I’ve started two “prototype” sites without investing anything yet. What should I do next?

Hi there Ralph,
I’ve been following you on Whatsapp for a while and finally got myself to get started. Part of the problem I have is focus, to choose one method and run with it.
I’ve started two “prototype” sites without investing anything yet, ie entity, domain or hosting. I’m not sure if I should combine the two or run them both independently or even drop one.
The first is https://todayslimud.home.blog/ where I have so far written about great rabbis on their yortzait, I think it can be a resource long term but I’m not sure how to monetize it.
The second site is https://theguybehindthecounter.blogspot.com/ where I think vignettes about the experience along with book/product reviews can be an affiliate marketing site to develop into an income stream.
What do the wise men say?

Congratulations on taking action!

I’ve briefly checked out both of your sites. Very interesting content. I’m intrigued.

I’d like to point out something I found while reading your blog that I thought was odd.

Artscroll doesn’t allow the creation of affiliate accounts for my zip code, so no link provided, go buy it at your local Jewish bookstore.

The truth is you should be driving the traffic to Amazon because you will make better commissions from Amazon. With Amazon, you also don’t have limitations on locations like you are experiencing with Artscroll. Amazon does sell this book. https://amzn.to/31P1YYd

Additionally, you should not be telling people that you can’t provide them with an affiliate link so they should just go somewhere else. They didn’t come to your site to click affiliate links. These people come to your site to view content they find interesting. If they are interested they will want to learn more and that’s when a link becomes valuable to them. They don’t care if its an affiliate link or not. They just want the link so they can find what they are looking for quicker.

Don’t announce to everyone that they should figure it out themselves since you won’t make money referring them to another site. Instead, you should provide a link despite not making an affiliate commission.

Back to your main question. What should you focus on?

I think you need to take a step back a moment and ask yourself an extremely important question. Why are you do any of these sites? What are your goals and objectives?

I can’t answer this question for you, but if your goal is to make money, then the next question is how much money do you want to make?

If I wanted to make a living to support my family I would not just open a store and see what happens. I would figure out how much money I need to make to live. I would figure out how much my store can potentially generate. Then I would figure out whether this business will generate enough money to meet my living expenses. This would be a prerequisite to me even considering this venture.

From your post, it seems like you went the other way around. You have a hobby. You enjoy writing and sharing interesting information and history about great people of previous generations. So you built two blogs. Now you want to figure out how to monetize these sites.

So my question is, are you trying to generate a lot of money or do you want to pursue a hobby and figure out whether it can be monetized as well?

If you are trying to make a living then you need to figure out your exact business model upfront so you don’t waste too much time.

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. How will you reach your target audience?
  3. How will you make money? How much money can be made?

There are many more questions but let’s start with these three…

Just think about it, how will people learn about your sites existence? Will you be running ads to drive traffic or will you be relying on SEO so that search engines drive free traffic to your site?

Each strategy requires different tactics to accomplish your goals. If you want to rely on free traffic from search engines you will need to understand SEO and set up your website accordingly.

Thank you for your lengthy response.
My goal is to leverage the interests and passions that I already have into a cash flow of a few thousand dollars a month. Listenmoneymatters, that you’ve directed me to as a resource recommends taking that route. I don’t have a way to measure what such a site can generate.
The blog with book reviews has a much more straightforward path to making money so I’m more inclined to focus on that one. As to your specific questions. 1. Target audience is the general frum community buying books from jewish publishers online, or researching them. 2. SEO, is generally considered the way to go, though I wouldn’t rule out keyword purchasing. 3. Once established with a fair amount of posts, should be able to compete with any store thats online.
Again, I’ve reached out to you and the members here, to help me formulate a path forward to follow.
You were intrigued by what I wrote so far, what would it take for you to keep checking back at either of the two sites?

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Any insight? Anyone?

I know all you guys have been waiting with bated breath for an update so here goes.
Since I started I try to have at least one new post every week and I upgraded to an actual domain theguybehindthecounter.com please take a look around and comment here what you think of the content and the layout. Organic hits have been steadily climbing although I do not have a real SEO strategy worked out yet to increase it to the desired levels. Relative to the amount of hits I get the Amazon clicks are decent. Any guidance or advice with regard to simple SEO would be greatly appreciated.

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Major improvement from the original site. Well done.

I will try to find some time to go through the site more thoroughly but here are some pointers from the few minutes I was able to scan through it so far.

  1. In your right sidebar you placed images that link to affiliate products. There is no need to title the sidebar as Affiliate Link. You should remove or replace that texts.

  2. Back to the sidebar images, I don’t know what they are. Why are they there and why should I click them? Does it link to an article on your site or to a store to purchase them… There should be more info that just a plain picture.

  3. The featured images of each post are all different sizes making the site look messy and more difficult to read through the site. I’d recommend making the images the same sizes. You can use Stencil with their WordPress Plugin to do this very easily.

  4. Remove the text on the very bottom of the site in your footer that reads: Theme: ColorMag by ThemeGrill. Powered by WordPress.

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