There are a few key ingredients to building a successful portfolio of online businesses.

It’s important to set your goals and strategy upfront.

For example, a common investment strategy is the passive approach, looking for low time investment and high margin businesses only to add to their portfolio.

On the flip side, there are investors who are actively seeking to replace their previous business or job as a full-time project.

Needless to say, these are very different strategies when it comes to investing in websites, but when building a portfolio of content sites there are a few really well paved, proven paths to success.

Once you’ve chosen a niche (or multiple) to pursue as your website investing strategy, it’s now time to get organized from a tech perspective.

I recommend, if you aren’t familiar with web hosting or domain transfers, it’s best to hire a contractor from Upwork or Freelancer. When you’ve hired your team on an hourly basis you can start a group chat on free apps like Telegram or WhatsApp for open communication. This will help you manage everything on the tech side from one centralized app.

Having a small team of hired help is a fundamental that I recommend all beginners take advantage of while learning. As you progress through buying websites and adding them to your GoDaddy, Namecheap, or other hosting platforms you will want to ask questions to your hired contractors.

The goal is to learn as you build, so later on you can identify issues with transactions on other assets. After you’ve acquired your first couple sites with the help of some experts you can start managing the assets with various tools.?

Google Search Console

This is an often-overlooked, 100% free tool that many investors use to track the ranking progress of important keywords for their businesses.

In a nutshell, similar to the online Google Analytics code embedded in your online business, the Google Search Console verification process is similar for tracking search. Simply go through the prompts Google gives you to verify your website and add your entire portfolio of online businesses as “properties” to the dashboard. This will help you centralize all your SEO efforts and more importantly, allow experts to come in and analyze the entire portfolio.

There are a lot of SEO tracking tools, but Google Search Console goes directly to the source and provides a great view of clicks, impressions, and which keywords that you’re ranking for. In my experience, many portfolio owners will tweak their energy towards certain keywords that rank better based on the Google Search Console reports.

Pick your Keyword Battles

With content focused sites, blogs on your SaaS platform, or eCommerce business blogs, it’s important to identify your winners.

If you look across 10 websites in a portfolio in different niches it can be very daunting, so you’ll need to find the most popular content. Using something like Google Search Console or SEMrush to identify your most popular articles and make a short list of them. Once you have a list of your top 10 most popular articles where the majority of organic traffic is being delivered, you need it optimized it for conversions.

There are some plugins out there for WordPress that allow you to improve the design of your articles to make them more visually appealing, but ultimately you need to make the call to action more pronounced. One important note is that it can take a few months to find the top articles and I’d suggest having articles be published and indexed for a minimum of 6 months before picking your top winners. Optimizing the top performing articles on your company blog or main content site can be a game changer and in many cases, I’ve heard operator’s double revenue in a matter of months from optimizing their highest trafficked articles.?

Centralize Your Analytics 

Google Analytics has done an incredible job of becoming both the least expensive (FREE) and the gold standard for website investing analytics. Once you’ve acquired sites in your preferred niche and have transferred all the assets from the previous owner you should setup your portfolio of sites on Google Analytics. Similar to Google Search Consoles having all your sites synced to an account on Google Analytics is a powerful strategy to manage everything in a central location.??

SEMrush

Overall, you can break down building a successful website portfolio into a three components: acquiring the assets, managing the assets, and tracking the assets.

As you can tell from my experience, Google provides the best tools to manage a group of sites. These are all free resources that I feel every website investor should learn. I would, however, recommend getting a free or upgraded account at SEMrush if you really want to dig deep into the SEO of a business to de-risk your portfolio additions.

SEMrush will help guide you through the keyword tracking process to make sure you’re on the right track with competitive keywords. Many beginners won’t have a competitive edge in a niche and will jump into it too quickly with keywords they haven’t researched. For all those investors eager to get started fortunately SEMRush has a free option that allows you to analyze the backlink profile and get weekly reports. Create an account and do the research on your niche’s specific keywords.

You can break down building a successful website portfolio into 3 components: acquiring the assets, managing the assets, and tracking the assets. Click To Tweet

A Final Note

As a final note, I highly recommend that if you are a beginner, to take notes throughout your process for acquiring and managing a portfolio.

Going back over your notes to each time you acquire a new asset is an underrated tactic, especially if you are acquiring similar assets for the portfolio.

An example of how my notes have come in handy was with an Amazon affiliate blog last year. My notes told me to ask about social profiles being included in the sale, especially if they are a primary traffic source. This was a lesson I had to learn, so you don’t have to. Many times sellers will try to keep key success drivers of the business given they will translate well over into another venture. This is very important to take note of and ask about upfront during the initial transaction.

Have fun buying and enjoy the process!

Steve McGarry

Steve McGarry

Steve McGarry is an entrepreneur, content creator, and investor based in sunny Tampa, Florida. In 2015, while living in San Francisco, Steve sold his first fintech startup LendLayer to Max Levchin’s (founder of PayPal) consumer finance company Affirm. In the last 5 years, Steve has both built an online community that reaches 1.4 million people every month on social media and a portfolio of over a dozen web properties. Currently, he’s the co-founder of a next-generation fintech startup called GrowYourBase while managing his portfolio of online businesses.