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Step 1: Understanding the business model

Before we start with the practical issues, there is one important thing you have to understand and it's what kind of business you'll be into. I'm not meaning that you will have to do anything nasty, or illegal, but if you're going to get income, you need to know how.

If you want to develop your own site, and get some income from it, I must warn you that it will take you some time, and some effort as well. And what will you get from it? Money, of course. The real question, once again, is how.

Ready? Here we go!

E-business models

Perhaps you're not familiar with e-business (don't worry you don't need to be). There are different business models, from large-scale operations like Google, Amazon, eBay, and many more, to small business like this one (I have no employees right now, and I work full time as an IT Consultant). In the middle, whatever you can imagine.

I'm not going to bore you with a dissertation on e-business, I'm going straight to the point. In any case, if you're curious about different ways to develop a business on the Net, you can check this page.

The model I'm going to present you is called Infopreneurship. The name is really not important, but the basic idea behind it is getting income for providing information.

What kind of information?

Just about anything! In our case, culinary information: recipes.

Getting money from information

There are also different ways of getting money from information, the most obvious one being a paid subscription service. One example of this is the online edition of a newspaper, such as the New York Times. The idea is quite simple: if you want information from us, just pay for it!

There are, however, other ways not so straight as subscription.

Advertising is one we all know. Displaying ads on your site is an easy way to monetize it. The idea is basically the same you can find on TV, or in Search Engines such as Google or Yahoo! We'll cover this one in a further section.

The third one, and that's very particular of the Internet, it's affiliate marketing. What is it? It's a sophisticated version of advertising. You refer - through links in your pages - potential customers to online merchants. If they end up buying, you get paid.

The theory might seem easy, but how do you do this in your recipe site?

We'll see it in the next section.

Just keep reading!

Monetizing a recipe site

So far, we've got the idea - a recipe site - and different ways to monetize (paid subscription, affiliates, and advertising). Which one should you choose?

First of all, let's review the basic idea: people come to your site looking for information on recipes - those special recipes that you love and that you've posted for them in the internet. There are two possible approaches:

  1. Publish some of them for free and make pay for the rest. That would be a subscription model. It's a good idea if you're a famous chef or if you have some special recipes that people would go after (and they know it in advance). As I said earlier, this method is the most direct one, but also is the most difficult to implement. You'll need Control access software, as well as some kind of shopping cart system to collect the payments from your customers. It might be a good idea if you already have some kind of relevance, but I would not recommend it for a start.
  2. Offer them all freely, and insert Ads and Affiliate links in your content. As you can see in my sites (tapas-recipes.com and spain-recipes.com), this is the model I've chosen. It's easy to implement (just publish the recipes and insert the links), you don't have to worry setting up complicated access control systems or shopping carts - you just wait to receive your check at the end of the payment period and cash it at your favorite bank - and, the most important reason, it works from day one.

So, if you're new to all this, or just want to give it a try, I would advise you to use method #2. It's the best way to start your own business, based on your recipes.

To summarize...

If you love cooking, and you've got a recipe collection, it's quite easy to get a nice side income from it. The basic idea is to publish them in the Internet and generate revenue from promotion of related articles (for example ingredients, wine, cookbooks, etc.) as well as advertisement.

I believe the concept is quite easy to understand, but there is one thing you have to learn before you start: the order in which you do it really influences the outcome (i.e. the revenue) you will get from your efforts. Don't - I'll say it again, DO NOT - start registering domains, and creating content, and linking to merchants, before having read this guide.

So, if you're ready to continue, let's proceed to Step 2: Developing your site Concept


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