How to Build an Online Business you can Sell

This is a guest post from Thomas Smale, the co-founder of the specialist website brokers FE International and serves as a great follow up to Lewis Ogden’s article on building an online business that can last.

Many online marketers that I speak to don’t seem to realise just how valuable their skills are or how they should be putting their skills to good use to make a great income online.

As a broker who specialises in helping to sell online businesses I wanted to offer some advice on how you could go about building a website that you could eventually sell. Having completed over 200 website sales, I’m in a good position to know what will sell easily and how a seller can improve the overall value and saleability of their website.

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Invest time in Strategy and Planning

The success of your website stems from your initial planning and leg work. The websites that I have been able to sell for up to 7 figures are always built on a solid foundation as they have taken their time to understand the target market, built out customer personas, implemented a considered content strategy and have developed a strong monetisation method.

That’s not to say there aren’t people who have managed to fall into a niche with their eyes wide shut and make a success of it, but these are very rare situations. Continue reading

How To Build An Online Business That Will Last

It’s quite rare for me to publish a guest post on my blog.

I got chatting to Lewis Ogden a couple of months back after he published an epic post for Matthew Woodward on his methods for finding new money making niches. It was a really solid post and I recommend you take a few minutes to read it some time soon.

So I decided to invite Lewis to share his thoughts on building an online business.

Over to you Lewis…

If you paid any attention to Google and SEO over the last 6 months of 2013, you would have witnessed a tidal wave of angry people, complaining about how Google screwed their business. Whilst sad that these people have lost a lot, and in some cases everything, they really should have been asking themselves these 3 questions;

  1. Does my business/website rely solely on Google?
  2. Do I deserve to rank #1 for this keyword?
  3. Is my website built for the user or search engines?

By answering these 3 questions honestly, you can quickly determine if you have a website that will stand the test of time, or will succumb to an Algorithm update 6 months or even 2 years from now.

Here are ten guidelines to follow to ensure any business you start in 2014 is one for the future.

1) User Experience over SEO

user experienceThere is more and more emphasis being placed on user engagement in the ranking factors.

Bounce rate, time on site, CTR all play a part in your overall SERP position and how Google see’s your site. Gone are the days of micro niche sites, 5 pages of crappy content plastered with affiliate links.

Today is the day for awesome content, engaging video and captivating images. Your site structure should make navigation a breeze for the user, it should not look like a maze of “silo links” designed to control link juice.

Your site speed is even more critical now than it ever was, you have less than a second to capture your readers eye, anymore than that and they are gone, never to return again. If your site loads like in the blink of an eye, you bounce rate will drop…simple.

Your content is the foundation of your business, not how may backlinks you have.

If your content is built for the reader, is helpful and provides what they are looking for, they will tell others.

If however, your content looks like a robot wrote it with, keywords bolded and italicized all over the place, you have no business. You have a game of cat and mouse…and guess who the cat is?

Continue reading

What I’ve Learned Auditing and Removing Unnatural Links

link-cleanup

The past year has meant I have spent a lot of time doing something I’ve never had to do before, and something only a small number of SEO’s specialised in before April 2012. Over the past year I have worked with at least one site per month that has received a link penalty of a manual or algorithmic nature.

When should you clean up?

If you’ve received an unnatural link warning or you have seen a significant decrease in rankings around the time of a penguin update then you need to take action as soon as possible.

google link warning message

If however your site is ranking fine but you are sat on a site with a number of shady links in your link profile then it all depends upon your niche and your risk profile. In these situations I would rather build some more high quality links than start a major link cleanup exercise.

Get as much Link Data as you can

The mistake too many people make is just relying on one or two soruces of data for their Link Audits. Personally I will try to obtain as much data as possible from ahrefs, Majestic, OSE, Google Webmaster Tools and any reports the client might have from past SEO agencies. Continue reading

Why Do People Share Content?

In my recent content strategy post I told you that I would be writing up some articles on how to promote the hell out of the content you had created.

image001I think it’s important for anyone involved in digital marketing to understand what will motivate someone to share your content and when they are most inclined to do so you can develop the next step in your strategy.

Most marketers have a good grasp of the Extrinsic Motivators (price, features, benefits) of a product or a piece of content but we often struggle with the Intrinsic Motivators (how does the product align to a person’s feelings or goals). People are thinking feelers not feeling thinkers.

What do we know about People?

  • we depend on mental models
  • we want to be in control
  • we don’t like change
  • we’re not great at remembering
  • we love a good story
  • we are highly visual by nature
  • we do have some limitations
  • we are social creatures
  • we’re curious
  • we don’t want to put in a lot of effort
  • we love patterns
  • we make mistakes

Continue reading