You may often hear people referring to their “portfolio” of blogs or niche websites. In this article I’m going to discuss the difference between a portfolio and a singular blog, and which one you should have.
What’s the difference between a niche website and a portfolio?
A blog is a singular niche website that typically focuses on one specific topic. However, it can also be less focused and cover a wide range of topics within a niche. Regardless, it’s just one website.
A portfolio refers to multiple income generating websites that are all owned by one person or one company. These websites can be totally separate from one another or can interlink to each other.
Which route should you go?
As a new blogger you should start with one website and grow it to success before the word portfolio even enters your vocabulary. By success I mean it should be making enough money to be not only profitable, but there should be excess cashflow to fund another site.
Building a portfolio is something that should be done over a long period of time, not overnight. Build one site and focus all of your time and energy on it for a good while, then and only then should you create the second site.
You’ll likely be distracted along the way and tempted by all of the great ideas you’re having, but it’s important that you don’t lose sight of the goal. There are cases where that first site is a complete flop and it’s important that you’re able to recognize that, however.
How do I know if my first site is a failure?
This is a tricky one. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a good niche and domain name the first time around. Take your time, but don’t overthink it too much. Overanalyzing and second guessing yourself is another path you want to avoid.
If you’ve done your due diligence with your niche selection, published an adequate amount of content targeting low competition keywords, and still aren’t seeing a reasonable amount of traffic after a full year, then it may be time to at least consider it a failure and moving on to another site.
Even at this point though, do not delete your hosting or domain. It doesn’t harm anything to move the site to back burner and move on to your new project. This is kind of what happened with my first site.
I didn’t follow this strategy and it worked out for me, everyone has to figure it out for themselves though.
How many niche sites are in a portfolio?
I’m not sure there is a correct answer to this, but in my opinion any more than 1 income generating site I consider a portfolio. Just 2 sites may be a very small portfolio, but a portfolio nonetheless.
I currently have 8 sites in my portfolio total, 5 of which actually bring in money each month. The other 3 have not really been monetized because they are so new, only around 6 months old. I’m in no rush to put ads on sites this new. They do have some Amazon links on them and probably make $10-$20 each month from that, but it’s hardly worth mentioning.
So, in my opinion, once you have at least 2 sites that are earning money you have a portfolio. When or if you should have a portfolio are questions you must answer for yourself.
Which is better?
There are pros and cons to having just one site and multiple. It’s something that is constantly discussed and argued over amongst bloggers, so there’s really no correct answer. One thing that is pretty much universally agreed upon though is that you should always start with one.
Having just one
Having just one site can make it much easier to scale your income. If you happen to get lucky with a site that has amazing potential and room for growth, you may be better off growing it into a massive brand that brings in tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each month. Yes, I said per month. There are many people doing this right now.
I think it can also take less work in many ways since you only have to keep up with one niche, one hosting package, one social media page (for each channel), and one of everything else you can think of.
At the same time though, if something disrupts your traffic like a Google update or a new competitor, it can tank your entire business overnight. That’s really the main argument and the main knock on this approach. Don’t let it deter you from this approach though, I think even if you go the portfolio route you should always have one large site that feeds all of your smaller ones.
Having a portfolio
Having a portfolio of sites allows you to mitigate risk and diversify a bit. It’s certainly no guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen, but it helps knowing you have other sites to fall back on as a safety net should your big one collapse for whatever reason. If your big site does crash and burn, it’s always unexpected.
If you ever suffer from burnout, then having a portfolio can help. If you have a site about traveling, then you may get tired of publishing that type of content. I know that I have sites I just really get sick of sometimes, so I hop over to another one for a couple of months. If you’ve published evergreen content you’re traffic isn’t going anywhere. In fact, if you’re at least a medium volume publisher your site should even continue to grow while you’re taking a break from it.
Another huge plus of having a portfolio of sites is the ability to sell a site here and there for a large cash injection. If you have just one site and sell it, your income stops. Sure, the sale price might be larger, but the monthly income will stop. You can always start a new site though, so there’s that to keep in mind.
Everyone does it differently
Just because someone else has 19 sites doesn’t mean you have to. You may be a one site type of person. As I mentioned, I have 8 right now and I’d ideally like to trim that down. Knowing how I am though, it may not happen. I like building new things, it’s just the way I operate.
Go over the pros and cons for each option, ask yourself some questions about your goals and answer them honestly. Do what is going to help you achieve what is most important to you. If it’s diversification and the ability to write about anything in a variety of niches, then you want to go with a portfolio of niche site. If you’d rather grow a site to making an obscene amount of money as quickly possible, and aren’t worried about burnout and don’t plan to sell, go with just one site.