Building a Network
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Rob Grant who has been following the development of Lowell.com on my blog. Having read about Rob and his accomplishments, I was excited to speak with him. After a brief email exchange, Rob and I spoke via telephone and had a great discussion about geodomain strategy. One strategic initiative I learned about was using targeted keyword domain names to build a Lowell.com network, all of which would support the main Lowell.com site.
An example of this can be seen in Rob’s network of websites. In addition to Adirondacks.com, Rob and his team have built a huge network of supporting sites such as AdirondackHotels.com and AdirondackSkiing.com. This network of sites helps expand the reach of the main brand and can also help the search engine optimization of the main site, since each site has its own unique content. Needless to say, I purchased many Lowell-related keyword domain names, and am in the process of slowly building each. An example of a mini-site I just started can be found at LowellPharmacies.com. It’s going to take me a while to build each site, but Rome wasn’t built over night!
During my conversation with Rob, I mentioned that a well-known Lowell resident contacted me via the Lowell.com contact form asking me if I needed a sales representative on the ground in Lowell. While I declined this offer at first, after speaking with Rob, I will get back in touch with him later this week. Not only does he have many business contacts in the city of Lowell, he will also be able to give me invaluable information about the city. While I wanted to do all of the sales myself, it doesn’t necessarily make sense since I am in New York, and I don’t have a ton of local contacts yet (although I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce!)
As I learned in my 2 years as a Direct Marketing Manager at AIG, when you might not have the ability to do something as professionally as it needs to be done (or should spend the time focusing on other things), you should hire the best of breed to do it for you. In this case, it would make sense to work with someone who is known in the city and can close deals. I can worry about the development of the site (and my other business interests), and he can worry about generating revenue. Even though it will cost me a % of each sale, I would rather pay a percentage of a large number than no percentage of a smaller number. The sales rep will also be able to give me feedback about what improvements are needed on the site to make it more beneficial for the advertisers.
This post was going to be entirely about building the Lowell.com network of sites, and as I was writing it and thinking it out, the post began to change shape, and there is a double meaning to “building a network.” Having a support network is advantageous in both the literal and figurative senses. Just as the main website can benefit from well-built supporting websites, I have been building a network of friends and colleagues in all areas of development.
I have been lucky enough to receive great advice from people like Rob Grant, David and Michael Castello, Jessica Bookstaff, Brad Epstein, Richard Douglas, Dan Pulcrano, Gordon Brott, and many others who have been down the path of development, marketing, hosting, and search engine optimization, and they know how difficult it is. There are literally thousands of ways to build a successful business on a website, and I have been lucky enough to receive advice from many people who have already been down the path I am traveling.
While Lowell.com is taking a while to build, I am not in any rush to generate revenue. I am fortunate to have done well enough in the domain industry over the past few years to slowly build Lowell.com and it’s supporting network without having to worry about the small revenue it is currently generating in its infancy. When I start selling the Lowell.com product to potential advertisers, I want to make sure everything works as I vision it to work. Lowell.com and it’s supporting network of websites are going to be as strong as possible. Along the way to developing Lowell.com, I have been building an even stronger network of friends and colleagues, all of whom are supporting me.
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