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Inspiration to get involved in web development.
A post to inspire you.
SincerelySandy




msg:961917
 7:20 pm on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

After constantly seeing threads where people are asking other webmasters "how much do you make" I've been compelled to make this post. I won't share how much money I make but on the other hand people do need inspiration. WebmasterWorld is largely responsible for what I have learned and the sucess I have attained so hopefully this post will "give something back" , like inspiration if nothing else.

When I first found WebmasterWorld I only knew enough html to make a website and nothing more. I had made a website to sell a product I created. I came to WebmasterWorld trying to figure out how to get traffic to my site. Slowly but surely I learned what I needed to know to get my site to the top of the SERPs and get traffic. Turns out, no one wanted my product, but I had learned what I needed to know to get a site to the top. I also ended up gaining a working knowledge of a bunch of different programming languages. I learned much more than I ever wanted to know and I ended up finding out I was much better a making and promoting websites than I was a selling my product no one wanted.

So... I started creating informational type websites on subjects I was interested in and I ran advertising on them, mostly adsense. One thing led to another and I started doing freelance design and SEO for other people and businesses while I was working on my own websites and promoting them. About 1 year after beginning doing freelance work, I stopped. I was making too much money from my own sites to justify my time working on other peoples. It was not easy turning down the easy money and instant cash from clients, but the money I make from my own websites is even easier, if for no other reason than I work on my own schedule, and I don't need the instant cash due to a large enough recurring income from my own sites.

I'm NO genius! There are soooo many people that know so much more about various things to do with being a webmaster. And there are bound to be many people that are better at SEO than I am. But I've decided that it's not how much you know that makes you succesfull, it's what you know. Somehow, I have read and learned the right combination of things to be very successfull, in my own opinion of course. And most of what I know I have learned reading here. For over a year now, I only work on my own sites, about 2 hours a day, sometimes much more when I'm driven or inspired by an idea. I scan WebmasterWorld almost every day (just like a business man reads the Wall Street Journal, I feel compelled to scan WebmasterWorld everyday to keep current on what's going on), I do not have any scraper sites and I never steal content. I do have a number of sites on different subjects all of which either provide unique content or content that is compiled and presented in a more useable manner for the average joe surfer. Most of my money is made through advertising programs such as adsense and YPN, fastclick etc. I have had no job for years now, just my websites. I have only recently ventured into affiliate sites, not because I'm interested or think I can make more money with affiliate marketing than with advertising. My main reason is because I feel it's important to diversify in many ways.


Good luck to all the honest people out there, I hope I have helped somehow.

 

RisaBB




msg:961947
 5:53 pm on Jan 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Sandy,

Great posts. Do you write all of your content, or do you get articles that others have written that talk about your topic?

Risa

SincerelySandy




msg:961948
 4:01 pm on Jan 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi RisaBB, I do it all the hard way, I write my own content. Many of my sites have pages that use the same templates and I'm sure there is a way I can automate the process of creating some of these pages, but I have not taken the time to figure out a way. I sometimes pay friends to write content for me.

RisaBB




msg:961949
 4:52 pm on Jan 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Sandy,

You are an inpiration. I read the entire post to my husband last night. I've been designing websites for 6 years and I've been successful at doing SEO for my clients who have paid me to do it.

I few months ago I figured, if I can get my client's sites to the top of the SE's, I should sell my own stuff. I launched my own site (in addition to my web design site) in December, but I have to pay for placement because of the Google sandbox. Sales are slow, but I'm reluctant to spend a lot on PPC. I guess I'll know better in a year how well my sales will be.

But informational sites are intriguing. I never thought of that. I guess I just can't believe that you can make money from ads. Just to clarify what I think I know - you place adsense ads on your site, and when someone clicks on an ad, you make money. I know that the web is all about linking, but I guess I find it hard to believe that people click on links so much that it can be so profitable.

Another question regarding keyword research. Do you use your gut feeling, or do you use a tool like Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery? Do you check how many links your competitors have? Do you make spreadsheets and do all kinds of analysis?

Until your post, I don't think I quite realized how important incoming links are (although I was surprised that you said that you'd take links even from non-relevant sites).

Also, regarding the informational sites that you launch, do you choose your topic based on an expertise that you have, or because you are passionate and very interested in the topic?

You've got me re-thinking my marketing plan. I thought this year, in addition to working on my new e-commerce website, I'd try to really pump up my web design/SEO business (sending out letters, making more calls, following up on leads I never pursued, attending SEO seminars) but now I'm thinking that you have achieved what I would really like to achieve - not having any clients (although I've used sub-contractors for my last few sites because the work is more complex and I'm swamped. I can keep doing that).

Thanks for your inspiration and any additional advice.

Risa

SincerelySandy




msg:961950
 7:19 pm on Jan 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just to clarify what I think I know - you place adsense ads on your site, and when someone clicks on an ad, you make money
Yes, that's correct. It suprises me as well, how many people click on ads. Especially when I try to do a good job of providing people with the content they expect to find.

>Another question regarding keyword research. Do you use your gut feeling, or do you use a tool like Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery?

I use my gut feeling, but I also verify by using overtures keyword tool (I don't do any PPC advertising though). I also believe (as many do) that it is important to check your logs occasionally to see what keywords people are really using to end up at your site.

>Do you check how many links your competitors have?

Definately not, this would be very discouraging since many of them have thousands of links. I probably would not have created many of the sites I have done if I looked at how many links my competitors have. I have found many times over that it is not how many links you have that puts you above your competitors, it is the quality of those links in conjunction with a quality page that is optimized well (but not overboard with the keyword spamming).

>Do you make spreadsheets and do all kinds of analysis?

As little as possible. I'm not saying that people should not do "all kinds of analysis", I'm just saying that I do not. I don't want to and I think my time is better spent in other ways. However, I do think it's important to experiment to find what works, and experimentation does require analysis. The main types of analysis I do are to determine the best ad placement, determine what SE's people are coming from, and what keywords they are using. I really don't do much though in the way of analysis.

>that you said that you'd take links even from non-relevant sites

Not "non-relevant", just "less" relevant. I only meant that I will only link out to a site that is directly related to what my page is about, but as far as someone linking to me, I am happy enough if the site is just "related" and not "directly related".

>do you choose your topic based on an expertise that you have, or because you are passionate and very interested in the topic?

Sometimes I choose topics because I am experienced or interested in them. Sometime I choose topics because I think they will be good money makers. When I do a site on something that I think will be a good money maker, it is usually a subject that I don't think many people will have thought of but that I know there is a demand for information on that subject and there is money in that industry. For example.... surrogate mothers, probably not alot of webmasters looking to make money would make a site on that subject, but I know there is a good deal of money involved in that area. If I were looking to make a site just for the money, and on a subject I had no particular interest in, that would be the type of thing I would try. Except now that I have posted the idea in a public forum, I'll have to think of something else... maybe. I've got plenty of ideas though.

>what I would really like to achieve - not having any clients

Yes, I can't tell you how great it's been to work at my own pace, and I'm a major "hermit", so I never liked having to talk to people. I also make much, much more money working on my own sites.

kaymeis




msg:961951
 5:48 pm on Jan 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I totall agreee with you 100 Percent. I've decide to commit to doing info sites because I've found designing for other people to be quite stressful. I got three offers to design for three companies. Their reps promised to call me back. Never heard from them again. So oned ay while surging the net I run into this huge goldmine call online advertising. Isaid to myself "bye prospective clients". Although I may design for people occassionaly, if the money is good. I really want to stick with designing for myself and making money from my websites.

kaymeis




msg:961952
 5:54 pm on Jan 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sandy,

I have a question for you. If you're designing for yourself, how long should it take to design a site?

cigam




msg:961953
 7:14 pm on Jan 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Great topic and words of wisdom. From a business side of things, has everyone created an LLC? If not why? Also, if you have, did you create it in the state you live in or someother state? It's the legal side of things that I am having a hard time with. I don't want to find out later that I should have protected myself/assets in some way and that I didn't.

TSchumm




msg:961954
 3:54 pm on Jan 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is a great topic. Just reading this has gotten me very motivated to get working on some ideas.

just a quick question though. i think what inspires alot of people, on top of knowing that they developed something that alot of people frequently visit, is how much many they COULD make doing this.

i know alot of you don't like to post your personal income or site statistics.. but what, in reality, are some numbers one could hit from a content site as far as monthly uniques, monthly pvs, monthly revenue, etc.

if you're getting 100,000 page views per month, what can you expect in terms of revenue? what about for 200k, 500k or 1million pvs? what are some realistic, conservative numbers one could expect to help them shoot for their traffic goals? thanks alot!

SincerelySandy




msg:961955
 4:53 pm on Jan 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you're designing for yourself, how long should it take to design a site?
Exactly 137 hours and 27 minutes, always! I'm sorry but I could not resist the sarcastic humor. Seriously though, there is no way to answer that question. A site can range anywhere in size from 1 page to 1 million pages. My best answer is that "it takes what it takes", don't rush it.
has everyone created an LLC? If not why?

The only reason I got a business name was because for a while I was designing and optimizing sites for other people and businesses. Most customers seemed more comfortable contracting a company rather than a person. Once my advertising income hit 6 figures a year, I decided to get another business name, primarily to make record keeping easier. I never had to get a business name, but for me it made some things easier. I'm sure there are plenty of people making good money online that don't have a business name and don't need one either.
if you're getting 100,000 page views per month, what can you expect in terms of revenue?

There is no way to accurately answer these types of questions, but, here's some food for thought... I would expect to earn about $8,000 for 100,000 ad impressions on a site specifically about pediatricians. I would expect to earn about $600 for 100,000 ad impressions on a site about animals. This being said, you will probably find there are a lot more people out there looking for information or products for animals than there are looking for pediatricians. Therefore you may have to work real hard to get 100,000 impressions on a site about pediatricians, but it might be a breeze to get way more impressions than that with an animal or hobby related site. What I have concluded is that in my case, it is best not to spend much time deciding on a subject, if I have an idea I just do it and see how it works.

SincerelySandy




msg:961956
 6:04 pm on Jan 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is a question from a sticky mail. I thought the answer might benifit someone else so I'm posting it.
I have been thinking of setting up a site for many years now, but even though I spend lots of time reading, I still do not know how to start. If possible, can you tell me how to start a web site.


Also, please keep in mind that my computer knowledge is limited to email. So, must include what I need to know to set up the web site.

I know alot of people will say not to go with a free hosting type of website but I think they have there place. So here's my answer... First I would pick a very specific topic and go local. What kind of food do you like? Italian, Chinese? Go to geocities.com (there are others) and create a free website, you can use a template, you don't need to know html. Make a website that is a guide to Italian dinning in your area. If you're in a small city and there are not alot of Italian places, maybe make it a guide to "fine" dinning in your area. Make a page for each restaurant. Go there and take pictures, see what's on the menu, try the food.

After you have enough content, get some good quality links. Once you see that your site is getting some traffic and that it can at least make $5 or $10 a month to pay for hosting, then upgrade your site to an "ad free" site or your own domain name. Yahoo, or whatever free host you use, will likely do the url forwarding for you when you decide to upgrade your site from geocities .com/yoursite to yoursite .com .

morron




msg:961957
 2:52 am on Jan 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your direction, I wil proceed and hopefully I can keep you inform of my progress so that you can keep me on track.

Thanks again.

kaymeis




msg:961958
 10:30 am on Jan 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sandy,

I've a couple of questions.

1. I'm doing a series of tutorials on all the web technologies from HTML to the latest. Do you think I could make money through these tutorials

2.For an adsense newbie like myself, how much should I expect to average the first, say three months? Or how much should I expect within this time frame?

RisaBB




msg:961959
 5:01 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hello again Sandy,

I have another question.

You said, "When I do a site on something that I think will be a good money maker, it is usually a subject that I don't think many people will have thought of but that I know there is a demand for information on that subject and there is money in that industry."

You gave an example of surrogate mothers. In another post, your wrote that either you or your friends write the content. How do you write the content of a site that you have an interest in, but that you are not an expert in? Do you become an expert because you do so much research to create the page?

Would your content include items like the following?

- Links to news articles about surrogate mothers
- Famous people who've used surrogate mothers
- The legal aspect of surrogate mothers
- The emotional toll on the surrogate mother
- Why surrogate mothers do it
- The steps involved in hiring a surrogate mother
- Where to find a surrogate mother
- Etc.

Am I on the right track about thinking how you create an informational site? I'm still not sure how to generate hundreds of pages, but maybe one thing leads to another.

Thanks, Sandy. Your advice is appreciated.

Risa

SincerelySandy




msg:961960
 6:27 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

How do you write the content of a site that you have an interest in, but that you are not an expert in? Do you become an expert because you do so much research to create the page?

In my opinion you don't need to be an expert on a subject to put a site together that is better than many other sites on the same subject that are put together by "experts". By "better" I mean easier to read, easier to look at, easier to find the information the visitor came for, less advertising or better targeted and not flashy, more simple to use, more effective copy... On the other hand, even though I don't necessarily become an expert in a subject I do a site on, I do at the very least, end up becoming better informed on that subject.
Would your content include items like the following?...

I would include all of the things you suggested.
Am I on the right track about thinking how you create an informational site? I'm still not sure how to generate hundreds of pages, but maybe one thing leads to another.

Yes, definately on the right track. As for creating hundreds of pages, you don't need to. One of my smallest sites is 5 pages and it pulls in $70 a day in ad revenue. I've never spent a dime on the site (except hosing, domain costs, and a few paid directory listings). On the other hand, if you find that one of your sites has turned out more profitable than the others, you may want to add more pages/content to it for obvious reasons. If I were to put together a site on surrogate mothers with all of the different content you mentioned, and it turned out to be a profitable site, I would first look and see what keywords most people were finding the site with. Then I would expand my content in those areas. Or I would take this section of the content you mentioned "Where to find a surrogate mother" and I would expand it to include other cities. Add info on where to find them in a few other cities, if those pages make enough money to validate your time, keep adding more pages like that.

kaymeis




msg:961961
 12:44 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Sandy,

I'm putting together a tutorial site on HTML, and the number of pages on that site is about 20. Is that too much for a first timer

kaz

SincerelySandy




msg:961962
 3:17 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Kaymeis - No, I definately don't think 20 pages is to many for an html tutorial site. I think it would be very difficult to write a comprehensive tutorial on html in less than 20 pages, but I don't know since I've never tried. Anyway, 20 pages isn't too many and you will probably need at least that to compete with the many tutorials already out there.

wolfadeus




msg:961963
 3:23 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey kaymeis, be very careful about one aspect many newbies (including myself with my first website) neglect - competition. Do a lot of research on your competitors before you get started on a project ot figure out whether it is worth it. The market these days is not only growing, but also consolidating rapidly, meaning that "small fish" are more likely to be eaten by the bigger ones.

HTML tutorials might be very competitive, so I would advise you to do some marketing research before you invest too much time! Good luck!

kaymeis




msg:961964
 1:18 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have another question. Iknow it's difficult but how much should I be making per month because I decide to go full time?

SincerelySandy




msg:961965
 3:48 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

As far as how much you should be making before you go "full time", that is a question only you can answer. I think any webmaster will tell you to "play it safe, very safe". Now if you're talking about quitting a reliable job to pursue a full time self employeed webmaster living, you should really be careful. Unless your website(s) is making way more money than your other job, and has been doing so for at least 9 months, I would not even consider it. Don't forget, there are plenty of post on WebmasterWorld about people that have websites that are many years old, established and making good money and suddenly after many years of steady traffic and money, something happens and they lose the majority of their traffic/money.

kaymeis




msg:961966
 4:14 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, the job that I'm at now, I can't do much with my salary.So I thought I give it a try for about a year, and see how it goes. Fortunately, I also plan on deversifying into other web-related stuff so maybe that might create a safe cushion for me.

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