Building and launching a side project isn’t just a way to learn something new — you can turn it into a steady stream of revenue. Whether you want to monetize content with a membership website, open an ecommerce store, or start a food blog — there’s a multitude of options to make money online.
Here are 23 different website design ideas to show you what’s possible:
1. Job sites
We’ve all spent plenty of time looking through job sites. Many seem like an endless scroll with no clear organization. Job after job passes by on the screen, and few of them jump out as something we may be interested in. Finding any type of job in the bulk of posts can be a frustrating task.
There is always a demand for quality job boards. If you have some technical skills already, starting a job web page of your own is a great idea for a side project that can help you bring in some extra income.
Content Writing Jobs stands out as a great example — with a clean website design that focuses on the quality of their leads and usability. It offers a user experience free from the complexities that bog down so many other job boards.
The dropdown filter for job categories pictured above simplifies how someone searches. With categories including technical, UX, SEO, and entertainment, the dropdown gives users a quick way to find the specific type of job that they’re after.
Content Writing Jobs has a paid monthly newsletter that gives advanced notice about new job postings. Additionally, the site also charges job posters a fee. Charging these fees allows the site to bring in revenue without a singular reliance on ads.
2. Affiliate sites
An affiliate website offers an online store of products and resources in a specific niche. Think of them as digital boutiques catering to the tastes and interests of a selected demographic.
A great example of an affiliate site is Raymmar’s Reads — which functions as a digital book club, where Raymmar shares books he likes and includes Amazon affiliate links. Raymmar uses 3D animations and nice color-shifting background transitions to make this simple site stand out.
3. Membership websites
If you’re already blogging, creating tutorials, or are even thinking about launching an online course of your own, membership websites make it easy to get paid for what you create. There are many types of websites that offer memberships that unlock premium content that’s not available anywhere else.
Most offer a basic level — giving people a taste of what’s available for free and then enticing them to sign up for their premium memberships. Becoming a paying member unlocks exclusive content like step-by-step tutorials, online courses, articles, videos, message forums where experts share tips, and more.
The Oasis with Jennifer Louden is a great example of a membership site. Members who pay a monthly subscription receive access to a library of inspirational audio/video resources, writing and business practice tips, live monthly calls, and more.
If you’re looking for a great website idea to make money off of your content, a membership website can be a valuable platform.
4. Online learning websites
Quite a few platforms out there will host online courses for you. But they come at a price. Why not launch your own site and avoid having to pay someone for what you could do on your own with a website builder like Webflow?
Master the Handpan offers everything you need to learn how to play the handpan metal drum. The site includes three different levels of paid lessons — beginner, intermediate, and master class — plus a music theory course. Along with their instructional materials, Master the Handpan also has a buyer’s guide, discussion forum, and blog. There’s plenty of free content here to pique the interest of any aspiring handpan player.
If you’re offering an online course for a niche interest like the handpan, someone may find your website faster through a search engine than if it was part of a larger online course platform where it may get less visibility. If there’s not a lot of competition for what you’re teaching, being able to quickly attain a high level of SEO may be feasible if you create your own website.
If you want to have complete control over monetizing your online courses, launching a website of your own is the way to go.
5. E-Learning Blog
Many bloggers also sell products and services such as online courses, consulting sessions, books, and merch. A blog functions as a space to showcase one’s expertise and share knowledge. Plus, a blog is a great place to earn your target audience’s trust so you can promote the products and services you sell.
Aaron Ward’s primary goal is to give people the resources they need to launch their own online courses.
He keeps an active blog, touching on everything from how to edit YouTube videos to how to market one’s courses and bring in more students.
Aaron’s e-learning blog positions him as an authority on creating online classes and how to market them, which complements Aaron’s paid services like courses and coaching. Making the leap from his free content to his paid content should be easy for anyone who finds his blog posts informative.
Blogs are great for drawing attention to paid content and other services you provide. They not only help you build your reputation, they also act as an SEO beacon, bringing in organic traffic and further helping send people to other pursuits of yours that you’d like to promote.
6. Ecommerce websites
Online shops are a great side business that almost anyone can launch. Keep in mind that with so many ecommerce shops out there, you’ll be entering a competitive space — so make sure you have a solid brand identity and niche so you can set your online shop apart from the rest.
L’intendance, a French purveyor of bulk and specialized food items, offers all of their products free of plastic packaging. They have a very specific marketing angle that reflects their brand identity of sustainability.
With brilliant food photography and a clean and bright web design, there’s a crisp freshness to their website.
An ecommerce store can range from a few items to hundreds, and it’s well within the capabilities of anyone to set up. You can always start as a small business and scale up as you gain more customers.
7. Curation websites
Curation websites are libraries of related content that continually get updated. They act as an ongoing repository of articles, tutorials, and other content that an audience would find interesting.
For those with a passion for tech and design, Sidebar offers an amazing collection of curated content. Whether you’re a web designer, copywriter, or someone else whose creative talents intersect with the digital realm, you’ll find so much here that will capture your attention.
With articles like “Why Does a Design Look Good?”, “How to Improve CSS Performance,” and “How to Write Inclusive, Accessible Digital Products,” Sidebar covers a wide range of topics that are informative and inspiring.
8. Service-based websites
A service-based business is just a fancy name for a business that can do something for you that you can’t do yourself — for example, real estate agents or interior decorators.
Service-based businesses also occupy the digital realm. Scribly offers the service of content. For companies who don’t have an in-house content creation team, freelance designers who want to offer content creation as a part of their services, or anyone else in need of a wordsmith — Scribly provides writing, social media management, and content strategy.
If you have a special skill and there’s a demand for it, starting your own service-based business can help put a bit of extra money in your pocket.
9. Photography website
Like any creative pursuit, putting together a photography website is essential in bringing exposure to your art. A photography portfolio website not only gives you a platform to show off your art, but can also market it to a wider audience.
Built in Webflow, the Essence Photography site fills its space with the type of personal portraits that the photographer — Mikelle Allaire — does best.
Like Mikelle, whether you’re a wedding photographer, shoot headshots, or specialize in personal portraits — your photography portfolio should communicate your specific niche.
You can also use your photography website to sell prints of your work. Don’t miss out on potential customers who might love to have your photos hanging up in their homes or workspaces.
10. Portfolio website
Let’s face it, as creatives we sometimes depend too much on our artistic sensibilities rather than business acumen. We can all benefit from having a portfolio website when pursuing new full time gigs or landing new clients.
This portfolio for designer Lise Kyle Chapman showcases her work in an upbeat design, capturing both her expertise and personality.
If you do web design, writing, or pursue something in the visual arts, a portfolio website is essential in bringing visibility to your skills and talents — and potentially level up your revenue.
11. Restaurant website
You don’t need to run a restaurant to earn money from a restaurant website. You’d be surprised how many small businesses like restaurants have outdated websites or don’t have a website at all. If you have web design skills, consider reaching out to local businesses and pitch them on a website redesign package.
Get to know the people who run some of your favorite restaurants and independent businesses and offer your design services. These types of projects won’t just put a bit of extra money in your pocket, but will also help you gain skills and experience as a designer.
12. Review website
If you enjoy movies, music, books, or some niche product and have opinions you’d like to share, consider building a review website. Writing reviews and making videos are fun ways to share your thoughts with others and connect with other fans.
Let’s say you’re into movies. You could start your own movie review blog and become the next Leonard Maltin.
Including some well-placed affiliate links and appropriate ads will help you generate a bit of passive income off of your own review website. Once you gain a following, you can also reach out to brands for freebies like movie passes or products in exchange for an honest review on your website.
13. Comparison website
Comparison websites like Camelcamelcamel provide an easy way for consumers to find the best deals on what they’re after.
Comparison sites allow consumers to compare similar products based on different variables. Product specs, pricing, and other information are often presented in infographics, making it easier for people to quickly understand the similarities and differences between products.
While comparison websites aren’t an ideal web design project for beginners, they can be lucrative for designers who feel confident building and managing many moving parts. Once you set up the site to pull in relevant information so consumers can easily view similar products side-by-side, you can focus on monetization.
Comparison websites bring in money through affiliate marketing. It’s not uncommon to link out to products hosted on Amazon or other big name online retailers and collect affiliate earnings from sales.
14. Recipe/food blog
A food blog is a way to share your creations with a greater audience. If you’re looking for website ideas for beginners, a food blog is relatively simple to create and easy to monetize.
Through your blog, you can provide step-by-step instructions for your favorite recipes along with your experience making them. If you love cooking, writing, and photography, a food blog is a fantastic way to share your culinary passion with others.
Food blogs can generate revenue in a few ways. Most food bloggers rely on affiliate links for everything from recommended cookware to specialty ingredients. Just be sure to add a disclaimer to your site about those affiliate earnings so your visitors don’t feel duped. You can also bring in extra money by selling ebooks, physical books, virtual cooking classes, and more.
15. Fan website
Fan websites focus on a specific fandom such as Potterheads, Whovians, or Trekkies. If you want to turn your favorite fandom into a side hustle, a fan website is a great option.
For hardcore Star Wars fans THEFORCE.NET has news, an active message board, and plenty of other excellent content. While the focus of the site is clearly all things Star Wars, you’ll notice ads throughout that drive revenue for the site.
Whether you’re a comic book fan, self-proclaimed video game nerd, or part of another niche fandom — a fan website can be fun to create, maintain, and use to communicate with your fellow fans. Plus, if your website gets popular enough, there are always opportunities to make money through advertising or affiliate links related to your area of interest.
16. Podcast website
If you produce a podcast, you might depend on social media as the main means of promoting it. Having a website is another important marketing channel, providing an opportunity to create search engine optimized content that will bring in organic traffic. The bigger your podcast gets, the more likely the chance of getting sponsors and advertisers.
This website for the podcast Real Python not only provides multiple ways to listen to their episodes, but also offers courses, books, and other Python-related learning materials. The website includes plenty of free materials as well as a store that features a paid membership, books, and more.
17. Travel Blog
Travel blogs aren’t just for social media influencers. Whatever your background, you have a perspective that’s unique. Document your journeys on your own travel website and share your experiences exploring the world.
Wandering Earl has been blogging about travel and working abroad for a lengthy amount of time and his website is a great read and resource for anyone wanting to explore the world. Earl also uses his travel blog to promote and sell his tours.
Of course, you don’t have to run a tour company to make money from a travel blog. You can earn money by selling travel guides (as physical books or ebooks), offering travel consulting services, and through ads and affiliate links. Travel blogs can also serve as a writing portfolio that helps you land paid gigs with travel outlets.
18. Fashion blog
For those with a passion for fashion, a fashion blog is a great website that’s easy to get up and running. It’s a great place to write about the latest trends, share photos of your own outfits, and create content for your fellow fashion enthusiasts.
Tiffany Battle’s fashion website The Werk! Place focuses on her unique perspective on fashion. Along with great content, Tiffany takes affiliate marketing to the next level with her “Shop my instagram” option along with her branded discount codes for different stores.
Most fashion blogs monetize their content through affiliate links. As always, be selective about what products you’re going to endorse on your fashion website, and always let people know that you’re using them.
20. Events website
Create an events website that has a specific focus. It could be for concerts, comedy open mics, art openings, or some other event people would be interested in. This is a great avenue for generating revenue through ads or making money through affiliate links, referrals, or partnerships with the events you feature.
21. Game website
Create a fun quiz-based website that will get people’s attention. There are plenty of quiz builders you can use to create something that your visitors will have fun clicking through. This is another opportunity for generating some money through ads.
If you’re skeptical about the earning potential — think about Buzzfeed. The site’s silly quizzes bring in a huge volume of traffic, which gives Buzzfeed more chances to earn revenue through ads and affiliate links.
22. Personal website landing page
Not everyone needs or wants to put up an entire portfolio or personal website. Sometimes all you need is a landing page. A landing page is generally just a single page where you can include social media links, biographical information, and a contact form or other way to get in touch. Though the ROI may not always be obvious, it’s helpful to have a central place to send visitors who want to keep up with you or get in touch.
A great example of a personal website landing page is Fryenation’s website. It links out to his music, social media, and provides a bit of biographical information about who he is as an artist.
Inspirational websites generally focus on a specific topic such as family, health and wellness, or relationships. We all have challenges and frustrations in our lives. Whatever yours may be, consider starting an inspirational website to connect with others who face similar difficulties.
You can discuss your favorite self-help books, create a supportive forum, or share your experiences through a personal blog. Make yourself vulnerable so you can connect with others through our shared experiences.
Tiny Buddha by Lori Deschene is an inspirational website that focuses on “simple wisdom for complex lives.” The site includes motivational quotes, inspiring blogs, supportive forums, and more. Tiny Buddha monetizes their site by selling books, calendars, and courses through their online shop.
Launch your next side project with Webflow
From the smallest of online businesses to the biggest of job boards, Webflow makes it possible to bring your ideas to fruition. With an intuitive visual canvas, templates, a powerful CMS, and Webflow University to help you learn, we give you all the tools required to launch your next online venture.