A Website SEO Experiment: How Not to Make Money Online

Have you ever wondered why people don’t just make a website about something and make money from it?  I mean, other people did it, it must be easy… right?  It isn’t.

I decided to do an experiment just to see how profitable (or unprofitable) an “about” style website could be.  First i needed a plan:
1.  Pick a topic
2.  Register domain names
3.  Secure hosting
4.  Design a template
5.  Create Content
6.  Publish

Pretty straightforward, right?

Pick a Topic
I decided on sports, specifically basketball.  I don’t pay attention to sports much, the only ones I enjoyed as a child were soccer and skateboarding, and those are the only ones I have any interest now.  But basketball is more popular.  The Rockets is a popular team right?  I used Google Trends to compare the Rockets to several other NBA teams and for 2015 the Rockets were pretty popular comparatively.  Great!

Register Domain Names
I picked a registrar and to save money decided to use “.info” as my TLD.  Dot COM is preferred, but also quite a bit more expensive.  Let’s hope that wasn’t a bad decision.  I registered quite a few domains, even some football ones too, I needed a good pool, good volume for this experiment.

Secure Hosting
This part was easy, I already have a hosting package.  I wasn’t planning on using a content management system (CMS), such as Drupal or WordPress, or even a IDE to help design the pages; so all I needed was a place to put simple HTML files that I could point a domain towards.  Done.

Create Content
Remember when I said I didn’t really know anything about sports like basketball?  If not you can scroll up a little and read it, and you should ask a doctor about that short term memory issue.  So what was I going to do?  I needed unique content with a keyword focus for each player and their sport/team…  Fiverr.  I got samples from three writers and decided on using one who is not currently available and didn’t give me to publish his name (but if that changes I’ll edit this post to give him credit and press).  Three days later I had unique writings of at least 500 words for each domain.

Go ahead, check out all those links, they work 😉
I did style all the content to be a couple links, image ad, player name (First Last), search box, paragraph(s), text ad, paragraph(s), image ad, paragraph(s), text ad, paragraph(s), image ad, paragraph(s), text ad, player name (Last, First), search box, links.  This in the maximum amount of advertising allowed on a single page by Google Adsense.  I also submitted each domain to the Google and Bing search submissions to be crawled.

So, what are the results? Well, I’m not going to be renewing the domain names unless something drastically changes between now and June.  But I did enjoy the process, got to refresh a couple skills and test some SEO practices.

What could be done to improve the results?  Quite a few things, right off the top though:
1.  Using a better domain.  Hyphens, .info, last names first – all these things play a roll.
2.  Pictures.  I didn’t use any pictures because of copyright issues.
3.  More content.  Not more words on a single page (that can be good, but isn’t required), but more pages with more stuff about the players being “targeted” – having a site that is more than just one page really helps your rankings (exception for HTML 5 sites designed in a specific manner).
4.  Updated content.  Part of having a site is keeping it updated.  I’m not going to put that much effort into these, this isn’t the biggest factor in the low traffic and the ROI (return on investment) just isn’t there.
5.  Social marketing.  I didn’t do a press release, I’m not tweeting about it, all the content is unique but none of the information is exclusive and super-shareworthy.

What can you take away from this?  Don’t make these easy mistakes when you make your site.  And if you need some SEO advice feel free to ask me, I actually do have some site that are done well and I’d be happy to help you out!

Screenshot 2015-12-06 at 11.35.16 AM

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