TropicalBirds.com Development Update
One of my readers asked me to provide an update on TropicalBirds.com, and I am happy to do so to encourage others who are like me (no development skills) to consider full scale development. I initially purchased TropicalBirds.com from BuyDomains back in May for several thousand dollars. I parked it for a couple of weeks and found that the traffic was very light, with only a few visitors per week. I was a bit surprised given the name, but my plan was to develop it.
I worked with LogoJeez to create the logo for around $200, and Kevin created the template in html. I did some research and had a copywriter write about 80 articles about various types of tropical birds. I did keyword research on all of these birds to capitalize on the long tail, and I added photos from Wikipedia and some Adsense spots. As the weeks passed, I also added two sections for breeders – one listed by breed and another by state, with each page having different content. I did the same for avian veterinarians by state. I also embedded YouTube videos on the site.
One error I made was at the beginning when I misjudged the eventual size of the site. By building it with html instead of php, I need to manually update every single page whenever I make a change to the sidebar. This is easy for a 10 or even 20 page site, but when it gets to be 200+ pages, it’s a huge challenge, and one that I haven’t been inclined to do very often. With php, the sidebar, header and footer are listed on individual pages, and all other pages link to them, so you just need to make one universal change – MUCH easier.
The site has seen pretty remarkable growth over the last few months, which I attribute to the content that was written specifically for this website. On average right now, the site is seeing around 95 visitors per day, and that number is growing pretty rapidly (some days it is over 150). For a long time, only the home page was listed in Yahoo, but as of November, nearly all of the pages are listed in Yahoo and climbing. The site does well in Google, too, ranking well in many long and short tail keywords. Over 80% of the traffic is from search engines.
As I mentioned a while ago, when I was contacting breeders for link exchanges, I met a lady who asked to advertise. We struck a deal and she is the paying breeder sponsor for several of the breeder pages. I haven’t spent much time seeking other advertisers or link exchanges due to higher priorities. The site generates revenue from Adsense, but it isn’t a very large number. Because the site is written in html, I haven’t done any Adsense banner testing at all (too much trouble to make changes). I currently have a link in the header and 2 link bars that you have to click through twice to generate revenue in the sidebar.
Needless to say, I became very frustrated with the difficulty in making changes, and I was contemplating selling the site to let someone else bring it to the next level. However, I decided that I am going to build a php template and spend a couple days converting the site and then do a 301 redirect to the new pages. I will test various Adsense configurations on different bird breed pages to see if that will generate more revenue. I will also look for some affiliate partners to offer bird food, cages and supplies. This site is full of good information, and it continues to grow – so there is no reason to sell it now. I’ve found that tropical bird lovers are passionate, and they spend a lot of time on the site.
I built a bird forum on the site but have it blocked from Google bots due to worries about duplicate content. When a forum is first launched, the base pages (dozens of them) are the same as thousands of other new forums, so I didn’t want to be penalized. I think the forum will be a big hit once I let it go and it gets indexed, attracting new members. Since there are about 40 posts, I will unblock it after the php pages get indexed. I will also be adding a news section to the new site.
The most important thing I learned is that content is king. If you have good content on a category killer domain name, the search engines will find you and visitors will find you as well. Keep adding content and you will generate revenue and add value to your site. I am hoping traffic will continue to grow and that my testing will ultimately pay off.
I was recently asked to speak about development at DomainFest Global at the end of January, and I plan to provide another update on the growth of TropicalBirds.com as well as my other sites (if I have time). I will hopefully have some new information based on the new template and design of the site, and I am happy to share that with you. Development isn’t easy, but if you find the right partners, you can make it worthwhile. Just based on an earnings multiple alone, the site could be sold at a very strong profit right now. The long term goal is to keep it and increase the value – both to the birding community and ultimately to its economic value.
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