Back in the Wild West days of Internet marketing the best way to get good search engine results, create traffic, and get those conversions you needed to run a profitable business was to have multiple websites up and running. The process was what some early Internet marketers called shotgun marketing. The theory was that by throwing dozens of sites out there you stood a better chance of people stumbling across them.
While that approach did definitely work, it was incredibly difficult to run multiple websites as a one-man (or woman) operation. The amount of work that went into each site meant that you either had to work yourself to the bone and have several “okay” website or you had to spread yourself too thin and have a pile of sub-par websites. (I bet you can remember seeing some of those if you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time).
I’ve been in the Internet marketing business since 1999 and lived through the Wild West era. I’m happy to say that those days are over. The focus has been shifted away from quantity towards quality. So instead of casting multiple nets, successful Internet marketers are now just casting one big net (a net that catches a lot of fish).
Google has become the predominant search engine, eclipsing AltaVista, WebCrawler, Excite and all the rest, it’s algorithms have become more and more sophisticated, and the Internet public from which marketers draw their prospects has become more and more savvy (and wary). That means that those sub-par websites are no longer acceptable and anyone trying to make money using anything but a top-quality website is bound to be disappointed.
So how many websites do you really need to be profitable?
Just one–one really good one.
And that’s a good thing. With the amount of effort that must go into a modern website you won’t be able to handle more than one—at least not until you build a system and have a team of outsource content creators and such on hand to help with the workload.
For most people just getting started or those trying to make money in their free time while still working part time, that’s not something that’s going to happen right off the bat. That’s why I instruct all of my students to start with just one website, make that website the best it can possibly be, and explore all of the available avenues (social media, list building, multimedia coverage, backlinking) for making that website profitable. Think about it, when you “multitask” something inevitably gets the short end of your attention but when you’re concentrating on just one thing at a time you can make something truly spectacular (and in the case of Internet marketing spectacular means profitable.)
I have to say that I actually regret all those years I spent building multiple websites. My attention was spread between 30, 50, or even 90 websites and I was never able to approach any level of quality with any of them. While I still have more than one website (it’s only 9 or 10 now) the workload is much more manageable and my efforts are not watered down over dozens of sites.
Still, with those 9 or 10 sites I still have to employ outsource content providers to keep up with the amount of effort that goes into making them what they are. YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, email newsletters, podcasting—it all takes time and when you’re building more than one site at a time you’re inevitably going to find yourself struggling to find enough. And I don’t think any of us got into the Internet marketing business to be more stressed and have less time to enjoy life!
This one-at-a-time method is a practice that will work no matter what you’re selling. If you’re promoting dental services, wicker furniture, sports memorabilia, Joovy Caboose strollers, cruise ship travel or even something as simple as business services and want the most bang for your buck it makes sense to focus all of your effort onto one really good website rather than a dozen watered down ones.
So what do you do if you’ve already got more than one website? Sell the others off. Pick one (okay, maybe two) that you can really sink your teeth into and offload the rest. Many of my students have done just that and watched their profits double, triple, or even better.
12 Strategies You Can Use to Make Your One Website Outperform Multiple Sites
1.) Create a Monthly Press Release
There’s always something newsworthy you can gather up into a good little release—it just takes a little creativity to find it. Send a release out on the Internet, local TV, Radio, and Newspapers outlets—anything you can do to get the word out. My wife, Arlene, did this to great effect with her EpilepsyMoms.com website. Her releases—press packages really—got a lot of local attention and exposure for her site and it just grew from there.
2.) Send All Your Inbound Links to One Site
Inbound links are critical when Google determines the worth of your website. Having all the links you put out there sending folks back to one site maximizes your Google Juice but also strengthens your traffic stream. In short, you’ll see results a whole lot quicker with one site than multiple.
3.) Boost Your Content Creation
Regularly added content is key not only for Google’s ranking system but also in order to attract new traffic and to keep your visitors coming back. If you have a dozen websites creating content for them all can be overwhelming. However, if you have one website you can triple or even quadruple the amount of content on that site with the same effort. (Consider even adding two articles per day!)
4.) Twice Monthly Newsletters
Newsletters are one of the most important tools in getting repeat visitors. The vast majority of your site’s visitors will never come back unless you get them subscribed to your list–but they won’t stay subscribed without regular useful content. Having only one site to search through, harvest content from, and mail out will make your list marketing much easier and much more effective.
5.) Create a Weekly Podcast
Podcasts are easy to create, powerful to use, and will boost your website’s value in its visitors’ eyes. However, trying to create multiple podcasts for multiple websites can turn into a fulltime job—and I can guarantee the quality of each individual podcast will suffer. And if you’re trying to balance multiple sites at once you may not even have time to explore podcasting. However, with one website to worry about, you can easily create a high-quality podcasts which may even become a product by themselves.
6.) Create Video Content
Video is extremely powerful. Humans are a visual race—we love to watch things. Burdened with numerous websites, it may be impossible to carve out time for video. However, when you’ve got just one site to worry about you can experiment. (The best part about video content is that not only can you host it on your website but social media sites like YouTube and Vimeo, creating more inbound traffic!) Don’t think video is worth the effort of consolidating your websites? Keep in mind that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, second only to Google itself.
7.) Communicate with Your Merchants
Running multiple sites with multiple topics means having to deal with dozens of merchants. However, when you hone your focus down to just a single site the number of merchants you’re dealing with becomes much more manageable. Not only will you be able to more closely monitor your merchant/seller relationship, you’ll be better able to attend to their needs. By doing so you become more valuable to them and they’ll be more likely to start giving you better deals, better creatives, and more support.
8.) Monitor Your Conversions
Monitoring the traffic and conversions from one site alone can be a challenge. Doing so for multiple websites can be impossible. Don’t make more work for yourself. Deeply analyzing who your traffic is comprised of, where they come from, what they do on your site, and what makes them convert in the end will allow you to tailor your content, your inbound links, your site design, and every little aspect of your domain to increase profitability.
9.) Create (and Respond to) a Chat Forum
Chat forums are a great way to create content for your site without having to do it yourself. They also keep your visitors engaged and allow the site to take on a life of its own. By becoming more deeply involved with the forum and the visitors there you situate yourself as an expert and generate trust—key when trying to create conversions.
10.) Social Media Campaigns
Social media can be a very powerful tool which generates tremendous results whether you’re marketing dental services, wicker furniture, sports memorabilia, Bumble Indie twin strollers, cruise ship travel or even something as simple as business services —there’s a target audience out there ready and waiting for your pitch, you just have to know how to reach it. By creating a detailed campaign for just one website you’ll experience much better results from each individual campaign. (However, take the time to learn “the rules” of that social media format so you don’t offend the users.)
11.) Photo Galleries
It may seem like an outdated idea, adding galleries to your site, but like I mentioned before, we are a visual race. We love to look at things—and Google has recognized that. Google Image Search is one of the most powerful components of any search engine around. The links are displayed right on the Google results page just below the highest ranking results. To overlook the power of image search would be like putting blinders on and hoping for the best.
12.) Repurpose Your Content
When you have just one website there’s a good chance that you’ll know and remember most of you content. That’s important because when the content is fresh in your mind you’ll be more able to respond to triggers (such as a report on the local news or an article you read on another website) and repurpose the content you’ve already created—benefiting twice while only putting the effort in once.
These are just a few tips on how you can squeeze all the possible profitability from just one website. By focusing all of your efforts and attention on just one site you can make that site much more lucrative than even a handful of sites that you’re struggling to maintain.
Still don’t believe it? Experiment a little. Take a week or a month and devote all of your attention to just one site and see the results for yourself.