Since I wrote about my Dot Com Lifestyle, I’ve had people me asking exactly what I do for a living, and I even found my name mentioned along with mega-bloggers Darren Rowse, Steve Pavlina and John Chow, in author A. Dawn’s Personal Finance Journal! 😯

The latest project
I promised to keep you all informed about my latest website, Writing Workbooks, which I’ve been building with my mum. It’s full of handwriting practice workbooks which cover popular elementary school topics such as dinosaurs, the Titanic, hot air balloons and bears to name just a few. My mum was a primary school teacher for years so it made sense to lean on her for the content, and she’s very excited about signing up for Adsense and earning her first online income. Apparently though, she’s not in it for the money, she’s in it for the fame and groupies!

My thought processes

This isn’t a tutorial, so not everything I do can be applied to you own projects, but let me explain some of the things I try to aim for when making a new site.

Stick with the same niche

First, I usually choose a topic similar to one I’ve done before. That gives you an instant stream of visitors because you can direct your current traffic to your new site. I now have seven websites in the children’s education niche which attracted around 140,000 visitors last month. If those people aren’t interested in the content, they have three main choices: click the back button, click through to one of my other sites, or leave through an ad. I try carefully to keep visitors within my circle of sites as that increases the chances of them either bookmarking one of them, or earning me a few cents.

Squeeze the niche

Once I’ve got my topic, I “squeeze the niche”. That’s my term for targeting every page to your desired audience. The visitors I want are searching for “writing workbooks” or a variation on that, so I need to rank highly for that search term in Google and co. I registered the domain name because most people who link to the site will use the title as their anchor text. The words used in incoming links are really important, and that’s why it’s common for people to rank highly for the name of their site. I’ve also used related keywords in the titles of every page on the site. This should show that the whole site is based on the same topic, which should give it more weight in search engine results.

Build it and leave it

Next, and this was mentioned before, I rarely build a website that requires ongoing work. This blog and JapanSoc always need some kind of contribution (especially spam busting!), but my other sites are finished. I think it defeats the purpose of running an internet business if you actually have to work. That’s not what the Dot Com Lifestyle is about! Ideally, you’ll make sites that take a few weeks to make and promote, but then you can leave them online to earn a passive income. That gives you time to spend with your family, or work on new projects to build up your online workforce.

Launch day

Finally, it’s time to launch. I actually had the site online over a month ago to give it time to get indexed by the search engines, and I made a sitemap and submitted it to Google through Webmaster Tools. Today, I linked all my other educational sites to this one, and put the word out on a number of education-related social bookmarking sites as well as Digg, StumbleUpon and That should spark a flurry of interest, and with a bit of luck the teachers and parents who will benefit most from will bookmark it, link to it and discuss it in forums.

Where do we go from here?

I’ve nearly finished my contribution to the site, so I’m going to leave it up to my mum to promote it in her signature on teacher forums. Quite honestly, after typing up 800 handwriting worksheets, we are both suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury and could use a break… until the next project begins.

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

16 thoughts on “Launching

  1. I completely forgot to mention the most important ingredient – usefulness! If it’s not useful, visitors won’t come back and they won’t link to it. On the other hand, a useful site knows no limits!

  2. Great project! it really looks cool. I wish I was in the age again..

    Anyway, regarding your “Dot com” lifestyle. I really think that in any website people should at least see a new content from time to time.
    You are absolutely right that you don’t need to update it continuously like this blog, but I think that a new workbook once in a month will show people that the website is “alive”.

    1. That is a good point. Most of my websites are tools which people can use to make their own worksheets, but in this case, some fresh content every now and then wouldn’t hurt and might be necessary.

  3. Good comment by Japanite and I will keep you supplied with facts for a monthly new page, Nick

  4. Just to add to this: I think that the only websites that you can put on “Automatic” mode are websites that sells a product. Then a person can decide if he wants the product or not.

    But as I’ve mentioned on information websites you have to work much harder.
    By the way, I think Darren Rowse is very talented, but everyone should remember that he makes most of his money from the camera blog he own. And that website is demanding huge amounts of time. It is known that you make more money from advertising in product focused blogs, since they may lead to a direct purchase and the advertisers pay more for that.
    His ProBlogger website is actually a “side project”, that has grown wonderfully.

    1. You’re right about Darren. He works hard and deserves everything he gets.

      I have to disagree when you say only sites that sell a product can be put on “automatic” mode, though. As long as you have enough visitors, it doesn’t matter if you’re presenting information, offering a free tool or selling a product because you can earn advertising revenue.

      With a resource site such as Writing Workbooks, the audience will be transient. By the time a child finishes all 20 workbooks in his chosen handwriting style, he will be older and shouldn’t need anymore practice. Meanwhile, other parents and children will hopefully find the site and start working through the workbooks, so maybe it won’t be necessary to add new workbooks after all. Time will tell!

  5. Ranking highly in Google (first page if not first few entries) is a big factor …. which i notice you are. Nice work Nick and your mum.

  6. @Nick:

    A website like this could be on almost automatic mode, since it has to be updated from time to time. I think there is nothing worse than seeing a stumbling into a website that’s looks like he was made in 2002. And if you stumbling a lot, you know what I’m talking about. But with this very small maintence, yes, it could be on automatic mode.

    Anyway, this is an “academic” discussion only. I wish the new website great success, millions of dollars in revenue, and luxurious gifts to the veteran participants in Japansoc! 🙂

    1. That I completely agree with, and I’m guilty of owning a couple of sites in need of a make-over myself! Thanks for your kind words.

  7. Quite a few positive comments on the website, Nick. I’m beginning to feel quite chuffed

  8. Squeeze that niche! Squeeze the niche! Congrats Nick on a sexy new website! Your business plan sounds great and is sure to work! If only I could think of a site that would be useful!

  9. Hrmmmm Squeeze the niche. Interesting. I need to get some more Japan related ideas now that I’m back in the states but still running JapanNewbie!

    This post got me thinking. Thanks!

  10. This was an interesting post! I love to read about things like this. Very interesting thoughts about squeezing the niche, I haven’t really thought about it that way.

    And I’m impressed in your work with the Japan Soc site, very good done. But how do you earn money on Japan Soc? Or is it just for fun?

    1. Thanks Peter. If JapanSoc gets about 10 times bigger I might look for advertising revenue, but at the moment I’m not earning anything from it.

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