The Reality of Selling on the Internet

Published February 23, 2017 in Trouble - 5 Comments

I’m aware of something: I’d probably be a lot more rich if I hadn’t stuck with This Is Trouble.

Because that’s a tough market to hit.

If I’d continued for the last year pouring all the time I have into Trouble into smaller niche sites, focused on selling, instead—I probably would have more money in my pocket.

But it also came down to me wanting an authority site that had a brand.

I’m not sure which will be more profitable, long-term. At least on Trouble though, I get to write about whatever I want and it’s essentially “work”. I have a lot more freedom.

If you’re a freelance writer in a past life, you might find it far easier to stomach writing about topics you don’t care about. My tequila site is a good example of that one.

It’s very possible I would have made more money because I would have built sites around niches that I knew would be profitable—or at least had a good chance.

I don’t kid myself though. I wouldn’t be having as much fun with it, that I’m sure of.

Trouble is who I am.

What do you think of the pros and cons of a big blog versus a smaller army of niche sites?

bill - March 16, 2017

Kyle,

In years past I had lots of small sites on all sorts of stuff along with a few big, focused sites. All these sites big or small were focused on specific products or services. My results were much like yours: the little sites on various stuff were more fun to do, while the big sites on business stuff made much more money.

Things I learned:

* Depending on the search engines for traffic is risky. One Google algorithm change caused my main site’s traffic (and revenue) to drop by 70%, literally overnight.

* Sites that focus on specific products or services depend on that product or service staying viable. All the great content I created for my Outlook 2007 website doesn’t matter anymore since no one uses the product any more!

FreerTomorrow.com is my attempt to address these issues. The idea is to write mostly about my adventures in going from busting my ass as a 60+ hour a week middle manager in US tech companies to living much more and working much less in Latin America. In many ways similar to what you are doing, but from the perspective of a guy in his 50’s instead of his 20’s. Much is similar, but we are at very different stages in life, which makes for different needs and priorities.

I am hoping that writing about several big related topics that are tied to my own life will let me help other older guys find freedom while I have some fun and make some decent money.

Anyway, keep up the good work and keep us all apprised of your big-site vs niche-site results.

–Bill

    Kyle - March 16, 2017

    Bill,

    Thanks for your insightful comment.

    [* Depending on the search engines for traffic is risky. One Google algorithm change caused my main site’s traffic (and revenue) to drop by 70%, literally overnight.]

    Yes, ABSOLUTELY. It sucks being Google’s bitch. But to a certain extent we have no choice. They are the grand-daddy of the internet. That’s why it’s important to have a list, RSS subs, and an overall readership so you don’t just become irrelevant overnight.

    Which is terrifying.

    * Sites that focus on specific products or services depend on that product or service staying viable. All the great content I created for my Outlook 2007 website doesn’t matter anymore since no one uses the product any more!

    Yes, dead-on. That’s why you see most of the stuff I review (dating sites, language, travel tips) on the small sites are all relatively evergreen. Sure, new programs will come out, but links can be swapped out, city guides adjusted, etc.

    I think more and more people are going to continue to try to “escape” America for greener pastures, such as Latin America in your case and Eastern Europe in mine.

    I’d love to have you on my podcast at some point, I always really enjoy chatting with older men whom I can learn from.

    A great example was Graham Seibert: https://soundcloud.com/this-is-trouble/everything-ukraine

    Cheers, and thanks for reading.

    – Kyle

      Bill Mann - March 17, 2017

      Kyle,

      I would love to join you on the podcast. The next few weeks are going to be kind of hectic, with moving to a new place (after our creepy landlord broke our rental contract), settling my mom’s US estate from here in Ecuador, and getting married to my wonderful Ecuadorean girlfriend. Life should be much calmer by the end of April. Please email me at admin@freertomorrow.com to discuss details when you have a chance.

      Thanks,
      –Bill

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