I believe everyone should work towards creating passive income. Generating just a few hundred extra dollars per month can go a long way when you lose your job or get in a tight spot. Fortunately tools such as WordPress provide excellent opportunities to earn some extra money.
To create long-term passive income you’ll need to provide ongoing value with your knowledge and expertise vs hourly labor. I believe there is great opportunity offering a suite of website and marketing services to small businesses to help them drive more business on the web. You’ll charge a fairly high monthly fee ($25-$50) but I’ll show how you can easily demonstrate the return on investment. As far as the work required, many months you’ll do nothing while others might require 30 minutes or an hour.
To start, learn the basics of each discipline below. You may feel like a neophyte compared to those who teach it online but you’ll be an expert in the eyes of a small business owner. Keep in mind you are selling yourself and your knowledge more than just hourly work.
Design and Development – I’m neither a designer nor developer but I taught myself to build great WordPress sites such as CrossfitDFW, Scandle Candle and this blog. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you’re proficient you’ll build simple sites in just a few hours. I suggest searching for a local WordPress class to jumpstart your WordPress education.
Hosting, Backups and Security Updates – You’ll need to choose a WordPress hosting provider and become proficient in the WordPress setup. Beyond that, its fairly simply to keep the WordPress site updated and backed up but adds significant value to the “package” you’re offering small businesses.
Search Engine Optimization – While the SEO guideline are constantly changing, the basics of SEO are fairly constant. Understand the basics and you’ll know more than 90% of business owners. Fortunately, WordPress is fairly easy to optimize for search engines but you’ll need to be able to communicate SEO basics to the business owner.
Web Tracking and Analytics – Very few small businesses track their usage of their site so they are basically flying blind. While Google analytics can be fairly complex, just the basics are all you’ll need. Provide a quarterly report to your small businesses to demonstrate the their analytics in a plain-english format and they’ll think you are a genius.
Search Engine Marketing – Learn the basics of search engine marketing through Google Adwords. Understand the Google keywords tool so you can communicate the keywords the site should target and the cost to generate a click to their site via Adwords. Offer to manage their adwords campaign as part of their package. This really only takes a few minutes per month for a small campaign. Also, help the business get listing in Google local and drive users to rate and comment on the listing.
Social Network Integration – Understand how to integrate twitter and facebook into the site to improve the social network interaction. Typically this is simply requires the installation of WordPress plugin but generate a ton of value for the business owner.
Social Marketing – To learn social marketing, create a business facebook page and run ads to generate likes in order to learn a bit around Social Marketing. I’ve done this through my TexasProud facebook page where I generated over 2500 fans in about a week.
Content Management – Help the business owner how fresh site content generates higher search results and more traffic. Give them a login to their WordPress site and show them how they can update the content and add new blog posts.
Drive Innovation – Keep up with the latest WordPress plugins and drive innovation by suggesting a new plugin that will help solve a problem or drive more usage. For instance, maybe the business has grown to multiple locations so they should integrate a Google maps plugin.
You’ll need to demonstrate ongoing value to justify the higher monthly rates. I suggest sending quarterly updates to the business owner with a detailed list of the items you’ve completed each quarter including plugin updates, backups, content updates, adword management, etc… Also include a summary of their site traffic trends, top keywords, demographics, suggestions for new content, etc..
I know, you are thinking, “how do I locate these businesses owners and convince them to justify $50/mo when they are currently paying $50/yr for hosting?” First, teach them about the value you’ll be creating with the items above and how it will positively impact their business. Now, here is the kicker – offer the design and development of the site for FREE. Most developers will charge $500, $1000 or $2,000 for a simple site but you can build it in 5-10 hours with WordPress so do it for free and generate $50/mo ($600/yr) for all these great services.
Here are some great ideas to locate potential clients.
– Start with gorilla marketing by posting fliers or business cards in coffee shops with a catchy tag line, “I’ll build your new business site for free.”
– Join the chamber of commerce and other networking groups. Show up and let them know you are a web developer and internet marketing guru.
– Find local businesses with terrible sites and build a quick prototype of a new site then send it to them. Tell them you’ll complete it and offer all these additional services to grow their online businesses for only $25/mo (or whatever).
– Once you have a few sites completed, submit your profile to craigslist, elance, guru.com, etc.. No need to focus solely on local businesses if you’ve tapped out all your local options.