Things to think about before you set up a website
What's the purpose and topic of your website? Why are you setting up a website? How are you going to generate visitors, and make money with your website?
What type of website is it?
A group, organisation or church website
The purpose of the site is to provide information about the group, to its members, or to outsiders. To maximise its effectiveness, you'll likely need to promote the site outside the internet.
A small business website
The purpose of the site is as a source of product information. Again, you'll likely need to promote it in the real world. Don't expect more than a trickle of new customers coming in via the website. Your site is never going to be drawing in large numbers of visitors, because it's just a whole lot of stuff for sale. However, the site will help you retain and sell to existing customers, by providing them an easy way of keeping up with what you're offering.
A hobby website
Unless your site is a site about yourself, your family, or something else with an extremely limited audience, you can make money out of it too. A site about almost any kind of craft, topic of study, interest, location, or activity, can make a small amount of money (often enough to pay for your website hosting) through advertising. Also, website hobbyists often end up getting a taste for success, and their hobby site turns into a real source of income.
A website designed to make money
If the objective of your website is only (or primarily) to make money online, and you don't have any real-world infrastructure, then you need to know what you're getting yourself in for. The vast majority of people who run their own websites don't earn enough money online to let them quit their job. There are no short-cuts, and it's a crowded field. However, if you do want to head down this path, then the following are essential:
Commitment - Success will likely take years. Most people quit long before they start making even a small amount of money. If you have a history of flitting from one project to the next, and can't stick with something long past the initial rush of enthusiasm, then don't even start making a website. Success will entail writing a large volume of high-quality articles.
Interest - Pick a website topic you're interested in, and are knowledgeable about.
Commercialisability - This is a secondary concern. You'll most likely make money by advertising (I recommend using Google Adsense). If you can, pick a topic that's somehow related to a business. If your topic is related to any kind of business, or if there are any products or services related to your topic, then you'll make more money from advertising. (For example, a site about commercial web hosting will likely make a hundred times more than one about jokes.) However, be careful here. You still need to know your topic. Many people make the mistake of choosing a high-paying topic that they have no interest in, or knowledge about. Those sites rarely get anywhere.
Once you've decided that you want to set up a website, please see my full guide, at Website Setup Guide