I’ve written before about creating a successful website, but this is 2009, and things have changes. GeoCities will soon be closed, the first result of seemingly every search is to a Wikipedia article, and people actually make money uploading their content to other people’s websites. This is the era of getting big on big sites, and using that fame to trick people into visiting your website.
Step 1: Get Internet-Famous
You might have assumed that the first step would be to actually build your website, but that comes second. The first step in creating a successful website is to become popular somewhere else on the internet. If you are already a real-life celebrity, you may move immediately to Step 2.
Becoming one of the most subscribed people on YouTube would be an incredible way to do this. If you don’t have a camera or you’re not hot or horrifying enough to develop a following, you can try for text-based celebrity. Pick a large internet forum, post with absurd regularity and see if you can’t become infamous by being annoying enough to get noticed, without being offensive enough to get banned. Alternatively, become a highly friend-ed member of a link sharing site like Digg.
Step 2: Build Your Website
Once you’re internet-famous, you can build a website. You need to establish a destination dedicated to you, so that all of your new fans may gawk at you and educate themselves on all that there is of you. Make sure that the site you build is equipped to eventually handle the content you put on that site. After getting a domain and web hosting, you need to install a content management system (nobody makes his or her own anymore, by the way). Go with WordPress, it does everything for you.
Step 3: Get Accounts at a Bunch of Social Networking Sites
Step 1 required you to become popular on one social networking site or online community. Now that you’ve built a website, you need to join several more such sites in order to give your fan base additional material. No one cares about your Twitter posts unless you’re famous, there was no point in joining up at Step 1, but now that you’re famous, people will love to hear about the meaningless things you do each and every day.
Step 4: Promote Your Website
Step 4 cannot possibly be performed unless you are a real-life celebrity or have first accomplishing Step 1. It’s impossible to promote a site unless you have a large pool of obsessed fans already paying attention. Don’t worry if you have little-to-nothing on this new site of yours. To begin with, all you really need are a few pictures of yourself, and links to your accounts at the social networking sites you’ve just joined. To promote your site, simply start telling your fans about it, and how amazing it might eventually be. They’ll be amused long enough for you to enter Step 5.
Step 5: Create Content for Your Website
The most important trick in making a successful website these days is to never, ever, make content for the site. Instead, you can do one of two things: either make content for other sites that then gets aggregated on your site (like with YouTube videos) or make content that is hosted on your site, but that only exists to facilitate alluring hooks on other sites (like Digg).
As I’ve mentioned, it can be tough to become popular on YouTube, and so you may once again need to resort to this second, text based method of attracting readers. This type of content should only consist of innocuous lists of pop culture items like “top 7 Star Wars movies,” or “top 6 pictures of Gaius Baltar.” In order to maximize hit count and therefore ad revenue, make sure to space out your writing with lots of images, and separate each list entry onto a separate page.
Well there you have it, five easy steps to self employment. I wish the best of luck in your endeavour.