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5 Passive Income Website Ideas You Can Start Today

Create a passive income website for income insurance to pay the bills no matter what happens!

More than 30 million Americans were pushed out of work in less than two months this year. We went from just three-in-100 people being out of a job to one-in-five and unemployment is still rising.

Building a stream of passive income used to be about making more money, becoming financially independent and retiring early. Now passive income is about creating that income insurance to pay the bills no matter what!

Fortunately, it’s never been easier to set up a source of passive income. Even with no computer skills, you can have a website up in less than 15 minutes. With less than a couple weeks of part-time work on your passive income idea, you can be making money every month and you’ll be able to keep that cash flowing with very little work.

Here are five passive income website ideas, ranked from least to most income. Now before you just scroll down to the last one expecting to make the most money, understand that they’re also ranked from least to most work to setup. That said, any of these ideas can be started with no experience and be up-and-running in less than a few hours.

I’ll detail how to get started in each of these passive income ideas but won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty about starting a website. For that, we’ve already got a free five-video guide that will walk you step-by-step through starting a website. Best yet, you’ll find a special offer for web hosting that’s the best deal anywhere.

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Affiliate Websites for Passive Income

These first two websites run on the idea of affiliate marketing, linking to someone else’s product on another website and getting a commission. It’s one of the easiest ways to create passive income because as long as your website gets visitors, you’ll always have people clicking over to the product and you’ll always be making sales.

I’ve used affiliate marketing as part of my online business since 2015 and have made over $100,000 on commissions. That’s about 25% of my total business income!

Starting an Amazon Affiliate website is the easiest of the two and can make just as much money. You’ll create a normal blog website with a few pages and post to it once a week or more. In each post, you want to look for related product ideas from Amazon. This might be books that give the reader more information on the topic or products they can buy.

For example, in any post about growing a YouTube channel, I would talk about my book “Crushing YouTube: How to Start a YouTube Channel and Make Money”

You then link to the book or product so readers can click through and check it out, like I did above with my YouTube book.

There are pros and cons to this kind of passive income website. Some of the advantages include,

  • The upside is that anyone clicking on your link to Amazon will net you a commission on ANYTHING they buy over the next 24 hours. They don’t have to buy the product you linked to, and you’ll earn a commission on anything they purchase.
  • Amazon is a trusted website and super-easy to buy something. People know Amazon and they’ll surf the site for hours after clicking your link, buying all kinds of stuff.
  • You can earn bonus commissions on Prime trial signups and other deals like an Audible membership.

The downside is that Amazon can change the terms on your commissions anytime it likes…and it often does. Amazon recently decreased the commission rate it pays affiliates. For example, you’ll earn 10% on any sales of luxury beauty products but just 1% on video games.

Passive Income Website Ideas - Amazon Affiliates
Passive Income Website Ideas – Amazon Affiliates

Even with the lower commissions, you can still make a lot of money as an Amazon affiliate. I’ve seen friends make over $10,000 a month and more during busy months like November and December. You’re posting articles about topics you enjoy talking about so it’s really just a matter of talking with your website visitors and referencing helpful products.

Some ways to make the most money on this passive income idea include,

  • Do review posts where you mention multiple books or products. This gives people a choice and makes it more likely they’ll find something they want to buy.
  • Do posts referencing popular or trending products. You want to get them to click through, even if they don’t buy the product because you’ll get a commission on anything they buy after clicking your link.
  • Don’t worry too much about grammar and writing the perfect post. You’re just trying to have a conversation with your readers and get out at least one post a week.

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Another type of Affiliate Marketing website is referencing other third-party products or deals. This is basically the same kind of website except you’re not linking to Amazon but to other business websites. You can find affiliate partnerships directly through a company or (more often) through an affiliate network like CJ or Share-a-Sale.

Whereas an Amazon affiliate site would be much more about general products or ideas, this type of passive income website is usually a little more specific. You want to talk more narrowly around a particular topic and group of products. This will help you build up an authority in the subject and get more traffic from Google search.

For example, one of my blogs is specifically about managing debt and using loans responsibly. That gives me the opportunity to talk about debt consolidation and other loan providers, to which I can link to in the article.

Advantages of this type of income idea include,

  • Higher payouts – Most affiliate partnerships will pay you between $25 to $150 per customer you refer. For that same $25 commission on Amazon, you’d need someone to buy over $800 in products on the site!
  • Easier to manage – you can keep a list of affiliates you work with and write posts related to that subject.

There are some drawbacks to this type of website though,

  • It’s more difficult to make a sale. You’ll need more website traffic for each sale because people might not be as familiar with the product as they are with buying on Amazon.
  • Affiliates drop their programs. Amazon will always be around and will always have products you can promote. Third-party affiliates on the other hand drop their programs frequently so you’ll need to find someone else to promote.

Starting a Blog for Passive Income

These next two types of passive income website are more the traditional blog but can make more money than you would think. I started three blogs in 2014 and have made over $400,000 just in the last six years, with $80,000 of that just in the last four months.

Online Income through March 2020
Online Income through March 2020

A sponsored blog is one where you sell advertising space or sponsored posts to businesses. You create weekly posts just like with the affiliate websites but you’re not mentioning or referencing specific products with each post. You build up the traffic to your site and let the advertisers come to you.

There are two ways to make money with this type of website. Sponsored posts are entire articles with the intent of guiding a visitor to click through a link and buy a product. The sponsor can write the article or pay you a fee for writing as well as the base sponsorship fee which is usually between $100 to $500 per post.

You can also offer sponsored links, which would be similar to the affiliate idea. The sponsor would pay you a base fee, again usually from $100 to $500, and you would integrate their product into one of your posts and add a link. You wouldn’t get a commission on any sales but would get that upfront money.

Advantages of sponsored blogs include,

  • Money upfront from sponsors instead of having to wait for commissions.
  • Having sponsors come to you instead of always looking for new affiliates.
  • Not having to rely on affiliate reporting – you get paid up front no matter how many sales the sponsor makes.

The disadvantages of this type of website include,

  • That base fee is all you make, even if a post gets millions of visitors and the sponsor makes tens of thousands in sales.
  • You generally need more traffic to this type of website which means posting more frequently. Sponsors only want to pay upfront if they know they’ll make enough sales to make it worth-while.

I like this type of income website though because it gives me more freedom to talk about what I want. I don’t have to worry about how many affiliate partners are available in the topic and can just focus on building a website that gets visitors.

Creating an eCommerce website is the next step in all of this and where you’ll make the most money. Up until now, we’ve been selling other businesses’ products through links in posts. In this type of website, you sell your own products and KEEP ALL THE PROFITS!

This is more similar to the affiliate marketing websites but also has elements of the content blog. You’re posting once or twice a week about a topic, a topic in which you just happen to offer product solutions or services. This might be a book, consulting or a physical product.

For example, I’ve self-published 12 books over the last five years and have made over $93,000 by mentioning and linking to the books. More recently, I’ve created online courses and have made over $12,400 by linking them in posts.

You can make a lot more money on this type of website because you keep all the profits. Even that best affiliate category on Amazon only gives you 10% of the sale and most affiliates pay around 25% of the sale at most. With your own products, you’ll always get 100% of the sale on that product.

You’ll also always know that you have something to sell and create that passive income. You create a product once and can sell it whenever you like. You don’t have to worry about an affiliate partner dropping their program or when Amazon is going to change their rates again.

Of course, for this type of website to create that passive income, you have to create a product first. It takes time to write a book or build a product so a lot of people start out with one of the other income website ideas while they’re creating their product.

What you’ll notice in a lot of these ideas is they’re not necessarily an either-or choice. I link to affiliate products through my blogs as well as get sponsors and sell my own products. You can certainly focus on just one income source and do very well with any of these. Creating multiple income streams though will help you make the most money possible and the most stable cash flow.

Amazon FBA as a Passive Income Business

Now for the big time! This next idea is one of the best opportunities of the 21st century but it will take more work and a little startup money. Give it a try though and you can make tens of thousands a month!

Starting an Amazon FBA site is going to be more like starting a traditional business, except online. You plan the product you want to sell and contact a manufacturer to make it. You create a logo and packaging, then buy an initial shipment of the product.

This is where Amazon FBA splits from the traditional business model though. With FBA, your manufacturer ships directly to Amazon warehouses. You have an Amazon page to list the product and the website ships to customers directly.

You might order a test copy to check for quality first but after that, you never have to see the product. You just keep ordering from the manufacturer to keep your supplies stocked at Amazon.

Though you have that page on Amazon to market your product, the best way to run this type of business is with a separate blog as well. This is going to be similar to the eCommerce blog where you write about a topic and link to your own products, except here you are going to link to your product on Amazon. It’s the best of both worlds because you get control of your own blog and get more sales because people trust Amazon.

This is the most time-intensive and costly income business to start. You’ll need to plan your product and everything that goes into it. You’ll test out manufacturers, usually through a network like Alibaba, and make sure you’ve always got product to sell from the Amazon warehouse. How much it costs to get started will depend on your product but I’ve seen most people start with between $3,000 to $6,000 for that initial order of product.

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Creating a passive income website can still be about becoming rich and retiring early but it’s even more important as a way to become financially independent from your job. Even a small website can create enough monthly income that you don’t have to worry about being laid off or furloughed. Create that cash flow you need and get out from under the 9-to-5 risks.

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