Do Simple Websites Make More Money?

Last Update: October 29, 2018

I was going over my day-to-day routine last week, and thought about how it compared to previous years. In 2018, I spent a lot more time managing. This was my goal for 2018, so I was a success in that.

However, my income did not increase exponentially as I thought. In my mind, if I spend more time thinking and had other people do the work, then I could figure out a system which would make me rich in no time.

Well, things didn't turn out that way.

I'm making money money than last year, but my daily tasks are significantly more complicated than back in 2010/2011.

Back in the day, all I did was writing articles.

I pounded them out, key by key, for many hours each day. That was basically it. Every once in a while I'd spend a couple hours trying to figure out things like how to upload a plugin, or how to embed a video, but mostly I was just researching and writing.

These days, I'm doing more writer management, and try to invent strategies to leverage my traffic to its fullest. Plus, I have to deal with things like bookeeping, taxes, and other business related tasks.

Since I'm hiring out a lot of the work I previously did myself, I have to spend money to pay people do to it!

So although I am making more money, I'm also spending more money too! That of course cuts into profits, so now I have to balance my income/expenses to ensure I get a net profit I'm happy with.

Well, the grass is always greener.

I thought back to the simpler days when I just kept 100% of what I earned.

I didn't hire any writers. I didn't have any complex plugins. I didn't have an email list or an autoresponder. It was a simpler time!

Do Simpler Website Make More Money?

Yes and no.

Yes, in the sense that you keep everything you earn. You don't have to think about much other than writing good content for your audience, and then insert some affiliate links when appropriate.

It's a simple business model. It works. You can make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year just doing this (I've done it myself, and seen it done over and over again over the past 8 years).

However, it also means you have to do everything yourself. Just trying to add some Schema stars to your review could take you two weeks to figure things out! You may hit a ceiling this way, because you only have so much time in the day.

In other words, simple websites can make a ton of money, but you may hit a wall at some point.

On the other hand, with bigger websites, especially those where you employ multiple freelancers to help you do writing, coding, advertising, and other general content creation tasks, you can leverage other people's time.

Hire people to work while you sleep, and then you can gain a 24-hour work day. Better yet, get more people and fit more than 24 hours of work into a day.

You can grow much bigger this way, and much faster! However, you also have to pay for this work to be done, so your net income might not follow all this growth. It's real easy to waste money of frivilous projects that produce no income for you.

And guess what - your freelancers still get paid, even if you don't!

Final Thoughts

Lots of newbies have the impression that they need to look like the competitors to make money. They want flashy sliders, interactive widgets, and cool graphics. The think that the "big guys" make the most money, so they want to imitate them.

What they don't realize is that very often there's a staff of people doing all that in the background, and you don't know for sure how much those websites are earning. They look nice, but after everything is said and done, are they really that more profitable than a simple blog?

You can make awesome money with just a simple website with interesting articles to read. You don't need to make it super complicated for flashy to be successful and make money online.

$200,000 GROSS - $80,000 EXPENSES = $120,000 NET

$130,000 GROSS - $10,000 EXPENSES - $120,000 NET

$130,000 GROSS - $500 EXPENSES - $129,500 NET

So who's "making" the most money in these examples? It depends on what your goals are!

You could potentially sell the #1 website for more, but the #3 website has the most net profit for the owner.

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NWTDennis Premium
It might make sense to get some thoughts from your Tax person. Which of the 3 scenarios above make more sense from an income tax point of view.

As you pointed out, scaling your business changed your work day. You became more a "manager" of your business. So what do you personally prefer doing?

I've seen comments from new members saying their goals are to build a "passive income" business. I'm not sure that Affiliate Marketing qualifies as a passive income business model.

What do you think Nathaniell?
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nathaniell Premium
Affiliate marketing isn't really "passive" in the literal sense. Passive stuff would be stocks that pay dividends, real estate with a property manager, bonds, etc things that pay with zero work.

You COULD build a passive affiliate business, as long as you have other people doing the work. In my case, I'd need to hire a project manager on top of all my writers!

I prefer to write, but I feel like I can't scale with writing alone. I feel like I need to outsource certain tasks to make things move faster and bigger.
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NWTDennis Premium
I'm a retired engineer with an MBA and project management is where I spent most of my career. Have you hired your Project Mgr yet?
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cld111 Premium
These are some things to think about for the future. For now, I'm enjoying writing my own articles.

I'm not sure how someone could write the same way I do anyway? How do they write with the same tone? (It's a question I asked Jerry that I hope he addresses in his training.)

Thanks for this, and it will definitely be something on my mind as I grow.

- Christina
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nathaniell Premium
Exactly. Embrace your unique style! Outsourcing can remove that "human" element, even though freelancers are human too LOL
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Nancy29 Premium
Thanks for writing this. I've been thinking about how many "bells and whistles" I want to add on to my site. At this point, I really want to keep it very simple. Thanks for the assurance that I can make good money, but not become a slave to my site.
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Zarina Premium
Good stuff as always, Nathaniell. That's what I was wondering too lately. I guess it's easier if you enjoy doing the work but I would definitely prefer to have a team in the future, when I am ready.

At first it's hard to let go of control when you delegate stuff but it definitely makes life easier.
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littlemama Premium
Thanks for this post Nathaniell! What have you decided for yourself? What do you like better? Will you go back to writing yourself or continue to manage other writers and just outsource?

I haven't had much luck with writers, even spending A LOT of money, making me think it's not worth it.
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Zarina Premium
I've been working with Dom's team, a bit more expensive than regular freelance writers but I guess they are better than others. Though I can't help but edit stuff to my taste lol.

Also, I noticed it's important to have writers who're familiar with the niche. That's the reason why I found a new writer who's familiar with photography (and SEO and copywriting). Will see how she is in practice in near future.

Jerry hired a full-time writer and as far as I know he planned to create a tutorial on it. Can't wait to read it!

@Nathaniell - I am also curious what you prefer more/better, doing the work yourself or outsourcing?
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littlemama Premium
Well I'm going to be using him (Dom) next, I was paying even more than his Premium rates and I end up rewriting 90% of the freaking article on some of them but most I have to edit myself heavily for the amount I pay.

I don't know if it's because I have a certain tone I like (MINE! LOL) and think everyone else is boring or I don't have enough patience to "train" people on how I'd like to write. But, when I pay so much money, I don't think I should need to train or edit much.

I do agree about getting the right specialty but come on, I'm not asking anyone to write about rockets or science stuff. It's just surprising whether I use cheap or expensive, I haven't experienced much I like.

Yeah interested in Jerry's course, whenever that's ready but he won't be telling us where exactly he got his hired help from.
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PhilBr Premium
How much does Dom charge for his premium rates for every 1000 words?
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littlemama Premium
You can ask him yourself DomW. You're pretty new here, I would suggest you learn how to write on your own here first or else you wouldn't know if the content you buy is written well or not, or if the writer is using keywords correctly, etc.
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PhilBr Premium
Yes, you're right.
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Zarina Premium
Ouch! That definitely sucks.

I think you'll have a pleasant experience with Dom's team. You can always ask them to do things your way and they'll take notes of it (for example, I don't like using "tags" in AIO SEO section, so they stopped doing it upon my request).

In my experience, the articles written for my WA site were a lot better than for photography site (again probably because writers couldn't really talk about specific details without pretty heavily relying on other photography sources).

And yeah, I totally understand about feeling like there's no ME voice xD That's what I struggle with as well.

I am curious how your experience with Dom's team will be! Let me know ;)
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Hollshope Premium
This is a great post and I particularly love the figures at the end. Puts the money aspect into perspective whether you have a team or are a solopreneur.

Although, it might be nice to have enough money to hire writers and such, in the end for me, my brain craves simplicity!
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PotPieGirl Premium
I *LOVE* this post! Back in the day, I had quite a few people doing work for me. While it was pretty darn awesome to NOT have to do that work myself, it was also extra stressful for me because I felt very responsible for my 'others'. Yes, my work load was lighter in one way, but in other ways, it was heavier (and more stressful). I have found, for ME, that less moving parts is the best way to roll AND truly enjoy what I do.

You said it best:

"You can make awesome money with just a simple website with interesting articles to read. You don't need to make it super complicated or flashy to be successful and make money online."

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl
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magistudios Premium
Great reply Jennifer!

P.S. This comment was outsourced. lol
;)
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PotPieGirl Premium
- Jennifer says Thank You!

Sincerely,
PotPieGirl's Imaginary Friend =)
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nathaniell Premium
Interesting to hear you had a similar experience to me Jennifer!
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nathaniell Premium
When are you going to outsource a flunky to run your webinars then just green-screen in your face?
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SondraM Premium
Thanks for sharing the thought provoking post. I suppose it comes down to a each persons goals. Many people are happy and successful working alone. Others are happy and successful growing a business that requires employees. The financially wealthiest help the most people and have teams of employees to help them.

Yet some of the happiest, least stressed people may utilize a simple websites with simple business structures.
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sigauke Premium
Great post Nathaniel, I had always questioned myself most of the time if my simple website will produce any result. Its great to hear such words of encouragement. I am using a theme that can be upgraded to a premium, but as things stand, I cannot afford the premium.
I have seen great improvement in traffic and just hope it will continue with that trend.
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davehayes Premium
I can relate to this great post Nathaniell, one of my bug bears online is the amount of poor websites that are put up, through the WA training we can make them better, and when we know what and how to make them better, then thats great, we earn the monue that way

In terms of traffic leveraging, I don't invent ways for that, I have used a stupidly simple system to do that for absolute years and it pays nicely, some of it weekly, some of it monthly, but it always pays and it build my list.

Not sure about wanting to sell websites, but see what you are talking anout
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nathaniell Premium
Glad to hear that simplicity is working for you Dave.
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Roybretton Premium
Thank you for your excellent blog post-Nathanial, I always enjoy reading them and hear your success stories, fantastic!

I have always been one of these people who thinks that simple is best, I know that sometimes we have to do things to move forward, but I very much hear what you are saying. I've seen many businesses try and expand and they end up going back to where they were or even losing everything, sadly. However, there is a balance in getting it right.

Enjoy your day.

Roy
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nathaniell Premium
Complicated stuff CAN work, and sometimes it is better. But most of the time, simple is just as good especially for newbies.
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Roybretton Premium
Well said Nathanial, I hear you!

Have a great weekend.

Roy
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MAXINEG Premium
The more you outsource the less you make. Doing all the work by yourself is harder, but it pays off in the end. At least, that's how I see it. I could me wrong
Usually, when people outsource, they do it for bigger money that a person with a simple website could pull in. If the outsourcer have to pay 80.000 in expenses they should be pulling in way more than 200 grand.
Peace
Maxine
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TDomena Premium
I think the profit fluctuation happens as a part of growing pains, but you can continue to scale and eventually, you'll figure out how to increase your profit margins. Being a solopreneur isn't a good long term plan because you don't have backup. Why diversify in money and not in time? Hiring is a way of diversifying in time and productivity.
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Jayday500 Premium
Very interesting Nathaniell.
I though that is a good way to look at things. I was, at one point thinking about outsourcing so I could focus on more things but I found out just like you that it takes money to make money and I haven't even scratch the surface yet on the monetization.

So your right it's best to just do it yourself and build it up so it can create more options in the future.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic and great success to your business.
Jerald
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nathaniell Premium
I recommend waiting until you have the spare cash or your website is generating revenue to start outsourcing!
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AlexEvans Premium
Hi Nathaniel, I really like your thinking, and enjoyed reading your post, at the end of the day at some point offline business will meet online business, there are overheads and with sales at some point there is a break-even point and then a profit, they are the same at the end of the day.

I guess it can be about where our heads are, sitting on a beach
in Chiang Mai, or running and evolving that full-on business model.

Real food for thought, and thanks for the insight, my take home is that things are always changing and by measuring that change we have a way to work out " our" best thing to do.
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deelilah Premium
Nathaniell, I enjoyed this article. There are upsides and downsides to every argument, aren't there? I take most of it with a grain of salt, and then decide which approach will cause me the least frustration and the most satisfaction--and hope in the long run, will make the most money.
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SamiWilliams Premium
Excellent food for thought1
Sami
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smartketeer Premium
Excellent, food-for-thought article Nathaniel!

Thank you!

And is really hard to include the time factor in the above equation ...

($130,000 GROSS - $500 EXPENSES) - INVESTED TIME = $129,500 NET - ???
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nathaniell Premium
Yeah, I didn't even consider time!
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FKelso Premium
Interesting points in your article...I guess I will just stay small and simple, as I don't want to hire anyone at present. Maybe, if the site makes lots of money...right now, just trying to learn enough to get things going.
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Alicia26 Premium
just found your website the other day googling some stuff....great info!
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Imageguy55 Premium
It’s interesting that you did alll the writing yourself in the beginning. Now you are hiring out. My take is if you are making the same money less work then ok. But it also seems that other responsibilities crop up as grow your business. So much for passive income. The big question is it depends what you are looking for and how you define success. This post gives a good reason to have well defined financial goals. Thanks for sharing. Now I have to get writing
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anusuya1 Premium
Very good info. Thank you.
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sdawson Premium
Very interesting information. - shirley
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ARJUN20 Premium
Nice Inspirational Post
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Bimby Premium
Excellent! Thanks for sharing.
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iJared Premium
Nice Numbers...
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