If you have a site where it takes little effort to update it then the number of pages a site has is not a big factor, but if you are buying a website that is sold as an authority the number of pages is a crucial factor to consider.
Less is More:
More is better is not always true. The two most recent interesting looking sites I have seen for sale recently have been non-appealing because they have SO MUCH CONTENT for their traffic stream. A friend of mine has a 20 page website that gets 1,500 uniques a day. In the same vertical a site with 20,000 pages is getting less than double that traffic stream.
Is the 20,000 page site an authority site? If it is, it is one that has a bad content management system, duplicate content issues, and internal architecture problems. I could clean those problems up an increase traffic, but if the first thing you have to do when you buy an asset is to gut a large chunk of it then you might be just as good off starting from scratch.
Why Less is More:
I don't mind buying smaller sites that I can extend out. One friend of mine runs an AdSense site that was about 30 pages a year ago and made $600 a month. As he extended it out to a 1,000 page website (while marketing it to keep building authority along with content) the traffic went up 40 fold and the earnings went from $600 a month to $750 a day.
That 20 page website I mentioned above is being fine tuned to earn more right now. If it was extended to rank for a couple related terms that are not yet heavily targeted it could double its earnings by adding another 10 pages of content to the website.
Track Your Growth:
The last thing you want to do is add so much low value content that you spread your link authority so thin that you best earning pages no longer rank. As you add new pages make sure you consider their effect on your supplemental ratio, and how your internal link structure is flowing link authority toward your key pages.
If you are building your own site make sure you track traffic streams and earnings and base your internal architecture around maximizing those while keeping the site looking legitimate. If you test something and it does not perform suppress its roll in the site navigation while building more authority. Keep testing extending the site in other potentially profitable directions.
Getting Rid of the Garbage:
If you buy a site off someone else you are buying
- the domain name
- the brand
- the site age
- the link authority
- the content
- the traffic and revenue streams
- any upside potential you see that the market does not see (and thus does not value)
If you buy a site which has limited earnings for its size, when gutting out the bad content you need to first see what is worth keeping. The easiest way to do that is
- track conversions to see what pages are profitable
- see what pages have quality backlinks (using Yahoo! Site Explorer, or maybe sign up for Google Sitemaps)
- look for pages with surprisingly large traffic streams or other indications that they could become self reinforcing authorities that garner recurring links.
Some of the content may also be valuable, but just underperforming because the site has so much more content then authority. In that case, don't gut useful original content, just ensure that you focus more effort on building the site's authority before you bulk up the site with more content pages that won't get indexed or ranked.
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