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Advice on Mini Site Development

18

Yesterday, I wrote a couple of articles giving updates on my mini sites that were built by Wanna Develop and Big Ticket Domains a year ago. Over the last year, I've worked with a few mini site development providers and built my own mini sites, and I want to share some tips and advice based on my experience.

• Mini sites may not make a lot of money, but they can be good traffic producers

• A mini site can help get a domain name get ranked in the search engines, which is beneficial to a potential buyer (or the current owner) looking to avoid the typical sandboxing that comes with newly developed websites once the mini site is turned into a comprehensive website.

• With the traffic some can bring in, lead generation might be a higher paying option than Adsense.

• If you can learn enough coding to enable yourself to work with a Wordpress or static html template and use it for various sites, you will save money on many templates (if you have the time). You can use services like TextBroker.com or eLance to find good → Read More


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Update on Another Mini Site: CabCompanies.com

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While providing mini site updates, I figured I would provide an update on CabCompanies.com, another mini site I launched last year.  I bought CabCompanies.com on Snapnames in August of last year, and I used the services of Kevin Leto from Big Ticket Domains to build a database driven "mini site" with cab companies listed from around the US.

I believe I paid around $65 for the domain name, and I paid an additional $250 for the website, which includes the graphics, data, and the Adsense placement. Kevin has also been good about adding listings when companies have contacted me during the past year asking for a listing.

From October 12, 2009 to today:
Total Traffic: 2,853 visitors
Average Monthly Traffic: 238 visitors

Approximate revenue: Between $100 - $150 in revenue. It has also earned a bit more revenue from paid listings I added.

I think this is a great success for a couple primary reasons.

First, it's earned somewhere in the ballpark of a 50% return on the development costs in a year. I believe I got a good → Read More


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Update on WannaDevelop Websites

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In September of 2009, I wrote about the development of four websites, using Mike Cohen's WannaDevelop.com for the project. Almost everything I do with my business is either a test or is in response to a test I've done, and I want to share the results of this test. Cohen's company developed DubrovnikVacations.com, JerusalemVacations.com, EasternCaribbean.com, and ParabolicSkis.com.

Since the first article, I sold EasternCaribbean.com and ParabolicSkis.com, so those traffic results are not included below. The two sites I still own did not receive much (if any) traffic before development. I also only used one Adsense code for the two sites, so the revenue number is combined for both. The results from the last 12 months (October, 2009 - October, 2010) are below, although per Adsense TOS, I am not posting the number of clicks or the exact revenue number.

DubrovnikVacations.com
Total Traffic: 1,467 visitors
Average Monthly Traffic: 122 visitors

JerusalemVacations.com
Total Traffic: 1,423 visitors
Average Monthly Traffic: 119 → Read More


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You’ve Got to Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

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"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money, when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin', when the dealin's done."


I saw Rick Latona's post today about his company exiting the mini site space, and I immediately thought of Kenny Rogers' 1978 song, The Gambler. Rick's company, AEIOU.com, has decided to exit the mini site development space, citing the lack of profitability, "The reality is there is no money in web design." Although I disagree with what Rick said about web design because I know people who do quite well, I believe he has much bigger fish to fry, and I can commiserate with that decision.

I spent some time building my own mini sites, and although it's enjoyable to see a project completed on a good domain name I own, the reality is that they often aren't worth my time and effort. Like Rick, I have bigger fish to fry. When I have started new mini site projects, friends have told me I should focus my efforts → Read More


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HTML Website Template Themes

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Theme ForestAs you know, I like to build mini sites on my own. It's probably a big waste of my time to spend a few hours on a mini site that will yield only a little revenue, but I like to build them nonetheless. I suppose that's one of the nice things about working for myself. It's probably more cost effective to purchase a website from one of my advertisers, but I enjoy the building process and feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish, so I will probably continue doing them every so often.

That said, I really like ThemeForest.net, which is a website where you can find professional templates in a variety of formats (HTML, Joomla, Wordpress, Flash...etc. Depending on your skill and comfort level with development, there is a template for just about everyone. Personally, I prefer the html templates for mini sites, since WP isn't great just out of the box for SEO and I am not great with the tech stuff to make changes.

Below are a few html templates that I like and will use in forthcoming development projects. They aren't free, but they → Read More


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Follow Along as I Build a Mini Site

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This afternoon beginning at 12:00pm noon EDT, I am going to do a small experiment, simultaneously blogging here and Tweeting as I build a website on my domain name, AthensVacations.com. Yes, I listed AthensVacations.com for sale a couple of days ago and it hasn't sold yet, but I am going to build a mini site because it can only enhance the value of the site. I am still willing to sell the domain name and website for now, but will take it off the market when it starts making good Adsense revenue :)

Just a few things to point out first. 1) I don't know how long it will take because all of them take different amounts of time. 2) I am using a website template my designer created, which can be purchased by anyone on ThemeForest.net (called Bluelight). 3) The logo graphic was created ahead of time by my designer. 4) When it's done, it will look similar to TobagoVacations.com - same structure. 5) If you have suggestions for the design, post them here or Tweet them @elliotsblog. 6) I will continue to update this with short updates that → Read More


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