Whenever I start a new project that involves reaching an audience, I like to take some time to think about the project from a broad perspective. Discussing goals is never a waste of time. This may be my first website endeavor where the primary motivation is based on profit. It’s fine to pursue a project with a primary directive that’s money.
Look at real estate. Sometimes you want to buy a place to live; sometimes you want to buy cash flow. This site, highyieldsavingsaccounts.net, is about creating a consistent cash flow. Its present state is little to none, but there is strong potential. Like a fixer-upper, the site’s been vacant for a few years.
There could be an argument for demolition and construction from the ground up, instead of putting it back together piece by piece, and that’s something we’ll discover together.
Before thinking about goals for a project, I like to figure out why I’m doing what I’m doing. In this case, I’m just looking to create some cash flow that doesn’t come from my financial investments and doesn’t require a lot of “work” work down the line. (Sounds like everyone’s dream, right?) I don’t believe it would every be truly “passive income,” but that’s the direction I’m heading.
Regardless of the financial driver, the site needs a purpose. I think it’s pretty clear: “to help readers make the best decisions about their own money management, primarily with savings accounts, which will in turn improve their financial lives.” So that is the guiding force behind every decision I make, whether the decision involves an advertising deal or producing new articles or other content.
I’ve spoken with hundreds of bloggers — literally hundreds — over the years about goals for their own businesses and communities. Before we talk their goals focus on two things: traffic and revenue. (They speak about revenue because for most bloggers, expenses are so low that revenue is just a good measurement as profit.) I think these metrics are great for targets, and thus motivation to work hard, but it’s difficult to use traffic and revenue as real goals.
Because once you hit those goals are you going to just stop and be done with it? Not if you think you haven’t tapped the site’s entire potential.
These are results-oriented goals. It’s important to track them and analyze how the decisions you make affect them. But there’s a lot that’s out of your control, especially if you’re a one-person business. You may want tons of search traffic, but you don’t control Google’s algorithms. You can make choices that seem to be proven to work, but sometimes they just don’t.
I like goals that you can mostly or fully control: production-oriented goals. Volume of content. Time spent on outreach and marketing. Media appearances. And then you can put production goals on a timeline. Or you don’t have to. For now, just a few days into this project, I’m not going to drill down into specifics yet.
Overall, my financial goal for highyieldsavingsaccounts.net is for the site to produce enough passive-ish income for the investment to pay for itself within one year. If it takes longer, fine. If it doesn’t take a year, even better! Longer term, I’d love for this site to be part of a portfolio that generates enough revenue to cover my living expenses. (And if and when I do build that portfolio, it’ll be documented here.)
Do I need to “build an audience?” To an extent, definitely. But this site doesn’t need to be another Consumerism Commentary, Get Rich Slowly, Budgets Are Sexy, or The Penny Hoarder. It just needs to offer great resources to help those who find it.
I could present targets for visitors, traffic, or audience size, but they’d all be arbitrary, so why bother?
On the production side, once I clean up the existing content, having a steady stream of new articles is important to the site’s vitality. But I’m balancing this with other work that keeps me busy. My first production target is to publish one article a week.
And that’s totally achievable.
After all, it’s been less than 24 hours, and I’ve already launched a new website and written six fairly substantive articles for Money Blog Rehab.
Photo: Flickr/Lauri Rantala