Building Your Online Portfolio

Building your online portfolio

After several years of buying and selling websites, I came to the conclusion that I needed some sort of sanity check in my portfolio of websites. Far too often I had purchased websites because I got a great deal, and I knew I could resell the site for more. A lot of them I ended up keeping for various reasons, but what I ended up with was a helter-skelter portfolio. I was all over the place, and there were far too few synergies among my portfolio. I’ve been working on fixing it for well over a year.

Five years ago, in 2003, it didn’t matter so much whether you had a focused portfolio. Especially so where organic search optimization was concerned. Interlinking your websites, however unrelated, worked. All you needed was some strong PageRank sites, and you could get pretty much anything off the ground if you planned it out well. It doesn’t work so well anymore.

For most people, who are going to buy one website and make that their sole focus, this won’t matter much. However, if you’re considering buying that second site, third site, and so on, then I’m here to help you keep from making the same mistakes I did. Focus! Focus! Focus!

There are two main ways that you can focus your portfolio. First, you can focus your portfolio by platform. For example, I enjoy working with forums. I know guys who do blogs, and that’s it. A nice portfolio of ecommerce websites could be gold. A portfolio made up of five page content sites built on flat html files could be very easy to manage, if not the most profitable type of sites out there.

Alternatively, you could focus yourself into a specific market niche. We’ll say for example, you’re nuts about slamball. You’re a slamball fanatic. So, your first site is a slamball forum. Your second is an ecommerce site selling slamballs and related products. Then, you’re doing a blog about slamball. Maybe you add a couple of “how-to” type sites with basic instructions and tips. Get the idea?

The benefits you’re going to be able to reap when you follow a well thought out plan are that you’re going to be able to outperform the competition. You’re going to be able to move more quickly than the competition when a site comes up for sale, because you know better what the site is worth and how to take it over and run it successfully. You may even find yourself taking sites before they even come up for public sale.

It does seriously limit the range of sites that you’re going to be buying to keep in your portfolio. For guys like me, who are addicted to the thrill of the deal, there are other outlets that will keep you active in the marketplace. You can always buy sites that are specifically intended to be flips. And, one thing I’ve personally been involved with is helping other people buy websites (what better than to be able to get the thrill of the deal without spending my own money).

In the end, I hope to have a well focused portfolio that make sense and has huge opportunities for synergies across the portfolio. If you’re starting new, do yourself a favor by plotting it out now before you end up with a mish-mash of unrelated sites.

I originally wrote this for the SitePoint Market Watch Newsletter.

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