The Get Rich Never Plan: AKA Putting Up a Junk, Template Looking Sites in Mass

Sep 17 2010

There is a simple way to avoid the long road to riches.  It’s a tried and true method that will ensure that you never make any amount of long term financial gain.  It’s selling inferior products in an inferior location while putting in a minimal amount of time.  This is where mass development stands at this point in domaining.

Google plays a pretty good game.  You put up a site that they feel will help them sell ads then they will send you the traffic to sell those ads.  Sometimes they send traffic to sites that only on the surface appear to have value and the ability to sell ads.  SEO specialist build a facade for Google in an effort to make the site appear more valuable than it is. Other times Google misses sites that have real value because the owners don’t build it in a way that Google can read and see the value.  It may take a while but Google usually gets it right, if not the visitors will.  If a site offers no value you usually will make no money, either through Google avoiding your site or new visitors realizing they’ve landed in the Detroit of the online world and quickly hitting back in the browser bar.

The Online world is growing more savvy every day.  There is a reason why parking doesn’t pay.  Visitors are tired of those pages that offer no value and now realize that parked pages are not the portal to the products and places they want to go. Google never liked parked pages and won’t even acknowledge their presence.  In steps mass development.  It solves the “I want Google to index my domain” problem but does not solve the “value” issue.  These newly created eStores are a temporary fix that will soon be avoided by visitors because of their template based look and feel. So what do you need to do to make money?  It’s quite easy

1. Come up with a business plan for your domain. What it the purpose of this domain? A domain is no more than a little business.  Invest little,get little. You are naive to think a few hundred dollars and 20 man hours is going to make your rich.  If your goal is to sell product then ask yourself why would they buy it here.  If it’s to sell ads then why would they stick around long enough to find your ads?

2. Create a unique look and layout for your site.    Instantly your site becomes different, at least visually . It gives the visitor the first hint that this site may offer something of value that the other sites that all look the same don’t.

3. Don’t write for Google, write for your visitors.  What do THEY want to hear and write in a way they will understand.  Answer these questions on the front page.  Why did you come to this site? and “How am I going to get you to stay and hopefully come back?”

4. Give visitors tools.  Give them answers or tools to get the answers.  Lead them down a path to discovery that either ends with a sale of your product

5. It’s Business 101, know your customer.  Are you targeting 55 year old women.?  You better have one look over your site.   If you don’t know jack about your target audience you better do some homework.

6. Constantly update.  If you went to a movie theater and they were playing the same movie every single day.  Wouldn’t you eventually stop going?

7.    You can’t run 10 successful businesses at the same time, so what makes you think you can do ten sites? Sure you can throw up 10 sites that make a few dollars a day but I think you could do much better concentrating on a few.

Yeah, yeah, you already know all this stuff.  Then why the hell do people continue to put up junk?  Continue to pay people to develop sites that are carbon copy templates that you plug in the keywords and it fills the page.  I think I have one word, laziness,…. the appeal of easy money.  This is nothing against companies like Epik.   For doing no work it certainly offers value. It’s only to say you COULD do a better job yourself if you wanted and have the time.  Time….yeah that word.  This leads us to the next question. How much money do you have to earn to MAKE THE TIME.?   That’s a question for another post.

And one last thing.  There absolutely is money in mass development of sites. You just have to be the one selling the sites not the buyer

Edit:  This was supposed to be a draft but somehow it was moved to publish before finishing.  It’s not to say I don’t believe in what I say,  it’s that I realize it’s easier said than done.  This absolutely is not an attack against Epik.  I applaud Epik for what they are trying to do. I am as quick to hand out compliments as I am to criticize. Rob will be the first to admit his end goal is to get unique, individual sites that offer the visitors value but it takes a while to accomplish, especially when you are trying to scale.  My point in this article is to say that the goal should be to try and put out sites that offer value to the visitor and I feel that sites that accomplish this will yield great rewards.  Anything less will most likely have poor returns.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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7 comments

  1. Nameswing.com

    So even as the show goes on, and the crowning of the king has occurred, you have the audacity to post something like this.

    You must be a fan of the underdog, the newbie, and a protector of the poor and desperate.

    Go, Shane, Go!

  2. Leonard Britt

    I made the mistake of launching a number of template-based websites which weren’t all that visually appealing and never ranked well because I went from one site to the next to the next etc. So I had to take a step back and say which ones offer the most potential and which interest me more in maintaining. Where can I offer something of value to the visitor? I don’t have any pets, so any pet-related sites aren’t based on personal experience. I live in South Florida but a geo site 25 miles away is harder to do than the one where I live etc. And how many exercise sites can I really add value to? So I have focused my efforts somewhat and spent a little time learning how to adjust the design as well.

    However, I still see competing sites that rank well which aren’t that great or aren’t even specific to what a visitor would expect but rank well largely because of some high PR inbound link (i.e. if you are looking for information about a non-tourist city – parks, shopping, real estate, restaurants, would your primary interest be a local car dealership or hotel? Or how about a “live” webcam that shows some mountain range in the background – there are no mountains in South Florida…)

  3. Suneedh

    You are absolutely right Shane. I loved the article ( although it did have a lil grammatical mistakes but we are all humans right 😉 )

    By the way, the best ways to learn about your potential customers are :

    1) Signup at forums that are directly related to your niche
    2) Follow people on twitter and facebook
    3) Analyze what your competitors are doing ( learn the good stuff only )

    And finally, Be truthful ! Don’t sell junk or cheat your customer just to make a quick dollar.

  4. Rob Monster - Epik

    I agree with a lot of what Shane says here.

    As a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, I think I can also add some perspective on the meme of “Starting a business”.

    First of all, lanuching a startup is way harder than it looks. Shane has done it. Most people are not Shane. They will quit their day jobs, invest their life savings, and be worse off than they started. The odds of making money are better in a casino than they are with startups. That is a statistical fact. As such, I would actually not advise someone to go do a full-time startup, particular in this economy.

    Second, it is possible to increase your odds of success by validating a market opportunity before betting heavily. For example, on Friday Tom Garrett picked up the domain BackpackerGuitar.com during SwapFest. He is a guitar enthusiast and some day may open a guitar store. He is methodically planning for that day by buying names in his niche. That makes sense to me. He can have 10-20 sites driving him traffic and know in advance what products are selling long before he takes on inventory risk or customer service from fulfillment.

    Third, there is nothing wrong with having a diversified stream of income from 10-100 sites that are produced and managed for you. This is no different than having a portfolio of stocks and bonds. This is NOT the same as having 10-100 full businesses. It is 10-100 business seedlings, some of which will become larger ventures, and some of which will get sold off to others who choose to take them further.

    Finally, I recognize that not everyone will embrace Epik’s approach to website development. That’s fine. However, let’s also be realistic that what works for one person will not work for another. Specific to folks who build on Epik, it is worth stating that I personally approve every site we take on. And with that comes a personal commitment to make that venture a success. If that is not good enough for some folks, so be it. I completely understand.

  5. Shane

    Thank you Rob for the great response. This is why you and your company are top notch. Again, the post was meant to inspire people to do more. Not just sit and hope. Thanks for the response

  6. steve

    You shouldn’t mention specific companies.
    Not profressional. But good points made.
    I think there is a market for the right company with the right dynamics in creating domains.
    We’re not talking parked pages templates.

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