One huge site or many small ones?

Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:16 am

I'm in a quandry. I'm about halfway done on my first site, I've got the basics (maybe a little more) down, and following someone else's example, I'm going to take a temporary break from my first site to start developing 2 more niches. One I've already discussed, and I know it will be a big, general site, mainly based on Adsense.

The problem is the other site. Using the ever popular widgets as an example, should I do 1 HUGE site (1000+ pages) on widgets in general - or should it be several smallish sites (50-200 pages) with the general topic broken down into red widgets, purple widgets, where to store widgets, how to feed widgets, etc? Making it a series of sites, which I could easily be my own link partners for. Also, even the general topic will be no problem for link partners.

I like the idea of the general site, it could easily be a one stop shop for everything you wanted to know about widgets, eventually.

Advice anyone?
dabrat76
 
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Re: One huge site or many small ones?

Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:16 pm

dabrat76 wrote: should I do 1 HUGE site (1000+ pages) on widgets in general - or should it be several smallish sites (50-200 pages) with the general topic broken down into red widgets, purple widgets, where to store widgets, how to feed widgets, etc?

Opinions vary, but notice Ken Evoy's take on this...

His daughter Nori already has a second site related to Anguilla (what many people would already consider a niche in it's own right) and is apparently planning more.

The theory seems to be that as time goes on, the SEs will take the general theme of a site more and more into account. Hence, the tighter the niche, the easier it will be to rank highly for specific, competitive phrases.

Let's face it, Ken has shown a good eye for choosing advisers (over time) and interpreting what they tell him, so I'd watch what Nori does, however little interest you have in Anguilla.

Making it a series of sites, which I could easily be my own link partners for.

Just make sure you build each site on natural external links before you start interlinking your own sites too heavily.

Cheers,
Charlie.
Charlie
 
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Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:24 pm

so I'd watch what Nori does, however little interest you have in Anguilla.


Hi Charlie,

Could you point me to a link? I don't follow Ken Evoy or his daughter at all, so I don't know what site you're talking about.

Thanks for the answer though. I'd still love to hear others' opinions, but this is a great start. You are right though, and that's probably what I'll end up doing :)

Just make sure you build each site on natural external links before you start interlinking your own sites too heavily.


The thing is though, if I build many smaller sites, wouldn't they be external links? They would all have separate domain names, and maybe even different hosts.

Tara :)
dabrat76
 
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Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:27 pm

I have a keyword list for one of my sites that has about 650 keywords. In hindsight, I would probably have broken this up into smaller, more targeted niche sites rather than one big site.

One of the reasons I would break it up is being able to target more advertisers. I follow the "Martell method" pretty closely, so I usually have 6-8 product pages with 2-3 merchants on each one. If I had broken this topic up a little more, I would have been able to have 4-5 product pages per site, with 2-3 merchants each. Some of the merchants would have probably overlapped the sites, but even so I would have had more coverage.

This site is doing pretty well in the search engines, and is starting to make a reasonable income, but like one of the earlier posts mentioned I think it would be easier to rank higher for more keywords with a more tightly targeted site. I think it could have grown faster with smaller niches.

Another thing I'm finding is not related to traffic or income so much as my ability to stay focused on the topic. I'm starting to get a little sick of working with this topic. Had I broken the site up a little more, I could have had a smaller site finished sooner and taken a break from the subject for a bit while I worked on another site. This may not be a problem for you, but it is something to consider.
John Lenaghan
 
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Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:04 pm

Just do a Google search on "anguilla beaches". She's number 1 for that term. :-)

~Mike
Mike Long
 
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:43 am

dabrat76 wrote:The thing is though, if I build many smaller sites, wouldn't they be external links? They would all have separate domain names, and maybe even different hosts.


Yes. If you're too enthusiastic about linking your own sites together you can be penalized by search engines for excessive crosslinking. Been there, done that!

Crosslinking is OK, excessive crosslinking is not, and it's often not easy to tell which is which.

Do a search on Google for "excessive crosslinking" and you'll find an article I wrote about it.
AllanGardyne
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:22 am

Assuming one doesn't do a lot of cross linking, I would want a number of smaller sites and on different hosting sites. This way no one event could shut me down for very long. Penalties on a site would be that site only. Power outages due to a tornado wouldn't affect all my sites.

I have no knowledge of what is best, this is just my opinion. It would be like putting all your eggs in one basket.

If I had a very popular site, it would be easier to sell it than the whole nine yards of a huge site --- maybe. Of course maybe the huge site would be worth more.

I thought of subdomains on one basic site, but I'm leaning away from that direction. I still may do it for one or two levels that really relate, but not for sure.
BobsStuff
 
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 2:05 am

One of the disadvantages of owning several sites is that you have to do the work involved in promoting several sites instead of one, for example, getting listed in niche directories, and writing articles for publication on other sites.

Also, it's easier from a branding point of view if you want to publicize one large site to get yourself known.

On the other hand, I like the security of having a number of different income sources from sites hosted in different places and in different industries.
AllanGardyne
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:03 am

lol Oh boy. So even you Allan don't have a definitive opinion for me. Back to square one. ;)

I think for now I will start as one site. Being as I'm so new at this and don't have a lot of income to put towards it, registering 5-10 domains and having the same amount of hosting accounts could prove to be more than my bank account can handle right now.

With one caveat - would I sustain any kind of penalties (other than loss in rankings for certain keywords) if I end up splitting up the site into smaller ones later on?

Thank you everyone for your replies, they have been very helpful!

Tara :)
dabrat76
 
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:37 am

dabrat76 wrote:With one caveat - would I sustain any kind of penalties (other than loss in rankings for certain keywords) if I end up splitting up the site into smaller ones later on?


I can't think of any, but losing rankings and having to work to gain them again on a new site is fairly serious.

If you created NEW content for new smaller sites, one advantage is that you'd increase your chances of being found in search engines.

For example, you might be No.1 in Google for "blue-green widgets" with your main site and No.2 in Google for the phrase on your smaller site. That would be very nice!

You could go further. If you had two articles on each site targeting each phrase, you could end up with the top 4 spots in Google. The less competitive the phrases, the more chance you have of achieving this.
AllanGardyne
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:08 am

Very good ideas Allan, thank you :)

I'm now thinking again of going with a few smaller sites. While browsing CJ I found links to hosts/servers. Never even OCCURED to me (yes, I'm a twit) to affiliate with hosting companies and then signing up through my own links. That will save me a ton of cash, plus I can also put those links up in my blog.

So the rest of this week will probably be devoted to sketching out a little more clearly my next several sites.
dabrat76
 
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:26 am

dabrat76 wrote:Never even OCCURED to me (yes, I'm a twit) to affiliate with hosting companies and then signing up through my own links. That will save me a ton of cash...

Glad ideas were useful. Just make sure your check the affiliate agreements. Some merchants allow affiliates to purchase through their own links, others don't.
AllanGardyne
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:39 pm

dabrat76 wrote:Could you point me to a link? I don't follow Ken Evoy or his daughter at all, so I don't know what site you're talking about.


Tara, Nori's original site is...

http://www.anguilla-beaches.com

...(which covers everything to do with Anguilla, not just "beaches").

Her new site is...

http://www.best-anguilla-villas.com

Subscribe to Nori's Anguilla newsletter and join Sitesell's affiliate program, if you don't want to buy SBI just to follow what they do.

Surely Nori's sites are the closest most of us will get to seeing how Ken would do a niche site himself now. That's got to be worth something.

Cheers,
Charlie.
Charlie
 
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:23 pm

Thanks Allan, I was double checking that last night before you mentioned it, haven't seen any problems yet, but before I sign up I will definitely be meticulous in my search :)

Thank you Charlie for the links. Interesting that the writer (I assume Nori) is in my home town of Montreal. I will probably sign up to the newsletters of both Nori and Ken and see what happens with her sites.

Tara :)
dabrat76
 
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Business Continuity Planning...

Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:13 am

dabrat76,

I hear you re cash flow required to support multiple sites before they start bringing home the bacon, so to speak.

One way of diversifying might be to drip feed the income from mega-widget-site1 into the budgeted startup costs for site #2, and so on.

Seems obvious I know, but if you are in this for the "longer term" then there are going to be ups and downs with each site and the general profitability of your affiliate biz along the way.

The BCP reference in my post`s title is something I see a lot of in my day job - where some folks are hired full-time purely to drill down into a corporations various business units to find out exactly what they need to do to:
a) stay/get back into business should various possible events occur.
b) where possible attempt to reduce or eliminate the chance of event X happening in the 1st place (or at least document the impact if it did..)

The same thinking might apply to mega-widget-site X - what are the things which could put it out of biz for an hour, week, month, forever?
Then document ways of making sure these things don`t happen or are unlikely to happen or can be of limited effect if they do...from that analysis will come some options you can mull over and then take action on.
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