Buying at the right time

I have had a couple of requests to document the develop of domains so I’ll try and do that with netbooks and notebooks, my first job was to buy them which I have done, tick.. Nothing much to explain there, sent emails negotiated deals and both were bought this month in early December.

Next job has been to get them indexed and found so I added a link to them from a post on here, a sig link on a forum and my main pc site pcs.co.uk in the footer, also in a couple of the posts on PCs that relate to netbooks or notebooks as they are very relevant. I paid one of my writers to do a good explanation of what they are and what to consider when shopping for a netbook or notebook, this is even more relevant for netbooks being new to the market so they both have a homepage with some good information on them. Each article cost me $30 so apart from the initial capital on the two domains so far I have only spent $60.

I also added an amazon store so that if visitors did want to purchase they could buy from a company that converts traffic very well and has a good choice, while in some ways I bought at the right time in others I was a bit late to the party. Getting the domains in December meant I pretty much missed out on the Xmas sales however I did sell some, Netbooks.co.uk sold 16 items of which 6 were actual netbooks so a bit of commission due.

Buying at the right time means that I was lucky enought to get the deals done in time before the next guy came along and thought about buying them, therefore I received the offer to buy one for £5k and not the previous owner, phew! I also caught on to a surge in traffic as popularity and interest grew. While notebooks looks on the face of it to be the better domain netbooks gets the traffic. Both sitting around the same place ranking wise on page 2 in google.co.uk

Netbooks has achieved 1800 visitors and getting over 100 per day now while notebooks is doing 10-20 visitors per day.

I’m not worrying about rankings or traffic at present, I have only had them for a couple of weeks, stage 1 is to add value, buyers guide done!

Next will be to add a bit more content, looking for some comparison charts between the main models with advantages and disadvantages, again these are costing me $30 each and should add useful value to visitors and in turn help the site grow and become more valuable to readers and hopefully in turn more link worthy so that’s it for now, will come back to these as and when I work on them and document results.

Mini Site Case Study Update

Last October I made a post: Buy for two years income and repay yourself in one

A 2 page website/minisite had been purchased for $7000, based on about 2 years income at the time, the great thing about this site was it could have done with 10 minutes work on the on-page SEO, no major surgery. It already had a lot of backlink work done and was ranking semi-well but with a little on page work I thought things could be improved a great deal.

The site is zero maintenance, I had hoped it would pay for itself in around a year and I’m glad to report it pretty much did that, as of October 28th 2008, 13 months later the investment has been paid back.

This means every day from here on in is pure profit, it’s doing $20 per day. On top of that if it was to be sold as a zero maintenance site even on 2 years income it would be worth around $14,000 twice what was paid for it.

The current exchange rate also helps, last year $7000 was about £3685
Doubling the value would be £7370 however if I was to sell in USD for $14,000 today that would be worth £8774 with an improved exchange rate.

Sitepoint marketplace offers a good bang for your buck

I almost felt apprehensive posting to ask for writers on Sitepoint, if you have ever done the same on somewhere like digitalpoint you’ll be well aware of the masses of poor quality applicants you can receive, so sometimes posting a wanted add feels like a ticket to getting spammed.

It mirrors making a post on a domain forum saying you want to buy premium domains and you have a budget of 4 figures, your guaranteed to get many many replies of which the high 90 percent will be utterly worthless junk.

Still, I had previously loaded credits into Sitepoints marketplace and had the 10 credits needed to place a wanted advert so wanted to test that route before looking at other options like job boards, 1 credit = $1 so it’s a $10 cost. I made a short specific post as I wanted a couple of gamers to post on games in the coming months, an area of the web that shows no signs of slowing down and one I want to touch on for my new domain PCs

From reading Al’s posts on blogging it seems wise to admit that any long term sustainable growth is going to be down to finding a good team of writers that can add content letting me concentrate on other aspects of the site, so it’s time to start finding writers and even if that means one good one from 5 or 6 applicants then it’s worth it.

To my surprise the replies by email and PM were pretty good quality, not masses but good leads, I explained that I am looking to pay $8 per post and looking for 3 posts per week, it’s virginal territory for me so I intend to take on a few and see which one’s are better and possibly lose a few, so far I have agreed to 4 new writers who will cover both hardware and software for me and have supplied example posts. Ideally I may look for specialists on each subject but for a start and to get some traction I think Sitepoint offered good value for money and decent exposure.

Mini Site Alternative

If like me you have many domains and not enough time, especially for the smaller domains then you may be interested in a service I have been testing out recently. aeiou.com offer a complete mini site package for $250. As always you can do most things cheaper yourself but if your time is better served elsewhere then it’s certainly something to consider rather than let a good domain sit with nothing on it.

Insurance

Just to be clear I am not affiliated with aeiou or have anything to do with them, I tested out their service for 3 of my domains, mobile phone tariffs, credit insurance and comprehensive insurance. All good domains and too good to leave until I got round to doing somthing with them.

aeiou take the domain, a note of your adsense ID and work on their own initiative which is appealing, you can see they stick to the same basic layout which is to be expected but it’s pretty clean and not bad looking, they create a few articles of information and put the site together in a zip file and send it to you usually withing a couple of days, they can also host the site for you if you wish.

One other thing which adds a lot of value is that they get it indexed with a few links

The marketing portion of our development process is really the driving force behind why Rapid Site Development works. Not only do we build a custom site focused on your target keywords, but we also go out and set the foundation for a lifetime of additional traffic for your site.

They could do with a few tips on seo and I know it can be done cheaper but I feel it’s pretty good value for money and certainly better than leaving some good domains on the development list for a later date so a thumbs up from me, I expect to see more services like this being offered in the coming months as it’s an area in the market that has huge potential but is relatively untapped at present.

Working with Designers Casestudy

When it comes to the web I’ve got quite a diverse skill set but one area I’m severely lacking in is graphic design so this is a job I always outsource. I’ve used numerous designers over the years with mixed levels of success, in this post I’m going to share my latest experience (which I’m pleased to say went quite well).

Finding good designers can be tricky. I used to use forums like Digital Point where I’d post my requirements, offer a decent monetary prize and then wait for submissions to come in. This normally led to a good number of varied submissions (ranging from absolute crap to excellent) however I always found these designers may be good in competitions but were not consistent and often vanished off the face of the earth when you needed them. So how do you find a good and reliable designer?

Word of mouth and personal referrals for me has been the best approach. When you’ve been in this business a while you network and get to know a fair few people and I’m sure at least one will have a logo or design that you like, so simply ask for the designers details. In my case this was done via Twitter, I was following Cory Shop and he posted about the work he’d received via Twitter, so I checked out his previous work, the style suited me I went for a couple of logos for new blogs I had planned.

The process is fairly simple you pay upfront $150 for 3 logo mockups and then refine as needed. I did try to haggle but $150 is pretty cheap and Cory wasn’t budging (the price is due to go up to $300 so I suppose I got them half price :) ). Next step is answer a set of questions about your requirements:

1) Your company name(if already decided upon)
Blog : Foolish Gadgets (FoolishGadgets.com)

2) Target Audience and the industry the company is involved in. Description of the company or venture.
Gadget blog focusing more on the crazy/foolish side of the gadget world

3) An existing Website address (if any)
NA

4) Desired Colors
Open to ideas

5) Text or Slogan that will go with the logo
NA (yet)

6) Other logos the client may like
http://www.coryschop.com/samples/logo-hobwire.jpg
http://www.coryschop.com/samples/logo-teasers.jpg
http://www.coryschop.com/samples/logo-mapicurious.jpg

7) Specific objects they would like to see in the design
I like the idea of a court jester being in the design somewhere

The first drafts came back within 3 business days: Continue Reading

Increasing Daily Email Subscribers by 500%

Over the last couple of months I’ve been experimenting with a few ideas to improve my social traffic and garner more email subscribers. In this post I’m going to share some of what I’ve been doing, which techniques have been successful and which not so. All these tests were done on CG.

I updated the theme recently and at the end of each post I added the following menu bar:
post footer
This included 2 new features, Email to a friend and a social Share.

Email to a friend

This option lets readers email specific posts and pages to their friends, hopefully enticing them to the site. I used the plugin Wp-Email for this, the ongoing results are pretty nice for the small amount of work and screen real estate involved.
We are now averaging around 30 emails a day not a vast amount but some will become regular readers and will certainly add up over time. Originally we only displayed the link on individual post pages, we now display the footer links on the index and category pages which accounts for the increase around the day 61 mark.

Social Share (share)

We use the Add This service to give our readers an easy way to share posts on their favourite social network. Results from this have been disappointing with daily highs of 7 uses but again it doesn’t take up much space so will be staying until I think of a better use for the space

Increasing Email Subscribers

One of my ambitions for the year is to create an email list of 10K+ subscribers, a goal of which I am way way off target from at the moment. The following graph shows how many new subscribers we are gaining on a daily basis:

There are two points on the graph where you can see you can see an increase on average new subscribers, these are caused by the following:

  • {1} – Added an email subscribe form near the top of the home page
  • {2} – This is a something I hadn’t seen before but makes sense. Visitors that scroll down to the end of the home or category pages are interested in the site, therefore more chance of becoming a subscriber if they see an option, so we display the following at the end of the home page and all category pages, it also displayed at the top (and bottom) of all subsequent pages (i.e. page 2 and after).
  • Previous we were gaining under 5 new subscribers per day, now we average over 20. If we’d done this from day one we’d be nearer on target for 10K subscribers by the end of the year, as we didn’t we’ll need to think of other ways to improve it (ideas very very welcome).

    The next experimental case study I want to share resulted in an extra 20K+ visitors in a couple of days, I’ll leave that for my next post, if interested please subscribe to Self Made Minds by Email or our RSS feed.

Top sports sites ready for purchase

There are many good old sites out there are still available and right in everyone’s sight, ready for a quick negotiation. You could buy a site tomorrow that has the potential to earn all your money back within 6 months.

If you search the main 3 search engines just the top 20 results for the the top hobbies and sports you will find gems right there just now, sites that are years old, well linked to and not monetised.

If you really need help, find a site like this one which lists sports.
Check the top 20 results in Google locally for each one and you’ll soon be compiling a list of possible websites that are gems as long as your arm.

Look for old directories and information sites that are obviously not monetised or possibly forgotten about, I picked up 2 last week one of which is UKSail.com, started in 1999 this sailing index ranks in the top 10 in the UK for ‘sailing’ I am transferring it just now so don’t have traffic stats but for £650 ($1300)  it looks a great deal and an old excellent resource that I will redesign and build on.

If I could find a better domain name to buy I would be tempted to move it and 301 the pages to a new home, on a better domain it would increase the value and worth of this site tenfold making it much more desirable, however even as is, being a ranking 9 year old directory site it is exactly the type you would want to be linked from if you were in that genre in the UK again adding a lot of value.

This site has the potential in my eyes to generate thousands per year without breaking a sweat.

Mobilising into mobility and growing markets

Mobility Scooter

The plan
I have looked through Ebay for good traders with good feedback doing a lot of business with a lot of different mobility products but don’t have a well developed website, I have already contacted one and plan to list a variety of products for sale in a shopping cart style to take leads and sell on a commission basis, I don’t expect to do a lot of sales this year but having someone to dropship means I can get website content, actually show and sell products and pass on leads and enquiries.

My reasons
Mobility equipment consists of a lot of high value products with scooters from £350 upwards and beds, stairlifts, baths etc easily in the 4 figure range.

Some stats
Over the next 50 years the number of over-65’s will increase by 80%
Over 85’s are expected to double by 2028 to more than 1.8 million

Some other interesting stats I found in the same article
-One in five British women in their 30’s has no children
-This will rise to one in four by 2020
-The average age of first time mothers has risen from 26 to over 29 in the past 30 years

All this data points to a very large growth in our 65yr old and over population, we will struggle to look after our elderly in the years ahead, as with any change it leads to opportunity and new growing markets, I feel more and more people will continue to buy mobility equipment so that they can prolong their stay in their own homes, many of whom will have no children to help them, that will mean a growing competitive market in moblity equipment and a demand and increase in value for established sites/domains and traffic, time to make some moves.

Starting out with some furniture affiliates

Bedroom FurnitureI am brand new really to affiliate sales but with a set of furniture domains that need something on them I decided to start and it was also part of my list of goals for this year.

I paid around $1000 for my programmer or coder or whatever you would have him called to make my own script for my domains that easily lets me pull in product feeds and display the content. I couldn’t find anything off the shelf that I liked especially with a nice admin area and my script makes everything really simple and efficient and is custom designed to deal with my feeds, I wanted the look of the homepage to be more of a store look with good categories instead of a price comparison type of site.

Continue Reading

Recycle User Data for a new site

RecycleNice little bit of recycling done recently that allowed me to create a new website.

I do translations and often get phrases that make me sit and think for a second when completing them, many I have heard before but I get some new one’s popping up which are quite cool.

I also get a steady supply of new one’s I have never heard off.

Phrases like

  • Being different isn’t the same as making a difference
  • When a child is born so is a mother
  • You cant use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

I know there are lots of word or the day sites & famous quotes but I still felt I could put this data to good uses and create a Phrase of the day website, checking the domain I found phraseoftheday.co.uk was available (13th March) which was nice and I already had the phrases so a free template and a free quote script and about 50 minutes later I had a new website.

A couple of links and one stumble later and it’s doing just over 100 visitors per day

Phrase of the day

Around 6% of the traffic is direct type in traffic as well which is nice for a brand new UK domain, the traffic is a good mix of from my own network, Google, direct, other sites and Stumbleupon. Again with a new site like this I like to leave it for the first 6 months with no advertising or Adsense so that other webmasters are not put off linking to it.