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My journey so far - 10 years - <£100,000 ish

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by offwhite, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. offwhite

    offwhite Regular Member

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    Well I've not been around here on BHW for long but seen some good stories and thought I'd add mine. It might inspire some. Probably my biggest weakness is being too timid, not automating and being a jack of all trades.

    Starting Off
    So I started off just building a website for my business - a driving school. Then i thought "I know I could build a more general learning to drive site and get other driving schools to advertise" So I hand built a directory in html, went to another directory in the niche and got email addresses of other driving schools and offered them a directory entry for £10 (around $15). Then I heard about adsense and so stuck some adsens on there (it was easy to register in those days).

    So I was earning a little bit from my website and i thought "why not have a more general site?" So i built a site (html) and just wrote loads of articles (well about 30) on things that i thought were topical. One thing that was happening was that an life insurance company was getting privatized and people who had life insuarnce with them were getting free shares. I decided to write an article on it and it was a big break - high adsense cpc and good search rankings in Microsoft search. I then realised i could do arbitrage with adwords and for a short time earned around $2000 a month. In those days it was not frowned upon so much. I wouldn't do that now.

    Lemons...
    Then came my next big break. You know the phrase "when life gives you lemons...." Well I got a speeding ticket. I wanted to research what was going to happen, whether i could get off etc. Then i thought "lets make a page about this on my learning todrive website". It ranked well and got good adsense earnings. Aha I thought. Lets build a whole site around the subject. I did and it gradually rankled well. It got bashed recently in Penguin and panda. Nevertheless it has earned me an average of £1000 a year for the last 8 years (c $1500 a year). Not bad return for a £60 speeding ticket!

    I also realised there was a big market for driving school websites and so have offered that service for the last 8 or 9 years.

    One plan i had was to diversify. Not put all my eggs in one basket. I was trying to be as white hat as I could but knew that my sites could be de-indexed, and although being as careful as possible to stay in Googles ToS I knew i might get my account banned.

    So I developed lots of websites, mainly for adsense but also Amazon and other affiliate programmes. I find Adsense outperforms everything else massively. I was always looking for good niches, and trying things out. My sites survied the early pandas, but got quite badly hit by penduin and some subsequent panda updates. far less of my raffic now comes from Goggle and quite a bit comes from Yahoo/ Bing. Never had any success at recovering apart from this. I found some sites made a temporary recovery ( a few months) by moving them to different hosting.

    So anyway, to date I've earned around £45,000 from adsense a couple of grand from Amazon and other affiliates, £45,000 from providing websites and other services and a few grand from other miscellaneous stuff such as content writing.

    What I've never been able to do is break through into big money. It's only ever paid 50% of my earnings, the rest is from non internet based activity. I've tried a lot of things along the way, some worked, some didn't. I always prided myself on being white hat and even now am only gently straying into black hat territory (hence my username) but following what I see as unjustified demoting of my sites by Goggle I've been forced to look to the darker side! Although my sites are designed to give me an income they are also designed to give the user something of genuine value ie information that can help them in an easy and well written format. I aim for ethical and moral sites. I will have nothing to do with dating, glamour, gambling or adult content of any kind. I can see there is money to be made in these areas but I'd rather keep my integrity. Even my sites in the loan niche have one clear message - don't borrow what you can't afford to pay back!

    So what advice would I give to others?
    1. Don't jump on bandwagons and expect to make a fortune.
    2. What works for someone else may not work for you
    3. Diversify. Prepare for things going wrong (eg loss of rankings, adsense/amazon account being banned)
    4. Because you made $100 this month doesn't gaurantee you will earn the same next month
    5. If something isn't working, find something that does. If it's not working there's a reason. Find out what it is.

    And what would I do differently?
    1. Be a bit more adventurous
    2. Invest a bit more
    3. Automatise some tasks
    4. Concentrate more on a few key areas and do them well/exploit them further

    So that's it from me. hopefully some will find some helpful things.
    Final words - I've actually appreciated this forum far more than i would. I thought it would be like the Wild West! Instead i find dignity and generosity! Cheers!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  2. PrinceVisi

    PrinceVisi Elite Member

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    I love when people share real life stories of their own, and I think this is the things that keeps thins forum going on besides BlackHat Techniques!
     
  3. RankSnatcher

    RankSnatcher Regular Member

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    Wish you best of luck
    Hope you will get success
     
  4. mano71

    mano71 Newbie

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    I wish you luck :)
    i'll follow you for sure..
     
  5. Shtarkman

    Shtarkman Newbie

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    I wish you lots of luck, hope you pull through!
     
  6. Beven

    Beven Elite Member

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    Inspiring post mate, bets of luck for the future.
     
  7. mickyfu

    mickyfu Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Sorry, could not be bothered to read all your post, just directories bit, so might of missed something. So what I was thinking is why don't you just make a single website for areas / cities / towns and rank that website for keywords like "driving Instructors "City"", instead of making a directory. If you can rank the sites, you could get a recurring £50 payment each month for top place on your website, and £25 for second.

    If this is what you are already doing, please ignore my post.
     
  8. crazyboy99

    crazyboy99 Junior Member

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    Great and inspiring post my friend! Wish you all the best in future ventures.

    Posted via Topify using iPhone/iPad