While browsing NameBee. I happened to click on a blog I don’t read very often. It was a long post about dot tel that I was skimming. until I got to the juicy part.
“If you are domainer who can’t see beyond domain parking, then you will not get .Tel. I saw this same sort of ignorance with domain development, especially with minisites. One person in preaching the gospel of minisites went as far as to build a web page (or sort of) about a non-existent type of fish, just to “prove” that their “expert” opinion on minisite development was right. Later I heard him on web radio admitting, “development is hardwork”. Perhaps I heard a janitor speaking. Never mind.”
I assume this blogger is talking about me since I’ve been on the radio a few times, tested mini sites, talk about mini sites and development on my blog, and I spent a day building a site about a type of shark (not fish). I started writing the info below in the comment section on his blog, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on a comment post that wouldn’t be read by many people. It also seems like a good time to provide an update on my experiment:
1) ChainCatshark.com is the mini site I spent a day developing.
2) The domain was newly registered when I created a small site on it from scratch in November of 2008
3) Since launch (not including the three days during or after the time I posted), here are the statistics:
- 550 unique visitors
- 1,600 pageviews
- 2:33 time on site (average per visit)
- 75% of traffic from search engines (129 keyword phrases in Google alone)
- Earned much more than the cost of the domain + my time
In response to the blogger, I do think mini-site development is easy and it’s even easier when you contract with a mini site development service. It took me a few hours to build ChainCatshark.com, and I will never ever even have to look at the site again. It will continue to make a little bit of money and grow (as it has for the last 4 months). If it shut down today, I will have made my money back and a profit. I’ve also sold two mini sites, which became profitable due to the revenue and traffic from the mini site.
The downsides are that it took time to do the research on a topic in which I have no interest, I don’t really enjoy the actual technical part of development and coding, and I can still make more money today on other domain related projects (ie buying and selling great domain names as I’ve been doing for 5 years) than developing a series of mini sites on domain names that aren’t worth much as standalone domain names. It makes much more sense to build revenue generating websites on valuable domain names than on average or crappy domain names (unless the crappy domain name happens to be VC backed or have a unique concept/idea not found elsewhere).
I started off as a domain investor owning and selling top premium domain names, but a year and a half ago, I decided to start developing for the day that domain sales decreased and I’d need another revenue stream. Looking back on things, that is probably the most important decision, as I now own revenue generating businesses in addition to having strong domain assets.
Actual development projects are more difficult than mini sites that are fairly mundane but time consuming. I am talking about developing Burbank.com and Lowell.com. These two sites get decent traffic now (each at hundreds of visitors per day) but they do take a lot of work researching various topics and building all of the pages by hand – without a content management system. I maintain them on my own. I do the marketing on my own. I do the news writing. I do everything – and yes it’s hard to do it all.
In addition to development, I still manage my domain business (sales and acquisitions like Torah.com and Newburyport.com), I write this blog every day, and I quietly do corporate domain consulting gigs as well. My points about development and mini site development are above, throughout my blog, and archived in blog interviews and radio interviews. For now, it’s time to get back to work.