Minisite Vs. Authority Site: Content ROI Is Key
The debate rages on as to whether it’s better to build minisites about one very specific niche or authority sites that cover a range of topics under a larger niche, but what’s the best way to determine what’s right for you? Through an email conversation with one of our readers, Kevin T., we decided this was worth looking into and, based on the numbers, would give us some indication as to the direction we should take regarding additional content and “authority” status for our sites. We’re providing this information to you as an inside look at our numbers, our discussions, and ultimately our decision and gameplan for moving forward.
Due to a channel limitation in our AdSense account, we’re unable to directly determine the amount of revenue each particular page on the site has earned us. However, we believe we can get a fair estimate by looking at the number of pageviews our secondary pages get as opposed to the pageviews on the site overall. We can then compare the percentage of pageviews the secondary pages get to the revenue that site has earned over the same given period to determine an estimated value per month of secondary content. We can then divide that value by the number of pages, to get an estimated value of an individual secondary content page per month.
To better explain, let’s take a look at one of our best earning sites for the months of March/April. You’ll see that this site made a total of $108.12 through these two months.
Our AdSense account doesn’t have pageviews broken down by individual pages for our sites, so we’ll have to turn to Google Analytics to get that information.
You’ll see from the image above that the site received a full 2,711 pageviews, but only 1,771 of those pageviews were on the home page. 940 pageviews were from the secondary pages, making up 34.67% of the total pageviews on the site. Based on our assumption in the second paragraph, we can estimate that 34.67% of the revenue or $37.49 came from the secondary pages.
If we divide $37.49 by 2 (To get the monthly average through Mar/Apr) we’ll find that the secondary pages averaged $18.75 per month. The site has 4 pages of secondary content, so we can conclude that the average individual secondary page makes $4.69 per page, per month. That’s great when you consider the fact that it only costs us around $3.50 – $4.00 in man-hours to have a page of content written and uploaded. You can find out more about our content process here.
Well that’s great when you consider one of our best earning websites and it makes a lot of sense to turn this minisite into an authority site, but how does it look when you take our average site? What about a low-earning site? To answer these questions, we decided to research further and sample all of the sites we created in December (44 sites) and see if we could come up with some averages across a wider range of minisites. This is what we found:
Total Revenue: $963.52
Total Pageviews: 36,166
Total Secondary Pageviews: 15,030
Secondary Pageview Percentage: 41.56%
Average Monthly Revenue Per Secondary Page: $1.14
Considering that our all-in cost for a secondary page on the site is $3.50 – $4.00, it seems like a STRONG argument to turn our minisites into authority sites. To dig into the data just a little further, we decided to split the websites in to three groups, Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3.
Tier 1: Earning $15.00 or more per month on average
Tier 2: Earning $5.00 – $15.00 per month on average
Tier 3: Earning less than $5.00 per month on average
We found that Tier 1 sites had an individual secondary page value of $3.54, Tier 2 was $0.73, and Tier 3 was $0.17. In regards to a test, it appears that the Tier 1 sites look like the best opportunity for additional secondary content, followed by Tier 2. Tier 3 doesn’t seem to offer an ROI that would work for us, but we may end up testing additional content on these sites as well to see if there’s any value to it. Now the bad news…we sold a good portion of our December Tier 1 sites already on Flippa! (For those buyers, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to turn over our findings on your particular sites, giving you some insight as to what sites you should focus content on)
One additional thing to note is that it wasn’t always the best earning sites that had the highest individual secondary page value. For some of the sites, the a particular page or two of secondary content received a significant portion of the pageviews, often more than the primary page of the site, so even if the earnings were lower there appears to be particular value to adding additional content to that minisite.
In the Minisite Vs. Authority site debate, at least for us, the numbers are showing that (for at least the Tier 1 sites) there’s definitely value there worth exploring. One of the benefits of our approach is that it’s profitable on its own, but once you have enough sites you can really start looking at the data to turn your $0.40 per day earners into $2, $4, $6 per day sites to really maximize profitability. We know by looking at the numbers that the potential ROI is worth it and, instead of taking our website creation team off to work on this task, we can simply hire/order directly for this project.
Our plan is to add secondary content to the Tier 1 (possibly Tier 2) sites that we have and track their progress over time. If the ROI proves out, we’ll be adding this process to all of our current and future sites as well.
We hope you found this information useful. Do you see any issue with our numbers? Our process? Do you think the assumption of a direct correlation between pageviews and profits is valid? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.