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|Inspiration to get involved in web development.|
A post to inspire you.
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.
Thanks for taking the time to inspire us newbies. I´ve been on my way to set up my websites for couple of years now but being a cronic procrastinator I´m not getting there fast enough. My main motivation for becoming a webmaster is to be my own boss and to be able to earn a living without being tied to a geographic location. It´s just that I get owerwhelmed by all the tings I imagine I need to learn, also I´m technologically challenged and programming reminds me alot of math that was my worst subject in school. I´m also too affected by others oppinions, I sometimes feel that if I´m going to do all that work in solitude I should be striving to become a artist or novelist, that gets respect in society while peoples eyes tend to glaze over when they hear mention of internet, web deveoloping or programming. Then again I haven´t got an idea for a novel but many for websites. Guess the choise is between getting respect but little money as successful novelist or getting money but little respect as successful webmaster.
Great post, and very, very true. Sometimes all it takes is time and commitment to make some really good money from your website. This applies to people who intentd to sell products as well as those who write content for information sites.
Thanks Mack, and speaking of time, It's important to manage your time well when you are working for yourself and on your own sites. Here's some common examples that apply to many of us
When your site(s) is not making much money it can be hard to find the motivation to work on it, because you are not seeing the rewards right away. Keep working, have some patience, don't do anything rash, it may be a good webmasters most valuable assett.
When your site IS doing well, it can be all to easy to spend your time checking your wonderful SERP positions or watching your daily earnings, DONT. Make a new site, add some content to the one you have, get some links... do something constructive or go out and play!
Don't spend too much time in forums trying to figure out whats wrong with your site in google, or how to get "even better" positions in the SE's. Once you know the basics of how to get good positions, don't waste your time trying to figure out the nuances of algorithms, Do Some Work.
I agree with you Sandy. It boggles my mind sometimes when I tell someone what I do and I get back that the person does not feel they are smart/creative/technically skilled enough to ever do what I do. It's just not true. Anyone can do this if they just spend the time to do it.
If you read, learn and ask questions, everything you need to know can be found and used. Much can be found right here.
I know I lucked into a internet job and I will always say that it was finding WW that made me good at my job and then gave me the knowledge and confidence to leave that job to go on my own.
You can do it, people! Just think of WebmasterWorld as a free-wheeling liberal arts education about the internet. And you can get your degree in 18 months or less. ;)
Very nice post!
The other day I went to a new accountant and he was shocked that I was making money from what he referred to as a "virtual business". He was astounded when I went through the different ways I was doing it ie. cpa, cpc, cpm etc.
When I first started I didn't even know how to send an email but with resources like WebmasterWorld I learnt very quickly.
These days I don't even build or market sites to make money. I do it because there is nothing else that I would rather do and I think that is what makes the difference and what brings in the dollars.
Just to let you know, you can make loads more money with affiliate programs if your traffic converts ;)
Though i don't know how long will it take me to catch up with you, i will try. :)
Sandy thanks for the inspiring post. I'm working on a few content sites, but haven't got them to the level where they are producing a full time income. Can you give us an idea of how many sites you run - and whether you produce a great number of pages or concentrate more on fewer pages/higher quality.
|"Once you know the basics of how to get good positions, don't waste your time trying to figure out the nuances of algorithms, Do Some Work." |
To all those who have sticky mailed me asking to see an example of one of my site... I'm sorry. I really enjoy my anonymity or I would be happy to. I'm not that concerned about content theft or scrapers, I just value my anonymity or I would be happy to show an example.
Here's a few answers to some of your questions though... I have over a dozen sites ranging from 2 pages to a couple hundred. I try to set my sites up so they require very little maintenance. Even though they do not need much maintenance, I try to make at least a subtle change to a least a few pages of each site once every month or two so the SE's know that the pages are being maintained and the info is not outdated. I do NOT link all my sites together, I don't even use any of my own established sites to link to the new ones to get them indexed. I don't create multiple sites on the same subject. I've never done any paid advertising (there's nothing wrong with it though, I just haven't). I have and will pay for a link if I think it will bring me some traffic, generally the best links aren't for sale though.
I also try to come up with ideas for sites that do not require SE's for traffic (although currently most of my traffic does come from SE's). One of my favorite sites is a "funny" site that gets hardly any traffic from the SE's and is one of those sites that you e-mail to a friend because you thought it was funny. I don't sell anything on it and there is hardly any advertising on it. I use it to funnel traffic to an informational site I have on the same subject that does run advertising. I'd love to show you all this site by putting it in my profile because it's such a good example in a lot of ways, but again, I value my anonymity to much.
As for someones question about if I focus on quantity or quality, both. Here's my opinion on what constitutes a quality informational webpage. It should be very focused with a minimal number of links to directly related subjects. It should have as little else as possible on it other than the information you are trying to provide. It should be easy to read. It should have as few images and ads as possible. Ads should not be everywhere, just one or two locations. In other words don't put an ad at the top, one on the bottom, one blended in content, one on the left... The thing I like to do is the old "Keep it Simple" style. As for quantity, once I have set up a site and have done what I can to get good positions for it in the SERP's, I move on and create something else or add content to one of my other sites. There is a lot to be said for the difference in traffic from being in the #1 position and being in the #4 spot, but there is also alot to be said for not putting all your eggs in one basket (one site). The more sites you have, the less the changes the SE's make will effect you (unless you interlink all your sites). The more subjects you have, the less the seasons of the year effect your overall earnings.
That's all I can think of for now. On a final note, and I hesitate to say this or surely someone will think there is an ulterior motive... WebmasterWorld is the only forum I have ever read on a regular basis or participated in. Not because of some sense of loyalty, one of my reasons is that the inability of people to link to their sites in their posts adds more credibility to what they have to say. I take everything I read with a grain of salt. I also place a little more importance on post from older members than new ones like me, (actually I've been hanging out here for a few years now). This does not always apply since many new members have been webmasters for a long time.
great post sandy. the "nonprofessionals" who lurk here really appreciate it.
Very interesting - thanks for such a clear response!
|Small Website Guy|
|My main motivation for becoming a webmaster is to be my own boss and to be able to earn a living without being tied to a geographic location. |
The problem is that web development skills usually pay more if you work for an employer. My hobby website is now finally making more than $100/day, supposedly a magic number that people strive for, but I still get paid four times as much money doing web programming for a big corporation. I'm not quitting my day job.
Depends what you do with your website. If you put a bricks and mortar business behind it, it can earn a lot more and faster.
5 years ago I was an employee. Now my brother and I employ 200 people. And I cannot write a line of code.
All that, by the way is thanks to Google and Yahoo.
|Depends what you do with your website. If you put a bricks and mortar business behind it, it can earn a lot more and faster. |
I have found a lot of truth in that statement. Most of the clients I did jobs for had brick and mortar businesses or provided a service and they were quickly making more money than I was after a little work on their site or the creation of one. Many of them send Christmas cards and sometimes money. It was always a nice feeling to do something that not only makes me money but also helps someone else get a good start, especially when they are appreciative.
it is easier for saying than doing,however it is a nice thought
Great inspirational post, Sandy, I wish you all the best. They only thing I'd like to qualify in your post is these statements:
I started creating informational type websites on subjects I was interested in and I ran advertising on them, mostly adsense
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.
I have had no job for years now, just my websites.
When I was originally reading this it seemed from your post that it took you a year to make so much money with Adsense that you didn't need to work. After reading it over again, I realized that the websites were there most likely for a long time...now, Adsense's been here less than 3 years, so to say "I ran adsense" and "after a year I quit my job" probably means you quit your job less than 2 years ago, so "I had no job for years" doesn't quite add up.
Can you please clarify - and I hope this preserves your anonymity: (a) approximately how long ago did you start your first site, and (b) when did you quit working for other people. This is not for myself, but for all other newbies who want to follow your path, and don't want to be mislead that this is so easy.
Aleksl...If she won't show you her URLs in a sticky mail, (I was one of those who asked), then why do you think she will give a satisfactory answer to your questions? Everyone has their own story - and obviously Sincere Sandy values being a private person, so I would just leave it at that. Respecting someone's call for privacy is a no brainer. On the other hand, feel free to sticky mail me for further "newbie" discussion.
If you don't mind sharing, what process do you use to come up with ideas for sites that do not require SE's for traffic?
More good questions people,
First off aleksl, I don't have a very good sense of time, nor do I have access to my records at the moment, but I will try to give a time frame. One thing to note is that even though I only work on my sites a few hours a day now, during my first year I spent alot of 12 hour days reading and learning (I have the motivation and tenacity of a pit bull).
I created my first website about 1 year before adsense was born. A few months before adsense came around I had figured out how to get that site near the top of the SERPs. I had also come to realize no one wanted my product so I started running advertising on the site. I started making a little money and realized that even though no one wanted my product, there was definately money in that niche. So I created another site that was informational and ran ads on it. Note: I did not create a second site until I learned how to get good positions with my first one. When adsense came out I was just starting to make money with advertising with other companies as well as direct advertising. About this same time I was getting inquiries from people that wanted a website designed or optimized. Within a few more months I was making enough money between freelance work and advertising that I quit my job. About a year after starting freelance, I stopped so I could focus on my own sites. That and I was getting stressed by all the clients that kept finding me.
I think it's important to note here that even though there were no sandbox issues when I started, it still took me almost a year from the point I had started my first site to the point where I was generating enough money to tease me and make me realize I could earn a living.
Someone asked what type of editing program I use, I have nothing against editing programs but I prefer not to use them because of all the additional coding (code bloat). I start with a blank notepad document or I copy one of my existing pages to use as a sort of template for the new one. When I first started, it almost seemed just as easy to gain a working knowledge of programming languages as it would be to learn how to use editing software. Also, because I learned the languages instead of a program, I felt as though I was better equipped to work on other peoples sites.
No process really, just hard thinking and the good luck to come across an idea that works. Funny sites and sites that invoke strong opinions and emotions tend to be more viral that other types of sites, so when I'm trying to think of ideas, I keep this in mind.
|what process do you use to come up with ideas for sites that do not require SE's for traffic? |
Thanks for the inspirational post for us newbies. Can you go into any more detail regarding how we should be spending our time promoting our sites.
What type of SEO work returns the best ROI?
"Can you go into any more detail regarding how we should be spending our time promoting our sites.
What type of SEO work returns the best ROI? "
If you've got only ten minutes, I would say:
a. spend 5 minutes building a great site with great content.
b. Spend the remaining time getting links, relevant links that is.
The above is for only the white hat part of the trick.
If you want to get into the black or grey hat part of seo to be competitive, well, wish you luck, since it takes years of experience to learn it by yourself or you can pay a real SEO to help you.
What type of Black Hat techniques are you referring to? Won't this most likely get you banned from the SERPS.
|Can you go into any more detail regarding how we should be spending our time promoting our sites. |
I would agree with what gameon said, except that I would find time each day to come here and keep current on what's going on. I don't watch or read the morning news, I read WebmasterWorld each morning as I soak in the hot tub. Other than that, I probably spend 1/2 to 3/4 of my time working on my sites and the rest of my time getting links.
As far as incoming links go, I'm happy to have a link from almost anywhere and I'm not as concerned about the site or page being very directly related. As far as outgoing links go, I will only link to directly related sites. I try not to link to more than a few external sites on any given page. I almost never trade links directly although sometimes I will offer someone a link on my site "D" if they will add a link to my site "A". Hardly any of my sites have a links page, my general feeling about link pages is that if you can not work the link into the content of one of your "real" pages, then it probably does not belong on your site.
Someone mentioned black hat techniques, if you don't know what your doing, then you should not use black hat techniques on a site you care about. If you want to experiment with black hat, get a new site in a different name and practice on it. I actually did try some black hat techniques ranging from hidden text to cloaking when I first started, it was a waste of my time. I very quickly learned that I did not need them and was much better off spending my time in other ways.
Sandy, you state:..."my general feeling about link pages is that if you can not work the link into the content of one of your "real" pages, then it probably does not belong on your site.
I am curious how you react to the following statement from Stefan in a thread I started about Outbound links:
"Limited numbers of pertinent outbound links help you to be seen as an authority (it's quality, not quantity). G and the others see the net in clusters and focii. If your site attracts pertinent links (without recips, unless it happens naturally), and you link to sites that are the best in your field (with no recips, unless it happens naturally), then there is no spammy pattern and your site shows up as a bright little star in the cluster. SE's will like that and treat you well."
Based on what I thought was a little gem of wisdom, I am in the midst of creating a links page with useful resources for people who may require something other than what I can provide for them (related - but not in direct competition of course). Should I stop and just work these into "real pages" (whatever that means). A real page afterall could be a links page, but called something else...
Another question for SincerelySandy. (sorry) Are your sites mostly static content or have you coded them in PHP / ASP / Java? For some reason I tend to believe that dynamic sites will do better on SERPS if the layout of the site is correct, or maybe just because they capacity can be so much larger. Thanks for the great and inspiring post!
Inquire, I agree entirely with stefans statement and I agree with your assesment that it is a little 'gem of wisdom". I still feel as though links out should be more directly related than links in need to be and I still feel as though you should work outgoing links into content pages and not create a links page out of them. I'm not saying a links page is bad, just that I don't use them often and prefer to work links into my content.
Silverlining, all of my pages on all sites are static.
"I almost never trade links directly although sometimes I will offer someone a link on my site "D" if they will add a link to my site "A". Hardly any of my sites have a links page, my general feeling about link pages is that if you can not work the link into the content of one of your "real" pages, then it probably does not belong on your site."
Thank you for your previous responses. Would you care to tell us some of the strategies you use to obtain one-way links to your site? If you don't want to tell us directly, could you at least point us in the right direction? (Other than writing articles, forum/blog signatures and comments, directories..)
As far as strategies for obtaining one way links are concerned, here's one method I use.
First off, I try not to get to many links to any one particular site too quickly. It seems that yahoo and google place some importance on how quickly a website obtains links and you can get caught in the filters for getting to many links to fast. If you have a niche that not many people are interested in then you should probably not be getting links in at the same rate as a website about a more general topic that more people are interested in.
If I want to focus on improving my positions in google then I will go to google and do a search for my important keywords. I will then copy the website address from the first result that is not a scraper site, a directory, or a site like about.com . I take that websites address and enter it into yahoo's site explorer to find out who is linking to that site and I send them a non-automated e-mail request for a link. In the email I ask them to look at my site and consider adding a link to it on the appropriate page of their site and in return I will add a link to them on the "X" page of my site at blahblahblah.com . I do not send a link request to all of the sites that turn up on the search with site explorer, just the first 10 or 20. Then I go back to google (unless I'm trying to improve my positions in MSN, in which case I go to MSN) and I take the second website that is not a scraper and fits my criteria, and then I run that sites name through yahoo explorer and repeat the process of e-mailing a link request to the first 10 or 20 results. To sum it up, if I want better positions in MSN for a certain keyword, I go to MSN and find the first 5 or 10 results for that keyword that meet my criteria, then I go to site explorer to find the first 10 or 20 sites that link to them and I e-mail them a request.
One of the more common practices for getting links is to simply do a search on your keywords in conjunction with "add link" or "add url" or any other combination of things and then e-mail these sites with a link exchange request. I saw a list posted somewhere here on WebmasterWorld for a bunch of terms like add link, add site, related resources... but I can't find it to share or link to here.
I'm sure there are people with much more advanced link building methods than me. I'm my own link monkey and I pretty much do it the hard way. People are not usually very forthcoming with specifics on the methods they use to obtain their links so I'm left to use whatever creative ideas I can come up with. Maybe someone else will share a few link building techniques.
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