Making money through websites has become increasingly popular, but a lot of people struggle with the concept and honestly, sometimes it really can seem confusing.
By far, the absolute best place to start with making money online is niche sites.
Niche sites are fun, because they can have a pretty narrow focus, and this makes them easier to get started.
Niche sites come in every flavor imaginable, but one of the most interesting things about them is that they can be used to develop fun hobbies that make money.
Specifically, you can make a niche site that is tailored around a specific hobby and then generate money from that hobby site.
A hobby site is actually a fantastic place for someone to start making money online and it is a bit easier than other types of niche sites.
What’s Special about Hobby Sites?
Hobby sites are very well suited for internet marketing because they already have their own audience.
By definition, any hobby will have a number of people who are prepared to spend money simply for entertainment or the experience.
This is an amazing audience to tap into because they already have an inclination to buy.
In fact, people frequently browse hobby websites looking for inspiration and products to support their hobby.
With a hobby site, it’s much easier to find keywords associated with intent to buy.
You also have the advantage of dealing with an audience that is interested and passionate about what your site is on.
This is so much easier than trying to convince someone to buy a product when they just came to the site for a little bit of information.
A hobby site is also fantastic because it gives you the chance to choose your own passion or area of interest.
This is why I say that you can find fun hobbies that make money because many different hobbies can be used to develop profitable hobby websites.
You don’t even have to know anything about a hobby to get started making a website for it.
Some people choose to focus on a new hobby and use the site as a way to learn more about it and track their progress.
This can actually provide a lot of valuable information for readers, which can make the site popular.
Another reason that these sites work so well is that hobbies are experiences.
This is critical for making money.
Think about that one.
You don’t start a hobby because you want to get the most value for money (at least, most of us don’t).
You start a hobby for the fun, the relaxation or the experience.
This means that you buy a product for that hobby, you aren’t always looking for the best value for money.
Ultimately, the experience you get from a hobby product will normally win out over the specific specifications of that product.
In fact, when you are trying to sell a product or service that contributes to an experience, you have an advantage.
This is because it is so difficult for people to compare the intrinsic value of one object to another when the object provides an experience.
For example, specifications can help you decide which is the best computer desk for your needs, but there aren’t any specifications to help you decide what book to buy.
That’s because a book is an experience, rather than just a product.
Even if you found a book that was consistently rated with five stars, you might not like it because your personal tastes are not necessarily the same as everyone else.
A final point about hobby sites is that you get to promote products that are actually decent.
Many niche sites rely on promoting scam products from places like Clickbank or Clicksure.
Often, I’ve seen people promoting products that they would probably never buy themselves.
This is an awful way to make money.
Not only is it unethical, but you are bound to annoy quite a few of your audience members.
With a hobby site, your whole approach is different.
You promote products that you actually use or want to use and these are products that your audience is actually going to like.
If you’re going to make a hobby-based website, odds are you’ll need to actually find a hobby to start off with.
Even if you already have a hobby in mind, it’s a good idea to have a look and see what’s out there and how you can make a profit from them.
There really are a lot of fun hobbies that make money, and you might find something better than what you have in mind.
I suggest taking a piece of paper (or a Word document if you are so inclined) and spending a little time digging through websites to see what you can find.
There are some fantastic lists of hobbies online, such as this one at Squidoo and, of course, all of the information on Wikipedia.
Forums and social media are also fantastic places to find different hobbies and also to get a sense of what people are most interested in.
For example, there are a number of different hobbies forums online where you can find people talking about the hobbies they are interested in.
The comments that they make as well as the number of people in the forum can be an indication of the interest in a given hobby.
Honestly, the best way to figure out hobbies is just to spend a decent amount of time online looking at everything you can.
Sites that cater for all types of people are great places to look, such as Reddit and even WordPress.com.
Odds are you can find quite a bit of inspiration just by doing a bit of digging around.
If you are stuck, here is a short list of some hobbies, including some of the more unusual hobbies out there.
I don’t think you could make a profitable site out of all of them, but they are an indication of just how much variation there is out there.
- Glass working
- Competitive robotics
- Live action roleplaying (LARPing)
- Pole dancing
- Competitive ironing (really, it exists)
- Nail design
- Oak crafts
- Old English crafts
- Woodworking crafts
It’s also worth noting that many hobbies have sub-hobbies or specific variations that have their own following.
For example, cosplay is actually a really big hobby, and for some people this involves designing and creating their own costumes, but for others, the hobby is about dressing up and going to events.
As you can imagine, those are two pretty different audiences (although there is a lot of crossover) and you would target those differently in a website.
A similar thing applies to hiking.
You will find that people differ in the types of trails they like and how long they want to hike for.
You could develop a hobby site for a broad audience, or you could try to narrow it down.
After all, some products would apply to one type of hiking trail much better than another.
Picking a Hobby
Most people tell you to stick to your passions when it comes to picking a hobby to develop a site around.
This is only partly true.
You can make a website on just about any hobby, but there are only some fun hobbies that make money.
So, one of your first steps needs to be figuring out whether the hobby you have in mind would actually make money.
Even if it doesn’t though, this can be a fantastic opportunity to learn a new hobby and to find a new passion.
After all, there is no shortage of options out there.
The key piece of information you need to look at is the audience.
Every hobby will have its own followers and these differ hugely between different hobbies.
You need to be picking a hobby where people are actually likely to spend money.
This largely comes down to the audience.
For example, a middle-aged male probably has more money to spend on a hobby than a teenager (even if the teenager does have an after school job).
You also want to be looking for a hobby where there are actually things to buy.
For example, with rock climbing, there is a decent amount of equipment to consider, and there are also a large number of other items that people might purchase for the hobby, such as the best drink bottle to take climbing or food and liquid for energy while you are rock climbing.
There are also some hobbies that don’t cost much money at all.
Yoga is an example.
Now, you could make a hobby website for yoga, and if you want to, more power to you.
However, you would probably have to get a bit creative about what products you promote and you might have a harder time getting people to actually buy things.
The thing is, if you have a hobby where people expect to buy things, then they will come to your site in that frame of mind, and that will make your job so much easier.
What about Parents?
Now, it’s true that some hobbies teenage hobbies can be somewhat profitable because parents will purchase products for their kids.
However, that’s a whole new topic area and you still wouldn’t want to target a kid or teenage hobby on a hobby site.
The thing is, if parents are going to buying hobby products for their kids, they are going to be looking for completely different information than the kids would themselves.
This means that the parents are probably not going to be interested in a site that goes in-depth into the hobby.
It’s not really a hobby, but an example of this is this site, which focuses on what tablets parents should choose for their kids.
The information on the site is completely different than a hobby site, and this includes articles like this one:
Now, you can certainly make a successful website that targets parents, but that isn’t what we are talking about in this article.
Additionally, targeting parents is a bit harder than making a normal hobby site.
Hobbies to Avoid
There are certainly some hobbies you want to avoid entirely.
Unfortunately for some of you, any hobby that is popular among nerds or geeks is probably something to avoid.
Personally, I don’t like those terms, but it is a good way to get my point across.
For example, computer games seem like a fantastic choice for a site, but there are few reasons why you would want to avoid this one altogether.
One issue is that a lot of people who are into computer games already know how to find the best deals and where to look.
They might go to a website to look at reviews or to weigh up which of two games to get, but they probably wouldn’t purchase from you.
In fact, video game players tend to do a whole lot of window shopping, which isn’t good for making a profit.
There are a lot of adult gamers out there, but there are also many of younger gamers.
This means that much of your audience doesn’t actually have the income to buy many games in the first place.
Many of your audience actually wouldn’t buy the game even if they could afford it, as video games (as well as eBooks, audiobooks, DVDs and computer software) are very commonly pirated.
You’re also dealing with an audience that is very capable of developing their own sites, and many of them have done just that.
With so many sites already out there, you really don’t want to be adding another one to the mix.
A good idea is to avoid audiences who have technical know-how overall.
People like this tend to be very good at finding out their own answers, and they may use your site as a source of information and little more – which isn’t what you want.
Honestly, you are more likely to be effective if you develop a hobby site in an area where there is less competition.
After all, there are a lot of hobbies out there that have dedicated and passionate audiences, but there aren’t many sites that cater to them.
In fact, don’t be scared off by hobbies that seem a little obscure or unusual.
If there is genuine interest in that hobby, then you could potentially become a go-to resource for people in that hobby – particularly as there probably isn’t that much out there.
Working out Audiences
When you are choosing the hobby you are going to focus on, one good trick is to use tools like Google Display planner to find out more about who searches for given topics.
It’s easy to assume that a specific hobby will appeal to a given age group and perhaps gender, but often we find that are assumptions are majorly off-base.
For example, ham radio is a hobby that is often assumed to be male oriented and not so much for young people.
However, Google Display planner reveals an entirely different trend.
Males are the main people searching for this topic, but there is a surprising number of females also interested in the hobby.
This suggests that you probably don’t want to make all of your posts male-oriented.
Knowing exactly who you are making a website for is absolutely critical because otherwise you may miss connecting with some parts of your audience and that can influence profit.
Once you have an idea of what hobby you want to try and make money from, there are a few last things to consider.
Now, for the moment, I am going to assume that you are going to do affiliate marketing with your new site.
I’ve covered this topic in depth elsewhere, but this basically means you link people to products from other companies and earn a commission that way.
Using affiliate marketing is the most effective and reliable way to make money from a hobby site, and personally, it’s the only approach I would recommend.
Now, you might feel like making your own products either now or in the future, and that is fine too.
However, for starting out, affiliate marketing is normally the best way to go, because there is much less hassle and it is pretty easy to set up.
Because of this, you need to check a couple of things about the hobby you have chosen.
Is there a decent amount of products you can focus on?
Hobby sites work best when you are talking about and reviewing a lot of different products, rather than just picking one or two and running with that.
If you pick a hobby that doesn’t have many products associated with it, odds are you will run out of things to write about relatively quickly.
For any hobby, there are a lot of different types of products you can choose.
For example, you might look at products that are directly related to the hobby, like a bow for archery, camera lenses for photography or shoes for running.
However, you can also look at accessories.
These tend to be things that are relevant to the hobby, but you don’t strictly need.
Finally, you can look at products that aren’t directly connected, but you can draw a connection.
For example, you might write an article about how having a decent bicycle is amazingly helpful for rock climbers (I’m not saying that it is – but if you can make that connection, good for you).
If you know your audience and the hobby well, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find many different products for a given hobby, just be careful, because there are some hobbies that don’t have too many products out there.
Are there affiliate programs out there you can use?
This is important when you are looking at fun hobbies that make money because you need good affiliate programs to make a profit.
When it comes to affiliate programs, you are looking for programs that offer good commissions and are also reliable.
Affiliate marketing has really taken off, so there are a lot of different affiliate programs out there.
When you are looking at programs, one thing to keep in mind is threshold.
Some programs will pay you out pretty much instantly, but others will make you reach a certain amount of money in sales before you can withdraw.
This isn’t too much of an issue – but you don’t want to be using multiple different affiliate programs that take this approach.
If you do, it can take quite some time before you make any money from the approach.
For affiliate programs, it’s also worth looking at the quality of the products.
With a hobby site (and many other types of sites), you are trying to develop a relationship with your audience and get them to trust you.
You can’t do that if you are trying to sell them products that aren’t any good.
It’s worth noting that Amazon does offer a pretty decent affiliate program that many people use. Amazon’s program gets a bit of flak because it offers low commission percentages.
However, the site has a good reputation and offers a huge range of different products.
Because of this, many people find that they can make a considerable amount of money being an Amazon affiliate.
Can you write on the topic?
Ranking any website and actually making sales largely relies on making content.
If you are going to get started with any examples of fun hobbies that make money, you have to find something you can write on consistently.
Think about whether you could find enough topics, products and angles to write at least 50 articles on the hobby, potentially even more. If that would be a struggle, then you’ve probably got the wrong hobby.
Building a Site
People often get scared off by the concept of creating their own site.
Not so long ago, making your own site required technical expertise or hiring someone to make it for you.
That’s really not the case anymore.
There are so many services out there that will allow you to create websites using templates or drag and drop approaches.
Even with these sites, there are still design aspects you have to work out, but most things tend to be intuitive and pretty easy to set up.
With your own site, one thing you have to consider is content creation.
As I mentioned before, creating content is what helps you rank your site and it’s what keeps your audience interested.
What you think of that probably depends on who you are as an individual.
Personally, I find writing content something that takes quite a bit of time and multiple revisions.
However, I know people who find content creation to be easy and completely natural.
It depends a lot on your experience and how you find writing overall.
I’ve noticed that the concept of writing content seems to make a lot of people nervous and it’s perceived as one of the most difficult parts of making a website.
Honestly, I don’t think content creation is anything to be too worried about.
Over time, it gets easier, and you can always look for feedback from others to see if you are on the right track. You can also use other websites for inspiration, just don’t copy them.
I think that everyone should, at least, give content creation a try before they look at other options.
However, if you really do struggle with it, it is possible to outsource some or all of your content creation.
This is actually a very common practice, although it isn’t one that most internet marketers talk about.
Outsourcing can also be an asset if you find that you want to save time, but it can get expensive.
Types of Content
There are a lot of different types of content out there, and you can pick and choose what you do.
Detailed articles like this one are often a good approach if you are talking about a complex topic or just if you have a lot that you want to say.
For a hobby site, reviews and product comparisons will be particularly important types of content.
Affiliate sites tend to use these approaches often, but they are so much more important for a hobby site.
The reason is that you are dealing with an audience that is coming to your site ready to buy.
Images are also very important for getting your message across, and they can help to make people excited about your topics.
As a general rule, people are going to be interested in seeing images of a field that they are already interested in.
With a hobby site, you can rely on reviews and product comparisons much more strongly than a traditional affiliate site.
In fact, you don’t need to be as concerned about offending your readers, because they aren’t going to have any issues with you promoting or selling products.
As I mentioned before, my emphasis here is strongly on the idea of using affiliate marketing to make money.
However, one other approach you might be interested in is making informational products.
Making products probably isn’t something that interests everyone, but you can create some real value for your readers and earn money in the process.
Often, informational products can be an extension of the content on your site.
For example, you might develop an eBook that acts as a how-to guide for people just getting started in a hobby or as a way of guiding people through more complex aspects of a hobby.
This can actually work particularly well for craft-based hobbies because there are so many different things to learn.
Besides, it’s pretty easy to read an eBook while crafting, but not while rock climbing.
Some people also choose to make other products like apps, although this approach tends to require more knowledge and skill.
Finding fun hobbies that make money and actually making a hobby site might sound a little tricky, but it is really is a simple and effective approach for making money online.
This type of site can very easily be a supplement to your current income, and over time, you might find that it even becomes a full-time income.
In the second half of this article, I’m going to talk about some specific examples of fun hobbies that make money and how you can get started developing a site for a hobby.
You can also learn more about building a hobby website through the training that Wealthy Affiliate offers.