My Mini Site Experience | DomainInvesting.com
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My Mini Site Experience

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I have gained some first hand knowledge about mini site development, and I would like to share some of it in case it can be helpfu. Some of this knowledge has been gained from buying mini sites and putting those up, buying mini sites and adding content, and creating my own mini sites; while other information is somewhat obvious.

Domain names that I either own or sold, where I used mini sites include UniqueInk.com, BullRidingHelmet.com, Secaucus.com, FuelAssistance.com, WeddingEntertainment.com, Oenophiles.com, and DebtAssistanceClinic.com – all of which had/have different mini site set-ups.

I found that I had the most success when I purchased mini sites rather than having built them on my own. I was able to enhance the pre-fab sites by adding pages of content based on keyword research within the paramaters of the nice looking design. Not having to fuss with templates and pictures and the initial content saved me a few hours worth of time, and it gave me a great foundation to build out the sites even more.

I’ve discussed strategy to building out mini sites in previous posts, but basically I used the Google keyword tool (and others) to find out what people are looking for related to the topic, and I created pages based on this information.  The pages had limited but adequate information about the topic, and it included Adsense and/or links to the source of the topic. For example, on the page about an outlet mall, I linked to the outlet mall within the text. I also populated the pages with photos from iStockphoto.com, which are cheap and help enhance the appearance of a mini site.

The objective of a mini site is to make money from Adsense or advertising, but it’s also to provide a nice website that is liked/accepted by Google and by visitors. If a visitor leaves the site after 2 seconds, Google may give it a poor quality score, lowering its rankings on the SERPs. Ideally, traffic will grow on a mini site because of the Google rankings, so the lower CTR is hopefully offset by higher traffic. This is important to consider when building pages.

The only time I recommend that inexperienced developers (who have jobs and other family commitments) build their own sites is when they really want a mini site but the quality of the domain name is lacking, and they want to learn about development by practicing. It doesn’t usually make sense to pay $100-1,000 for a mini site on a domain name that isn’t worth that amount, but it has been a great learning experience for me.

Some might argue that UniqueInk.com is more of a brandable name that might not be worth building, however, due to it’s initial launch before I owned it, the site already received enough traffic to justify. Building out a mini site from scratch takes time, but it is a good leaning experience. I will do it again for sure, but I am lucky to be a full time domain investor, so it’s a nice break from my daily routine.

I urge people to only develop mini sites on domain names that are category defining (the exact keyword string) for a term/phrase that is well-searched – especially if it doesn’t already get type in traffic. The point of a mini site is to provide content for people looking for whatever the domain name would imply by getting listed in the search engines. A 3 word long-tail keyword might not get typed in frequently, but when someone types it in to Google, if there’s a site with good information, it will probably rank well and get traffic in that way.

If you build a mini site on a brandable domain name, chances are good that it will have trouble ranking for the exact term you want – especially if there’s any competition, so you will end up spending a lot of time and effort that probably won’t pay off in the end.

There are plenty of mini site options available, and testing is key. Just like you can’t expect to get rich with a newly registered domain name, the same can be said about mini sites. They may enhance the value of a domain name, but execution is key, and you can’t expect a mini site will be a magical solution.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and his company earns revenue from domain names. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Read this blog's disclaimer for information about the publisher, comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts.

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Comments (8)

    Dave

    where is the help or knowledge? This was another useless post. Just go and enjoy the weekend.

    May 23rd, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @Dave

    I thought there was some helpful info to possibly dissuade people from spending $200+ on newly registered domain names, when they probably won’t bring much of a return – especially if they are in competitive industries.

    If you have any questions that I can help you with, drop me a note and I will try to help or give advice.

    Time to go apply some aloe :) Enjoy the weekend.

    May 23rd, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Jason

    Great post Elliot =) Agree about having a category domain or one with a lot of exact searches (5000+ starts to look good for me). Otherwise, you’ll need different traffic strategy and content to bring ‘em in. Very good brandables work too, but stay away from anything that looks spammy to appear authentic and trustworthy.

    May 23rd, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Mark Powell

    Elliot,
    Good timing on this post… I was just thinking about this issue today, wondering if I’m getting it wrong somehow. I would love you, or someone, to put the actual earnings out there so the rest of us know what realistic expectations are. To date my minisite adsense earnings, even on a premium domain, have been a disappointment. $2 a day average.

    You didn’t mention TropicalBirds.com, did you sell it?

    Thanks for all of your work on this blog!

    Mark

    May 23rd, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Elliot

    There are 75+ pages of unique content (maybe more) on TropicalBirds.com so I don’t consider that a mini site. I think it makes a few dollars a day, but I haven’t checked. I am disappointed though because I think it should be more with the 200+ uniques a day (and growing).

    May 23rd, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Robbie

    Who are you selling the minisites too?

    Are you approaching the buyers or are they comming to you?

    Are you selling based on Traffic or Revenue?

    Interested to know what is happening with them?

    I think its a nice post elliot and shall others.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Regards,

    Robbie

    May 24th, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Rob Sequin

    1. Any comments regarding the comparison between whypark, aeiou and devhub?

    I know they are all similar but different in set up and design but has anyone moved one domain from one to another to test?

    I think that would make for a great article if someone took ten domains and moved them from one to the other over the course of several months.

    Or,

    Maybe take the same keyword string and put a .com at one, a .net at another and a .org at the third and see what they are doing several months out.

    2. Anyone using whypark’s parked.com ad feed vs google adsense? Good or bad?

    Thanks.

    May 24th, 2009 at 8:33 am

      Elliot

      @Rob

      I haven’t even logged in to see Oenophiles.com stats, which is the only WhyPark site I have. I’ve never used DevHub before. My AEIOU sites have all done well – in part because I’ve added content.

      @Rob
      I’ve approached domainers and sell based on all factors but never on a rev multiple. More like this generic name is making $/day, would you want to buy it for $?

      May 24th, 2009 at 9:34 am

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