Why not spend your time creating niche thematic sites
To date, I own several thematic portals that are successfully bent. And in this article I will talk about how I made them, how much I received, and why they come to an end, and I can not do anything about it.
I will tell you about the example of a site on male psychology that I opened in 2011 (the year is very important!) The information about which I am telling is no longer very relevant, but it will help you save time and abandon the idea of opening your own thematic portal.
So, 2011, I’m a stupid and naive guy, my first thematic site!
How I chose a niche for my site
The search for a niche for a thematic site began with a banal viewing of existing sites in the Russian Federation and the USA. I was looking for topics that in the Russian Federation are represented by poor sites with poor monetization. At the same time, sites from the United States in the same area should set a standard for how to do it right, and most importantly show how you can earn money besides banal ad units. Plus, there was also a condition that the topic should have been cheap enough to enter.
By that time, it seemed to me that the subject of male psychology is what I need. Female psychology, although more in demand, is also more “quality” and competitive.
How I made my site
I thought that if I order myself an expensive high-quality site, fill it with articles, I can easily get into the top of the issue, and the money will flow.
I collected the savings that I saved for the car and ordered a website for 212 thousand rubles in 2011! Yes, a site with articles for 212, their mother, thousands of rubles.
More specifically, it was a portal where there was a category of articles, a category of questions and answers (an analogue of a toaster, but many times simpler), and a section of articles on free topics that users themselves could publish.
As it turned out later, it was made on some kind of self-made PCP system that could not be expanded without pain, the interface itself was mega-inconvenient, but the only thing done in good faith was the design and branding of the site (This will then play its part )
Where I decided to take content
1) The first stage
Initially, I had a high opinion of myself, so I thought that I could write cool articles myself. After 50 articles and two months of torment, I realized that it was rather difficult. Having read books about copywriting, I decided to go to article exchanges.
2) The second stage
I began to order articles on exchanges such as textSale on various topics that I needed. As it turned out, even paying a lot of money, you received a very mediocre quality of articles. Plus, the articles were either flat or forcedly corrupt. Well, the worst thing is a copy of existing articles from sites that I needed to get around, and even then the search engines already noticed this.
ps running a little ahead, I’ll say right away that investing in articles for thematic sites of “entertaining” subjects is a very stupid occupation, because the cost of investing in articles in general does not beat off an insignificant conversion from them.
3) The third stage
I decided to do everything on my own, since I had enough time after work. He began to translate articles from bourgeois sites. As a result, the articles were adequate, plus the information from them was “unique”. So in 3 years I translated about a thousand articles.
As for the sections with questions, naturally no one began to write their questions there, and even more so no one answered them. As a result, I had to create an “illusion” of life on the site, translating and answering about 400 questions from different people. As a donor, I took questions and answers on Yahoo. Questions again in English.
Then the natural movement began, but even in the best years — it was at the level of “bad, but better than nothing.”
PS: If I bought all this, about 800k rubles would come out.
Initially, he took pictures for the site from open bourgeois drains and entered a tablet in Excel - what I use, what for and so on. So if they presented me, I could say that everything is honest. Then he realized that no one was particularly showing anything and was subordinate to this matter.
Due to the fact that my site had the appearance of a “noble portal”, it was taken to Dmoz / Yandex Catalog for free - who remembers puts a plus sign (if at that time each of the directories was bought for 15k rubles).
With regard to SEO - I ordered runs of sites for open profiles on the heart, got hooked on the SEO remote control needle and began to purchase links from GGL (I chose cheap links from portals from 10-30), it was a great success for my subject.
As a result, after 4 months of purchasing links and publications every day for 3-4 articles / question - I received the first thousand unique entries per day (Who doesn’t tell now, they will not believe). In peak traffic my site was 6k people.
Those. at that time, search engines allowed them to hack links, which I did successfully.
Monetization (Stage 1)
Approximately 4 thousand unique visitors per day, I began to think about monetization. I installed Yandex, Google direct, a couple of teaser networks - in the end, it gave me 3,000 rubles a month! After conducting AB tests and reading clever articles on the placement of advertising blocks, I brought this matter to 4000-4500 rubles a month. To say that I was disappointed is to say nothing.
And then "info gypsies" came to me, who offered to advertise their courses. The rate was very simple 8k rubles per month for a banner. Since I only had two blocks - I sold direct advertising for 16 thousand rubles.
After some time, advertising agencies started offering me direct advertising (condoms, strip club, potency enhancer, wedding salon, etc.).
As a result, at the peak, my income was 60 thousand rubles a month. Advertising was sold mainly due to the fact that my site looked “noble” for its theme - this is about the value of design and the rejection of any trash ala “increase eldak”.
Monetization (Stage 2)
The crisis of 2014 struck, advertising budgets began to decline, more reliable sources of traffic began to appear than thematic sites. All direct advertisers ran away from me, including “info gypsies”.
There was nothing to do, I connected to the JustClick.ru system and began selling their courses according to the affiliate program. And I saw that the people took this thing, and quite actively. The income level began to suit me more or less, and I decided to look for what else.
Selling links ala Sape - brought a penny, plus heavily chymir site. I refused them, the GGL system gave quite good money, but there was a lot of crap. As a result, I set the cost of one link to 5000 rubles and sold 1-2 links each month (there were already 180 links at that time, plus two catalogs gave me confidence in my reliability).
Selling affiliate products through admitad / ozon - brought a penny, so the cost of it did not pay off.
All other methods did not bring any money.
Monetization (Stage 3)
After I collected statistics on what affiliate products, courses, books people buy, I decided that it was time to become a direct vendor myself.
To start, I rewrote the site from scratch and made its interface more tailored for selling courses. In short, I focused on the value of the article and led the visitor to the course as a reliable solution to the problem.
To develop my own courses, I bought bourgeois material “from the guru”, ordered a design on freelance, and all this beautifully packed with my own translation.
Also focusing on the practice of info-gypsies, he created a chain of sales of subsequent books, which led to the fact that the average buyer took more than 1 course.
Direct sales raised my income level well, and I focused on expanding the line of landing articles, courses, and so on.
Beginning of the End
The market situation was changing quite quickly, and I could not help but trace two trends:
- Having taken away all the fat queries in their thematic niche, the new materials hardly brought any money, since they attracted a meager amount of traffic. In other words, I chose all the topics that were in this niche, and everything else did not pay back the costs.
- The growth of mobile traffic has destroyed the conversion to sales on my site. In fact, the percentage of my mobile traffic grew on the site, the lower my sales. As it turned out, users from mobile devices are content consumers who flatly refuse to do any conversion actions.
Currently, the share of mobile users on the site is 87% - which means that 87% of users simply merge into zero.
As a result, for 2018 the monthly income of my site fell to 10 thousand rubles.
Reaction to such a change
I spent a week analyzing all my competitors in the Russian Federation, the USA, and also studied related sites, and everything related to my niche. As a result, I found some additional ways to monetize the site, but they were very risky. I thought that investing time and money in dubious attempts to revive the project was a bad idea, and actually froze the project.
What can I say as a result
- For 8 years, the site brought me about 3.5 million rubles.
- Net investment in the site is about 300 thousand rubles.
- Time investments - all the time after working for 4 years + 4 years of support and revisions (if you evaluate about 800k + 120k on a site rebuild on articles, content, etc. for purchases on exchanges).
- A huge amount of "fan" when working with direct advertisers + learning how to make money "on air" in the net.
- “Project Death” due to the death of the very idea of small article sites.
Well, the most important idea - investing 4-8 years of your life in a project that brought only 3.5 million income is a very controversial idea, and I think that I could spend it on more promising things.