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What to Do if You Have Multiple Sites but are Not Making Much Money

One of the more common emails we receive is from people with multiple sites who aren’t making much money from them. Only this morning, we received another email from someone who has around 100 sites…he had come to the conclusion that the multiple site model just isn’t working for him. He’s one of the lucky ones since he actually realized this before moving on to building even more sites. Not many people stop to see if something is working for them or not and keep going until they are totally burned out and they have little to show for all their work.

It’s hard work maintaining 100 sites. I can’t even imagine the work involved – we have 20 sites and when we were working on them all at once it was tough going. We don’t ever want to go back to that again.

Now we’re not saying having multiple sites doesn’t work. I’m sure there are people out there with hundreds of sites that are making money but this model has a number of drawbacks mostly the amount of work that is needed to keep the sites updated and maintained. Plus, we have seen so many people using this multiple site model that are really struggling and adding more sites makes no real difference to their income….instead it just creates even more work.

So what do you do if you have multiple sites and aren’t making much money from them?

Step 1

The first step is to stop, right now, creating any new websites. There is no point creating anything new if you aren’t making money from the sites you already have. If you are doing something that isn’t working, why repeat the process? So make a conscious decision to not create any new websites.

Step 2

Take a break from your websites. Take two days or even a week if you can and don’t go anywhere near your websites. The reason we suggest this is that most people who are in the process of trying to make money online are usually in what I call ‘frantic mode’. They have one thing on their mind and that is to make money so they frantically build more sites and frantically add more content and frantically look for backlinks. They never take a break and are constantly going from one thing to the next in the hope that the next thing they spot will work for them.

Taking a break clears the head and gets you into the right frame of mind to start afresh. You want to be in ‘relaxed mode’ not ‘frantic mode’ and taking time out will get you there.

Step 3

The next few steps involve getting some stats together. Hopefully you will have Google Analytics installed on each of your sites as this will help with your analysis. If not, you can use the stats provided by your hosting company.

Go to Google Analytics and find the top 5 pages on your sites that are getting the most traffic. This doesn’t mean finding the top 5 pages from each individual site – it means the top 5 pages overall. Just make a list of these pages so you can easily refer to them as you go through your analysis – you can use Word, Notepad or Excel for this.

Step 4

Take the first page in your list and go back to Google Analytics and look at the keywords that people are using to get to that page. This is how we do that:

1. Click on Content from the left menu in Google Analytics.
2. Click Top Content.
3. Click the actual url from the results that appear on the right hand side of the screen.
4. On the page that appears, click Entrance Keywords under Landing Page Optimization section.

This will provide you with a list of keywords that people are typing into Google to get to your page.

Add these keywords to your list – you only need to add the first 10 keywords or so.

Step 5

Now head over to Google and see where you are ranking for each of those keywords. Add those rankings to your list.

Step 6

Open up the free Google Keyword Tool and type in each of your keywords to see how much traffic each gets – (we use the ‘Exact’ option and look at Local Monthly Searches). Add that to your list as well.

Step 7

Now we are ready to analyze the data we have put together to see whether that page is worth working on. At this point, your list might look something like this for your first page (note that I made up the figures, so don’t waste your time going to Google to test these figures):

Page: mywebsite.com/classicdiamondring.com
Keywords Currently Ranked For Current Ranking in Google Potential Google Traffic per Month
diamond ring 6 6200
classic diamond ring 12 3200
best diamond ring 4 1800
diamond ring review 8 1500

Now open up the actual page and take a look at the content on that page. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the content on the page match the keywords I am ranking for? In other words, if people are typing in ‘diamond ring’, ‘classic diamond ring’, ‘best diamond ring’ and so on to get to your page and your page is about ’emerald diamond rings’ then something is wrong. All you are going to get is people clicking the back button to find another site with diamond rings. If this is the case then simply change the content on your page to match the keywords people are using to get to your site.
  • Is the content on the page helpful? – I can almost guarantee that if your page has less than 300 words on it, then it is not very helpful. You might think that creating a short snappy review will get people to click through to the merchant but I can tell you from experience we haven’t found this to be the case. Make your reviews long and helpful….around 1000 words.
  • Are there a lot of distractions on the page? – If you are promoting a particular product on that page then that’s all you should do. Don’t go adding Google Adsense and other pop-ups and widgets and flashing ads.
  • Is the product worth promoting? – We’ve said this many times and we will probably say it many more times…there is no point promoting a product that isn’t worth promoting. Don’t just pick a product because you will get a healthy commission for it – choose products that people love. In other words, look at the reviews for the product and see what people are saying. If you choose a quality product to begin with then you will be streets ahead of  those who randomly select products to write about.
  • Will I get enough traffic to this page? – Since we asked you to find your top 5 pages, you are already getting traffic to this page but you will also want to see if you have the potential to get even more traffic. So check your list and see how many people are searching for those keywords. If I were already getting traffic for the keyword ‘diamond ring’ I would be working hard to get that page to the number 1 spot.
  • Can I improve my ranking for those keywords? – The answer to this is always ‘yes’. Unless you are in the number 1 spot already, there is always the potential to increase your ranking and get even more traffic. This might involve checking out the competition to see how difficult it might be but in general for product type keywords, it is often quite easy to move up in the rankings by getting good quality backlinks.
  • Will I get a decent commission? – We tend to avoid products that are under $150 – at least for Amazon products. If you are going to promote a product that is worth $20 and your commission is 8% you are going to have to sell a lot of them to make any decent money. If you are going with Amazon products try and stick with products over $150, or at the very least $100. If you using Clickbank products then you can obviously go with products that are cheaper since the commission rate is often much higher.

Do you see what we are doing here? We are focusing right in on just one single solitary page. Those with multiple sites very rarely have the time to do this. They create a short page of content that is often copied or is poorly written and then move on to the next page. That first page never gets the attention it deserves and never will. It’s simply forgotten and lost in the multitude of pages that get added to their sites.

You need to be doing the above steps for each of your top 5 pages to find those that are worth working on. If only two of those pages are worth working on based on your analysis then add them to a separate list. Now go back to Google Analytics and find the next 5 pages and go through the same process again.

What you want to end up with is five pages that you can focus your attention on for the next three months. They are pages that have the potential to get enough traffic, have products worth promoting, have products where you will get a decent commission and so on.

So your next three months might include the following tasks:

1. Reworking each of the five pages until the reviews are around 1000 words and are helpful to the reader. Think about what you would like to see in a review if you were about to buy a particular product.

2. Backlinking, backlinking, backlinking – spend the next 3 months getting as many GOOD QUALITY backlinks to those five pages as you possibly can.

That’s all you need to do.


Recent Google Keyword Tool Changes – Are They Accurate?

Anyone who uses the Google Keyword Tool on a regular basis may have noticed some changes recently. The main one being the significant decrease in search volume results. Surprisingly enough, it has been kept relatively quiet considering the impact. Google made no announcement of the change and although there are lots of blog and forum posts about it, I just felt that the situation didn’t get the reaction it really deserved.

But then again perhaps like us, others  have been waiting to see what the impact of all this means because at this point in time, there is still ongoing debate about whether the changes are beneficial or not. There seems to be two schools of thought – those who think the changes have resulted in more accurate data and those that think the old results were more accurate.

The changes came through at the beginning of September and we personally didn’t even realize until some time closer to the end of that month. I think that was the case with a lot of people. Unless you are constantly comparing search volume numbers for your keywords you probably wouldn’t have even have noticed the difference. The changes basically involved a rather dramatic decrease in the number of results for the Global and Local Monthly Searches.

As we already mentioned, there was no real announcement from Google regarding this change, in fact, about all we got from them was a paragraph left by a Google employee on one of their forums which read as follows:

“If you use both the previous and updated versions of the Keyword Tool to search for keywords, you may notice differences between the tools for statistics on Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches. This is because the previous version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com search traffic and traffic from search partners, while the updated version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com traffic only.  We’ve updated these statistics based on user feedback, and hope you find them helpful for keyword selection.”

If we want to see examples of the difference in volumes we only need to look at a couple of keywords like ‘bathroom supplies’ for instance which has gone from 5400 local monthly searches to only 880. And another – ‘golf clubs’ which has moved from 165,000 searches to 33,100. As you can see, these are not simple statistical errors but massive differences in search volumes.

Even one of my brothers who has just started building a website has noticed a significant decrease in one of his major keywords which went from 120,000 down to 18,000.

So is it more accurate?

Well we did a little test since we are ranked no.1 for quite a number of keywords so decided to run a check on a few of of those keywords to see how they compare. Here’s the results for our data in September using our traffic results from Google Analytics data and comparing it to the local monthly search volumes (exact match) from the Google Keyword Tool data:

Keyword 1

Our traffic – 1623
Google Keyword Tool estimate – 1900

Keyword 2

Our traffic –  1726
Google Keyword Tool estimate – 4400

Keyword 3

Our traffic – 713
Google Keyword Tool estimate – 720

Keyword 4

Our traffic – 487
Google Keyword Tool estimate – 480

As you can see, the Google Keyword Tool results compares quite well with those few keywords so perhaps it is more accurate. If this is the case, then this is excellent news. It means we won’t be sitting wondering why we aren’t getting all that traffic even though we are ranked no.1 in Google. It also means that when we build a website, we will know the exact traffic numbers before hand. There won’t be any nasty surprises after we’ve spent months trying to build up our websites.

However, at the same time it means that anything we may have done in the past may be all for naught as we realize they will never generate the traffic numbers we were expecting. We have over 20 websites and not all of them have performed as well as we expected them to. Mind you, they would probably do better if we put a bit more effort into them but even so, had we had more accurate data to begin with , then we might not have lost motivation earlier on when we realized we weren’t getting the traffic numbers we were expecting.

So I see this change as being beneficial because it looks like we can build websites with more confidence as having more accurate data means we know what to expect in traffic volumes once we hit the no.1 spot in Google.

Would love to hear what our readers think about this change and if you see it as a positive or negative change.