Building A Brand: John Rampton and the Success of Due.com

Building A Brand: John Rampton and the Success of Due.com

John Rampton is a self confessed serial entrepreneur, connector, writer and angel investor.

So when he purchased the premium domain name Due.com [on the Flippa marketplace for $130,000 last March], we were excited when he told us about his plans to build “the best place to pay bills, when bills are due.”

We recently sat down with John to chat about his successful launch, and how the business is performing so far.

Building Due.com – the #1 invoicing software for small business

John told us that he can “only write enough code to be dangerous,” so rather than building the software (and site) from the ground up, he acquired an invoicing company with the objective of using it as the foundation for Due.com.

He explained, “I had become friends with this particular invoicing business over the years and noticed they had a really cool product, but they didn’t know how to market the business. I’m not a great product person, but I’m really good at marketing things.”

The opportunity John saw was simple: continue building and supporting a great product offering, but grow it exponentially with the help of his marketing chops. From that point forward it was simply a matter of moving the existing business across to the Due.com domain and rebranding it with the new Due logo and color palette.

logo_c

Because the invoicing business already had an existing database of over 40,000 clients, Due.com launched and became – virtually overnight – a revenue-generating business.

And John was only just getting started.

 

Marketing and growth

The marketing strategy for Due.com is, at its core, content-based.

The business publishes daily content on its blog and outside sources, featuring business-savvy tips [Four Ways to Build A Business That Supports Your Life] and even inspirational quotes.

John also pens work for his personal blog and large publications such as Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur and Time. He speaks his mind on entrepreneurship and marketing, and shares more personal reflections of particular successes and failures.

“I bring into my writing my experiences and what I do, and those who come across these posts naturally end up at Due,” John explains.

In addition to their robust content arm, John and his team are constantly developing strategic partnerships to grow their user base. One partnership in particular wielded a co-branded survey and infographic which brought in over 2,000 new users in a single day.

 

User acquisition strategy

A sizable quotient of Due’s user acquisition strategy is its focus on acquiring businesses of a similar scope and merging these companies’ existing customer bases and technology.

John explained how the Flippa marketplace has provided a myriad of digital assets that fit this mold.

“After having success purchasing the first invoicing company, we went out and started acquiring other invoicing and time tracking businesses. Flippa has been a great source for these type of deals. I’ve spent a total of $5,000 on 4 different acquisitions which have brought in over 40,000 new customers.”

John also uses his actual product as a customer acquisition channel. Since Due.com is an invoicing tool, he uses those invoices as a way to acquire new business — over thirty new users per day. “Once we bring the user in and they start sending invoices out, typically for every three invoices that are sent out, that brings in one more user. Almost every new user over the course of five to six weeks adds one additional user.”

 

The Premium Domain

The big question about Due.com is: what impact has having such an ultra premium domain name had on the business?

“Having a premium domain has helped tremendously, I would say by a factor of at least 10x. When you have a premium domain name, people recognize that and it gives you instant credibility,” John explained.

He added, “When I get introduced as the founder and CEO of Due.com, people think we’ve been in business for 10-15 years just because of the domain.”

In addition to building trust and credibility, John says that owning and operating the premium domain name — particularly a .com — has increased his response rate by at least 50% when pitching stories to journalists and reporters. The SEO benefits are immeasurable, as well.

What about the cost? Six figures isn’t an easy amount of money to part with. John’s advice: “Spend the extra money and work whatever deal you can to get a good .com domain name because in the long run, it’ll be worth every cent.”

 

By the numbers

Due continues to scale — it has amassed 78,000 users in its first nine months, and will be profitable in its next two. John and his team have even bigger plans to expand the business beyond just invoicing and time tracking, hoping to venture full-on into the payments space.

The Flippa Team wishes the crew much success, and will be following up in due time…get it?…to see how they’re tracking.

Drop a comment or question for John below, or follow him on JohnRampton.com and the Due.com blog. Also keep tabs via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Six ways websites listed on Flippa are being monetized

Six ways websites listed on Flippa are being monetized

Effectively monetizing a website might be hard work, but despite the struggle, it is possible. Of course, the first step is understanding which monetization methods are available, and which methods best align with your individual objectives. On that note, I’ve prepared this article by analyzing and summarizing six website monetization methods and the circumstances under which each method is useful. Lastly, along with each method, I’ve also included an example of a real site listed on Flippa using that method. So enjoy this article, and start monetizing your website today!

Website English-Test.net is up for sale on Flippa

English-Test.net uses an AdSense based monetization method.

Monetization via Google AdSense: English-Test.net

AdSense is generally the widest used and most accessible form of advertising available to self-publishing webmasters. Webmasters simply place a brief JavaScript code on the websites’ pages. Then AdSense will choose the highest paying ads that are targeted based on the content of the sites and the interests of the users accessing those sites. It has been particularly important for delivering advertising revenue to small websites that do not have the resources for developing advertising sales programs. Using AdSense to monetize your website traffic is a good option if you have a content-rich site with family-friendly content.

English-Test.net is the self-proclaimed largest collection of interactive online English tests in the world. The site boasts over 1.1 million Unique Visitors a month and about 2.7 million Page Views a month. This massive amount of traffic is being monetized with Google AdSense to the tune of about $5,000/month in revenue.

Website Rewrite My Paper is for sale on Flippa

RewriteMyPaper.com uses a SaaS monetization method.

Monetization via SaaS: RewriteMyPaper.com

Compared to the traditional model of software distribution, in which software is purchased for and installed on personal computers, the Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivers the software service by making it available to the users over the Internet. SaaS is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model because of its many benefits such as easy accessibility, painless upgrade, lower initial costs, etc. Some SaaS businesses charge their users on a subscription base, such as Spotify and Evernote, while other SaaS businesses charge their users based on the usage, such as RewriteMyPaper.com and Heroku.com. If your website provides a valuable software service and your users are willing to pay for using it, SaaS would be a good option for you to maximize your revenue from the value of the service.

RewriteMyPaper.com provides a software service that helps college students rewrite their papers and essays. Students simply copy and paste the papers to the website and it automatically rewrites the papers for them. Users are charged for credits that they use based on the number of words in the papers they would like to have rewritten. With 1.5k Unique Visitors and 15.4k Page Views per month, the website generates an average monthly revenue of $725 during the past 6 months.

The Rocking Chair Company is for sale on Flippa

TheRockingChairCompany.com uses a dropship eCommerce monetization method.

Monetization via Dropship eCommerce: TheRockingChairCompany.com

Since businesses being monetized via dropship ecommerce do not carry inventory, they usually take less time to operate and require less cash to start up, compared to an eCommerce business that has to manage the inventory and shipment in-house. It is an attractive business model from an operations standpoint. However, the profit margin of a given dropship eCommerce business would generally be much lower compared to a similar inventory-holding eCommere business. There is also an underlying risk since the dropship business has little control over their inventory and shipment. In general when you go the dropship route, there are likely to be many other stores that carry the exact same products. You really need to differentiate your business from the many other competitors in order to win more orders. The dropship business model is a good option for you to bring in extra income, as it is relatively easy to start and operate.

TheRockingChairCompany.com (TRCC) is a dropship eCommerce website selling chairs and tables. The website is 9 years old with 5.4k unique visits and 25.3k page views per month. It generates $12k products sales and $2.7k gross profits per month with a profit margin of 22.5%. Currently 100% of items on the site are drop-shipped, which means TRCC doesn’t keep any products it sells in stock. When TRCC sells a product, it automatically purchases the product from the manufacturer and the manufacturer ships out the product to the end customer.

Website EVERYTHINGbutWINE.com is for sale on Flippa!

EverythingButWine.com uses an inventory holding eCommerce method.

Monetization via Inventory Holding Ecommerce: EverythingButWine.com

If you want to run a full-time eCommerce business and you have money to invest in it, inventory-holding eCommerce might be a good option for you considering the hefty profit margin. However, you’ll generally need a larger initial investment to get setup. You’ll also need to think about where you will physically store your inventory, and what your fulfillment processes will be.

EverythingButWine.com (EBW) is an inventory-holding eCommerce website that sells wine accessories. With 3.9k unique visits and 34.8k page views, it generates $3.9k in revenue and $1.9k in net profit per month, with a high profit margin of 48.7%. Different from the dropship business TheRockingChairCompany.com (TRCC), EverythingButWine.com would stock products based on what customer ordered and manage the shipment in-house. EBW’s profit margin is 48.7%, more than double the dropship business TRCC’s 22.5% profit margin. Even though the monthly gross revenue of EBW is only $3.9k, the company could retain $1.9k as profit, while TRCC has to give up 77.5% of their revenue to others. However, EBW is currently holding inventory items that cost $13.9k while TRCC is free from the cash flow constraint caused by holding inventory.

Website for sale on Flippa: MyCoverDesigner.com

MyCoverDeisgner.com is monetized via online services.

Monetization via Online Services: MyCoverDesigner.com

Monetization via online services is one of the most common methods of monetization encountered on Flippa. In demand online services include copywriting, graphic design, web development, and online marketing. Hiring specialists from major freelancing communities such as UpWork is a typical growth strategy employed by these web businesses, but it tends to squeeze the margins. On the flip side, though it is less passive and more time intensive, someone who already has the skills necessary to successfully perform a service that people are willing to pay for can widen the margins by performing the service themselves. In the end, service based online businesses can be quite lucrative, but it takes the right mix of skills and human capital to make them successful.

MyCoverDesigner.com is an eBook and print cover design website which offers professional book cover design services. The seller of the site claims to have a high proportion of repeat buyers, and they attribute this to the fact that the authors they work with generally write multiple books and are frequently in need of cover design services. The website is currently generating an average of $223/month profit off of an average of 111 unique visitors/month and 860 page views/month.

Website PhoneDetectiveTech.com is for sale on Flippa

PhoneDetectiveTech.com uses a Click Bank Affiliate monetization method.

Monetization via Click Bank Affiliate Program: PhoneDetectiveTech.com

Joining one of the various Clickbank affiliate programs is a good monetization option for websites that are able to attract niche-specific traffic and convert it into sales. There are, of course, an almost endless number of affiliate marketing strategies, but one of the most successful seems to revolve around creating niche sites that cater to the same audience as the products/services being offered by the affiliate program. For instance, if you have a blog all about online dating, you might monetize that site by joining an affiliate program that sells a book about online dating, and by placing ads on your site that direct users to a location where they can purchase that book.

PhoneDetectiveTech.com is a phone lookup tool showing the details behind the phone numbers. It’s a Click Bank affiliate website and the website database is maintained by the vendor. With 6,043 page views and 1,648 unique visits per month, it generates $232 automated income for the owner every month. By joining an affiliate program such as Click Bank Affiliate Program, the affiliates could earn commissions by promoting other company’s products. Through SEO and referral marketing efforts, the PhoneDetectiveTech.com is able to attract reasonable amount of daily traffic to the website and convert the traffic into sales. In this way, the website could automatically generate passive income for the owner from the affiliate program commissions.

Did we capture all of your favorite website monetization methods? Make sure to chime in with your thoughts below!

Best Domain Parking Providers

Best Domain Parking Providers

What is domain parking?

When we refer to domain parking we are talking about monetising domains through platforms that create advertising pages displayed to search or direct type in traffic (for example see www.newyorkbroadway.com). Providers differ: some offer single page advertising, while others have two-click implementations, showing a keyword that re-directs to a secondary page of ads.

How many domains are parked?

In 2009 Verisign (2009, p5) found 24% of domains were single-page websites, which included construction banner sites, brochures or monetised parking pages (based on a study across 92 million .COM and .NET domains). Verisign (2006, p5) found this number decreased by 2% between 2006 and 2009 based on a 2006 analysis across 57.37 million .COM and .NET domains.

Parked Domains

Looking at unique domain name server records (where domains are directing traffic) for .COM domains we can estimate each parking providers relative inventory size (Flippa, 2015)

[ip4]{ “template”: ip4.barChart(), “parentElement”: “#kcal”, “data”: { “reader”: ip4.dataReader() .data([ {“x”: “Sedo”, “y”: 1215413 }, {“x”: “DNS”, “y”: 1151170 }, {“x”: “GD CashParking”, “y”: 912864 }, {“x”: “DomainSponsor”, “y”: 622329 }, {“x”: “ParkingCrew”, “y”: 397487 }, {“x”: “Fabulous”, “y”: 387690 }, {“x”: “Rook Media”, “y”: 266728 }, {“x”: “Afternic”, “y”: 154980 } ]) }, “d3”: { “yLabel”: “Unique Records” } }[/ip4]

Full list? download raw csv

Who is the best provider?

We were curious as to which parking platforms our domains audience trusted and utilized the most. Can these providers be deemed as the best domain monetisation providers? Our results are as follows:

1. Sedo Parking (example parked page)

2. Go Daddy CashParking (example parked page)

3. DomainNameSales (example parked page)

4. ParkingCrew (example parked page)

5. Bodis (example parked page)

6. Voodoo (example parked page)

7. DomainApps (example parked page)

8. DomainsSponsor (example parked page)

[ip4]{ “template”: ip4.pieChart(), “parentElement”: “#survey”, “data”: { “reader”: ip4.dataReader() .data([ {“x”: “Sedo Parking”, “y”: 22.83 }, {“x”: “GoDaddy”, “y”: 22.04 }, {“x”: “DomainNameSales”, “y”: 11.02 }, {“x”: “ParkingCrew”, “y”: 6.29 }, {“x”: “Bodis”, “y”: 5.5 }, {“x”: “Voodoo”, “y”: 5.5 }, {“x”: “DomainApps”, “y”: 3.93 }, {“x”: “DomainSponsor”, “y”: 3.93 }, {“x”: “Other”, “y”: 18.11 } ]) }, “d3”: { “yLabel”: “Flippa Users (%)” } }[/ip4]Don’t agree?  Have a question? Leave a comment below

 

[1] “Verisign, ‘Domain Brief June 2009 ‘, p5, Verisign.com. http://www.verisign.com/domain-name-services/domain-information-center/domain-name-resources/domain-name-report-june09.pdf

[2] “Verisign, ‘Domain Brief August 2006’, p5, Verisign.com. http://www.verisign.com/domain-name-services/domain-information-center/domain-name-resources/domain-name-report-aug06.pdf

[3] Flippa, 15th January 2015 ‘Data Analysis across all .COM nameserver records (raw file)

[4]  Flippa, January 2015, ‘Flippa User Parking Survey’

Why you should hate dropship ecommerce like I do.

Why you should hate dropship ecommerce like I do.

For the last few years, buyers have been purchasing a type of website that, left unchanged, is almost always doomed to fail. The worst part is, it’s probably one of the most popular types of site being sold.

This is part of a series of guest posts by Justin Gilchrist the cofounder of Centurica, a company that provides due diligence and website assessments to people who buy web based businesses.

I’d like to show you how you can avoid the same fate. More importantly, I’ll take you through a strategy that’s been working for over 8 years now, turning these problem sites in huge profits for buyers.

A few months before writing this I sat opposite a lady on a flight and we had one those really awkward cross-aisle conversations. The type that happens when the other person sees Google Analytics on your screen and realizes you also have an internet business, but neither of you know if the other person really wants to talk.

Originally, she said she ran an ‘ecommerce company’. Five minutes in, it was actually a farming supplies store in the British countryside that happened to have a website … where about 5% of all their transactions happened, compared to the other 95% that happened in store. Her website was three months old and she was very proud of it. I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.

I guess running an ecommerce company sounds so much cooler than “I run a small shop” but that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard ‘ecommerce’ used for all the wrong reasons. People’s definition of ecommerce varies depending on who you speak to.

We frequently work with buyers at Centurica where someone wants to purchase an ‘ecommerce business’. Sometimes, they want an online store. Sometimes, they’re just referring to any business that transacts on the internet – like a content site.

Both are technically ecommerce, but not the online store we usually mean.

Ecommerce can be split up into

Physical Ecommerce (PSE) – an online store selling a physical product that is either warehoused and dispatched by the owner, or warehoused by a third party fulfillment center such as Amazon FBA or ShipWire.

Drop-ship Ecommerce (DSE) – an online store that also sells physical products, but these are dispatched directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler.

Digital Ecommerce –  is a website that sells one or more digital information products where the transaction happens on the site. If this were an Affiliate site, the user would be sent elsewhere to make their purchase. If the user is taken to a third party hosted page to make payment (like many shopping carts do) then it still counts as Digital Commerce, providing the site owner also owns that cart transaction.

Knowing the difference is pretty important.

One of those three models comes almost doomed to failure unless you’re able to do something about it. Can you guess which one? Pretend for a minute that you didn’t already read the title.

Here’s the problem with drop-ship

In my opinion, drop-ship ecommerce (DSE) holds the least value out of all three of those types of business.

And to clarify, the ‘bad’ kind of drop-ship are those stores that sell generic products that are easy to source. The kind where you type ‘drop-ship directory’ into Google and your supplier pops up. If you have a site with a distribution agreement, or products that are difficult for competitors to find elsewhere, then the rules change.

New buyers tend to see DSE as being extremely low maintenance. After all, you’re just sitting watching the orders come in while someone else does all the hard work right? If you’ve been around for a few years you’ll probably know anything that seems like easy money on the internet is a problem waiting to happen! Less work means far less reward and whole host of other issues, but we’ll get to those soon.

In reality, Digital Product Ecommerce tends to be the lowest maintenance of the three different types. Outside of customers being unable to open a zip file (yes … it happens), and people asking for a refund, there’s very little maintenance that you need to do providing the product itself is evergreen.

Meanwhile, drop-shipping (which everyone assumes is the easy option), is probably tied second with Physical Ecommerce (PSE), often to people’s surprise. This is providing you have a PSE store where you:

1) Use a fulfillment center to warehouse and dispatch your goods, and a shopping cart that automates most tasks for you, like sending the orders to that fulfillment center when they come in.

2) Outsource or hire someone for basic customer support and

3) Set up triggers with your suppliers for automatic reordering whenever stock runs low. Again, this is something most modern shopping carts will automate.

You’re likely to spend about the same amount of time maintaining a physical ecommerce store (with fulfillment) as you would with a drop-ship one, so the argument about maintenance becomes redundant.

But you promised ‘hate’ in the title …

Being ‘comparatively not as low maintenance as everyone thinks it is’ is hardly a crime or a reason to loathe drop-ship ecommerce. The maintenance issue was merely making a point that DSE’s biggest perceived benefit actually isn’t that much of a game changer.

My personal vendetta against drop-ship ecommerce is that the business model is seriously flawed. When you sell goods on a drop-ship basis, you will always have the smallest margins in the supply chain. UPS will often make more than you do on a typical transaction.

DSE margins are usually so slim there’s not enough left to run paid traffic campaigns. And love or hate paid traffic, most new buyers soon learn this is the ONLY reliable and consistent way to grow an ecommerce business.

Look at it this way – organic traffic is nice, but difficult when you sell a generic product with the same description as everyone else and very few genuine product reviews. You could start a blog and you will get traffic, but most of that traffic will read the article and bounce. Ecommerce blogs typically have low conversion to sales, even with remarketing. Social marketing works well in niches where people care enough to share their love for the products you sell, but what if that product is a lawnmower … or worse still a pubic hair trimmer? Suddenly, your only source for new customers are those where you have to pay to reach them.

Based on the average conversion in your niche, and the cost to buy one click (which is dictated by the other advertisers who all have bigger margins if they’re supplying direct), the amount you would spend to get a sale usually doesn’t generate enough gross profit to make buying clicks sustainable. I’m sure there are exceptions or sites that convert so well, they buck the trend but you’ll find this isn’t the case for the majority of drop-ship sites that you look at.

This why most drop-ship stores rely on Organic Search traffic.

The owners try paid traffic and quickly give up. But we all know that an ecommerce store without paid traffic is like a goldfish in a shark tank right? Besides never being able to hit scale that matters, you’re stuck in a market dominated by competitors who can and will spend whatever it takes to steal your market share, and you’ll be defenseless to do anything about it.

If that wasn’t bad enough, you might also be competing against your own suppliers, who can offer lower prices if need be and spend more to advertise than you ever could.

In short, DSE is a flawed model that SHOULD never scale. It sometimes does, but it’s usually short-lived. Buy at the wrong time and you’ll be left paying for the seller’s mistakes.

So wait, I should never purchase a drop-ship Store?

Not quite.  Drop-ship purchases have been some of the most profitable ones I’ve ever made. The problem comes from purchasing a drop-ship store and leaving it that way, expecting untold riches and a place on the Inc 500.

If you buy DSE, do so with a healthy dose of reality. You could keep it as is, but chances are you’ll find it difficult to grow and scale, and often struggle to just maintain your current position.

A more effective strategy for renovating drop-ship sites is to see it for what it really is – an opportunity to acquire customers cheaply and build a more sustainable system around what is already there.

Take this example

You purchase a store that sells stationery and office supplies to businesses that order online. Currently, they drop-ship directly from the manufacturer and have an average of 100 orders each month. The site generates a profit of $10 on a $100 average order size.

Most of the traffic comes from organic search and the seller has told you PPC is too expensive and doesn’t work. When he tried it, he experienced a conversion rate of 2% and an average cost per click of $0.80

Your first step would be to look at the most popular 20% of products that account for the majority of revenue. In this case, it’s pens, staples and paper. You can order these products directly from the manufacturer in bulk and pay a wholesale rate. On stationery, the margins are significantly higher when you buy wholesale as it’s a commodity item dominated by low cost Turkish and Chinese imports.

Next, you setup an account with a fulfillment provider like Shipwire. They handle all of your warehousing and shipping just for these new products. After Shipwire’s costs have been considered, let’s assume you’re now making an average profit of $70 on each $100 order that you dispatch from the fulfillment centre. All the other long-tail products like lamination machines or laser toners are still drop-shipped as it makes no sense to keep inventory just for the occasional purchase.

Your profit on a sale now averages $60 on a $100 order. This is an average of the majority of products where you earn $70 and few drop shipped items where you still earn $10.

With increased profit per transaction, paid marketing is now back on the table.

Based on the figures above, 100 clicks would cost $80 and generate 2 sales. Previously, this equaled $20 profit (a $60 loss after marketing costs are removed) whereas now, it’s $120 (i.e. a $40 profit after marketing costs). If a campaign works on Google Adwords, then it’s highly likely it will work well with retargeting platforms and paid social too (e.g. Facebook or Twitter Ads), often at a fraction of the acquisition cost of Google.

You now have a system that’s scalable and gives you far more defense against new competitors. You’ve also increased the value of what you purchased several times over before even thinking about recruiting an extra visitor. Any kind of strategy that doesn’t involve the ever-vague “doing SEO” instantly gets my vote.

Conclusion

So on reflection, hate was a little strong.

If you own or you’re thinking of buying an ecommerce store, then you should think twice before diving head first into drop-shipping as a model.

That said, you can turn a negative to your advantage and acquire drop-ship ecommerce sites, providing you intend to change the model, and you’re able to do so quickly.

In Digitally Wed, I go into some depth about how to avoid the type of purchases that appear great on the surface, but deliver mediocre results because of a flawed business model. You can download or order a copy really soon from Flippa – with a special price just for Flippa members. Stay tuned for my next post to get this deal.

Happy Hunting!

How to Monetize Your Website

How to Monetize Your Website

“How the heck do I monetise this website I bought?”, this question has been asked at multiple Flippa meetups this year. It’s a fair question too, especially as some buyers have little experience in running web businesses – and buying a website on Flippa is their first shot.

You probably didn’t buy a website so that you could make an extra few hundred each month. You bought it so that you could make thousands or tens of thousands each month. We want to help you achieve it. And this guide will teach you how to do just that. It’s a big guide, so big that it’s been split into two parts for readability.

In part 1, we’ll look at some of the more traditional methods that have been around for a long time. Strap yourself in!

1. Advertising

Advertising is the most basic form of monetization online. Readers come to your site, they see an interesting ad on your site, they click the ad, and you get paid. Easy! While extremely quick and easy to set up, ads aren’t always the most effective way to monetize. You need a lot of traffic hitting your site to make a decent amount of money from ads. This means months of hard work doing content marketing, SEO and social media marketing before you see a decent income.

Besides, if you’re getting that much traffic, it would make more sense to try some of the other monetization strategies and make even more money. We’ll come to that later. For now, if you’re bent on monetizing through advertising, start with a Google Adsense account. It’s free and easy to set up. You can then plug in ads in your sidebar, your header, in-content and other places on your site.

Another popular ad network is BuySellAds. With BSA you can set up your ad inventory and charge per impression. They have thousands of advertisers looking for targeted sites like yours, and if you get good traffic you can charge a premium.

Finally, you can skip the networks and brokers and just contact advertisers yourself in what is commonly known as a private ad sale. Again, you’ll need a decent amount of traffic so that you have negotiating power. Then you can simply charge a fixed amount per month to place their banner on your site.

Thinking about buying? View websites for sale with an advertising monetization method.

2. Paid Content

Paid content is getting a third party to pay you to publish their content on your site. It’s basically like accepting guest posts, except you’re charging people for it. In this case the third party, or advertiser, will write a post for your site in the hopes that your readers will see it and try to find out more about the topic or author. So you’ll have to add a byline for the post letting readers know it’s sponsored content and who sponsored it.

As with advertising, you’ll need a decent amount of traffic before you can start charging people to publish their content on your site. No one will pay you if their post is only going to be seen by a handful of people.

The good thing about paid posts is that you get your blog updated and you get paid at the same time. Theoretically, you could just keep accepting a new paid post every day to maximize income, but you need to make sure the content isn’t too promotional or your readership will dwindle.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is all about promoting someone else’s products. It’s kind of like advertising, except you can carefully pick and choose which products you want to promote. It’s very easy to get started as an affiliate marketer. Head to sites like Commission Junction, Share a Sale or ClickBank to find thousands of existing products. You can then sign up as an affiliate for the ones you like and get a custom affiliate link for each product.

Next head back to your site and write a post or create a banner with your custom link. When someone clicks on the link and buys the product you get paid a commission. Again, try not to alienate your readers by pressing all these products on to them. The best way to market it is to not market it at all. By that I mean don’t be a sleazy salesman. Use the products you’re an affiliate of, write honest reviews and let your readers know what you think.

You can make a fair amount of money as an affiliate marketer. You can even bypass the middlemen sites and go directly to the company and sign up as an affiliate. That way you get higher commissions. However, to get to the stage where you’re making thousands you’ll need to build up a large, dedicated and trusting readership. Only when your readers trust you and your judgment will they start purchasing products that you recommend.

View websites for sale with an affiliate monetization method.

4. Lead Generation

Lead Generation is similar to affiliate marketing except you get paid for leads rather than purchases. For example, in affiliate marketing, when a visitor to your site clicks on an affiliate link, you only get paid if that visitor purchases something on the site you’re an affiliate of. In lead generation, you get paid regardless.

Of course nothing comes for free. Typically you’d get paid less for a lead than for a sale. However, lead generation is more scalable in that you can send the same lead to multiple companies and get paid for them all. If you’ve used insurance comparison sites you’ll know how this works. You go to the site and enter your details and e-mail address for a quote. Now the comparison site has lead generation deals with a bunch of different insurance companies. All they have to do is pass on your information to relevant companies and they get paid for each lead.

To make lead generation work you’ll need a readership of qualified buyers. That way the companies you pass the leads on to will have a higher chance of converting them and will get more value from your partnership.

5. Services

A classic business model that’s been taken online with the widespread use of the internet and the numerous free communication tools. Now you aren’t restricted to finding clients in your area. You can provide services to people in North America while sipping coconut juice on a beach in Bali.

Some of the most popular services are web design, web development, online marketing and content writing, to name a few. You can create a service out of just about anything. Remember, if you already have an established website with readers, don’t be afraid to ask them what problem they face. You want to take advantage of that existing readership and create a service tailor-made for them. That makes it more likely they’ll hire you.

View websites for sale with a services monetization method.

6. Consulting

Consulting is like a service in that you trade time for money, but it gives you higher returns. For example, if I had an online marketing service, I’d spend time marketing my client’s site. On the other hand, an online marketing consultation would involve me getting on a Skype call with a client and creating a custom marketing strategy, which she then implements herself.

If you can promote yourself as an expert in your field you can charge a lot for consultations. I’m talking hundreds or thousands of dollars for an hour of work Some companies might even want to fly you out to their conferences to give a talk, all expenses paid! Of course, it’s not easy to get to that stage. You’ll need to put in a lot of hard work and build up credibility before you can get to that stage. This is definitely not a monetization strategy if you’re just starting out, but it can become one later.

Wrapping Up

That’s it for part 1 of the monetization series. In the next part we’ll look at some of the more recent monetization strategies. These strategies have started becoming popular in recent years and if you get in on the trend now you could get ahead of the competition.

In the meantime, whet your appetite with these live auctions on Flippa! 

Content provided by Siddharth Bharath.

Supercharge Your Retirement Savings By Investing in Websites

Supercharge Your Retirement Savings By Investing in Websites

So let me guess. You want to have more money for your retirement, but you don’t want to work 24/7 to make it happen. That’s fair enough. You’ve spent your whole working life chasing deadlines and reporting to your boss. So how do you achieve this? Property? Shares? Websites?

…Yes, websites! Web businesses are one of the simplest ways to build a stable passive income, which is perfect if you want to boost your retirement savings! Even the most conservative investors acknowledge the growth potential and stability of digital investments.

Here’s how you can use Flippa to earn passive income and build a nest egg for your retirement.

Pick Your Niche

First, you must pick a niche for your retirement project. Why? Because it’s the ‘sub industry’ your website will operate in. We suggest you pick something you’re already interested in, it’ll make the process more fun!

Ask yourself:

  • What niche am I already a part of? Perhaps you’re an automotive enthusiast, a hobby photographer or an antique collector. It’s a good idea to explore your interests and hobbies, because they can reveal what niche you’re already part of.
  • What do I like to read? What you consume can also help you pick a niche for your retirement project. It’s also a good trick to test the size of your market. You want to make sure that your niche has a big enough market (hint: if a magazine covers your niche, then it’s big enough).
  • Who do I like to help and what can I help them with?  If you’re struggling with this, think about what you do for your friends, family members, and colleagues on a volunteer basis. Maybe you’re the person who fixes people’s computers, or the person who gives their friends the best cupcake recipes.

If you want to succeed online, choosing your niche is key. Fortunately, Flippa makes this step easy. After you’ve finished this article, go to the homepage, and hit the green ‘get started’ button! Flippa will give you many results that will help you find your dream project.

At this stage, I’m going to assume you’ve picked a niche that you’re interested in. Your next million dollar question is: how can I make money from my site? Let’s talk about that next.

Earning Passive Income

Here are 4 simple ways to start earning passive income to build your retirement nest egg!

1) Become an Affiliate

If you don’t have any products or services that you can offer straight away, then consider affiliate marketing. This means you choose a product from another company to promote and sell on your site. You’ll get a cut of any sale. For affiliate marketing to work, I recommend you use the product yourself and that you’re happy to endorse it in public. You must disclose your affiliate relationship on your site, because it’s the right thing to do.

Rule of thumb: Make sure your affiliate product fills a need or desire of your target audience.

To be successful at affiliate marketing, use your market knowledge and pick products that will most benefit your audience. If you give them the results they want, they will buy from you again.

If affiliate marketing sounds like something for you, then browse these affiliate marketing sites on Flippa. If you want more specific results, you can also check out these available Clickbank and Commission Junction auctions.

2) Advertise

Say you’re interested in Android, buy a website in that niche. You then start to write about development or upcoming features, etc.

Advertisers love niche websites with top content. Better yet, advertisers in related industries can pay top dollar through services like BuySellAds to reach a targeted audience. Flippa is perfect for this as you could be purchasing an established website with traffic already! It’s just up to you to produce the content on something you love!

3) Share Your Expertise

You have a lifetime of expertise under your belt. Don’t let it go to waste. Several companies, business owners, and young professionals could need your help. If you still want to contribute and feel part of something bigger, then consider taking on a smaller coaching or consulting role.

Obviously, you only pick the projects that excite you. You can shape the role to suit your needs and preferences. Like to stand in front of an audience? Give a talk.  Like to give short coaching calls? Set up a Skype account. Add a contact tab and give your readers an easy way to get in touch with you. Leverage your expertise and make the most of your existing network. Let people know that you’re now offering a limited amount of coaching/consulting sessions. You could bundle this service with some advertising on your website, and overtime as your reputation and profile grows – you could even start charging for the calls!

If selling your expertise is something that sounds like the right fit for you, then check out these Flippa auctions.

4) Sell Your Own Stuff

Have you got a dusty manuscript lying in the bedroom drawer? Or maybe you have photos and artwork that need to find a new home?

Internet makes it easier to sell your products online. My dad is a great example of this. He’s soon about to retire, and just like you, he’s looking for something fun to do on the side. So I got him his first website and helped him set up his own photography store.  It’s nothing fancy and it’s far from perfect, but it’s there and we’re making sales. What’s so great about having something to sell is that it can lead to other business opportunities, too. Just the other week, my dad was approached by a co-worker who asked him if he could photograph her wedding. Bingo!

If you want to save the time and frustration from trying to set up your own store, why not browse Flippa’s ecommerce auctions? That way you can start selling your stuff sooner and focusing on building more assets that will add to your retirement funds.

Over to You

Traditionally, people have turned to physical property, shares and more to build their retirement nest egg. It’s now time to complement this with a digital investment. Remember, the website you buy on Flippa could earn you more monthly revenue than annual interest from a savings account. Digital property also has fewer barriers to entry compared to other methods to top up your retirement savings.

What’s stopping you from getting a site and creating a nest egg for your retirement? You don’t need a fancy logo or a big budget. But you do need to find a way to help people and add value to their lives. You can do this by being an affiliate, writing content, offering your expertise, selling your own stuff, or doing a combination of all four!

Acquire your website earning passive income. This is your nest egg. You make the rules and decide where to go. People are waiting for your help. Why not give it to them?

This is only just one way to use digital property to boost your retirement savings. Got any other ideas? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Thanks to Olle Lindholm for writing this post and Andrew for the photo!