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Has anyone done well with regional/geo sites?

Discussion in 'Business Discussions' started by alex, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. alex

    alex Active Member

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    I have launched a work-in-progress site for my home town and I also have a few geo domains in the development pipeline.

    I'm not quite ready to share it as I'm still working on design features and content, so whilst feedback would be appreciated it would probably be a bit premature.

    However, I wondered if anyone had any tips for monetising geo sites? Is it even worth the effort? Is there anyone on here who's successfully built a sustainable multi £x,xxx annual revenue from a geo site? Would you be willing to share some tips or take a quick call?
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. RobM

    RobM Retired Member

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    I used to own malta.com. I earned virtually no money off the local market - it all came from affiliates via car hire and hotel bookings, and foreign adverts. If I was living those years again I wouldn't even try to cater for the people actually in the geolocation (not worth the time and staff) I'd just have information about the place and make money from people outside the area coming into the area. That also had natural traffic so not much work was needed. I guess it would depend on the strength of your geodomain and traffic flow as well as the type of location - eg sheffield is going to be harder to monetise than london.
     
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  4. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    I run alittlebitofstone.com which is a news site for our local town, Stone in Staffordshire. It's going to be getting a facelift in the new year but its something I do for love, not money! If you're interested in local town stuff then reach out to the these guys https://www.communityjournalism.co.uk/en/

    Income wise it does around £1x,xxx with the best year being £2x,xxxx. It's a tough thing to do alongside other work and a family.

    We monetise via ad banners, adsense, directory listings, editorials (advertorials) etc.
     
  5. Trauiner United Kingdom

    Trauiner Active Member

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    @wonder_lander - May I ask what the guys at CommunityJournalism do?
     
  6. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    It says on their homepage :D

    "Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism offers networking, information and training for hyperlocal or community journalists. This project is part of the Transforming Communities engagement projects that demonstrate Cardiff University’s commitment to the communities of Cardiff, Wales and beyond."
     
  7. Trauiner United Kingdom

    Trauiner Active Member

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    I saw that. However, that looks like typical university talk ha! Lots of exciting words put together which says a lot but doesn't actually mean anything.

    Basically it's networking and training on how to write local news?
     
  8. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    There's support forums, information about resources (financial or people) that you can tap into. They help present a united front to the myriad of hyperlocal publishers out there and recently launched the ICNN - https://www.communityjournalism.co....-community-news-network-now-open-for-members/

    If you're in the hyperlocal space it's a great way to connect with like minded people and organisations to seek ideas, funding and the answers to questions!
     
  9. alex

    alex Active Member

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    Thanks for the tips.

    @RobM good insights. The place I have is not as big as Malta by any means, nor Sheffield for that matter, but does attract a good influx of people. I was thinking this tourist market is probably best to go for.

    @wonder_lander Congratulations for building the site, I can't imagine it being easy getting to this stage. The area I'm working on has a similar population so it's interesting to see how you've built it up. I was originally trying to avoid news due to the work involved, but would be interested to know if this is a major driver of visitors / revenue for you, as oppose to the local history and directory style content? Thanks for the link, will take a look.
     
  10. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    It depends on why you're doing it. We started the site because there wasn't anywhere else to get truly local news. All the "local" papers were much wider than our little town, 15k population, so we got the smallest of coverage.

    The news IS the reason for the site. We have nearly 13k real local people or our Facebook and nearly 9k on twitter. We are a valuable community resource that's trusted.

    In my opinion a directory and local history site has limited appeal and won't bring repeat local people and therefore you'll struggle to get local advertisers.

    We get a lot of people hitting our jobs page was is a mix of raw posts and an indeed API feed.
     
  11. ausername United Kingdom

    ausername Retired Member

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    Depends what you mean by geo sites (info, business directory, news?).

    I've seen a few geo .co.uk directory sites which appear on the face of it to do reasonably well with the listing upgrades, although depends how you define "well" and you'd need a decent sized town or region, e g. population 50k+

    And when I say "on the face of it", you don't know how many of those are getting upgrades at 'mates rates' because the owner is a freemason or in the rotary club, or for a discount on their letting agent fees or something.

    But if you've got a town with 10, 12, 15 estate agents with local offices you are going to have a better chance of 1 or 2 of those wanting to pay to be at the top of the list than you are if your town has 3 estate agents, in which case they are all going to be above the fold anyway.....

    And of course some towns are just so much more affluent than others. Somebody shared harrogate.co.uk on here the other day, look at their listing fees! Good luck charging that in Darlington or Hartlepool....
     
  12. TallBloke

    TallBloke Active Member

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    13K facebook followers for a town pop. of 15K is excellent. Even accounting for people who don't live in Stone but have an interest in it, you've gained an impressive following. Do you pay for any of your news reports - must be time-consuming if you do it all?

    Is the facebook page driving traffic to your site or do the users stay within facebook, denying you of some revenue? I ask because I have a facebook page for a site of mine (approx 1000 followers) and I've been wondering if the page is actually more of a hinderance than a help financially.

    @alex Have a look at http://altrincham.today/ (the company behind it has other, similar sites; I'm not sure of business model) for info.

    soglos.com is another to have a nose at.

    John
     
  13. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    I've got one volunteer who helps with the news report writing. News is sourced from press releases, reader submissions, town council meetings etc.

    We use Buffer.com to schedule our FB and Twitter posts and we only include a brief description on the story, people need to click through to read them.

    Here's the last month 4th Nov - 4th Dec. You'll see a high bounce rate as a news site as people click through, read and close, it's just they do that a lot!
     

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  14. dee

    dee Well-Known Member Acorn Supporter

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    This thread is great ! Lots of ideas for my geo. Cheers all.

    Edit.... worth mentioning. @ausername mentioned Reddit recently, so I've experimented dropping links to my site with appropriate "sound like a punter" posts in the appropriate geo subreddit. Works really well, and you get an immediate spike for next 24hours really. It's pretty much a captive audience as you know they are from the area. I guess mines a London area so probably more people in subreddit than a village in Yorkshire, but worth playing with.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  15. TallBloke

    TallBloke Active Member

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    I use https://dlvrit.com/ to auto post to facebook and twitter on a couple of sites. I was pushing out full posts but now only push a heading and snippet.

    I also use mailchimp (free on my current volume of activity - 711 subscribers) to email out the RSS feed from my site - quite a few readers like to receive updates that way. That's currently a full feed - maybe that should use snippets instead? 60% open rate is average over last few months.
     
  16. TallBloke

    TallBloke Active Member

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    @wonder_lander Do you do the graphics for the banner ads for local businesses?
     
  17. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    When you dig into the Harrogate site a bit more, it's amazing how well they seem to have done and how many advertisers they've attracted considering their small amount of traffic overall. They boast a self-reported 100,000 visitors over 9 months. Of course, they also have great visibility on the first page of Google, and it may be attractive compared to other "local" forms of advertising, but it goes to show that with the right audience you don't need boatloads of traffic to sell ads.
     
  18. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Sometimes. But we charge for it unless we’re feeling generous. We let them change their ads whenever but some leave them with outdated events on them for months!
     
  19. ausername United Kingdom

    ausername Retired Member

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    I only counted 30 'premium listings', so that's a minimum of £9000 per year in revenue + a little bit of adsense. Possibly more as we don't know if anybody has the £750 package.

    The 'free listings' will probably have largely been added by the webmaster rather than submitted by the businesses?

    But 9 grand a year for a couple of blog posts a month and occasionally removing a closed business from the directory.... good little earner for the webmaster.

    Where a site like that could REALLY benefit somebody though is if they are offering web design / seo / marketing services in the same town, and could write something like 'Brought to you by harrogate web design ltd' with a link to your website. You are basically giving yourself a lifetime sponsorship deal.

    So if you have a web design business in Exeter... and build a local site on Exeter.co.uk, with 'Operated by Exeter Web Design'.... that's where I think a geo site could really pay off for people.
     
  20. wonder_lander United Kingdom

    wonder_lander Well-Known Member Full Member

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    I think having a pure geo name is crucial to making the big bucks!

    Stone.co.uk was with Denys for a while and he was wanting £xx,xxx for it. Seems to have changed hands now, no idea who to!

    I think for a geo then .UK should be great if there's the uptake by the public to recognise it as an extension in its own right, after all we're a town, not a company.
     
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  21. DomainAngel

    DomainAngel Well-Known Member Acorn Supporter

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    Great thread, imagine you had domains like Angie, Giraffe, Denys and that astute fellow from Cambridge above with Blackpool etc geo dream come true.

    Manchester dot com used to make 100k a year, probably makes more now.

    I always look at geo sites like manchester, Wrexham and Philips sites to get inspiration. Will add harrogate and at 20k pa alittlebitbofstone to the list