How to Develop Your Blog
For many of us, starting a blog was a fun way to express our creativity and give us an outlet to share our interests. Some of us with an entrepreneurial spirit may have explored blogging as a side hustle.
No matter which camp you started out in, the great news is that you can achieve both of these outcomes. Not only is a blog a great way to start earning some extra passive income by generating engaging content, it’s also a smart way to raise a large amount of capital.
Maybe you’ve dreamt of paying off your student loans before you hit 30. Perhaps you’ve wanted to settle down and buy a house in an area you’ve fallen in love with.
Whatever your next goal is, your blog could help you achieve your ambitions.
What’s so Special About a Blog?
It’s a great question and identifies a key issue many blog owners don’t realize sooner. Many bloggers often succumb to tunnel vision when thinking their sites are just a personal journal.
However, a monetized blog evolves into a digital asset.
To realize the value of your blog, you’ll need to adopt a mindset shift. The blog is transformed into a revenue-generating machine that requires little work to maintain on a regular basis.
These types of money-making machines are highly lucrative assets that buyers will pay a lot of money for.
Who Would Buy my Business?
To understand who would buy your content site (remember: it’s not just a blog anymore!), it’s important to recognize the strengths of your digital asset. Most content sites are optimized for SEO. The organic reach means traffic is inbound and doesn’t require any maintenance.
In short, it’s easy to maintain.
After you’ve produced content that ranks for a keyword, your content site generates traffic and revenue even while you sleep. As long as the content is evergreen, traffic levels should remain consistent throughout the year with the exception of any search engine algorithm updates.
There are many types of buyers looking for a hands-off online business, such as a content site.
Your digital asset could be a worthwhile investment for someone who’s new to the industry and wants something that generates income from day one.
What if your site is monetized but isn’t fully optimized? To some buyers, that’s a dream come true. Certain investors are on the lookout for these types of sites so they can buy them, optimize them to increase their value, and flip them for a profit further down the road.
How Your Content Site is Valued
There are a few ways to estimate how much a content site is worth. Empire Flippers uses the following formula to provide a rough valuation:
12 Months Average Monthly Net Profit X Multiple
EBITDA, short for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization,” is commonly used in valuations. However, this metric only reflects a business’s financial performance after a year.
The performance of online businesses tends to fluctuate due to unforeseen circumstances, which is why we choose to measure an average monthly net profit to reflect this.
While the monthly net profit is easy to calculate, the multiple is a trickier number to figure out. The multiple depends on a lot of factors, such as a business’s age, the niche it operates in, traffic diversity, and the number of keywords a site ranks for.
Finalizing the multiple isn’t formulaic and can vary from case to case. For example, here is the revenue chart for one content site that sold for approximately $105,000.
Site 1 that operated for more than three years
The site has a steady upward trajectory of earnings and has a decent domain ranking. With this in mind, here’s another revenue chart for a sold content site.
Site 2 that was sold 14 months after it was created.
You may be surprised that it sold for roughly the same price as the first example, despite being a much younger domain and the site not earning any profit for the first three months of creation.
These examples give you an idea of how different each business is valued. In fact, your blog could be worth a lot more than you think!
Let’s explore how you can monetize your blog so it becomes a valuable digital asset.
How to Monetize Your Blog
Mark wrote a great introduction on how to monetize your blog. On top of the great tips in his article, let me offer some supplementary advice to help you start building your content site.
The most common ways to monetize your blog is through affiliate marketing and display advertising. To apply for either monetization method, your site needs to meet a traffic threshold and other requirements, such as maintaining high-quality content and being free of plagiarism.
Your site generates revenue from affiliate marketing when someone makes a purchase after clicking a link to the product listing on your site. You earn a small commission from each sale. In essence, you act as an affiliate for the vendor by promoting their products on your content site.
The most popular affiliate programs are Clickbank, Awin, ShareASale, Fiverr, and Rakuten Advertising. Amazon Associates used to be a very popular program before Amazon slashed commission rates in April 2020.
Many businesses were affected and had to pivot to adjust to these changes as they saw their revenue halve in the coming months.
Picking the right affiliate program will depend on which niche you’re in, as certain programs will offer higher commissions for different niches.
Another way to monetize your site is through display advertising, which involves putting up banner ads in the white spaces of your site. A small amount of revenue is generated each time someone clicks on these ads, and it’s usually calculated on a per-click basis, or for every thousand clicks (also known as per mille).
Google Adsense is currently the most popular advertising network that bloggers sign up with.
If your application to the Adsense network gets rejected, consider applying for Adthrive.
Once your site starts pulling in at least 50,000 sessions each month, it’s recommended you apply for Mediavine for a significant boost in revenue.
Monetizing your blog is only the beginning of your journey to create a digital asset. Let’s explore how you can scale the business to increase traffic and revenue levels, and ultimately the value of the business.
Contrary to popular belief, writing more articles isn’t enough to grow your business. Producing quality content will be key in attracting new readers to your site and convincing readers to keep coming back.
So what is quality content?
In the context of an online business, quality content is how you help your readers solve a problem they need help with.
You may have started a blog in the health and fitness niche reviewing home fitness products. Readers then start leaving comments about how helpful your review was and that it convinced them to buy a product to help with their health condition. Through this interaction, you’ve discovered that some readers find your product reviews helpful when they address how they help manage health conditions.
If there aren’t any comments like these, analyze which articles generate the most interest. The data should help you get a better picture of the types of topics readers lean towards. From there, you can reverse engineer the most read articles to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Understanding what your blog’s purpose is, what problems it solves, and for whom, will steer you in the right direction when creating future content.
Reach a Wider Audience
While organic reach is a great hands-off way of generating traffic to your site, you could be in trouble if a search engine algorithm cripples this marketing channel.
Increase your distribution channels to minimize the risk of losing traffic as a result of these kinds of situations. A couple of options to explore are social media advertising and building an email list.
Nowadays, social media platforms incentivize paid advertising. Organic reach is quite poor compared to a few years ago, so it can be harder to achieve growth without paying for advertising.
However, if your niche revolves around visually appealing content, you could leverage platforms where users respond well to images, such as Instagram and Pinterest.
To develop a following without paid campaigns, consider building a private group where you can interact with members and offer resources. The exclusive aspect helps you understand your target demographic better, as well as allows quality control over the types of people who can access the group.
Another way to develop a loyal audience is email marketing. This under-utilized marketing channel can build an engaged audience who looks forward to curated content and promotional offers if you can identify what type of content they’re looking for.
Targeting the Best Keywords
Bigger isn’t always better. The same can be said for keywords, where search volume is considered a core metric when choosing a keyword to rank for.
Low competition keywords might not generate the highest monthly search volume, but they could generate a much higher ROI if your articles that rank for them attract customers who are likely to click on your affiliate links.
Bear in mind the type of problem you’re hoping to solve, and leverage tools for effective keyword research so you can identify keywords with higher buying intent. While you might have found awesome keywords, your content production efforts could be in vain if your site isn’t optimized for SEO. Thankfully, there are several plugins to help your site stay search engine friendly.
Increase the Number of Revenue Streams
Earlier, we recommended increasing the number of marketing channels so you have multiple traffic sources. You can apply the same logic to your revenue streams as well.
If you monetized your site through affiliate marketing, you could apply for display advertising as well, and vice versa. There isn’t anything stopping you from having both monetization methods on your site.
Just bear in mind that the type of content you produce, as well as the topics you cover, could accommodate one monetization better than the other.
If you have affiliate marketing set up on your site, an avenue to explore is dropshipping.
Dropshipping has a low barrier to entry since you don’t own or store any of the inventory, and you only need to pay for the stocks once a vendor has fulfilled a customer’s order. You can earn even more from each sale by signing your dropshipping store as an affiliate vendor and including the product listings as affiliate links in your blog.
You earn a commission from each sale, increasing your revenue even further.
Time for Action
We’ve covered a lot of ground, but we hope it helped you realize that you could be in possession of a diamond in the rough.
With some elbow grease, you could monetize your blog to generate some extra income.
In time, your content site may even replace your salary from your day job so you can earn a respectable living while working a fraction of the hours.
What if you’ve already monetized your site and you’re thinking about what’s next? You could be thinking about pursuing a passion project or building a new business idea that’ll take off in a short amount of time—if only you had the capital.
Selling your content site can help you unlock the doors to your next business opportunity or achieve a personal goal.
Two ways you could sell is through a private sale or through a broker.
We’d recommend using a broker if it’s your first time selling a business. A broker has a variety of services to help you prepare for the sale and connect you with the right type of buyer who has the proven funds to commit to a deal.
After the first sale, you can consider private deals since you’ve got more experience under your belt and had time to build up a network of interested buyers.
If you’re considering your next move in your entrepreneurial journey, register on our marketplace where we can advise you on selling your site.
After the huge windfall of capital, maybe you can think about how to reinvest the capital into a new project.
It starts with realizing your blog is so much more than a blog.