Since I wrote about my Dot Com Lifestyle, I’ve had people me asking exactly what I do for a living, and I even found my name mentioned along with mega-bloggers Darren Rowse, Steve Pavlina and John Chow, in author A. Dawn’s Personal Finance Journal!
The latest project
I promised to keep you all informed about my latest website, Writing Workbooks, which I’ve been building with my mum. It’s full of handwriting practice workbooks which cover popular elementary school topics such as dinosaurs, the Titanic, hot air balloons and bears to name just a few. My mum was a primary school teacher for years so it made sense to lean on her for the content, and she’s very excited about signing up for Adsense and earning her first online income. Apparently though, she’s not in it for the money, she’s in it for the fame and groupies!
My thought processes
This isn’t a tutorial, so not everything I do can be applied to you own projects, but let me explain some of the things I try to aim for when making a new site.
Stick with the same niche
First, I usually choose a topic similar to one I’ve done before. That gives you an instant stream of visitors because you can direct your current traffic to your new site. I now have seven websites in the children’s education niche which attracted around 140,000 visitors last month. If those people aren’t interested in the content, they have three main choices: click the back button, click through to one of my other sites, or leave through an ad. I try carefully to keep visitors within my circle of sites as that increases the chances of them either bookmarking one of them, or earning me a few cents.
Squeeze the niche
Once I’ve got my topic, I “squeeze the niche”. That’s my term for targeting every page to your desired audience. The visitors I want are searching for “writing workbooks” or a variation on that, so I need to rank highly for that search term in Google and co. I registered the domain name writingworkbooks.com because most people who link to the site will use the title as their anchor text. The words used in incoming links are really important, and that’s why it’s common for people to rank highly for the name of their site. I’ve also used related keywords in the titles of every page on the site. This should show that the whole site is based on the same topic, which should give it more weight in search engine results.
Build it and leave it
Next, and this was mentioned before, I rarely build a website that requires ongoing work. This blog and JapanSoc always need some kind of contribution (especially spam busting!), but my other sites are finished. I think it defeats the purpose of running an internet business if you actually have to work. That’s not what the Dot Com Lifestyle is about! Ideally, you’ll make sites that take a few weeks to make and promote, but then you can leave them online to earn a passive income. That gives you time to spend with your family, or work on new projects to build up your online workforce.
Finally, it’s time to launch. I actually had the site online over a month ago to give it time to get indexed by the search engines, and I made a sitemap and submitted it to Google through Webmaster Tools. Today, I linked all my other educational sites to this one, and put the word out on a number of education-related social bookmarking sites as well as Digg, StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us. That should spark a flurry of interest, and with a bit of luck the teachers and parents who will benefit most from WritingWorkbooks.com will bookmark it, link to it and discuss it in forums.
Where do we go from here?
I’ve nearly finished my contribution to the site, so I’m going to leave it up to my mum to promote it in her signature on teacher forums. Quite honestly, after typing up 800 handwriting worksheets, we are both suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury and could use a break… until the next project begins.