Entrepreneur and Finance Nerd Making Money Online

Category — Your Business

One Authority Site or Multiple Niche Sites – Which is Best?

If you want to earn income online, it’s pretty much a given that you need to have your own website. Sure, you can write for revenue sharing sites or try to use something like Blogger…but I would never consider something like that to be a long-term income stream.

Most people won’t argue that you need your own site. Where the debate gets heated though is if it is better to have one main authority site or to have a handful…or dozens…or even hundreds of niche sites. It doesn’t take much looking to find people who earn six figures per year at both ends of the spectrum.

I know one blogger personally (that would prefer to remain anonymous since he’s not in the MMO niche) who makes around $15k per month from his one authority site. He has had the site for over 10 years and swears that you should never have more than one site.

I also know two guys that are also making $15k/month, but they run around 150 sites. They both swear that is the best way to do it.

(Aside: I met both of these guys though The Keyword Academy. It’s an awesome program for people who legitimately want to earn passive income online. If nothing else, you should check out their free trial. They have lots of great content. That’s also my affiliate link. I earn a commission if you decide to join)

Then you have people in the middle. A well-known example is Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income. He has a small handful of projects that make up his very substantial earnings.

Benefits of a Singular Authority Site

When I talk about an authority site I mean a site that is an authority on a topic within a niche. It takes one main topic and covers everything related to that topic.

If I loved potatoes and I was incredibly passionate about potatoes, then I could start a site that only talked about potatoes. And I mean everything related to potatoes. If I kept at it, I would eventually become known as an authority in the potato niche.

This concept is awesome for people who are super interested in a topic. Their dream job would be to sit around all day and write about their topic, make videos about it, go to conventions about it, and on and on. In fact, they would probably be happy if they never made a dime off their work. They do it because they love the topics.

This model is also great because as you become an authority, you will naturally gain backlinks. You don’t need to know much about SEO. You really don’t have to worry about anything other than writing and engaging your audience.

Because of all this Google will begin to recognize you as an authority and your new content will rank better in the SERPs and you gain an even greater exposure which leads to even more authority.

Everything sounds great so far, right? Well this approach has one big down side.

You’re putting all of your eggs in one basket.

A few months ago, I was happily plugging along building a huge authority site in the health niche. I was just on that edge where new content was ranking in the top 20 for keywords with a moderate level of competition. For me, this was a big deal. I really felt like I was making progress.

Everything seemed to be going well, until I got hit with a big fat -950 penalty. I’m still trying to work my way out of that one. If I was depending on that site for all of my income, I would be sunk.

Thankfully it wasn’t a massive loss for me. But it could have been if that was the only site I worked on for the next 2 years.

Pros:

  • Simplicity

Cons:

  • Higher Risk

Benefits of Multiple Sites

The other option you have is to build out multiple sites. This might be 3 sites or 12 sites or 200 sites. The idea is to have your income split over several properties.

This approach gives you diversity. You get revenue from different niches, different monetization models and different audiences.

Let’s say you have a site on sticky notes and you make money as an affiliate for companies that sell sticky notes. Tomorrow you wake up to find out that 3M has just come out with this amazing replacement for sticky notes. They have a patent on it and they are the only ones that will sell them. Now, no one wants the dumb old type of sticky notes. They want the new ones! Your traffic slows to a trickle and the site eventually dies. If that was your only site you would be in a tough place, but if you have 4 others then you’ve only lost 20% of your income.

Multiple sites also allow you to jump around to different topics when you get bored. This is a huge problem for me. Since I don’t have one really strong passion, I have a hard time focusing on one project for extended periods of time. Multiple sites allow me to work on something else when I get bored.

Multiple sites also make it easier to throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks. Earning money online is as much of an art as it is science. Sometimes you don’t know what will work until you try it.

I have a coupon site that’s been running for the last 2 years. I knew nothing about the coupon niche so I just threw a site together to try it out. It ended up taking off and doing really well. Over the last two years it’s made somewhere around $3k. I won’t be able to retire off it, but the site only took a few hours to set up and consistently earns $100 – $200 per month.

If I only focused on 1 site, I would have never tried setting up this coupon site. The same is true for several sites that I have.

It’s Easy To Spread Yourself Too Thin

With all that said on having multiple sites, there are some big pitfalls. The biggest of which is what I call ‘shiny object syndrome.’

I have to fight this all the time.

When you already have 5 other projects, what’s one more? Right? Then it becomes one more and one more and one more until you have way too many sites. With all the recent changes Google has made to its algorithm, quality content is more important than it has ever been.

There are only so many projects you can realistically give your full attention to. Without your full attention, a website will never reach its full potential.

Pros:

  • Diversity

Cons:

  • Without focus, you may never get anywhere

So…Which Is Best?

That my friends is the million dollar question. A question that only has two answers…neither are best….and both are best.

That is to say, you should do whatever works best for you. Some people love focusing on one site. They have a topic that they are totally passionate about (important!). If you’re totally passionate about a topic then it is easy to pour all of your energy into one site.

Other people (like me) don’t have that one topic that they would love to write about for the rest of their life. I have a lot of different topics that interest me. I’m interested in music, games, business, gadgets, health, philosophy and probably a dozen other thing if I really set down to think about it.

There isn’t a risk free path in this game. Without risk there’s no reward. Right? You need to take the path that gives you the best chance of success.

What about you? Would you rather have one main website or several niche sites?

 

July 21, 2011   8 Comments

Balancing Internet Marketing and a Day Job

balancing your job and your businessIf you saw my last earnings report, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I don’t make enough from my business to live on. I have a day job. I have a full-time career in the lending industry that most people would be quite happy with. It’s a great company, great pay, great benefits, great co-workers, and on and on….

The problem is, it’s still a job.

One of the biggest reasons I’ve always dreamed of working for myself is the flexibility it brings. I have twin boys baking in the oven right now. It would be fantastic to be able to stay home with them.

I’m spending 50 hours away from my family each week right now. That is a lot of time that I am missing out on with my family. If I could work from home, there is so much more that I would get to see.

The Reason Most People Fail

One of the hardest things (and the reason that most people fail) in internet marketing is finding time to work on your business when you have a full time job. This internet marketing gig isn’t something that you can just mess around with here and there and expect to strike it rich overnight. It is at the very least a part-time job.

Only, this isn’t the kind of part-time job that you can just show up, clock in, mill around for a few hours, clock out and collect your paycheck. No. This is like a sales job. You don’t work, you don’t sell, you don’t earn a commission.

To succeed in internet marketing, you have to work at it. This is the big challenge of balancing internet marketing and a day job. It’s something that has always been a struggle for me. The only way I have been able to get anything done is to treat my business like a job.

My Typical Schedule

  • 4:00am – Alarm goes off. Drag myself out of bed. Get coffee.
  • 4:15am – Sit down at the computer. Write one content post for one of my sites. (But don’t post it)
  • 4:45am – Check e-mail, forums & RSS feeds
  • 5:00am – Write two backlink articles
  • 5:45am – Go running
  • 6:30am – Get ready for work
  • 7:30am – Out the door to work
  • 6:00pm – Get home from work, relax, spend time with the family, etc.
  • 10:00pm – Proof read content post written that morning and post it.
  • 10:30pm – Bedtime

That is a pretty typical day for me.

I think it is super important to have a set schedule. A set schedule keeps you focused which makes you more productive.

How many times have you set down at the computer, fully intending to get some work done only to find out 2 hours later that all you have done is check e-mail, stats and forums? It’s fine to do all of those things, but they should come after you have gotten some kind of work done.

It is also important to have a specific time each day that you have blocked out to work on your business. Many people just work on their sites “whenever they have the time.” Life can get really busy though and most days you’ll never find the time do get anything done.

I want to treat my business like a job. I have set work hours. Within those hours I have specific tasks that need to get done.

But 4:00am…Ugh!

I’m sure most of you think I’m nuts for wanting to get up that early each day. I get up that early though because it’s the best time of the day for me. It is when I have the least distractions and I am the most focused.

That’s not to say it’s easy to get up that early. It’s a regular occurrence that I have to drag myself out of bed. But, I have made up my mind that success is more important to me than sleep. That’s not to say that I have my off days and hit the snooze button for the next 2 hours. But I make the absolute best effort I can to stick to my schedule.

Do you have to get up before the crack of dawn to be successful? No – the time of the day has nothing to do with it. It’s all about finding a time that works for you and sticking with it.

The Other Important Part of the Balancing Act

I think it’s important to note that you need to keep your priorities straight when you are trying to build and business and work a job. If you are getting a paycheck from a company, it is your responsibility to give them your best effort while you’re at work. Don’t let your business distract you from your job.

I know it can be temping to sneak in some “extra-curricular” work while you are at your job, but don’t do it! Your employer is agreeing to give to a paycheck. In return, you’ve agreed to do your job.

It takes so much discipline to be successful in internet marketing. It can be so frustrating to keep working on something for weeks or months before you see any success, but that’s how this game works.

What about you? What’s your biggest struggle in this business? Do you have any tricks that keep you focused?

July 13, 2011   4 Comments