I read recently that The Daily Mail’s website has become the most viewed online newspaper, even though it brings in around $25million annually it still didn’t make a profit. Neither does the Huffington Post which was bought by AOL for £315million.
So why are these content rich sites not making a profit? I am a big believer that content sites can and should make big money. Why would AOL buy them up if they don’t have any revenue potential?
I believe it is one of congruency; the possible revenue and advertising on these sites do not match up to the types of people who visit these sites. There are many sites that are filled with content and that have millions of visitors. The Huffington Post has reported having over 30 million unique visitors per month!
That is a staggering amount, having that many visitors requires more than a £30 a year website, they will need their own servers and staff, it won’t be cheap but how can they not earn a profit from 30 million monthly visitors?
Sites like Photobucket and Icanhavecheezburger are content sites that rely on people uploading and sharing photos, we use Photobucket for nothing more than free storage for our pictures. The one thing that I notice when I am uploading the pictures is that the advertising is not related to anything on the site or what I desire.
We believe the type of adverts are those where the network is paid every time an advert is shown for longer than several seconds, that is why they often display the please wait while we process/upload your photo. It stops you moving to another page before the intended time has passed. So I cannot say whether Photobucket makes money or not.
The Daily Mail and Huffington post are sites that share news and gossip, so if you were reading about a train crash somewhere or what Kim Kardashian is up to you are not going to be shown any relevant adverts or be interested in any that are shown around the posts.
Google AdSense is designed to show adverts that are relevant to the content of your site; if it cannot match to the content then it will show ads that in reality will not be clicked. The methodology is all wrong. The online business opportunity of a content rich site is still a sound idea if done right.
Creating a successful content rich site
This is still a fantastic small home business idea and can be executed well if you decide exactly what it is you want to do and how you are going to do it. Thinking that you will create a site that has loads of pictures of funny cats, (everyone loves a funny cat picture/video) surround it with advertising and get loads of money from visitors just won’t do.
Someone looking at funny cat pictures who is 14 probably won’t want to click on a ‘Mature Dating’ ad and someone who enjoys looking at badly done plastic surgery pictures is unlikely to want life insurance.
However someone, one who loves Barcelona, may be a regular visitor to a site dedicated to all things Barcelona. They would love to read about restaurants in Barcelona and places to visit. They may also be planning on visiting Barcelona again; they may go regularly, so any adverts that appear on the site for flights to Barcelona, car hire, villas to rent or hotel accommodation in Barcelona are more likely to get clicked.
When a site covers a topic or place like Barcelona it can draw great relevant adverts from the AdSense network. Adverts for holidays, accommodation and flights could be higher paying as there is a lot of competition and there are higher profits involved so the companies can pay more to get their ads shown.
It is possible that you could use Google AdWords to drive traffic to your site cheaper than any of the hotel or villa hire companies as you will be focusing more on the people and the place itself. You won’t be trying to compete for the expensive keywords associated with hotels, flights or holidays.
It may be possible to have a set up where you put £1 in and get £2 out on autopilot. If you can pay for traffic to the site and get more back in advertising revenue then you are effectively creating profit and a huge traffic surge that will eventually start coming back for free!
They idea is that everything has to match. You may never get the numbers that Icanhascheezburger.com gets as there are larger numbers of people who can enjoy and share cat pictures than those who are interested in a proper sub niche however your numbers will be more matched to the advertising.
The same can be applied to many types of websites, take DIY as an example, a site with plenty of ‘how to’ articles will pull up advertising for DIY stores and DIY products, which can cover a wide range of things, and many can be high priced items.
The idea is to add content regularly, this could be done by paying someone to write posts if you can’t do them yourself or get some close interested friends to share the work load. Go to Gumtree and look for people who would like to become profit share writers.
Adding content is the most important thing; the website must be seen to be alive and living. Otherwise people will not return and the website will slip down the rankings into oblivion.
There are so many niches and places out there that you can create a website around. Like everything, planning and work will come before the success but it must be done and it can be done easily if you have a plan to follow. There are millions of people on the internet and they don’t all go to the same websites.
Ian McConnell made $300,000 from a website dedicated to model trains and Patrick Meninga built a $2,000 a month AdSense site about addiction which he then sold for $200,000. At a Christening I was told about a couple who travel the world funded by earnings from a couple of sites, one focusing on dog walking! So don’t you go thinking it isn’t possible.
Think about all the different niches there are, use me as an example, I love dance music, there are so many genres available to choose from, I love making music, I love graphic design, I love graffiti art, I love Thailand and Ibiza, I love to travel, I love Sci-Fi, I love to write, I love Indian food, I love Chinese food, I love pizza, I love food!! Lol I am also vegetarian. There are more I could add to this list.
There are so many things that I could have a blog/website about. List down all the things you like and enjoy and you could find something suitable that you could create a blog dedicated to it and as you know, if you love something you are more likely to participate so writing about something you love will be easier than writing about things you don’t. That is half the battle won!