Let’s tackle a sticky subject. Adult websites. We’re strictly talking business here. The aim of Digitpedia is to be a full encyclopedia of digital money-making methods, no topic should be off limits!
This is a long article, don’t skip through it, actually read it all!
Having received emails about this sector from two different people, it seemed worth an investigation and full blog post. Although not active in this niche, as a webmaster for 12 years I’d like to think I know a thing or two about setting up websites, no matter what category they fall into.
If you’re looking to make money from adult websites then I hope this page helps steer you in the right direction. This is a long article so please make a coffee, grab some cake, and settle in.
- 1 Let’s have some clarity
- 2 The setup process
- 3 Why’s adult content online still a dirty topic?
- 4 Beware the dark side
- 5 How much money can you make?
- 6 The income can become passive
- 7 Costs are low, potential revenue is very high!
- 8 Finding an adult web host
- 9 Types of adult websites you can setup
- 10 Level of competition can be surprisingly low
- 11 Promotion of your adult business
- 12 The future looks bright
- 13 Other benefits
- 14 The downsides
- 15 YOUR TURN TO ACT
Let’s have some clarity
First, a definition of “adult websites” would help. We aren’t just talking about the usual PornHub style porn sites. It includes anything that contains adult material. For example you may want to setup an ecommerce website like LoveHoney, selling sex toys. Or maybe you want to setup an erotic blog. Maybe an adult dating service for people looking for hookups. They all come under this niche. All can be monetized and profitable.
This article isn’t for grubby teenagers thinking it would be funny to post nude pictures on Tumblr. It’s for people who are viewing this as a serious business. Due to the nature of it be sure to think long and hard (no pun intended) before entering the sector. Perhaps it would make you rich, but you also want to be proud of what you do and what you create.
The setup process
Owning a website is a great way to provide a higher long-term income for yourself. Previously many people would probably never have considered the adult sector as a way of making profit. These days changing attitudes and big opportunities mean it’s as legitimate an opportunity as any other.
Let’s quickly go through what the process is to get yourself a profitable business up and running.
- Brainstorm and be clear on exactly what sort of site you will setup.
- Register the domain name (web address) and web hosting package* with a company that allow adult websites, HostGator is the largest.
- Setup the website using the software you want, it could be WordPress for a blog, 3dcart for a sex toy shop, or Adent for a tube site.
- Once setup, populate your site with quality content/products.
- Finally it’s time to blast the promotion and manage the day to day running.
*Some services, such as ecommerce store providers, may include hosting as part of their price, in which case you don’t need to buy separate hosting.
Now you know roughly what the process looks like, let’s dig into this interesting part of the web as a money-making opportunity.
Why’s adult content online still a dirty topic?
One thing that surprised me when I started looking into the adult content sector is that it’s actually more mainstream than you’d expect. Simply searching for “setup adult website” surprised me when I saw web pages by eHow and BusinessInsider! Two giants of the web game.
As already mentioned, by “adult content” I’m including content such as; art that contains nudity, talking about sexual topics, fictional erotica, and being an affiliate for products like sex toys. Of course there are your regular porn tube sites too if that is your thing.
There has been a lot of data published about the usage of adult content online. PornHub release data about their visitor behaviour. In 2016 they received an average of 64 million visitors per day – that works out at 44,000 visitors every single minute. Truly incredible statistics. Remember that is just for their website, not the whole adult industry! It also doesn’t include other sectors such as sex toys retailers, erotica blogs and “how-to” type websites.
Despite the general view that it’s only men who use this sort of content online, this shows that’s a myth with huge amounts of women enjoying it. In Jamaica the data showed 46% of visitors were women. The average age globally is 35 with a spread all the way from 18 to over 65. This shows what a massive business sector this is and just how many people are customers. Human beings are sexual creatures!
These figures show how much a part of our lives it is. As a business, or in society as a whole, there is no need for it to be a taboo. There are now changing attitudes and there is more openness to sexual pleasure. With lots of money to be made from it why not take advantage of this opportunity and treat it like the serious business that it is.
Beware the dark side
HOWEVER, and I’ve put that word in capitals for a reason, there is still a very bad side to the industry. Remember that some performers are forced into the industry and that trafficking does go on. Organised crime is also involved in the industry. Some pornographers are also involved in under-age content which is deeply disturbing. Those aspects are why for many, sexual content online is still a very dirty topic. You obviously don’t want to be involved in any of that side of things. Stay away from those sectors. If you are running an adult blog do you really want to embed a video of someone who has been forced to make that video? Of course not. Diligence is vital at all times, you have responsibilities.
How much money can you make?
It’s impossible to give exact figures on potential profit. It’s a tricky topic to answer because there simply isn’t that much information available. It also varies highly depending on how you go about monetization.
Here are the main ways to make money from adult websites:
- Affiliate programs
- Display advertising
- Sell adult products such as dildo’s
- Premium content
- Membership sites
- File hosting
The methods you choose will affect how much profit you can make. The type of website you setup will also dictate what type of methods you can implement.
If you are a blogger or want to setup a dropship website then adult products such as sex toys can have good profit margins on them.
If you want to go the affiliate route then you can promote webcam websites using affiliate networks like CrakRevenue. With highly targetted traffic they are the sort of programs that convert nicely because it’s already a popular well-known website in the niche. With large traffic numbers you will make good money using display advertising. Companies like PlugRush are good for that.
Tube sites have been heavily saturated and are generally best avoided. If you do want to own a tube site then you need to target niches. The chance of you out-competing Xhamster is incredibly low! You may also be hosting videos of girls who have been forced to perform which is not what you want to be doing. For that reason you have to be very careful with the tube sites and think about how you go about your business.
There are personal bloggers who discuss their sex life and fantasies. These people tend to have a loyal following. In that situation you can ask for donations to help support your blog. The same can apply for fictional erotica where you could even sell your work!
The income can become passive
Another huge benefit of this industry is that if you create a strong website it can become passive income. You have to put in the work first to setup the website and make it excellent for users. Over time though the traffic should be solid and with good processes in place you can take a fairly hands-off approach.
The only way this won’t become passive income is if you rely on methods for promotion such as Twitter. The main aim is always to get high search engine rankings for popular search terms. That way it can become a passive income.
If you do rely on methods that don’t have a long time span (such as social media) then you can hire freelancers from websites like Upwork. You will be able to employ people who are happy to do the work. Others won’t want to do it though so always be clear they would be working in the NSFW category. Another thing you can do is use services like Buffer to schedule social media posts. This can also be a time saver.
Costs are low, potential revenue is very high!
Now let’s get to one of the big benefits of this industry. The sharp double edge sword of low costs and high revenues. This means the level of risk in starting is low because you can’t lose much money if you do a bad job. Yet the potential for huge profits is there for those who do a good job.
For a start web hosting is low cost. It shouldn’t cost much depending on the type of website you want to own. If you are going the route of a blog then WordPress is free and there are loads of high-quality free themes. If you’re a private creator of content making stuff under your own free will then membership sites are good solutions too that don’t cost much money. Setting up an e-commerce site is also cheap. Whichever format of site you decide, it shouldn’t cost much.
The price of content will depend on the site. For bloggers you will be the one creating most the content. Finding nude stock photos is incredibly cheap thanks to websites like Dreamstime. If you setup an e-commerce website then the images of products like dildos and lube get provided by the dropshippers and wholesalers.
If you want to go the route of original content and setup your own porn channel then you would need to hire photographers and models and that would be a lot more expensive. It also brings into play the shady side of the industry that can involved performers who are being forced to work. It’s not an area I’ve looked into or would want to and I don’t expect many people reading this would also want to go that route. This article isn’t really for producers. The other types of content mentioned above represent a much better risk to reward ratio.
Finding an adult web host
Another benefit is that hosting is no more expensive or tricky to setup than for any other website. Not all web hosts allow adult content though. Some are very strict in their policies that you should never show any nudity whatsoever.
To avoid any problems you need to use a web host that allows adult websites. A popular choice is HostGator and they are the only real company I know much about. For that reason I won’t recommend any others.
Types of adult websites you can setup
Now you know where to get adult web hosting here is a full list of the types of site you could setup:
- Reviewing adult products
- Blog about sexual topics
- Sell sex toys
- Publish fictional erotica
- Community to chat about sex
- Toplist content curation (like BuzzFeed for adults!)
- Adult memes and gifs
These are the ones I know of but you could have a brainstorming session yourself and see what other ideas you can come up with. Being unique will help you stand out against competitors.
Level of competition can be surprisingly low
The number of competitors you’ll have will depend on what type of site you setup. There are lots of established e-commerce websites selling products like dildos. That can make it tough to compete and you will need to be smart and work hard. Other areas are easier to rank for though.
I’ve been very surprised at some of the results my research has thrown up. I’ve been using Bing Webmaster Tools to look at how many searches different phrases get. There are search terms that get looked at thousands of times per month (in Bing alone) yet the websites ranking at the top for them are quite weak. When I say “weak” I mean the content quality isn’t great and they have very low metrics. I’ve been using the Moz open site explorer to see how strong websites are. It’s a great tool you should definitely use. Here is an example of how it looks.
There is a very real chance of ranking highly in areas where the domains ranking at the top have low metrics. It will take time with a new domain but it is certainly doable to beat them. In other sectors of life you won’t find hugely popular search terms that are very easy to rank for. This is why this is such a goldmine.
To help you compete you want to make sure you create a really good website, focus on a specific niche and then promote it well. Which brings us nicely on to the next point!
Promotion of your adult business
Promotion is now easier than it used to be thanks to new types of sites like Pinterest style websites and blogs. You can still use some mainstream tactics too that you would use for any other website.
Here I will do a quick overview of why I think promoting an adult website is quite easy these days.
The first thing to do is setup your website and get it looking good with lots of high-quality content. There’s no point promoting something that is terrible! For example if you write short erotica stories, get at least 10 published first.
Once you are fully setup you first need to create your social profiles. Twitter is important, so is Tumblr. They both allow adult content making them very straightforward. Put in your diary to post on them at least once a day. Get in the habit and it becomes easy! You also need to create a Pinterest account but never upload explicit images to it! Instead you want to use it regularly to upload pictures such as retail bikini pics. If you are a blogger you can also use it to promote blog posts with nice graphics.
Once you are up and running with social profiles you can create more permanent links. There are websites in the style of Pinterest that are adult only. Do a bit of searching to find those. Join them and share a few images from your website.
You can also search for adult forums where you can put a link in your profile. Join reddit and use some of the subreddits to share awesome stuff. If you have funds to invest you may also want to try buying traffic and measuring your ROI.
You can use other more mainstream websites too as long as you don’t upload explicit content to them. Websites like Slideshare can be good to use. For example if you have a Buzzfeed style adult site then you could do similar articles but without the nudity and upload to Slideshare. You can include a link which will get indexed.
Setting up other spin-off websites on Blogger can be another good way to link to your own website. Leaving comments on sexual blogs can be another easy way to get links. Overall you need to be smart with your promotional methods. There are lots of ways to still get links, just be sure never to spam.
Write yourself a full marketing plan specific to your website and be sure to follow it and never give up.
The future looks bright
Yet another brilliant thing about this sector is it’s one that certainly isn’t going to disappear! People aren’t going to stop having sexual thoughts overnight. You can give this a try knowing the market won’t suddenly shrink.
There is also the huge benefit of no competition from apps. Google Play Store and iTunes don’t allow adult content in apps listed on in their stores. This means people have to go to websites to get their naughty kicks!
As we draw to an end of this post I thought I would run through a few other benefits you might not have thought about.
- If you want to you can stay completely anonymous.
- Running websites you enjoy is important, who doesn’t like sex!
- Get web hosting on a monthly plan and you can cancel at any time meaning very low-risk if it doesn’t get success relatively quickly.
- Your location doesn’t matter because it’s a global business.
Although I’ve been very positive throughout this post don’t go thinking it is all rosy and nice and easy to do. I’ve enjoyed my research about this as a business opportunity. But the negatives can’t be ignored.
Be sure to stay safe legally. I probably shouldn’t have to say it but – keep it legal! Obviously that means the nature of the content but also don’t go stealing other peoples stuff. If you have done then it’s on your conscience and you best make sure you have a DMCA page. This should contain an email address for companies to submit DMCA requests to. If you have accidentally stood on someone’s copyright you need to react swiftly.
If you’ve never setup any kind of website before then you will have a learning curve to go through. It’s easy once you get the hang of it but there will be learning to be done. Accept it.
You will also need to manage your expenses and push yourself to make something that’s quality and then spend the time promoting it. If you tell your friends about the venture be aware that some may not be as open to it as you are. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, but just be aware that could happen.
This isn’t an industry I want to operate in. But maybe that’s easier for me to say because I already own profitable websites in mainstream sectors. For other people starting fresh, the viewpoint may be different. Whatever you decide, be clear in your head.
YOUR TURN TO ACT
Don’t just read this and do nothing about it. Decide if it’s a way you want to beef up your bank account. Hopefully everything I’ve said above has peeked your interest and you are now going to consider it.
My aim for this blog is to help people improve their personal finances. Having seen previous articles I’ve done here such as sex vs internet I’ve realised how powerful certain content can be. If you want to take your finances by the balls and have fun you too should have a serious think about it. Why not!
This article isn’t designed to be a full “how-to guide”. It is meant to share with you why I think this niche is one you should be open to. It’s not a dirty business and there are huge profits to be earned. Unfortunately there is no magic pill. You will have to work hard at the start to succeed. However the rewards are out there if you want them.