One of the first online businesses I had was earning referral fees from sending lawyers clients with my local law sites.
Over the years I had built up a pretty good law blog that sent the referrals. It had and still has okay traffic for a local law website.
However, the government changed the personal injury regime in British Columbia by capping damages on most car accident cases, so it wasn’t worth it for my law firm clients and me to continue. We amicably parted ways.
In the meantime, I have this law blog that attracts traffic. I slapped up a few AdSense ads on it and moved on.
2 weeks ago, I checked the ad revenue and it’s very, very good. It has the highest RPM of any site I own from just two ad units. Yes, legal niches are very good because lawyers bid high for clicks.
I gave it some thought and realized there is so much growth potential for the site and given it’s so lucrative with a little traffic, I might as well pour the gas on to grow it. It’s an aged site with good content. There’s no reason I can’t multiply current traffic and revenue in a year or two with some investment and effort. At which point, it’ll be ripe to sell.
That said, there’s a very strong argument for focusing on one website, maybe two at the most.
Investing 100% of your time, resources and energy in one site likely means you’ll create a better site. These days, quality content and user experience are paramount.
I truly believe that. The more successful sites, for the most part, are high quality. Yes, some quality sites, don’t do well. Some mediocre sites to very well, but overall, quality is the name of the game.
If I believe that, why am I building more sites?
It’s a question I’ve pondered often as I debated focusing on two sites or expanding.
I decided to give investing in more niche sites a shot. I may abandon the effort in a few months, but my decision to give this a shot is based on some sound reasoning. Here are the reasons why.
As an aside, I’m publishing this article because I know this is an issue many bloggers face which is focusing on one site or publishing multiple sites. This article essentially sets out the advantages of going the mutli-site model.
Table of Contents
- 1. Leverage
- 2. Smoother cash flow from selling sites
- 3. Take advantage of rising website valuations
- 4. Diversification
- 5. Establish Authority for the Future
- 6. Taxes
- 7. Boredom
- 8. Challenge
- 9. Less pressure = more relaxed
- 10. Low expectations
- 11. Exciting
I’ve honed my niche site process to a good system over the last couple of years. I’ve grown several sites to $3K+ per month. A few to $10K+ per month.
I can leverage my knowledge to create more successful niche sites with less trial and error. For the most part I know what will work pretty quickly. While I’m still learning, I’ll make fewer mistakes and will do more things right the first time because this isn’t my first rodeo.
For example, I’ve honed my keyword and article topic research methods to where I can come up with hundreds of ideas in a couple hours for almost any niche. I simply do what I’ve done for other sites (this time focusing on the topic concepts that worked).
I can leverage research across my niche sites to create new content for the sites. I love applying twists to articles so they are relevant in other niches. Once I have the foundational content and images, it’s much cheaper and faster to tweak it to fit another niche.
I have a big email list from a broad niche site. I can send them daily to my other sites which is a super easy and fast way to get traffic going to those sites.
I can leverage my knowledge for monetizing sites as well as some premium ad networks that I’m in because I have successful sites. This makes it possible to hit higher revenue numbers faster for even lower traffic sites (which on their own would not qualify for higher paying ad networks).
e. Software and tools
I pay for a few software tools such as Canva, hosting that includes multiple sites, stock photo subscriptions, premium themes, several plugins and email autoresponder software that won’t increase in cost by adding more sites.
I can interlink my sites to generate more traffic among multiple niche sites. This won’t result in hordes of traffic, but every little bit counts.
FYI, I always use nofollow links when linking my own sites together. I’m not trying to game search results with these links – I’m just trying to get more page views in total across my sites with the links.
g. Content sources and systems
I have good systems in place for getting a lot of good content. This has taken a long time to set up and hone. Now I can get good content and scale very easily for any number of websites.
2. Smoother cash flow from selling sites
This is the biggest reason I’m building out more niche sites.
If I focus on one or two niche sites, I only have 2 assets to sell. I can’t sell part of a website. Actually, I suppose I could sell a percentage of it, but I’m not interested in doing that (unless some ridiculously good offer came around).
By building up several niche sites, I have several assets I could sell here and there.
While I think niche sites are undervalued currently, I still get excited at the thought of fetching 20 to 35 times monthly net income from small sites earning $1,000 to $5,000 per month (very realistic revenue levels to reach in a couple of years).
That said, I believe website valuations will increase, which is another very good reason to invest in more websites.
3. Take advantage of rising website valuations
I discussed website valuations here (and why I think valuations may rise in the future). Check out some of the comments because several readers made some excellent points.
It’s a debatable subject. I may be totally wrong about valuations going up, but it seems to me they already have in recent years. I don’t expect that they’ll rise to ridiculous levels, but I believe if institutional investors pour more money into sites, they’ll increase in value. One commenter also mentioned that currently, you can’t get financing to buy sites. If that ever changes, there will be a lot more money available for investing in websites which means higher valuations.
Please note that I’m merely speculating here. I could be wrong. I’m not suggesting you invest in niche sites because valuations will increase. They may, they may not.
There are 2 aspects to diversification. One is having more assets to sell individually. The other is having multiple sources of revenue.
At the end of the day, my sites are monetized the same way (most display ads and some affiliate offers) and all focus on Google traffic. So while on the surface it seems having more sites means I’m more diversified, that’s not really the case. I guess one site of mine could suffer while the others stay strong… but if I lost an AdSense account, all sites would take a beating.
But, being able to sell smaller sites for nice paydays without selling the bigger sites appeals to me.
5. Establish Authority for the Future
One of my sites is one I bought a few years ago. It’s an aged site with good content. I did nothing with it until June 2018. Since then I’ve grown traffic 5x and revenue hit 4 figures per month in a few months.
That experience tells me that authority helps grow sites faster. Authority takes time to establish, so I might as well start now.
That experience also informed me that my systems and know-how works in other niches. I’ve never had a site grow so quickly which is a result of the site being aged with authority plus my having a plan and systems to take advantage of that authority.
I like profits and am not complaining about having a profitable business. But profits mean taxes. Paying taxes does nothing for my business.
Instead of giving my profits to the government, I believe I’m better off investing profits into growing my business.
Each site is different and so it’s something new to work on throughout the week. I don’t plan to ignore my bigger sites, but I do a VA and writers who can handle much of that work. That means I have time to put into new sites.
While my local law blog doesn’t generate huge sums of ad revenue, the amount it does generate from a couple of ads is very exciting. My first thought when seeing the RPM numbers was “imagine if this site got 50,000 visitors per month”. That would be a very nice income stream… and 50K monthly visitors isn’t all that much.
I relish the challenge of growing sites to 4 figures per month. That’s my goal because at that point, a sale would be a good payday. A $1,000 per month nets $20K to $30K. $3K per month income could fetch $60K to $90K (maybe even $100K).
Here’s what’s so great about the challenge – setting a goal of earning $1,000 to $3,000 from a website is reasonable. I’ve grown many niche sites to $5K+ per month so I know I can do it. The trick is doing it for more websites at the same time.
9. Less pressure = more relaxed
Putting all your eggs in one basket can be scary. If the site suffers a setback, that’s your entire business.
With a fleet of sites generating revenue streams, if one site has problems, you’re still in business. While any loss of revenue is never pleasant, having several sites with traffic, authority and revenue not only helps cushion the blow, but also serve as a foundation to grow more quickly compared to having to start from scratch (Google sandbox and total lack of authority among other reasons new sites take a bit to gain some traction).
10. Low expectations
I have very realistic expectations for these new sites. They will take 1.5 to 3 years to start earning meaningful revenue.
I’m not going to shovel content and time into them. I’m proceeding slow and steady, building them for the future instead of now. They’re essentially side projects.
Since in my mind the bar is set low, I don’t have much pressure for them to succeed all that fast which makes them fun rather than sites where I’m under pressure to grow quickly.
It’s exciting growing new sites. I find adding 100 visitors per day and a few dollars per day to a new niche site an exciting thing to do, which motivates me to dedicate time each week to new projects.
CAUTION: I’ll end by suggesting that if you’re just starting out, launching more sites is probably not the best idea unless you’re well funded. I’ve been at this for a few years and I have a few sites/domains kicking around with some promise which I either let sit or try growing them. I’m able to outsource most content to many writers and have a very good VA. I’m not going this alone which gives me hopefully a better chance at making at least some of them work out well.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.