The recent actions by the Department of Justice and the subsequent departure of almost all of the online, USA facing cardrooms underscores the need to have a diverse portfolio of income-generating websites. But how do you do that? What should you diversify, and why?
Diversify Website Topics
People like to specialize, and specialization, as a GENERAL rule, is good. But putting all of your eggs into one type of site is folly. Suppose you’ve been working as a part time webmaster for the last year. And suppose that I have too. We both started from scratch, and we both are making the same amount of money from our sites each year–about $24,000 a year. (That’s a realistic figure for someone who’s diligent in this business.)
But here’s the difference. You’ve spent the entire year working on a single poker cardroom review site. You’ve launched 500 pages of content on that one site. It’s a great site, but guess what? After Black Friday, more than 2/3 of your income has been wiped out completely. Now your income is $8000 a year.
On the other hand, I’ve launched 10 different sites in the last year. One of them was an online poker site, but the rest were in other high paying niches, like credit cards, online education, travel, and the like. Each of those sites were generating $2400 a year for me. So yeah, I took a hit too in my income. A $1600 a year hit.
Now you’re making $8000 a year, and I’m still making $22,400 a year.
Does that illustrate the value of diversification?
What does a diversified portfolio of websites look like?
You CAN diversify within a niche. For example, if you specialize in gambling sites, you might have a site dedicated to each of the following niches:
- Casino games
- Online casinos
- Sports betting
- Online bingo
- Online poker
That’s five different topics, and that’s not a bad approach. But I think you should diversify a little further even. If I were starting from scratch, I’d shoot for a portfolio that looks more like this:
- Credit cards
- Cell phones
- Discount retailers
- Home improvement
- Health insurance
- General information
- Online education
- Website hosting
- Printer ink
- Weight loss
Yeah, most of those niches are competitive as hell. Here’s my advice: don’t be afraid of competitive niches. If you are, then poker is the wrong niche for you. Any of those niches have three and four word phrases that you could rank for easily if you do the keyword research and brainstorming that you need to do.
And those are just MY choices. I know a little about most of those industries already. You might have a completely different list of niches. In fact, you SHOULD have a different list of niches.
What else should you diversify?
Short answer: everything.
Diversify your linkbuilding strategy. On one of your sites, throw every linkbuilding technique at the site you can think of. On another of your sites, submit to the top five or ten directories and leave the site alone. On a third site, focus on Twitter and article directories. On another site, do link exchanges and directory submissions.
On most of your sites, you should use multiple linkbuilding strategies. But that doesn’t mean every site should have the SAME set of linkbuilding strategies. You want to diversify HOW you build links for these sites, because if one methodology falls out of favor, it could torch your entire business. But if you’re using multiple sets of strategies, some of your sites will benefit when the other sites are harmed.
Diversify your web hosting. I know a lot of people don’t believe that being on different servers matters anymore, but I’m not so sure. But the real reason for diversifying your webhosting is so that a webhosting outage doesn’t take down your entire business at once.
Diversify your approach to content. On one site, your average article length might be 200 words and only focus on a single keyword phrase. On another site, your average article length might be 2000 words, and it might focus on ten or twenty keyword phrases. You should have all points in between, including a site or two where the word count on the average piece of content doesn’t exist, because the word counts vary so widely from article to article.
Same reasoning. If a search engine suddenly starts favoring highly-focused, short content with fewer repetitions, then some of your sites will move up in the rankings, while others will drift downward. And vice versa.
Diversify your designs. Don’t use the same design on every site. I think everyone who reads my blog probably already realizes that though.
Diversify your platforms and formats. I use WordPress sparingly, but I like it. I usually build most of my websites as static sites using tables for design. (I know, that’s horribly old-fashioned. But in a year from now, I think my new site about slot machine tips will outrank your site about slot machine tips, no matter how much prettier your site is.)
Varying your format is a good idea too. Some of your sites might work well as forums, others as blogs, and others as static sites.
Diversify your approach to content. Wait a minute. Didn’t he already say that?
Yeah, but I didn’t go far enough. You shouldn’t just publish text content only. You should be coming up with ideas for video content and uploading that. You should also be podcasting. Image search is a big deal–it wouldn’t kill you to hire a photographer to generate some unique images for your site, either.
Don’t over-diversify, especially not at first. In stock market investing, the surest way to make sure your returns are average is to have a huge diversification in your portfolio. To an extent, that applies to website portfolios too. A concentrated portfolio can underperform or outperform the market. You should make it your goal to be smart enough and competent enough to have a concentrated, but still somewhat diverse, portfolio of websites that outperform income expectations for other websites in those niches.
Ignore all that advice.
I know all of the above makes perfect sense, but I know webmasters who make stacks of cash who do just the opposite. They work on one or two websites in a single niche and give them everything they’ve got. More power to them.
I prefer a safer approach, but think for yourself. I’ve been wrong before. I just hope I’ve given you some new ideas to think about.
One more thing. If you haven’t read Jim Griffin’s excellent article about how to build a website with long-term income potential, stop what you’re doing and go read it now. Great stuff!