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How many sites are too many and have you ever combined sites?

Adventures In Consolidating A Website Portfolio

     
7:43 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Need a little advice from the experts here at webmaster world.

But before I ask the main question, let me present the sad story of how I came to this sorry state.

Like many people, I have many interests and I see opportunity everywhere. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I have a bad habit of throwing up a new website to go along with any new interest or idea. As a result, I had twenty different websites up at one time. It was a management nightmare. Keeping the CMS’s updated took a significant amount of time. It was a huge drain on my time. Even more importantly, none of the sites were what I consider quality. They were all good starts but that’s about it. I would try to update them but my main problem was that there was so many that I was overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to bring those sites up to my standards. At one point I estimated that I would need 2000 pages of content spread across the portfolio to make them acceptable to me and useful for users.

Since I have a full time job and a family I am lucky if I can average a page of quality content every day. So those two thousand pages would take me 5-6 years to write and that’s not counting all the new ideas and websites I would start in the mean time. Between keeping the software updated, trying to determine which site to update and having to start researching a topic that I hadn’t thought about in a month or two, I was wasting huge amounts of time. As a result, I was producing a page or two of uninteresting content per week.

One day in a fit of frustration, I deleted all my sites except for three. I just deleted them without making backups (I knew if I had backups I would restore them) and I didn’t do redirects or anything. I just deleted them. I even went to my advertising partners (Adsence, ebay, amazon…) and deleted the historical records and channels so that I couldn’t even go back later and kick myself for deleting such “valuable” websites.

Those poor quality sites were providing about 15% of my income. I could have done nothing and that income would have continued. But, the aggravation of having what I considered low quality sites that I knew I would never bring up to my standards was too much.

I deleted all the sites about six weeks ago. Surprisingly, I have not felt any remorse for the destruction of the sites. If fact, I am thinking of making more cuts.

As I mentioned, I kept three sites. Two of them are in are live and are in the same niche but they target different aspects of the hobby. There are a lot of similarities between the sites and a good deal of the information I produce could be posted on either site. The third site is in development and is in a totally different niche.

I am seriously thinking about stopping development of the unpublished site. Also, I am seriously considering combining the two remaining sites.

Just as a side note, I think both/either site could be very profitable if I spent more time on them. They are not nearly as good as they could be, but they both improved in the rankings with the latest Google update.

Finally, for those that made it this far, thank you and here is my question: Have you ever successfully combined many websites into one?

By successfully, I mean more than just increasing income. I am interested in gains in productivity, rises in the quality of content, peace of mind, rise in ranking or anything else. Also, what are the pitfalls of combining sites?