. Choose Site Language

Be sure to SAVE CHANGES before leaving General Settings to move onto the next step of building your site.  

Configuring your URL Structure

No one wants an ugly URL but sometimes WordPress will have a default that sets it so when you create a new Page or Post, the URL will include the date as well as the name of the post ( A much better way is to use: See the difference? One is filled with irrelevant date information and the other one is short, clean and neat. In order to change your links to a more cleaner look, click on the Settings > Permalinks and use the following settings:  

Step 4: Choosing a theme and logo for your blog

After installing WordPress, it comes with a default theme. From the dashboard, hover over the home icon at the top-left of the page and click view website. This is what your WordPress website looks like straight out of the box. We are going to transform this in the next steps.


Now you have to install your website theme. Your theme is the design of your website. I recommend using  ThriveThemes (or you can use the WordPress free themes) and getting the entire Thrive Membership. It has great themes and easy-to-use plugins to make your blog awesome. It is a very useful tool and can be the only paid tool you get for your site. Many of the tools that come with the membership will be invaluable to help grow your site/business! Again you can use a free theme but if you have the budget I strongly recommend getting setup with a ThriveThemes membership to access their awesome tool kit!

Here you will also find the Themes templates you can download and try different ones depending on the style you are aiming for. You may also use a free WordPress theme for your personal website. I recommend the Thrive templates because they work very well and look nice on all types of sites.

After downloading a theme you can add a “New Theme” on WordPress (Appearance > Themes) and choose the file to upload from your downloads. Click “Activate”, and it is ready to go.

I used the Thrive Theme “Luxe”. Now I am going to activate my theme and start making changes to Customize it. Simply click Appearance > Customize for these next steps.

Here you can change your font, the size, the colors of your site, the tag and many other things I will introduce. You can also change the background of your site to a color or pattern.

For an example, I will pick a pattern. Colors > Background pattern. “Save & Publish”.


You will need a custom logo created for your website. I recommend using Fiverr to get a good logo created for as cheap as $5. On Fiverr there are many prices and people to choose from that will accommodate to what you are looking for. I bought my logo off of Fiverr and they also provided me with 4 different logo options to choose from for my site.

To add your logo to your site, go to your Thrive Dashboard. Here, in “General Settings”, you can upload your logo and choose its position. Be sure to “Save All Changes” at the bottom before viewing your site.


In my Thrive settings here, I chose the “Side Of Menu” as my logo position but the “Top Of Menu” is a great location too. This is what my header looked like after uploading the picture and saving all changes.

Now I want to make it bigger. To do this, I am going to go back to Appearance > Customize > Header, and change the logo width to make it bigger. “Save & Publish”.

The theme is all setup and you have a logo. Now you are ready to start adding content and making it your own.

Step 5: Site Set up – Customizing & Adding Content

In this section, I will show you…

  • How to create a Page and Post
  • How to create a Menu for your site
  • How to write a post inside WordPress
  • How to add images, links and format text
  • Some quick tips and tricks for writing great content

Creating Pages (Pages > Add New)

In this video walkthrough and section we will show you how to create a new page!

  1. Title Area: This is where you write the title of your post.
  2. Content Area: This is where the body text of your post goes. Here, you can type or paste your content.
  3. Standard Editing Tools: Here are options like bold, italic, lists, paragraphs, and headlines.
  4. Publishing Tools: You can save your draft or publish your content live by using the Publishing tools on the far right menu of the page. You can even schedule the page to be published later – or make the page private so only certain people can see it.
  5. Featured Image: You can select an image to be the header of your content on your page or post.

First of all, we need to set up our Front Page so it is a static page.   To do this go to “Pages” and “Add New”.

You can name this page anything you want; something like ‘Home’ is fine. And click “Publish”.

Now go to Appearance > Customize > Static Front Page. Here we’re setting up our front page’s static to the front page we just created. Under “Front Page”, select ‘Home’ or whatever you named your page previously then click on “Save & Publish”.

These are the Pages I have created for my site.

You can start with creating a title for your Page and then add content when you are ready. With these pages we want to make a menu to be seen at the top of the site. Appearance > Menus. 

Name it anything you would like and then click “Create Menu”. Then you will chose the pages you want to be seen in the menu. For mine, I clicked “Select All”, to have Home, About, and Blog.


Now your menu will appear at the top of your site like this.

This menu consists of different Pages. There are also Posts you can create that will be in a Page. So for my Blog page I can create different Posts to be published on that page. 

Creating a Post (Posts > Add New)

Creating a post is the same process as creating a page. It is just the location of your content that is different. Your Posts are seen on a Page which you can choose and will see as you scroll down. A Page is on its own, visible in the menu bar (if you wish), and a post is the content that can be added to a page.

Once published, your new post can be found in the “All Posts” section of the “Posts” tab, so you can edit it at any time.

To add them to your Blog Page, go to Settings > Reading and select Blog for “Post Page”. Save Changes. Now, each time a new “Post” is created and published, it will appear on the Blog page.


Many people choose to write their own articles for their sites or personal blogs. Because I have so much on the go and many sites I am working on, I get my articles written for me. If you are also interested in doing this, I recommend using UpWork. On UpWork you will be able to post a job and find many qualified and talented writers from all over the world who will write for you while staying on a budget. I have been using UpWork for over 10 years and have come across lots of talent that has really helped my sites and grow my business.

Adding Headings

Headings help you structure your content and make it easier for people to read. Headings are best to add for titles and for each of your main points. To add a heading, scroll up to “Paragraph” drop-down menu. Select the heading you’d like to use. Note that the “Heading 1” is usually reserved for the post’s title and the others are all different sizes you can choose from for the body of your content.

Adding Images

To add an image to a post as a header, click “Set a Featured Image” on the right side of your screen, select or upload your image, and update post.    

Before: Plain and Boring.

After: Something to look at.

  You can also add an image to your post. Click the “Add Media” button under the Title of the post. Tip: Before you click “Add Media”, be sure you’ve left your cursor inside of your blog post where you want the image to show up. Otherwise, you’ll have to move it later on.

Next, click the “Upload Files” tab on the screen that pops up, then click “Select Files”.

Once you’ve found the file, double click it and WordPress will upload it automatically.

When the upload is finished, make sure the image you want is selected, then click the “Insert into post” button to add the image to the post you’re writing.


Adding a Link

To add a link to another website, highlight the word or phrase you want to link and click on the link icon in the toolbar.

You can paste the URL you want to link or search for it. In this case I will simply link to Google. I will type it in the box and the word will be linked so when it is clicked the person will be brought to that page.

Adding Widgets

If you are interested in adding a sidebar menu to your new site, go to Appearance > Widgets. Here you will have many options to choose from depending on what you would like your viewers to see. There are “Available Widgets” that can be dragged over and put in “Main Sidebar” (or you can create Footers if you wish). On my site, I decided to put Search and Recent Posts for now. I will also be adding a photo of myself (Image) and a summarized biography (Text).   Your site is looking great by now and hopefully, you’re feeling good up to this point. We have covered the basics and you can stop here if you are happy with your site. I will go a bit more into detail now in terms of what else can be added to your site to make it the best one out there. ADVANCED

Add Plugins

To add plugins simply click “Plugins” and “Add New” and Search. The Plugins I always add are

Analytics In order to use the Analytics plugin effectively, you will first have to sign your site up for analytics, and once you have the tracking ID, download this plugin and insert the tracking ID.

Install Now > Ok > Activate

Add a Contact Form

To add a contact form to your site you will need to add a new plugin. For this, search Contact Form 7. All contact form plugins are similar so it really does not matter what one you use however I am most familiar with this one.

“Install Now” and “Activate”.

You will now notice a Contact section in your sidebar.

Click it and open the contact form.

Here you are going to copy the shortcode and paste it into the page you want the Contact Form to appear on your site. “Update” changes.

Paste into Page text where you want it to appear. (Contact Page)

Thrive Architect Plugin

Thrive Architect (formely known as Thrive Content Builder) is a great tool to help build a site and make it look good. After you download it from your Thrive Member Dashboard simply go to Plugins > Add New > Upload File and select it from your computer files.

“Activate Plugin”

Now, when you view your site, there will be another option to edit the page in the top bar called “Edit with Thrive Content Builder”. When you click this, you will stay on the page but be able to edit it from there.

Add a Favicon

Adding a favicon is simple. Before you do it on WordPress, find an image you want to use (Clipart looks best) and save it so it is easily accessible.

Now in Appearance > Customize, you are going to go to the “Site Identity” section.


Under “Site Icon” you are going to “Select Image” and upload and crop the image of your choice. It will show you what your Favicon will look like. When you are happy with it, click “Save & Publish”.

This is how mine turned out:    And there you have it! Your site is done and it looks amazing. You can add more content and change your settings any time you want. Play around with what you have just learned and make your new website exactly how you want it.  


  • Content Creation
    • How to build a content plan
    • How to create GREAT content systematically
  • Monetization Strategies
  • Ongoing Promotion Strategies
    • Weekly printable checklist/tracking sheet

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About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

david says January 4, 2017

What hosting do you recommend?

    Jon says January 4, 2017

    Hi David

    For inexpensive hosts and just starting out SiteGround
    Mid range price point I recommend WPX
    For your BEST sites when they have to work and work fast WPEngine is recommended.

    (some of these are affiliate links – I use all the hosts mentioned above)

      karl says January 4, 2017

      Would you recommend going with a VPS or shared hosting ?

        Jon says January 4, 2017

        If you are just starting out I would go with a Shared.

          Kwame Owusu says January 5, 2017

          Hi, Jon,

          What VPS host provider would you recommend? I am in Canada and don’t want to deal with the ridiculous U.S. exchange rate.


      Jim says January 4, 2017

      Just wanted to say I switched from Bluehost to WPX and it’s AMAZING. Totally worth the higher price. Their support is awesome and handles the entire migration for you and now my website loads in 1 second instead of 6s-10s.

        Jon says January 4, 2017

        Yah night and day difference forsure.

      david says January 12, 2017

      Thanks. I really hate those gurus who recommend those shitty hosting. (for this reason I don’t read Pat Flynn for example….. he is full of crap)

    Aaron says January 5, 2017

    I’ve been with bluehost, Ipage, and many $1 cheap hosts. The best so far that I have found for a beginner site is Namecheap. They are popular of course for buying domains, but their hosting has been stellar for the price! I just renewed another year for only $39!

Chike says January 4, 2017

Hello John,
I’m particularly attracted to the “Build a Website in 2017 That Pays Your Mortgage!” concept because one can join in and progress with you, also the opportunity to benchmark progress with you and other folks that will set out on the journey together. It’ll be great to have succinct weekly/bi weekly deliverables and actions steps. I eagerly roll up my sleeves in readiness for the challenge. Great Job Jon!

    Jon says January 4, 2017

    Hi Chike, I will definitely work ot provide the weekly “tasks”

Arun says January 4, 2017

Excited to start something I was wishing for the last one year 🙂

silviu says January 4, 2017

take into account: Scala, Ipage and DigitalOcean

Azedine says January 4, 2017

Thanks Jon for letting know the members to avoid HostGator, I would suggest to void Bluehost as well 🙂 Most of “Gurus” suggest them just to make a buck out of the affiliate commission.

    Suzi says January 4, 2017

    Out of curiosity, what are the specific negatives of using BlueHost / Host Gator?

      Jon says January 4, 2017

      slow hosts, once your site gets any real traffic they kick you off the entry level plan. Support is ok not awesome. The real issue with most cheap hosts is they are slow and even the “unlimited” can become very very limited quickly.

        Suzi says January 4, 2017

        Got it, thanks! I’ve been with BlueHost for years and really loved them until recently. Speed is ok with the level of traffic I get, but the customer support has gotten really terrible all of a sudden. Just wanted to verify my suspicions!

    Jon says January 4, 2017

    Agree both are not good…. other then the affiliate commission.

Ignatius says January 4, 2017

I’ve been building a couple websites for the past year and I have been trying to monetize them, wholly unsuccessful thus far.

Jon, I’m glad I opened your email today! Help is on the way 🙂

Rob says January 4, 2017

I’m looking forward to this Jon! Although I’m wishing I hadn’t already started my site using something other than WordPress

    Jon says January 4, 2017

    I certainly don’t know all the details of your situation but you might even want to think about switching back to wordpress.

      Rob says January 4, 2017

      Thanks Joh, I think you are right…

Dennis Dunbar says January 4, 2017

Thanks for accepting me into the Mortgage crusher training. Looking for a challenging 2017 with an amazing 2018 to follow.


Quinn says January 4, 2017

Awesome initiative. Great way to figure out a business that actually works! I realize now that Step 1 (Passion) has been the difference for me but I realize that it is different for everybody and the most important thing for most people is to start and learn.

    Jon says January 4, 2017

    Yah start and learn I think trumps everything. You need passion/systems to get through the eventual interest dip. In the end I believe execution matters the most and some people execute better when they are passionate about the topic.

Stef says January 5, 2017

I am really looking forward to doing this challenge. Defining my Blue Ocean is a really interesting concept and something I may need more help with. Also monetizing the site once built will be something I need help with as I have not done this well in the past.

Jeremy says January 5, 2017

I am really excited for this one, it’s one thing to read about how to’s but doing it along side you Jon makes it worth the work, can’t wait!

fernando says January 5, 2017

I already have a amazon website up and running with some sales and about 20 posts
I need to make it making steady money.
At what stage should i begin?

Deepak says January 5, 2017

I will be joining this challenge. I hope to come up with a good idea and create a great website which can pay my mortgage too…

Earl says January 6, 2017

This is good timing for me. I just purchased a niche site through human proof designs that I’m planning on expanding into an authority site.

Nathan Alger says January 6, 2017

Kudos to you for being the first internet marketer I have heard shoot down Bluehost/Host Gator. Everyone and I mean everyone recommends Bluehost and then I got it and have been unimpressed. Then I look at some of the affiliate payouts on these marketers and it makes sense why they receive such a strong recommendation.

Sergio says January 8, 2017

Just a quick question about Facebook and privacy: Can my friends see it if I join/post in the group?


Hi Jon Thank you for your inspiration,i just started your challenge and i followed your recommendation on hosting i went for WPXHosting,i am just starting this journey and i love it already thank you very much

Avi says September 6, 2017

Hi Jon,

how would you arrange your content/post would you do a silo or something else?

Thank You

Art says September 6, 2017

Fantastic summary. Wish I had had something like this when I was getting started. Great work.

    Jon says September 9, 2017

    Thanks Art, positive feedback on something that took this much effort is appreciated by the team!

Alison says September 7, 2017

Respect your integrity re:hosting & honesty over an affiliate commission. Awesome information & great idea following a Case Study – really looking forward to the next modules 🙂

    Jon says September 9, 2017

    Thanks Alison, yah I gave myself and the team the task of trying to create the best possible tutorial as if we were telling our sibling or best friend how to do this. Hope it is helpful to people!

Constance says September 7, 2017

Thanks this is by far the best website creation tutorial

    Jon says September 9, 2017

    Thanks Constance, the team has worked very hard on it so we are glad it is useful!

Karl says September 14, 2017

Incredibly valuable round-up of how to set up a WordPress site.
Looking forward to the content planning/content creation module. That’s the part I’ve been struggling with the most.

Thanks for this!

Rahul digital says October 8, 2017

Great Post. Just the information I was looking for. I just started my blog and I will be following your advice. Thank you !

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