Making money online used to be seen as a pipe dream or a sure-fire way of getting scammed. But now, building multiple revenue streams to bring in passive income is a very achievable reality. And that’s all thanks to online businesses.
The concept of a “day job” has changed as remote working has become more common across the globe. Instead of working from 9am to 5pm, setting your own hours means that you can work from anywhere in the world at any time.
In fact, online businesses can replace your day income while you work only a few hours a week.
It all starts with the simple blog you started on a whim a while ago. Many successful entrepreneurs who live the digital nomad lifestyle have discovered that blogging is an effective and hands-off way to create passive income.
In time, you could grow your blog to produce a pretty good side income. But the great thing about content sites is that they can scale and become much more than just a side hustle.
You can grow your blog into a digital asset that savvy investors will pay a substantial amount of money for. In fact, content sites are often bought for six-figure sums and above on our marketplace every week.
This leads us to how your blog can actually make you money.
Turning Copy into Cash
The two main ways to monetize a blog are through affiliate marketing or display advertising.
Affiliate marketing is where you sign up with an affiliate program to promote vendors’ products or services. Every time someone makes a purchase after visiting the storefront from your link, you get paid a small commission.
Amazon Associates is one of the oldest and most popular affiliate programs that many people use to generate a large stream of revenue on their content site.
With display advertising, you earn a tiny commission every time someone clicks on an ad banner on your site. Unlike affiliate marketing, you earn a commission for every 1,000 clicks—no purchase is necessary.
Google Adsense is probably the most famous display advertising network people use to monetize their blogs.
Both monetization methods are passive ways of making money. Once you’ve produced the content or allocated space to display the ad banners, you then just focus on driving traffic to your site.
However, there are pros and cons to each model.
With affiliate marketing, you’ll earn more than display advertising since you get a cut of each sale. For display ads to generate more revenue than affiliate sites, a lot of traffic needs to run through the site.
But for affiliate marketing to be profitable, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. Because of the low barrier to entry, almost anyone can get started in this space.
Over the years, affiliate marketing has gained a notorious reputation for being predatory in nature. A few bad apples don’t represent the entire industry, but this does mean that you’ll need to work a lot harder to make sure your content offers exceptional value to your audience.
Once you’ve built up a solid foundation of content, you can generate revenue without having to tend to the articles you’ve already written. This is what makes content sites so easy to grow and scale: all you need to do is consistently add quality content.
That’s the low-down on how blogs can earn you money. However, what if someone then wanted to buy your blog from you? Let’s cover how to calculate its worth.
How Content Sites Are Valued
There are a couple of ways to get a rough estimate of how much an online business is worth.
One way is to look at the annual earnings (EBITDA) and multiply it by between 2 and 3. Our formula is slightly different from other brokers in that the way we calculate multiples is much higher.
Our multiple is 12 months’ average net profit multiplied by 20 to 60. The multiple is calculated based on many factors, such as the business’s age, how many followers the business has on social media, the diversity of traffic, and others.
Simply put, our formula looks like this:
Monthly Net Profit x Multiple = Valuation
In the 2020 Empire Flippers Industry Report, we analyzed all of the businesses we sold on our marketplace over the past three years. We found that affiliate businesses sold for an average of $127,613.30 at an average multiple of 30x.
In other words, imagine whatever your blog might be earning you on a monthly basis right now, and then multiply that number by 30.
Sounds awesome, right?
And that initial figure isn’t your ceiling, either. Many content sites sell for much higher multiples when they’re optimized in the right way. Let’s take a look at some of the tactics you can use to reach the highest multiple possible for your content site.
Tactics to Increase the Value of Your Content Site
I see a lot of entrepreneurs have a mindset believing that as long as they add more content, they’ll see growth. There’s a lot more to brush up on if you want your content site to generate revenue like a well-oiled machine, however.
SEO is the bread and butter of content sites. It’s all about making your site as search-friendly as possible so that your content lands in front of the right eyes when they’re looking something up via Google.
Mastering SEO can double your revenue if you optimize it well. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between on-page and off-page optimization.
On-page SEO is focused on optimizing your site in ways that you can influence. It’s mainly concerned with improving the content and optimizing the HTML of your site’s pages.
To determine how relevant your content is to a user’s search query, search engines will check for keywords and whether your content answers a reader’s question surrounding that keyword.
One common mistake people make is to stuff as many keywords as they can into their copy and titles. Actually, search engines are more concerned about keyword topics than how many keywords you can shoehorn into an article.
There are lots of tools to help you find relevant and low-competition keywords in your keyword research.
Search engines will also measure how easy it is to consume the content. Readability is usually measured by the Flesch Kincaid score. Aiming for a readability level of 9th grade is typically recommended, depending on the subject topic.
Another important factor is how easy it is to navigate your site.
Long loading times are a big turn-off and will cause a lot of readers to bounce from your site. After all, no one likes waiting around in this day and age. One way to decrease loading times is by decreasing image sizes.
Don’t worry if you aren’t too familiar with the WordPress backend; there are loads of plug-ins on WordPress to improve your site’s user experience.
Off-page SEO refers to link signals that tell search engines how trustworthy your site is as a source of information. This process is largely out of your control because it’s related to your backlinks and domain ranking.
There are a few things you can do to improve off-page optimization, however.
As part of your backlinking strategy, you can ask for a backlink or guest post exchange through email outreach.
Another way is to leave blog comments and forum comments to contribute to conversations while increasing your brand awareness. The more quality content you churn out on your blog, the higher search engines will start ranking your content.
So what exactly is quality content?
- Quality Content
Naturally, content is important when it comes to increasing your site’s value. But what exactly constitutes quality content?
This is tough to define in concrete terms. The general consensus is that your content needs to solve your target audience’s problem.
It’s normal when starting off to feel inclined to write about nearly anything that comes to your mind. If you want your target audience to start paying attention, though, you need to help them resolve their pain points.
Part of that is speaking the language that your audience speaks.
Use industry jargon or terminology that readers in the target demographic use, and identify the pain points that your reader experiences.
If you aren’t sure what the pain points are, start mapping out the buyer’s journey for your average reader. You can create different articles that meet the needs of a reader depending on which stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at.
No matter what type of content you’re producing, focus on providing greater value than what your competition offers.
- Popular Affiliate Programs
Once your site is generating a decent amount of traffic each month, you can start applying for affiliate programs. Amazon Associates is one of the most popular programs that we see entrepreneurs build businesses around.
There are plenty of great alternatives as well, such as Clickbank, ShareASale, and Commission.
One tip when choosing your links is to focus on how reputable the vendor is. One vendor might offer slightly higher commissions, but if they’re known for poor customer service or a low-quality product, that could reflect poorly on you and damage your credibility.
- Popular Display Ad Networks
As mentioned earlier, Google Adsense is the most popular display ad network.
If your application for Google Adsense gets rejected, don’t worry. Media.net is just as popular and an equally viable option.
If your site is generating a fair amount of traffic (think 10,000 monthly views), you can start thinking about applying for higher-paying display ad networks like Mediavine and Adthrive.
Branch Out for More Rewards
It’s hard to describe how exciting it is when you first see your blog generating revenue. It’s also easy to leave it as it is, thinking that it’ll continue to grow in traffic and profit.
If you want to protect your online business from unforeseen risks and increase revenue, you should think about diversifying revenue streams by applying for both monetization methods.
Drawing revenue from multiple sources can mitigate the damage if one of your affiliate programs suddenly changes its commission structure like Amazon did in April 2020.
You could explore other models like dropshipping or info products as your site grows to increase the number of revenue streams.
How to Sell Your Business
Optimizing your blog means you’ll start seeing a consistently upward trend of traffic and revenue.
Taking actions to make operations more streamlined will also mean more time to experiment with new features and grow your business. You’ll have the chance to reflect and take stock of what can be improved.
Many sellers worry that their business won’t sell because of identified weaknesses.
We find that the opposite is true. Buyers love businesses they can scale. Being honest about where the business is falling short actually works in your favor and gives you leverage when negotiating a deal with a potential buyer.
So, where can you sell your business?
You’ve got two options: work with a broker or try to sell the business in a private deal. At first glance, you might be tempted to try to sell your content site on your own.
However, unless you have a large network of buyers with good cash flow, it’ll be much harder to generate deal flow from qualified buyers.
It’s much easier to sell with a broker for your first sale.
You’ll save time and money from not dealing with tire-kickers who try to get away with lowball offers. We have the best deal flow for online businesses, with buyers showing proof of funds that they can use to acquire your business.
Once you submit your business for sale with us, you just have to wait for the offers to roll in and choose a deal that works for you. Much like a content site, selling with a broker is like making hands-off money for you since the deals will come your way.
Start by registering on our marketplace to sell your site. Then, start planning what you’ll do with a six-figure sum of capital after the sale.
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