I thought now would be a great time to put together the experiences I have had building mini-sites. With StimulusChecks(dot)info I think I have showed everyone that all the good domains are not taken, and indeed there still is a lot of room for growth.
I started Linton Investments in 2007 because I was registering available domain names, putting nice websites on them, and generating a nice passive income. At first I was worried that all the good domain names would be taken, but I was confident that they names I owned would get more and more visitors over time. I continued using mini-sites with useful content on my domains rather than just parking them. I learned the value of the mini-site early-on and want to share my basic methodology with everyone.
First, let me start by saying, if you haven’t already…build a minisite – today. Not tomorrow, not next weekend, start building today. I found-out very quickly that given some time my minisites could rank well on search engines and soon start getting some reasonable traffic. Some domains grow quicker than others but in general having popular keywords in the name itself has become an essential part of my strategy. I have ignored TLD when it comes to sites I we designate for passive income as I’m looking for traffic to the domain, not instantaneous resale value. Like I say in my book, a website that has repeat monthly visitors and useful information will become a valuable asset that grows in value as it generates passive income.
So, if I’ve convinced you to build a minisite now…where should you start?
There are two routes to take, and I’ll start by asking a simple question:
"Can you build a website yourself?"
If the answer to this question is yes, then please read section 1 below, if not please read section 2.
Section 1: You know how to build a website yourself
First let me say, congratulations – your website building skills can make you a lifetime of passive income and save you a few bucks along the way. Start by building a 4-5 page website about a topic you know a lot about. Think of the best potential pages would be for this site. If you are making an information website about cooking you could have; recipes, cookbooks, cooking websites, cooking tips, and cooking forum. You could make a live web-forum on your site that would allow users to interact with the site and make their own lasting impression.
Many hosting providers make it easy to add a forum or guestbook to your site – adding any level of interactivity will work wonders in creating repeat traffic. Make sure you monetize the website with Google Adsense at the bare minimum. Google generates all the code for you so all you’ll have to do is copy and paste it into your code. Try to use a second source of monetization like Amazon or Clickbank – something that can monetize at a higher amount per sale than Adsense.
The one things to realize about a minisite is: don’t spend an eternity building the site. Put something together in 1-2 hours and then get it out there. You can improve the site was time goes on but the most important thing is to get it out there into the world so it can be indexed by search engines and start building-up some traffic. You can optimize over time but I can tell you Field of Dreams was right when they said, "If you build it, they will come."
Section 2: You do not know how to build a website yourself
Let me start by saying, Congratulations. You can start a passive income stream buying domain names and paying someone to build a quick minisite on the domain. You don’t ever have to learn how to build a website yourself and the domains should pay for the development cost within the first few months.
First buy a domain name about a topic you think people would be searching for. A great way to do this is to type some keywords into Google with quotes around them. Take a look at something like "find good recipes" – Google has only 17,100 results for this search term (in quotes). Now take a look at something like "chicken recipes" – this has 1,350,000 results – a much more popular search query. This is an easy way to see if your domain name has some hope of getting traffic. If you know there are a lot of other website out there about a certain topic, that means people much be searching for it!
One you have a domain name you think has some potential – now you need someone to build you a site. Keep your budget small, between $75-$150 a domain should be a good place to start. Then head over to a domaining forum like DNForum or NamePros – these all have sections where you can advertise services you are looking for. Now just write a quick post writing what you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay. I’d start by saying something like, Looking for minisite developer. 3-4 page minisites with content and Google Adsense. Willing to pay $100/site.
You’ll be surprised how many responses you will get and before you know it, you’ll have a portfolio of minisites on the net, indexed in the search engines and generating revenue. It’s a small initial investment and over time the revenue can grow substantially giving you a nice passive income stream and enabling the domain to sell for much much more than it’s initial registration cost + development cost. On most forums people pay 27x monthly revenue so if you site is even making $10/month you can expect to sell it for at least $270 – $20/month and you can make over $500 for selling the domain – and that’s less than $1 day in revenue.
No matter which route you take one thing is for sure – if you haven’t started building minisites – now is the time to start. You can grow them over time into full-fledged websites, but first – get something useful onto your domains! Let people interact with the website and each other, provide valuable information that people are searching for, today is the day – build a minisite!
[ More tips and tricks on building minisites can be found in my book ]