Digital real estate refers to any property on the internet. For example, it might include owning a website, starting a social media account, or even buying a cryptocurrency.
Ownership of these assets can be an excellent way to make money in the new digital era. Opportunities around digital real estate have been around since the creation of the internet. However, cutting-edge digital investments continue to develop and will likely be the way of the future. In this post, we will discuss five different types of digital real estate and how you can invest in each.
5 Ways to Make Money with Digital Real Estate
Start a Blog
One of the simplest ways to own digital real estate is by purchasing a URL and starting a blog. Owning a URL is similar to buying a plot of land, whereas creating a blog is like building a house on that land. Land is unique and scarce. For example, there is only one financialpilgrimage.com to own in the digital real estate world.
Blogs and websites can be as unique or similar as you'd like. Nothing stops you from purchasing several URLs and putting up a similar blog on each one. This can be likened to the design of houses. Drive down some streets, and all the homes look nearly the same, while other roads may feature a diverse set of different homes.
Once you own and have designed your little piece of digital real estate, it's time to decide what you'd like to do with your blog. Some people use blogs as an online diary of sorts. They use it to get thoughts out of their head and tell a story. Others use blogs to make money as a business.
There are several ways to make money from your blog. You can run ads, be an affiliate for other products, offer sponsored posts, sell a product, and much more. In addition, owning your piece of digital real estate gives you many options if you're willing to work to build your virtual home.
Set up an E-Commerce Store
Do you have products that you'd like to sell online? Then setting up an e-commerce store may be the best bet for you. For example, you could purchase a website and build your online store or leverage an existing platform such as eBay or Amazon to set up shop.
Engaging with wholesalers to purchase products in bulk and then sell them at a smaller scale is a great way to build your e-commerce store. Additionally, there are unconventional routes you can take to build inventory. For example, retail arbitrage allows you to purchase products in stores and then sell them for a higher price online.
By buying up items at in-store discount sales, you can purchase products that aren't selling well in your area but could do so elsewhere. Several apps allow you to scan products in stores and immediately check the price online to determine the selling price. Additionally, you could buy items out of season and hold onto them until the following year. For example, many items are discounted by 70% during post-Christmas sales in January.
If you are feeling adventurous, yard sales or garage sales can be a great source of inventory. People often try to get rid of their stuff and are willing to part from it at a steep discount.
Build a Mobile Application
Mobile applications have become increasingly popular over the past 15 years with the creation of smartphones. Mobile apps take up digital real estate in iPhone and Android stores and on your phone's homepage. There are various ways to make money from a mobile application, including in-app ads, purchase fees, or affiliates.
If you have an excellent idea for a mobile app but don't have the skills to build it yourself, don't despair. There has never been a better time to outsource that work to someone with the development skills to build a mobile app. Through websites such as Upwork or Fiverr, you'll have access to thousands of developers that can help you build, test, and deploy your mobile application.
After deploying your mobile application, you'll also need to maintain it. Apple and Android are constantly updating their operating system, which sometimes requires updates to mobile applications. You'll also likely need a marketing plan to promote your application to get people to use it. Building a mobile application is like writing a book; anyone can produce one these days, but the hard part is getting others to use your product.
Develop a Social Media Presence
You don't have to own a website to enjoy your slice of digital real estate. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, allow you to own your piece of the internet by simply creating an account. No need to create a website, build a blog design, or develop a mobile application.
Leveraging the platform of social media companies does come with downsides though. You have less control of your digital real estate space. It's like owning a home vs. renting a house with physical real estate. When renting digital real estate, your virtual landlord can kick you off their platform anytime.
In most cases, the most important thing you can do to generate revenue from your social media presence is to increase your follower count. With a large and engaged following, there are several ways that you can make money. If you have a product you want to sell, social media is one of the best ways to sell it.
Larger accounts may also make money from product sponsorships. We've all followed someone on social media who is promoting a product with an affiliate link. Social media enables influencer marketers to build trust with followers that is difficult to replicate with other digital real estate. When customers feel like they have a relationship with you, they are more likely to buy the product you are promoting.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have increased in popularity over the past several years. NFTs are a way to buy unique ownership of a digital item. CryptoPunks and Bored Apes seem to get the bulk of attention in mainstream media due to the high valuations of these digital assets.
Many people question why a digital asset's unique ownership is valuable if you can copy and paste the image. The argument against that is that there is value in owning the rights to the original version. For example, there are many replications of the Mona Lisa, which can be of similar quality. However, the real value is with the original painting.
NFTs with underlying connections to physical or digital items are becoming more popular. For example, content creators may allow you to buy an NFT that will enable you to get behind-the-scenes access to a product or in-person time with the content creator. Likewise, a sporting event may create an NFT connected to your ticket, providing you with a unique giveaway after the event.
Whenever I question if there is value in digital ownership of an item, I remember that some baseball cards sell for thousands of dollars. Baseball cards are nothing more than a piece of cardboard with the picture of a player on it, yet the most sought-after cards can sell for an incredible about of money.
When you look at NFTs through that lens, it doesn't seem so crazy that someone would spend thousands of dollars on a Bored Ape image. There will always be status associated with physical and digital items that are scarce and in demand. As humans, we are wired this way. If you are unsure about NFTs, they are at least worth exploring to determine how they will play into our future.
How to Make Money with Digital Real Estate
Digital real estate may sound complicated, but you've probably got some familiarity with some of the above. For example, with physical real estate, there is a limited amount of land available where you can build a home. Similarly, there are a limited number of domain names, social media handles, and other digital assets in digital real estate spaces.
Just as with tangible assets, digital ownership is the key to long-term wealth building in the digital space. For example, you can make money driving Uber or shopping for someone using Instacart. However, in those cases, you are more like an employee than an owner. Driving for Uber is like being a server in a restaurant, whereas starting a revenue-producing blog is more like owning the restaurant. So instead, buy the URL to host your blog or start that e-commerce store. That way, you'll be more in control of your digital real estate presence.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Finance Quick Fix.
About the Author
Mark is the founder of Financial Pilgrimage, a blog dedicated to helping young families pay down debt and live financially free. Mark has a Bachelor’s degree in financial management and a Master’s degree in economics and finance. He is a husband of one and father of two and calls St. Louis, MO, home. He also loves playing in old man baseball leagues, working out, and being anywhere near the water. Mark has been featured in Yahoo! Finance, NerdWallet, and the Plutus Awards Showcase.