We’re all familiar with the term “real estate”. What usually comes to mind are houses, apartments, and other physical property to either live in or own as an investment.
As you likely know, if you’re looking to own real estate as an investment, it’s quite an expensive endeavor and will tie up a lot of capital.
However, there is another type of real estate that isn’t quite as well known, and that’s digital real estate. Digital real estate is a lot newer than real estate and comprises a digital asset that can generate income.
The best thing about it is that anyone can start building their own digital real estate empire with much less capital than you would think. Stay tuned and we’ll guide you through all there is to know about this exciting and potentially lucrative world.
- What is Digital Real Estate?
- Digital Real Estate Example #1: Websites
- Digital Real Estate Example #2: E-Commerce Store
- Digital Real Estate Example #3: Blogs
- Digital Real Estate Example #4: Mobile Apps
- Digital Real Estate Example #5: Social Media Accounts
- Why You Should Invest in Digital Real Estate
- Other Things to Consider in Digital Real Estate
- Digital Real Estate Investment Takes Time
- Final Verdict
What is Digital Real Estate?
Although the term “digital real estate” shares a lot in common with physical real estate, it may be helpful to compare it to other investment assets such as stocks, bonds, and even your own business.
For an even simpler analogy, let’s compare it to your social media account. You use it every day, and you’re quite active on it. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making money off of it. However, if you pivot direction and decide to potentially monetize it, it can eventually become a passive (or active) income-generating asset. It essentially becomes a business for you that you can choose to actively work on or automate if you please.
Alright, so you’re getting it a bit more. Let’s dive deeper into what digital real estate is exactly.
As mentioned above, digital real estate can be anything computer-based that you can own, and eventually generate money for yourself as the owner.
There are limitless options when it comes to choosing your preferred digital real estate. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones:
Digital Real Estate Example #1: Websites
Websites are one of the most popular digital real estate properties that we’re all no doubt familiar with. Starting your own website isn’t actually that hard. You’ll need the following 3 things:
- Domain name
- Web host
- Website content
Depending on the web hosting service and the domain name you’re going after, it can cost as low as $10 all the way up to thousands of dollars. The reason is that if you’re going for a domain that’s considered premium, you’ll be paying quite the price for it. If you choose to go for one, you better be sure you really want it and that you think it’s worth the asking price.
Websites can offer all sorts of content. You can offer some sort of service, free or paid courses, membership to a community, forums, etc. The options are endless.
The amount of money a website can generate all depends on how much traffic you get and the methods you choose to monetize it. It varies on a lot of factors, but for example, if you have around 50,000 page visits a month and only monetize using Google Adsense, you could be raking in around $1,000 a month.
If you choose instead to go with a premium ad network with that same traffic, provided you get accepted, you could even double that income.
You can choose to operate your website indefinitely and hopefully enjoy a sustainable income, or you can try a more active method called website flipping.
Website flipping involves purchasing a potential website, fixing and upgrading the website, and selling it at a higher price than what you paid for it. This may require more money and effort, including technical website flipping skills to make sure that your website can be improved and sold.
Digital Real Estate Example #2: E-Commerce Store
When we say e-commerce stores, we don’t mean becoming a seller on sites such as eBay, Amazon, or Etsy. What we really mean is hosting your own website and selling your products off of that. It can also be considered selling direct-to-consumer.
It may sound intimidating, but there are numerous web hosting companies that can help you start a small e-commerce site for an extremely affordable price. Some of these include:
The main challenge of opening up an e-commerce store is in the marketing side of things. There are many ways to bring visitors to your store, but you may have to experiment to see which works best.
This is often easier for companies that have an existing consumer database, but with the help of social media and online advertising, any individual new to the game can get set up in no time and have a chance at building up a customer list to sell to.
If you have a skill that can be turned into a business, or if you already have an Amazon or Etsy store, you should definitely try creating your own website.
Digital Real Estate Example #3: Blogs
Blogs are basically a type of website usually run by an individual or two, but the type of content is largely made up of thoughts, opinions, stories, and whatnot. There are numerous kinds of blogs covering all kinds of unique niches to appeal to a certain user base.
A personal blog is often started by someone with a deep interest in a subject matter, and that blog may be treated as a personal diary with tons of useful information waiting to be read by anyone who’s interested. These blogs aren’t always monetized. Later down the road though, the opportunity may simply present itself and the blogger starts making money through various avenues similar to any other monetized website out there.
A blog may also be marketed in a news or magazine format designed to be consumed on a regular basis. This may feel a bit more professional, but it all really depends on what kind of audience you’d like to cater to.
People who follow a certain personal blogger may prove to be more of a loyal follower of that blog than people who randomly consume news or magazine articles and jump from article to article.
Depending on your blog niche, you can make money from certain industry-specific affiliate programs or even with simple ads, just like you would on any other website. On top of that, if your blog gets enough traffic, you may find other blogs or companies willing to pay you for the chance to be featured in a sponsored post.
Digital Real Estate Example #4: Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are software that users can access using a mobile device. It can be an e-commerce app, a game, or anything functional or helpful such as a well-designed timer, e-library, diet app, and much more.
This one’s a great one to get into if you’re already a programmer. There are courses that teach you how to code an app if you need guidance, or even if you’re completely new to programming. However, this is quite the commitment if you plan to do anything more than a super basic app. It takes time, focus, and skill to do this professionally.
Furthermore, after you’ve developed an app, you’ll still need to constantly keep an eye on its functionality and update as needed.
If you’re looking to get the app up into a mobile app store, you’ll need to look up the requirements for them to do so. That goes for both the Apple and Android App Stores.
Keep in mind that you’ll be competing with tons of other developers and teams, so you’re going to want to create something either unique or better than the competition. If you’ve ever used an app and thought to yourself, “I know how this could be improved,” you might have realized an opportunity to break into the market.
Once you’ve come up with an app that’s got some downloads under its belt, you can choose to start generating income via paid downloads, in-app purchases, ads, endorsements, etc.
Digital Real Estate Example #5: Social Media Accounts
There’s a high chance you’ve already got a social media account, or two, or five. We’re talking about Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, even Facebook (is it dying?).
Whether you’re making money off of it or not is a whole different story. And that largely depends on how you view social media. Some people use it as a way to keep up with friends, to show off, or simply to pass the time.
However, if you just shift your mindset a bit and start treating it as a potential business, you’ve already taken the first step of many.
This one’s a great one because it really doesn’t require much capital, depending on the social media platform. However, for both video and photo based platforms, you may want to make sure you have a decent camera. I’m not even talking about a DSLR or anything like that. As long as your phone camera is decent, that’s all you really need to get started. Just don’t have a phone that takes potato quality photos or shoots potato quality videos. If you do decide to get a DSLR or some professional equipment, make sure you’re serious about this and are willing to put in the time commitment required.
Your initial goal should be to provide interesting or useful content. If you’re great at aesthetics and capturing it on photos, go for it. If you’ve got a great voice and like to sing, that’s awesome. Generally, the tighter the niche, the better in the beginning, and you can slowly expand into a larger niche later.
Once you’ve got a decent following, leverage it by collaborating with influencers, reaching out to companies to sponsor you with products, putting some capital into ads, etc. Eventually, you can even come up with your own branded product/courses and online store.
Why You Should Invest in Digital Real Estate
Digital real estate’s an interesting subject matter. It’s actually got quite more akin to a business than an investment property. But that’s not a bad thing. Businesses generally take on more risk, but the payoff can be tremendous.
Here are some other reasons to invest in digital real estate:
1. There’s something for everyone
There really is. And that’s because the online world covers virtually every nook and cranny niche-wise.
Perhaps not everyone should start out in coding a mobile app. But you could if you wanted to. Perhaps not everyone should start a blog if writing isn’t a strong suit. But there’s always ways to learn and improve your writing.
Just because anyone can get into it doesn’t mean there’s not going to be any blood, sweat, and tears. But the best time to start was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
You’re always free to start small. In fact, chances are you should. Go for the little wins in the beginning and work your way up.
Work on your own so that the capital start up is minimal to none. Once you’ve built a certain traffic or follower count, say 10k followers or 25k page views a month, you can then start monetizing it. Whatever money you may make from can and probably should go back into the project as an investment. This allows you to gradually scale faster and faster.
Eventually, you may be able to hire out certain parts of your project and free up some of your time, if not all. Hire out freelance writers, video editors, programmers, etc. The hope is that one day, if you wish, you can take break, sit back, relax, and let the passive income stream in.
3. Little to no capital risk
Businesses in digital real estate tend to have a much lower barrier to entry. That means anyone can join in, even if you don’t have much capital to spare.
You can always put in more time and effort to compensate for it. And it’s always wise to have a reliable income stream to provide you the ability to do so.
We’d be lying if we said that any venture will succeed. There’s always a chance of failure. The longer you stick with it, and the smarter you work at it, the better your chances of success. But the chance of failure always remains.
However, if you’ve put in little to no capital, then you’ve had the opportunity to try it out with very little risk other than loss of your time. And that’s if you completely consider the time lost to be a waste. Perhaps you’ve learned a lot, or realized you made a mistake and went the wrong direction. It’s completely up to you if you want to get up and try again.
It’s a lot less risk than say, buying a house either to flip or as a long-term investment property. Some may disagree with the latter, but that’s a debate for another day.
Other Things to Consider in Digital Real Estate
We mentioned that digital real estate presents something for almost everyone, which it truly does. However, remember that digital real estate isn’t a magical money printer. There are still risks and aspects to consider before investing your time and capital into digital real estate:
Digital real estate can provide you with sustainable active or even passive income. But it’s of important note that many of these assets, including blogs and social media accounts, require frequently updated content. This is especially true in the beginning stages.
Regardless of who or how you are providing new content, that content should always be interesting and frequent enough to keep your readers/followers engaged with your accounts/blog.
The same goes for mobile apps or an e-commerce store. You’ve got to keep updating your products or at least look like you’re in the process of making them better based on user feedback.
2. Skill Sets
This one’s an important factor you should consider. Yes it’s true that you can always learn skills, be it programming or content writing, but they aren’t always for everyone. If you’ve already got a skill, try and leverage it first, since it’ll avoid taking time away in learning a new skill, and instead allows you to focus on building up actual content/products.
Don’t forget you can always hire people if need be. If you come across a bump in the road and feel that the time you spend on it may detract from your actual growing, it may be worth it to pay the money to have someone else do it. It does add to the cost of doing business, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did it, as you may have grown much faster because of it.
Time is always an important factor in these things. Not everyone has a lot of free time. Perhaps you’re working two jobs. Or maybe you have to take care of your parents and not just your wife and kids. There are many things in life that may be more important than getting into digital real estate with the hopes of creating a stream of income from it.
Maybe it’s just not the right time. Or maybe, with a little tweaking of your schedule and improved time management, you may be able to carve out a few hours a week to work on your digital asset. You know yourself and your priorities in life, so consider these things before jumping into any large time-consuming venture.
Digital Real Estate Investment Takes Time
Once you have decided to go with a digital investment, you have to realize that it is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes a lot of time for these things to take off. It takes a lot of hard work for digital real estate to pay off, you can’t simply just build it and leave it.
Digital real estate provides endless opportunities for everyone in all stages of life. It’s readily available and can require minimal to no cost at all. Regardless of the type of digital real estate you choose, just remember that the world is rapidly undergoing digitalization at an unprecedented pace. There’s a lot more to come from the digital and technological world, and it’s always a great feeling to be a part of it.