Domain Names, Websites, and Minisite development
This is the beginning of a personal challenge/journey to demonstrate how to make money online with Domain Names, mini-sites, full-blown websites, domain flipping and website flipping. Read along if you would like to learn more!
If you’ve been following Domain Nitro for very long then you know my real passion is finding, buying and selling domains and then how domain names can be developed to make money online.
So why would I bother taking 99 domain names and turning them into 99 websites in 99 days? Glad you asked. What follows is a little history, a case study intro, and hopefully a new outlook on making money online.
A little Domain Name background
When I decided to buy my first domain name back in ‘99, I decided I wouldn’t spend more than $99. I had no idea how much it cost to register a name, get hosting or anything else. I spent a ton of time trying to register a domain and for every name I thought up and tried to buy, I met the dreaded “domain is already registered”.
I got really lucky when I just typed one of the domains into the browser and it redirected me to a domain purchase page. I can’t even remember who the reseller site belonged to or which company had it listed, but I immediately paid the money and took ownership of the domain…
…and promptly did absolutely nothing with it. Sound familiar?
Domain name mistakes abound
I held onto that first domain name for 9 years and due to some issues I had to part ways with it. Worst mistake of ’09.
Well, maybe that was the second worst mistake of ’09. Worst mistake was only brewing…
I bought about a hundred domain names in two days and sold one of those within a week that covered the cost of all the others. In retrospect that was probably the worst sale I ever made because it made me believe I was a domain name genius and from that point on I was hooked.
I promptly proceeded to buy about 1200 domain names… WooHoo!!! Wait, how many do I have? WTF?
After buying 1200 domains you’d think I had a plan on what I was going to do with them… and I did… Sell them all for lots of money!
The problem was I had too many plans and not enough action. Classic noob domainer error I’ve come to find out, but that doesn’t make me feel any better and it sure didn’t get my cash back.
I’d spent $15,000 and thought I’d sell them within a year for at least $99,000 or more… surely that will work after taking a look at all the sales over on Ron’s site that documents weekly domain sales. Right?
Reality sets in…
After my initial early success I only sold a few domains here and there over the next few months… but it was enough to keep me thinking I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t even actively trying to sell domains, just listing them on the bid/auction sites and domaining sites.
Then things started to slow down. I soon realized I had about $10,000 worth of renewal fees staring me in the face in just a couple months. Reality had set in and sheer panic soon followed. I HAD to start selling some of these quick!I revised my pricing and listed a lot of domains cheaper and cheaper with mild success, but nowhere near enough. I finally decided to drop 80% of them. Painful because I still liked most of them and had developed an attachment to them.
Personal feelings and attachment can hurt you in business and I wasn’t treating it like a business – more like an expensive hobby where I was just collecting. Kind of like the rusty piles of junk you see on old guys farms on American Pickers or something…
If I had read their blogs and ebooks earlier I could have bought one or two domains for a few thousand bucks and would have been much better off… Most people make this same mistake, but it still doesn’t make me or my wallet feel any better.
Making money online is hard, but should it be?
After I did a fire sale and dropped domains left and right I became very frustrated. I didn’t actively try to sell anything, just told myself that people who claimed success were liars about how much they earned online and that making money online was just too hard.
It was then that I looked back at my parking stats, Google analytics, and Google adsense and was amazed at what I saw. One site that I had built in a few hours for a friend who was sick was getting consistent traffic and had brought in more traffic and money than all the domains I had parked combined.
Wait a minute here – why would this one site with less than a dozen pages be getting that much traffic? I looked a little closer and it was obvious… The site was very focused, all original content that was inadvertently SEO’d by some miracle and was laid out in a clean, easy to navigate format.
The AHA! Moment
That very moment I knew I was onto something…
I decided to build out a couple domains with small sites and focus on them for a few months. I’ve gotten good traction and more traffic on one of those sites than I had ever seen before.
Finally! Something that can make money online. Now I need to focus!
So how do I proceed when I know the following facts:
- I love looking for domains, buying them or just seeing what is selling.
- I love Internet Marketing, SEO and all things related.
- I can get lost for hours browsing new domain listings, new internet marketing products, domaining blogs, internet marketing blogs, domain auctions, etc
- I have very little free time considering I have:
- A normal job
- An hour commute each way to said normal job
- Two daughters who participate in competitive sports, student council, math teams, journalism team, GRC, media masters and more
- A wonderful wife… Hi honey!
- Tons of emails every day
- Oh, and I like to work out every day as well. I pick things up and put them down at 5am routinely.
- In other words, I have a normal life for the most part. Crazy hectic and busy from 4:30am to 10:30pm.
I was contemplating how I was going to get more sites built and weakly trying to work out a plan. Looking at the calendar I saw 11/11/11 was here!
You may have noticed the title and repeating 9’s in this article… Odd, coincidental and yes, purposeful.
I was trying to pick a large number of sites to develop in an aggressive time period and the 99 kept coming up. Pair that with 11 and you get one of the classic motivational numbers of all time – “give it 110%” (99+11 for the mathematically challenged he-he!). So I decided on 99 domains and 11 for the month or day (should have been 11/11/11, but I’m deliberative/procrastinating so what can I say)
Then I saw where Matt Cutts does the 30 day challenges and I was onto something. After a little more research on his site I found the NaNoWriMo which seems crazy hard to me, but the point is knocking it out in small consistent chunks. Plus I have a writer friend who is killing goals left and right with this process!
I knew I couldn’t build 3.3 sites per day to get it all done in 30 days, but I thought about how busy Matt is and what he could do in 30 days so I decided to go after one site per day… thus 99 days.
It’s on, baby! Let the games begin.
So starting on 1/2/12 I will be building a site every day… in 99 minutes or less. (edit, this used to be 11/30/11, but life happened and I got started late)
Everything included from setting up hosting, installing WordPress or an HTML5 template, creating a simple logo, writing content pages, adding analytics and reporting on how each site is doing on a weekly basis.
The challenge will end on 4/10/12 and it should be crazy fun! If you have an idea on what to call this challenge leave me a comment below – I’d really appreciate it!
Most of these will be mini-sites. One site each day usually Monday thru Saturday with additional content and backlinks on Sunday.
A choice few will be more robust sites. One each week that I will build up over time to have something more than just simple sites.
The 80/20 rule.
I fully expect that the 80/20 rule will be in full effect. 20 percent of the sites will provide 80 percent of the revenue.
I also expect 80 percent of my success will come from 20 percent of my efforts – I just don’t know what those are yet, but I will be testing that hypothesis. And vice versa I expect 80 percent of my problems will be in 20 percent of the work. Don’t know what that is yet either, but I expect it will be content, or ads, or both.
I will also write a short post about each of these domains, my plan and thought process, and site development that I will post here on my blog.
Sound interesting? Want to know how the sites perform and how much money they make? Inquiring minds want to know!
I will be posting summaries weekly, but they won’t include the domains or specific site amounts since I don’t want to publicize the domains in that way too much. I’m also going to keep a progress meter prominently featured at the top of the blog so you can see progress at a glance.
I can hear it now… “AHHHH!!!! Please give me the details, I won’t tell anyone, PLEAAASSEEE!”
Ok, I’m a pushover so if you want to know what the specific domains are such as how much traffic they get, and how much money they make, how long they take to make it in Google page results, etc simply sign up for my email list and I’ll give you the details. You can sign up here.
As an added incentive, I’m going to have a give away or contest at the end of the 99 days where I give the winners(not sure how many at this point) their choice of a site I’ve built in this challenge (I’ll select about 50-80 of the 99 sites and the winners will get their choice from that pool). You have to be registered on the email list to win.
As another incentive I might be giving away some bonus swag to chosen commenters, Google+ connections, Twitter followers, Linkedin connections, and FaceBook Friends. So get social with me now… Who knows, I might even have some additional surprises in store during the event!