This is the question that every new internet entrepreneur will ask himself or herself. Starting out is the most difficult phase of any online business, especially for someone that's new to internet marketing, and is probably very skeptical as to whether or not it's ‘legit'.
After all, if you really can make some money online, why isn't everyone doing it?
Then, anyone who takes the leap and starts doing it is going to set their mind on a specific time period, after which, they will decide that it's all a scam.
What's your time horizon?
1 year or more?
And once you reach that limit (with no profit or very little profit), you probably start to questions yourself and whatever program you're following/learning from.
Am I doing something wrong?
Is this program a scam?
Is there a better system out there?
I know, because I've been there. Heck, I still ask myself these questions to this day!
But the truth of the matter is that there is not specific amount of time that it will take to make money from your website. Your businesses profitability is going to depend on a number of factors. Here are some two you need to consider when setting concrete goals and getting your expectations in check.
1) How much traffic are you getting to your website?
Less than ten visitors a day is going to be difficult to build an entire business from. Take a look at what keywords you are ranking for, and what people are searching for when they land on your site. Are they being referred there by an article or other website?
If you have no idea how many visitors you have or where they are coming from, you need to know this. Install Google Analytics and start tracking EVERYTHING.
2) What are your conversions telling you?
Again, this is something to do with tracking. If you are getting traffic to your website but not making sales, there is something wrong. Are visitors coming to your site for the wrong reason? Are you links placed in a not-optimized location or are they broken?
There are many things you can change about HOW you promote your products/services as well. Are you selling too hard? Maybe your sales approach is not aggressive enough. There are entire books and tons of blog posts about this so I won't go into it, but definitely take a long look at the content of your website.
What it all means
If you are not getting traffic, then get some. If you are not converting visitors to sales, make some changes.
Back to the question at hand
So how long does it take to make money online?
This is going to depend on how long it takes you to get traffic to your website. Technically, if you set up a website in 1 day and get a really good keyword you could get ranked in a week or so. Add an affiliate program and product you're familiar with, plus the fact that you're familiar all the guts of your website and can customize it they way you like, you could be making money in a month or so.
I basically created a carbon copy of a successful website I made half a year back, targeting similar keywords. I made my first sale in less than a month. It was never very profitable on a the long term (it's been going for about 2 years now), but the point is that I made money in less than a month.
If you're just starting out, or starting in a new niche you're unfamiliar with, I would say that 3-6 months is a reasonable amount of time to expect to make your first sale or two. That is assuming that you are working on your site or building your knowledge daily (at least 5 days a week for an hour or more).
I've seen guys start making sales in a month, or even less, but that's the exception, not the rule.
If you can't keep up that kind of schedule, no worries. Take it easy, but also expand your time horizon.
I think that a relaxed effort to building a site could see sales after 6 months to a year, depending on your niche and how ‘natural' online marketing comes to you.
Do you have some experience with internet marketing or online business? What's the fastest you've taken a website from startup to profit? Let us know in the comments below!
Starting out and frustrated? How long have you been working on your site and are still seeing no profit? Vent below!