When I was evaluating my geo-websites, I realized that I could have great traffic and content, but based on my advertising placements and opportunities, unless my prices were sky-high, I would never be able to turn them into self-sustaining businesses. I have 6 banners on the top bar of home page, and they rotate throughout the site. Additionally, I charge for job listings and I use a hotel affiliate for reservations. Although I have signed-on a few local advertisers in the last few weeks, the revenue is still fairly small compared to my other ventures.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve looked at each section of my website with an eye on increasing the revenue. After comparing some of my sections (such as the restaurant section), I realized I need to look at each area as a completely separate revenue generating opportunity. By doing this, I created the first iteration of the Lowell Restaurants Guide, and I am rapidly working on iteration #2 (well, my designer is).
Comparing my website to a garden, I had been tending to it as a whole – just watering the entire garden to make sure everything received enough hydration. Instead of doing this, I am now tending to each individual plant, making sure each gets specific nutrients to stay healthy and grow as large as possible.
I am not looking to maximize the revenue on my geo websites yet. I am looking to create opportunities for the future. I am building the brands locally and I am opening up advertising opportunities. Watching Shaun in Kelowna has really inspired me to look at ways to build these into bigger businesses. Each day, I am working towards achieving this goal, and I will soon share more of my business vision for my geodomain holdings.
Shaun has that managing editor and it shows. I just spent a lot of time on his site and was actually drawn in to movie reviews and other content you wouldn’t expect to find on a geo site. Plus the graphics, fonts and colors are so crisp, it looks like a NY Times site.
It’s a good goal to aspire to when you have the funds to expand that way but meanwhile I love your “garden” theory and think it’s a smart idea. A managing editor when then have a lot to work with when he/she comes aboard.
Just curious how you land advertising placements – they come to you or do you actively seek advertisers? And then how do you determine pricing? I suppose site traffic is part of the equation but are we talking $XX per month for a small banner? Or perhaps it varies depending on position and size, but then you have to make the decision as to what pricing/placement combination you believe will sell.
How many in-person sales calls have you made in Burbank and Lowell? Have you exhausted the existing revenue opportunities (ie, knocked on the door of every hotel in both cities?)
as always its great to get a progress update. I don’t understand why you aren’t ramping up monetization. the castello’s really frontloaded pounding the pavement to get advertisers from day one and fed the revenues into site development – didnt they?
your sites look great, and even without monetization i guess they are very valuable to certain end users.
I live in Manhattan and it’s expensive to take a trip to Lowell and Burbank for meetings…Because of the domain biz, I am in no rush to generate revenue. I’d rather build a presence first and grow traffic first and then make money from advertisers….
Thanks, I guess quite a few domainers have high quality domains undeveloped because they don’t have the time resource to develop them all, or the appetite for partnership, and it seems like your alternative revenue streams puts you in a situation where you don’t have pressure to chase advertisers.
But to me this seems like an incremental step after you have done so much work already, and one that would make money.
From where i sit you have something of value to sell today and there is no reason why you could not increase ad fees as the site traffic increases, and establishing ad relations now could only benefit future sales.
But it is all about opportunity cost I guess, and you can make more money doing something else, and the hassle of working with a partner on the ground seems to make that not worthwhile until you can justify higher ad fees.
Anyway, I haven’t built any authority sites myself just yet so will keep following your site and doing my best to pick up tips.
One thing that worries me is that you paid major $ for burbank.com and have such a long payback period. If this is typical then the idea of buying a geo to build an income producing business around doesn’t seem to make sense for people who would need a quicker return on their investment. I am such a person. I was thinking of buying a five figure geo and moving to the US to start a company to develop and run it full time, but it seems that it is not a viable plan.
Keep up the good work Elliot. Operating your geo sites remotely has many challenges as you well know. I think you are the right path with Burbank.com. I have found that once to get one or two key clients in a category (eg. hotels) that others are usually quicker to follow suit.
The first one is the hardest and the most satisfying. I’m sure in the next 6 months to a year you will be in a position to have someone fulltime in Burbank pounding the pavement churning up opportunities. For many in the Geo city space, the first site is where we make all the mistakes, but more importantly, we learn how to do it right.
Yes … keep up the good work. We all learn something new each day and you are a great help to all of us who are trying to develop Geo names. Thanks!!!!
You are domainer champion. Many hard works make for many hard women.