Finding the Holy Grail Site Idea

Holy Grail

There are many different sorts of sites and money making businesses on the net some of which are way more profitable than others. For new site ideas these are the characteristics that I look for to make it my holy grail (not mini sites rather sites that take a fair amount of investment (time or cash) to setup).

Wide audience appeal – they should appeal to a wide range of people for obvious reasons. As the Internet is global many niches do have a wide appeal. Also different sites can cover multiple niches, Digg, search engines etc.

Minimal ongoing time commitment
– I love sites that take a fair whack of effort to create but then run themselves. It’s like being an author, it may take years to write a book but it will continue earning you money for years to come (well if it’s any good). Residual income is one of my all time favourite word combinations.

Automation and delegation
– I’ve harped on about these two before and I’ll do it again as these are key to being able to grow your portfolio. If you created a fantastic site that requires 8 hours a day of your time to run you haven’t created a business you’ve just created your self a new job.

Make it viral – Any site that can self advertise by being viral is going to save massively on the marketing budget. A great example of this is You Tube, who ever had the idea of embedding videos on other peoples sites is a genius.

User Generated Content
– If you can’t automate your content creation and don’t want to pay people then let your readers do it for you. Examples of this are a gazziliion forums and the many social sites.

User Usefulness
– For a site to be a Holy Grail it has got to be useful to the visitors. It’s all well and good having a fully automated, well designed, viral site but if a visitor gets there and thinks what’s the point then.

SEO – This should not be as important, if you’ve created a site that you can honestly say should rank #1 for a term then provided you’ve done basic SEO (i.e. common sense sort of stuff) you’ll get traffic from the engines and if the other points are also covered you’ll be getting links and traffic naturally anyway.

Monetisation – Again if you have a quality site with decent traffic then making money from it will be relatively easy with multiple income streams being an obvious given.

End of the day the site will have to be of real benefit to people (probably the most important point) but once you find that and cover some if not all of the other points you have a money making Holy Grail.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England. — Couldn’t resist a Monty Python quote 😉

  2. I think I’ve found it! Well not quite but fairly close. My site ( has a number of those characteristics. It covers a wide area of topics, my time commitment is low (Tuesday and Friday is when I post), it doesn’t require many hours for upkeep, it’s pretty much entirely user generated and I feel it’s useful to visitors and contributors.

    SEO and monetisation aren’t up to scratch just yet but it’s only been a few weeks.

    So you think I have a money making Holy Grail? 😀

    • Great idea for a site Andy and it looks really good. Are the tips all coming organically?

      • A lot of the tips come from bloggers after I’ve commented on their blogs. A number of tips have been submitted after I directly contacted relevant sites asking if they’d like to contribute in return for more exposure and a linkback. The remaining tips come from myself, friends and family.

        So to answer your question, no they’re not organic but I can’t expect that in the first few weeks of the life of the site. Hopefully that will come in time.

  3. I am not sure if you are familiar with but Ken Evoy has just released Content 2.0 which enables visitors to contribute to the site.

    He obviously agrees with you about the user generated content.

    For an example; check the 3 tennis drills that visitors have contributed to my tennis site:

    Tennis Drills

    Scroll below the invitation form and check the user submitted drills.

    This creates a cool long tail effect of the main keyword.

    Your thoughts on this?

  4. How many large “holy grail” type sites do you like to have? I personally would like several built up over time as it adds more security to the online income. If one starts to crash and burn then others are still all good.

    However, I do tend to find that a lot of site owners just have the 1 large site which makes 90% of their income. This is probably due to not delegating and automating. The extra work load created by each sometimes prevents you from growing the new sites.

    • I’d like as many as possible. I have a dozen that meet most of the requirements but not all, so I’m still searching for my Holy Grail.

  5. I Like the combination of “residual income” for now I’m just doing the mini inforemation sites & its very steady once created. Once i dont have a 40-50 hr job I will invest some time in becoming more creative but for now that seems way to complicated.

  6. Interesting read. Good points and ideas. I’s with you on the residual income for creating the site once with little to no maintenance. It becomes very easy to do if your able to get a grasp of what people as a whole are looking for and how to code / program. I’ve been able to create several money makers “” that take little to no upkeep. Good times 🙂

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