How Many Active Projects & Domains Do You Have?

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I recently posted my introduction and mention the colossal mistakes I’ve made chasing shiny objects. I’ve wasted a ton of money on various things. For starters, domains and small sites (that once worked) but I’m trying hard to change my ways in 2020 and stop the bleeding. That said, I’m curious how many active projects people are running here and what people’s domain inventory looks like?
Is there a baseline that you’re using to decide to press on, hold or exit?
 

bernard

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Too many.

I have one website that makes like 90% but then I have 10 other sites or so. Before that I had one site that made 70% and my main site now contributed like 30%.

I do see it more like a pipeline. I can only work really effective on one site at a time, but I can get the other sites going, so that they get ready in a year or so. At that point I can sell the main site and get the new one going.

Not sure though, I am considering going all in with this main site, since it is a large niche and it shows a lot of promise.
 

Ryuzaki

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My philosophy on this has changed drastically over the past 15+ years as Google changed and as I wisened up myself.

I started with a single project that was a relative success, then got suckered in by the allure of the big empire of EMD domains, mass spam, and eventually PBNs later. Rolling out 30 sites at a time... a giant waste of time. I made money but learned nothing and wasn't running a business. I was simply leeching off of Google.

Eventually, before Penguin rolled out, anyone doing real study (which I was by then) could see the writing on the wall. Combine that with the previous named updates and what they attacked, and it was becoming pretty obvious Google had a spam problem it intended to solve.

This was when I jumped over to the authority site model, before anyone was even talking about such a thing. I had an insightful associate who figured that play out before I did and put me up on the game early. Funnily enough, my first authority site is the top earning site out of 100's that the SEC took from a ponzi scheme recently.

So instead of sitting on 100+ domains and tons of sites where none of them can get an inkling of the effort and attention they deserve, I ultimately narrowed it all the way down to 2 projects. I've recently added a 3rd and the amount of stress that added to my time management can't be understated.

But narrowing it way down ensured that I could give each the focus they need. And since I'm largely SEO-based, this amount of focus is like compounding interest. The more content, links, marketing, social, and age one domain gets, the more its growth rate increases. It's not linear at all but geometric. I've seen more success following this philosophy of "less is more, minimalism, keep everything simple, and increase the volume of output across fewer domains" than I have doing anything else.
 

Potatoe

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Something to keep in mind is that there's also a big difference between trying to tend to ten smaller fires with one iron in each fire, as opposed to having one blazing fire with ten irons in it.
 

bernard

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Something to keep in mind is that there's also a big difference between trying to tend to ten smaller fires with one iron in each fire, as opposed to having one blazing fire with ten irons in it.

What does that mean in practical terms?
 
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So instead of sitting on 100+ domains and tons of sites where none of them can get an inkling of the effort and attention they deserve, I ultimately narrowed it all the way down to 2 projects. I've recently added a 3rd and the amount of stress that added to my time management can't be understated.
I love hearing this and I'm glad I'm not the only one holding hundreds of domains and tons of sites, only to realize that this is such a waste of capital and resource. Makes me wanna hit delete on all the domains I'm waiting to expire now. That said, I'm super excited to finally clean house. After reading the Day 2 Article by @Ryuzaki I realize I may have gone too niche with some of my main projects and might need to find a way to broaden things up from a branding/domain.
 

Potatoe

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Heya @bernard, thanks for asking - I wasn't sure if I should go into more detail or not. I hope this helps to illustrate what I meant.

Let's say there are two people...
  • They both struggle a bit with shiny object syndrome.
  • They like to start new things maybe a bit more than they ought to.
  • They like to experiment and keep work fresh.
  • They like to throw a lot of darts at the wall and to see what sticks, etc.

Person A has started ten smaller fires with one iron in each fire, and by this I mean:
  • A has a somewhat successful authority website about knives.
  • A runs a YouTube channel about top 10 lists and celebrity gossip.
  • A has a a microniche website about how to buy travel insurance.
  • A sells can openers on Amazon FBA.
  • A runs FB ads to sell t-shirts to proud grandfathers of ballerinas.
  • A has an Instagram account about art that sells posters.
  • A is trying to grow a mailing list about politics.
  • A is taking a course on local lead gen to sell leads to chiropractors.
  • A is selling a book on gumroad about the history of football.
  • A is building an app for users to review kettlebells.

Person B has one big fire, with ten irons in it:
  • B has a somewhat successful authority website about golf.
  • B runs a YouTube channel about golf.
  • B has a microniche website about traveling to play golf.
  • B sells golfing accessories on Amazon FBA.
  • B runs FB ads to sell t-shirts about golf to golfers.
  • B has an Instagram account about golf that sells posters.
  • B is trying to grow a mailing list about golf.
  • B is taking a course on local lead gen to sell leads to golf instructors.
  • B sells a book on gumroad about the history of golf.
  • B is building an app for users to review golf clubs.

Despite both people flirting with other projects instead of focusing entirely on what got them to the ball, I'd argue that Person B is still in a better position since their successes will be amplified and can help the rest of their projects succeed so there's more upside, and even their failed projects will usually contribute something to the ecosystem they're building so there's less downside, too.

It's also entirely possible that Person C is hyper-focused with one iron in one fire and just dunks all over A and B, but if all Person C does is publish videos (or whatever their "thing" is) then it might be a good idea for them to look at other ways to take advantage of their platform, too.

To bring it back to OP's case though, it sounds like there it's a bunch of site ideas and domains that don't get off the ground, I absolutely think it's the right move to forget about the sunk costs and clear that out and to get very focused on one site before looking at any increase in smelting capacity. Even if the plan is to eventually build and manage a larger number of sites, you'll want to get the template in place first by focusing on one, imo. From there, it's easier to manage additional active projects when they are related and there's already a launchpad to help them get off the ground.
 

bernard

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@Potatoe

Good point, I agree with that.

I like to start side projects to learn stuff. Like coding or tweaking some process or testing some plugin.

I started two sites I planned on making into authority sites in the autumn, but I really don't feel them, like I do my main site. They are of course related, not topically, but method wise.

I try to gradually build them though and let them wait at least a year before judging if they become successful.

Contrary to that, my fitness niche site is really taking off and this is a topic I am passionate about and one that will never run out of topics. I'm quite inclined to just ditch the other projects and go all in, but on the other hand, I also like to keep these sites in reserve as potential cash reserves. They can be sold within a week, which is a nice security to have.

Still, it lingers, shouldn't I just really focus on the main site, it is a large enough niche to last and expand forever, and it is successful now.
 

Ryuzaki

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Still, it lingers, shouldn't I just really focus on the main site, it is a large enough niche to last and expand forever, and it is successful now.
It's not wrong to hedge your bets at all, especially once you have the processes down and the cash flow, work force, and whatever else that makes it easy to push it through the pipeline. It's a form of diversification, though not as diverse as it could be, still better than none.

I see no harm in building out sites and letting them sit and age. Getting them some links so the full monty is there and seeing how Google responds is smart. You may find a surprise winner, or you may find you have 5 sites you were ready to go all in on that Google flat out hates for some reason.

I think there's a lot to be said for streamlining though. Once you find a method that works, you simplify it to exactly what's working and nothing more, and scale it even across domains in different niches.

There's a lot to be said for dropping extraneous projects in the sense of closing open mental loops. Your mind, focus, effectiveness, and efficiency will all increase if your mind isn't being pulled this way and that.

But going balls to the wall on one project can really improve the chances of winning big, but also leaves you wide open for the world's biggest crash and burn, too. Alleviating that with multiple projects isn't a big deal.

Having 1 project versus having 3... those scenarios have more in common than having 30, which is self-sabotage unless you're a giant media empire with 100 employees. It really boils down to resources and a point where diversification becomes a smarter play than knocking it out of the park.

Though I am attracted to the concept of sites that can be "finished". All of my projects are designed to be never-ending. I do like the idea of a 50 page site where ultimately the design and content are complete and all that's left is links and maybe rarely improving existing content. You can really wrangle in the page rank that way too.
 

bernard

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@Ryuzaki

Yes, I've been around long enough to remember not one, but two catastrophic meltdowns, Penguin and Panda, so diversification is key.

Building more sites it not real diversification, agree.

It's one of the reasons, that I don't mind having like 10-20 sites in total, if they're "gimmick" sites, usually based on some kind of coding or data aggregation. These sites can actually be finished. They're dynamic. They create their own content and relevance. As set and forget as it gets.

I consider it a sort of insurance honestly. If all else fails, I can sell links for a while. I definitely do NOT want to a PBN pusher, I absolutely hated that, but as insurance, while I learn coding or something else, building these small projects, sure.

It's not something I like though. I would much rather go all in on one project. I am working at diversifying. I have, knock-on-wood, managed to become profitable on Google Ads, but I am unsure because of this weird covid situation in the fitness niche. That's also why I still do not want to call it for the fitness niche site.
 
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@Potatoe , I fully agree that Person B will be successful more. He will also get more industry knowledge about that specific niche (Golf). I am now somewhat in the Person A bucket. But will liquidate some sites in various niches ( about 4). then will focus on 2 niches and create my own ecosystem so that I can grow them better.
 

Cash Builder

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Just checked my domain account and I have 12 domains registered. I'm planning on going through them soon and seeing what I will keep or purge.

As for projects, at the moment I have 7 projects - 5 websites and 2 others. 1 website is my main earner, and I am actively working on another 1. I haven't worked on the other 2 for months, and I can safely say I will probably never work on the 5th site again.

I used to like the idea of having lots of projects all bringing in money, but once I had built out 4 sites by the start of last year I realized it's just too much work, and too much mental headspace is needed to comprehend what needs to be done.

The plan going forward is to have 1 main earner to keep for the long-term, and 1 or 2 other smaller ones that I can flip for cash. As well as having non-website related projects, I think this will keep me more than busy.
 

bernard

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I think the key to having more sites is to structure them, so they don't need mental headspace or constant updating.

For this purpose, I think keeping things deliberately smaller is the way to go. If you launch a site that is meant to be an authority site, you will have always have that "what if". What if I did this or that. If you launch with a self limiting niche, like basketball hoops, then you won't feel as compelled to work on it, after you've maxed out content on basketball hoops. Once you have that "ultimate guide to buying a home basketball hoop", do you really need to do more? Just let it sit for years and update once a year and collect the checks.

Of course, this all depends on how much effort you're willing to put in to a project to get it going and how you want to promote it. If you buy an existing site, like I did here, you can leverage your existing skills and resources much better. Use a week updating and optimizing. Set and forget. Evaluate in 12 months. That's my strategy.

It's also important to have sites that don't change their inventory constantly. I made the mistake of going into furniture, not realising it is essentially like clothes. Fashion changing multiple times a year. I plan to solve this using feeds and some manual curation in the backend, but it shows that niche selection is important.
 
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I'm down to about 260 domains from 500, so I'm making a bit of progress! I still have a ways to go here, including slashing live projects collecting dust with zero updates in years and very little if any earnings for some. Progress every single day though.
 

Mr Potato

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I'm down to about 260 domains from 500, so I'm making a bit of progress! I still have a ways to go here, including slashing live projects collecting dust with zero updates in years and very little if any earnings for some. Progress every single day though.
Hi mrpotato, its Mr Potato. Slashing live projects is something that is difficult but sometimes you know it is the right thing to do and seldom think of them once they are off the table. Props to you for knowing when to flush them.
 
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New poster here. I just have one domain and it's my project going forwards, ideally turn it profitable by July and get over 100 articles done by year end.

I don't know how people buy over 200 domains. What's the upside there?
 
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New poster here. I just have one domain and it's my project going forwards, ideally turn it profitable by July and get over 100 articles done by year end.

I don't know how people buy over 200 domains. What's the upside there?
There is no upside for me, just a lot of wasted funds that could have been put towards buying links and content. There, I said it. LOL
 
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There is no upside for me, just a lot of wasted funds that could have been put towards buying links and content. There, I said it. LOL
Heh! If it makes you feel better, you're not the only one. I've seen people from FB say the same thing.