Making a liveable income online is often the dream for many aspiring virtual educators and entrepreneurs. On a recent episode of The Anomalous Educator podcast, I sat down with Seonaid Beckwith.
Seonaid, (pronounced “Shona”), is the British English teacher and founder of Perfect English Grammar, the highly successful online English teaching site that provides downloadable resources, courses and materials for students.
Her site gets millions of hits a month, and the learning materials she provides not only create value but a nice income too. What if you could create a lucrative website that helps others, while you carry on working full-time? Here are some helpful tips she shared on how you can build a money-making site of your own.
Commit to a Few Hours a Week
Building a business takes time, and as an educator, you’re probably low on expendable hours. However, if you’re thinking that you need to commit yourself full-time to creating and maintaining a website, then think again.
Just like Rome, Seonaid’s business certainly wasn’t built in a day; in fact, it took seven years.
“I must stress that I did not, at all work full-time on the business during those seven years,” she says, “I had two babies in that time, I also did a full-time master’s degree and a part-time degree. For a lot of it, I was also working.”
While that seven-year timespan may stop you in your tracks, the big point she’s trying to make here is that she was pretty time-poor in those seven years.
For any full-time educator, she suggests just an hour each day can drastically get things moving, just remember to be patient yet consistent.
Use Keywords to Increase Your Online Visibility
As teachers, we’re not always the most tech-savvy group of people out there. When we try to beat the Google rankings algorithm, our efforts are often met with frustration and confusion.
So, how did Seonaid go from zero to a million website clicks a month? “I did look at the time at things like keywords,” she says, “any traffic success that it has is down to very basic SEO, (Search Engine Optimisation).”
Now, for those of you who don’t know what keywords are, they are an essential part of becoming more visible in the vast jungle that is the online world. They’re essentially the words and phrases that people enter into a search engine, like Google. To get Google to link those ‘key’ phrases to your website, you should research and figure out the relevant search terms for your business, and incorporate them throughout the written content on your website.
For example, Seonaid might sprinkle words such as “English course,” or “grammar course” throughout her content so when someone goes looking for an English course or grammar course, her website will appear as one of the top results in an online search.
“If you can find a few keywords that a lot of people are searching for, but there aren’t so many websites about,” Seonaid says, “you make a page about that. That keyword is more likely to rise up in Google and be found by more people.”
One thing to consider is, this shouldn’t be your only objective. Try to create content that incorporates keywords but make sure that it sounds natural. You want your site to be a useful resource for visitors rather than heavy on the keywords and confusing.
Generate Income With Downloadable Resources
Putting adverts onto your website is an excellent way of making some additional income, but let’s face it, they can become annoying for your site visitors if they’re bombarded by outsider products.
Transitioning away from integrated advertisements to promoting your own materials isn’t as hard as you think. Seonaid made the switch and hasn’t looked back. Initially, she gave out free PDFs to students but quickly realised that there was a very hungry market for quality English courses – courses that people were willing to pay top dollar for.
Her site now contains multiple downloadable courses that are paid for by her students and casual learners alike.
“I have challenges where you get a lesson a day for 30 days,” she explains, “I have full courses where you can go through A1 and A2 grammar.” She keeps her material fun and enticing by utilizing multimedia channels such as audio, PDFs, videos, flashcards, downloads and more.
If you have materials from past curriculums, or homework outlines to hand that you can form into downloadable PDFs, videos and courses, that’s a huge time saver and gives a stepping stone of content to get you started.
Not only can you create value for your customers and students, but your profit margins also become much higher, so take the time to invest in saleable materials.
To get more tips on how you can create an income-boosting website, listen to the full conversation with Seonaid Beckwith here.