My Map for Developing Informational Websites
Yesterday, I discussed my successes and challenges with developing my tropical bird website. Since I didn’t have much technical expertise, I was reluctant to develop my domain names at first, but I have overcome that fear, and I am always looking for a fun project. There are many opportunities out there for people of all skills, but this post is probably geared more towards people who are reluctant developers for whatever reason.
Personally, I think that developing informational websites on category defining domain names is probably the easiest way for people to start. I would like to provide some direction for people that are thinking about development, and I hope that you can use my limited experience as a guide to make your sites better and more successful than mine have been. I hope you will share your experiences with others so that we can all learn and grow at the same time. I am a domainer turned domainer and developer, and I think it’s a better way to monetize your domain names, although it does require more work than parking.
I believe the most important thing is to find a good domain name, although it is not necessarily critical. The characteristics I would look for are category defining keywords or keyword phrases, .com, pre-2001 registration date, and in a field that is of interest to you. It should also be something that people want information about, as I like informational sites rather than e-commerce sites that take more time to develop and manage.
The topic should be fairly broad, and have many sub topics. This will allow you to build a strong base and then branch out as the site grows – sort of like a tree. Do some keyword research before buying to make sure there are enough people searching, and check for all of the long tail keywords, as I find that I get the most traffic from these. The broader the topic, the more information you can have on the site that makes sense. For example, I think something like SoccerTeams.com, FootballPlayers.com, or RockBands.com would be great, as you there is a ton of information and people are always looking to find it.
Once you have your domain chosen, the next step is to do keyword research on the topic. For the purpose of this exercize, I will use RockBands.com as the example – although I don’t own it nor know who does.
I would start by researching the most popular rock bands and then categorizing by era and genre. I would want the articles to include information about the band, its members, hit songs, albums, records sold….etc. I would want as much information as possible on each band, covering everything that fans and historians would want to find. Using the Google keyword tool, I would know what is searched and how much it is searched. There are also a number of other keyword tools available that are very good.
To write the articles with the information you have, you will need a good copywriter. I would find a copywriter either by asking colleagues for recommendations, posting on elance, or posting on domain forums. It’s important that you have a copywriter who will write 100% unique articles with proper grammar, attributing any facts to their sources. Make sure you double check using sites like Copyscape to ensure the content isn’t pilfered.
While the copywriter is building out your content, you should find a company to create a great logo and either a php template for the site or a WordPress template that is easy to manage. If I can manage to do this, you can manage too. Again, I have no development background at all, and much of what I am doing is copying and pasting into the template.
When you are satisfied with the template and design, and the articles begin to be finished, you should think about the site and URL structure to make it easy for Google to find your site. With WordPress, you need to worry about duplicate content since it creates pages based on the week, month, category…etc – basically 5x for each page you create. There are widgets/plugins that can help you avoid the duplicate content. You’ll want to make it easy for people to navigate, so perhaps you’ll have a section of 80s rock bands and in there you will include Van Halen, Guns N Roses…etc. The URLs should make it easy, too… so either RockBands.com/80s-bands/van-halen.php or RockBands.com/van-halen.php.
In addition to pages about rock bands, you will want to add general information about rock music, rock history, instruments used…etc. This will probably give your site more authority as it covers a variety of topics. Again, use keyword terms and highly searched key phrases to help drive traffic to your site. Additionally, embed videos from You Tube on the site to add valuable content and things that people want to see. There are plenty of videos available for you to upload. Make sure you add content on those pages, as the videos alone won’t drive traffic as the search engines won’t rank those pages well without content.
Within your pages, you will need to use smart internal linking to encourage visitors to find other pages within your site and allow the search engines easily navigate through your site. An example of this would be on the history of rock page. You would probably want to categorize that page by genre, and in each genre, you would want to describe specific bands’ influence on music and culture. While doing that, you would add an internal link to the band page within your site.
Your pages should also have good meta titles and descriptions. The title should accurately describe what’s on the page, but should only be 5-8 words, depending on length, so the entire title comes up in Google. They only allow a certain number of characters in the title. Likewise, the description should be accurate and describe what’s on your page. Each meta title and description should be different so Google knows there is different information on each page.
Again, I am no expert on this stuff, and much of what I am saying is probably overly simplified, but it’s my own interpretation of what needs to be done at a minimum. Google published a great SEO starter guide (click the link for a downloadable pdf) for web publishers, and I think every new developer should read it. Many things I discussed are listed there in further detail, and there are also several other important SEO things as well.
So now that he basics are covered, monetizing this is important. For everything mentioned above, the total cost should be under $1,000 plus your own labor (reviewing content and putting everything together). Based on the price you pay for your domain name and your total costs, you will want to make sure you make enough money to justify the purchase. Some topics have higher paying clicks than others, and I am not sure the PPC rock-related content.
Tomorrow, I will discuss some ways that I think a site like this could generate revenue. Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, criticisms…etc.
Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Google + | Facebook | Email