Beyond Affiliate Revenue: 3 Ways to Evolve Your Content Site Into A Profit Empire
Many content site owners have a limited view of the monetization opportunities available to them. Most monetize their site through affiliate marketing and display ads but only see the next stage of growth as increasing affiliate and ad earnings by scaling and expanding content production.
What if there are more ways to scale your site’s income outside of the usual monetization methods? What if you could leverage your site’s foundations of content, authority, and data to build new revenue streams and make your site a formidable profit machine?
Everything your site is made of is an asset you can use to build revenue streams.
The first asset is your site’s audience. Though you’re already monetizing this asset with your affiliate offers and display ads, there is more purchasing power available within your audience. Especially an audience generated through SEO, as this is one of the most high-intent audiences you can build.
You may also have a social following or email list. Within these two assets also lies a lot of purchase power.
The second asset is the data you’ve collected on your audience. If you’ve been tracking your site traffic through Google Analytics or other means, you have chocks of data you can use to inform your business scaling strategy and new product-based offers.
Your site data can also inform marketing campaigns for growing new arms of your business, increasing the size of your audience, and targeting new, similar audiences.
The third asset is your site’s content. While your content is already generating income through affiliate commissions and display ads on your site, there are other ways to make your content earn more.
In this article, we’re going to explore the three business models you can build on top of your content site and evolve it into a profit empire.
Business 1: Ecommerce Store
Your site is essentially operating as a store window for ecommerce businesses right now as you’re promoting other products by sharing affiliate offers and displaying ads for products.
Why not start selling your own products?
If you strategize effectively, you can sell your own products without taking sales of your affiliate offers and cannibalizing your site’s revenue.
Because you already have some foundational assets needed for a profitable ecommerce store, the building process will be a lot easier than starting from scratch.
You can start with your audience’s data, namely:
- Search behavior
- Purchase behavior
Some places you can get this data from are Google Analytics, your affiliate dashboard, and the advertising network your site is connected to.
By understanding the profiles of your audience and what products they like to buy, you can generate ideas for new products to sell to them—there are three ways to sell those products.
The Three Ecommerce Models
The first ecommerce model is known as private label.
Ecommerce Model 1: Private Label
With this model, you source or create products, build your supply chain to deliver the products to customers, and build your online store.
Manufacturer marketplace sites like alibaba.com allow you to find product manufacturers. When you have your product idea from your customer research, you can search for the product on Alibaba to see if there are manufacturers already producing it.
You can also find heavily-discounted retail products in retail warehouses that you can flip for a profit. This ecommerce model is called retail arbitrage.
Once you have your product manufacturing set up, you can connect with warehouses to store your inventory. You’ll also need to connect with freight forwarders and delivery companies to set up your delivery chain.
Alternatively, you can hire a third-party logistics firm (3PL) to handle order fulfillment for you. They have connections with warehouses and delivery companies and can set up and manage the fulfillment process for you.
The final element of your private label ecommerce business is the storefront. This can be a store hosted on an ecommerce platform like Shopify where you’ll get access to all of its ecommerce integrations that help you run your store.
If you want to utilize the traffic your current site is driving, then you can build your store within your content site.
Ecommerce Model 2: Amazon Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)
The Amazon FBA model enables you to use its world-beating fulfillment network to sell your products on Amazon’s marketplace.
This is a great way to get into ecommerce without having to set up your own supply chain from scratch—you just need to source manufacturers for the products, which is also made easy through Amazon as you can find manufacturers on the Amazon marketplace.
Amazon will even handle a lot of customer service, allowing you to focus on marketing your store.
Ecommerce Model 3: DropShipping
To sell private label products, you build the entire logistics backend of the business. To sell products through Amazon FBA, you need to set up and manage large parts of a fulfillment network. However, to sell through the dropshipping model, you don’t set up any part of the logistics network—you just find the manufacturers.
Products are made on order, so you don’t need to store inventory. All you do is build your storefront and market your products.
Out of the three ecommerce business models, dropshipping is the most beginner-friendly.
Dropshipping doesn’t require any upfront capital. Usually, without a content site a dropshipping entrepreneur would have to invest their capital into building an audience from scratch, but with your content site you already have that audience.
Therefore the risk of setting up your own dropshipping store on top of your site is relatively low. You could use the model to test products and if they sell, you could expand into a private label or Amazon FBA model to take your ecommerce store to the next level.
If the idea of building a business model that’s completely new to you is too daunting, there is a commerce model that’s more suited to content site owners.
Business 2: Digital Product Store
Digital products are essentially non-physical products. They come in a variety of forms, including photos, videos, online courses, documents, and infographics.
Luckily for you, you don’t need to produce any of these products from scratch. They’re already all over your website. All of your blog articles, videos, and graphics can be sold to your audience.
One way to do this is to pile together your topic clusters into one piece or series of content you can sell as a package. You could also recreate your content into other forms like text or video and sell those.
You just need a tool to create your products.
Here are some platforms that allow you to create your own digital products:
- Thinkific: a course creation tool that allows you to curate your videos on one dashboard to build a structured course.
- Canva: a graphic design tool that allows you to design printable documents.
- Substack: a newsletter platform that allows you to create and monetize a newsletter publication.
- Amazon KDP: a marketplace that allows you to sell ebooks. You can create your ebooks on a document-creator tool like Microsoft Office or Google Docs, then design a cover on Canva, and sell the finished product on the Amazon KDP marketplace.
Similar to ecommerce, you can integrate your store into your current site or sell your products on a platform like Shopify, Coursera, or Udemy.
Because your products are digital, you don’t need to manage a supply chain. Plus, the costs to create the products are minimal.
But we’re not going to stop there. The aim of this article is to help you think big, so the next model is going to stretch your imagination even further.
Business 3: The Digital-Physical Ecommerce Hybrid
Since your physical and digital products are different forms, you can sell both without cannibalizing your sales. In fact, there are a few ways they can be synergized to fuel more sales:
- Your digital products can be sold as educational products that teach your audience how to use your physical products.
- Your digital products can act as information brochures that inform your audience about the products.
- You can leverage your physical products to upsell customers on advanced digital products.
Building a synergized profit machine business is a great way to earn more and increase the security of your site.
Would you like to see an example of this theory in action?
Epicgardening.com — The Ultimate Content-Commerce Site Empire
There are few better content-commerce sites than epicgardening.com.
The founder, Kevin Espiritu started the site as an informational site monetized by display ads. When doing his research on the niche, he found that the content around gardening wasn’t as good as he thought it could be. He decided to build a site with the very best content with strong topical knowledge.
Once his site rose to a big authority in the gardening niche, Kevin decided to keep the momentum going by building on the site’s strong foundations to create a branded ecommerce store.
On the site, you’ll find a huge content database covering all gardening topics you can think of. The Epic Gardening store sells gardening products that Kevin sourced himself to sell as private-label products.
The products have fantastic reviews and sell like hotcakes because Kevin used his content site assets to set up his ecommerce store for success.
We interviewed Kevin to find out how he built his content commerce empire. You can listen to that full episode here.
Build Your Own Content Empire You Can Sell For $1M+
If you were to use these strategies to increase your site’s monthly net profit to $35,000, your site could be worth over $1,000,000. You could hand over your business to a new owner and cash out for a life-changing sum of money.
With its diversified revenue systems that generate large profits, your site would stand head-and-shoulders over other more traditional content sites for sale.
If you’d like a baseline valuation of what your site could be worth now, try our free Valuation Tool.