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Now, I know that
1) Everyone wants to do this
2) If it was easy, everyone would be doing it already
3) I am probably not going to earn a lot in the first months or maybe even years, since I do not already have a site with a lot of traffic an visitors
and so on.
But I just want to get started, and for this I would really like some advice from somebody with experience.
My initial plan is this:
1) Make a website about one of the many interests that I have, and to generate some inital content for it
2) Have a forum on the site or some other community structure that will allow users to generate content
3) Somehow generate awareness of the site
Is this plan even good?
I have a lot of quiestions, such as:
1) Which kinds of sites generate the most money from internet ads?
2) What is the fastest way to get to, say, $10/day? What kind of site? What kind of content? etc.
3) Are there any online resources or books about this whole subject?
4) Which kinds of ads are best/easiest/generates most profit? Right now I only know about adsense. What others are there? What other models are there?
In short, I am keeping my dayjob as a software developer (I have a MS in Engineering), but I would like to get into the business of making money on online ads. Eventually, I would like income from this to be a considerable part of my income. How do I start? What do I do?
Good start - but you will need to plan to create (not generate) content for some time to come. If the site is stagnant, then you will not be able to encourage the return visitors that you need before they'll even consider 'generating content' for you.
Once the site has a modicum of useful, unique content, then adsense (or similar scheme) will start to earn money; the amounts don't matter, but it will be a while before the income is sufficient to cover your costs.
Going for 'high paying ads' is not necessarily the answer; as you surmise, everyone else wants to make money, and (in general) the highest paying niches rapidly attract large numbers of sites, few with quality content, but enough to reduce your slice of the cake.
For a first site, you would do best to set up a site on a topic you know and care about; the site is much more likely to outdo the 'content generating' competition, and your knowledge and interest will make your forum (or whatever) a lively, well informed place, helping you to build visitor numbers - and return visitors.
You will also be better able to surf the niche and identify a need that your site can satisfy. In fact, if you think about your interests, you have probably already said to your self "not one of these sites really does [whatever] the way it should be done" - so go do it.
Anyway, I am still curious to know what, by experience, works. For instance:
What sites are the top 100 or top 1000 earners on ads? That is, which sites are highly successful examples of what I want to do?
What kinds of topics in general are top earners? One of the top topics might just be one that I know and care about.
What kinds of structures in general are top earners? Forum sites? Blog sites? Sites where people can download something unique? Online games? Or?
I am a software developer, so the technical side does not scare me.
Adsense on a general site doesn't make much money. My blog gets over 1000 unique hits a day, but only about $100 a month in Adsense revenue.
But if it were a blog about a high paying topic like real estate or mesothelioma, surely it would make a lot more money.