So far so good with my geo exploits, quick summary; to date for me it’s about building foundations. Initially I chose a target location (West of Scotland) and then went to work trying to acquire local towns, I have worked with a fairly realistic budget spending around £1000 on good sized towns around 10,000 to 20,000 population which I believe to be sounds investments and of good value. I wouldn’t pay that for locations that didn’t have the tourism angle though.
Occasionally I managed to pick up something I felt under priced and occasionally I have had to pay more than I would have liked. When targeting towns & villages my preference so far has been to go for the .co.uk first, usually with no existing site in the case of Ayr & Arran. If that was a no go I have looked at the .org.uk which happened for Kilmarnock. If that was a no go then I google the town and looked at the top 10 to see if there was something suitable & established to buy which was the case for Kilwinning (.org) And in some cases so far I have not been able to get anything.
You can see a local map of my progress here, although there is another acquisition which isn’t shown there which is going through just now. Overall I like the way it’s turned out, some sites like Ullapool.co.uk rank no.1 and get a few hundred visitors per day (in the middle of a re-design), other brand new sites like Kilmarnock, Ayr & Stevenston are in the top 20 and starting to get a little bit of traffic, it gives me a nice mix of new & established sites which can help each other and offer value to advertisers. I have to say that there seems to be a LOT of established geo sites that rank and are sitting there forgotten about offering real opportunity for those of you with the vision to buy on the cheap and monetise.
I am going to have a main automated directory which is almost ready and will also have featured listings, the last week or so has been deciding my pricing & overall strategy. My buying domains is coming to an end, developing is well under way and the monetisation is fast approaching, all of this in the last two months from a standing start, it’s been fun fun fun and very refreshing as I have mentioned before.
I have not reached out at all to ask for advertising so far, I have some laterooms banners on the sites which have already had 7 bookings making commission which is nice but what is really nice is that I am starting to get asked by local B&B’s & Guesthouses for advertising. For new sites like Arran & Ayr I have a couple of advertisers wanting to go ahead, for established sites like Ullapool I have 3 advertisers waiting for me to finish the re-design and want to part with their cash, where else does that happen? within 2 months they are coming to me asking if they can give me money! It wouldn’t take that many enquiries once the sites are all established to increase overall income by £xxx’s every month. I still have no real idea what the potential out there is, I know small towns ranking well can make £5-£10k per year once established with no real effort, passively growing through enquiries. If my main sites averaged that it would make a pretty good set.
I get the feeling next spring (if everything is as I would like) these sites will really come on. My main targets are B&B’s/Guest houses. I’m not going to let it passively grow though, I shall be working through the winter to build up a base by contacting local businesses so that come spring they can really generate a good collective income with very little maintenance. From there any fallout should be replaced naturally with new enquiries.
There is a real geo land grab been going on this summer, whether it’s the prime generic co.uk or the established no.1 site I would say there is a real period of opportunity to strike and carve out a piece for yourself, I know some of you already have and it’s good to hear. I’ll be at ThinkVisibility so if your going I’ll see you there!