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Investing in… Websites?

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Every now and again, traffic growth on Lazy Man and Money hits a plateau. I'm not overly concerned about that for two reasons:

  • I rarely try to write for traffic. Okay, every now and again I try to write a sensational title for fun and amusement. However, in general I write whatever is on my mind with regard to money.
  • I think hitting plateaus is natural. I think of it a little bit like dieting. Some weeks you lose more weight and other weeks it just stops. If you stick with it over time, chances are you'll see results.

Nonetheless, hitting plateaus does trigger the thought, "what could I do differently to bust out of this?" My thoughts often turn to ideas of finding effective advertising. My problem with that is measuring what's "effective" is difficult and time consuming for me. I think about ways that I could create other products, perhaps an eBook, that might garner attention. Unfortunately, I don't have the time for that. I have the money to outsource it, but when you read Lazy Man and Money, I'm going to assume you want to read my words, not something I outsourced. So to this day, I don't have a solution.

If I get out the Lazy Man brand though, possibilities start to open up. I can outsource writing for other blogs or websites and effectively be an editor. However, can I duplicate the success of Lazy Man in those topics? I think it's possible, but it would require building a lot of relationships. That's where time becomes a factor again. Also, if my writer is writing about basket weaving am I, a non-basket weaver, going to be able to build those relationships? I don't think so. I think you have to show that you know what you are talking about before others take you seriously.

That said, I see a lot of advantages to investing in websites. If you know what you are doing, they can deliver cash flow. My experience is that the cash flow is fairly erratic. However, like an volatile investment, it seems to become more predictable when looked at over the long term.

The big problems with investing in websites? The time and/or money to keep the cash flow can be a little bit like being a landlord. If you want it to be truly passive, you can hire more people, but it may end up costing you as much money as you making. What's the point in that? The other big problem with websites is one of diversity. Search engines can often be the lifeblood of a website, and one search engine, that shall not be named, is at the point where it create and destroy entire incomes overnight. That's a huge concern.

Peter Lynch says to invest in what you know... and I know websites and blogs. Now if I can come up with a couple of solutions to the above questions, I'll have interesting diversification in my investment portfolio.

Posted on April 24, 2009.

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5 Responses to “Investing in… Websites?”

  1. I would think there would be some opportunities to franchise the brand and/or become an editor. Home repair and auto repair would seem to be at least tangentially related to finance, since they can have a big impact on finances. Perhaps even lining up experts from a few different area. This will minimize the writing for each individual person (some people don’t like to write a lot) while still getting a steady stream of articles.

    btw, have you gone through the trademark process?

  2. I have some ideas for you. ;) Still would love to have lunch.


  3. MoneyEnergy says:

    Like the article, I’ve been considering the problems of “plateaus” lately myself. I also agree with many of your concerns about the time, effort and money involved. If you’re barely breaking even, it might almost defeat the energy expended (excepting other altruistic reasons for any investment of time or money). I’m interested to know more about buying and selling websites. Would love to hear your thoughts on that.

  4. pfincome says:

    I am also interested in hearing more about your ideas for investing in websites as MoneyEnergy mentioned. Are you talking about creating niche sites or something else? I am always looking for ways to diversify my passive income portfolio.

  5. Lazy Man says:

    I’m thinking more of general websites or blogs. For instance this blog is about money. For the most part that all I deal with here. I wonder if I could hire writers on other topics and monetize the website enough to create decent cashflow.

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