Chris Garrett twitter profile

Do you ever wonder what smart website owners look for in a website?

Sure, you know how to search Flippa for valuable business opportunities.

But you’re still curious to see what more experienced web owners keep their eye on when they hunt for their next website purchase. After all, they make their living from the internet.

Say hello to Chris Garrett. Chris is the Chief Digital Officer at Copyblogger Media and the co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income together with Darren Rowse. Chris has helped both large and small businesses navigate the online jungle for the past two decades.

Chris was kind enough to answer a few questions about how to start your online business, what you need to look for in a website, and how to overcome the procrastination that’s stopping you from moving forward.

Let’s dig in.

About Starting an Online Business

You’ve been addicted to the World Wide Web since 1994. What made you decide to take your business “online”?

I was online before that, using bulletin boards and usenet, but it was the web that got me really into it, and I was pretty much constantly online from that point onwards. I don’t think I ever considered having a fully offline business, it just never occurred to me!

What would you do differently if you would start your online business today?

Part of me is glad I don’t have to start today because there was a lot less competition when I started. I think the biggest lesson from first time around was it is really important to have friends, contacts, mentors … essentially a strong network. Don’t try to do everything solo. It’s not tough and it is not clever.

If you would buy a website today, what aspects would you look out for? What are some of the core elements of a strong website?

Outside of profit potential I would say community engagement and interaction, this can reveal if the metrics are being artificially inflated and if people are passionate.

I’ve seen some sites look great until you look under the hood and find out all the revenue is being spent on advertising. Your audience is your biggest asset, so if you have a strong list, you could throw away everything else and still have a viable project.

What’s your advice to entrepreneurs who are just starting out online?

Network, network, network. And know your stuff.

It’s not about what you know, it’s not even about who you know, it’s about who knows what you know! 🙂

An Entrepreneur’s Productivity

You often describe yourself as the “poster child of analysis paralysis”. How do you get past the “stuck points” in your business?

  1. Break things down into less overwhelming pieces
  2. Focus on the critical path
  3. Get an accountability partner (see how important that network is?)

What’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination?

Ask yourself WHY are you procrastinating? Is it fear? Is it that you are not bought in yet? Are the objectives unclear? Do you just not like the work?

You need to know the reason before you can cure it. Knowing the reason makes the cure more obvious.

Some Questions Just for the Fun of It

Do you have a motto, credo or general slogan that you live by?

You always regret the things you didn’t do and wanted to more than the things you did do and wish you hadn’t.

Who (or what) has been your greatest teacher?

My parents. Closely followed by the internet 😉

If you could meet any entrepreneur, dead or alive, who would it be?
Steve Jobs, but more realistically Richard Branson, Seth Godin, but actually there are tons of them if I really think about it.

The Key Takeaway

When you look at a website, you need to know the audience you serve. Get to know them, speak their language, and solve their problems. When you do that, you will grow both your authority and your bank account.

What do you look for in a website? What stops you from getting a website and starting your new project? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

P.S. Looking for more advice from people in the internet industry? Check out the following interviews:

Photo courtesy of Chris Garrett from Twitter: @ChrisGarrett


I think networking is so critical. I’m blogger aspiring to do it as a day job and am learning how to network. Such a valuable skill. Takes time and patience though.

I think asking why for procrastination is KEY. And yes I found that fear was underlying the procrastination every time!

Hi Ash,

I agree with you. Networking is so important. As Chris points out in the interview:

“It’s not about what you know, it’s not even about who you know, it’s about who knows what you know!”

That last part is unfortunately often forgotten. If you want to be a full-time blogger, then your biggest job is actually to make people remember you: “Oh, we’re stuck, we need someone to help us become more productive. Who could help us with that? Oh, yeah, Ash from Productive Insights is our guy!”

Of course, our fears often distract us from our path, which leads to procrastination. It’s easier to overcome procrastination if you break down the task into smaller steps (a kitchen timer usually works wonders here!)

Wow. That’s two fantastic phrases for today! “if you have a strong list, you could throw away everything else and still have a viable project” and “It’s not about what you know, it’s not even about who you know, it’s about who knows what you know!” Chris should copyright these!

Thanks for your insightful comments. I look forward to doing the meditations later today. 🙂

I think there is a way, without “networking”. I just haven’t found it yet. I am looking for a way for autistic people to participate, but it’s hard to sift through all of the “bad advice, out there. Autistic people have some fantastic, albeit, unusual ideas but there are things they simply won’t do. They won’t “trick” people, they will interact with regard to the relative subject, but are not very good interacting, socially – and they won’t go looking for people. It’s been a real eye-opener, regarding the crap that is “out there”. So far, all I have is the “don’ts”. I can’t seem to find any “dos”, ROFL! Looks like the tips I’m looking for are yet to be discovered, so I’m off to explore some more!

Hi cc,

There’s certainly a lot of bad advice out there about networking. Please keep us posted about your discoveries!


P.S. I did a quick Google search and found a few organizations. Maybe go through autism foundations, like Autism Speaks and see where that takes you?

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