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What To Do With Old Sites

Making Lemonade From Lemons

3:55 am on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Like many aspiring webmasters, I have created many sites that I am no longer interested in maintaining. For some of them I have lost interest and for others income was disappointing.

I have let many of them sit for months with little updating and they generally average a hundred or so page views per day each.

My problem is that they are a major distraction at times. Every so often one will make a few dollars and then I stop what I am working on and add a page or two of content hoping for more income. Then I make plans to build that site out and I work hard on it for a week or so. I usually run out of steam after a about a week and remember why I stop updating it in the first place. In the end, it is just frustrating and a huge waste of resources.

Another consideration is quality. Most of them are not my best work and just do not like being associated with them.

I have decided to concentrate of two of my sites and forget the rest.

The rational thing to do would be to ignore the others and leave them alone. It doesnít cost me anything other than the domain name and they all make many times that over the course of a year.

What have you done with your old sites?

Also, if I shut them down what should I do with all those wonderful incoming links? Redirect to the surviving sites or not?

Those sites have about a thousand incoming links combined.

None of the ones I am deleting are related to the ones I am keeping.

5:42 am on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I can sympathize with your position. Some of the things I might do are

Check your server logs, are your visitors looking for something you haven't fully exploited? If so, maybe add some more content.

Even if they are unrelated, maybe you could use links from these sites to help your better sites? (with moderation of course)

You could sell them. Even low traffic sites are usually worth something

Keep them around as a backup. If one of your 'good' sites runs into trouble, they might be a fallback.

[edited by: onepointone at 5:44 am (utc) on April 17, 2009]

5:43 am on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Biz 101 suggests that any incoming/value is something to be worked... even if worked off hand. HOWEVER, if you are really done, then quit: refocus your efforts on the next big thing. As far as redirects, only do that if it DOES redirect to something equal or similar in value to the original... else the user will scratch head and say "Doh!" and surf on to those sites that DO give value.
6:55 am on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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After I wrote the post, I went back and checked how much income those orphan sites have made since January 1st. Turns out they bring in about $20 per month.

Then I thought about how much time I had spent thinking of ways to make them more profitable, writing content about subjects that I no longer care about and generally being frustrated because I do not have the drive or the time to make a go of them.

What a wasted effort. I know I spent more than 20 hours a mouth thinking about and working on these sites.

The links are killing me now. If I 301 redirect them, the visitors from the old sites will not benefit at all. However, I also know that the old pages will drop out of the index quickly so that would be a short-term problem. Then all that would be left is some decent link juice to my main sites.

I donít want Google mad at me but I would like to salvage something for all that work.

Onepointone: I have seen sites much worse than mine for sale but I donít think I want the hassle. I think you made a good point about saving them as a backup.

Tangor: Biz 101 is why they have survived this long. Now I believe they are actually costing me far more in time than they are returning in cash.