I almost forgot to mention that I have not been 100% successful in my web empire building efforts.
- I created a second website, a (non-Drupal) forum, which failed miserably, I think due to the lack of “Search Engine Friendly” URLs in the forum software I used – I should have used Drupal
- I created a third website that is still pretty new, is currently getting about 50 visitors per day – and is only making a few dollars per month. I attribute this ‘failure’ to spending most of my time working on my ‘main’ website, and not doing most of the things to generate traffic that I’ve preached about. Because of the subject of this site, I wont be able to fit-in Adsense referral sales very well, so I don’t think it will earn quite as well as my main site. But even if it does ½ or ¼ as well as my main site, I’ll be very happy.
- I added a full Amazon Store and promoted it in the forums of the website and in Adwords. This was a total disaster – it just did not fit in our ‘niche’. After several weeks I gave up.
- Affiliate Sales: I have tried numerous times to sell affiliate products at the site. Although I do make a few hundred dollars per month from direct sales, Comission Junction, ClickBank and Plimus, it’s never really done as well as I’d like. The reason is that my visitors come for free help and information, not to buy anything (as as with the Amazon Store)
Bad Ideas; Not every great idea worked out :
- In one of my attempts at creating a “buzz” I made an “obsessed fan page” for a particular semi-popular female in the tech-world. I used my SEO techniques described in previous pages and quickly ranked #2 for a Google-Search on her name. Within a matter of days I received many “hate emails”, as well as notification from her fiancé (a very popular and powerful person in the tech-world) that if I did not remove the page immediately, I would quickly find myself in court. Even though there was nothing “bad” on the page and I’m sure there was no grounds for a lawsuit, I removed the page for fear of generating any ill-will.
- Another “great idea” was to create a photo-gallery of “beautiful people of Myspace”, where members could post images of Myspace members that they found attractive. Two threats of lawsuits later I quickly abandoned this idea. I also was concerned that members might upload adult or semi-adult photos that would violate the Adsense Terms of Service.
- I tried making controversial political/religious type posts in our ‘open forum’ area to generate ‘buzz’ and very quickly received many complaints from members. The majority of our members come to our website for the lighthearted ‘family’ feel of the website and this type of post was simply not acceptable.
I don’t fully consider these as failures, but more just part of the learning process. Keep this in mind if your website is not successful right away – particularly if it’s your first try.