Interested in building a web site that can sell for millions of dollars? Who wouldn’t be? Of course, the catch is that it’s a lot of work, especially in today’s search engine environment. A few years back, it was much easier. Two things have made this a more difficult task. One is that the search engines are doing a better job of fighting SPAM, and the second is that potential acquirers are getting smarter about the sites that they buy. This post is the first of a series on how to achieve this goal. This first post provides 5 high level tips on what you need to do:
1. Find a Competitive Market
The first thing you need to realize is that you must be in a competitive market to build a site that can sell for millions of dollars. The most important reason is that it’s where the acquirers are. Companies in competitive markets are always looking for a way to get an edge. Buying a web site that accelerates their sales is smart business for them.
There are lots of markets that are very competitive. Here are a few examples (there are many more than listed here):
These markets have four factors in common:
- Lots of search volume
- Search volume spread over thousands of terms
- High value to conversions
- People are willing to become a conversion online in volume
The combination of these 4 factors is critical to success. No – Mesothelioma is not going to work for you. Even though is pays more than $50.00 per click, there just is not enough volume.
2. Embrace the Organic Movement
No, I am not referring to the movement towards more and more organic foods in our diet. You need to realize that acquirers pay for organic traffic and conversions, and not for PPC based conversions. PPC conversions are nice, but any acquirer who is willing to spend millions of dollars on a web site probably knows the PPC game for their space better than (or at least as well as) you do.
If they wanted more sites to send PPC clicks to, they would simply throw them up themselves. They don’t need you for that. But organic leads? Ah, those are gold. Any site that is raking in lots of organic traffic, and converting that into leads/sales in a competitive market, is a true addition to their business. Because of simple shelf space reasons, the PPC market is just not as additive to their business.
3. You’ll need a great link profile
Your acquirer may or may not know the importance of a great link profile in valuing a site, but you are not going to win in a competitive market without getting some great, authoritative links. While there are people out there who will disagree with me, I maintain you can’t buy these links. Yes, poeple managed to fool Forbes into selling links off of their domain on added Spam pages, but this was a temporary abherration.
While you can find these temporary opportunities by looking hard for them, the key problem here is that they are indeed temporary. If you are embarking on a strategy to build a site that you are going to sell for millions of dollars, finding temporary wins is not going to help you. You need to figure out how to get authoritative links without buying them, and that leads us to the next point.
4. You’ll need great content
Since you need to get authoritative links without paying for them, you may think that your task is to get something for nothing. Actually, this is not at all true. Authoritative sites will link to your site in return for the user experience you offer to the people they send to it. This is an essential thing to understand. When you create great content, you create a great user experience for visitors, and authoritative sites will begin to link to you once they discover it.
So you need to create great content. As you look at these types of markets, you need to figure out how you are going to create truly killer content. I don’t mean tons of words with little values for bots to chew on. I mean kick ass articles or tools on your site that will draw lots of users. Before you embark on a project of this size, you need to develop a clear idea as to how you are going to produce this great content and tools.
Note that a social media strategy can be an important component of this stragegy, but I would not rely solely on a social media strategy. The biggest challenge with social media is how you leverage it to get authoritative links. It can be done, but of course, you can also get these types of links by asking the authoritative sites for them once you have the great content, and eliminate the social media site as a middleman. We like to do both.
5. Expect this process to take years
Be patient. This is going to take a while. Search engines are slow to reward you with deep riches these days. You could try to focus heavily on getting quality traffic from social media sites to get going faster, but many of these sites produce notoriously low quality traffic. If you have a strong enough content plan to succeed in getting steady high volume quality traffic quickly after launching a new site via social media, you aren’t reading this post to find tips any way.
The great majority of us are not going to be able to do it that way. We are going to have to build up our content depth, links, and search engine rankings over time. I’d say that it will take 2 – 3 years to get there.
This is a process I really enjoy – figuring out how to create these kinds of sites and then getting them there. It remains a great market environment. Web sites are being acquired all the time, and the activity should continue for the forseeable future. Build a great web property, with great content, great links, and lots of conversions, and you should be able to find a buyer. If you have such a site, and are having trouble finding a buyer, let me know and I will be glad to help!
As I mentioned above, I am going to write about this topic on an ongoing basis, and take various aspects of the above points and go into each of them in more detail.