In my day to day life when I meet people and tell them what I do they almost never understand without first receiving further explanation.
By and large most people think I am a website designer. This is the type of Internet person most people are familiar with. Honestly, how many families nowadays do NOT have a web designer among their ranks? Even if it is just a hobby, even if they're not any good, web design as an activity has become ubiquitous in our society. This pervasive familiarity often disguises more profitable fields such as website publishing.
Running your own business can be an intimidating prospect, and couple that with the rather dour lifestyle of most the typical amateur web designer most people are familiar with and who would ever want to take on publishing websites for profit? Heck, you probably have to do more work to make even less money than that kid down the street who does web design after school…. Right?
Wrong. The job of a website publisher isn't really conceptually much different than a magazine publisher, or a TV station owner, compare it to those jobs and not to the job of a web designer. You are usually providing content and selling advertising revenue for that content. You do not necessarily need to have any technical abilities, no more than a TV station owner needs to be able to troubleshoot complex satellite feeds. You also do not need to be an excellent writer, no more than a magazine publisher needs to be. The fact is, if you have the resources you can hire people to do your technical work, and to write your content. So website publishing can really be done by anyone so long as you have the proper knowledge on how to do it successfully.
Of course if you're able to do certain jobs yourself, and have the time to do such tasks, you can save money and help your bottom line by doing them yourself. In doing this though you need to decide how much your time is worth. If you can create more value in your business by doing certain higher end tasks then focus on doing those tasks yourself and outsource the other tasks to contractors.
Most professional website publishers, those who have "made it" and are earning a significant amount of money, typically outsource design and development work, often writing work as well, to instead concentrate on marketing and management. The marketing though could also be outsourced so really the only crucial skill needed by a website publisher is effective management of contractors.
Now throughout this guide and this site you will notice a decidedly "do-it-yourself" bent, and that is because of the fundamental concepts of independent website publishing is cost control. If you keep your costs down it is fairly easy to turn a profit with almost any site and so costs are kept at a bare minimum. However just because so much of the site focuses on doing it yourself, does not mean you shouldn't hire someone else to do it for you.
Website publishers have fairly nice lifestyles. The goal with publishing a website is to create an income stream that is completely independent of your personal labor. Your websites in essence work for you, earning a living for you. Your websites are working, earning, every minute of every day. They earn while you sleep, they earn while you go to the movies, they earn when you are on vacation.
You may initially not realize the power of such a system, and in fact you might scoff at things such as when someone is excited for making $10 a day with a single site. $10 a day is not much for a full time job you might think. What is often overlooked though is the fact that you are not just limited to a single website. Because your websites do not directly depend on your labor to continue running you can build multiple ones, 10, 20, 30. 30 websites at $10 a day is over $100,000 a year. That is the beauty and benefit of website publishing, you are producing cumulative residual income streams with no upper limit on the number or the size of each.
Some websites are more work intensive than others in requiring more frequent maintenance or updating, however others are completely hands off, creating a truly passive income source not that different from rental real estate.
With website publishing you can work in it to your own degree of comfort. This can be a full time job for you, or a weekend hobby. You will get back what you put in and there is no minimum time requirement. If you only have a few hours a week to work on your website, fine, if you have 40 hours a week, great. You can publish websites regardless of your time commitment, you simply may not be able to publish as large or as many sites when you do not spend as much time on it.
If this all sounds good to you, and I think I paint a fairy rosy picture so it should. You can get started with my guide. I first wrote this guide in 2003 and it has been updated since. It contains everything you need to know to get started in website publishing and build your first successful website. Your first assignment will be to decide exactly what type of site you will want to run.