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Forum Moderators: mack
My brother knows how to make webpages and I had an idea for a site that I figured would get alot of hits. (A help site for a game that have played since we were kids that is still very popular).
My question is, how much would we have to invest into it? I know this kind of thing doesnt really happen overnight but how much money is in these kind of sites that get commisions from advertisements?
You have made a very good choice of site to work on. Because it is based on a hobby you will be able to add true character to your site. There are just so many sites built for nothing more than making money and very often by people who have no experience of the topic they are trying to cover. The result is a site that falls far short of the users expectations.
In your case both you and your brother have an active interest in the game so you will be able to give users exactly what they are looking for.
On the web "content is king" you will probably read that term quite a lot of WebmasterWorld but it is very true. I will go into a little bit more detail to explain exactly what I mean...
As you build your sites you will be able to add great content to the pages. If you have good content people will like it. Other site owners will also like it. If you provide the best articles on a specific topic then other sites within that topic will be likely to link to you.
As you gain links you will see an increase in traffic and search engine rankings. It is however very important to keep adding to your content. If you can add a page a day to your site you will be doing very well. This is not a target, so long as you regularly add content you will be on the right tracks.
Because you are regularly updating your site people will begin to respect your site as a source of good information. Again this helps you to get sites to link to yours. Every link from another site to your site is classed as a vote by the search engines. The more votes you can get the higher the search engines will rank your pages.
You should not however just wait for people to link to you. You can actively go looking for links. There are literally loads of web directories on the web. Try and get your site listed on as many of these as possible. There may even be some directories dedicated to the game you and your brother are interested in. The more links from directories you can get the better.
You should however wait until your site is fully functional and ready for the public to view before you start trying to hunt down directory links. If you suggest your site to a directory before it is finished it is very un-likely to be listed. This may also damage your chances of being successfully listed once your site is finished.
With regards to search engines I no longer add my url to search engines. I just concentrate on web directories and inbound links. If you have links pointing to your site search engine will be able to find your site.
As for making money from a site there really is no definite answer to this question. I guess it all depends on the exact nature of your site. If your site topic is within a pretty small niche you may be able to seek out sponsorship from one of the big suppliers within the industry. You will however need to have a fairly established site in order for this to be a reality.
Advertising is another option. You may wish to show affiliate adverts. Affiliate adverts means you show banner ads for a supplier and you are paid a commission for clicks or sales that originate from your site. There is also Google Adsense. Adsense is a service run by Google that pays you for clicks on their adverts. There are quite a number of advertising opportunities for you to look into.
When you are still developing your site I suggest you try and keep it as clean and ad free as possible. Users like this and it will allow you to build up a user base. Then once you have good traffic you may choose to try and make money from the site.
In terms of investment there really is very little you need to spend to get a site online. Domain name, web hosting and more importantly your time.
As you pointed out the process is certainly not fast. It can take months to get ranked well in Google. Long term though, you may do very well from your venture.
I wish you good luck and keep us posted. :)
[edit to fix typos]
[edited by: mack at 5:47 pm (utc) on Nov. 3, 2005]
Welcome to WW. I have not posted a lot but have certainly lurked quite a bit. I am somewhat in the same boat as you, although I have spent a great deal of time learning how to program web pages. I work on my site in my spare time and have not really taken it "live" yet.
You will find that the "elder statesmen/women" at WW are very generous with their advice. I encourage you to read through the old threads, which seem to be all archived here. Also, go to the User Profiles of some of the members who have achieved great success, like europeforvisitors. The user profiles contain a list of that user's posts. Spend a few weeks reading this site. There are a lot of gems to be mined here. The main themes seem to be quality and patience.
Good luck with your site.
Is anyone else doing what you propose?
If there is, who is the most successful, how did they achieve their success, and how are the making their money?
If there is not ...
How can _you_ make money at it?
1. You have a great idea people will be drawn to or
2. There is no competition, because such things don't work on the web.
Research on the internet is cheap, easy to do, and worthwhile, if you have time.
Building a site from scratch is always a daunting prospect, however think of it as if you are writing a book or an essay. Pure content sites should be planned out just like that with the "chapters" being the main pages of your site. So if you are planning a general site to cover one game (and this works for most games, even RPG/PBEM) the front page is usually where the latest developments or news goes. Directly under that in your menu would be relevant "chapters" of the book like gameplay, history of the game, techniques, cheats (if its a PC or console game) and then the general help sections you want to cover.
Game site's, even niche game sites will still find competition buried deep in the search engines. First thing you need to do is hit google, MSN and yahoo and type the full name of the game you want to cover. See what the competition are up to and then make sure you DON'T copy what they have done. You can look at what they done and make theoris on it and then do a complete rewrite in your own words.
Remember, the site you build is primarilly for your visitors, forget about small search engine optimisation techniques, only go for the main points...
Header 1 line at the top of all content follwed by h2 and h3 tags below them for various subsections...just like a book.
Meta Tags, ok google doesnt put much wheight in them now but some do.
Title, make sure the title of the page has the site name followed by what the page is for.
Content...well, that's obvious.
Brett himself (chap who runs this place) made a good 26 step guide for google which also gave good website tips and what NOT to do on your new site, cant find the link for it so maybe someone can post it here :)
When your site is ready to go online the first thing you do is go straight to the DMOZ directory, find your catagory and add your site, do the same for the Yahoo directory. Search out other sites (if there is any) that cover your game and ask in an email to exchange links. 7 times out of ten they will, 10 times out of 10 if you happen to be a female helping to run the site and send the email ;)
Once your site is out i would seriously consider opening a message board. Don't go over board with it though, just one or 2 forum sections...you dont want lots of empty forum sections...also, make sure you post in the forum itself and emphasise on the site via a graphic link or bold text link that you do have a message board running.
After DMOZ lists you (and they usually do if your site covers the subject well) what i would do is simply forget about search engines for a while. It's at that point you can jump into Googles Adsence. However dont go overboard and start with 468x60 banners or those tower things that google have, go for the small 220px width rectangles first and place them within your menu system. After a while you can start placing the 460 banners inside the actual content (at the end of the content is a good idea, more clicks there).
The site i run followed that route in 1999 when it first opened. We cover Star Trek games, we now have visits from the head of products and merchandise of Viacom (the company who owns paramount until 2006 when CBS splits off and takes over, they own Star Trek) he basically runs the games franchise that we are covering and posts in our forum. We also had dealings with Warner Bros to advertise there Babylon 5 DVD set (that didnt make paramount happy from what i hear...). We regularly hold interviews with other gaming site webmasters, viacom, paramount and game developers...and in 1999 the site started as a 3 page FrontPage tabled & framed mess, we now get over 30,000 hits per day :) Site is still a mess though...lol
If we can do it, anyone can, but it takes time and patience.
This has to be within reason though, I would stay away from any "free" hosting solutions, if you are a paying customer with your host, you can demand more from them and you will get better support. Also, do not skimp too much in the beginning. You want things to start off on the right foot. Basically, what I am trying to say is that you should not go overboard in the beginning. The web is a very dynamic place and sometimes websites take off and sometimes they don't.
When I started out I used to believe all the hype on the hosts site and soon found out that they had bad downtime problems and were very rude when I complained. So I did some research on the internet and found some really good and (relatively) cheap hosting with good customer support.
added - Welcome to WebmasterWorld Junanagoh
Pardon my manners...
[edited by: mack at 11:31 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2005]
[edit reason] Url removed. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
[edited by: jatar_k at 6:26 pm (utc) on Nov. 4, 2005]
[edit reason] removed url [/edit]
ps i use pair.com, very reliable and reputable, they've been around for years.
their support is really good and they reply within a day to any email question i've had (a lot of really dumb ones too...!).
You can acquire like I did all teh software for writing sites for free, just examine the cover disks on computer magazines.
It shouldnt really cost a lot of money to put your first site, however I must warn you it is addictive and will ruin your social life!
I have a question while we are on the topic of forums. How hard is it to make a forum? Is there are generic script that has everything including usernames and passwords? This is definately somthing I would like to add to my website when I get it running.
You need to have SQL database accessibility, which might add like $3-5 a month to your hosting
I'd like to do one too, but have no idea how... even with the step by step set up instructions!
Maybe one day I'll have time to learn it. good luck with your site.
I am doing a online html course right now. Learning it slowly, but i think ill get it. I talked to my brother and hes going to come over and teach me a little more tonight. I am going to start on the website this weekend. I hope to have all the content in the next month or so, and it will take a while to put it together since it is going to be about 100-150 pages or more.
I am going to spend alot of time on the content and try to get a large userbase. I figure it will be at least a few months before I get all of the pages made and start to think about launching it. But durring that time I am going to spend a lot of time researching.
When I launch my site in 3-6 months, how do I get peopel to see my site? Also, If i start making money with Google AdSense would it be wise to advertise through Google AdWords? I know that it would be far in the future but would it be worth it to attract more trafic?
If I were you, I'd start to organize the contents and structure first, i.e. every thing that shows to your comming users, once you have done that, coding, design and server can be easily worked out, if the content is very interesting, there are numbers of ppl like to give a hand, maybe for free. e.g. your brother.
It is just "If i were you"