Why Building A Website and Making Money are Two Different Things

As more and more Domainers switch their focus from Parking to Development I’m seeing the same wrong assumption being made. The assumption is that if you buy a good domain name you can put a website on it and – viola – the traffic and revenue will start pouring in. I had phone calls with several Domainers last week that said – I built my site but I’m not making any money.

My response to this is – “What are you doing to promote your site?” and “What have you done from an SEO-side to rank well?”

In most cases the answer is, “I’m not doing anything to promote my site – I expected it to rank well right-away” and “I haven’t done much SEO because I thought having an exact-match domain would be enough to get started.”

Sorry folks but this is an approach that many have tried…and nobody is getting rich doing it. Sure, if you buy a domain with existing traffic, revenue, and rankings you might be okay – but in most cases you’re going to have to do the hard-work yourself if you want to reap the rewards.

I find the same thing happens with people that have trouble selling their domains. I ask them, “What have you done to sell your domain,” and they usually answer, “I’ve contacted brokers like yourself and listed it on domain sales sites.”

My next question is, “How many end-users have you approached?”

The answer to this is usually, “Zero”

I get it. People want things to just happen, they want their domains to sell themselves, they want their sites to rank themselves. If the world worked this way our industry would be a lot bigger. Domaining is VERY hard work, whether you are buying/selling domains, or developing/monetizing it’s a lot of work and there really is no easy-road.

Here’s an example – this weekend I built-out three of my domains and made major improvements to a fourth. I have a team of developers in the Philippines that are building-out five sites/month for me and anything extra I can do myself is a bonus. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday working on these sites to launch them – I don’t do it every weekend but sometimes I really need to put-in the extra time.

I learned early-on that paying careful attention to SEO in the beginning can set a site up for long-term success. It’s the little things that count and having a good title tag and some well-written unique content is essential for success. It’s only when good SEO is coupled with a good domain name that search engines will start to really take notice to your site.

After your site starts to rank well you can begin to understand which ads get the most clicks and change your layout accordingly. If you aren’t taking the time to fine-tune your sites you could be missing-out on a significantly better rank. Of course you have to be careful not to go overboard or you could end-up hurting your rankings – it’s all about striking a balance…and no – it’s not easy!

When I entered the Domaining world three years ago I thought buying and selling domains was going to be easy. I was wrong.

When I entered the Development/Monetization world I knew the amount of time and hard-work it would take to make a meaningful passive income. I didn’t expect things to come easy, and they haven’t. Now I understand which niche’s monetize the best and how to better target my audience. I’ve moved away from PPC and focused much more on lead generation and affiliate marketing. In fact, one of my latest sites – TexasDWIAttorney.us is an 100% lead-gen site.

My point in this post is – development is a lot of work, just like selling domains is a lot of work! Choose which side of the industry fits you best but don’t expect either to be easy. Each year I am more convinced that while we are in one of the most high-potential industries ever, we are also in one of the most challenging industries out there. The people that are making it in the Domaining world are doing it because they are working hard, not because they are lucky.

So if you’ve just built a site and you are wondering why it isn’t ranking well and why you don’t have any visitors, ask yourself the questions below:

  1. Are your title tags optimized? This is very important for search and the most often-overlooked SEO technique.
  2. Do you have unique content on your site? Having unique content on your site, preferably articles with good keyword repetition isn’t a suggestion – it’s a necessity if you want to rank well in a popular niche.
  3. How many link-partners do you have? Use  a tool like Linkscape from SEOMoz to see how many people are linking to you. If it’s under 10 set your ranking expectations low.
  4. What is the search volume for your exact-match keywords? Domainers have an SEO advantage with exact-match domains…but this is only important if the keywords in your domain get reasonable search traffic. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to understand how many people are searching for your keywords – if it’s under 1,000 (exact) a month there’s not enough volume there to generate a lot of revenue.
  5. Is your website useful? Does it give users a reason to stay? Your website should contain factual information targeted towards what your visitor is looking for. Just think, would you use your site? So many people have poorly-designed websites that don’t rank well…make sure you’re not one of them!

After you’ve answered the questions above you should know why your site isn’t ranking well. If you feel that you’ve got everything in place but you still aren’t getting the rankings you deserve feel free to contact me and we can discuss more. I’m here to help and to also set realistic expectations. If you’re just sitting and waiting for traffic you’re in the same boat as all the Domainers waiting for their domains to sell.

It’s time to take-action. Find-out WHY your site isn’t ranking well, make targeted changes, and take your rightful place in the search engines. Stop complaining that your site isn’t doing as well as it should and make it perform! You are the CEO, it’s up to you, and if you believe in your idea – you can make it happen!

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt July 12, 2010, 3:03 pm

    One also has to consider the competition for a search phrase. For search phrases with millions of competing sites it will take a significant development & SEO effort to rank at Google. Another important point is the difference in traffic by ranking on page three versus page two versus the bottom of page one versus each of the top spots on page one of Google, Yahoo, Bing. Those ranking differentials & search engine results have a significant impact on search traffic. Oddly I have one domain for a phrase that is not highly searched so the type-in traffic cannot be a significant factor. Regardless, because the former webmaster did a phenomenal job of acquiring relevant links, the parked domain still receives thousands of monthly visitors. Well, momentarily I have moved it out of parking to test the impact on search rank of forwarding that domain to a developed site.

  • Ed from htmlpress.net July 12, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Consider playing the long tail of your keyword search as well.

  • Huw July 13, 2010, 4:13 am

    Also bare in mind that the more you help Google and other SE’s the more they will come back and love your site. ALLAYS make sure you have an XML site map generator in place so that your site is indexed easier – this also helps with initial ranking. There’s a facility in Google tools to add your sitemap, although I don’t know if this is relevant any more, I’ve tested with several custom sites and they are indexed just as quick without adding..

    Also make sure you have an RSS feed available and include it in your header.

    Or “rss_jobs.xml” or whatever..

    Ensure that your URL’s are SEO friendly, Google want’s this basically so they can hand out relevant ads easier via the AdSense platform “and other SE’s”, but the less they have a need to scan your content the better, this begins with your SEF “Search Engine Friendly” URL title:


    Is FAR better than:


    But you probably know this 🙂 So concentrate on making things easier for the SE’s .. you will be rewarded accordingly! When the bots come around to sniff your site, they are looking for relevant and new content to feed on. They are also going to rank you approximately each month, so make sure you have a good stock of fresh food “content” for them – so they stay longer 🙂

    – Huw

    • Morgan July 13, 2010, 11:13 pm

      Excellent points @Huw!

  • FloName July 13, 2010, 7:23 am

    Great & straight-forward post Mo! I’m looking to make the transition from PPC to development. Having NO experience, WHERE DO I START?!? I have some great domain names that I think would do really well if developed & monetized correctly. Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Morgan July 13, 2010, 11:14 pm

      Hi @FloName – I’m happy to help you get started – send me an email and we’ll setup some time for a phone call.

  • Carl Bosse July 13, 2010, 8:45 am

    Fabulous article! Very helpful suggestions. Thank you truly. -C

  • byDomainers July 13, 2010, 8:50 am

    “Building A Website and Making Money are Two Different Things”
    I have lost time and energy between domaining and developping business, and I have one result: it’s better time to focus my efforts in making a good SEO and promotion of my websites and stopping any other activity like domaining.
    For that reasons I’m selling all my entire business as a domainer: [ domains + websites]
    http://www.VipNDD.com (portfolio+5websites)
    I want to build a website which make money !

  • Logan July 13, 2010, 9:01 am

    Excellent post. Little in life comes without hard and smart work.

  • Dutch Boyd July 13, 2010, 10:46 am

    Thanks for another great post, Morgan… slowly but surely learning the ropes when it comes to development and your blog has been helpful. Until I figure it all out, I’m just trying to be content with turning my decent names from little $8 money hole into slightly profitable minisites…

    • Morgan July 13, 2010, 11:12 pm

      Thanks for the comment @Dutch – appreciate the positive comments about my blog! Hey – you’re a Poker champ so I have no fears that you’ll be a big success in the Domain World if you stick with it…now how can I get myself into the World Series of Poker?

  • PPC Ian July 13, 2010, 11:08 pm

    Well said! I agree 100% with everything you say. Domaining and making money online is hard work! There are easier ways to make money, but few as rewarding. 🙂 I really enjoyed this post. As a follow-up, I’d be super curious to learn more about your link building strategy.
    All the best,

    • Morgan July 13, 2010, 11:09 pm

      Thanks @PPCIan! Great idea for a follow-up post and in fact the inspiration for tomorrows post 🙂


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