Today, we have a guest article from my friend, Tom Nixon. I have known Tom for a number of years now, and we have worked together on a number of different projects during that time. Although we have never met, I consider Tom to be a close friend and confidante. Over the past year, Tom and I have worked together to increase his web presence, and assist him in earning more money through his various websites. I feel like we’ve enjoyed some success in the project, and I hope Tom feels the same! MindanaoBob
Have you reached the point in your business where you need to decide what to do about the future? Or are you already considering what you should do when you have started to become successful? In the last year, I hit that point and needed to make some hard decisions about where I was going.
I spent 2010 considering what I should do with my online high school’s website. That site gets the most traffic by far in its niche, Google Adsense is solid, and I had a few banner ads going. Add in the book sales, and we’re starting to talk about real money. However, I needed to make some changes to maximize profits because I knew there was still money being left on the table.
So what did I do? I did a couple things:
- I made the decision to grow the number of websites I offer, but still stay solidly within my niche; and
- I made the decision to outsource the building of those websites by partnering with someone who not only has to experience with designing websites but importantly has experience with e-commerce and growing businesses.
Having worked with Bob Martin before on other ventures, choosing him to work with me was a no-brainer. Why did I choose Bob? Because I knew that he would make sure that the websites turned out well, but that also he would offer plenty of advice on how to maximize those websites for profit.
My first piece of advice: If you are going to partner with someone (and I use the term to mean working together on a specific project for a short period of time), then choose someone who can do more than just design websites. Many people can do that.
What a much smaller group of people can do is create websites that make you money. This is who you need to find. My personal preference is someone that both creates e-commerce websites and has e-commerce businesses. There is much to be said about using someone whose own income relies on their ability to make money on the Internet. Certainly, there are others out there, but I found that person in Bob Martin.
Whomever you end up choosing, it should be someone who takes a real interest in the commercial success of your website. As I said, many can make a pretty website. That’s the easy part. Find someone who feels compelled to answer questions and offer advice (even if that wasn’t part of the deal). In my case, Bob was paid to create websites, but that certainly didn’t stop him from offering advice. That advice ended up growing my business.
So what did it end up looking like? I ended up with eight new websites. Yes, eight. With a staff of one, this is a lot to handle, but the primary focus is still on that original site. Having the additional sites, though, gives me the opportunity to have more places for Google Adsense and for banner ads to appear. It also gives me a place to sell books. This is an area that I expect to grow over the next year.
Be sure to check out Tom’s main site, Best Online High Schools. Also his new book, Best Online High Schools (2nd Edition) will be out next month, from DegreePress.
I agree that we have enjoyed some success. I fully expect that within the next year that success will only grow.
Thanks for submitting the article, Tom! I appreciate it greatly. I also appreciate the opportunity to work with you over the past year or so!