Does your websites pass the test of time? [About dying websites]

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Good morning guys,

Like most of us here, I've spent my fair share of time reading peoples journeys, case studies and so on.

Something I've noticed when reading old forum threads and articles, is that a large amount of these websites are dead within a 4-5 year period. I'm not talking about the affiliate sites with 10 articles on them, but big successful sites - moste often affiliate sites. I don't know if this is because they lost interest or if they got penalized by Google and then just left the ship for a new one.

For example I read some guy's case studies on here and Reddit (I think his name was localcasestudy) and out of all of his sites, maybe 1 out of 5 are still alive. His entries was around 6-7 years ago, though.

My questions for you guys to get the ball rolling:

1.) Why do you think this is? Is the IM industry so tough that it's almost impossible to have one website staying alive for more than 5 years? (I know they exist, but you know what I mean)

2.) Do you have websites that have been earning you good money (a months salary or more) for over 5 years?

3.) Have you abandoned a lot of websites? If so, how come?

4.) How do you combat these early deaths of websites? Do you create websites now to make them last longer than 5 years?
 
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It might be considered indecent if I don't contribute myself, so I'll answer my own questions as well, lol.

1.) Why do you think this is?
There are a lot of enemies when it comes to websites and especially affiliate marketing.
* Google comes with updates that crushes your website.
* Companies close their affiliate offers
* Competition are being nasty by sending you bad links

However, I think a lot of people are leaving their websites because of that infamous shiny syndrome. They see new and better opportinuties and therefor abandon their current website.

But I am thinking: perhaps people were less "serious" with their sites before, it was more churn and burn. Now days webmasters seem to be forced to focus more on quality.

2.) Do you have websites that have been earning you good money (a months salary or more) for over 5 years?
No. I have only been in the SEO industry for around 2-3 years. My big earners now days are less than 1 year old. My earliest and first websites are earning tiny amounts.

3.) Have you abandoned a lot of websites? If so, how come?
I have abandoned 3 websites. One was in a bad niche, with poor quality and on-page was horrible. It was my very first site. The second one had the same issues. The third one didn't pop off at all, it was a fresh domain but Google refused to rank it, not even at position 150.

4.) How do you combat these early deaths of websites? Do you create websites now to make them last longer than 5 years?
I, of course, want them to last more than 5 years. On my biggest sites I have been creating both money and informational content, so that it doesn't look spammy. I am also trying to create informational content that can be spread on social media and give me traffic from there, so that I don't rely only on SEO.

I am trying to spread quite wide. I have several websites, all on different VPS (different IP), split up on two Google webaster accounts and in different niches. They are not interlinking. I try to keep them separated as much as possible. If I lose income from one or two sites, then I hopefully have a couple of others that are bringing in p's. My point is that if one site hits the bottom, then it's less risk that it will affect the other sites and therefor live longer.

On my websites are I am also focusing a lot on quality. I rarely publish anything jsut to publish. Luckily I write much better in my own language than I do in English. I am also trying to be as on point with website security as much as I can.
 
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Good question, I think this is really worth trying to understand.
I'm not sure I fully agree that most sites seem to fizzle out, but many "niche sites" seem to do.
Here are some of the primary reasons I've seen:

1) Built on PBNs or other spammy backlink tactics.
History tells us this just doesn't last. You'll get hit eventually and most people give up at that point or your rankings will just gradually decline and decline until people move on.

2) Neglecting aesthetics
Because many sites were never built to look good, they get outdated quick and get that "abandoned blog" look after a few years. Then the content is rarely great and they probably suffer in user metrics as a result, leading to more neglect. If you look at lasting websites, they make sure to do regular overhauls in design.

3) Not updating content
There needs to be a plan for continious content updates, both of evergreens and with reasonable new content. At the very least a site should publish like once a month to have some semblance of freshness imo.

4) Sold to amateurs
This is also a big reason I think. Many sites get sold after like 3-5 years for a nice payday and the buyer is often an amateur or doesn't have a good plan. So very many sites gets bought but never updated.

5) No social media
As much as this pains me, as I am not good in this aspect, there is no doubt that sites without a social media following fall harder and quicker. There's also the fact that social media makes you feel some sort of responsibility to your audience to keep improving and adding.

Conclusion:
The main reason sites don't last long, is because the business model is "backlinks and seo", not "running a website". Which means sites either fizzle out or get sold. Quite a few people also get hired into normal jobs after gaining a name.
 

CCarter

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1.) Why do you think this is?

People come to this industry as a hobby and aren't serious. The reality is there are tons of people making money online daily. Yet looking from an outsider's perspective a ton of people in this industry got in it for the wrong reason. They never took it as a serious business. They thought they'd blog once a week or month and in 3 months they'll be making $1000 from Google traffic.

Now making $1K a month after 3 months is definitely possible for ANY serious business. But the difference is a majority of people take a passive approach to "Internet marketing businesses" instead of a proactive approach.

A proactive approach is hustling to get traffic DAILY - day in and day out. How to get traffic today?

  1. commenting on blogs or forums within your industry
  2. create YouTube videos that talk about pain points in your niche and how to solve them
  3. engage with LinkedIn posts in your industry/niche and provide valuable feedback
  4. engage with users on Instagram and hustle for new business in DMs
  5. engage in the conversation on twitter about the latest going on in your industry
  6. reach out to other industry people and create relationships that you can use in the future to make money together.
  7. send a weekly email to your user base - regardless if it's only 1 person on it, it creates a habit that is necessary.
  8. post valuable content on your social media feed that help people for your topic, even a 2 line quote can be valuable content.

Those 8 things alone can generate you traffic TODAY for FREE to your website from people WITHIN your industry/niche/topic. But it takes time. People want the lazy approach to everything an "Easy" Button and don't do the extra steps necessary to go above and beyond for their business.

Here is my gauge whether someone is serious or not - Have they formed an LLC for their website property/asset? It cost at most $100-200 to do it. Yet if a person is not willing to do even the most basic thing like incorporate it then it give you a gauge on how serious they are about the project.

People love SEO and want to rely on Google - the real hustlers in any industry know your success has to come from multiple sources, cause one source can simply kill you. Just sending an email to your user base adds a new source of potential traffic and therefore potential revenue.

Marketing is simple once you get over the fear of criticism.

2.) Do you have websites that have been earning you good money (a months salary or more) for over 5 years?

Yeah, every website I own makes me money or I turn it off in 6 months.

I used to own like 300+ domains - projects that I thought would be a great idea one day but I never bothered taking the next step of getting them up and going. Wasted money on registrar fees cause of procrastination but more so I wasn't really serious about those projects.

So I started deleting domains left and right, now I'm down to less than 20 - either they are projects making money, for email purposes, or legacy domains that I need to hold for a while for legal purposes.

The problem is with the internet there are unlimited opportunities and registering a domain is easy, so that creates a new potential opportunity. In order to win in life you need to follow a narrow path in the beginning then can expand later on. Basically reduce your opportunities and focus in on ones that generate revenue. Shit can the stuff that doesn't make money and move on.

3.) Have you abandoned a lot of websites? If so, how come?

If a site doesn't generate revenue it's because I'm not that serious so I just delete it and close it down. At first it was painful but it got easier and easier and let me focus better. Thinking about the lost money and opportunities makes me take current projects more serious and now I think long and hard about a new project before pulling the trigger - cause in the past I wasted time and money on things that I wasn't really serious about.

4.) How do you combat these early deaths of websites? Do you create websites now to make them last longer than 5 years?

I assume Google isn't going to send me traffic. That way I'm in the mentality that I really have to hustle to get revenue. Now the question becomes am I willing to hustle on this project day and night? If not then I don't bother with the project.

SEOs have been sucking on the tits of Google for so long they can't comprehend any other way of getting traffic, that's why they are always at the mercy of Google whenever there is an update or algorithm change or even a rumor of one.

SEOs need to become real online marketers and until that happens you'll keep seeing tons of abandoned websites, domains, and projects cluttering up the landscape.

Bottom-line people aren't serious nor running their websites as businesses. If you opened a brick and mortar business on Main St, would you sit around and wait for customers to come to you? Or would you push and promote that business day and night because you have the pressure of rent and employee payroll to make?

The barrier to entry is easy to start a website - but that's the only easy part. You have to promote a business if not it will fail.
 

Ryuzaki

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1.) Why do you think this is? Is the IM industry so tough that it's almost impossible to have one website staying alive for more than 5 years?
Amateur Builders
No, the industry isn't that tough. It seems like you're thinking of the millions of sites by fly-by-night dummies that quit the entire game in less than 5 years. You can't expect their sites to last longer than they do.

But go look at non-SEO niches, ones built around communities. Mommy / Cooking / Fitness / Travel bloggers. They've been around forever and are putting SEO's to shame. Then go look at sites like... PsychologyToday. That was started by one man and now it's huge. The number of examples of sites that have been around a long time are as endless as the ones that are gone.

Amateur Buyers
The difference is in the operator and owner. I've sold a handful of sites. My buddies have sold sites. To this day, I've only seen 2 sales out of dozens where the buyer didn't immediately ruin the operation. I've seen people spend $300k on buying a website, immediately get a PHP error so the sidebar doesn't load, and leave it like that for years. I've seen companies spend several million on a site and start posting non-sense to it that's nothing like what the previous owner was doing. Sites I sold, the companies didn't bother to check what content I had posted and immediately started posting duplicate title tags and topics.

That's another huge reason a lot of sites don't stick around. They get sold to someone with money and no skill.

Experience Stacking
For serious people that are seriously trying, I think part of it is that you get better and better in every aspect. At a certain point your new opportunities aren't shiny objects, they're legit better opportunities. You've networked more, you've learned to research better, etc. So you move on and it makes sense to liquidate previous properties, either to fund the new ones or just remove the distraction.

Penalties
Regarding SEO, tons of sites end up getting penalized by Penguin and then sold to link sellers to rip off customers. Always compare the backlink profile to the current traffic levels if you don't want links from penalized sites. This is where most end up.

2.) Do you have websites that have been earning you good money (a months salary or more) for over 5 years?
Yes, two. One has been frustrating as hell but it covers all my expenses and then some, allowing me to build up more and more savings. The other earns around the same amount, goes into savings and re-investment.

That first one has been so frustrating that I just launched a new project that I'll hold on to forever (a one-and-done build, should trickle in money as long as I host it). Now I'm launching another project that I think can do far better than either one of those, but it'll be a "grinder" project where myself and employees hustle it down for growth. It might be "the one." You never know.

But related to question 3 and 4, I'm building these right, so I'm starting to see them as a portfolio than random sites that "I might flip or might keep or might..." If any one of them really pops off, of course I'll sell them and cash out and offload the risk, but otherwise I'll keep them around earning easy income. The builds aren't easy but maintenance is.

3.) Have you abandoned a lot of websites? If so, how come?
I built and abandoned 30-50 in my first couple of years. Like most, you start finding nice domains (back when EMD's slayed it) and quickly roll out tons of sites. Then you have to spam them with links because you can't promote 50 sites. Then they tank or get sold or whatever. I see this as part of gaining experience, experimenting, learning the lay of the land.

Fail fast and frequently until you know what's going on, then narrow it down.

4.) How do you combat these early deaths of websites? Do you create websites now to make them last longer than 5 years?
Custom site designs, extreme quality content, white hat link building, real marketing tactics.

As long as you don't sabotage yourself along the way, these sites can live forever. Even if you let them sit for a few years you can come back and get freshness flowing again, obtain more links, post more content.

I know people that built sites and turned to something else, never really dialed in the previous sites, but let them sit. They have tons of sites making them $100 a month, $250 a month, etc. Some might be tempted to get rid of them, but with enough of those sitting around it adds up. "This one pays for my cell phone every month. This one pays my car bill. This one covers half my mortgage. This one finishes off the mortgage. This one pays off my electricity and water. This one covers my internet bill."

So I guess I'd say that if you build them right and keep them, they don't have to die.
 
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It all comes down to building a business.
It's relatively easy to build a website with endless PBN links and other scammyness. And then take pot luck at getting out by selling before Google picks up on it.
But it's actually hard to keep a business running profitably for a long time. Always has been.

Sure there's always a few exceptions where some people happen to be in a good niche or industry and go on to be long lasting.
A different skill and mindset is needed, diff people need to be used
Amazon was one of those, their model changed so many times it was nothing like when they started after a few years.

3.) Have you abandoned a lot of websites? If so, how come?
I have a few domains >20yo, more >15yo that I just potter around with.
Others stay dormant until I want to experiment with something.
I have some that are about my hobbies and I add content or whatever when I feel like it.
I have plenty other that never went past a basic 1 html page.
While some others may mention words like "serious", I couldn't care less.
I count my blessings that for the last 20yrs I mostly only do what I enjoy doing and what jobs i want.
I have fun doing things like PPC campaigns, to me it's lika a mmporg just a bit more exciting.

Life's good, don't forget to enjoy it.
 
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