Call to Action for All New Internet Marketeers!

P.T. Barnum is Alive and Well

The sub-heading is near and dear to me, my friends.  I’ve been suckered out of a substantial amount of money thinking I was dealing with honest individuals that offered quality services.

Let’s take an example site building service for instance.  This is widely advertised on sites such as Warrior Forum, Black Hat World, and many others.  You have an individual or team or organization that advertise a particular type of niche site they can build for you at a cost of $75 per site.  This $75 gets you a researched niche along with a domain name, associated keywords/key phrases, on-page SEO, 5×600 word articles, and perhaps a few other enticing features.

In many instances even while the sales pages and the site developers themselves are not supposed to legally state how much return on investment you could make on one of their built sites, it is common to see numbers in hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Followed by the ‘your actual numbers may differ’ disclosure statement.  Let’s break this down into its component pieces:

  • Hosting (you must provide, in most cases)
  • Domain name (you must register, in most cases)
  • Niche selection (developer chooses, in most cases)
  • Keywords and Key phrases (developer ‘researches’)
  • On-page SEO (performed by developer)
  • 5×600 word articles (developer provides, usually by means of an article writing service)

Now let’s add associated costs to each of the pieces:

  • Hosting: HostGator is a common hosting company, and is one that I use for about half of my niche sites.
    • $3.96 per month for the most inexpensive plan.
    • Domain name registration:  I use either NameCheap or GoDaddy for my domain name registration.
    • .com registration,  $8.98 per year (NameCheap)
    • .com registration, $12.99 per year (GoDaddy)
  • Niche selection, developers time and experience $xx.xx
  • Keywords and Key phrases, developers time and experience $xx.xx
  • On-page SEO, developers time and experience $xx.xx
  • 5×600 word articles, developer hires writing service.
    • One article at 600 words each from a native English article writing service, I use many, but for the sake of this article I will select iNeedArticles.  I have had 40+ articles written by them and over 90% I would consider 4-5 star quality.  For a 600 word article with a research stipend costs $6.00
    • 5×600 @ $6.00 each, word articles written my iNeedArticles with a research stipend: $30.00

Assumptions:  We plan on keeping the site for a minimum of 1-year (3-4 months to get good in Google’s eyes (site indexed and  some additional pages of fresh content) and at least another 3 months to determine its profitability.  The remaining 6 months raking in the cash or crying over the time, money, and effort spent.

Let’s total our Developers costs:

  • Developers hard cost: $30.00
  • Developers soft cost:

This is somewhat subjective based on the amount of time they spend doing the niche selection, keyword and key phrase research, on page SEO, and any further site refinement.  If they are smart they have a selection of keywords and phrases already in a spreadsheet along with domain name choices.  So the work would have been done before hand in many cases.  This is a zero cost item from my perspective.  Sure, they may have tools they use that have a monthly or yearly cost, KeywordCanine (which I use) for keyword research as an example.  This should not be built into the cost of site development, but as part of an operating budget.

Developers Total: $30.00 out of pocket, one time.

Let’s total our Personal costs:

  • Personal hard cost:
    • $75.00 for site developer
    • $47.52 (1 year hosting w/ HostGator)
    • $8.98 (domain name registration with NameCheap)
    • $108.00 (9 months of additional content, 2 completely new articles per month for the remaining 9 months after 3 month Google settling, 2x9x$6.00 = $108.00)
    • $1000.00 for Link building* done properly ($100 at start of 3rd month, followed by $100.00 for the remaining 9 months).
  • Personal soft cost:
    • This is a tough one.  Depending on your fluency with WordPress and SEO and your involvement in writing content for the site, if any, checking the search engine rankings, affiliate account monitoring, mailing list setup and maintenance, advertising the site outside of any link building campaigns, etc.  The time can add up to be quite substantial.  Let’s go with a time estimate of 7 hours per week (1 hour per night).

Personal Total: $1239.50,  $87.94 upfront (includes: site developer, domain name registration, 1st month hosting), remaining $1151.56 over the coarse of 9 months) over one year.

Extrapolate the Pain

Keep in mind that site developers could charge a bit more or even a bit less to build a site for you given the options we’ve discussed.  Some site developers offer discounts if you buy in bulk.  Let’s think about that for a few seconds given the numbers we’ve come up with.  Thinking hypothetically, if we buy a bulk order of 10 sites from a developer who discounts the per site cost to $70.00, down from the original $75.00, that totals $700.00 for 10 sites.

Extrapolating that by a factor of ten we get:  $300.00 out of pocket for the developer (profiting $400.00) and a whopping $11,946.12 for you!  We had to upgrade our HostGator account to one that supports more than hosting one domain which changed the per month cost to $6.36.

Backlinks are Mandatory and Essential for Success

Let’s pick this apart a little.  Sure we could go without the additional content generation and forego the link building or maybe even switch to a one-time link building service for $45.00 which are very easy to find at this price and lower.  That is entirely doable but do not think you will earn a single penny in return on your investment.

Maybe the site looks awesome and you feel your money has been well spent and man, did you get a good deal.  How are you going to get visitors?  How are you going to drive traffic to your site?  Perhaps you get a visitor or two and they like your site, what is going to keep them coming back if you have the same content day after day, month after month?  Absolutely nothing will bring them back.  Having fresh and pertinent content as well as links from various other sites, either niche relevant, authority, press release, or YouTube videos, is absolutely essential and I will say it is mandatory.  If you don’t have backlinks to your site then your site pretty much doesn’t exist.  If it doesn’t exist how are you going to make a dime?

What you feel was a great deal, turned into a financial loss if it was just one site, what if it was ten sites?  That brings it into another realm, the realm of ‘k’, as in thousands of dollars lost.

What are the Options?

After plenty of trial and error and financial loss I have come to realize the age old adage still holds true, “You get what you pay for.”  You purchase a site for $70.00-$75.00 dollars, the site will need a substantial amount of ongoing work to maintain and rank and turn a profit.  You will need to add relevant content and you will need quality backlinks.

Now there are site developers out there, some even advertise on the same sites that the discount site developers advertise.  These are the ones who will build the site as stated on their sales page, have it to you within their allotted turn-around-time, have outstanding relevant content, provide you with timely status updates, and even help provide you with ongoing backlinking and content creation services.  These will not be $75.00 per site, that is a guarantee.  The cost of for these services will run you over $500.00 per site easily, some even as high as $900.00 or $1000.00.

These are the organizations or individuals (usually these are not individuals, but a team of specialized developers), be wary if it is just one person.  I hate to say this, but even these higher dollar developers have bad eggs in their midst.

Use these steps as a way to determine if you are getting what you pay for:

Overview

  1. Ask to see site examples, 3-5 live sights.
  2. Ask them to add you to one or two of their sites Google Analytics page (preferably a site that is in a similar niche).
  3. Ask for references to people that have purchased their site building services in the past (they do not need to provide site details, disclosing their niche).
  4. Ask, after the site is fully indexed by Google and been live for a few months, what is the expected traffic based on selected Niche, Keywords/Key phrases, and expected search volume.
  5. If they are to provide ongoing content creation and link-building ask if they do this in-house or use outside services.

Details

  1. Ask to see site examples, 3-5 live sights.
  2. Ask them to add you to one or two of their sites Google Analytics page (preferably a site that is in a similar niche).  It is very easy for a site owner to add you in ‘read-only’ mode and then remove you after you’ve had your peek.
    • After being added you can check out the monthly visitor count, if they’ve taken hits around Google algorithm updates, and if they’ve recovered from those updates.
  3. Ask for references to people that have purchased their site building services in the past (they do not need to provide site details, disclosing their niche).
    • Additionally, if you found their sales page on a high traffic forum ask others on that forum if they’ve had experience with this site builder and ask their honest opinion (try and find at least 3 individuals to give you feedback)
  4. Ask, after the site is fully indexed by Google and been live for a few months, what is the expected traffic based on selected Niche, Keywords/Key phrases, and expected search volume.
    • Given this information you can determine an approximate monthly income based on keyword CPC, page CTR, etc.  Although this could vary substantially, but use this as a gauge for potential income.
  5. If they are to provide ongoing content creation and link-building ask if they do this in-house or use outside services.
    • If it’s an outside service for content creation ask for their name, take a look at their home page, find out what their reputation is by checking relevant forums, and create an account.  Ask for a sample of their content.  Determine if it is written in native English, or whatever native language your site will be designed around.
    • If it’s an outside service for link building do the same as with the content creation service (get name, home page, reputation, and do a forum check).  Ask what type of links do they build?:
      • ‘White hat SEO’, Manually created and posted with hand written quality content to actual authority web properties such as YouTube, WordPress blogs, Vimeo, etc.
      • ‘Black hat SEO’, Highly spun keyword stuffed content (usually unreadable), massive link spamming of sites with various automated tools.  Will get penalized by search engines with high risk of site dropping off completely.
      • ‘Grey hat SEO’, Less risky than black hat, but content is often spun with more intelligence put behind the process, such less keyword stuffing, most likely the content is readable, often duplicating existing but relevant content.  Often uses PBN’s as a source of building tiered links profiles and helping to rank the targeted site(s).
      • They will most likely not tell you the type of link building they do, but given some sample sites you can do some investigation using tools such as ahrefs that will give you an idea of their methods.
      • It should be obvious that to stick with white hat methods is the most safe.  It is also going to be the most expensive.  I’m not advocating anything other than white hat SEO.  With that being said, I am not opposed to using grey hat SEO under certain conditions with the following caveat, that under no circumstances should it be used to link to your main site, aka Money Site.  Black hat SEO should not be considered a viable sustaining option at this point in the game.  Given Google’s latest Panda algo updates.

It is up to you!

After receiving your responses from the site developer it is entirely up to you to proceed.  I would have given somebody a check for $2000.00 for a similar checklist as the one above when I first stepped in all green and bug eyed to Internet Marketing.  If only I knew then what I know now as the saying goes.

I have several sites in various stages that I will detail in coming posts.  Including he type of site developer I hired and the cost.  As I state in my first post, it is my promise to you that if you stay with me I will do as much as I can to help you from losing your hard earned money.

Upcoming Post preview: The sites I have had built range from the $75.00 bargain ‘you-get-what-you-pay-for’ up to the $1000.00 ‘all-in-one’.  Just don’t tell my wife about the last one!


Affiliate and Non Affiliate links of products on this page that I use on a regular basis and highly recommend:
HostGator for inexpensive and reliable site hosting.
NameCheap for inexpensive domain name registration and hosting.
GoDaddy for domain name registration and hosting.
KeywordCanine for outstanding keyword research.
iNeedArticles for inexpensive yet very well written and timely content creation.
Ahref a huge index of links updated every 15 minutes showing internal, linking domains, anchor text links, entire site link profiles.  Check it out!

Frequently visited sites linked on this page.
Warrior Forum, where I cut my Internet Marketing teeth and paid for several gold fillings … unfortunately.  If you find yourself looking at a WSO, email me!  I probably purchased it and can give you a rundown on its viability before you drop your coin or search my site, I may have a review on it already.
Black Hat World, for those of you who want to look into the darker side of the Internet, yet not so dark as to lose your way back!
Moz.com, really your one stop for everything SEO.  Make it a point to stop here once or twice a week and soak up the wealth of knowledge and content.


*Link Building footnote:  Link Building done properly is a time consuming and lengthy process.

The figure of $100.00 I give above is on the very low side.  Sure, you will find link building services that advertise ‘Page 1’ ranking on Google within 30 days all day long.  But seriously ask yourself how could they be doing this when the process involves finding and posting relevant and coherent content on relevant web sites, creating relevant videos on YouTube and Vimeo, relevant social content on Twitter and Facebook and Google+, creating press releases, and so very much more.

There are many sites on the Internet that talk about link building, one of the best is Moz.com.  Check out their page for an outstanding primer and additional link building reading.


 

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