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15 Questions To Ask Before You Buy a Blog or Website

September 7, 2006

As I mentioned in my last post, my Father has lot’s of experience placing a value on a business. He used to run a project in Florida called startech florida (look for Brian Manty under executive board members). He has spent a lot of time evaluating the worth of new businesses and helping them get government grant money. So he is somewhat of an expert in the area of valuing businesses.

Anyway, he gave me a list of questions to ask a potential seller. I added a few questions specific to Internet businesses and came up with a list of 15 things you should ask someone who you are thinking of buying their online business.

Here are some of them:

1. Earnings over last 5 years (or since it was formed).

2. Business plan (if any)

3. List of current assets and liabilities.

4. Any lawsuits or filings against the company

5. Intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.)

6. Number of people currently managing website (employees?)

7. Time required to maintain the website.

8. List of advertisers

9. Cost of running business (advertising, web hosting, other).

10. Traffic Statistics for last year, including the visitors, and pageviews per month.

11. Is the site banned by Google Adsense and/or any Search Engines?

12. What programming languages are used to run the site?

13. Does the site require programming knowledge to run “as is”?

14. Asking price (if determined)

15. Current methods used to monetize the site (income streams the site has).

The general idea is you want to understand the profits, operating costs, and risks involved in taking over the business. It’s important to ask as many questions as you can, before investing in any business. It will help you see the big picture.

What is the Value of a Blog or Online Business?

September 7, 2006

Simon Owens of blogasm emailed me the other day about this post that he wrote regarding a new method he has come up with of valuing a blog. By taking only the values of certain advertising programs on each blog there is quite a bit missing from his quotient. However, all in all it’s not a bad attempt at valuing a blog.

While there are many people who come up with formulas for valuing a business, it’s an inexact science at best. The true value of a blog is what the market is willing to pay for it.

One of my father’s jobs has been to value businesses. In general a business is usually worth about 6-18 months of their profits. However, there are a lot of other factors that go into valuing a business.

I have seen two online businesses for sale in the past that I was interested in buying.

One of them would have been a great deal. It was a blog, that was not properly monetized. The problem is that I wasn’t really interested in the content of the blog, it was a bit to harsh for me.

With the second online business, I asked my father about going in together on it. Once the price was announced I lost interest. It was WAY overpriced! Also, when I looked at it’s real long term potential I wasn’t impressed. It has been put up for sale again and it’s really not worth much over the long haul (in my opinion).

My father did teach me some really good questions to ask if you are ever trying to buy an online business. I am going to post them in a separate post.

There are lots of ways to value a company, whether it be a blog or otherwise. The trickiest part is trying to figure out where the company is headed. Determining whether an online business is going to be average or whether it is an emerging market leader is probably the key to valuing an online buisness. And that doesn’t really fit well into a formula.

Internet Marketing and Web Design Video Site Starts Up

September 6, 2006

Earlier today, I read on Problogger how the video site tubetorial has just launched. I thought I would go ahead and weigh in with my first impressions of the new site.

I have thought about adding online video to my blog. The disadvantage is the time it takes to create a video as opposed to just writing a post. I can tell from the video that if I want to create videos on my blog I am going to have to make sure I can keep my viewers attention. I have actually thought my wife would make a much better video blogger, because she has a degree in theater and has voice over training as well.

With that said, here are my thoughts on tubetutorial:

I think the idea is great. The video quality wasn’t too bad, but could use some tweaking. The content of the videos is good (I was kind of expecting a little more). But…

I have seen videos on other Internet Marketing blogs and have watched Internet Marketing videos from products that I have purchased. The big difference that I see between the videos I have seen in the past and the videos on tubetorial is that the speakers in the other videos were much more upbeat, talked faster, and put a lot of personality into the videos. I think that once you inject more personality into ALL of the videos, they will be great.

That said, of all the videos the one that kept my attention the best was “Be the Master of Your Own Domain!“, because it was more upbeat and had more energy.

What Bloggers Need to Know About the Law was good, but the sound levels kept going up and down, which was annoying.

Why Sell Information was good but didn’t hold my interest.

I am sure that it will get better over time. I know that on my limited budget I would have also run into similar problems launching a project like that. I look forward to seeing the future videos.

I wish the owners all the best with their business, I really think they can make something great out of this.

Building Anticipation for a Product

September 6, 2006

Monday I was sitting down at the computer with two of my younger children (I have five in all) and they were playing a game on Barbie.com called the “12 Dancing Princesses” game. They were showing me the game and telling me about it when they got to this page that had missing princesses. Hannah (our 6 year old girl) told me how every week a new princess appears. When all the princesses appear then that means the new Barbie movie “The Twelve Dancing Princes” will be out. If only you could see the look of excitement on her face.

While Matel’s marketing did bring to mind the question of the ethical nature of marketing to kids, it also brought up the fact that “anticipation” is one of the best marketing tactics I have ever seen motivate people to buy a product. You see it all the time with all sorts of products. There have been some movies that I have anticipated so much, that practicaly nothing anyone could say about it was going to stop me from seeing it.

Over the last few years, I have seen anitcipation used more and more in online marking. In fact, Internet Marketing gurus have become excellent at building anticipation. A great case in point was Rich Schefren’s Internet Manifesto and how much anticipation he brought for his coaching program.

Well, not only Rich, but people like John Reese (famous for the million dollar day), Yanik Silver, Frank Kern, Mike Filsaime and other marketing gurus had a lot of help creating that anticipation. They were consulting with someone named Jeff Walker on their product launches.

Jeff has a product called the Product Launch Formula, which reveals all the techniques that the gurus use to create tons of buzz around the launch of your product or service.

If I ever decide to create a new product Jeff’s Product Launch Formula is the first product on my list of marketing products to buy. I will probably buy it pretty early on in the product creation cycle, so I can be planning ahead.

What are your thougts on building anticipation for a new product? Is it manipulation or just good marketing?

Our Fall Intern has Started Blogging

September 5, 2006

Mareike, our intern, has started blogging about Beijing on our Summer Olympics blog. She has travled to Beijing to write a series of posts about traveling to China for the Olympics. We gave her an itinerary, but as you can see from her first post things haven’t gone as planned.

We met Mareike about 5 years ago, when she was over here as a foreign exchange student. Her and another foreign exchange student were having problems with their host family. Long story short, we took her in and hosted her for a school year. We got to learn about some of the many differences between life in Germany and life in the United States. It was a fun experience for all of us.We have remained friends with her over the years (she has visited us several times).

She spent a year in Beijing, China learning Chineze, because Chineze is her major in college. When we started our Summer Olympics blog and discovered that the 2008 Summer Olympic Games was going to be in Beijing, China we came up with the idea of sending Mareike there. It turned out that Mareike needed to do an internship for college. So we put the two together and now she is interning for us.

We would love to find a way to employ Mareike once she graduates from College. She is an extremely gifted young woman. It would be great if we could provide her a work from home job blogging or doing something else she enjoyed. Anyway, go check out her first post on our Summer Olympics Blog, it’s a fun read.

What to do after you rank in the top 10 for some keywords

September 3, 2006

A friend of mine asked me the other day:

I was wondering something. Once your website is in the top 10 for one or more key phrases, what do you do? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any advice on how to maintain your status in the top 10 once you’re there.

That’s an interesting question, and here is my answer:

The quick answer is that you need to keep on doing the things you are already doing to maintain your website’s ranking for those keywords. But, you can work on that a little less and start working on adding content to get your site ranking for MORE keywords. The more keywords your site ranks for the better (see this article on the long tail for more details).

Consider finding other ways to draw traffic to your site (participating in related forums, posting comments on related blogs, starting a related blog, etc.)

You should also consider adding more products, more articles, a blog, and/or adding a related forum, etc. If you add related articles, which may help draw more traffic, you can also utilize those pages to add additional streams of income through Google Adsense or affiliate links on the article pages.

I have one site that I have done zero optimization on over the last six months and yet it continues to rank in the top 5 for most of the keywords it is targeting. People continue to link to it, because it’s a really great site. I think that one of the most important things you can do is to make your site link worthy. If you make a great site, people are going to want to link to it, and that makes it so much easier to get traffic.

The bottom line is that you need to stay the course and continue doing what you are doing. Make your site into something link worthy, and you will never have to worry about traffic.

PS. Another option would be to start another related site and repeat what you did with the last site to get traffic to the new site and monetize it.

Woohoo! My Blog is Back Up

September 3, 2006

My Blog was down for over 24 hours. I was getting a strange error on it. I made a bunch of changes, I am not sure what fixed it, but it is back up again.

Reminds me of my day job doing JAVA development…

Quick Recap of this business week September 1 2006

September 1, 2006

This week, I continued to go through the materials in a new Internet Marketing product I bought. I have read some Internet Marketing ebooks in just a few hours, but this product is all audio and video and is taking a really long time to get through.

Also, this week our Adsense revenue has been picking up. It’s partly because the summer is coming to an end and partly because I have spent some extra time writing about the show Rockstar Supernova on our tv blog. I took the time to tag the posts for Technorati, which seems to be bringing in some extra traffic. I also spent a little more time commenting on other people’s blogs this week. That always heps traffic and sometimes helps build online relationships.

I spent a little bit of time thinking about the vision for our business.

I have a lot of other things going on, so I didn’t do much else this week.

That’s it for this week’s quick recap…

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