March 14, 2012

The Pay-For Content Debate

Every business, big or small, needs a healthy and regular revenue stream to maintain quality and continually improve what they do. Running a content website is no different. If you believe you can achieve your financial goals whilst giving your content away for free, then do it, but as Warren Buffet famously said “only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” As the recession bites, there will be a lot of website owners exposed to the harsh truth.
The good news is a lot of the rubbish on the web will disappear and the quality content will become more visible. The key to success is generating multiple revenue streams.
  • Every content website should provide free content. This will drive traffic, help build credibility and, of course, generate some advertising income.
  • Affiliate marketing will become more important in bad times as merchants try to get more bang for their marketing bucks. Online publishers need to hook into this lucrative market.
  • eBooks, research and other downloadable products should be sold.
  • Events, webinars and courses should be created and promoted via the site.
  • Every website owner should strive to find a way of getting monthly subscription income to give their site financial stability.
Ultimately, free content is good, but you need paid content to survive.
The recession will lead to thousands or maybe millions of free content websites closing down.
I think this is a good thing.
As Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, recently said the internet is a cesspool of false information. A major clearout will give oxygen to quality content and allow it to float to the surface.
If you are already an online publisher producing quality content for a niche target audience, keep going, your time has come.
If you are considering setting up a niche online publication, I would say there has never been a better time to get started, since the internet began …. provided that:
  • You focus on creating fantastic content
  • You know your audience
  • You plan on making multiple revenue stream(including, if possible, subscription revenues)
  • You understand that it will take hard work and persistence

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