This guest post is by Patrick Meninga of Make Money with No Work.
Over the last four years, I created a single website that exceeded $2,000 in monthly income, and sold for six figures to one of my direct advertisers.
When I started this journey, I had no idea what I was doing. I wasted a great deal of time using actions that were inefficient, wasteful, and unprofitable. Looking back, it is easy to see which actions produced the most income.
My action checklist for creating a website and selling it for $200,000 looked like this:
- selected the perfect topic
- published a high volume of content
- created premium content to attract organic links
- pitched premium quality guest posts
- cultivated a community of fans
- negotiated direct advertising deals
- persisted through any setbacks
- sold when the right offer came along.
Select the perfect topic
I chose the perfect topic for my website. The subject of addiction worked because:
- I had expert knowledge and first-hand experience in it.
- There was sufficient traffic and interest in the topic on the web.
- There was money to made from related products and services.
If you want to creating a six-figure website, you’ll need to meet all three of these requirements.
How can you find the perfect topic?
Think carefully about where your expertise lies. What have you done, what have you learned, and what could you teach others? Brainstorm a list of potential topics based on your experiences. ProBlogger has some helpful suggestions on how to do this.
Next, filter your list of potential topics by profitability. ProBlogger has a detailed guide on how to do this.
Then, filter your list of topics based on potential volume. ProBlogger explores the idea of considering your niche’s volume in detail.
It is not enough to choose a topic in which you are an expert. You need to find the intersection between:
- your expertise
- sufficient traffic volumes and interest on the web
- profit potential.
Publish a high volume of content
I sold my website for six figures because I published a large number of articles. This is how I attracted large volumes of search engine traffic.
My success stemmed from a mountain of content. Over the life of my website, I averaged three new articles per day, resulting in over a thousand new articles each year.
My website sold for six figures because it had a lot of quality content on it.
One of the most important things to implement is a daily quota for publishing new articles. Build a big website. Publish regularly. Writing multiple articles per day will result in the fastest growth. Volume matters. Ninety percent of my effort went into content creation.
Create premium content to attract organic links
One action I took was to create premium content. What is “premium content?” It is content that beats the competition on the web.
Search for you topic online, and glance through the top sites. Analyze the quality, depth, and usefulness of this content. Your goal is to write and publish content that exceeds the quality of what’s already out there. Create a better resource that is useful to your audience.
These are the actions I took to accomplish this with my website:
- I designed custom infographics (even though I did not know exactly what I was doing!).
- I published several free ebooks.
- I helped anyone with personal questions via email for free.
- I created videos to give the audience a choice of content formats.
- I created a discussion forum where people could ask questions, get advice, or seek feedback from each other.
Few of my competitors were implementing these tactics, and many of these strategies generated organic links and word-of-mouth exposure for me.
Pitch premium quality guest posts
My website sold for six figures because it had enough authority to rank for many keywords. The site was pulling in over eighty thousand unique visits per month because it had a combination of lots of articles and enough authority to rank well. That authority was created through a handful of guest posts.
While ProBlogger already explores how to get your first guest post published, I want to highlight a couple of points that many people may not realize.
Firstly, because guest posting can be difficult, many people will turn to chasing easy, manufactured links. Don’t do this! While some links are very easy to get, they won’t be as powerful as a real guest post. Recognize that quality links are difficult to achieve but are well worth the added effort.
Secondly, with most topics on the web, you only need a few guest posts to create powerful authority. Do not be discouraged. Just start with a single guest post. Give things time. If you are not getting the results you want, add another guest post. This is part of a long-term strategy: give new links time to produce results.
Cultivate a community of fans
I created a fan base in a simple two-step process on my website:
- I engaged my readers by opening discussions with them about my articles, encouraging them to leave comments, and having conversations with them.
- I gave them a platform in which a community formed and took hold. For my site, this meant adding a discussion forum.
This approach was so successful that some of the fans spread the new forum via word of mouth, bringing in friends and growing the community naturally.
Thus, the action of cultivating fans must begin by engaging your readers. Start a discussion, have conversations, and build from that.
Negotiated direct advertising deals
While I built my site and earned decent money from it, I asked myself, “What if I could monetize more efficiently?”
I was using Google AdSense, so I set out with the goal to make a direct advertising deal. I made a list of each advertiser, then contacted them and inquired about going direct. This was my basic pitch:
“Look, you are already purchasing traffic from my website via Google. What if we were to cut out the middleman, do a direct deal, and both come out ahead for it? Is that something that interests you?”
After contacting about 20 advertisers, five replied, and I struck three different ad deals. Each of these ran separately, and they had mildly successful results. In all three cases, AdSense delivered better results. There were two problems. First, our advertising contract was too short: there was not enough time to measure real results. Also, the advertisers didn’t have enough control over my website, and couldn’t fine-tune things to their needs.
Even though these direct advertising deals didn’t pan out, they were still valuable because I learned from them. Most importantly, the last direct deal that I made resulted in an unsolicited offer to purchase the website. This would not have happened had I not experimented with new forms of monetization.
Persist through any setbacks
During my journey to create a full-time income online, I experienced a few setbacks. The reason that my website sold for such a large amount is because I persisted through these setbacks and continued to improve the website.
In one instance, a Google algorithm update reduced my traffic by about 40%. I quickly made corrective actions and improved the quality of my content. This particular setback helped in that it raised my standard of quality for future posts. Instead of producing “good enough” articles, I tried to redefine what “premium content” meant to me. I challenged myself to be original, insightful, and helpful with each new article I published.
Sell when the right offer comes along
As I stated above, my last direct advertising deal resulted in an offer I could not refuse. $200,000 was a life-changing amount of money for me. I also had the knowledge and skill to build another profitable website.
Think carefully about your selling price, and keep it in the back of your head. If your website is earning $1,000 per month, would you sell the website for $30,000? Why or why not?
My website sold for an outrageous premium because it was “best in class” in terms of original content, epic resource articles, and lots of free ebooks. The strength of the content and the community will allow the site to remain profitable long into the future.
Review your action list
To increase monthly income or sell your site for a huge premium, review the actions I’ve suggested in this article and make sure that you are addressing each of them. Six figures does not just fall into your lap, but if you are determined to work hard for your success, these actions can get you there.
Any questions? Let me know in the comments!
Patrick Meninga runs Make Money with No Work. Patrick recently sold his flagship website for $200,000 dollars and has since taken to sipping cold beverages on white sandy beaches. He also recently launched a free eBook titled “Ninjanomics – This Changes Everything.”