Only the cream of the crop will provide you with the (lucrative) results you’re after. So, let’s explore the top ten website ideas for an online side business.
Have you ever wondered how others were able to monetize their website ideas? As it turns out, they probably had someone or something to guide them all the way through, or at least show them how to play their cards right. However, before they could even consider earning their livelihood online, they had to think of that one, winning idea that would beat all the other ones and shine bright like a diamond in the online realm!
Now, website ideas for an online business are a dime a dozen these days. But only the cream of the crop will be able to provide you with the (lucrative) results you’re after.
So, let’s explore them a bit, shall we? Today, we’ll go through the top ten website ideas for an online side business (or hustle, as the kids now call it). But first, let’s see if taking a leap of faith with an online venture is even worth it.
Online side hustles are all the rage right now, with more and more people deciding to earn their income through affiliate blogging, selling online courses, and even flipping websites! But is starting and keeping an online side business afloat as easy as it sounds? Can it be a huge risk?
There’s no guarantee that any of the website ideas we’ll discuss below will work for you. But that’s not to say the ideas themselves aren’t lucrative at all. Indeed, they have ended up on this list because someone somewhere actually managed to use them to their fullest advantage and even earn enough to quit the dreary 9 to 5.
Obviously, we don’t want to quit our jobs just yet (or at all). The ten website ideas we’ll be talking about today work incredibly well as side businesses. However, even if we’re only investing time, effort, and money into them in our free time — that’s still a sizable investment.
What we want you to remember is that all of these website ideas will require a bit of sacrifice. You won’t be able to set them and forget them; you’ll have to work on them so that they can actually bring you profit.
Do know, though, that some will require a lot less effort overall. After all, simply setting up a website and applying for affiliate programs is definitely easier than monetizing your skills!
Now, we believe all of the following website ideas are worth checking out, provided you’re ready to invest time, money, and effort into them. However, don’t make the mistake many people before you have also committed — fail to be patient enough.
We know that being patient is easier said than done, especially if you’re eager to start earning the big bucks. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, that’s for sure, and neither will your online side business be. In some cases, you may have to wait a few months until you start earning money from your side hustle.
Bottom line? Any type of online business you decide to start right now will need to grow a bit until it starts earning you a decent income. So, the best thing you can do is to rely on your gut. Go with the idea that speaks to you and that you like enough to devote time to it.
That said, let’s go through the top ten website ideas to consider in 2020. Who knows? Perhaps one of these will be tantalizing enough for you to start working on it right away!
If you’re looking for website ideas that are surely going to bring you the big bucks in due time, then consider making an online learning website. Over the years, we’ve discovered that one of the most critical strengths of the Internet lies in the fact that you can basically learn ANYTHING you want online. Thus, we can capitalize on those who wish to hone their skills or simply find pressing information fast.
Now, we do have a particular type of an online learning website in mind, or rather, an idea — courses. Knowledge is something that used to be reserved for those who were lucky enough to attend universities. Now, it’s possible to get certified or become an expert in a subject with nothing but Wi-Fi and a laptop!
Of course, some online learning websites offer free content. That’s perfectly fine in the beginning, while you’re still working on your traffic. The real money is hidden behind paywalls, though, as exclusive content is made by real experts and educators.
What do we need for an online learning website? Luckily, not much! A website and a way to not only sell courses but process payments — that’s all it takes. The easiest route is to opt for WooCommerce and an extension like Sensei.
Just keep in mind that you have to commit to this idea. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to make money from the get-go. Your popularity, traffic, SEO, and the sheer quality of your courses will play a massive role in turning a profit.
As one of the more unconventional website ideas, creating an online job board has recently gained in popularity. People don’t have much time to check out job offers through regular websites. They certainly don’t want to sift through all those bad listings.
Luckily, their “misfortune” is a great business option for some people. With a simple WordPress installation and one of the many job board plugins available, we can create an online job board that caters to the unemployed in a specific niche (or a few niches, at that).
The gist of this idea is to help others find employment by curating the list of offers available to them and making sure they aren’t wasting time browsing those they certainly won’t apply for (or would even fit them). Instead of letting them sift through all of the offers on regular job search websites, we would be giving them all the listings that match their interests and expertise precisely and are exactly what their little hearts desire.
But of course, that kind of service should come at a price. That’s how you could grow this idea into a lucrative side business. You would charge the users for those curated lists of job offers.
Just keep in mind that it won’t be super easy to implement. Sure, you only require a website, a job board plugin, and a few other bits and bobs (a way to process payments). But you’ll also need to find as many offers as possible (a bit time-consuming) and create specific (and free) content to attract an audience. That alone could take a while.
Are you in web development and would like one day to offer hosting as a part of your staple services? Becoming a hosting provider may not be in the cards for you just yet. However, you can start reselling hosting right now and use that to kickstart your new side business.
Reseller hosting entails the renting of hard drive space and bandwidth from another company and reselling it to our own clients. It’s a lucrative business idea that could not only help us turn a decent profit but actually allow us to become a full-fledged hosting provider at some point in the future.
This type of hosting involves finding a suitable hosting provider, buying the right packages, and then rebranding them as our own for our clients. Since hosting plans aren’t usually super-expensive, it’s expected that this is a rather low-budget idea that could potentially earn us a sizable revenue.
The main advantage of the idea is, of course, the fact that we’ll be presenting ourselves as a hosting provider. Web development can still be our main interest, but we could attract more clients by offering additional services. Plus, we don’t even have to be experts to start this side hustle; while building our side business, the web hosting provider will deal with all the dirty work (network infrastructure, connectivity, etc.).
Even in 2020, one of the best website ideas, if not THE best, is starting an affiliate blog. The greatest part about this side business is that it’s easy to start, doesn’t require much time or effort, and we can scale it to increase our income. After some time, we could earn a respectable profit — and all it takes is to add affiliate links.
Have you ever looked through a round-up of top X products? If you have, you might have noticed that the product names often link out to websites such as Amazon. Sites with such links are usually Amazon affiliates. They earn their profit through each purchase a customer makes by clicking on one of their links.
Now, since this is a foolproof website idea, it’s also extremely popular. That may make it hard to rank for specific keywords in niches that we might be interested in. As such, before delving any further, we recommend doing your research well and finding a niche that’s not too popular but not useless either.
Try to be as specific as possible, too, and concentrate on a niche that you are somewhat already familiar with. For instance, don’t pick to write articles about soundproofing if that topic bores you to death. After all, to include affiliate links, you’ll have to create quality content. That may be downright impossible at times if you hate the thing you’re writing about.
This sort of side business would also require us to churn out content frequently to stay relevant online. Better still, we’d have to choose the affiliate program carefully. Not all of them are meant for specific niches. Some may even offer meager profit potential because they’re the most popular option (like Amazon).
Dropshipping, or in other words, selling stuff online without dealing with shipping and inventory, can be rather profitable if we take the time to do our research well and team up with reliable suppliers.
Of course, nothing can stop us from opening an online store on our own. However, if we’re looking to start earning money quickly but don’t have the means to handle shipping, inventory, and customer support ourselves, dropshipping is a solid choice. Our customers will never know that we’re not the ones who are managing their products, anyway.
Besides, dropshipping is a fantastic side business for those who cannot commit to having an online store full time. Although it looks simple at first glance, having an online store requires a lot of work. The initial investment may be too much for some people as well.
With dropshipping, though, we don’t have to go into debt and wait for months and months until we start earning money. We can slowly grow our business with proper advertising, a solid niche (one that isn’t super-represented on the market), and a reliable supplier.
And if at some point we do decide to make it a full-time thing, we won’t have a hard time transitioning into it. By then, we will have already learned everything about selling stuff online and become true experts at cashing in on consumerism!
Most of us are willing to pay for premium content if it allows us to get ahead of everyone else. That’s why membership websites are so popular these days; people are actually willing to pay for exclusive access to quality content.
The keyword here is “quality,” of course. If we want to start a membership website, we do have to keep in mind that our audience isn’t dumb. It won’t want to pay for something that can be easily found online for free. That’s why, before even considering monetizing this idea, we have to think of something that would be of value to our users.
The best part about membership websites is that we don’t have to rely on advertising to earn an income. We may be able to incorporate some other monetization methods. However, the bulk of the revenue will come from monthly or yearly fees.
And we don’t even have to try that hard to set up a membership website. Since the idea has been around for a while, there are various membership plugins we can opt for that will basically do all the work for us. In the beginning, to create a gated online community that needs to pay a fee to gain access to exclusive, valuable content, we will need a great website, quality content that is worth the price, and a plugin like MemberPress.
Now, this is one of those website ideas that could help us turn a great profit. Alternatively, it could remain a small side hustle forever.
Service websites are, by definition, sites where we can advertise our skills and earn money by taking advantage of those to provide customers with certain services. As such, depending on our future plans, we may never earn the big bucks through one. There’s always a possibility to achieve great success with it, though!
Essentially, service websites are rather straightforward. The initial investment is pretty low; we’ll basically need a landing page (WordPress is, once again, a solid option), hosting, a domain name, and some quality content (pricing lists would help too!). We could write the content ourselves or outsource it to a professional copywriter.
Either way, the point of the website is to advertise our services to potential clients. We have to show how we could help them with their own ventures. Unlike an online store or an affiliate blog, we are the product here; clients can buy our time and expertise in exchange for money. Thus, service websites come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to monetize practically any of our skills.
If blogging our way to a solid profit isn’t exactly up our alley, we can start a podcast instead. As one of the most popular website ideas right now, podcasts are a monetization gold mine. That is, if we know how to play our cards right.
Now, of course, unlike a blog, where we’d write and publish posts according to a set schedule, a podcast requires us to join a specific (and exciting niche), think of episode topics, and actually record ourselves speaking our mind. It basically means that we will have to somehow charm our listeners with our voice only. That may prove a bit difficult for those who are used to charming their way through life with their looks (they should start a YouTube channel instead!).
Still, creating a podcast website itself isn’t too challenging. We will need a website (or even a blog) where people can come and check out our latest episodes, as well as learn more about us. To record the episodes, we will need the right equipment. Since these will be mostly large audio files, a media hosting service like Blubrry is recommended too.
But where’s the money, you may ask? Well, since podcasts are so popular nowadays, once you build a solid following, you can ask for sponsorships. Alternatively, you can create content around some of the services and products your listeners would be interested in. Just remember to choose them wisely — you don’t want to lose your audience’s trust!
Do you love giving your opinion on stuff and influencing others? You could show off your writing skills, charm, and expertise by creating a review website.
Similarly to an affiliate blog, review websites can also be used in combination with affiliate programs. However, we don’t have to stop there or make them affiliate exclusive. Some review writers turn a sizable profit by publishing paid reviews and showing ads as well.
In a way, managing a review website is mostly blogging. Still, we will be giving our opinion about specific products and recommending them to our audience. Thus, our reputation will always be on the line and can easily make or break our success.
Because of all this, we do recommend carefully considering which niche you choose for your review website. It shouldn’t be too competitive, and you should also be somewhat familiar with it (or better yet, a true expert!).
Additionally, keep in mind that the whole point of the website is to help users reach a buying decision. Thus, you should be a keen writer who knows how to use the power of the written word to influence others. You ought to not only explain all the pros and cons of certain products but gain the readers’ trust along the way too.
And finally, in case none of these website ideas really stick with us, but we are actually pretty good at creating and managing successful sites — we can always sell them. Yes, you read that right; there are actually people out there who are willing to pay for sites that have a proven track record (a few years’ worth of provable income and history) and can continue to turn a profit even after the sale.
Granted, not many people will decide to create a website, nurture it like a baby, and sell it to the highest bidder in a few years. But sometimes, that’s how life pans out. It’s perfectly normal to stop being passionate about a certain idea or topic after a few years. However, instead of losing our investment by abandoning the site, we can actually sell it to those who would love to continue growing it.
Of course, potential buyers will have to verify all the information. There’s also a chance we won’t even be able to find the right buyer as quickly as we’d like. Affiliate blogs and online stores are the most sought-after commodities today.
Luckily, we can rely on websites like Flippa and Empire Flippers to find people interested in our legacy. And hey, these sites should prove useful if we want to buy an online business instead of starting our own!
Do some of these website ideas speak to you on a deeper level? We believe that each one has the potential of growing into a wonderful, and most importantly, lucrative side business. Most of them aren’t that difficult to implement or pursue. Besides, the initial investment required is usually low enough not to send us into debt.
Just keep in mind that you cannot simply set up an online side business and expect it to make you money without any effort on your part. The good news, though, is that most of these website ideas don’t require a considerable time sacrifice. By investing just a couple of hours into it every day, your online side hustle can actually become a reliable income stream without taking over your whole life!