One Month In

After a month, I’m still learning, and still working out how to approach this most affectively.  Traffic is still growing across all my sites, but not quite at the rate I would like.  Maybe I’m too niche, or competing out of my depth.

Still, with five months more before i have to decide that, lets look at a few thoughts:

Firstly – I set up and started getting traffic almost immediately.  Its doing really well – far faster than the other sites.  I have a suspicion if might be due to being a simple site, not tied up by the mass that is wordpress.  I want to do more simple HTML sites in the future to test this

Secondly – Building was slightly irritating.  I’ve figured out how I want to approach this sort of thing in the future:  I want to write code to do it all.  So right now some of my time is being spent on some python which will build and upload websites of this sort.  as and when I have something worth talking about, I’ll discuss it a bit more

Thirdly – I left most of my sites alone for a week and a half, and traffic continued to grow.  I still want to add more to them, but its clear you don’t have to be constantly flooding sites with more pages, even at the beginning.

Finally:  I’m wondering if my ‘dont spend any more money’ strategy is the right one.  I can put up new sites very cheaply, and in theory, the more sites I put up, the better my chances of getting some return on incoming hits.  Right now I’m thinking a tenner a fortnight might be a sensible budget.

TimeSignal and static pages

Initially, my plan for was to use the inbuilt web design software that came from my hosting provider.  I quickly gave up on that as incredibly frustrating.  I moved back to an old familiar piece of software, nvu, but that also was not realy what I wanted.  In the end, I turned to some CSS I had run across a few days ago.  Blueprint turned out to be exactly what I need – and already (though still unfinished) timesignl is looking pretty and is quite manageable.

Soon I’ll need to script building and uploading it to save me time in generating similar sites – but that can wait until I’ve got the basic structure worked out.

It is time to launch my fourth (or fifth – if you count this) site –

Up until this point all my sites have had the same approach:

  • Use WordPress as a framework
  • Use a subject I know something about or are continually researching, and add on an ad hoc basis to see what sticks
  • Once the site’s content attracts people, try to convert them by passing on useful links

Its slow going, but its an approach.  Nevertheless, you don’t learn until you try lots of different things, so for my new site, I went off in a new direction. is intended to introduce people to the world of radio controlled, time signal watches.  I chose the domain, because I know that when I wanted to buy my current watch, I didn’t know it was radio controlled watches (a fairly meaningless term in my opinion) and not time signal watches that I should be searching for.  A bit of research suggests I wasn’t the only one making this mistake, and that it would be possible to be of some help here.  So its a niche – a particularly british niche (I think we use the term time signal more frequently than other english speaking countries.)

So I’ve decided to do a site very much dedicated to comparison shopping for time signal clocks watches – and, given that I’m going for the time signal term, I may as well try to educate and convert people who are interested in that into customers too.  But its an out and out sales site, not a mish mash of ideas like my previous attempts.  Its also not a blog based site.  I’m using (at the moment) a web based design package.  Frankly, I don’t think I’ll stick with it for long – already, it’s annoying me.

Finally, I’m going to spend my next week dedicated to, rather than randomly updating the other sites on a whim.  That’ll let me know the bast way to introduce new sites to the world (quickly, or witha slow, semi-random build up).  It’ll also tell me what leaving my other sites unattended for a week does to them.

Status Report 3 – Three Weeks In

Well, my hit rate is still not great (though it seems to be climbing) , but I had an explosion of hits on the bank holiday Monday, which may – or may not – continue.  Whatever, right now its hit building, not conversions which are the order of the day.

That said, it is also time to begin to experiment – so in my next post, I’m going to introduce my new site and explain the different approaches I intend to take with it

I’m a moron

The hits keep coming (albeit slowly), but I realised I made a stupid mistake – somehow I entered the wrong google analytics code on usa road trips meaning it wasn’t keeping track of visitors.  So I may well have been underestimating that site’s potential (I got all my organic search results there yesterday).  I also got my first clickthrough to amazon from their yesterday.  Nothing bought (yet – there is still time), but nice o see that people will follow through affiliate links even with quite a low flow of traffic.

My First Hit

The domains project got its first organic search hit today.  Against all of my expectations it came for  Since my plan is to spend time on things that are working (at least until I have the experience to know how to fix the things that don’), this means until I get more incoming hits, More Confident is where at least half my work will go.

Already I have added one page – a page with a heading and subject matter much like the search query – working on the theory that if one person wanted this information, then there are probably others out there who do, and it would make my site more useful if I provided it.

The Budget

One thing I didn’t mention, is that when I began this project, I gave myself a budget of 100 quid for the first 6 months.  The idea is to try, in that period to get back that amount of money (or… possibly… to show that the site is generating enough money and growth that the next six months are worthwhile).  Thus far I’ve invested £88.68, so I have just about enough money to pay for one more domain.

By the rules I’m working by, I won’t be able to add another domain (beyond the one remaining) to the mix until I earn that money back from my existing portfolio.

Will this work?  We shall see!

Status Report 2

I’m beginning to notice my sites turning up in google searches – so far the searches have to be pretty specific – and they don’t seem to turn up all the time (which makes me guess that only some of Google’s servers have taken my sites into their hearts thus far).  Still it makes me think there is still hope.  I’m beginning to think that my sites thus far may be too general – doesn’t seem to have keywords that aren’t handled elsewhere.  And I’m not doing much better with the other sites.  Nevertheless, my portfolio is worth considering is a good general site that can have lots of different information added to it as I progress. is really tied in with a dedicated project that I’m going to build up, then probably not consider.  Its probably got my best chance of making conversions, but has some stiff competition. fits in with my interest in self help and self improvement.  I suspect there is a lot of potential for self help sites – I have a large amount of information to share.  But the competition is high, and it lacks specific keywords  that will attract people.

I think it might be worth trying to add a really niche site to this portfolio.  Especially if I don’t get any organic search hits coming through in the next day or two.

Finally, I’ve added google analytics to this page – who knows what hits the domins project might attract?  While I’m using it more as a project workbook and journal than a place I intend to gain hits, there is no reason not to consider this – an example of business creation and idea generation – to my set of sites.


Status Report 1

I began the domains project a few weeks ago.  I’m adding content at a rate which reflects how hard I wish to work on this project, but so far I’m receiving no search driven hits.  I do, however, know that several of my sites have been crawled by the googlebot, so there is opportunity out there.  I’m now at a stage where I’m trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to do next.

1.  I’m beginning the domains project blog.  It seems since I’m thinking about the domains project, I may as well put my thoughts to silicon, in the off chance that that will be useful to people doing similar things.  I also hope that through links to my existing domains, the blog may help encourage google to love them a little more.

2. I’m going to ensure all my sites link back to the domains project blog.  I may as well drive a little traffic (even if it is search engine traffic) here.

3. I’m considering expanding into more sites, covering a few more areas.  For all I know I’m misjudging the competition in the ares I have begun to look at, and a few more niche sites may be useful

4. Originally I spent a fair amount of my time doing trial monetization work on my sites.  I was trying to do everything right from the start.  Right now it occurs to me that monetization isn’t valuable until get hits, so I’m better off adding more and more content until I stumble across the unique terms that search engines are looking for.  Only once I’m getting hits through the door is it worth trying to convert them into paying customers for somebody else.

This year, my wife and I are planning a road trip across the USA.  Since I’m going to be doing a lot of research, I wanted a place to put ever decision I’ve made – specifically I want to put together a website that tells other people what I’ve done, why I made the decisions I made and what I would do differently next time – all from the perspective of someone in the UK about to embark on a road trip.  That is exactly what is intended to provide

Of course, when the time times for the road trip to actually take place, I’ll be able to blog about it as it happens, and record more details of our car journey across the west cost of america and the people and places we find there.