Mike Hays asks: What do you think is the best internet business model? Focusing on building multiple affiliate sites - or focusing on one thing and building a brand or an Internet presence in one market?
This is a great question, Mike. The goal is to set up multiple streams of income - and passive income if possible - so most people assume this means they should create multiple niche affiliate sites to achieve that goal.
It's well known that I have around a dozen active sites in a variety of niches, so my answer to this question might surprise you...
One Internet Business Model - Multiple Streams of Income
Ideally you will stay focused on one project at a time, taking that project all the way from start to profit. This is quite possibly one of the most difficult things to achieve, given all of the ideas and distractions that come your way in the process.
I keep an idea journal so I can revisit new ideas at a later time, instead of allowing them to distract me from current projects, and work hard on staying focused. If you want to make money online... focus and persistence really pays off.
Once you set up a website - whether it be an affiliate site, a blog, a sales page to sell your own product, or whatever your chosen internet business model - the next step is to create and implement your marketing plan.
The development phase is fun. The marketing phase is fun too - in the beginning at least. But most people start to lose steam when they don't see immediate results. And this is the point when they jump ship and dig into a new project, or a new niche.
What you end up with is multiple streams of junk. Hosting accounts, domain names, widgets, affiliate programs, info products on various business models, etc, etc, etc.
Not at all where you wanted to be. Right?
Sticking It Out
It doesn't make much sense to start a second online business project, if you didn't complete the first. And by complete, I mean taking it all the way to it's full profit potential. What makes you feel like you're going to get any further with a second project than you did with the last one? (ouch)
There's this invisible hurdle that most people never make it over. Just on the other side of that hurdle is profit. The key to getting over that hurdle is in persistence, and mindset. It's about working through the distraction, and being in it for the long haul - instead of getting discouraged that you didn't make $10k your first month.
Tapping One Niche For Full Profit Potential
The ideal internet business model is one where you have multiple streams of income in a single niche. You can focus your time and energy on that one market, build a strong brand, and position yourself as a market leader on your topic.
Let's say that you create an affiliate site to sell food processors. Your site consists of products organized by brand, price, features, etc plus reviews & comparisons. It's your typical product-based affiliate site.
You properly optimize the site, get quality inbound links, and get engaged with foodies through social media and blog networking. Your pages get indexed, they begin to rank well, and you're getting traffic and making affiliate sales.
Now it's time to look at other ways to monetize your niche, to create additional streams of income. The first and most obvious step is to start a mailing list if you haven't already. And if you have, it's time to step it up with a free report (a compelling incentive to opt-in) and a well-written autoresponder series.
In our example of selling food processors, your free report could be 10 Simple Recipes For Almost Any Food Processor. Since they're obviously shopping online for a food processor, they are either looking to replace theirs or purchase their first.
Consider their interests and their intent, and appeal to the things they want and need the most. Your 10th recipe in the report could be a real zinger (save the best for last), but one that (ideally) requires a specific food processor - which gives you an opportunity to link to the detailed review on your affiliate site from the report.
Look for ways to make your site sticky. Keeping with our example, you might start up a Recipe Swap Club. This gives you the opportunity to introduce other products of interest: grocery coupons, other small kitchen appliances, webinars or podcasts with experts who have affiliate programs for their own products, etc.
The point is: don't leave money on the table. Before you look to new niches for multiple streams of income, look at options in the niche you're already working.
Do I Contradict Myself?
As I mentioned earlier, I have multiple sites in multiple niches. So am I contradicting myself here? No. The cool thing is that once you take that one niche site all the way to max profit potential, and have it running as automated as possible, it will only require 5-20 hours a month total to maintain it. I say 5-20 because it varies by niche, by model, and sometimes by season.
At any rate, once you get to that point, that is when you can explore new niches if you like. Without focus and discipline, I'd probably have a gazillion half finished projects cluttering up the internet by now - especially considering I've been at this for more than a decade.
Create your income streams strategically, and treat it like a business.
p.s. If you need the how-to on Affiliate Marketing, see Rosalind Gardner's guide titled The Super Affiliate Handbook. This is the internet business model that I use myself, and that Rosalind also uses to make money online.