This year marked the first year for me earning a living online. I didn’t earn an extraordinary amount of money and I doubt I would have been able to earn enough if I lived in Australia. Perhaps that is not a bad thing as I did a lot of traveling – Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and finally China for the last 3 months.
I also invested a bit of money back into my sites by buying some scripts, spending some money on marketing them and buying a couple of nice domains. My biggest launch for the year was Australia Forum. Stand-alone forums are notoriously difficult to start. I ran a couple of competitions (that performed pretty poorly), paid someone to help start new threads and bought a little bit of advertising. In the process I picked up some loyal posters and the site is now running pretty much by itself.
I experimented early in the year making lots of different sites – most of which went no where. I have a better idea now of what will work for me in terms of my interests and how I can make money. In the future I think I will be focusing on city/country travel/living guides. I now believe it is important to get into a vertical (rather than niches) that you have an interest in and is profitable.
I have learnt quite a bit by just focusing on my Beijing Olympic site the past three months. It is really much more effective concentrating all of your effort, especially your marketing efforts on a single website. Of course I keep maintaining all of my other sites, but whenever I seen an opportunity to promote my site, I give it a try – even if it brings in only a handful of new visitors.
So for 2008, other than covering the Beijing Olympics, my aim is to set up a bunch of city/country based travel sites, driven by useful features and user generated content.