Turning a Dormant Blog Into a Money Maker

Adsense ready Wordpress themes, Advice for Beginners, Blogging, Developing Domains, Monetizing Domains August 26th, 2011

Increasing CTR by DomainerPro.com

How I turned a website with little traffic and no profit into a $10 a day profit machine

Pay attention, because these are concrete, specific tips of the kind that are not usually shared in the domain name industry.

I have a blog – whose name I will not furnish because I don’t want to violate any Adsense rules – where I write reviews of money transfer services. Not the most exciting of subjects perhaps, but important to the millions of people who regularly send remittances overseas. I don’t publish new material often – one article per month or so – but I do write the articles myself and I try to make them useful.

To find an article topic, I go to news.google.com and do a search for “money transfer”. As I sift through the results I ignore press releases. I keep scrolling until I find a genuine news piece. I read it, absorb the info, then summarize it into a concise article, using my own phrasing and adding my own observations. This usually takes about half an hour.

Alternatively, I look at my stats to see what search phrases readers are using to find my website. I take one of the more popular phrases, do my own search and read up on that subject, and write an article about it.

I also occasionally answer readers’ questions about problems they may be having with online transfer systems or online bank accounts.

The website was created with WordPress, is monetized with Google Adsense, and has always paid quite well per click. The problem has been the lack of traffic, and the low CTR. There is some search traffic, but not enough to generate significant income. Recently I decided to try driving traffic to the website with Google Adwords. I was able to get traffic for as little as 2 cents per click, but the problem was that the Adsense CTR (click through rate) was quite low, on the order of 1.5 percent.

To address this issue, I installed the Heatmap theme, which is an Adsense-optimized WordPress theme. I monetized the website fully, with five Adsense units on each page, three of those being ad units, and two link units, using the sizes and placements recommended by the Heatmap theme. I used the Adsense Injection plugin to place some of the ads strategically.

Initially I set the Adsense ads to image and text, which is the default setting. With the new ad placements, the CTR climbed to between 5% and 7%. Then I tried setting the ads to text only, no images, and I saw another jump in CTR, to between 10% and 15%.

Yes, the ads are a bit over the top. They do somewhat take over the website. But it worked. With the CTR as high as it is, I can now drive traffic with Adwords and make a profit. I spend about $3 per day advertising this site with Adwords, and it generates about $15 per day on Adsense. So it’s quite a good profit for a website that requires a time investment of 30 minutes per month.

The next challenge will be to bring in traffic from other sources, and to update the website more frequently – perhaps once every three or four days – with new articles. I may do this myself, or contract it out, but the key is that the articles must be quality writing, with useful tips and news. Content is still king.

Past and Future Projects

Developing Domains, Domains for Sale, Monetizing Domains May 26th, 2009

Project in development by DomainerPro.com

I’ve been working on building a membership base for my Hapkido website, http://www.HapkidoNetwork.com. Hapkido is a Korean martial art that is a mix of hard and soft, with joint locks and circular movements, but also hard strikes. It’s got high Google rankings for “Hapkido network” and “Hapkido forum”, but so far I’ve had trouble building a membership base. 220 is not bad, but my goal is 1,000 by the end of the year. Ads on forums have notoriously low CTRs, so it will take a combination of high traffic and diverse revenue streams to make a significant profit.

VenezuelaReport.com is an online magazine/blog about life in Venezuela. I’m working on adding a discussion forum to it. The site is already ranked in the first page of Google results for the keywords “Venezuela report” and “life in Venezuela.” The domain and website are available for sale, so if you are interested, contact me.

My house in Panama is for sale, so I made use of a nice domain I had sitting around – CasaPanama.com – to build a website to showcase the house. That’s one good thing about buying reams of domain names in areas that interest you: whenever you need a good domain name for a project, there it is.

I happen to own Greenport.org – Greenport is a “historic village” and summer getaway on Long Island, New York. Rather than waste such a promising domain name on parking, I thought I would develop it into a resource and guide for the town of Greenport. I’ll be doing that soon.

I also plan to build a website about developing solar energy technologies. That field is already big and will only get bigger. I own several relevant domains and it’s just a matter of choosing one, doing the work, and doing the research.

More and more, however, I’m realizing that it would be more profitable to build an online application. Blogs are fun and inexpensive to build, but the real traffic magnets are useful interactive applications that allow people to do something. I know this is rather an obvious point, but I think many domainers miss it. I have some ideas in this area but it’s too soon to share them. I’ll keep you posted.

Which of These Domains Would You Develop?

Developing Domains, Monetizing Domains April 15th, 2008

choosing a domain name

I’ve decided to build a social networking website focused on the Korean martial art of Hapkido. I have ten good domain names to choose from and I cannot decide. Can you help? I’d really appreciate any suggestions.

Half of my Hapkido-related domain names are parked at Sedo, and the other half at WhyPark.com where they display Adsense ads. Here are the stats from the last 12 months, except for Hapkido.info which has only been parked 10 months or so.

Stats for Hapkido domain names
March 1st 2007 to March 1st 2008
SEDO.COM            
Domain Uniques Clicks CTR     Earnings
Hapkido.info 102 5 4.90%     $1.33
HapkidoNet.com 89 4 4.49%     $0.34
HapkidoStyles.com 33 1 3.03%     $0.15
HapkidoWest.net 65 1 1.54%     $0.05
HapkidoNet.net 67 0 0.00%     $0.00
HapkidoWest.info 8 0 0.00%     $0.00
ADSENSE
(WHYPARK.COM)
           
HapkidoArts.com 25 1 4.00%     $0.10
HapkidoBoard.com 166 8 4.82%     $0.78
HapkidoDojang.com 148 4 2.70%     $0.96
HapkidoFighting.com 78 2 2.56%     $0.23
HapkidoVideos.com 131 24 18.32%     $3.32

I’m going to create a website where Hapkidoists and other Korean martial arts practitioners can discuss, share photos, share videos and make friends. I will most likely use Ning, though I am considering Drupal. Ning is so much less work, but doesn’t offer the same degree of control.

I have narrowed it down to the four in red. Out of those, HapkidoVideos.com cries out to be developed into a video sales site, perhaps an Amazon affiliate site. So that leaves the other three: Hapkido.info, HapkidoBoard.com, and HapkidoDojang.com.

  1. Hapkido.info – nice and short, and will look awfully good up there in a website header. I worry, however, that many people are not familiar with the .info extension and may not remember it.
  2. HapkidoBoard.com – gets the most traffic of all my choices, and it’s precise and relevant. Only problem is, well, it’s kind of boring. I feel “board” already, ha ha.
  3. HapkidoDojang.com – “dojang” is the Korean word for dojo. This is what the Korean arts call their training place. I think this domain has a nice ring to it, but I’m concerned that it might be too long or that the spelling might be challenging for some.

So, what do you think? Which of these would you choose to develop? Which is the easiest to spell and most memorable?

Are These Domain Names Dogs?

As you can see, none of these domain names are profitable on a purely parking basis. Several have made nothing at all, or very little. On the other hand, they get some traffic, and I never got around to optimizing them. I parked them and forgot about them, until I decided to tackle this social network project. Still, even if I were to optimize the parked pages they would probably do no better than break even.

Does that mean these domains are a waste of money and should be dropped? I don’t think so (ok, I might drop HapkidoWest.info. But not the others). Once I choose a domain to use for my social networking website, I will build the site, then forward all the other domains to that destination.

Adding them all up, these domains get almost 1,000 unique visitors per year. Build a website, use some Facebook-style viral marketing tactics to grow the membership, some linkbait, maybe a low-key Adwords campaign, and within a year I could see significant traffic. And that means profit.

Developing Domain Names With Social Networks

Developing Domains, Monetizing Domains February 19th, 2008

developing domain names

I’ve been thinking about developing a few of my domain names into social networks, and I’ve been researching various possible software platforms. I’ve considered such varied solutions as Drupal, Pligg, a combination of WordPress and phpBB, and Ning.

All of these are open source and free except for Ning, which is a hosted application that lets you build your own full-featured social network. It’s free, but Ning runs ads on your network, unless you pay a (fairly low) monthly fee in which case you can do away with the ads or run your own if you like.

By the way, the Ning blog recently wrote a post on the unveiling of Magicians.com. I remember July last year when the owner posted the following on the NamePros.com forum:

Hello everyone,I’ve owned several excellent domain names for some time, but have not posted them for feedback in a forum like this! If you have any thoughts on value or other for these domains, please let me know! I look forward to your posts! Have a great day,

Magician.com
Magicians.com
Illusionist.com
MagicComedian.com

The respondents valued these domains anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 each, although one fellow had a unique offer:

I wish I had one of those names. Are you interested in my first born child?

Anyway, I’m glad the owner chose the development route and I’ll be interested to see if he sticks with the Ning platform over the long term.

In the course of my research on social network solutions I came across this fantastic article on TechCrunch, from July of last year:

Part One: Nine Ways to Build Your Own Social Network

Part Two: 34 More Ways to Build Your Own Social Network

Michael takes a superbly detailed look at all the solution providers in the social networking space. I have not yet decided which solution I’ll be using, though I’m fairly sure I’ll go with Ning for those domains that I feel have a good chance of attracting a large user base.

For communities that might be smaller (a few hundred members or less) I will choose a solution with no monthly fees and no cost after initial set up (aside from hosting of course).

Have you developed any of your domain names into social networks? What software did you use? What success have you had?

Learning from Sahar Sarid

Domaining Mistakes, Life Issues, Monetizing Domains, Personal September 24th, 2007

monetizing domain names of former websites

I love DNJournal’s detailed profiles of major players in the domain name business, telling how they got started and how they made it big. Today I re-read Sahar Sarid’s story for the third time. I’m also big fan of his blog, TheConceptualist.com. I learn something from it every day. So I went back and read his story again, because I am in need of some encouragement…

Read the rest of this entry »

Monetizing Domain Names of Former Websites Can Be a Challenge

Advice for Beginners, Monetizing Domains September 15th, 2007

monetizing domain names of former websites

If you own any domains that used to be functioning websites and still receive traffic from back links, you may have noticed that these can be hard to monetize. The click through rate is typically quite low. Why is this, and what can be done about it?

Read the rest of this entry »