My Map for Developing Informational Websites | DomainInvesting.com
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My Map for Developing Informational Websites

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Subscribe to Elliot's BlogYesterday, 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.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (6)

    Deep Dialer

    Let’s say “rockbands.com” is great because it has so much that you can write on, but I guess the problem initially is that you will be competing with lots of band specific domains and fansites so you will rank only for the longest tail terms? However, over time you will gain authority and rank for more competitive terms? Since this is a long, hard road I wonder is it worth developing mini-sites of individual bands that point to “rockbands.com” as they will have keywords in the domain. Or is it better just to develop the main domain?

    December 8th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Paladin

    Very good post and very useful for a starting developer like me, I am actually developing a Geo domain and using the data from yellowpages for address, contact numbers of local business.I was just wondering is it fine if we use like that or is there a problem in doing so..Of course I have some content as well on those pages..As you own Burbank.com and Lowell.com, i thought you could definately guide me on this .
    Thanks

    December 8th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    WannaDevelop.com

    Developing generic domains is quiet a challenge. It’s better to focus on a niche-within-a-niche. It’s what I recommend for beginners especially.

    Lets take the travel vertical for example.

    Travel > Vacation > Rentals

    Travel > Vacation > Rentals > Europe

    Travel > Vacation > Rentals > Hawaii > XYZ

    Travel > Vacation > Rentals > Hawaii > XYZ > Beachfront

    You get the idea.. the more specific your site is, the better your chances are at success and making more money too. Don’t make your life difficult trying to rank for Travel or Vacation Rentals or Hawaii Travel…

    You simply won’t get anywhere and your time will be wasted — individuals and companies already involved in this space have been competing for those keywords and shares for years and are backed by experienced teams and hundreds of thousands of dollars in budget towards this project.

    As Elliot mentioned — there are plenty of opportunities to be had. The most difficult part is finding them… Then you just have to put all the pieces together and development isn’t that difficult once you actually do get started!

    Mike
    http://www.wannadevelop.com

    December 8th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Gordon

    Great post.

    One other suggestion is to go after something that you can SELL around. Don’t make a Jonas Brothers fan site, because as much as you get a ton of traffic – you won’t make much money.

    Pick a random consumer product that people actively purchase and be the best site about it and you’ll do great.

    December 8th, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Dan

    Hi Elliot,

    Thanks for the post. The google published seo guide was not found when I clicked on it. Can you please make this available?

    Thanks

    December 9th, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Rob Sequin

    Elliot, you said “I am no expert on this stuff”.

    I would beg to differ. This is a fantastic outline for anyone looking to develop a domain. I think you should make it a sticky some how. Maybe make a resources page here, this one is a keeper.

    I would add that people should use xsitepro. It is 1000% better than Frontpage and has LOTS more features than any off the shelf/free software. I would venture to say that it is better than dreamweaver and MUCH easier to use.

    I am no web designer but xsitepro makes it VERY easy to ad adsense blocks, cloak email, site search, headers, footers, multipage creation and on and on.

    December 9th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

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