Knowing when to quit and how to succeed

When I started creating niche sites in May of this year, barely 6 months ago, I had no strategy and when I had success with my very first site which earned me £384.83 ($602) in one month I thought I was onto a winner. If I created more sites like that then I would be rich! Alas that wasn’t to be the case and the site took a big rankings drop after a Google update, and I realised that I was going to have to put a lot more work in if I was to succeed.

The need to diversify

I failed because I depended on one site and one method of income generation, and all the reading I have since made have told me the need to diversify to ensure that I’m less effected my any bumps and slip-ups that come along the way. Pro bloggers like Spencer Haws freely admit to having hundreds of sites, and building up to 30 new sites a month, which is only possible by hiring VA’s (Virtual Assistants), so I’m not going to be making that many sites but I’m still aiming to have at least 10 sites up and running by the New Year.

Why do some sites fail?

The fact is that not all of these sites will be successes, some will hopefully do well, some will do okay, and some will earn absolutely no money at all. There are plenty of external factors that effect the success of a site so that in some cases no matter how much effort you put your site will sometimes be a failure. Some of these include:

  • Poor Keyword – If you didn’t research properly then you could be doomed for failure from the start building a site that no one has any interest in.
  • Low Advertiser Bids – If you rely on AdSense then your site will only earn money if advertisers are paying and bidding on the keyword you are promoting. If a good paying advertisers drops out of the AdWords scheme then you could see your profits drop.
  • Google Ranking – The truth is that initially you will rely on Google for 99% of your traffic. If Google doesn’t like your site then you are doomed.
  • Competition – You may aim for #1 but that isn’t always a possibility. If you are in a competitive niche then ranking on the 5th page of Google isn’t going to get you many visitors.

Most of these come down to the initial keyword research you put into your chosen niche and so I find this the hardest part to do and the success of your site will depend on this. Don’t be too afraid of making mistakes though as this is still more of an art than a science.

Knowing when to quit

I got some good advice from Thomas Sinfield in a comment on my post 1 site or 10 sites? Decisions to be made:

What I tend to do is do the research on a heap of niches, pick a couple and work on them:

1. if I get average results I leave them to settle and focus on new sites 2. if they produce good results I keep working on them while starting new sites

3. if they produce great results I make them a focus and limit my time on new sites.

Not all sites are going to be big hits, even if they seem to all have similar research info. By building many small sites, it allows you to test 10 niches and see which ones naturally take off.

You can then either sell off the smaller sites, or keep them as littler earners.

It’s good advice and this is where knowing when to quit comes in. Once you’ve got some sites set up then it’s usually just a case of waiting to see how how they fare in terms of traffic and AdSense earnings. Your site may starting earning in weeks or it could take months to get off the ground and get indexed, but sometimes a site will do nothing and you should realise that it’s not worth putting any further effort into it and just leave it.

I have a couple of sites like this and they are usually a case of where I’ve rushed in and chosen the wrong niche. I will put those down to experience and not add anything more to them. The sites are still there though and who knows, I may get the odd click from the sites. A typical UK domain only costs £3 a year so it’s a small gamble, and worth the risk as you could stumble upon a great niche. By having many sites you can limit your exposure to this as hopefully the more sites you have the more chance you have of creating profitable ones. Obviously you will also create more duds, but knowing when to quit them will save you time and effort, and allow you to focus on your profitable sites.

Creating new sites quickly

Once you’ve done your keyword research it’s pretty easy to buy a domain, point it to your server, and install wordpress, but what then? Obviously you need content and initially I will start with one one article on the front page, along with a contact page, about page, and a privacy policy page. I think one article is enough to start getting visitors and get indexed. When you have time then you can add more content but it’s not worth spending too much time on other articles on a site that might not have any potential. Obviously there are arguments for having more content at launch but this is the way I do it, adding more content if I think the site is going somewhere.

I’ve written about awesome plugins for niche sites but I haven’t spoken about themes/templates for your site and the fact this there are thousands of themes out there and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve installed themes before and spent hours editing the CSS and html only to have no visitors to appreciate the work that’s gone into it!

What I needed was a theme I could use for all my sites that was simple to install, simple to customise, and AdSense ready and I recently came across a premium WordPress theme called CTR Theme. I don’t normally pay for themes but this promised so much that I took the plunge and for $67 (£42+VAT in the UK) I bought it and have been very happy indeed.

The CTR Theme features it’s own admin panel where you can change designs (4 different styles included), change colour schemes, add all your AdSense codes, etc and it literally takes 5 minutes to get this sorted and have your niche site online. Also as it has an unlimited site licence you can use it on ALL your sites. Oh and changing the colour scheme on the admin also changes the colour of the AdSense ads so no need to change the ads on your AdSense account!

One of the smartest features of the theme is that it features ad randomisation, meaning every time a visitor comes to your site the AdSense adverts change location which can help reduce “ad blindness” and improve your click-through rate (CTR).

I think it’s best to mention that the links to the CTR Theme are affiliate links but this isn’t me trying to push the product as it’s genuinely something I use on my sites and recommend. It also comes with a 60 day money back guarantee so if you’re not happy then you can get your money back.

Here’s a video that runs through the features of the theme and shows how easy it is to install it on your sites:

Quicker setup = More sites

If it takes less time to make a site then it means you can make more and as discussed earlier I believe this is the best solution to making money and reducing your risk to fluctuations. I will continue to make niche sites in this way and if they show signs of potential then it’s time to develop them and try and make more money!