Perhaps, in the 90’s, when I first published (June 21, 1998, Laloba Press went live) it didn’t take much to be found in the search engines and to get traffic. And to make money on the world-wide web. (Our favorite fantasy!)
In those early years, I had a couple of gigs that went to really impressive numbers of hits in a hurry; Aerosmith.Mu being the highest trafficked website I’ve ever built (1,000,000 hits a week when I pulled it down – long story, different post; but I’ll tell you, those Aerosmith people didn’t buy a thing. NO income from that site even with all that traffic. I did have great seats at concerts in Boston and Atlanta for years though.)
My GeorgiaMortgageMoney.Com website got a lot of attention, good traffic, and supported my family for about ten years. At one time it got the attention of a mortgage lead generation website conglomerate who considered buying it for their use. (Great gig if you can get it, selling websites to the big guys.)
But back to my point, that whole “Field of Dreams” philosophy is a pipedream. Even in the nineties we had to do SEO, we had to get listed in those places that people looked, and we had to have something people were actually looking for.
The number of websites listed on Google grew from 26 million in 1998 to one trillion in 2008; now, in 2010, the number of pages estimated on the web is infinite* (and growing by the day).
For about a year I made good money – $500 to $1000 bucks a month just selling for Match.com. Don’t try this at home. They changed their affiliate payout and my income went to zero. I killed that site. I should have revamped it for another personals site, but, honestly, I was sick of the whole personals thing.
The entire time GeorgiaMortgageMoney.Com was live (10 or 12 years) I made about a grand a month off one advertiser – a guy selling information on personal lines of credit. He changed his payment plan too, so he’s not getting any press here. It was my only ad – I was making money from the mortgage applications the site brought in, but that one ad paid all my expenses.
And there are authors who are pulling in $100K a year off their blogs. But it isn’t like the money rolls in while they sleep.
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*The Official Google Blog, We Knew the Web was Big, “The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark.”