Slashing Paths to Online Profit

Being a pioneer doesn’t always pay

Publishing on the Internet is mostly uncharted territory, like the Amazon jungle was 150 years ago.

Some daring publishers have hacked a path to “online profitability” or “a successful membership website,” and other publishers caught a tropical disease or were bitten by a snake, killing their business before they reached their goals.

If you’re looking to reach an uncharted goal in online publishing, grab your machete and start slashing your own path. But, if you’re looking to reach goals already discovered by other publishers, why not follow the paths they’ve cleared?

For example, if you’re sitting on a mountain of content that you want to sell to the public, possibly through a membership website or an ‘a la carte’ system, you should find a publisher that has already developed a successful system to do it.

One example of such a system is the Wall Street Journal’s website, That system shows visitors enough content to spark interest, but it does not give away all the information.

You should take a look at their system and see if it could work for your publication. Afterall, WSJ’s system has generated over 930,000 online subscribers.


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They’ve done that by quickly answering the three questions that cross every user’s mind when arriving on a webpage. Those questions are:

  • What is here?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How do I get it?

The’s booming success online is due, in part, to its ability to answer these questions faster than the user can become confused.

Despite online publishing being as undeveloped as a jungle, there are thousands of lessons to be learned from pioneering publishers.

If you want to create a system for creating and organizing your content to maximize its reusability and resale value, take a look at publishers like Fodor’s.

Fodor’s strategy is to “nuggetize” its content by having every book organized into “minimum information units.” Each unit represents a stand-alone topic that can be repackaged, repurposed and re-monetized elsewhere. It’s an efficient online publishing strategy that can create products in multiple platforms.

If that sounds like a good system to you, read more about it in our previous posts. But if you want to develop a better system, build up your stock pile of research capital machetes and start slashing in the jungle.

Remember, the Internet is the newest frontier for publishing. There are cleared paths to success and you should follow them. It will be much cheaper than paving your own road.


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