Ya know, the web is an interesting place where anything seems possible and innovative new applications recreate the very world we live in. Each day, entrepreneurs flock to it in hopes to create wealth akin to the 19th century American gold rush. Understandably, it’s tempting to want to reach for the stars and invent a sexy, new, innovative web application. Yet for every thousand or so businesses created, usually only one actually turns a profit.
It just so happens one of them is ResourceWebs, and anyone wanting to actually make money on the web might want to sit up in their chair and pay attention. Class is now in session.
ResourceWebs is a network of targeted niche websites, each offering an education resource for its users – hence the name ResourceWebs. As unique consumer properties they focus on a specific topic and are filled with a variety of high quality content, tools, and resources. Some of their fastest growing and most popular properties include: railroad.net, solcomhouse.com, famousbirthdays.com, moonphases.info and mpgfacts.com.
Evan Britton, company President and a 12 year internet marketing veteran whom has worked within several successful entrepreneurial endeavors (and a Business Insider contributor as well), says focus and quality are the keys to a successful web content business.
“On the web today many web properties spread themselves thin by focusing on everything. We learned it’s about quality not quantity, as the properties which we invested and nurtured the most have become the most successful, while the smaller and more automated properties have slowly died off.“
The world of content sites has flipped recently as Google Panda came out with 23 questions for webmasters to consider. Google says that it looks for articles written by enthusiasts, that it wants articles related to the interests of the site’s visitors and that it more values websites which are a recognized authority on the topic. Basically, it’s trying to clean up the web.
“This has been our vision all along, to focus on niches that we felt we could truly make an impact on, and not spread ourselves thin by trying to cover topics not directly related to our niche verticals.”
Monetizing these sites has put ResourceWebs in an elite class – profitable web companies. Putting to use highly targeted contextual ads ResourceWebs is able to generate significant monthly income organically from the more than 3 million visits and 10 million page views. Britton wasn’t specific on revenue but did mention ResourceWebs monthly revenue is in the five figures with a goal to hit the low six figures soon.
Starting Small and Staying Lean
Contrast Britton’s approach with one of the latest web bombs – Color. Color built a photo sharing app for a mobile device, raised $41m before even launching a product, was valued at over $100m pre-launch and created mass hysteria prior to any market traction. All that unnecessary crap ultimately led to Color falling flat on its face. Considering all the hysteria, Color never generated much traction or any revenue nor was it even clear how it would ever be a profitable company. Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh, they were valuable for at least one thing – teaching us how not to launch a company.
“Our goal with ResourceWebs has been to keep the business profitable throughout each stage of the company. Doing this may have taken us longer to grow – but it assured that we were growing an endeavor which would indeed be profitable.” Britton maintains this might not be as sexy as other startups but is by far more dependable and sustainable.
I say dependability, sustainability and profitability are damn sexy!
Britton is keeping his options open but seems quite satisfied where they are as a business. “Seeking outside funding is always an option, but right now we aren’t looking for any further acquisitions and we are able to invest in our properties each month as the business has low overhead and very solid monthly income.”
Know Where Your Startup Could Fail
Britton’s approach to ResourceWebs should be an example to all of us web entrepreneurs. Below is a chart displaying the top 20 reasons startups fail from an article describing in detail the top reasons for startup failure found in post-mortem studies. Whether Britton knows it or not, he took care of the top six right out of the gate. Successful companies generally don’t pop up overnight, must focus on a finding and fitting a market need, listen and cater to their customers, find some sort of ability to generate revenue early on and should be grown and marketed organically so they can achieve a sustainable and profitable status. Besides understanding green is the color of money, the guys at Color don’t seem to have a clue. Maybe they should study this image.
Located in Santa Monica, CA, ResourceWebs is a small operation tightly ran by Evan. The gatekeeper for each of the properties, Dr. Robert Amodeo, is the IT Manager who holds a doctorate in engineering from UCLA. Prior to joining ResourceWebs, Robert worked as a programmer and IT manager in the UCLA math department. North of that they have a team of writers who cover specific properties in which they have the most passion, something Britton notes to be a winning formula. “All in all, we learned that you can find success through tackling a niche if you have passion, maintain focus, and create value.”
So my question is if ResourceWebs is attracting millions of visitors each month, minting millions of dollars each year, highly profitable and growing steadily, why are investors still flushing money down the drain on nebulous startups who can’t figure out what they are doing or how to generate any revenue?
ResourceWebs may not be as sexy as some of the new startups out there, but you know what is sexy? That’s right, a profitable company.