website profits

Starting A $5K/Month Website On An Expired Domain not only shows how you find a great domain you can build your site on, it also shows you the detailed path that you need to follow in order to build up your site to making $5K a month: How to select a profitable niche, how to get traffic to your site and how to monetize it.

can you make money blogging

A survey done by a few years ago found that 81% of bloggers never make even $100.

Per ProBlogger, only 4 percent makes more than $10,000 per month.

At the other end of the scale, there are blogs making $150,000 per year or even millions of dollars.

But 85 percent in the “more than $10,000” category have been blogging for more than 4 years.

People don’t know how to get their site from zero to being profitable. The information that is out there is generic, incorrect, outdated, leaves out important details or is outright scam.

An important thing to note is that when you start an off-internet business, there are usually startup costs. Therefore don’t expect to start your online business for free. It just doesn’t work that way. It is, however possible you can do it on a low budget.

Your $5K Website

This post is to help you get started with a website that may eventually bring you $5,000 per month.

I picked $5,000 a month because it is significant enough to let you replace your regular job (for most people). Also, this amount is not in the sky and several people have achieved it.

There are several important aspects of creating a $5K/month website.

If you look at different articles on the internet about setting up your site, you will many times see claims that it takes 20 minutes or even 5 minutes to set it up. It’s true that installing WordPress itself takes a minute, but other than that there are a lot of factors that could or will add time.

Imagine you pick a bad host or a plugin that doesn’t work and you need to figure out what’s going on. Also, you need to write all the content, research affiliate programs, so we probably talk about an entire month or two to set something up what you can actually call a “site”.

I want to make sure you understand that building a site is a lot of hard work. It is NOT passive income. If you have a job, you will do it on the side in your spare time. This could cause some strains but in the end it will be worth it.

Niche Selection

It all starts with correct niche selection. The post I linked to gives you detailed instructions and a lot of help, but the main thing is that you

  • need to have enough passion about the niche you pick in order to continue
  • you need to know about the niche or willing to learn
  • at the same time there is buying demand in the niche.  Without people buying you will never make it to 5K a month.

If you want to shortcut things and want to find a profitable niche without learning about the mechanics or spending a lot of time on niche research, just go to a site like Amazon, eBay or Clickbank and find a product that sells really well. The people who buy it are your niche.

Don’t spend a lot of time doing keyword research at this point. It could take several months for a new site to rank in Google, so don’t get stuck on doing hours and hours of keyword research. Doing research for your main niche is enough and you can expand to long-tail keywords later on. At the beginning you will need to use traffic methods other than Google anyways.

Selecting Your Hosting

You will need to host your website/blog somewhere. Most guides just tell you to use the host they are promoting with their affiliate link and don’t really explain much. I want to give you some practical insights. Choosing a good host is an art and somewhat of a gamble.

Many people are on a tight budget and only consider the price when picking a host. While I understand this expense could be a strain, you may need to make a compromise on this.  You need to be careful to use a hosting provider that is actually reliable.

Some people are obsessed about using a free hosting service, which I only recommend if you are just testing your project, or while you are preparing all your pages and posts. The only advantage of a free hosting is that you don’t need to pay any extra fees upfront. When your site gets enough traffic, you will need to upgrade to a premium account anyways or migrate your site to a paid host.

With free hosting you will have the following problems:

  • your hosting services are limited
  • disk space is small, 100 MB to 1 GB
  • slow server speed
  • customer service usually means searching in a forum
  • and it doesn’t provide SSL.

I have used several free hosts myself and I listed the best free hosting services for testing your project.

Your host is a big component in determining your website speed. One second delay in site loading can increase your visitor bounce rate by 7 percent, so it’s pretty important. There are also times when you cannot resolve something by yourself and lack of quality customer service will cut across your project and it’s not worth it. At the same time I agree that you don’t want to overpay if you don’t utilize your host’s service limits.

As a good compromise, even if you are on a shoestring budget, I recommend that you at least get $1/month hosting. Literally you can get cheap hosting for $10 a year. This is a good compromise when you start out, as you get 24/7 customer service, a faster server and even a real SSL certificate for free. But also understand that this is not a plan you keep forever, you will eventually need to upgrade when you need more resources, but in the meantime it is a great compromise.

Different Server Types

There are shared, dedicated and VPS servers. These three terms represent how many people share the same server for their website.

  • On a shared host, which is the above free and $1 hosting, there are hundreds of accounts on the same server. This means that a hundred people share the same hard drive space, memory, CPU speed and bandwidth. These resources are not shared evenly. If there is a spike for one site and it uses up 80% of a server’s resources, this leaves the other 99 other users with the remaining 20% or worse.
  • A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is still shared, but usually between fewer users and the resources are evenly distributed. If there are 5 users on the same server, they would each get 20% of memory for example. If one user tries to go above it, their website may fail, but the websites of other users will be fine.
  • On a dedicated server, you are the only user of the server and all its resources. This completely gets rid of the “bad neighbor” effect of  the table and you have more resources at your disposal than with a VPS.
  • On a cloud hosting there are several servers available to provide resources, therefore your downtime will be close to zero.

If you have a small WordPress website with tens of thousands of views a month it doesn’t really matter if your server has 1 GB of RAM or 4 GB.

However your server location will make a huge difference. If the server is in the US, you will receive data from it faster if you are in New York than if you are in Paris. Pick a host that has servers close to the location you are trying to serve. Your site will load 6 seconds faster. If you target worldwide, you will need to use a CDN.

Only use shared hosting (including the $1 hosts) at the beginning. Most of these cost around $2-$7/month. But understand that they all give you, to a degree, unreliable service that goes down due to others overusing resources.

I also don’t recommend getting a dedicated server. This is for those who understand server technologies or for websites with extremely high usage. If you have a website which is so popular it requires dedicated servers, you will need to employ someone who knows all about it.

A VPS is a great way to go after the initial time. They could cost around $25 – $50 a month. VPS servers are free from the bad neighbor effect, they give you more resources.

Another option is managed WordPress hosting. This type of hosting is built  for WordPress. On a VPS you could run any application you like, managed WP hosting only allows WordPress. As a result the servers are built specifically for WordPress, offer server-level caching and other stuff that will make your WordPress site run extremely fast. The price is usually a lot more expensive than regular shared hosting.

Cloud hosting is the latest form of hosting that has become extremely popular over the past few years. The resources required for maintaining your website are spread across more than one server, and are provided as needed. This greatly reduces downtime in case of a server breakdown.

Another noteworthy aspect is that cloud hosting allows you to manage peak loads easily, without facing any bandwidth issues, since another server can provide the additional resources in such a case. Your website relies on a cluster of servers that work together and are called “the cloud”.

The best real-time example for cloud hosting is Google itself. Google has its resources spread over hundreds of servers on the cloud, therefore you’ve probably never seen any downtime for over past decade or so (I don’t remember seeing it down.)

Registering Your Domain

There are domain registrars where you can get your domain at a low price. Many times this is only for the first year. There are domain registrars that give you a great price on your domain every year and they even top this with free Whois privacy protection.

Naturally your domain is dependent on your niche. It’s true that there are high-end brands whose domain name have no connection with what they do, such as Amazon, Apple. However in your case, having no name recognition, you should go with a domain that has a keyword in it, a phrase match domain. See the tips here on how to pick your domain name.

You have a choice of registering a brand new domain, a deleted domain (see the benefits) or buying an expired domain in an auction.

If you register a recently deleted domain, it is a lot easier to rank it, spending less time in the sandbox. See how a keyword from my site was ranking on page 2 when my site was only up for 4 weeks.

After having registered several domains myself in the early times of my internet marketing, I can tell you that after a while you may regret the name you picked. It is a one-shot action that cannot be undone. It’s OK. A domain doesn’t cost that much, just get another one.

Platform to Use

Now that you have picked your domain and your hosting, the next thing you need to decide before you start building your website is what platform you will use. Most people use WordPress for the following reasons:

  • WordPress is totally free to download, practically all hosting services provide a one-click installation feature.
  • Very easy to set up and use. You can literally set everything up with a few clicks, no programming knowledge is needed.
  • You can do almost anything with WordPress. Since it is so popular, there are already plugins available for almost anything you want to do. It has a lot of versatility and gives you full flexibility to create any type of website.
  • SEO is built into WordPress. It is very search-engine friendly and there are great advanced SEO plugins, many of them free.

Your Site’s Identity

By now you should have a memorable branded premium domain, hopefully with some backlinks and it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Your domain name determines what your site is about, but you have an opportunity to define it further in your website slogan. This is the little tagline under your website name. To show you what I mean by this, originally had the tagline “Premium Domains at an Affordable Price”. Later I changed it to “Start A Profitable Site On An Expired Domain”. This way I made it open to covering not only domains, but also the connecting niches of web hosting, traffic generation, affiliate marketing.

I recommend you do this and leave it open for your site to address your connecting niches. It will expand the audience you can talk to and the products you can offer, without sounding strange and without having to get a different domain name. You should define the exact main subjects your site covers and dedicate a pillar post to each one. These will define the main structure of your website and these should appear in your home page menu also. From these pillar posts you can branch out to individual topics.

Branding your site is very important. It’s a matter of personal choice whether or not you think a logo is something you want on your blog. But eventually, most bloggers realize they need to have one to help build their blog and their reputation. A logo is also useful once you start developing products and services, as using a logo in your e-book or videos, for example, looks much more credible than just using your domain name.

Your logo has to be coordinated with your blog theme. Make sure you use not only the right color, but the right shade as well. Otherwise, it will look uncoordinated.

Writing Your Site Content

If you want to create a $5K/month website, you will need to learn how to write copy. You won’t be able to get away with low quality posts.

I recommend that you visit the blog on Neil Patel’s website, and keep reading the articles until you have a realization about this and you decide you will never EVER post anything that violates this.

Neil is an internet marketing pro and I learned a lot from his articles. He writes super-engaging detailed original content. I do not say that all your posts will need to be so long as his, but at least your key posts should be. Also take note of the way he uses images to make his posts even more upscale. Images and videos are a vital part of marketing and you will also need to learn and master this.

Take note of all the shares he is getting on social media as a result. His copywriting strategy is very effective.

You may have to re-write many of your blog posts as you go and that is fine. I have re-written and added to the post you are reading 4-5 times and even changed the title. Now I think it is final.

An important part of content creation is keyword research. Each article you write must be based on a long-tail keyword. These, along with correct SEO, can start ranking your website pages much earlier than competitive keywords.

Another important thing about content writing is the length of your posts. Statistically, in the majority of cases posts that are 2,000-2,500 words long end up in the top 10 most often.

Your Post And Page Structure

You should have a “Start here” kind of page. The post you are reading now is such a page. From this post other posts spread out that detail the concepts briefly mentioned here. Some of those posts are pillar posts, matching the subjects that I described in the Site Identity section above. This site has the following key subjects/pillar posts:

Niche Selection

Expired Domains

Website Traffic

Monetizing Your Site

You don’t necessarily have all these set up right at the outset. You can launch your site with one or two ready, then you keep adding more. At the launch of the this site I only have/had the first two in place and I add the links to the pages as I create them.

As your blog posts get buried very easily because of the structure of WordPress, your menu will need to reflect the above structure and make navigation easy.

Each post you create should have a function. You will end up having money pages and feeder pages.

Money pages are your key pages to create product sales and commissions. Ultimate guides, lists, case studies are the best.

Feeder pages have two functions: Sending visitors to your money pages and getting you subscribers. You have to make sure your opt-in forms are strategically placed on your site, as you need to collect subscribers from day one.

SSL Certificate

Consider getting an SSL certificate for your domain at the beginning. If you wait too long, you will need to re-submit your site into Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) again and all the information there will be lost and will need to be re-collected for your https website. Switching an active site over to https is tricky and errors can cause your site to go off-line. There is less chance for error if you set up your blog using https when you start it. Doing it on an established site will inevitably result in traffic loss and errors.

Google now marks “HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure.” That means your WordPress login page will be marked as non-secure if you’re not using HTTPS. It looks really frightening and will turn your customers away.

With a secured site your visitors will feel safe as their information is encrypted, and also Google gives your site a slight ranking advantage. This is the future, so do it.

There is a free way to so it, so it is really worth the extra mile to get one. Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit project to provide free SSL certificates. (Their recommended software, however, doesn’t run on Windows.) You should read this guide about setting up SSL.

The easiest way to do it with no problems at all is to get a hosting that provides free auto-renew SSL with Domain Validation. When you add a domain name to your account, the process is fully automatic. An example of such host is Scala Hosting.

Setting Up Your Site

First you will need to select a theme. Make sure your theme fits your needs, it has the layout you need. Ensure it loads quickly and mobile optimized. A majority of people use mobile these days. Most of the themes are too fancy and have too many whistles.

It is okay to start with a free theme, but as you start making money, you will need to switch over to a premium one. Free themes are not well optimized and rarely fit your needs perfectly.

Then you will need to install your plug-ins and do any setting changes, such as permalink structure. You need certain plugins, but at the same time having too many plugins will result in slowing your site down.

Then you need to fill up your blog. I recommend to start with at least 15 pages of content, this way your blog doesn’t seem empty when it goes online and all your pages get indexed in one shot. Write all your content offline and when you have it all, upload everything.

You should add your site to Google Search Console and Google Analytics to keep track of your visitors, and you should keep track of your backlinks.

Website Speed

The speed of your website is a very important factor.

A 1 second decrease in your website speed can cause a 7 percent decrease in your number of visitors.

Fast websites also get ranked better in Google.

There are a few easy things you can do to decrease the speed of your website.

  • Use as few plugins as possible.
  • Choose a theme that loads fast.
  • Reduce the size of your images using Riot.
  • Use a CDN.
  • Use a cache plugin.

Monetizing Your Site – Your Sales Funnel

Ensure you have a sales funnel thought through and set up, with lead capture, autoresponder and an irresistible lead magnet. (Many people don’t even realize that sales funnels exist.) Your funnel also includes finding your main product to promote and the key affiliate programs.

Ideally you should have yourself tried the affiliate programs you promote, at least in a free trial version. Promoting quality programs only is vital, as doing otherwise will destroy your credibility.

Don’t pick the affiliate programs that everyone is already promoting. Be unique in this, too. There is a great way to find affiliate programs that no one knows about.

You should promote low-priced products on the front end and sell higher priced items to your mailing list.

A completely different way of monetizing a site is by opening an eCommerce store. This has a lot more logistics involved and you may also need to handle customer service, depending on the model you use.

Getting Traffic

Traffic is a vital component of your site’s success. A lot of new website owners don’t realize that it will be a few months until the results of SEO show up, called the sandbox, and you need to use some immediate traffic getting strategies at the beginning, such as social media.

You can’t just publish your great content and pray for your target audience to visit your website.

You need to invite the people who will like your great content to your website.

Promoting a new site is different from promoting a site that is already established. You need to get through the time period of no traction to jumpstart your site and this requires a unique approach.

Your audience is in niche communities on social media platforms and forums. You need to get them from there.

Once you get traffic going, you need to watch your conversion and improve it.

Making Your Site $5K

How will your site become a $5K site?

The best way to approach monetizing a blog, is to focus on helping people. You need to provide your visitors with with lessons, motivation, inspiration and so on.

Getting to 5K doesn’t consist of coming up with your own ideas. The best thing to do is to look at how others did it and analyze their success. Of course you do need smaller ideas, such as working out your own niche subjects, affiliate offers worth following, content ideas, but as far as the general plan growth concerned, you should analyze the success of others.

The Building A $5K Site concept and using expired domains is my creative idea. But the methods I promote it are all based on lengthy analysis of already successful sites.

Visit successful sites, sign up for their mailing lists. Take note of everything they do, this is how THEY are making money. Read their opt-in freebies, see what photos they use, analyze their welcome email series, see where they put their opt-in boxes, how their menu is made up, do they use SSL, their site loading speed, page structure, how their posts are written, what they advertise, what they make their money from. Take note of EVERYTHING.

In the case of the best websites you can’t even see how they make money. What I mean is, there is no visible advertising. Monetization doesn’t have to be obvious, in fact, I find it converts best when no one knows it’s there at all.

Take a look at the following blogs/sites that actually made it to $5K/month.


$5K Club

An important factor for success for an online business is to be able to interact with others and discuss what is working and what doesn’t.

I am considering the creation of a $5K club where you can do just that. We would also get experienced marketers to share what made them successful.

I hope you liked the above. Please share with others!

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