I’ve built a number of websites over the past three or so years. Well, correction, I’ve had a number of websites built to my specifications, and I’ve built just a few small ones. I’ve learned quite a bit from my experiences, and I want to share one important lesson today: know the area in which you are building, and know it well.
Your website will likely be visited by people who know the topic much more than you, especially if you bought the domain name primarily because it was a category defining name. If they see you building a site only as an opportunity to profit rather than providing a beneficial service, those in the know likely won’t return. You may still get traffic from search engines, but it won’t build a community on, or following for, your website.
While this might not seem like a big deal since you can still capitalize on traffic from Google, it really is a big deal, especially if you want paying advertisers. The people who are passionate about the topic may own businesses that would be your advertisers, and they are also the people who would visit your advertisers and give them value for their ad dollars.
I’ve found it very difficult to gain traction with some of my websites where I had little interest and/or involvement. Sometimes it’s better to put up something rather than parking to make additional revenue and get rankings for a domain name, but it will take a lot more time and effort to really grow a domain name into a revenue generating business if you aren’t an expert and/or don’t have experts managing your site. It’s one reason why Burbank.com will have a local salesperson by the end of the year.
The next time you have a great domain name for a topic you have little interest in, you should realize it’s going to be an uphill battle to build it and make money. Either become an expert before you build, or flip it and buy a great domain name in a field in which you already are an expert or have more than just a passing interest.