Turn Your Website Into a Profitable Enterprise

Interview with Internet Marketer Phil Hampton Part II

In Part II of my interview with Internet Marketer and Founder of The Comic Academy Phil Hampton, we cover how he plans to turn his business into a profitable enterprise and he shares his future goals for The Comic Academy.

Advertising and Banners Ads

I’ve noticed there are no advertisements on your website. Have you tried or will you consider trying advertising such as affiliate programs, paid banner ads, AdSense, or other ways to monetize your website?

I’ve always intended my website to be more about the content than just a place to advertise stuff. And I would recommend to anyone trying to build a following for a new website, that they don’t plaster it with banner ads!  It’s hard enough to keep people’s attention long enough online without telling them to click elsewhere.  You may forego a few dollars earned through banner clicks per month, but the harm it does to building your fanbase can significantly outweigh the cost benefits.

Once you’ve got at least 100 visitors a day to your site, then think about adding the odd banner ad.

As far as my website is concerned, I will probably look into getting a sponsor or two early next year.  But my main strategy is making money through sales of my products and 1:1 mentoring services.

Monetizing your content and Becoming Profitable

At the time of this interview The Comic Academy website is a free resource available to everyone. Many niche websites eventually gain such a large readership that for one reason or another they switch to a paid subscription model. Do you have plans to make this kind of move with your website and what would be the determining factors in making that decision?

I trialled a membership site back in February to May this year. I had a few people paying a regular monthly subscription for a monthly newsletter, a special interview, and access to a members forum.

I could have continued with this model, but the problem was that I started to neglect my website and my social media accounts. The majority of my time was spent providing a service to my members, but I wasn’t then bringing anyone new through the door.

The basic problem was that I had launched a premium service without having built a large enough following first, or put systems in place to enable me to deliver both ‘front end’ and ‘back end’ services at the same time.

So I decided to put a hold on the member’s area and concentrate more on giving great free stuff on my site. This has worked as my site is now getting 3-4 times as many daily visitors as it did 6 months ago, and my email list is five times the size.

Once I’ve completed the two training products that I’m currently working on (on running effective webcomics sites and pitching to publishers), I may resurrect my membership site, or put a new ‘spin’ on it.

The Future of Comic Academy

Where do you see this project going in 2 to 5 years and what is the roadmap for reaching your goals?

I see ‘The Comic Academy’ as less of a project and more of an ongoing sustainable business. My main aim is for it to be the ‘Number One Comic Book Marketing Resource’ available, which is definitely achievable as long as I continue to build my archive of free articles and interviews, and branch out into video.

So far I have only been offering 1:1 mentoring to those who have previously purchased a product from me, to keep numbers low, but I will soon be advertising my services directly on my site.  If anyone in the industry needs help with building their following, or effective strategies on how to make money in the industry, I am the guy who can help them achieve that.

I also plan to hold face-to-face group training sessions on different topics in 2012, whether that’s in the UK or US. These will then be recorded and made available as new products.
And I have a couple of other ideas to help comic creators and entrepreneurs over the next couple of years, but unfortunately which I cannot reveal at the moment.

In case you missed it, you can read part I of my interview with Phil Hampton here – Internet Marketing to Promote Your Business