Another system I have gotten into is doing a complete monetization overhaul, with a focus on product creation. Here I look for sites that are monetized with generic, low visitor value programs such as Adsense, Amazon (or other generic affiliates), and Ebooks. The subject of the site is very important. I will always ask for Analytics access, or at least get a report of the top landing pages in Google analytics, with a secondary dimension of traffic type. This is the best report to see what the actual search terms are related to (aside from Webmaster Tools, which many people don’t have setup).
As I explained in my post on why you should create a product, I am interested in creating one of three potential products:
An Online Course
I love online courses because they are higher ticket items, and they are easy to validate as they can be drip-fed, meaning they require even less of a time investment than an Ebook. My strategy here is to then find sites in niches that require “studying”. Here I can utilize the Stepify platform to create a free course, build goodwill, and then sell a drip-fed course.
Visitor values are usually 10x that of Adsense earnings, and can often be close to the Adwords CPCs. Here’s some more info on how to create your MVP for an online course.
We’ve gone over lead-gen quite a bit in podcasts. Matt Stack had a popular episode, and I recently interviewed Max Harland on how he went from $40/m using Adsense, to $5000/mo when he switched to lead-gen. Just look at your new potential site’s traffic and ask yourself if anyone here would pay for leads?
Visitor values are usually 5-10x that of Adsense earnings, and are usually somewhere near half of the Adwords CPCs. Here’s some more info on how to create your MVP for lead-gen.
Look at your new site’s potential traffic and ask whether a productized service can be offered. This is perfect for system-oriented people with strong outsourcers. I have a trio of very strong VAs that can concierge any new service until I find a partner to scale it, so this works well.
Visitor values are usually 10x that of Adsense earnings, and can often be close to the Adwords CPCs. Here’s some more info on how to create your MVP for a productized service.
Creating any of the above products comes with lots of other advantages and you will always get higher multiples when flipping.
Defining your MVP
I am a big fan of the lean startup movement and always apply it to my internet businesses. I try to ask myself how to most simply define a Minimum Viable Product. Then I try to make it even simpler.
This is slightly different for all 3 options above, but assuming you’ve got traffic to play with (or you’re using paid traffic), you can generally validate your MVP within a month of all hand-off being complete. You would then create a Cost-benefit analysis and see if it makes sense to actually develop the product, or if you’re better off with just applying the 80/20 and keeping it as a passive investment.
This Model vs The Pareto Portfolio
As mentioned above, in most of the businesses I buy, I attempt to validate product creation first, and if unvalidated, I just settle with the 80/20 and add it to my Pareto portfolio. It’s an either-or situation.