Of the top questions asked about making money online, how long does it take to do it is probably in the top 3 that I hear. And I’ve got an answer.
Because I do this, I believe I am fit to answer it because I’ve made more than 1 site so far that’s made money online. However, you may not like the answer and I may sound political, but believe me, it’s the most honest answer you’re going to get…
Here’s how long it usually takes to make money online (4 answers):
Answer 1: 99% of the time, it depends on a HOST of factors and scenarios I’ll tell you about.
Answer 2: But if you’re going the straight forward route, while investing as little as possible and focusing entirely on blogging which is an awesome place to start, then I would say at least 6 months.
Answer 3: If you’re doing paid advertising, it’s not uncommon to see a sale within 24 hours. However, if you do it wrong, it won’t happen as quickly, won’t happen as often and you’ll end up losing money, possibly a ton of it.
Answer 4: Then there’s YouTube. That can happen within a day or take way longer depending on your video, what you’re selling and how it’s seen by viewers.
These 4 answers are the most straight forward responses to the question of how long it takes to make money online. And believe me, you may get countless other answers from people but being an expert at making money online for years, I’m telling you, these 4 are the closest to the truth.
Unless you’ve already experienced what it’s like to make money online, from owning an online business let’s say, you’ll know that there isn’t one factor that plays a role in the time it takes to reach that revenue point so while I can’t cover every scenario, I will give you list of factors to consider and explain my own experiences.
Obviously, I want you to be successful and I (and you) certainly want that to happen quickly. Who doesn’t?
But you’ve got to attack this question and business the right way if you’re going to one day look back on it when it’s making you money and wonder how it all started, or if you’re on the other end, as so many are and think where they went wrong and why it never worked out.
Let’s be clear, what we’re looking at here is an online business, not the other things such as:
- Selling something you own on eBay.
- Or selling something on Amazon.
- Or getting a Craigslist response for an ad you put up.
- Or making a drop ship sale.
- Or making an affiliate marketing sale.
- And a whole host of other hypothetical examples.
These are ALL examples of making money online if you want to sound “precise”, but in reality, it is not the norm people think of when this topic comes up, so that is why I want to center this question around the topic of an online business.
A business which involves you having a site and that site making it’s first sale and growing into a REAL, serious business that is making you so much that you can quit your job and how long it’ll take to reach that 1st point of a sale to eventually reaching the full time income point.
So now that we’ve framed this, let me begin…
Get your basic blueprint of an online business straight please:
There’s many ways to get one started and it to make money, but one of the most straight forward ways is through affiliate marketing. It is for people who have little to no money who want to start this business but cannot afford to invest in more advanced methods, which frankly, run a higher risk than just losing money, but we’ll get to that later.
In short, it’s SEO.
Anyway, I really want you to read that post so you understand that THIS is the most stable way to start earning within 6 months time. As I have tried other free ways and approaches, so far, this is the safest, cheapest and in the long run, most profitable.
If you can follow that blueprint, you are going to eliminate the 99% of “what if’s” out there that are more than likely going to lead to a dead end. I’d rather give you something that works vs hypothetical ideas.
With that blueprint, I’ve basically taken a wide range of scenarios and created a bulls eye for you. Now at the very least, you have a frame to follow and as long as you build your business according to it, you’re guaranteed to get some kind of success and land in the bulls eye area.
Overall, the end goal to make your money online is to have a website, have traffic and money generated from that traffic coming in.
So now that we have that blueprint, we know what it’ll take to make a sale, how long will it take before it happens!?
Enter the 9 factors that determine how quickly you can make money online:
Working on them as best as possible makes your odds of making sales happen faster, lack of doing it will make it take longer.
The 8 factors that determine how fast you hit the bulls eye (first sale/revenue point):
1) How “nichey” is your niche?
If you pick a niche topic, you have more and faster chances of making sales. The time frame for this? Niche sites in competitive markets can take a year to really get somewhere. Niche sites in not too competitive markets can take up to 6 months to start working.
Theoretically, you’re looking at a half a year in difference. Imagine how much better you’d feel if your first sale happened 6 months earlier (or more)!
2) How competitive are the keywords you’re aiming to rank under?
People often don’t know how to look for keywords or how to structure them on their site (it’s easy), but here is one tutorial on finding profitable keywords that’ll get you cleared on that, which I also recommend you read.
But in short, every term has it’s own “competition” number, which is gauged by Google. In short, you are aiming to rank your site/page/post on the 1st page of Google. But guess what? So are others!
How many others? Well that’s the number Google determines. Now I and many others call this number the “QSR”. The less it is, the less competition I have and the more it is, well, you guessed it (the higher it is). Here’s more info on QSR.
We’re aiming to find keywords with as little competition as possible and generally a number under a 100 pages is “good”. Anything under 50 is excellent and anything under 10 is a gold mine you need to mine asap.
Now here is a factor you need to consider: Keywords you choose to target which have say 70 QSR will take you longer to rank for than a keyword whose QSR is say, 20.
How much longer? The time frame can be weeks to even months.
So that obviously affects the time before you can start making money, right? Right!
So you should obviously chase the lesser QSR ones, but keep in mind that generally those have less traffic, but again, read up on that keyword tutorial I provided as it will provide more clarify and strategies you can take advantage of.
3) Posting frequency. How often do you blog?
A website needs fresh content, always, especially in the beginning!
One of the things most people fail to understand is that content creation is a driving force of success in any online business.
And this scenario is more for bloggers than eCommerce or paid advertising folks, but remember, we’re looking at making money from as free and cheap of a strategy as we can and thus, we are focusing on SEO, nothing else for now.
And for SEO, you need to write articles a lot (how often should you write content?). In the beginning of a new site, your posting frequency will affect the speed of your site indexing and it will also affect the speed of your ranking.
Now this is a MAJOR factor. Should you write fresh content often, possibly daily, you’re looking at less than 3 months before your content starts to attract organic traffic and possibly that first sale, with more consistent and recurring traffic in 6 months (more details on how long it takes to rank in Google explained) and possibly a stride after that where your site is going to start seeing daily sales.
That’s exactly how my site (this one) came up and it was in a competitive market too. Posting often led to a massive rise and faster appreciation for Google.
So now that you know what frequent posting can do, what about someone who doesn’t post as much. Someone who posts say…
Much less, perhaps 1 or 2 articles a week, or perhaps someone who posts very infrequently and in many cases, posts a lot, but then stops. What will happen?
Well if the site doesn’t break the authority stage, it’ll stay under the first pages for a very long time until you eventually write enough content to break that “barrier”. In other words, less frequent posting leads to less frequently high rankings.
Now this is excusable IF your site breaks that barrier I talked about, where for example, in my case, after month 6, where I had recurring traffic, where I then decided to slow down my posting. At that point, it was OK to do it.
But understand, your time spent on your site posting will directly affect your future results in Google and obviously the faster you break that point, the faster you’ll make sales.
4) Your content amount.
It’s simple, the more you write = the better your site looks to Google.
5) Comments? You should try getting them!
An active participation in your site from visitors (leaving feedback and sharing your content) leads to faster rankings (and sales) on Google. Don’t have them? Try these techniques to get more comments.
6) How’s your sales funnel? Odds are, it’s bad.
I’ve had experiments where sites which had traffic, but no sales, required a few changes and within 24 hours, the first sale was made. Although every niche site and it’s sales funnel varies, typically there several things ANY site owner can do like these to at least make sales happen more frequently.
7) Optional. Doing PPC?
This is where I talk about paid advertising and it is a factor which frankly does not apply to those with new sites or empty wallets. If you are that person, stick to those 6 factors, but if you can afford this, read on…
This is one of the few factors of the 8 where you can make money within 24 hours. You set up an ad, the ad runs, gets traffic and that traffic can turn into a lead/sale. If done correctly and the right ad is made, targeting the right keyword, you can see that type of result.
Of course, inexperience in this field can lead to money lost and I’ve got a whole tutorial on making PPC work for you since I’ve made 6 figures through it before (multiple times).
8) Email list building.
Another potential 24 hour money maker, but on the back end of an already established business. This only works when your website accumulates visitors and a portion of them sign up to get emails from you. And email marketing is not easy.
Then when you have an X amount, you send out an email blast promoting something and the first sale can come within an hour if you time things correctly.
But of course to reach this point, you need to have the first 6 things working for you and you can use #7 as an added means to get traffic.
9) The mindset. Wanting quicker results = more odds of failure.
None of the 8 options above don’t matter if you don’t have the right mindset to do this. There are a plethora of programs who feed of people who wish to make money online fast and give them scams and high ticket schemes to try with promises of that.
So as you can see, each factor has it’s own “what if’s”.
And I’ve given you a range of them in each example.
Now as I will repeat:
Considering you “nail” every factor down to perfection, you can get that first sale in a few months. But the focus shouldn’t be the sale, it should be the build up of the business so that even if 1 sale isn’t made as quickly, you set the business up so that it leads to making a consistent income overtime.
This is one of those things where you should not sacrifice the speed of making 1 sale ASAP vs something that can pay you for life if you take your time.
I have a website I’m working on now where I haven’t even cared about selling anything for 5 months and all I’m doing is writing great content so that when it breaks the barrier point with Google, the sales will explode. This is one of those patience examples which I would prioritize if I were you and you were a first time online businessman or have tried and never made it work.
Above all of these factors, rather than worrying about all the different ways things can go or making it “perfect”, focus entirely on following the guide I provided you above (before you even started reading the factors list).
That guide was a reflection of the amazing training I received at Wealthy Affiliate and frankly, if there is one thing I would say is more important than that guide, it is that program and it is where I would start.
So I hope that anyone who read this entirely will now understand that the time frame of how soon you’ll make money online really DOES depend on everything I’ve listed (and frankly more). Ultimately it’s a matter of how hard you work in accordance with aiming that hard work with the steps I showed you to build a business.
More info on how long it takes to make money online.
I run a new website called HelpingHandAffiliate.com that has more updated content on making money online, and I tackle the question of how long it takes to make money online there.
95% of what I said here applies to that article still, but the other 5% talk about things I didn’t mention in this article like using YouTube or getting into more details of using paid ads.
That site does talk about that, but still your safest route is by following the advice I put in this article.