What does it take to build multiple profitable blogs and websites?
I am very excited to have Marc Andre on Success Harbor because he has built multiple successful websites such as ProfitBlitz where he shares what he had learned about business over the years. Marc has been making a full-time living online since 2008. He loves what he does, which is building websites and make money through e-commerce, advertising, affiliate marketing, writing, designing, and marketing.
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Over the years, Marc sold several of his sites. The highest of which was sold for $500,000.
Throughout the years, Marc had learned many valuable lessons in business, and he was kind enough to share some of it with the Success Harbor readers in the following interview.
Success Harbor: You have launched ProfitBlitz because you wanted a place to share the things you have learned while building several different profitable websites and blogs. What are some of the most important skills you have that helped you build profitable websites and blogs?
Marc Andre: I’d say the biggest keys to my sites and blogs to date has been
1) consistent effort, and
Over the past 7 years or so that I have been working online
I’ve known a lot of bloggers and marketers that have given up too quickly or worked sporadically on their sites and blogs.
Even before I left my full-time job to focus on my own business I always treated it like a business and not a hobby.
The connections I’ve made with other bloggers has really had a big impact as well.
From the start I made an effort to get to know other bloggers in my niche and those relationships have helped me in so many different ways.
Success Harbor: You have been working online full time since 2008. Can you list some of your online business?
Marc Andre: Right now I am working on ProfitBlitz and I have a few sites in the photography industry. In the past I’ve worked in the graphic design and travel industries as well.
Success Harbor: How did you decide on the blogs and businesses to start?
Marc Andre: I’ve chosen the industries based on my interests, and in some cases, things that I’d like to learn more about.
I don’t do a lot of research before deciding to start a new site or blog. I tend to choose large, popular niches so I know that a big audience exists.
I also consider monetization strategies before starting a new site or blog.
While my monetization approach is likely to evolve or adapt over a period of time I at least want to have a plan or something that I am working towards rather than just blogging for traffic and hoping to make money somehow.
Success Harbor: What advice do you have for us to select the appropriate blog or online business? What is your selection criteria for a new business?
Marc Andre: My advice is to focus on something that interests you. I wouldn’t say it needs to be something that you are passionate about, but something that at least interests you. Obviously, you’ll have a lot more motivation and it’s easier to keep moving forward if you are interested in the topic.
I love working online because what I do doesn’t (usually) feel like a real job.
If I had to work on websites that didn’t interest me it would feel like a job. I’ve tried a few niche blogs in the past that were focused on topics that didn’t really interest me and it has never worked out.
I think it’s also a good idea to consider your strengths, expertise, and experience. If you can use those things to your advantage you can have a great head start to a successful website or blog.
Success Harbor: Can you share what businesses you have sold and for how much?
Marc Andre: I can’t share all of the details because of non-disclosure agreements that were a part of contracts.
I’ve sold websites and blogs for anywhere from $1,000 to six figures.
Success Harbor: What are the reasons you will sell a business?
Marc Andre: The biggest motivation for me to sell has always been to free up my time to work on something else.
After working on a site for a few years I’m usually ready for something new, so selling is a good way to free up time for the next project.
Getting a lump sum of money has also been a motivating factor.
When you sell a website you take some risk that you could have made more money by holding on to the site. And if you don’t sell you take the risk that your income will drop. It could be due to a drop in Google rankings, a loss of interest in your topic, new competitors, or anything else that makes it harder for you to make money with your site.
With my biggest sale the site had gotten to a point where I felt it was more risky to hold on to the site than to sell it, and part of that was due to all of the Google algorithm changes that had been made over the past few years.
In general if you have a profitable site and you’re losing interest in it or you feel like you have maximized your potential I think it is a good idea to consider selling.
Success Harbor: Your most profitable website made money from ad sales, membership, affiliate programs, and selling your own digital products. How much traffic did your site get when you started monetizing the site?
Marc Andre: I didn’t heavily monetize that site until I had pretty significant traffic, I think it was around 50,000 – 100,000 visitors per month.
That’s not really a rule that I follow, that’s just how it worked out for that site.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to sell ads on a new site with low traffic, but there’s no reason you can’t or shouldn’t offer services, sell products, sell memberships, or use affiliate programs with low traffic websites.
Over the years I’ve found that traffic doesn’t really directly relate to income nearly as much as many people would want you to believe.
It’s possible to make a good income without tons of traffic if you have targeted traffic and a good monetization approach.
Success Harbor: What are the most effective ways today to market a new blog or website, especially on a budget?
Marc Andre: I think guest posting at other blogs is still a really good approach if you choose the right blogs, and if you can get your guest posts approved.
Guest blogging is a great way to start to build some name recognition and also to build relationships with influential bloggers and editors.
A lot of my blog promotion revolves around creating epic content that I think will stand out to the target audience, and then finding a way to get it in front of those people. That could be through social media, links from other sites, paid ads (although I don’t do much of that).
Success Harbor: What were some of the most important lessons that you have learned while building your websites?
Marc Andre: Well, I mentioned earlier that consistent effort has been a key to anything that I have accomplished, and I’d say that has been an important lesson. I’ve also learned, from my own experience and from observing others, that having confidence is really important.
Many people expect to fail before they even start.
I’ve always had confidence in myself, not in my knowledge or ability (because I don’t have anything special), but confidence that I will keep working until I figure it out and I won’t give up.
I expect to have success because I know I will work for it.
Over the years I’ve seen that people who are confident tend to achieve what they are after.
Another lesson that I have learned over the past few years has been the importance of building an email list.
The first several years I worked online I never had an email list and I really had no idea what I was missing out on. Regardless of what type of website or blog you are building I would highly recommend making your email list a priority.
An email list can send traffic back to your site, allow you to promote your own products, and allow you to promote affiliate products. And if you keep working at building your list it will always be growing and becoming more valuable for you.
Success Harbor: What mistakes do you see aspiring online entrepreneurs make?
Marc Andre: One thing I see a lot of, and something that I have to work hard to avoid myself, is a lack of focus.
There are so many different ways to make money online and so many different approaches to marketing and building traffic that it’s easy to get distracted and jump from one thing to another.
You may buy a course that promises to teach you some new way to get traffic or make money and before you can even implement it you’re tempted by 5 other courses making big promises. I think it’s important to have focus and stick with an approach to know if it will work for you or not,, and sometimes that means passing up other opportunities so you can focus.
Success Harbor: What tools do you find to be most helpful for your online business?
Marc Andre: I use WordPress to power all of my websites and blogs.
I use Google Drive to keep my files and documents organized and to work from different computers and locations.
I use Zoho mail to manage about 10 different email addresses from one place.
There are a ton of tools and apps that can be used for all kinds of different purposes, but I don’t really use that many. I find that for me it just takes more time to learn and get used to a lot of productivity tools and then I don’t use them consistently anyway.
Success Harbor: How can people connect with you or find out more about you?