My Chance of a Site That Costs $25+ Per Month Website Being Profitable?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by MICHAELSD, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #1
    I've been working on a website over the past few weeks, with some nice-looking art, well-written and nicely formatted pages, and I'm in the process of writing a few blog articles to get the site started. It is a great fansite for a show on a premium network that has a US fanbase of at least four or five million people. The site is currently not up.

    I have a Google Adsense banner ad and a small Google Adsense ad on each page. The main site will be run on a premium web host that costs at least $20 per month. I'll find a much cheaper host for the phpBB forums. The site would sort of be a hobby, though I wouldn't contribute so much time and not see at least $300 from the Google Adsense ads to pay for what the site costs to maintain.

    What are my chances that running this site with well-written articles and a nice interface will bring me a nice profit from Google Adsense? What is the community's experience with Google Adsense? How much profit money should I expect to make per month? I'm confident I could start getting a few thousand views a day after a few weeks.
     
  2. ethical macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #2
    Why don't you start off on a cheaper hosting plan, then when you start getting lots more views, and require the more premium one, upgrade. Also, what's the show?
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #3
    Miniscule. If you really want to make your site profitable and are relying on Adsense alone, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment.

    I also don't really understand why you need a "premium" webhost for a site that so far has zero views. A perfectly adequate hosting solution for the amount of bandwidth you'll need as a startup can be had for under $5/month, and that's including your forums.
     
  4. That-Is-Bull macrumors 6502

    That-Is-Bull

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    #4
    Definitely do this. There's no reason to be paying more than $5 a month until your website starts to get popular.
     
  5. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #5
    This would be another reason why you wouldn't be likely to make a profit, or even break even. To get people to come back, you really need to provide compelling content and be consistent about it. And your goal is to get people to come back, in order to have more hits and to boost your potential Google Adsense revenue.

    Honestly, though...what others are saying is right on the money. Start as cheaply as you can because making a profit online (or even breaking even)with as little work as you are planning is nearly impossible.

    My wife started writing a dance blog 2 years ago and she actually has quite a following and now makes somewhere around $200 or more a month through partnerships with other websites and from ads that she just started selling on her own (took her at least 6 months before she saw ANY profit...and that was like $10 for an exceptional month!). BUT, to get to this point, she puts in easily 50 hours of research and writing a week to produce compelling content. She doesn't do it for the money, but for the love of dance. It's nice though, to see her hard work paying off (in the form of some income...enough to cover her expenses AND to have some extra spending money when all is said and done.):)
     
  6. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #6
    What type of hosting is this? $25/month for shared is quite a lot when you can get a VPS that will do unlimited sites (and sell hosting and resellers off of it) for under $25/month. At $25 you are over half way to a dedicated server.
     
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #7
    Yes, you'll see lots of people using sites like Dreamhost which provide "unlimted everything" for $10/month or less. Not sure where the value is in paying twice as much or more. Lots of even cheaper places too of varying quality. I've been with Dreamhost for several years and have been quite happy with them.
     
  8. RawBert macrumors 68000

    RawBert

    Joined:
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    North Hollywood, CA
    #8
    iPage is worth looking into.

    You get all this stuff for under $5/month:
    • Unlimited hosting space
    • Unlimited data transfer
    • Host unlimited domains
    • Free domain
    • Free SiteLock security suite
    • Free point & click site builder
    • Free online store
    • Free blog
    • Free script library
    • Good Support Service
    • Outstanding reliability
    • Marketing Tools
     
  9. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

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    #9
    You probably won't be making any money until you get around 60,000 page views a day, if you're trying to do something with adsense
     
  10. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2009
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    Among the starlings
    #10
    I wouldn't recommend Dreamhost. They've been a disaster for me. But you can certainly get good starter hosting for $5-10/mo that will handle a blog and nascent forums without a problem.

    If uptime or speed are important to you, I would strongly recommend avoiding any host that claims to offer "unlimited" storage or bandwidth/transfer, and that goes double for those who charge $5 or less monthly for the privilege.
     
  11. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

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    #11
    I would never recommend a "unlimited/unmetered" shared host when the unlimited/unmetered is in the disk space or transfer field. You can do unmetered transfer on a VPS or dedicated server with a megabit per second limit but shared not so. How much is unlimited? You have to dig through the TOS/AUP/other legal document to find it. Most of the time it is CPU or RAM but can be something else. If they did not do this you would have people moving sites such as youtube with the same traffic level on to these "unlimited" hosts.

    Now, unlimited email, addon domains, etc is fine because those don't cost anything.
     
  12. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    Jul 13, 2008
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    NJ
    #12
    Considering starting and paying for the site, which is mostly developed. Still gotta write about 12-20 articles to jump-start the site, polish the artwork, banners, logo, etc., and create a forum. The services I plan on using would still cost me $25+ per month. I can give you guys some more info about which TV show the site is a fan-site for: Showtime's series Dexter. It's a pretty popular series now, with four million fans on Facebook, and there's plenty of news articles that can be written.

    Here was an early version of the site from March or April of this year to give you guys a preview:

    http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/2904/dexternet.png

    Could this be profitable if it costs $25+ per month?
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #13
    Could what be profitable if it costs $25+ per month? The chances of your site gaining enough popularity to be profitable off of ads within a year or two is almost zero. Yes it "could" be profitable, but time frame is everything. You started this project of yours in April and it is now August- you might want to get your site live if you even want it to have a chance.
     
  14. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #14
    It could have went live in April, but hosting fees lead me to decide not to. I don't want to lose money with the site. Is Google AdSense my best choice for this type of site to pull in real revenue?
     
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #15
    If $25 in fees are putting you off, I don't think you should bother. High-traffic sites pay hundreds to thousands of dollars in hosting fees every month.
     
  16. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #16
    I would pay hundreds or thousands per month if I made it back plus a little extra through advertising. However I'm not throwing away $300 on the site if I only have a small chance of getting that back.
     
  17. webmunki macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #17
    The main concern I would have for your site would be the subject - Dexter is a great show but is beginning its 5th series over there? (not entirely sure) I have used a lot of similar sites - lostpedia jumps to mind but I rarely look at them beyond the end of the show.

    I found this site http://www.dexter-tv.com/en/ maybe its yours, maybe its competition - it looks well built.

    Even if you do not have the luck you want with the Dexter site, it might worth building as a basic outline then when you see the new shows in the fall that you like you could pump out a few vaguely similar sites - same basic structure, different skin - this would potentially get you in at the beginning with those shows and might fund the Dexter site if you want to do it for your own enjoyment.

    Additionally - consider adding a wiki. Best of luck.
     
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #18
    Basically you want to make a lot of money, but aren't willing to invest a relatively small initial sum or apparently the time and effort that will be required to get to that point. I don't think you should bother, as you obviously have no idea how difficult it is to achieve what you want to achieve.
     
  19. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #19
    Anyone will bet on a sure thing. If you're risk averse, especially with long odds, you should only bet on surer things.
     
  20. Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #20
    Do you have a updated design to show? If things haven't changed much since April, I don't think your site will do well at all.

    And I have to agree with the points about starting off on a cheap plan. I haven't run into a company that wasn't happy to let customer's switch plans as traffic increases.
     
  21. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    NJ
    #21
    I don't want to make a lot of money, if anything, just get back what I put in. I can put in the effort and continue working on artwork and design, but I don't want to go too far if, again, I can't get back the money I put in. I'll invest if somebody tells me that it's a good idea and I can get back what I put in.

    The link to the Dexter fan site posted above is not mine (the site isn't publicly available). I would definitely write better-quality articles than that site, as well as a wide variety. That fan site posted above also appears to be doing something illegal: offering every episode of Dexter to steam for free. I wouldn't do that, mainly to keep up a sense of professionalism. I originally settled on the name DexterNet, but the .com domain for that is a premium domain (likely due to Dexter also being a town) so I'll have to go with a longer site name, likely DexterFanNet or DexterSplatter.

    By the way, in the image I posted above some of the artwork has already been modified since that picture was taken. Also, that was only the public test version of the site that was up in March and April, without any real content, but just to show off the design. The Episode Guide / Analysis page was completed, with everything written by myself. There was more content accessible by an admin (myself).

    Is $300 per year a good idea to spend on a fan site or not? During Comic-Con, the trailer for Dexter's fifth season was the third most popular video of the day for a few days, way ahead of the huge amount of content released that week, so an audience is there. I don't know if Google AdSense is going to be my best choice.

    I also have a big contest idea for the site to keep an audience. I managed to get a script that was signed by many of Dexter's main characters, including the actors behind Dexter, Deb, Rita, Harry, Masuka, and Batista, just to name a few. Of course, I like having the script, but it may be worthwhile giving it away. I'm not sure yet, but I will be running a contest with different tiers of prizes. I'm willing to invest, just not lose much.
     
  22. ethical macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #22
    Your site will make millions within the first year.

    Oh, wait. I forgot I can't see into the future....

    Then here's a novel idea......DON'T INVEST MUCH!

    You seem to have completely ignored the suggestion to start off with a cheaper plan. Seriously.... no one knows for certain if your site will make money or not. I'll say it again, in caps, and bold NO ONE KNOWS IF YOUR SITE WILL MAKE MONEY OR NOT. It all depends on how you advertise it, the quality of your content, how customers like your like, if they even bother to click on the ads!

    So please, stop asking for a yes or no answer, because no one can know for sure. If you want to run the site then do it, and if it goes tits up take it on the chin....it's not a massive amount of money and the experience you would have gained will be useful!
     
  23. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
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    #23
    Good for you.

    Take a risk or don't. It's your decision. There is no magical formula for success or else everyone would be making money through ads on blogs.

    Here's a serious question: How do you expect anyone to know if your theoretical site is going to make money or not?

    Sure you will.

    Again, who cares?

    I don't know. It depends on how big of a fan you are and how far you think that $300 will go. Google "opportunity cost" and read up on that to help you in your decision.

    It probably isn't. Sites don't make money off of AdSense overnight / at all.

    Why don't you just sell it on eBay? Odds are you're going to make more that way then starting up your phantom blog.

    Sorry, that's not how it works. No pain, no gain.
     
  24. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #24
    Okay, I'm done with the theoretical stuff. How about this question for past and present blog and fansite owners: what's your experience?

    Edit: Also, I believe in the site, so I'll start with a top quality service from the beginning, giving the community a very polished look and feel to the site. I understand that downtime can ruin a site if it's down 20% of the time, so I want to avoid anything that can put off the potential community. I also like the features the web host I choose offers, including an iPhone app for editing and moderation as well as an iPad-friendly editor, both are important in my Apple world split fairly evenly between three devices.

    I thank everybody who's already posted for the advice they've given :).
     
  25. ezkimo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    #25
    Ok, I know you're "done with the theoretical stuff", but I think you're missing the point. Cheaper hosting does not mean it will be down any more or lose an polish (necessarily). In many cases upgrading your hosting as you go should be completely transparent to the user.

    Think of it this way: You're starting out a banana cart. You bring 5 bananas the first day because you don't know how many people are going to come. 2 people show up, so you're fine. More and more people start coming. You get a little concerned so the next day you bring 7 bananas. 6 customers show up and are all able to get bananas. They have no idea you've changed anything and you have wasted a minimal amount of money on product that was wasted.

    Now imagine you had 25 bananas a day from the start. You would have huge waste and huge costs for an unproven business.

    I know this is harsh and you probably posted an early version of the site, but coming from experience: you need to do a major revamp. That design is not "sticky", is not polished, and really just comes off amateurish. Just providing better copy than another site will not make it work.

    That being said, I think the idea has some legs, but it might just be too late. If you market the **** out of it, start with a cheap hosting plan and upgrade only if necessary, and make it prettier and stickier, you may have a small chance of breaking even.

    Fan sites are about interacting with other fans -- play to that. Make it feel like Dexter, it's a very texturey show, just look at the opening titles, use that. Punch it up. Also it absolutely without question has to be up before September 1st or you'll have no chance at all and even that late is pushing it.
     

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