Monetizing Traffic - SEO is Pointless if You Throw Your Traffic Away

Jun 1st

Recently 11 blogs from the Fine Fools network sold with content, designs, and links for a total of $4,500. I am still busy kicking myself in the teeth, because I would have paid much more than that for those blogs. Those blogs were generating over 300,000 monthly pageviews, but the sites were generating only roughly $300 in monthly revenues.

Without even adding any content to those sites, given their traffic volume and link authority (most of the sites were strong PageRank 6 sites with natural backlink profiles) I could have easily increased the income to over $5,000 a month (ie: had the network more than pay for itself in the first month of ownership).

I think that limited $300 / month revenue figure is a great example of why it is worth worrying about more than just pageviews. SEO is just one piece of the puzzle, and usually most sites have big obvious on site gains that could be pursued long before you look to invest heavily in increasing traffic.

I get some people who tell me that they are already getting a million pageviews a month and they want me to guarantee they will get 3 million pageviews a month if they read my $79 book. If you can get 2 million monthly pageviews for $79 please let me know the source and I will follow you with a few thousand dollars in hand. When you are to that scale the issue is not that you need more distribution. If you can't make money with hundreds of thousands or millions of pageviews you ought to consider changing your revenue model.

I realize that celebrity sites might get tons of low quality traffic, but how hard would it be to add ring tone affiliate ads, concert ticket text links, or dating affiliate ads to the sites? How hard would it be to write a dating ebook you sold for $30? And the blog A Man's View could have easy been changed to a porn blog that would make in excess of $5,000 a month by itself.

I guess a valuable lesson here is that networks that don't profit will eventually fall apart and/or will be sold for well less than they are worth. Another valuable lesson might be that there is still a huge disconnect between traffic and value in the minds of most webmasters, and the WWW still has near endless profit opportunity about.

A friend normally gives me the scoop on auctions at Sitepoint, but something went wrong on this one. I am still kicking myself in the teeth. I would have loved to have bought those blogs, especially that cheap. Damn damn damn damn etc ;)

Published: June 1, 2006

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Comments

June 3, 2006 - 1:40am

I think the KMM network is run very well - you can see our Stats from any blog on the network by using Sitemeter.

We do monitize the traffic - the details of which are not handled by me.

June 4, 2006 - 4:28am

Hi Aaron.

I feel your pain about missing that sale, but I don't think every webmaster has the same "it's about revenue" model that you may have. I meet many webmasters (and most are small business owners paying for SEO to increase revenues) who simply do not want to do things except their own way regardless of revenue. It's part of the "be my own boss" ethic. If it isn't succeeding for them the way they want it to, they are looking to move on.

That means some will be selling off sites that others could easily monetize, and that's great. Sure some make it to sitepoint, but many don't.

June 4, 2006 - 5:29am

Hi John
Totally agree that it is more of an opportunity than something to be let down about...also agree that most of the best purchases do not wind up on Sitepoint.

Many of the things I do are not all about the money, but those that are all about the money are clear in their goal of being all about the money :)

Cheers,
Aaron

June 4, 2006 - 8:23am

I'm just glad I managed to score workboxers, otherwise it would have been sold with the rest of the finefools network.

Scrivs is a hero.

June 9, 2006 - 10:41am

If I have the money, I could have bought it also. $4500/$300 is just 15 months. ROI in 15 months assuming you don't do anything, that's already a good deal. Better than putting your money in the bank and earning some teeny weeny interest.

What more if you can have better ad placements, affiliate links (just like what aaron said), text link ads, and better marketing.

June 1, 2006 - 2:18pm

I bought this network. YEA!

June 1, 2006 - 2:18pm

I bought this network. YEA!

June 1, 2006 - 2:20pm

Sorry for the double post ... But anyway, I do plan on really ramping up monitization, and at the same time giving my ecommerce sites some good links.

June 1, 2006 - 2:25pm

Good on you Brian.
Hope you do some cool stuff with that network.

June 1, 2006 - 6:01pm

Hi Aaron - just curious as to what methods you would have used to increase the income on those sites (if you're willing to share it, of course:)) without needing an increase in traffic?

June 1, 2006 - 6:06pm

Better ad integration and prettymuch the stuff I already put in the post, like ring tone affiliate ads, concert ticket text links, or dating affiliate ads

June 2, 2006 - 2:20am

i have a blog exactly like the one you're talking about, same Pagerank and everything, and I make about the same amount you're mentioning. And let me tell you, if I could increase that to even 2000$, I'd be bouncing around my apartment in happiness.

June 2, 2006 - 7:38am

Hi Aaron - thanks for the reply, I missed the mention of ad types! Comes from quickly scanning through stuff at work :) Cheers!

September 5, 2008 - 12:51am

I have an educational games website which gets upwards of 2M page views/month. vocabulary.co.il. How much revenue do you think it should be generating?

September 5, 2008 - 6:04am

It is not a space I know well, so it is hard for me to try to give an exact number.

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