Development Update

Subscribe to Elliot's BlogOne of my readers asked me to provide an update on, and I am happy to do so to encourage others who are like me (no development skills) to consider full scale development. I initially purchased from BuyDomains back in May for several thousand dollars. I parked it for a couple of weeks and found that the traffic was very light, with only a few visitors per week. I was a bit surprised given the name, but my plan was to develop it.
I worked with LogoJeez to create the logo for around $200, and Kevin created the template in html.   I did some research and had a copywriter write about 80 articles about various types of tropical birds. I did keyword research on all of these birds to capitalize on the long tail, and I added photos from Wikipedia and some Adsense spots. As the weeks passed, I also added two sections for breeders – one listed by breed and another by state, with each page having different content.   I did the same for avian veterinarians by state.   I also embedded YouTube videos on the site.
One error I made was at the beginning when I misjudged the eventual size of the site.   By building it with html   instead of php, I need to manually update every single page whenever I make a change to the sidebar.   This is easy for a 10 or even 20 page site, but when it gets to be 200+ pages, it’s a huge challenge, and one that I haven’t been inclined to do very often.   With php, the sidebar, header and footer are listed on individual pages, and all other pages link to them, so you just need to make one universal change – MUCH easier.
The site has seen pretty remarkable growth over the last few months, which I attribute to the content that was written specifically for this website. On average right now, the site is seeing around 95 visitors per day, and that number is growing pretty rapidly (some days it is over 150). For a long time, only the home page was listed in Yahoo, but as of November, nearly all of the pages are listed in Yahoo and climbing. The site does well in Google, too, ranking well in many long and short tail keywords. Over 80% of the traffic is from search engines.
As I mentioned a while ago, when I was contacting breeders for link exchanges, I met a lady who asked to advertise. We struck a deal and she is the paying breeder sponsor for several of the breeder pages.   I haven’t spent much time seeking other advertisers or link exchanges due to higher priorities. The site generates revenue from Adsense, but it isn’t a very large number.   Because the site is written in html, I haven’t done any Adsense banner testing at all (too much trouble to make changes).   I currently have a link in the header and 2 link bars that you have to click through twice to generate revenue in the sidebar.
Needless to say, I became very frustrated with the difficulty in making changes, and I was contemplating selling the site to let someone else bring it to the next level.   However, I decided that I am going to build a php template and spend a couple days converting the site and then do a 301 redirect to the new pages.   I will test various Adsense configurations on different bird breed pages to see if that will generate more revenue. I will also look for some affiliate partners to offer bird food, cages and supplies. This site is full of good information, and it continues to grow – so there is no reason to sell it now.   I’ve found that tropical bird lovers are passionate, and they spend a lot of time on the site.
I built a bird forum on the site but have it blocked from Google bots due to worries about duplicate content. When a forum is first launched, the base pages (dozens of them) are the same as thousands of other new forums, so I didn’t want to be penalized.   I think the forum will be a big hit once I let it go and it gets indexed, attracting new members. Since there are about 40 posts, I will unblock it after the php pages get indexed. I will also be adding a news section to the new site.
The most important thing I learned is that content is king.   If you have good content on a category killer domain name, the search engines will find you and visitors will find you as well. Keep adding content and you will generate revenue and add value to your site. I am hoping traffic will continue to grow and that my testing will ultimately pay off.
I was recently asked to speak about development at DomainFest Global at the end of January, and I plan to provide another update on the growth of as well as my other sites (if I have time). I will hopefully have some new information based on the new template and design of the site, and I am happy to share that with you. Development isn’t easy, but if you find the right partners, you can make it worthwhile. Just based on an earnings multiple alone, the site could be sold at a very strong profit right now. The long term goal is to keep it and increase the value – both to the birding community and ultimately to its economic value.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Nicely done Elliot, I put a forum on and with a bit of work it improved the daily uniques from around 250 per day to 1000 per day and now has 190k posts after 2 years, certainly worth implementing if you can build some posts and get a moderator on board, it can work very well on subjects people are passionate about.

  2. Thanks for the development insight as I realize this is a step I need to take with certain domains which would be more difficult to market. Parking just doesn’t work for the vast majority of domain names registered in the last few years. Development is an additional investment of one’s time and often requires contracting out certain services. But there are many stories such as yours which illustrate that done properly, development can bring out the full potential of domains that otherwise would just sit hardly paying the reg fee otherwise. I just need to do some serious study of the topic…

  3. Elliot, the site looks good. One tip here, you can leave the files as-is and have your html files processed as php so you don’t have to change your URL structure and run the 301 redirects.
    Just google “php using html extension” and you’ll find a bunch of help on this. It’s pretty basic on most server setups, you just insert a single line in your .htaccess and php will parse the html files as php files.
    Then just create your sidebar/header/footer files and edit the current pages to include them on display and you’re good to go.
    Just an option for you to think about. Hope it helps and good luck with the site.

  4. I’d recommend using wordpress as your CMS on every project. It’s so flexible and SE friendly that you can’t beat it. Plus you’ll save a lot of time by being able to quickly make global site changes.

  5. I left the message asking for the update, but not sure if I did it under this name (i rotate my mini-sites when I message as they usually gets a few hits). Thanks!
    This is a really interesting update, and it’s great that you are so honest and direct about what has been done including mistakes.
    The one thing that is missing is the revenue details, which is understandable and in keeping with AdSense rules! It is clear that the real revenue potential is embedded and will come once you reach out to affiliates etc.
    I took a look at the site and saw that it is coming along nicely.
    Good tip on blocking the forum until it has critical mass.

  6. “The most important thing I learned is that content is king. If you have good content on a category killer domain name, the search engines will find you and visitors will find you as well.”
    Great job on this Elliot. As David Carter said the other day, people are finally realizing that copywriting trumps all other web skills and he’s got unbelievable stats to prove it. Me too. And now you too. It takes a few dollars, and is hard to understand the return, but if done right it can be like having the power of a portfolio of hundreds of traffic domains brining visitors in daily, consistently and growing with every word you add.

  7. Content has been king for a quite a few years now. Content management systems (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc) are the easiest way to handle it. They make adding content easy for anyone. That way you can focus on quality content and not on the mechanics of the website. Killer content will act as link bait and you won’t have to waste your time on link exchanges. Good luck with the development, Elliot

  8. Thanks for the update. Development isn’t easy but if done right it can be beneficial. The money is in direct ad selling, not in adsense in mt opinion.

  9. Hi Elliot:
    Any chance you can write a little bit about working with and finding a developer?
    Your Geo sites, especially, is pretty sophisticated. I would imagine that you received quite a bit of help on these sites from a developer/designer.
    Any advice would be appreciated!!!!

  10. Don’t worry about blocking the spiders to the forum. Google is smart enough to know what a blank template looks like and won’t look at you like a spammer.

  11. Hey Elliot,
    I like the site alot and I think the transition from html to php will be smooth as long as you use WordPress for a platform. I’m in the process of building a few large sites, and have to do with specific products so I decided to use Ebay affiliate programs to complement the site and content.
    On another note, I will be happy to help you develop the site to it’s true potential at no cost in exchange for a testimonial and a footer link on the site. I intend to re-launch dDevelop once I finish developing the domain I bought on Friday so this would only complement each other’s projects.
    Let me know, I am 100% serious about this.
    Daniel Sanchez

  12. Elliot,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Nice website and good to hear it creates revenue.
    My first thought was why you didn’t use CMS for this one.I’m just starting out to develop and find it very helpful altough i’m using html for single pages sometimes. I will keep following your project.
    Good luck

  13. Hi elliot
    Your tropicalbirds is showing some nice results and can’t wait see what happens in the future. Great job!
    Maybe on a future blog post you can mention a few things and help us newbies in
    1. Where do you find your content writters?
    2. Going rate I heard is 1 cent to 3 cents a word
    3. Your person do they just write on birds or other pets?
    4. What makes you feel trustworthy in using the writter? I mean what makes the content person in not duplicating the content again or giving it to another person? Any copy rights you have when job is completted?
    Like how your talking mini sites more so. Your business model is on the geo market but mini sites do a great job in cash flow and you have it right on.
    Ps. One negative I would not have spent 200 on your tropicalbirds logo. A bit rich and looks like a 35 dollar logo. Imo. Sorry but its honest view by me.

  14. Such a great success story. The site is good looking with illustrations. Yes you might consider using some content management system for easy loading for pics and articles.

  15. Great story you got there Eliot, whenever you need a design done, I can do psdANDxhtml 🙂 I also have a PHP guru in my team so, consider me next time, maybe we can partnership somehow.

  16. Elliot,
    Joomla CMS ( version 1.15 or version 1.5) should be able to handle your upgrade from your .html site.
    With Joomla 1.15 (old version) you can migrate over your index.html pages into Joomla and you don’t need to 301 redirect in order to preserve the URL on the search engine. Geoffrey


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts

Rookie Mistake: Reading Expiry Lists at Breakfast

Every morning, as early as I am awake, I look through domain name expiry lists to see what is coming up for auction. I'll...

GoDaddy Auctions Running NameFind Auctions

GoDaddy is running a featured auction via its GoDaddy Auctions platform with domain names from its NameFind portfolio. While I would argue the domain...

Spaceship Hits 1 Million DUM – Only 13% of New Registrations are .com

Earlier this morning, Richard Kirkendall shared that Spaceship hit the 1 million Domains Under Management (DUM) mark. Richard is the Founder of Namecheap and...

Converse.CO UDRP Decision Turns on Price Inference

In general, I thought UDRP panels have gotten past the issue of pricing as it relates to generic / descriptive one word domain names....

Ebbs and Flows of Domain Investing

My domain investment portfolio has grown from around 500 domain names to around 2,000 domain names in the last several years. Even at that...