Your First Website Doesn't Have To Be A Home Run

Last Update: February 20, 2018

Image: Working from Pismo Beach over President's Day weekend!

As a new member, it can feel like you're under a lot of pressure to "make money fast" or at least prove to yourself that your WA membership is worth the cost. Why am I spending $49/month if I'm not making money yet? I need to make sure I'm not wasting my time or money here!

While I can sympathize, since was in your position back in 2010 when I joined, I also have some new perspectives after almost 8 years of membership.

One essential piece of advice I learned from my first couple months inside the community is that your first website doesn't have to be a "home run".

  • You don't have to pick the "best niche"
  • You don't have to build a website that will last the rest of your life
  • You don't have to make money with your first business

It's OK To Fail!

I've covered this previously with my post: 5 Failed Websites From Nathaniell but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years I've owned 100+ domains and had 60+ active websites going at one time.

Was it worth it to have that many? No. I'm narrowing it down each year and currently work on just 3 websites.

However, the experiences I gained from failing so many times have been worth the effort. Now I know a lot of what NOT to do, and can dole out advice based on personal experience instead of just repeating what other say. So overall, the many failures of my newbie errors were worth it.

You Can Always Restart

Doing work wrong then having to redo it sucks. It would be a terrible, sinking feeling to work on a website for 3 months, then figure out you don't really like the niche any more or you were making some grave mistakes along the way. Having to "restart" after 3 months of work would make it seem like you just wasted 90 days and $147 dollars (WA membership cost for 3 months).

However, nothing is ever wasted! Here's a blast from the past (2013 post): In Learning, No Time Is Wasted (Tip #3).

Consider this: What took you 3 months the first time around will now take you only 1 months. Next time? 1 week. Now you're a professional WordPress website manager! Oh, and you're also an SEO expert. Oh, and you're also a content marketer that can get paid to write articles on places like UpWork.

So although your first website "failed" you succeeded in LEARNING how to build an online business. Plus, you got some in-demand online marketing skills and are on your way to learning more. (Read more: How Much Are Your Online Business Skills Worth?

A Few Months VS A Lifetime!

Let's get back to the common misconception that your first website has to be awesome. Realistically, a few months won't make that much of a difference in your lifetime. It may seem like a long time now, but in 10, 20, 30 years, you won't even think twice about it.

When I start a new challenge, I always ask myself the The 10 Years Question (my own invention!). The idea is that if I failed at this for 10 years but then suddenly became a success would it be worth it?

In other words, if I failed at building a good niche website for a long time but then suddenly became a success and could enjoy the rest of my life as a "success" would it be worth it? For most people, the answer is yes.

Don't look at the near future of making mistakes. Look at the long term future of "getting it".

Don't Feel Pressure

In other words, don't feel pressure to be an instant success with your first website. It quite possibly could just a be a domain that expires next year or a project you laugh at a couple years down the road.

In fact, let's just assume it's going to bomb (it might not). Who cares? The next one will be better. And the next one even better. And so on....

The point is, whether or not your first website makes money isn't important.

What's important is that you are taking the first steps to learning how to build an income generating online business. Take your time, engage in the process, and keep your eye on long term goals (while taking short term action).

Experienced members: Was your first website an instant success?

New members: Were you afraid to start your first website because you thought it would fail?

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SWagner2 Premium
This is a great perspective and one I needed to read at this point in time. The past week or so I feel like I've been wasting my time, but in truth I'm still learning new things every day so it's not been a waste at all. However, patience has never been one of my strong points. :^/

I do feel like my first website will not be a great moneymaker, but I have learned a lot in the building of it and I'm not going to abandon it. I am on the verge of starting a new one though, using everything I've learned up to this point. And hopefully it's much easier to monetize than the first one.
nathaniell Premium
Even if it's not a "great" money maker, the lessons you learn practicing on it can influence how much money you make next time around. OR, you can just update the site later on when you have more experience and knowledge, to make it a better money-making venture!
Shane829 Premium
Hey, your post really made sense, my fears are all summed up in the fact that I want to and need to be successful now. LOL. I know, and I get it.

I started with several niches, but, ultimately I picked a niche that I am very knowledgeable about and have maintained interest in for over 19 years. Both a hobby and a passion. So, the experience and knowledge is there. Maybe I should have picked a "disposable" niche first.

I love talking and teaching the ins and outs of it all, and think because of that, (hopefully) it will be profitable, and if not, I don't imagine I will ever trash it because of the passion I have for the subject.

I think I've spent too much time, at this point, trying to make my first post perfect. I have researched almost every keyword associated with it and have actually narrowed down my first 20+ posts in the process.

I have even gone through the first three courses, learned all the topics, yet still have not completed my first post. I want it to be perfectly understandable and informative for my readers. My perfectionist mentality is holding me back

I've got so much knowledge on the topic, so why can I not just complete the post? You are right. Fear of failure.

I am sure that I can get over my own anxieties, and move forward. I just need need to do it, learn from my mistakes and do it better with each and every post or website moving forward. At least I will be moving forward.

Thanks for this, maybe now I can get past my own comfort zone and just get it done so I can keep learning from everyone here at WA.
nathaniell Premium
Even if your website doesn't "sell" anything, if you can get traffic, you can make money. Plus, if you have a passion for the topic then there's other people that do too. ANY website can make money! As you progress with your projects, listen to Jay's webinars, and talk with other members you'll really start to see how every website has multiple avenues of income, so I think all of your businesses currently have awesome potential.
Shane829 Premium
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I know i will get there with all that WA and everyone here has to offer.
skmorrow Premium
Well said. I keep reminding myself of this all the time. Five years from now where will I be if I do nothing at all? I would rather try (and fail) and learn something than do nothing. I have learned a lot, and still have a lot more to learn.

I recently had to tell myself to slow down, this isn't a race. It is difficult sometimes when you read all the success stories. I think "why not me?" But I keep plugging along, and am determined to make this work.

Thank you for posting this :)
nathaniell Premium
I definitely get caught up in wanting to rush everything. It certainly can force you to produce faster results, but you also end up with a feeling of always being behind. It's nice to slow down once in a while, like you see me doing in the photo at the top of the page!
GaryJr Premium
I actually thought my first website (niche site) would be a success. It's on the back burner now. I haven't worked on it in about a year. Lately, I have considered going back to it since traffic has been increasing for some reason.

I've been working on my second site (promoting WA) for about a year now. Still hoping it will be successful. I've gotten a few referrals, but no one has completed their account set up.

Thanks for the great post, Nathaniell
nathaniell Premium
It's crazy that sometimes a website stewing for a year with no work can pick up momentum. Just shows you how quality content rises to the top, and the SERPs change often enough to give everyone a chance!
PMindra Premium
Great post Nathaniell.
I have been here since May, 2016 and loving it.

My first published site was an 'information only' site that was geared toward gathering 'qualified' leads. It continues to do well.

I'm working now on sites that will provide cash-flow. I am a very patient man when it comes to new technology (all this is very new to me.) I have set long-term goals that by the end of my fourth year here, I will be able to compete at a very high level on the Internet.

Sharing experiences as you have done will really help many here.

Thank you.
nathaniell Premium
Glad to hear your first website did well for you Paul!