Like most affiliates, when a year comes to a close and a new year blossoms, I like to take a look back at the year that was. I use this as a guideline to what I aim to accomplish in the next year, and what I should set my focus on.
This varies from small decisions like focusing more on mobile betting or online casino businesses, to bigger decisions like running my own non-affiliate websites. I’m seeing more affiliates, most likely frustrated by the affiliate business as a whole, doing this. Some run their own SEO businesses, I’ve started a few companies like DIY Landlord Forms, and Mike Wittmeyer and JD Wanchalk started the fantastic website where you can buy gold and silver online, in JMBullion.com.
One big decision I made at the end of 2011 however, was to focus more on building low-earning websites. That’s right – websites that don’t earn lots of money! In this case, the world is NOT my oyster.
Low Earning Website: A website which has a “cap” on earnings. No matter what work you do on the website, it’s unlikely to see huge annual growths. Usually a small website in terms of work and content, I don’t expect to make more than $250 per month on average with a website like this, or $3,000 a year.
Am I nuts? I have websites that make over $3,000 a week – yet I’m wanting to focus on websites that make that in a YEAR? Well let’s cover 5 positive reasons as to why I aim to build these websites.
Note: 2 examples of low-earning websites that I built in 2011, which I will reference throughout this article, are http://www.orderofbooks.com (A website which lists the order of a series of books by author and character), and http://www.topblackberryapps.net (A Blackberry App website, focused on “Top App Lists”).
#1: Little Work, Great Hourly Rate
This is without a doubt the #1 reason to build low-earning websites. Theoretically, these sort of websites should not require much work at all. No complicated designs or scripts or code jobs or anything like that. They are usually simple websites which are focused on one area. It could be content, or it could be a “picture of the day” type website.
The only hard work should be at the beginning: when you take 10 minutes to pick a theme, then another couple of hours setting up the site, adding some initial content, and letting the search engines know about the site.
After that – the work should be minimal. For TopBlackberryApps.net as an example, every month I will write 4-5 articles to go up on the site. The articles don’t take me more than an hour. What that means is that based on the estimation above, I am earning $250 an hour. While “$250 a month” is not a good rate, when you break it down to $250 an hour, it becomes a lot more appealing.
As for OrderofBooks.com – I don’t add any content to that at all. Instead, I outsource it. For $50 a month, I have someone else do all the content for me. Now I’m earning $200 a month for doing nothing. So I’m making $2400 annually from that one website net profit, and I’m not doing one thing.
On the surface, $3000 a year seems low. But when you break it down, it’s actually extremely lucrative. It’s all about making sure that you are getting paid a good amount for the time that you actually put in. And remember – I’m talking about just ONE website. If you have 10 of these low-earning websites and you outsource all the work – that’s $2000 a month you’re earning for doing nothing!
#2: Unlimited Potential
I mentioned above that there is generally a “cap” on earnings – however that is only an estimation based on my knowledge of these websites when I begin to build them. It’s basically a “base” estimation, the lowest possible estimation I can give one of these websites.
Sometimes, they do a lot better than I expected. Other times, you get lucky and get a “boost” due to real time events. One recent example would be the death of Whitney Houston – if you ran a website dedicated to her, suddenly your hits would be going through the roof. I’ve seen that before – my friend had a website dedicated to the wrestler Owen Hart when he died. Overnight he started receiving incredible traffic, plus insane authority backlinks.
With the two websites I mentioned above, I actually got to see these sort of boosts first hand. The first one, OrderofBooks.com was a simple one – author Brad Thor went on CNN and had a rather controversial interview. Our hits jumped rapidly overnight and the month of August ended up having a ridiculous amount of traffic:
Which resulted in quadruple the amount of sales that we expected for that month, with everyone buying up his novels.
Another one was TopBlackberryApps.net. In October, Blackberry had a problem where their services like BBM went down for a few days. When things came back up, Blackberry offered a bunch of free games and apps as an apology. That site saw big growths for that, with people visiting the site regularly to read about the free games and apps, and read reviews on them.
So you never know the potential of these websites. Even without those “boosts” you can still surpass your expected income as well just based on underestimating the traffic.
#3: Easy to Duplicate
As I’ve said – these websites are usually low in terms of work required. What that means, is the websites should be very easy to duplicate.
If it’s a “picture a day” or “top pictures” type website there is plenty of material out there for you to use when it comes to different pictures, or even just mix up the order at which you submit them. With content, it’s just a case of rewriting, or hiring someone to rewrite all the articles on your site.
If your primary website is earning on average $250 a month, your secondary website may be able to earn $150 a month(again, I like to estimate low). So again you are making a nice amount of money for just a little bit of work. With a couple of websites you’re then able to dominate that niche.
#4: Ripe for Experimentation, Eggs not in One Basket
With low-earning websites, the pressure is off in terms of income. How many of you started looking for the nearest bridge to jump off when Black Friday occurred, or when Full Tilt Poker closed its doors? I know many people(myself included) who were heavily invested in these rooms. Websites built exclusively for these rooms, earning $10,000+ a month….and suddenly, nothing.
To go from $10,000+ a month to $0 a month from one income source really sucks, in case you’re wondering.
That’s the beauty of low-earning websites. The pressure is off. If you go from $250 a month to $0 a month that’s not a big deal. The work you have invested in the site is low too, so you’re not sitting there upset that you’ve wasted your time.
With low-earning websites, you’re also able to experiment like crazy. If there’s some “linkwheel ultimate SEO package” out there that you’re curious about, you can purchase it for your low-earning websites and not really care if it crashes and burns. You can test ads in different spots, run huge popup banners, everything – knowing that alienating your audience isn’t a big deal, because if you lose them, you’re not losing much. If you think your design isn’t working, you can change it willy-nilly, not caring about any negatives.
These websites are also a great learning experience too. For OrderofBooks.com for example, 27% of visitors in January from the USA went through and purchased. Last July, that ratio was 15%. By experimation, I’ve been able to almost double conversions. (In this case, it was a simple choice CTA as opposed to a direct CTA). However you know what the ratio for Canadians was in January? Just 5%. 95% of people didn’t purchase. So it’s a case of having something to play with and experiment there, and learn from that. Then when I DO learn from it, I can apply that in the future when I am marketing to Canadians.
#5: Less Competition
Most people can’t see the forest for the trees. You tell them of a website idea that will make them $250 a month, and they roll their eyes. They’re unable to break it down like I have, and realize the benefits. Because of that, you won’t see much competition.
Even the competition that does sprout up, usually never lasts long. Because they’re not happy making $250 a month – they want to make millions a month. I’ve watched competing websites crop up and start out with a bang – then a few weeks in, they stop being updated. Because people don’t “get it” – they’re always looking for the bigger picture.
That “casino bonus” website may have the potential to make you $10,000 per month. However it will take an absolute ton of work, from writing content to link building, updating marketing material, potential five figure investment, keeping the content relevant, adding new content, all while trying to maintain your rankings at the top. It’ll require hours and hours of work to keep ahead of the game. And it may not even work out, meaning all that work is for absolutely nothing. Or it does work out, but then one day all the work you put in is gone, because every casino pulled out of the US Market and that was 90% of your audience.
But that “casino birthday bonuses” website, “casinos that accept moneybookers” website, or another website focused on a much smaller niche, has taken you a lot less work. If it doesn’t work out? Well you’ve only put a few hours in. No big deal. Or if it does work out but then you lose everything overnight? Again, no big deal.
And if it does work out? Well now you’re earning money for doing practically nothing, or earning money at a sick hourly rate.
I don’t know about you – but getting paid money to do nothing is a life goal I can get behind.