Our earnings record:
We started GrownUpGeek.com in January 2006. Below are the earnings the since the site opened: (the first few months are close approximations, because I did not keep good records until about May. All figures are rounded.)
January ‘06: $0
May: $1,700 (This is when we started to rank in the Google SERPS and traffic increased dramatically)
January 2007: $5,260
February : $5,420
October 2007: $7,380
UPDATE: Our monthly high was just shy of $15,000. Since then we average $5,000 – $6,000/mo
How I got started:
The first thing I had to do was decide what my website would be about. Based on what I’ve read up to this point, pre-made websites with no subject and no real content (web-directories, ‘scraper sites’, proxy service sites, etc) tend not to do very well – They also do not add much value to the internet and with the exception of proxy websites it is difficult to get any return traffic. I learned that a successful website has to have plenty of good, original content that gives people a reason to visit and keep coming back.
All of my research indicated that creating a website about a subject I was familiar with, or passionate about was the smartest and most logical thing to do. Since I didn’t really know much about anything else, I decided my website would be about computers and technology.
Narrowing down “The Niche”:
I did a few Google searches on “computers”, “technology” and other related search terms and realized that there are many other websites out there on this subject. To avoid all of this competition I decided to make my site about a particular niche in computers and technology. Narrowing down the focus of your site means that you will have less competition. But narrowing your subject too much will mean that less people will be searching for information on that particular subject.
I made sure my subject would attract the right people:
When choosing the subject of the website I also thought about the type of people that would be visiting it, and if they would be the type of people that would click on advertisements or not. I knew that if I made a website about a subject or niche where most visitors are very internet-savvy, they will tend to ignore the advertisements and never click on them – resulting in very low earnings. This is referred to as “Banner Blindness” or “Ad Blindness”. I decided to stay away from highly technical subjects and stick with something that ‘average joe’, or “Grandma” would be interested in – computers and technology for beginners. Later, we expanded the site to “Help for Beginners” and added sections “for beginners” on other subjects.
I made my site interesting (to me, at least):
A very important thing to remember is to make your website to interesting to users and give them a good reason to visit. If you try to make your website about something just because you think the subject will make you a lot of money, the site will probably fail. Base your subject on something you know and can write about. If you do this, and create lots of good content, your site is more likely to be successful – if you simply ‘chase the money’, your site is more likely to fail. I had to strike a balance between a what I could write about and what would not loose money. I have learned that Most successful websites are based on original ideas and have original content (stuff).
Choosing a domain name:
After deciding on what my website would be about (computers and technology for beginners), I needed to choose a domain name for the site. I don’t think the name of your website has to be directly related to your content, but it helps. The name you choose should have some sort of relation to the subject if possible, and it should be ‘catchy’ or memorable – and it should not be so long that it’s difficult to type or hard to remember. My rule of thumb is this: If you can’t tell your domain name to grandma over the phone, it’s too difficult.
When choosing a domain name for your website try to stick with a .COM, and stay way from a .BIZ, .INFO, or any of those other new domain types. In my opinion and based on what I’ve learned, most internet visitors are more comfortable with the good-old .COM domain names and many internet users are confused by, or don’t trust domains that don’t end in .COM.
Choosing a good name can be difficult because these days most all names are taken – so you’re going to have to get creative. To pick a name that is available you’ll have to go to a domain-name register site to see what is available. I went to www.networksolutions.com and tried about 100 different names before I found one that was available. Of course “computerhelp.com” and just about everything else was already taken so I looked for something more general and choose GrownUpGeek.com – This name didn’t tie me down to any particular subject and would allow me to expand my site into a more general subjects in the future – If I picked a name like “ComputerHelp4you.com” and then later decided to add a section on Food or TV & movies, the domain name would not fit the subject of the website anymore.