MegaSites.com: Turn Your Best Domains Into Huge Websites (100+ Articles)
 

Categorized | Developing Domains

Why Minisites Are NOT a Viable Long-Term Business Model – An Elementary School Teacher’s Explanation

Posted on 04 July 2010 by Andrei

I could go on and on about why building minisites is not a business model I recommend (yes, money can be made but there are LOTS of better ways to generate revenue out there) but it would be pointless given the fact that the reasons should be obvious if we apply a bit of elementary school logic.

First of all, let me define what most domainers consider a minisite and take it from there. According to most folks, a minisite is a website which has let’s say 5 – 10 pages of unique content, a custom header and is monetized via Google AdSense. That’s pretty much it, feel free to check out some of the various minisites domainers provide as examples on forums and you’ll see that my definition applies to most of them.

That being stated, here’s how an elementary school teacher would explain the way things stand with these minisites:

1) The guys who are running the Google search engine hate you. They do not want their listings polluted with sites which do not provide any real value. If you think that your 5 or 10-page minisite actually provides value, you couldn’t be more wrong.

2) The guys who are running AdSense hate you as well. Why? Because your average 5 or 10-page minisites represent MFA (Made For AdSense) websites in their eyes. In case you were wondering why so many people get banned from AdSense, the answer is simple: MFA sites are against their TOS.

3) Everyone knows that the folks who are running the Google search engine and those who are running AdSense all work for the same company. As a result, it’s safe to say that if you’re building minisites, Google hates your guts.

In other words, your business model is 100% dependent on a company which hates you.

You want Google to send traffic your way, yet they hate you.

You want Google to send money your way, yet they hate you.

Need I say more?

Advertisement: DomainingServers.com lets you host UNLIMITED domains at $0.98/month and we're putting a LIFETIME money back guarantee on the table (if you're not satisfied, we'll issue a full refund). To place an order, click HERE.

56 Comments For This Post

  1. Xdreamer Says:

    I know a friend brought his small site on top of google and he had to work a little for it. After he was there his rankings only lasted a few weeks then he was buried too low on google to get anymore traffic. He worked too much for just a few weeks traffic and like you say google hates him now!

  2. fromthenet Says:

    but for a beginner are they alright to learn??

  3. Eunice May Says:

    so ,
    would u classify the sites-powerred-up-by-Epik as minisites ??

    thanks

  4. Rick Schwartz Says:

    Great take on mini sites. I agree they can be successful. (Though out of 100 I have had, not one made more revenue, not one grew the traffic, not one showed any results whatsoever and these were domains with traffic) But they are limited plus all the other things that you suggest that are spot on. Especially about Google.

    I think we need mini 2.0 that does not use Google and comes with a cash register that you control.

  5. Peter Says:

    “If you think that your 5 or 10-page minisite actually provides value, you couldn’t be more wrong”

    I disagree with your above quote.

    When I am looking for an information on an internet, sometimes just one paragraph of information about the searched item satisfies me, sometime one page does the job. Therefore 5 to 10-page of information on subject in many niches are more than enough for most (may not be all) of the needs of users of search engines.

  6. abe Says:

    To monetiza using adsense is very frustrating. Since they are so demanding and pay so little. I rather work with CPA or peddle digital content.

  7. Francois Says:

    Google hates to pay for what he is giving and is normal!

    If most of your traffic comes from Google and in addition you are asking to be paid for it (through AdSense) so what will happen is Google will dramatically affect your serps and your site should fall to the troublion, not immediately but wen the fall down will begin get sure you will need years to restore it.

  8. Andrei Says:

    @fromthenet: nope, you’d be building on a shaky foundation and that’s not exactly something I’d recommend

    @Eunice May: this article refers to the most common minisites (”According to most folks, a minisite is a website which has let’s say 5 – 10 pages of unique content, a custom header and is monetized via Google AdSense.”). I’ll write a post about the various other types of minisites out there shortly (later today or tomorrow) because I think the “are minisites worth it?” debate deserves its own series of articles on DomainingTips

    @Rick: there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a huge difference between a site that makes the Internet a better place and a minisite. You’ve made it clear that when building sites, you have to build businesses on your blog and I couldn’t agree more. But what about people who own thousands or tens of thousands of domains? How many businesses can one person realistically build and run? This is probably the most important question domainers are asking themselves and I’ll refer to it either later today or tomorrow in a blog post which will let’s just say be a lot longer than this one

    @Peter: I run a content writing business and we’ve written thousands upon thousands of articles so far. The #1 thing I always teach my writers is this: no filler junk. There’s authoritative content (content which actually provides value to the reader: I’m talking about articles which contain lots of data and where it’s clear that there’s more involvement from the author than a 2-minute Google search) and then there’s filler junk which was simply written by someone who churns out article after article in order to make a fast buck. Now when it comes to most minisites out there, I have one simple question for you: are the articles authoritative or filler junk?

  9. Peter Says:

    You said “Then there’s filler junk which was simply written by someone who churns out article after article in order to make a fast buck. Now when it comes to most minisites out there, I have one simple question for you: are the articles authoritative or filler junk?”

    I think in your blog instead of generalizing minisites as 5 to 10 pages, you should have been more clear to mention “minisites with authoritative content” and “minisites with filler junk”.

    In that case title of your blog should be “Why Minisites With Filler Junk Are NOT a Viable Long-Term Business Model – An Elementary School Teacher’s Explanation”

    If Google and Adsense were to hate minisites, it is simple to count number of pages of a website when they crawl and just ignore websites with max 5 to 10 pages. But that doesn’t happen. I see many one page to ten page unique content websites on page 1 of Google.

  10. domain report Says:

    There’s a lot of truth to what you write, but there are exceptions for mini-sites. If the content is helpful and related to the domain name, chances are it will help people searching for that information and it is a useful site. If the domain for the mini-site gets type in traffic, then the search engine ranking doesn’t matter much anyway, and it’s better than parking.

    I agree that mini-sites that are churned out with gibberish filler articles are crap though, and I know what you mean there. I just wouldn’t paste all small sites with the same brush.

  11. Andrei Says:

    @Peter: saying that would have been way too vague, kind of like saying something like “good sites are good, bad sites are bad” :)

    As I have mentioned previously:

    “feel free to check out some of the various minisites domainers provide as examples on forums and you’ll see that my definition applies to most of them”

    Again, most 5 to 10-page minisites do not provide value to the visitor. Not all but the vast majority.

    @domain report: in my opinion, if you do not want to generate traffic and want to rely on type-in traffic instead, parking your domain is usually a MUCH better choice than building a minisite.

    Why? Two simple reasons:

    1) Your CTR with a parked page will be a lot more impressive. You can make a lot more money by developing a domain if and only if you generate additional traffic. If you want to simply monetize a website’s type in traffic, building a minisite is just not worth it IMO

    2) Since, as mentioned previously, most minisites suck, people will have no real incentive to check out more pages. They will simply leave after landing on your homepage and never come back

    In other words, the folks who arrive on your site (again, I’m referring to the 100% type-in traffic scenario) will leave right away with both parked pages and minisites, simply because they do not have a valid reason to stay. With a parked page, they will at least be far more likely to click on an ad.

  12. John Humphrey Says:

    I think Google is mostly interested in making money. They do have to protect their brand and so we hear a lot about Matt Cutts and ‘quality scores’. But if Google really cared about the overall quality of information on the internet they wouldn’t be providing ad feeds to parking companies, they wouldn’t be monetizing bulk-content sites like eHow, and they wouldn’t offer products like Adsense for Domains.
    Can you tell us a little more about:
    “LOTS of better ways to generate revenue out there”
    “I run a content writing business and…”

  13. Andrei Says:

    @John: why wouldn’t Google provide an ad feed for parked domains? Domains will be parked anyway, they might as well make some money. The important thing is that parked domains do not pollute their search engine. I can’t stress this enough: they don’t care about the overall quality of the Internet, they care about the overall quality of their main product (the search engine).

    They don’t hate minisites because they have nothing better to do or because a domainer who builds minisites for a living pissed off the CEO, they hate minisites because they don’t want their search engine polluted with listings which don’t provide value to the average visitor and are doing everything humanly possible to discourage minisite builders (search engine penalties/AdSense bans).

    Regarding my content writing business, there’s a 125×125 banner on the DomainingTips.com sidebar and as far as the alternatives to minisites are concerned, I’ll try to post a series of articles this month.

  14. Mike Says:

    What about the concept of using
    mini sites to “marinate” domain
    names but not really as a revenue
    model?

    By that I simply mean you can put
    up a decent mini site with some
    “non flller content” and actually
    add to it a little and get a few
    links now and then to get the domain
    “aged” and up the search engines
    a little for the end user. And maybe
    pay a few reg fees along the way..

    Mini ehows.com really

    Thus creating more value than a parked page.

    When the end user sees his “very needed”
    domain on the 3rd or 4th page of Google
    the sale is always easier. Believe me.

    PLUS as we all know the jump from that
    site to full blown one (and the 1st page of Google)
    when the end user gets (or YOU decide to build it out)
    it is easier. And you can explain that.

  15. Andrei Says:

    @Mike: by doing that, you would be making less money than by parking the domain. Content costs money or (even worse) time and since you’ve mentioned that you want the minisite to be decent, you will need a custom design as well and that also costs money.

    In the end, you’ll end up building the very same minisites (5 to 10 pages or even less in your case) that I’ve been criticizing through this article :)

  16. LuckyChucky Says:

    What if a search for a specific keyword niche brings up only commercial providers of its product or service, but no basic explanatory information portal site(s) which offer general a overview of the topic? Should we just give up and let Wikipedia and/or About.com monopolize the field – all the fields?

  17. DomainManagement.net Says:

    Dear Andrei

    i feel that nobody knows and that is why there is a debate here it is very difficult to try and tell people that have domain portfolio`s
    that building out is not correct with 5-10 page mini sites
    the problem is that people with large portfolios are looking to develop at a low low prices and more often than not in some sort of automated way and this (please dont shout at me ) is a american misconception because guys and gals that have been involved in domaining have earnt very high incomes through parking previously
    with not to much hard work so why invest $200 + per site why there are companies out there that will do it for $49 + but these are auto generated sites that google is going to dislike .
    authority mini sites do work in conjunction with a keyword heavy domain dependant on the density of competition so you have to use your commonsense . Development of domains is very similar to development of property and domain developing is very similar to the game “MONOPOLY)” easy to get rankings on the property on the 1st section in uk like old kent road and more difficult for park lane
    and the income potential reflects this . you would never expect a $100 site to make it in “debt consolidation loans ” but like the last writer said if you had it on page 3-4 or 5 and has been indexed and trusted for 2 years then it becomes a heck of a lot more valuable than the domain name only sale potential . thats a no brainer .this is what business is creating value for potential purchases .while trying to earn a income along the way , and to just through another thought in most websites that are developed i think you will find that they are between 5-10 pages anyway
    its all about meeting expectations and you can only do this if you can deploy the correct amount of resources dependent on what you are trying to achieve. and that what we do at http://www.DomainManagement.net
    we advice you and help with you portfolio developing depending on what you want to achieve

  18. Eunice May Says:

    I’ll write a post about the various other types of minisites out there shortly (later today or tomorrow)
    because
    I think
    the “are minisites worth it?” debate deserves its own series
    of articles on DomainingTips
    __________________

    expecting

    esp whether or not google will treat the epik-powerred sites as “minisites”

    many deep-pockets would b very interested

    thanks

    looking forward

  19. @AndrewHazen Says:

    I believe that there are many factors that play into the success and failures of mini sites…..

    I have dozens of mini sites that all rank in the top 5 of google and receive tens of thousands of unique visitors and thousands of dollars in revenue (90% from adsense)

    I agree that the content must be useful and the site cannot be MFA (made for adsense) – I have actually tutored people on this very concept and they are on their way to success.

    The bait and switch model will undoubtedly get you in trouble but good useful content can do the trick! Mini sites can also be used for CPA deals, email acquisition and affiliate offers….you can use them to ‘marinate’ other domains you want to boost…..

  20. Attila Says:

    Mini sites, MFA (Made for Adsense) might (most likely) will get knocked. However “portal” sites that have direct inquiry forms or linking to you, your partners websites and or direct advertisers will never get knocked off the engines. While having some affiliate links, or other ways to monetize (other then adsense), you will be fine.

    I believe Google is only kicking those useless MFA sites to the back burner in terms of ranking because why should they send you traffic and then money for advertisements? However if you have a good keyword domain, 5-10 page site optimized surrounding that topic, then you’re set for top ranking for a LONG TIME.

    Just be sure to update at least once or twice a month to show Google you’re an active site.

    Don’t let anyone persuade you about mini sites. Its only the MFA sites getting burned, everything else is doing wonders.

  21. DomainManagment.net Says:

    But they need good original well written content

  22. self certification mortgages Says:

    Great information, thank you very much. The break down of the sections was simple and to the point. Helped me a lot.

  23. Mike Says:

    With all due respect Andrei you are talking
    about “long term business models”. The idea of
    building the mini sites for cash flow is one
    model. Those are advanced parking pages nothing
    more.

    Now I understand that Google doesn’t like sites
    that don’t produce value for the searcher and
    the web, frankly neither do I. Yes my sites
    require a little more effort and investment.

    And what I’m doing takes a much more of an investment
    type mentality and approach then building the
    sites strictly for cash flow.

    I call it SERPequity or SEOequity. Where you, as the
    current owner, build in value for the next owner
    because you know how. Not because you can explain
    how to later when he’s staring at a parked page that
    is not indexed.

    When he is looking at the 1st, 2nd 3rd or 4th page of Google
    and he needs that for his business, it makes a little more sense to him. Thus the “long term business model” becomes selling the domain/”mini-site” for much, much more, delivering more value and making the web just a little better.

    The content may not be CNN but Demand Media ain’t
    doin to bad. All these sites are generic enough to morph into my
    customers business in just a few days.

    Years ago I used to carpet rental houses dam near every time
    a a tenant moved out. About ten years ago I started putting tile in
    them all. Guess which one works out cheaper in the long
    run — in the REAL world?

    It’s been my experience that SERPequity is real. Building it up
    is smart.

    We know how to create it, our customers do not.

    It is our job to do just that.

    It’s simply good business.

  24. Andrei Says:

    @Mike: building minisites with the intention of getting them to rank so that you can sell them at a later point is unfortunately not a viable long-term business model either. As mentioned in this article, Google hates you and it’s only a matter of time until your sites get penalized.

    Being penalized by Google is something which unfortunately lowers the value of a domain considerably. Most end users will not be technically savvy enough to figure out that a domain has been penalized but by hiding the truth, you’d be doing something that’s just plain wrong.

    If you’re monetizing the websites, Google will consider them either MFA sites or thin affiliate sites, depending on the monetization method you are using and that will get them penalized faster.

    If you’re not monetizing them at all, you can delay the inevitable but you’d have to invest money in order to build the sites, get them to rank and maintain those rankings. If you own hundreds/thousands of domains, it adds up and that brings us right back to the very point I have made through my two articles: yes, money can be made but no, it’s not a viable long-term business model and there are far better options out there.

  25. DomainManagement.net Says:

    check out the other thread explained if the best way to do this

  26. Abhishek Jha Says:

    I have been telling domainers not to develop minisites in the first place and instead develop every domain fully in its own niche like a games site for domain like games.co.uk but domainers think that they are more intelligent than webmasters of established websites, so let them learn this the hard way after they spoil some big $$$ on minisites, because they won’t learn the lesson without doing some costly mistakes by themselves.

    Post’s like yours might be eye-openers for some but some others might still be paying those minisite developers thinking that they would be successful with adsense and post a new topic claiming your topic to be wrong ;-)

    Well, im waiting to meet domainers who are successful with their minisites for 5+ yrs, but till date i have seen none of them alive ;-)

  27. self defense weapons Says:

    Post’s like yours might be eye-openers for some but some others might still be paying those minisite developers thinking that they would be successful with adsense and post a new topic claiming your topic to be wrong ;-)

  28. Lupe Bohler Says:

    What need to I do to have my website for the top of google do I need to hire an seo organization or can I do it myself thanks for the help

  29. self certification mortgages Says:

    “My twins are in 2nd grade now so it took until now for me to really put the materials to good use, but I intend to use them more and more over the next several years periodically since there is great materials here for older ages too!”

  30. self defense weapons Says:

    Hi i feeling very funny because this blog is really very impressive thanks for nice sharing.

  31. commercial mortgages Says:

    The next generation hybrids coming out in 2-3 years will be plug-ins. Once we convert to them, people will only need gasoline for long trips — they’ll use electric for commuting and errands.

  32. vefasiz Says:

    Thanks for this ;)

  33. denemeliksiz Says:

    They don’t hate minisites because they have nothing better to do or because a domainer who builds minisites for a living pissed off the CEO ;)

  34. electric underfloor heating Says:

    “My twins are in 2nd grade now so it took until now for me to really put the materials to good use, but I intend to use them more and more over the next several years periodically since there is great materials here for older ages too!”

  35. friendship gift Says:

    I am a senior in High School, with only mid-term exams and one more semester between myself and the end of my high school career. However, time is not all that stands in my way of going off to college..

  36. friendship gift Says:

    I wonder how this will change twitter’s search – for twitter to sell ad space on search shows that obviously there’s a lot of value behind the twitter search market.

  37. self certification mortgages Says:

    In public education, the “ends” do not justify the “means.” The long range hit to an institutions credibility is bigger than any person or persons ego.

  38. self defense weapons Says:

    The professional teaching certificate is found in this section showing prospective employers there are no impediments to employment.

  39. friendship gift Says:

    Usually the client values the wealth he generates while trading with a particular stock broker the most. Other value added services including quality research & goos service are important, but you know no one can predict the markets right so they could be subjective.

  40. Writer Says:

    these expectations are unreasonable. The top google rankers are sites which have spent millions getting there.

  41. woodwind parts Says:

    Good day could I use some of the perception found on this blog if I offer a hyperlink back again to your site?

  42. gossip news Says:

    I dont agree. If the minisite has good quality content and users found the site via search and meets their keyword needs then what is then what is the problem?
    This makes for good user experience and that is what Google is interested in. People found what they were looking for and they will use the search engine again. If not, Google go out of business.

  43. Mario Says:

    its not that Google does not like mini sites, Its website with low quality content, sometimes unreadable – a mini site which provides great content whether it be 5-10 pages will not get punished, They are a number of examples out there.

  44. Domainers Says:

    What a big debate around here about mini sites. Good to learn something new.

  45. Setsuko Matthiesen Says:

    I’ve been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours as of late, but I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It is lovely worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the internet will probably be much more helpful than ever before.

  46. custom wheels Says:

    you are truly a just right webmaster. The web site loading pace is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a magnificent activity in this topic!

  47. tarot Says:

    Hi. I enjoy browsing your site. If you want to learn about numerologie check out my site!

  48. Avery Fewell Says:

    hi!,I really like your writing so much! proportion we be in contact more approximately your article on AOL? I require a specialist in this space to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look forward to peer you.

  49. Cheap BFGoodrich Tires Says:

    Only wanna comment on few general things, The website design and style is perfect, the subject material is real great :D .

  50. tires Says:

    I liked as much as you will obtain performed proper here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. however, you command get got an nervousness over that you would like be handing over the following. unwell unquestionably come further previously once more since exactly the same nearly very often within case you defend this increase.

  51. Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico Tires Says:

    I conceive this website contains very fantastic written content material articles.

  52. Shine Says:

    Just put a little more effort and do more quality pages with good content for your site. It’s worth it.

  53. Steve Says:

    Well i thought i would love to enlighten people more about this topic
    since it 1st took off i was laughed at kindo off but who has sold and got xx,xxx Gbp for a number of sites sold this year

    i am really glad i dont listen to these so called experts that tell you not to do thins like mini sites etc

    i do make mini sites and i do make good money from the internet in this line of developing keyword heavy domains fact simple ,

    i use what a call the “short shirt method” get them on page one and then people will contact you and ask if its for sale , no more no less , this is basic and then make a relationship and inform if another comes your way like the last one you will mail them

    sometimes i offer interest free credit 6 month- 10 months
    and realease the domain when the amount is paid in full
    and if are dilinquent by more than 21 days over the entire period

    they loose any money paid and the domain , after all your doing them
    a interest free deal right , so they should not take the piss

    i have been able to move over xxx,xxx gbp in sales by allowing payments , and these clients come back for more , and most of them are seo guys , that now do there own projects , rather then work for clients

    Best of luck all , i am sure i will get a slagging off by my romanian
    friend but i am not bothered as the truth always stands tall

    DomainManagement.net

  54. Andrei Says:

    @Steve: on the Internet, saying things like “over xxx,xxx gbp in sales” is not enough, you as a service provider need to prove each and every statement. Since you’re the one who is selling something, the burden of proof is on you and not anyone else :)

  55. Steve Says:

    Well best thing is if you know of Acorndomains.co.uk in uk

    I deal there a lot and have a great reputation there.also many connections i have can vouch for me , but hey does it really matter

    as at least i am not spam :) and i am consistent,
    have moved office now from Romania to India

    yes where we are making lots of mini sites because they so good

    Domains ARE nice but – Websites sell for more fact :)

  56. Best Free Android Games Says:

    This is the proper Why Minisites Are NOT a Viable Long-Term Business Model – An Elementary School Teacher’s Explanation | Domaining Tips blog for anyone who wants to assay out out nearly this theme. You attending so much its nigh tiring to debate with you (not that I rattling would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new whirl on a theme thats been inscribed about for age. Fastidious nonsensicality, simply large!

 
 
         
Domaining blog recommended by Domaining.com
 
Recommended by DomainState.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Your Click Counts

 

Our Projects

 

Blogroll