Buying Domains: The Way Forward

As an Internet Marketer, it is important to me to make sure that I keep increasing the right kind of traffic to my commercial websites so that I continue to make sales from which I make my living online. Times change fast online and what were easy ways to make money a couple of years ago are now not viable. But one thing that has always remained a constant is investing in domains. This is why it will continue to be the way forward for anyone who is serious about earning money online.

Free Blogs and their Problems

There are more free blog platforms than ever these days, but that doesn’t make them the right way to build a long term business. They are fine when you are just starting out on a low budget, but their stability is questionable. You can put ads on blogger blogs, but they are harder to rank in the search engines and this is where you need to get your traffic from. You can use WordPress free blogs, but you can’t place ads (unless you abuse the system and do it anyway and hope that you don’t get found by the WordPress social police like the blog I highlighted in my last post WordPress Do Not Allow Ads on Their Free Blogs.

Other free blog platforms may be around today but drop out of existence tomorrow, as in the case of today.com which took a lot of people’s content then disappeared. A free blog platform may allow you to place links in your posts to begin with, but then go ahead and make them all nofollow as happened with wetpaint.com and others. The bottom line is that if you are going to put a lot of work into writing a load of original, well thought out and researched content you might as well put it onto a domain that you own and you call the shots on.

Self Hosted Domains

There are many benefits to hosting websites on your own domains. Aside from the cost of maintaining hosting, which can be had for as little a $5 a month, building your own website(s) is the most solid long term plan you can have. You get to choose what you write about and as long as it is not going to break any laws, you can publish it and no one is going to come along and call you out and get your blog flagged and even deleted as has happened to me on more than one occasion. Not that those blogs were bad, they just focused on weight loss which for some blog platforms is a disliked niche and seen as spammy. I’m sure the 60 million obese American citizens would beg to differ when there is a resource built to help them reduce their weight and get their lives back.

But on my own domains, I can write about weight loss and help people to help themselves and no one is going to tell me I can’t.

Blog or Static?

Now for the big question, do you create blogs or static sites on your domains? There are pros and cons to doing either, but here is my own reasoning and why the vast majority of my websites are actually NOT blogs, but static html sites.

Benefits of Static Sites:

  • Have no database to maintain and therefore do not present such a temptation to hackers to get in and cause mayhem.
  • Use far less server resources and are therefore faster to load and won’t eat up your hosting resources
  • All content is created on your PC and uploaded to the server, so there is always a backup copy of all your files if your server crashes and you have to recreate your site(s)

Benefits of Blogs:

  • Are easy to post articles to and publish
  • Have built-in blog service pinging for immediate recognition across the web
  • Can use widgets for social interaction
  • Posts can easily be commented on by visitors
  • Make it easy to join social groups

For my own peace of mind, going with static sites means less chance I’ll lose my sites because of hackers. The few blogs I still maintain regularly get attacked and I have had one blog have its database wiped by some nice person. That alone was enough for me to backwards engineer that blog to a static site and start doing the same with many smaller blogs. After all, why were many of them even blogs in the first place?

Many of the blogs I created a few years ago, were never meant to be social animals, but to exist as platforms to sell affiliate products and make money. Blogs are not really all that good for that, because of their setup and the difficulty with navigation. Plus for me, there is really no need to have any social interaction on a site that promotes a group of affiliate products from say, Amazon or CJ. All they need to do is present a decent review of the product and get the visitor to click through to buy it if they want it.

Blogs are for writing your thoughts, putting your points of view out there for others to comment on and discuss and for generally being social. Static sites are better for selling stuff. That’s my viewpoint and it may not be the viewpoint of others. Some may disagree and that’s fine, we all have our own preferences and ways of working.

It leads me to the way that search engines and Google in particular are talking about rating the worth of websites. They give the impression that they are going all out to use social recognition metrics as a way of gauging the value of a website.

How can this be if such a large proportion of websites are not blogs or have no database that can interact with the social buttons and widgets that they intend to use to gather these metrics? Does this mean that all static websites will be viewed as of less value than blogs simply because they do not have the mechanics to socially interact?

That is something I have already posted about here. I still maintain that Google cannot use social metrics to gauge the value or worth of a website if so many websites don’t have the gubbins to display social interactive buttons or widgets. So make your own mind up on how that will pan out.

Terry Didcott

6 thoughts on “Buying Domains: The Way Forward”

  1. Terry,

    You really are going to have to teach me how to do static sites.

    And I mean in the simplest way possible! I only ever did one using Dreamweaver and it was uglier than my Dog’s bum.

    1. Dave,

      Making static sites is pretty easy once you get the basics down. I started with really ugly html when I was learning back in the 90s. Once I started building sites again in 2006, I found an open source template and modified it for my first few sites. Then I discovered blogs and built them for a while.

      When I reverted to building static sites again, I just chose an old blog template, re-jigged it to work without all the php and parred it down to bare bones, then fleshed it out with CSS. Honestly, if you saw the html for one of my weight loss network sites, you’d wonder where all the code was!

      I don’t use software, just a good text editor (PsPad) and each new site uses the same template but it gets a big tweak to make it different from all the rest.

  2. Sorry about your loss on WordPress Terry. Your niche is a bit frowned upon everywhere hehe …

    Thanks to our previous talk, I’m also changing some of my websites to static websites 🙂 I might leave one or two as a blog because I want them that way, but you are right, a static website gives you way less headaches … No stupid 404 on pages that you didn’t even know existed!!

    It seems that with blogs you have to create it only to put a “noindex” on 99% of it so it doesn’t create gazillions of 404 errors =/

    Dave, as a quick solution you can try X Site Pro … not my favorite, but it is easy to get a good static website up without needing to mess that much with the software …

    1. Hey Bruno,

      Ha! Weight loss is abused by spammers but it really does have a legit side, which is what I work.

      Once you start building static sites, it becomes second nature. I often wonder why I got so caught up in WordPress blogs for my own sites. Reverse engineering blogs to static is a pain, but very satisfying once its done.

      And the plusses are many:

      One less bloody database backup to save on my hard drive every week
      One less annoyingly frequent WP update to have to install
      One less bunch of plugin updates. Come to think of it, no more bloody plugins!
      One less batch of emails from WordPress Firewall II that another bloody hacker is trying to attack the database
      One less bunch of emails telling me to moderate a ton of crap spam comments
      One less bunch of 404 errors (as you pointed out)
      One less heart attack on seeing my homepage displaying “Hacked by ThEWaNKeRofRaBbAT — death to American infidels …etc”

      And another thing you can do with static that you can’t do with a WP blog is have a different sidebar for each page. Very useful when promoting affiliate stuff from Amazon and you want to use the sidebar to display “related products”

  3. Hi Terry
    I was about to ask about what tools you recommend LOL, and then went back and read the other comments LOL. Do you have ANY experience with X Site Pro yourself, the tool Bruno recommends?
    Thanks

    1. I’ve never needed to use site building tools for static sites, I build ’em myself from the ground up in html/css. I have a set of my own templates that I start them off with to save all the repetitive stuff, then tweak them to make each new site look different from the rest. Its easy enough to do, learning basic html/css will get you a long way

      To be honest, I have always believed that as I’m in this business, its in my interest to know and understand this side of things.

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