Mini Site Template Development Strategy | DomainInvesting.com
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Mini Site Template Development Strategy

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One fairly simple development strategy that I am beginning to use involves building a website template and using that for all minisites. Instead of building a brand new web template for every site, save some time and money and use a very similar template. It doesn’t have to be fancy or flashy, but as long as there is room for content that can be viewed on a variety of browsers and screen sizes, room for Google Adsense banners, and room for other advertising banners from direct-to-advertiser sales (or affiliate relationships), you should be okay.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this for sites with a considerable amount of content or for high value domain names, as you probably want those to be more customized, but for your mini-sites that will have 5-10 pages each, I think one template should be sufficient. For those debating whether to use HTML, WordPress, or another type of tool, I am not the best person to make a recommendation. I think WordPress is easy, and I use Dreamweaver for HTML, which I learned on my own. Both are fairly straightforward and self explanatory – especially with a bit of background in HTML coding.

When it comes to the technical aspect of web development, my skill level started off at somewhere near a 1 on a scale of 10.   I am now probably around a 2.5, but I am still able to add pages to my WordPress and HTML sites easily. I’ve been told that I should use php to create my header, navigation and footer – which I probably should, but I’ve been too busy to learn. In the long run, I probably would save a ton of time by committing to a few hours now, but it’s hard to do that with so many things going on at the moment.

From experience, I can tell you that building a mini-site using strong SEO techniques will help increase traffic to a domain name/website. The more traffic that visits the site, usually the more revenue the site earns. I think if you put some time into development – but keep the time/financial commitment in line with your expectations for the site, you probably can’t go wrong. As I’ve always said, feel free to drop me a note with questions, and if I can’t answer them, I will try to put you in touch with someone who is more knowledgeable.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (16)

    DCMike77

    Hey Elliot, love your blog.

    I have two questions:
    – WordPress mini-sites require hosting if you want to use adsense or post other ads. If I have 5 domains I want to build into minisites at $5 per mo, per site, then that can add up quickly. Any advice in this arena? Is there a way to build wordpress sites for several of my names and host them on 1 account?
    – I’ve always thought Google penalized wordpress sites for SEO. In other words, if you want to get to the top of Goolge, don’t use a wordpress site. Have you experienced this or am I mis-informed?

    Thx!
    -M

    PS I see tropical birds is already #14 or so on Google results. Nice!

    June 30th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Pat

    Seriously, here is all the code you’d need for the php thing:

    1) Make a file called “header.php.” In this, put in all your html that you have in your html pages, but only as far down as your “header” region is. So, your header image, navigation, etc.

    2) Make a file called “footer.php”, and do the same thing only with the information for your footer, down to

    3) Make a file called “index.php.” In this, put this code:

    [content for this page]

    4) Smile 🙂

    June 30th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Pat

    Seriously, here is all the code you’d need for the php thing:
    1) Make a file called “header.php.” In this, put in all your html that you have in your html pages, but only as far down as your “header” region is. So, your header image, navigation, etc.
    2) Make a file called “footer.php”, and do the same thing only with the information for your footer, down to
    3) Make a file called “index.php.” In this, put this code: (put around the php lines)

    ?php include(“header.php”); ?
    [content for this page]
    ?php include(“footer.php”); ?

    4) Smile

    June 30th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Gordon

    Pat – how is a php include different than an html include?

    June 30th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Too Many Secrets

    @Pat,

    You are right, it is pretty easy to automate your header and footer, and many other parts of your web site too.

    – Richard

    June 30th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Too Many Secrets

    @Gordon

    You can get the same type of header and footer functionality using html includes as well.

    PHP gives you more flexibility than HTML includes in my opinion, but for basic header and footer includes, both work well.

    – Richard

    June 30th, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Gordon

    thanks. do servers need to be set up to accept includes? ( i thought i remember something like this from the past…)

    June 30th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Bernard

    Hi Elliot,

    I’ve been reading your website for quite sometime now, and I’ve decided to take the plunge and try to develop one of my domain names. A little bit nervous, to tell you the truth!

    I have no background in coding whatsoever, any hope for someone like me??? Believe it or not, Dreamweaver looks pretty complicated even.

    Anyhow, my two options right now are: directory website (maybe charge for listing on it), or mini-site. Which is generally easier to start off with?

    Any suggestions will be sincerely appreciated!

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Bernard,

    My opinion is that the mini-site is easier because you probably won’t have to worry about building/managing a database. Maybe one of my blog readers can recommend a book that can give you a bit of background on programming to help you out a bit (I don’t know any off the top of my head). You might even want to go into Barnes & Noble and ask a salesperson for advice on it. Don’t get anything too complicated or it will scare you off.

    One tip that I found helpful was to look at nice looking and not so complicated websites, and view the page’s source. This will give you an idea of how the code works, and you can match text on the page to the code, to see what is driving how the code is presented.

    Learning to develop a website is kind of like learning to drive a car in another country. Once you can read the roadmaps and learn how the car operates, you won’t ever have to rely on a driver again. Unless you have too much to drink, and then someone will give you a hand 🙂

    BEST OF LUCK!!

    June 30th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Bernard

    Thanks Elliot,

    I will let you know what the site is, as soon as I get it started! Don’t laugh when you see it, though! 🙂

    Anybody else out there with some other good advice???

    June 30th, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Too Many Secrets

    @Bernard

    A good book for starting with PHP is called “PHP in a nutshell”. It is for beginners and you can read as little or as much of it as you need to get started.

    – Richard

    June 30th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Lance

    @Bernard,

    Check out xSitePro (www.xsitepro.com) as an alternate web development tool to DreamWeaver. Although not as powerful, it is much easier to learn than DreamWeaver and has a very large user base and an active forum of users on their website. For a nice looking, non-complicated website, it will do the job.

    June 30th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Bernard

    Thanks Lance & Too Many!

    June 30th, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Jeff

    Elliot, I always enjoy your posts! Thanks!
    A couple of things:
    1) DCMike77, for several years I’ve used http://www.1and1.com for hosting multiple Websites (including WordPress blogs) and have been very pleased. The professional development package provides 300 GB for $19.95 a month.
    2) Like Lance, I have recently started using XSitePro and really like it. The new 2nd version is awesome! Adding advertising (Google Adsense in particular) is a breeze. It is not fancy but I used one of the templates (minus an unrelated graphic) and created Matthews Houses .com.

    July 1st, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Mark

    Hi Elliot:

    Wondering if you can elaborate (for us beginners) on SEO techniques. I read on an earlier post that you posted SEO info on your Lowell Blog, but I am unable to find that info. Would it be possible for you to re-post it?

    Thanks very much,
    Mark

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    I am the wrong person to give out SEO advice 🙂 Aaron Wall (http://tools.seobook.com/) has a ton of great free information. I wouldn’t want to dish out bad advice. The things I was blogging about related to what I did with Lowell.com, which wasn’t necessarily the best advice.

    July 1st, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    NY Themes

    “Instead of building a brand new web template for every site, save some time and money and use a very similar template. ”
    that is a smart approach, not also will it save you time, but also will thread a common layout/theme if you choose so for a related group of domains/brands. This will save time for your customers as well because they will already be familiar with the layout. Also this fact will reinforce your brand(s) sharing the same layout, sort of like walmarts have the same store layouts, so that customers (your visitors) don’t have to get refamiliarized with your website/store.

    I wonder how that would work with a group of geo domains\city portals.

    January 20th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Charlie

    Hey,
    Joomla is also very simple in use.
    But in my view if you want to make simple website in 5-6 it would be better to make without any CMS 🙂
    This will save you time and money.

    January 27th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

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