While I have many content based sites, making money from Adsense or CPA ads or whatever, I thought it might be prudent to explore why my most successful sites became that way. Exactly what tactics did I deploy in terms of link building or other promotions… let’s find out.
This was and still is my most successful site to date. It makes money from Adsense and another ad network. This one site has made me 5 figures a year for the last couple years. I guess it isn’t too much of a surprise, as this is the site I put the most time into. Whereas with some sites, I put in an hour or maybe a few hours into creating and refining the content, with this site I probably spent 25 or 30 hours on content creation over the span of a few weeks. I guess because the subject was one I was passionate about and interested in, in fact, its something I do quite often, that it didn’t seem like hard work at the time. It seemed very much like a true labor of love.
As far as the promotion, I recall that once I launched it, I did several things:
Wrote an article for distribution – This was an extensive how-to type article, nearly 1000 words long. It took a couple hours to write it, but it paid off. I posted it on my site first, then I submitted it to EzineArticles.com and the other major article directories. It was picked up and posted by quite a few niche sites.
Niche Directories – I submitted to several niche directories that specialized in the topic. None of which required any fees. Though one did require a reciprocal link, which I provided.
General Directories – I submitted to Yahoo Directory, since the site was non-commercial. Though it never got in. I also submitted to DMOZ, but it did not get in by my submission. Instead, a few months later, an editor added the site to a different DMOZ category. Interestingly, the DMOZ editor added an internal page of the site. I also added the site to JoeAnt and GoGuides as an editor.
Social Sites – I also submitted the site to Digg and StumbleUpon and a few other social news and bookmarking sites. Though it was a manual submission, not automated, so it was just a few.
RSS Submission – The site has an RSS feed, which I submitted to some RSS directories, like Technorati.
That’s pretty much all I did at launch. I did a few more updates after that, adding another section and updating a few pages. A few months later, I submitted to a few more trusted general and niche directories, created a Squidoo Lens with unique content and contextual links and did another article distribution.
Not long after, it had achieved good rankings on MSN and then on Google for a very competitive phrase. At this point, I stopped doing any promotion, as from my stats, I could see that it was naturally gaining excellent links every single month, often every single day. The quality of the content and the time I put into it paid off big time. The site was mentioned by a major newspaper, was site of the day on a local newscast, was included on About.com as a resource, it was mentioned by people (not me) as a resource on Yahoo Answers, eHow and sites of that nature. Pretty soon it gained blogroll links on major niche blogs.
I really haven’t done any promotion at all in the last couple years and it just keeps gaining traffic!
Lesson Learned —
Putting the time and passion into your content PAYS OFF, eventually. When you have great content, you don’t need to build links or send out press releases or articles or spam other sites with comments and profile links. You get superb quality links, naturally, for free, without any work!
This is a bit of a different story than site #1, however, many days, I make more money with this one than site #1, with about a tenth of the traffic!
With this one, I took shortcuts, and perhaps I got lucky. It is a simple 10 page site that is based around an up and coming health product. I hired a (good) writer to create articles about 10 different keyword phrases on the topic, then added them to the site. I properly SEO’d it, of course, but didn’t go overboard. The phrases were not very competitive. All in all, I spent no more than an hour setting up this site. The promotion I did:
Social Bookmarking – I bookmarked it using OnlyWire, once.
Link Wheel – I used 6 unique articles to create a link wheel at 6 of the top web 2.0 sites, including WordPress.com, Squidoo, Quizilla and others.
This is it. That’s all I did, because I had to move on to another project right away.
I don’t know if I lucked out or what, but the site gained the #1 listing on Google for the exact phrase I optimized for with the link wheel. It still has that #1 listing, in fact, it has an indented listing for it.
I have added a few additional articles over the last year or so, but that’s it.
Interesting, isn’t it? One thing I will say though, neither of these sites were built using WordPress as the CMS. Both sites are built in HTML. I don’t know why, but I don’t have as much luck with content based sites made in WordPress.