Grandma’s Internet Business Ethics
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A reader asks a few questions about the inner workings of my business:
“I guess what made me curious was that I read somewhere you own something like 15 niche sites, and I wondered if one would want to keep expanding that portfolio indefinitely knowing the low maintenance required.
But I also guess that the initial niche scouting and writing takes time so that after one has more money you may want to invest into something more “brick and mortar” so to speak, like your oil company and make much bigger margins.”
“Brick and mortar” + “margins” don’t really fit together in the same sentence, but otherwise, this is relatively accurate.
That’s the appeal of digital businesses, extremely high margins make it easy to get in without much investment. It also breeds a ton of competition.
As far as niche sites:
I do agree there is sort of a limit on how many you want to build, as you said once you have the money coming in you can start investing it into more “real world” business. I also do have a small team of two, one of them can do keywords/niche picking/site design and both of them can write, so most of the work is outsourced to them. I pretty much just sign off on the idea after they bring it to me at this point.
Some people, rightfully, ask:
What about making more money teaching something as opposed to actually doing it?
And, in the nature of full disclosure, for me, this changes on a month to month basis. One month I might make more from selling info products than the niche sites, the next month it might flip back around.
Here’s the key point though:
I have not stopped working on them, hence, I believe the model is still valid and worth my time (or at least the time of my employees).
I didn’t start making niche sites just to make a course so then I could make money off of selling the idea of niche sites.
I still make those.
Sadly, I can’t say the same for many a Dropshipper and other info-product-pushers who seem to like the teaching business more than the do-ing. Which, I don’t know if I believe it’s not ethical…but it is a fine line. As far as ethics go, I try to apply this rule to it…
Grandma’s Internet Business Ethics
Here’s a hard teaching lesson coming at you today, that should sum up the “is it unethical to sell online” in one simple section.
Some people wonder about how many affiliate links they should put in to their posts on a niche site or a content blog, and whether it’s “ethical” to do so.
While there’s certainly a certain level of overkill, most people aren’t putting enough in. They should be contextual and relevant though.
To illustrate this point, let’s say I wanted to write about Croatian food. I can’t exactly sell ćevapčići on this Croatia niche site, so you have to think a bit outside of the box.
Here’s a few ideas that I could tie back around and use to monetize an article:
- Plane tickets to Croatia
- Hotel rooms in Croatia
- That Croatian food is heavy and can make you fat, leading to a workout program for travelers
- Links to certain spices on Amazon to re-create Croatian food at home
- And that’s just the tip of the hat!
“But won’t people know I’m just selling to them!”
Maybe if they’re familiar with affiliate marketing…sure. And yes, you have to put disclaimers on your site that state your affiliation. But as far as I’m concerned, just run the Grandma Test and see if it passes.
Think about it:
Do you think your Grandma, when she is browsing the internet, is aware when she clicks a link to Amazon that she’s giving a commission to someone else?
I doubt it.
And even if she does know, does she care?
Again, most people don’t.
It doesn’t cost them a cent.
Do YOU care?
If you go to a site that provides value, and you’re aware you’re clicking an affiliate link — it probably doesn’t affect your decision. You got value from it, so you’re happy to. And frankly, if it bothers you, despite the fact that you got value, that’s just silly. Wouldn’t you rather support an independent blogger/writer instead of just the big company? Seriously, as a blogger/content creator myself, support the little guy.
If the answer is no…
But, doesn’t matter, point is:
Most people aren’t aware.
I’ve had to explain to my own father several times that when he clicks a link on one of his fishing websites and buys a new lure, that the guy running the site gets a kickback. He still is trying to wrap his head around it.
If you want to learn how to build, scale, and maintain profitable websites that make money while you sleep (it’s truly not a pipe dream, I know what you’re thinking…), then head on over yonder.
Keep causing trouble,
PS: For those wondering, here are the tools I use for niche sites, from start to finish, and yes, these are affiliate links: