Website Design

PPP023: Build a Business Website That Makes You Money

This week I go solo and tell you about the most important features for any business website. If you are trying to start earning income on the side, or are a long time veteran looking to earn more, make sure you are following these tips to earn more and increase your online conversions.


Resources Mentioned

Full Transcript

Eric Rosenberg: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome back to the Personal Profitability Podcast. As always I am you host, Eric Rosenberg. Happy December. I’m glad to have you back. The last couple of episodes last month, we had two really great interviews with Suzan Bond and The Switchback Kids. We talked a lot about business and lifestyle and all that.

So today I want to switch it up a little bit and talk about a topic has become near and dear to my heart and it’s something we’ve never talked about before and that is how to use a website and an online presence to build your side business.

We talk a lot about freelancing. We’ve had great guests talk about how they’ve built up these great incomes on the side. And one of the key things for me to build my side income has been several websites. I wanna talk a little bit about those and why I’ve structured them the way I have and some advice I’ve given to friends lately and even talk about a few websites that you can hop online and look at while we’re going through this or if you’re driving a car or something when you get home.

But before we do that, I wanna take a moment to let you pause and go grab your favorite beer, scotch, wine, or other beverage of choice to join me so we can all toast together coz you know, as I always say personal finance should be fun, it should be all work and boring. All work and no play makes all of us a dull boy. So here’s your opportunity. Hit the pause button.

Okay now, we’re back. Welcome back. I myself had just grabbed a New Belgium Accumulation White India Pale Ale. I’ve always have a soft spot in my heart for New Belgium Brewing. They’re from Fort Collins, Colorado, about an hour and a half north of where I grew up, in the south Denver suburbs and about 45 minutes-an hour, I guess it depends on how fast you drive from Boulder where I went to college.

New Belgium is actually a great beer success story. This guy decided to make beer in his garage like many home brewers have, like I have, and he loved it so much he went on a bicycle tour around Belgium and decided Belgian beers were his thing. His friends and family loved his beer so much he started a company. Now it’s one of the, I think top 5, definitely top 10 breweries in America. So here’s a cheers with my New Belgium Seasonal Accumulation White India Pale Ale. Clink. I’m gonna make a clink sound, I’ve never done that. Let’s do that. Alright. So I hope you’re joining me with a drink if you are able.

Create a Website That Will Make You Money

Let’s get back down to the topic at hand. We’re talking about using websites to convert people to business. As you all know, is my main online presence for this podcast and for a lot of what I do. And without that blog I would definitely not have my side writing and WordPress and website businesses that I have. Those all just really stemmed out of that blog and me becoming an expert in everything that it takes to build and run a website. I can do the writing, the marketing, the social media, the plugins. That is a lot of things you have to know about.

Before we dive in, this is going to be a lot of information so know you don’t start day one as an expert and you don’t have to be an expert in every part of what I talk about to succeed. If you’re really good at one thing and you can do it really well and sell that one thing really well, you can make tons of money online or offline or anywhere else. For me it has been a combination of things like a lot of pieces of a puzzle that have really built up my business.

I wanna start using as an example the parent company that I have that owns Personal Profitability and all my other online properties, with a couple of exceptions, is called Narrow Bridge Media. You can find that at and I actually recently redesigned this, it’s actually still a little bit in the works. I have some images I’m changing. You hear the mouse click? It’s coz I’m actually looking at these web pages as I talk about them.

If you go to there’s a little, it’s called a hamburger menu, those little three lines if you click opens up the menu, shows you lots of pages. One of those pages says Contact or Hire Me. That’s tip number one of building a website that is designed to earn you money. You have to make it really, really obviously easy to tell people how to get in contact with you and tell them what you can do for them and then how they can give you money. That is, I think the number one thing in all businesses, make it really, really easy for your target customers to find you and give you money.

If you go to there’s a little, it’s called a hamburger menu, those little three lines if you click opens up the menu, shows you lots of pages. One of those pages says Contact or Hire Me. That’s tip number one of building a website that is designed to earn you money. You have to make it really, really obviously easy to tell people how to get in contact with you and tell them what you can do for them and then how they can give you money. That is, I think the number one thing in all businesses, make it really, really easy for your target customers to find you and give you money.

If you take a marketing class, they say there’s 4Ps of marketing – Product, Place, Price and Promotion. So right here we’re talking about a couple of those Ps. You have to have your product. You need to have something that you’re selling. For me, I have my eBooks, I have some other little projects like that, but it’s primarily me selling services – writing services and website development services. So that’s my Product. My Price, there’s a lot of different pricing. We won’t talk too much about price today. But Place is what we’re really focusing on now. You need to get your product in front of people so it’s really, really easy for them to find you and buy that. And then you want to ‘Promote’ it; those are those four Ps.

Build Your Email List

When you go to that page on, I know there’s a lot of Ps right now, you’re listening to the Personal Profitability Podcast. If you go there, you click on that, it’s really, really easy to hire me. And if you don’t want to hire me, that’s okay. I actually make it even easier and make it blatant put it right in front of everybody, my number one goal with the website is collecting emails.

So whatever your primary goal is with your site, and on that site it’s collecting emails to get people… hopefully you joined the email list, I give a lot of exclusive content, a lot of special things that you don’t see or hear unless you’re part of the email list. I try not to be super redundant and talk about the same things on the podcast that I write about on the blog and send out in emails. Each gives you unique exclusive content.

So getting on that email list, that’s my primary goal. Because if I have your email, I know you won’t miss it. If you subscribe to this podcast, in an RSS reader or iTunes, something like that, Stitcher, then you won’t miss anything. And I love that, thank you so much for doing that. But for everyone who’s not a podcast listener, I’d still want to be able to get in front of them.

It used to be easy to do that using what’s called an RSS Reader. The biggest one was Google Reader but Google shut that down. And that was a big wake up call for the online blogging and writing community that if you don’t own your method to contact people, you could lose them. If you have all your eggs in any one basket, be it Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Google Reader, as many people did it was a really hard lesson the day that people lost sometimes well over half of their readers just coz Google Reader didn’t exist anymore.

So if I can get people on my email list I know I will never really lose contact with them. I’ll always be able to reach them somehow. Hopefully they take my emails and dragged them over from the promotions tab to the main inbox in Gmail, if you use those tabs; so you don’t miss them. But I always I have a way to reach people. Take that tip away – get people’s emails. If you have their emails, you can always reach them, you can always communicate with them.

Make it really, really easy for them to give you their emails. And I do that using a combination of different services. On Personal Profitability I just switched to a new email service provider. I’ve been using Aweber for a long time and it’s still a great service but I found that it was missing a few key features that I wanted. And I heard about from Pat Flynn on his blog, he was on here a few episodes ago when we were recording together at FinCon, he uses this new tool called ConvertKit. You can sign up, I have an affiliate link, so if you sign up through me I get a little referral fee, you don’t have to but I appreciate it if you wanna check it out it’s So that is my main email list provider.

And I use Gravity Forms, which is a WordPress Form plugin, to create all those really cool forms like the big one on my homepage with the big yellow button and some other places that look similar. Those are built with Gravity Forms. And I also use a free tool called Sumo, which is from Noah Kagan, really nice guy and Austin and his team, it’s called KingSumo or AppSumo, his company.

So Sumo and Gravity Forms, both big front and center, feed people into my email list. And with that list I have a way that I can send out a newsletter or I can create an autoresponder series where if you sign up you will get a series of five or ten emails or you can go through a course, I created one called Zero Inbox Week that is a one week course, people can opt in to and get more emails from me for free.

The long term you want to build those relationships with people. The best way you could do that is by repeat contact with them. I’d love to think that everybody in the world wants to come back to again and again and again but I know that that is not as realistic as I would like. The email list is really my best way to do that.

When you set up your website you want to have a way to collect email addresses. If you ask all of the top bloggers in the world and I’ve met many of them say, ‘what would you do different if you could go back?’ The thing I’ve always heard again and again and again is ‘I wish I started building email list earlier.’ So do that. Make it really easy. Number one, to contact you, to hire you. Number two, whatever your primary goal is make that the prominent thing. So those are two really key features of your website.

I’m gonna flip back to from Personal Profitability, if you go to that Hire Me page, you can send me an email. I put my email address there. I actually made it in an image, this little spider box that’s trying to take people’s email addresses and put them on nasty spam list can’t find it. It’s not perfect but it helps. I had that in an image so people can type it in their own email client. Or there’s a form they can email me through so it’s really easy to contact me.

There’s also links to Narrow Bridge Media to that place where I talk about all my writing and WordPress consulting businesses. So if you head to that site, I have a menu. I keep it clean, I keep it simple, I keep it modern. Those are all things you have to think about when you’re building a site or if you hire a developer, someone like me or anyone else to build your site for you.

Tell People What You Do

You wanna make it really clear and really easy for people to navigate around and you want the branding on that site to be consistent and to project the image of yourself that you want. First thing people see is a nice clean cursive logo, Narrow Bridge Media, and it says below that freelance writing and WordPress consulting and design by Eric Rosenberg. People know who I am, what I’m about, what they’re gonna get here very easily.

At the top there’s links to About Me, to courses which you can pay to sign up for, a portfolio of some website designs and writing projects I’ve had, links to hire me for all of the different services I provide: website development, freelance writing, social media management and public speaking. And you can also get to a blog where I put out occasional posts on things that are relevant to website owners.

Whatever content you write on your blog, this is going to be another really big point where I’m talking about the blog part of a website, that content is probably the most likely way people are going to find you. No one ever of the blue thought Personal Profitability Eric Rosenberg and type that into Google and found me. They’re probably searching for the best ways to travel hack to save money on flights or how long should you keep your banks statements, all those key words and things people would type into Google that might lead them to my site.

So once they land on your page they’re probably gonna land on your blog first which is why those menus and the navigation and the design is so important. And you want your blog post, you want that content to be really, really high quality so when people come read it, they’re like, ‘oh I trust this person, they’re an expert in what they’re doing. Maybe I would hire them for that service they provide.’ So that website is so, so, so important for you.

I actually wanted to bring up, I’m gonna flip sites for a minute and I’m gonna talk about two people who are also very, very important in my life who have websites that I’ve actually helped them build. And that is my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law, Michael and Elizabeth Willhite. Michael owns a construction and excavation business in the Santa Barbara area. Elizabeth is a graphic designer who recently just went out on her own for the first time.

When you go to the website, it’s one I actually did some work on recently, the first things you see: the services, experience, testimonials, media – things that you would want to know about this business to hire them. And then right there, a contact page, a way to see his blog, things that he’s been working on. Again, making it really, really easy and clear what I do, making it look pretty and putting ways to get in contact with you.

If you go to, to her graphic design business, obviously it’s a totally different business than a construction business. On the construction website there’s a color scheme that kind of matches the caterpillar company scheme, lots of white and black and yellow, those construction colors. It’s a very bold, I’d almost say like manly design for the website. If you go to Elizabeth’s website it’s totally different. It’s also very clean and very professional, makes it really easy to get in contact with her.

But it’s a little bit different focus. There she’s really worked harder on that blog content so people can find her through that content and then say, ‘oh this is a pretty site, I like the design, I like what it’s about, this is someone I would trust and hire to do my logo.’ And actually she did a lot of my logos. So if you go to Personal Profitability, all those really cool round logos on the bottom that talk about the Personal Profitability Playbook and Boot Camp, you’ll see that coming soon, the blog, the podcast, all those logos, she did those. And she did a great job on them. I’m happy to share her website that I worked on. It’s nice to be in a community and a family where everyone supports each other.

Flipping back to Narrow Bridge Media again if you scroll down, I make it really clear again what the value that I provide. It’s something that you should always focus on. Goal number one, make it easy to contact you, make it easy to give you money. Number two, if they’re not doing one of those two things, what are you trying to sell or what action do you want your visitors to take? So I want them to hire me for one of the services I provide, so the next section down talks about the services I provide. It talks about writing, websites, website support and then links with big pretty buttons to bring your online vision to life. That’s my motto for Narrow Bridge Media and what I offer. I wanna help people with a problem, solve that problem. And if you want to get hired for something that is what you have to do. You have to have a problem you’re going to fix for somebody and the way for you to fix that problem and then to pay you for that. If you have all those things you can’t fail.

Scroll down further on the website, big pretty versions of what those little buttons above do. Because again one thing, I want them to hire me. That is all this website if about. I don’t care if they share my stuff on Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter, you know I’d love them to, but that is not the primary goal at Narrow Bridge Media, it’s for them to hire me for a service. I’ve gotten emails even today from somebody who found me, I don’t  know how they found me I’m still trying to figure that one out, who wrote me about changing their website design and moving over to the type of design that I like to do.

Focus on Your Goal and How You Can Achieve It

Get really focused on that goal. But if you go back to Personal Profitability, you’ll notice one really, really big difference. All those social media sharing buttons are on Personal Profitability. Let’s think about why. On the Narrow Bridge Media website, I don’t want them to share, I want them to hire me. Personal Profitability, it’s a content-focused blog and podcast and etcetera, and sharing that is the best way for me to get new listeners and readers and build up an audience.

So depending on what you’re doing you have different goals and different ways you want to get there so you’ll have different features. There’s no one size fits all answer for every business which is why I brought up the construction company and the graphic design company. They’re very different websites, very different focuses but they each put their primary goal for their visitors, right front and center.

Create a Credible Online Presence

The next example I wanna talk about, a friend of mine, Paula Pant has a site called Afford Anything, you can go to to see that. It is an awesome website. She has almost 20,000 subscribers; huge blogger. She doesn’t write all that often but when she does people take notice. And one reason that I wanted to show you this website is it’s actually one that I designed and I wanted to talk you through why I designed it as I designed it. A lot of these ideas were Paula’s ideas, I can’t take credit for everything but a lot of it came out of my brain too.

When you land on Afford Anything you’ll notice something very much in common with Personal Profitability because it’s a similar genre of website, front and center, give me your email address. There’s a big email sign up form, a big pretty picture of Paula with a nice white background. It’s clean. It shows authority and it uses something, another thing that you might consider to on your website design, social proof that other people are already subscribed. Like I said, Paula has almost 20,000 subscribers. It actually says, as of this moment while I’m recording it, join 18, 253+ subscribers and take control of your money and your life. So that is proof that almost 20,000 people are on her email list, you might wanna be on that email list, too cause 20,000 people can’t be wrong, right? One person can be wrong, 20,000 can’t.

When you’re building your website, if you have something that you can show, I probably wouldn’t put numbers up until you’ve reached maybe two, three hundred, five hundred, it really depends on your business. You don’t wanna say you know, join 12 other people cause they’ll be like, oh well one is your mom and there is your brother, there’s your sister, a couple of friends. Twelve people is not that impressive but if you can say join 200 people then a reader might come and say, ‘oh they’re onto something, one of these 200 people knowing that I don’t  know.’ It can grow form there. That’s another great feature.

Another great feature if you want to really get people’s trust really quickly is to put one of those As Seen On bars on your site. I have one on Personal Profitability. Paula has one on Afford Anything. On Paula’s site it says As Seen On Forbes, LifeHacker, MSN, U.S. News, and World Report, RedBook, Kiplinger – these big trusted brands have featured her. Again, you’ll say, ‘oh she’s been on LifeHacker or she’s been on Forbes then definitely I should trust her, right?’ And you definitely should. I’m bringing her up cause she’s a great example. I really do visit her site and follow her. She’s wonderful.

When you scroll down a little, she has different channels where she wants people to go. If you are a finance newbie, if you’re an investor, if you’re an adventurer, she has a different channel for you. And that’s something a little different than what I did. And I said, kind of a one-size-fits-all join my email list and once someone’s on my email list I try to funnel them into different things that they might enjoy. That’s part of why I signed up for ConvertKit because I have the ability to segment my list differently than I could with Aweber. If you joined my email list, it’s not super segmented yet but it will keep getting better and better. I just actually signed up for ConvertKit a couple of weeks ago but I’m thrilled so far. On Paula’s site, she says she has something for one of the three target audiences who could come visit her. And right below that it shows her most recent blog posts and some popular posts, her five most popular posts on her site.

The homepage is really important. At the top, she doesn’t not one who has a big contact form but she does have the way to get on her email list, where you get her email. Or you can go to her About Page and learn more, learn more about her. She has a Pick My Brain page which does give you ways to take get hold of her.

That’s what I wanted to talk about really for these websites. We’ll just do a little bit of a recap before we could go. I know this is not the longest episode ever but I hope it’s one that you find useful. And as always if you have questions, shoot me an email [email protected]. Or you can find me on Twitter, I’m @EricProfits. You can find me all over the internet very easy.

Let’s recap. If you have a business of any type, I don’t care if it’s a restaurant or an online business or a lawn mowing service, it doesn’t matter. You should have a website. Period. End of story. All business, you should have a website. You should have a presence on the internet that you control with your branding, a way to contact you, and a website that is designed to convert every visitor to whatever your goal is.

It’s okay to have different goals but make sure that it’s a goal that’s going to lead to revenue and profits for you. No one got paid for having the most Facebook likes. People did get paid for having one Facebook liker turned into a customer. So that’s how to think of that. Social media, your website, everything is a means to an end. The end goal shouldn’t  be social media. The end goal shouldn’t be the largest number or email subscribers. That’ll just cost you a lot of money in email subscription services. I pay for my email services. As my list grows I have to pay more and more.

The goal is to get people who will wana be your customer in some way. And you guys are my customers, I do this for free. You’re saying, ‘what are you selling me?’ How do I make money out of you guys? I make money primarily from Personal Profitability, through these affiliate links. I mentioned ConvertKit, if you sign up through that or if I mention my biggest is Empower, if you go to, that is a free service for you but if you sign up and meet certain criteria I get a referral fee. That’s how I make money on Personal Profitability.

If you ever have questions about how I make money online I have my income reports. If you go to odds are on that list or on page 2, you will see my most recent income report. I also have a history of all my income reports on my menu. I’m very open and transparent with you guys, how I make money. I also have my ebook which you can get for three bucks. It’s pretty cheap; actually $2.99.

So I do have ways that I make money through having a bigger audience which is why that is the focus for Personal Profitability and not for Narrow Bridge Media. I’d rather have one person who shows up, convert at Narrow Bridge Media and a thousand people show up and not convert Personal Profitability because it’s a volume based business. I’d rather have a thousand people show up and all of them convert to join my email list.

Again you want your product, you want to have a way to contact you, a way for people to give you money, a way for people to connect with you, you have that funnel. And that’s really what I wanted to focus on today.

Thank you very much for listening and until next time, stay profitable.


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