Viewing Your Website as an Asset

Most people view internet businesses as a hobby or interest while a more traditional (offline) business is taken more seriously. Anyone who has built a successful online business knows that it needs to be treated like any other business, with respect.

Sometimes those of us who are building businesses online tend to overlook all of the assets that we are building. However, just because something is an asset doesn’t mean that it could or should be sold. An asset is valuable because it helps the business to grow and succeed.

My point with this article is not to put a dollar value on intangible objects, but rather to point out all of the ways that you are building assets if you a running a website or blog.

What aspects of your website are assets?

1. Domain Name

A great domain name can sell for thousands on its own, even with no existing website or traffic. Domain names are constantly becoming harder to come by, so they certainly have value.

2. Traffic

If you sell ad space or if you use affiliate programs, your traffic will be an asset. If you have paid much attention to any of the recent blog sales, traffic numbers are always a factor in the selling price.

3. Subscribers

Building a large subscriber base is not easy, and having loyal readers is something to appreciate. Anyone who chooses to receive everything that you publish is contributing towards your success.

4. Content (Your Past Work)

Anything of value that is on your site is an asset. If you have a blog, your archives of published posts are an asset. You may also have tools or resources on the site, WordPress themes or plugins that you’ve developed for example.

5. Network

While it’s not something that can be sold, your network should be appreciated and valued. If you have developed a successful website or blog you have no doubt developed relationships with people who have helped you along the way. The relationship and connection that you have to these people can continue to help you in anything you do, and of course you can help them too.

6. Influence

Popular websites and blogs have a great deal of influence on their readers. This influence should be treated with respect at all times. The ability to be a leader and decision maker is powerful. If used properly, influence can be beneficial to both you and your readers.

7. Design

Many websites sales that I have seen recently haven’t put much emphasis on this, but a quality design is definitely an asset that has value. When Adnan announced that Blogtrepreneur is for sale, he listed the custom WordPress theme as one of the selling points, and I think he is absolutely right.

8. On-Screen Real Estate

If you buy or sell ads online, you know that screen space can be a hot commodity. There is only so much of it on each website that can be used for ads (unless it goes way overboard). The space that you have on your site is an asset regardless of whether you are using it for yourself or selling it to others.

9. Rankings

While website and blog rankings are limited in usefulness, they are often used as an indicator of what a website is worth. Look at any recent blog sale, some type of ranking will always be mentioned, whether it’s PageRank, Alexa rank, Technorati rank, or something else.

10. Inbound Links

One of the biggest challenges of promoting a website is building inbound links. If your site has existing inbound links, they are assets. Links can drive click-through traffic and improve search engine rankings. For these reasons links are frequently sold, which of course Google does not condone.

Long-Term or Short-Term?

Everyone has different goals for their website. Some want to quickly build a productive site and sell it for profit. Others want to take a long-term approach and build a site that will help them for years to come. There is no right or wrong approach, but your goals will influence how you view the assets that you are building.

If you take a short-term approach intending to sell the site you’ll be interested in whatever can give you the best return on investment within a few months. And the opposite is true if you are going with a long-term approach. In this case, short-term profits should not be chosen over what’s best for the long haul.

What about you? What is your approach? Feel free to mention anything that I missed in the comments.

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10 Responses

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  • Sam MacDonald, January 1, 2008

    This post really summarizes what can be hard to present to clients on a daily basis. Not only from the terms of building an internet presence for your blog. But also in the business of building presence for a client and getting the word out about their products.

  • Daniel Gaitan, December 30, 2007

    Until recently I never looked at websites as assets. Now that I have spent some serious money and many hours of my time(more like weeks) I definitely look at my websites and it’s contents as assets. Another thing I realized was how many “websites” you look at everyday are really blogs.

  • JakeLynagh, December 26, 2007

    Thankyou so much, this information really helped me…

  • Vandelay Design, December 25, 2007

    Hi Pablo,
    Thanks for the holiday greeting. I hope you are having a great holiday season as well. You bring up a very good point. This isn’t something that I was thinking about. Thanks for the addition.

  • pablopabla, December 25, 2007

    I think the “commercial worth” of the contents should also be a consideration over and above your excellent summary above. For instance, my recipe blog at Delicious Asian Food has the potential of being printed into a recipe book for bookstores if a publisher finds that it is viable to do so. Likewise, other special niches can also be turned into commercial works for sale (photoblogs, hobby blogs, etc).

    By the way, happy holidays and a blessed new year to you Steven! I am looking forward to more resource-packed posts from you in the new year :D

  • Vandelay Design, December 24, 2007

    You’re right about the existing content. That’s probably one of the most valuable parts of a website or blog.

    Thanks for the addition. I was including that in “subscribers,” but your right, some websites have separate mailing lists as well.

  • Ruchir, December 24, 2007

    You forgot mailing list :) Great post, by the way…

  • Adnan, December 24, 2007

    Steven – great post mate – and thanks for the shoutout. You’re right in that not many people talk about their designs and even if you’ve modified a free one – you should mention it.

    I think that the content itself can be sometimes undervalued as an asset. If you’re charging $100 for a single paid review, then think how much all of your posts combined are worth. Just something to think about, and something which I put thought into with my site sale.