When It Comes To Development The Old “Field Of Dreams” Analogy Won’t Cut It

Field Of Dreams

This morning I received an email similar to an email I received just last week, and similar to many emails I’ve received before. The email is usually from a Domain Investor that has decided to grow their business and expand into development, the problem is, they have what I like to call the “Field Of Dreams” analogy stuck in their head. Here’s what the email looked like with names, etc. omitted for privacy:

“I have a portfolio of domain names that I recently decided to develop into WordPress sites. I have my first five sites up and running, put affiliate ads on, tried some adsense too but I don’t seem to be getting any traffic, so I’m not making any money. I thought development was supposed to get me ranked and getting more traffic, what I am doing wrong?”

Can you see why I call this the “Field Of Dreams” analogy? The idea that “if you build it they will come” really only works in the movie, it doesn’t apply to Domaining or Development, at all. As more and more Domainers look to development I’m seeing emails like this come more and more frequently.

So here’s the issue. Buying a good domain is a good thing, as is putting a website on that domain, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get traffic. Let’s put this example in real world terms, buying a domain is like buying a piece of raw land, putting a website on it is like building a store. Here’s the catch, how are people going to get to your store? How do they know it exists? Remember, I never said you built any roads to the store, in fact your store is right now off in the middle of nowhere.

That’s right, you can’t just put a site on a domain and watch the traffic come rolling in, you actually have to do something! Having the website up is step one, not the final step. Getting your website ranked in search engines is an entirely different process that will take one of two things, your time, or your money – you pick.

To rank well you’ll need backlinks from reliable sources to start, but if you want long-term success you’ll need to have a consistant plan that you keep up with every month. Sound like a lot of work? Like I said above, it can either be work for you, or work for someone else, it just depends on how you value your time. The point here is simple, just because you build a website on your domain, doesn’t mean that suddenly traffic and revenue will start rolling in. You need to take the time to do SEO which is what will drive the traffic.

If you want to learn SEO there are a few great resources that I recommend:

  • SEOMoz – this is my go-to SEO site and it should be yours to. They have a great beginners guide and some excellent blog posts and videos to help you get started or take your skillset to the next level.
  • Backlinks 101 – I wrote a great article about backlinks which includes a geeky video of my talking about backlinks. This is nice quick and easy way to learn the basics and I try to make it fun so you might actually enjoy yourself!
  • SEO Book – this is one of the books that I still refer to quite often as it’s full of great information, if you want to go deeper and read an entire book about SEO, this is the one.

Just remember, if you build it, they won’t come – you’ll need to employ a good SEO strategy to do that.

(Photo Credit)


{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Chuck Wallant June 7, 2012, 7:43 pm

    Or there are a host of other ways to get the traffic you need to your websites to see if you can monetize through AdSense, etc.:

    Buy links (e.g., AdWords or similar) and arbitrage the traffic to make more than you spend

    Form media relationships with others to share traffic

    Trade something you do (e.g., building WordPress sites) for something you want (e.g., advertisements on someone else’s sites)

    Or, just buy better domain names that have organic, type-in traffic.

  • Martin June 7, 2012, 7:50 pm

    But Rick Schwartz says its about ‘relevance’?

  • Aussie Domainer June 7, 2012, 10:59 pm

    Good info and it’s an easy mistake to make. This is how I approached web dev when I first started. I built sites and just hoped that the traffic would build up over time.. but of course it was only the sites I updated regularly that got indexed and brought traffic in.
    However I had an experience recently where I bought a name with some good keywords (and a modifier), threw a wordpress blog on there, updated it once a day and in no time it is getting hundreds of hits a day. It’s the combination of the keywords in the domain and the SEO that can really get things on the right track for your website idea.

  • Brian Gilbert June 8, 2012, 7:48 am

    There are also hurdles that previously parked domains have to overcome before they even get indexed in Google again. Some take 1 month, some take 1 year to get back in the good graces of big G. A time saver would be to search for the exact domain (exampledomain.com) you plan to develop. If it shows up, it’s not been placed in Google’s sandbox so there will be fewer hurdles you will have to overcome before you start seeing results. The results are there though. If you’ve got domains with excellent exact match keyword results, it’s worth the investment.


Leave a Comment