Should You Create Your Website in WordPress or HTML & CSS?

Should You Create Your Website in WordPress or HTML & CSS?

If you’re looking to build a site for your business, then you’ll have to make many important decisions around the planning, design, and launch of the site. One of your first major choices will be deciding whether you want to build the site from scratch or use a website building platform.

You will likely need to hire a developer to create a website from scratch. A developer will use HTML with a variety of markup and scripting languages, including CSS and Javascript, to create web pages. Although it may require more time and money to build from scratch, this option can result in a site that looks and functions exactly like you want.

If you’d rather not hire a developer, then you can get started with one of the hundreds of publishing platforms, website builders, and content management systems on the market.

Of these solutions, a CMS is the most popular. It allows you to easily customize the design of your site, add multimedia in your posts, organize your content by tags and categories, manage multiple users, edit the underlying code, and much, much more.

Learn More About HubSpot's CMS Software

To help you find a solution that’s right for your business, we’ll compare the different experiences you’ll get using WordPress or building an HTML site.

Below are the key differences we’ll focus on. Click any of the links below to jump to that section.

Now that we have a brief overview of the differences between building and managing a site on WordPress and building and managing an HTML site, let’s start by clarifying a possible misconception. Does WordPress use HTML?

Does WordPress Use HTML?

The short answer is yes. 

The long answer is that WordPress is not primarily written in HTML. Its core software — as well as WordPress plugins and themes — are primarily written with PHP, a programming language that controls how a WordPress site interacts and connects with its database.

PHP is a server-side language, which means it runs entirely on the server that hosts the website. So when a site visitor types in one of your page’s URL, the PHP code on your server receives that request and pulls the relevant content from your WordPress database. It then converts that content into an HTML file (and the accompanying CSS files) and sends them back to the visitor who made the request. Because the WordPress core is written in PHP, third-party developers can also create plugins and themes that run on their own PHP files and use database content however they like. 

So while a WordPress site will look and function the same as a static HTML site to end users, the process of how its content and functionality is stored and delivered to those users is very different.

Whereas the hosting server has to assemble your WordPress posts or pages into HTML files using PHP code, each page of a static website is stored as an individual HTML file and these exist in their entirety. No assembly is required. That’s because HTML, like CSS and JavaScript, is a client-side language. Rather than run on the hosting server, HTML runs on the device of the visitor accessing a website.

Let’s look at what this means in terms of speed. 

WordPress vs. HTML Speed

Online consumers don’t want to waste time waiting for a website to load. In fact, page speed is so important to the user experience that Google began including it as one of its ranking factors in 2010 for desktop and 2018 for mobile. Its main reason for including speed in its algorithm was that data showed visitors spent less time on slower sites. According to a study by Google, as page load time goes from one second to 5 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 90%.

To ensure you provide a good user experience and reduce bounce rate on your site, you have to consider speed when deciding how to build your site. Let’s compare the speed of WordPress and HTML sites below.

WordPress Speed

The disadvantage of a WordPress site requiring PHP and a database is its impact on load time. Every time a visitor lands on your site, your server has to execute the PHP code and retrieve information from your database to display the correct information to the visitor. Because this requires more server resources than an HTML site, it can increase load time and delays.

However, by selecting a fast hosting provider, purchasing a Content Delivery Network (CDN), optimizing and compressing your images, and taking other steps to speed up your WordPress site, you can meet your consumers’ expectation for speed.

HTML Speed

As mentioned above, HTML sites do not require PHP execution or database queries to load. That means that, if their code is optimized, HTML sites are faster out-of-the-box than WordPress sites.

There are several steps you can take to optimize an HTML site to ensure it’s fast-loading. These steps including eliminating unnecessary white space and comments, caching your content, reducing the number of inline scripts, minifying and compressing images, using lazy loading for images, and more. It’s important to note that many of these steps will also help reduce the load time of a WordPress site. 

WordPress vs. HTML Ease of Use

You want building a website to be as easy and quick as possible. But often, ease of use comes at the expense of flexibility. The more control you have over the administration and design of your site, the more difficult it will be to create and manage. The easier the process, the less control you’ll have.

So picking a platform is, in part, about deciding whether ease of use or flexibility is more important to you. With that in mind, let’s compare the ease of use of a WordPress and HTML site below.

WordPress Ease of Use

With WordPress, you can have ownership over your site without needing to code it from scratch or know how to code at all. You can easily create and manage content, change your site’s appearance, and configure its setting in the built-in dashboard, and easily extend its functionality via plugins.

Adding and managing plugins in your WordPress dashboard

To leverage the platform’s flexibility in these ways, you will have to spend time, effort, and money managing your site. Plugin, theme, and software updates will be essential management tasks for keeping your site safe and avoiding compatibility issues. 

Ecommerce stores, small business sites, and other companies looking to grow their brand and customer base will prefer building with this open-source CMS because of its ease of use, even if it does require more day-to-day management.

HTML Ease of Use

Tasks that are simple on WordPress — like adding and editing content, extending the functionality of your site, and changing how it looks — will be much more difficult when building an HTML site. That’s because you won’t have a dashboard with built-in features and buttons, themes, or plugins to automate these tasks. You’ll have to write the HTML and CSS yourself — or pay someone to do so.

There are ways to speed up the build process. You can use open-source toolkits like Boostrap CSS, which comes with pre-designed buttons, navbars, forms, tables, and other components you won’t have to build from scratch. 

Bootstrap pre-designed buttons displayed with corresponding code including default modfier classes

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If you don’t anticipate needing to update or change your site regularly, then you’re better off building or hiring a developer to build an HTML site. It will require less server resources and therefore be cheaper and easier to build. Once it’s published, you won’t have to worry about updating any software or third-party extensions to keep it secure.

Restaurants, gyms, boutiques, and other small businesses looking to establish a simple online presence will find this option appealing. While the up-front time and costs required to build an HTML site will be greater than a WordPress site, the day-to-day management will be much easier. 

WordPress vs. HTML Price

The cost of building a website depends on a whole host of factors but the four major ones are your time, budget, technical knowledge, and design skills. If you have time but not technical knowledge, for example, then you could learn how to build an HTML site. If you lack both time and technical knowledge though, you can build a site on WordPress.

Below we’ll look at the costs of creating and managing a website on WordPress and one built from scratch.

WordPress Price

As open-source software, WordPress is free to download and use. However, you will have to pay for a custom domain name and hosting to launch your site. You may also have to factor in any premium plugins or themes you want to install.

Although premium themes can cost up to $200 and plugins can range from one-time fees of $3.99 to annual fees of $250, these design options are most likely cheaper than hiring a web developer or designer to customize the appearance and functionality of your site.

Because domain registration, hosting, themes, and plugins vary in price, the costs of building and managing a WordPress site can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousands dollars.

Breakdown of costs of building and managing site on WordPress

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The average costs are much more moderate than that range implies though. According to Website Builder Expert, building a WordPress site will cost you around $200 and managing it will cost $11 to $40 per month, on average.

HTML Price

Let’s first consider the cost of building an HTML site. Hiring an agency to build and design your site from scratch will be the priciest option, costing tens of thousands of dollars. Hiring a freelancer will be cheaper but range dramatically, depending on their hourly rate and the duration of the project.

According to a custom quote by WebFX, hiring a developer to build out a responsive site with one to ten pages that’s moderately styled would cost between $7,000 and $10,000.

WebFX estimate for moderately stylized responsive site of 1-10 pages

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Estimating the cost of maintaining an HTML site is even more difficult than estimating the cost of building one because it completely depends on your coding abilities. If you don’t have any coding skills, you will have to pay a developer to make any changes to your site. Even simple tasks like adding new content or inserting images will require you to hire a developer for a few hours.

That’s why WebFX estimates that the cost of maintaining an HTML site can range from $400 to $60,000 per year. However, a smaller site like the one mentioned above will range much more moderately from $400 to $1,200 per year.

Since you can add new content and perform most tasks without hiring a WordPress developer, managing an HTML website will likely end up costing much more than a WordPress website.

WordPress vs. HTML for SEO

If you’re investing this amount of time and money into building a site for your business, then you want people to see it. To boost your site’s visibility, aim to get ranking as close as possible to the first page. According to Search Engine Journal, sites listed on the first Google search results page get 91.5% of the traffic share for a keyword or phrase.

To drive that organic traffic to your site, you need to optimize your on-page and technical SEO. Let’s compare the SEO friendliness of building a site on WordPress and building one from scratch.

WordPress for SEO

WordPress enables you to easily customize your image alt-text, meta descriptions, headings, and custom URLs right in your dashboard so you don’t need to edit a single line of code.

Editing URL slug in WordPress dashboard o optimize for SEO

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You can also choose among thousands of responsive themes to design a mobile-friendly site. Installing and activating a responsive theme will take a few clicks and you won’t need to worry about defining viewport meta tags, setting text in the viewport width unit, or adding media queries. 

If you lack experience or knowledge of SEO, then you can download or purchase a range of WordPress plugins to help. Plugins like Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, and Redirection let you control many aspects of your site’s technical and on-page SEO.

HTML for SEO

There are several ways you can optimize your HTML site for search engines — you just need to know how to do it.

Adding keywords in your posts and pages, linking to internal and external pages, and optimizing your URLs, heading tags, title tags, meta descriptions, and image alt text are all familiar best practices.

An image alt text for Lead Management image in Kissmetrics blog

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But, unlike on web building platforms, you can’t use any buttons on a dashboard or third-party plugins to help you with these steps. Instead, you have to spend the time creating the right tags and code for your site, or hiring someone who will.

While optimizing your on-page SEO in the steps outlined above is relatively easy, optimizing your technical SEO will be much more difficult. Adding breadcrumb menus and pagination to your site, for example, will require time and coding, whereas WordPress offers built-in functionality and plugins for adding these features.

And building a responsive site from scratch will require you to define viewport meta tags, resize your text and images, add media queries, and more. 

WordPress vs. HTML for Blogging

Since websites that feature a blog are 434% more likely to be ranked highly on search engines, you want to pick a solution that will enable you to easily create and publish custom content. Let’s compare what it’s like to blog with WordPress and with HTML below.

WordPress for Blogging

Although WordPress has evolved into a multi-purpose CMS, it was originally built as a blogging platform. It therefore has lots of built-in functionality to help you easily create content.

Using the Gutenberg editor, you can drag and drop elements to create an unlimited number of multi-media blog posts and pages. Once drafted, you can schedule, publish, update, and delete these posts and pages as needed. You can also moderate comments, assign user roles and permissions, make your content public or private, and secure posts and pages with a password.

Setting WordPress post to password protected in editor interface

The best part? You can do all this right in your dashboard without having to access or edit your source code.

If you’re a more advanced user with coding skills, then you can add code to your files to style individual category pages, display a list of recent posts in their sidebar, and extend the functionality of their site in other ways.

By offering these out-of-the-box features and access to its source code, WordPress combines ease of use and flexibility to advance your blogging efforts.

HTML for Blogging

Using HTML and CSS, you can create even more complex blog posts than you can on WordPress. You can insert images, format headlines, add bullet points, create tables, display posts in your sidebar, and anything else you can think — you’ll just need to write the code or hire someone to write the code to do so.

This takes time. For example, say you want to display some text in a simple list format. In WordPress, you can simply drag and drop the list block onto the page. On an HTML site, you’ll have to add the following code:

 

 

   

My list includes the following:

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C

 

While you’ll have total control over the structure and design of your content if you create an HTML site, you’ll need the time and in-depth knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript to wield that control. Since most users will have to hire a developer to add content to their site, those looking to regularly publish blog posts will be better off on WordPress.

Differences Between WordPress and CSS & HTML

Building a site on WordPress presents a very different experience from building a site from scratch. Deciding which one is right for you will depend on your time, budget, current coding and design skills, and willingness to develop those skills.

To help you make this decision, we’ll summarize the key differences between the two solutions below.

  WordPress HTML & CSS
Software Open-source content management system No underlying software
Uses HTML Yes, but primarily written in PHP. When a user visits your website, PHP code on your hosting server queries the database for relevant content, then packages that into an HTML file to deliver to users. Yes. Web pages exist as individual HTML files in their entirety. No assembly is required.
Speed Slower out-of-the-box because requires more server resources. Faster out-of-the-box because requires less server resources.
Ease of use Built-in dashboard, themes, and plugins make it easy to build, customize, and manage a WordPress site. Building and managing an HTML site will be difficult without coding experience or hiring a developer.
Price Free to use the software but have to pay for domain registration, hosting, and premium plugins and themes. On average, costs range from $11 to $40 per month in addition to a one-time sum of $200. Hiring a developer to build and design a small, responsive site from scratch ranges from $7,000 and $10,000. Maintaining such a site will cost $400 to $1,200 per year.
SEO In addition to being able to configure SEO settings in your dashboard, you can choose from hundreds of plugins that let you control your on-page and technical SEO. Have to optimize on-page SEO by including the right tags in source code or hiring a developer to do so.
Blogging Offers a drag-and-drop block editor and advanced built-in blogging functionality for managing users, controlling content visibility, and more so you can create and manage content right in your dashboard. More advanced users can edit the underlying code to make specific customizations if they want. Offers total control over the structure and design of content, but requires a significant time investment and in-depth coding knowledge to create.

Discover videos, templates, tips, and other resources dedicated to helping you  launch an effective video marketing strategy. 

17 Strategies for Optimizing Your Website Speed

17 Strategies for Optimizing Your Website Speed

Want to capture more impressions, create more engagement, and convert more visitors into customers? Start by improving website speed.

It’s a common-sense approach backed by solid data: a one-second delay in site load times reduces user satisfaction by 15% or more, and 79% of paying customers will consider shopping elsewhere if your website’s product and checkout pages can’t keep pace.

Assessing your website speed is easy enough — Google offers a free tool called PageSpeed Insights that provides a color-coded green/yellow/red score reflecting your site’s overall performance — but what happens if your results aren’t great?

If you’re not sure how to optimize website speed, we’ve got you covered — here are 17 strategies to supercharge site loading times and increase end-user satisfaction.

17 Strategies for Optimizing Your Website Speed

1. Audit Your Site

Before making any changes that impact how your site loads and handles content, it’s worth auditing current performance. This starts with tools like the PageSpeed Insights option mentioned above but should also include actual experience: access your website from multiple devices and see what the experience feels like. Is it seamless and speedy, or cumbersome and clunky? The more data you have about how your site performs, the better your ability to identify and implement key fixes.

2. Prioritize Potential Fixes

Once you’ve identified website speed issues, it’s tempting to fix everything at once. Don’t.

Instead, prioritize potential fixes based on what matters most to your visitors. For example, if your site takes a significant amount of time to start loading, focus your efforts on server-side concerns such as hosting provider problems or DNS issues. Here’s why: Even if the content on your site also struggles to deliver at speed, it won’t matter if loading the page itself takes so long that visitors give up and go somewhere else.

3. Evaluate Your Current Hosting Provider

As noted above, your hosting provider could be a potential source of speed problems. While several factors could contribute to speed issues, including the geographical location of your provider, their physical infrastructure and the overall bandwidth of their network connection, the type of web hosting — shared, VPS or dedicated server — your website is using can also impact performance.

Although shared hosting options are the most cost-effective, they see hosting resources split among multiple sites, lowering overall performance. Virtual private server (VPS) options logically segment services on a shared physical drive to improve performance but still face speed issues if resource loads are high. Dedicated servers are more expensive than shared or VPS options but will significantly boost your speed.

4. Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

When all data required to fully load your site is stored in one place, initial and ongoing load times suffer. Content delivery networks (CDNs) use multiple servers to store your content across multiple locations — when users visit your site, the CDN chooses the server (or servers) closest to their physical location to optimize content delivery. Worth noting? Not all CDNs are created equal, so it’s worth evaluating several providers to find your best fit.

5. Optimize Your Images

Images boost the impact of your site but can drag down loading times, especially if they’re high resolution. Compressing these images before adding them to your site can save precious time — many photo-editing programs now include “save for web” options that optimize images for websites but there are also free, online options available for compressing common files types such as .JPG, .PNG and .TIFF.

6. Reduce Total Redirects

Redirects send users away from the page they’ve clicked on to another page — in many cases, they’re a great way to connect high-ranking, high-traffic pages to newer content you’ve created. The problem? More redirects mean more loading time, which can negatively impact the user experience.

While it’s worth using a redirect initially to keep content views steady, replace old redirects with new content ASAP to keep load times short.

7. Limit HTTP Requests

Every HTTP request — for images, stylesheets, scripts, and fonts — adds to your site’s overall load time. As your site grows, these HTTP requests start to stack up and eventually create a noticeable delay between user click-throughs and actual page loading.

In-browser services such as Google’s Developer Tools can identify all the HTTP requests made by your site and help you pinpoint old or overly-complex requests that can be eliminated or combined with other functions to save time.

Learn more about reducing your website’s HTTP requests.

8. Compress, Compress, Compress

The more you can reduce file sizes without compromising quality, the better your website performance. One of the most robust and reliable compression frameworks is gzip, but other methods can also deliver reduced file sizes without impacting the user experience. Best bet? Ask your web hosting service what type of compression they’re using. If they’re not using any, consider a new provider.

9. Capitalize on Caching

Caching allows browsers to pre-load some of your content to speed up webpage delivery. Many content management systems (CMS) will automatically cache the most current versions of your site, but it’s also possible to extend this caching timeframe through CMS settings — this is especially beneficial for content that doesn’t regularly change on your site.

10. Track 404 Errors

404 or “page not found” errors occur when users try to access a page that you’ve deleted or moved — and once they’ve run into 404 errors it’s unlikely they’ll try accessing your site again, meaning you lose a potential customer. Solve for 404 errors by running free, external tools to track down 404 outcomes and remove dead links.

11. Make Mobile a Priority

As more users switch to mobile devices as their primary browsing and shopping mediums, speedy mobile sites are essential. While it’s possible to simply display your desktop site on mobile devices and hope for the best, this often results in load time and interactivity issues that quickly frustrate users. Here, it’s worth spending on development for a mobile-native website designed to maximize loading speed and improve response time.

12. Streamline Your CMS

The right content management system can significantly improve website performance by streamlining content retrieval and offering robust options to modify site operations. Both free and for-pay options exist; do some digital legwork to find out which CMS works best for your site.

13. Combine Key Files

If you have the website development know-how, it’s possible to combine sets of JavaScript or CSS files and reduce the number of steps required to completely load your site. WordPress plugins such as WP Rocket make this possible with just a few clicks, but whether you dive into code itself or use a CMS, it’s worth considering file combination to increase total speed.

14. Determine Your DNS Speed

The longer it takes your domain name server (DNS) to respond, the longer your time to first byte (TTFB) and the slower your site loads. Free online tools can determine where your DNS provider ranks compared to other offerings, which in turn helps pinpoint specific performance issues. Worth noting? In some cases, your hosting provider will also supply DNS services, while in others these two functions are separate.

15. Opt for Asynchronous Loading

Many files and functions on your website are loaded synchronously by default, which means they’re loaded in the order they appear on the page — elements will only load once the script or service immediately prior is fully loaded, increasing page load times.

Many new CMS tools and plugins, however, make it possible to enable asynchronous loading for CSS and JavaScript elements which allows them to load simultaneously.

16. Choose Fewer Fonts

While web fonts can help your site stand out from the crowd, they can also negatively impact performance, especially if they’re uncommon or require unique character sets. To maximize page loading speed, use the fewest number of fonts possible, and focus on fonts that are optimized for new browsers.

17. Pinpoint Problematic Plugins

Last but not least? Pinpoint performance-sapping plugins. While plugins offer a host of useful features to help manage your website they can also negatively impact performance, especially if they’re used to load a significant amount of assets or perform large database queries. Here, the speed rule is simple: Only keep the plugins you need and always deploy the latest, fastest versions.

The faster, the better.

The faster your website loads, displays content, and responds to user input, the lower your bounce rates and the higher your conversions. Here, incremental improvement is critical — while going from slow to supercharged doesn’t happen overnight, any of our 17 website optimization strategies can help jumpstart your need for speed.

 

Behind the Scenes of a Content and Link Building Campaign with Mark Mars from Niche Website Builders

Behind the Scenes of a Content and Link Building Campaign with Mark Mars from Niche Website Builders

In today’s podcast, I invited Mark Mars from NicheWebsite.Builders back on the show.

Last time Mark was on the podcast, he and I actually pre-recorded questions and answers.  This time around, I wanted to have him on a “live” interview to get a bit more of the dialogue going.

In this episode, we discuss a little bit about of the progress of his SEO agency since it was launched nearly 1 year ago.  They’ve grown rapidly.

In addition, I wanted to discuss what’s going on with my Skyscraper Link building campaign that I ordered from their about 5 weeks ago for OwnTheYard.com.  I needed some links and so I hired them for the job.

We dive into what’s going on behind the scenes as they do outreach and how long I should expect to wait before I see significant results.

Listen in to hear all the details.  Or you can watch the entire video interview below:

Spencer: [00:00:00] Hey, Mark. Welcome to the niche pursuits podcast.

Mark Mars: [00:00:07] Hi, Spencer. Thanks for having me.

Spencer: [00:00:09] Yup. It’s a great to have you, I guess, back on, you know, before, when you were on, we did sort of a prerecorded side of the interview. so this is really the first time we’re recording together on the, at the same time. So, it’s going to be great.

Being able to chat with you here today.

Mark Mars: [00:00:25] Excellent.

Spencer: [00:00:26] So, you know, you, you shared last time you were on you, you shared a little bit about how you have grown niche website builders, just to catch people up. If they didn’t hear the last podcast interview, let people know what niche website.builders is.

And when you guys started that.

Mark Mars: [00:00:46] Yeah. So, literate site builders, we started with, co-founder of mine, or co co founder, Adam Smith. we started out, around December last year. So about 11 months ago now, we, we we’d only actually met like three months prior, so we’ve been, we’ve only known each other for a year, for a year.

And. Because of lockdown and everything and know things are dying. but he met three times. We were about two and a half hours drive away, but we weren’t, he met three times. I mean, we’re on zoom every day and on, on chat every day. So he put up, we know each other, but, yeah, so we were, we were running our own portfolios of sites.

And over time. And I heard, Adam on the flipping website last podcast with Richard Petty. it was back then. And, but as van, it was a really interesting interview. So I got in touch with them and, we talked, talked about affiliate sites and Verde sites and, you know, We decided to kind of meet up.

So about a week later, I went down to Wales, which is where he’s based. with them, we started chatting. We, we spoke about our frustrations about the hiring writers and running through things through artwork and like the, the challenges that come with building sites and kind of almost having to have a mini team if you want to outsource stuff.

and. And, and we weren’t happy with, we, we tried some of the agency services as well, and we just weren’t happy with the quality that we got back. We didn’t, we didn’t really get the kind of service we wanted. and we were also looking for. Yeah, we started to sort of plan what, you know, what would our ideal agency look like?

And now that would be something that would give us the quality that we would want and expect, but also provide end to end services. So, you know, something that’s like we could go to and that it gives us the keyword research. They’ll do the right thing that helped us with the niche, niche selection. If we wanted to, we would.

That would upload it. They would put it into templates that would work well and are proven to convert and, and in certainly affiliate links. So what we’d have to do is like press publish and that’s, we figured it’d be awesome to have, and, you know, to a high standard as well. But, you know, so we. Now we’ve been building affiliate sites for a while.

So we kind of got some of our methods and kind of proven, proven methods that we know that if we push on with the way that we work, then you know, we’re going to get results. And so. Partially. It was kind of a selfish things. Like let’s build this team anyway for us, for our portfolio and we can train them up.

And, you know, rather than the heck that people have artwork who are one week of writing a book the next week they’re editing, someone’s copy. Then they’re writing affiliate content. You know, we can train them up to be proper affiliate writers. And, and so we did that and then we kinda wanted to offer out to some people and, Yeah, it seems like that was a, that was a little bit of a gap because like, just the, just the way that we positioned the service and the way that it was kind of end to end was kind of a little bit unique.

And, it seemed like a lot of people were off for that kind of thing. So, Yeah, that’s kind of how it started. I mean, for a month before, like, Oh, sorry. For a year before we actually started niche website builders, I had a, the site that is niche website they’ll build us. And that was, that was a block which was too, To document and blog about a site that I was creating and how to monetize sites.

I’ve been doing SEO for PR for a lot of years. but affiliate marketing less. So, so I kind of wanted to document that journey. It was, it was kind of a similar time to own the odd actually spent, I missed that, like by two or three months, starting at the same time, I started a few months later and kind of got it and documented it along the way.

So that, that became popular. We got kind of a following. Around the case study. And then we kind of, when we came to, so when we came to launch the services services, we already had a following there for that. We had been following the, the, the, the, the case study, and then we’re interested in the case study was quite successful.

So they’re interested in kind of. Yeah, purchasing services from the site people.

Spencer: [00:04:36] Right. So that makes it a lot easier to launch the service. You’ve already got kind of a following. And I know you had a Facebook group that was very active, that you were building that following and launched it, to, to great success.

We talked about that a little bit in the LA last podcast, but it’s now been almost a full year, right? Since you launched the service and, maybe just give us an idea. Is it going well? whatever sort of success, metrics you’re willing to share with us

Mark Mars: [00:05:03] here. Yes, I was getting really well. I mean, we, you know, we’ve had crazy amount of growth in terms of customers and we’ve been hiring, you know, almost every week for the entire year.

and, and that’s been really good. That’s going, going really well. We kinda kind of kept. You know, we kind of over the course of the year, we’ve kind of increased the services that we are offering. So we started out with content about a month later, we started doing Dunphy sites as well, with content on them around April of this year, we launched our shotgun skyscraper link building service, which also has been pretty popular.

You know, there’s not many, many agencies offering that kind of service. Mostly it’s kind of guest posts. You shared it’s kind of service and. As of today, we also launched, launched our guest posting Nisha at service, which kind of serves a little bit of a different purpose to, to shotgun skyscraper. So, yeah, it’s been a bit, it’s been a busy year, but we’ve got us a plans for 20, 21 as well and, and Beyonce.

Spencer: [00:06:01] Good. So, you’ve been able to build a successful agency growing, crazy that it’s, Less than 12 months, the, the year goes by quick, but, you guys have, have done well. And of course my audiences resonated with, what you guys offer because most of my audience is building niche, affiliate websites.

And so people will kind of resonate with a lot of the services that you offer and the type of link building that you do. so let’s talk a little bit about a couple of your services actually, before we talk specifically about the services, I’m actually curious, what is the most popular service like?

Are you finding that most of your orders are for content packages or is it shotgun skyscraper kind of what’s popular.

Mark Mars: [00:06:46] Yeah. So there’s kind of a, I’d say this is a split. So we have, we, we order, we have our services, we provide them on subscription. So you pay for content on subscription or you pay for links on the subscription.

And that’s kinda mostly how it works. and right now it’s about 50, 50. Interesting, which is, which is surprising. Cause we get the content will be a lot more. So there’s contact is still a bigger part of our business because there’s a lot, we’ve got a lot of one-off orders, so there’s the subscriptions and there’s one, the one off orders and the one-off orders.

Now we work with guys that, portfolio owners and they’ve got a number of sites and they can’t manage them all themselves. So they, they want us to do that. So they may order 200,000 words and just say, get it on the site as soon as possible, we’ll get it indexed. And, you know, cause they’re looking to flip the site or just grow it rapid rapidly.

Right. So, you know, in terms of subscriptions and ongoing recipient subscriptions, the, the revenues are pretty even between that and links, but we probably get a double, a. The amount of content. Again, it’s like a subscription supporting makeup, a thought about content orders. The rest is one-offs through either peer investors who don’t, wouldn’t even know how to set up a WordPress site and just know that good investment and want us to help with that.

or that I say the portfolio and portfolio owners. We’ve got investment to, to put into, to science.

Spencer: [00:08:06] Yeah. So, I’ve shared actually here on the podcast a little bit that I did place an order with you guys for own the yard, my niche site project for site. I went ahead and ordered a shotgun skyscraper, link building package.

And, it’s been, I don’t know, a little over a month ago, month and a half ago, something like that, that I placed the order. And so, maybe be interesting to kind of talk through that process a little bit. You know, like, how that’s worked out for me, you know, I went ahead and I, I ordered that.

And as far as the process, I mean, pretty simple, I got an email from your team. they just needed a few things. They got access to Google analytics and, you know, got familiar with my sites so they could figure out what is a good piece of content that they could publish and write for. That would be a good skyscraper piece of content.

and they’ve done that. They have now published that on my site. And it’s a super in depth article. and so I guess people familiar with my site, on the yard that article, that niche website publishers published, what, niche website builders published, was a gardening a to Z article. so sort of gardening a to Z super in depth, how to get started doing that.

And, it’s great content. So. I don’t know if there’s a question there other than, you know, it’s, it’s gone well, so far to this point, and now I’m sort of, I’m waiting to see the links come in. All right. Yeah. And so maybe you can tell me what’s going on behind the scenes. I guess after I think most people probably understand what happens to publish the content, but what happens now, right?

Like what’s going on behind the scenes to get a bunch of links to that article.

Mark Mars: [00:09:47] Yeah. So, so I think it’s, I think we’ve been doing outreach for a week today. I kind of checked before the call. So you’re about five weeks in, so month, one of the, about processes to just get you set up. So yeah. I create the content.

So there’s a number of things that we’re involved in that we need to, we need to decide on what patient content we’re going to create. So to do that, we go and look at what’s already popular within your niche, cause kind of taking some of the guesswork away and kind of hope, you know, hoping that you’ll get links by looking and finding what’s already popular on the, on the understanding that if we create a similar piece of content that we, we can expect to get something to say.

so we do that research. we do, we then kind of write that, write the copy as well. Oh, sorry. Write the content as well. We generally create some bespoke artwork to go with that copy as we did with yours, spent some because. You know, if we’re writing a piece of content, you know, if there are other pieces of content, are there similar out there and we’re reaching out to the same people together, links, you know, we want it to be a little bit different.

We don’t want it to be the same stock photography that every other articles got on the topic. So we want to make it stand out a little bit more. so. Yeah, so it needs to be, to be in depth. And also we do things like we, we set you up a fresh domain because, you know, with any kind of outreach, there’s a risk of spam getting caught by spam filters.

so we don’t want to jeopardize your own site for, For that, if you ever wanted an email address on your own, on the heart, the main or whoever you sold it to in the future did. So we set up a Google account, we set up a G suite account and a fresh domain so that we can kind of do outreach. And generally we use a number of different, a number of sinus on the outreach through quite often we’ll use multiple domains and multiple.

Just in case one gets caught by spam filters. We can still keep going, but also it takes a while to warm up the outreach because with, on a fresh domain, you can’t start sending 300 emails a day because again, the spam filters will pick that up. You need to wrap up slowly. So we’ll send 20 emails a day for the first week and then 40 a day for the second week and so on.

So, We were doing that for clients to start with, but it just takes a long time to get, you know, for the wheels to get to. And even though kinda, we, we, we, we advised that we just figured actually we have, if we have multiple email accounts, we can just make it a little bit faster. So that’s kind of my once a year, a month to now, which is kind of the outreach.

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So we’re ramping up that sending. So we’d expect links to coming slowly based kind of month, three onwards you’d expect the snowball and that sort of compound effect where not only are we sending more emails. Come the second month of outreach, all of those conversations we started having in the first month or are starting to come to fruition as well.

And there, I know all the links kind of start rolling again so far yet. I, we, we’ve got, we’ve got one link and we told you this yet. We’ve got one link so far. So there we

Spencer: [00:12:31] go.

Mark Mars: [00:12:32] Awesome. Let me just check. I think they are 64. Okay. That’s true. Yeah, they are 64. That’s how many negotiating? Yeah, it’s a good, yeah, it’s a good, it’s a good sign.

I’m in negotiating three more at the moment, so, and they are two dr. 20 nines and the are 18, so they’re all, garden gardening yard based sites. So you’ve got topical relevance there as well. so yeah, so.

Spencer: [00:13:00] So, yeah, follow up on that. So who’s, obviously you got a huge team, right? that that’s sort of handling all these emails, and.

Maybe more, just an observation. It’s even though it’s automated emails, you’ve got to have a live person on the other end when they respond and say, maybe we’re interested. Right. You’re kind of talking about the negotiation, what what’s sort of the typical responses that you get there. I mean, do you get very many like that are just like sure.

I’ll add the link.

Mark Mars: [00:13:30] Yeah. Yeah. Like it really depends on the niche. Right. So Godin’s a good one. you know, any kind of home stuff’s generally quite good for free links. we found, you know, we’ve got much more experience now over, I wrote a lot of different niches, about what we can expect to get links for Fred, not so.

That’s been a challenge for us because, you know, we’ve, we’ve kinda, you know, we have to kind of give an expectation on the website about what people can expect for the spring service, but it really varies quite greatly. And even since we launched the service and in the last couple of years, Even in the home niches, like people just more savvy, they know Link’s got value, it’s worth something and we’ll want you to pay for it.

So getting those free links are harder. So when I was first doing it two years ago, I happily say that 70 or 80%. I’ve linked in the home niche for free, just because they like the content enough. It depends what way you set your threshold of what you’re willing to pay. So I had a low threshold or was willing to pay for a link.

Therefore, a large percentage ended up being free because I didn’t pay for any over a certain amount, like $25 or something. So, so now we, you, in some nations, we still got plenty, but you know, it things like the digital marketing niche, like everyone wants you to pay for it. Right. And a decent. At least a decent value, a decent amount of money for the link as well.

So, Yeah. It really depends on niche. It really does.

Spencer: [00:14:52] Yeah. And so, that’s sort of the new service that you referenced as well. Right? You’re doing niche, niche edits. how does, how does that differ, I guess from the shotgun skyscraper? I mean, you’re, you’re doing outreach for both, but I guess the niche edits is you don’t have that skyscraper content.

You’re really just saying, Hey, it looks like there might be an opportunity to link towards, and then it goes from there, right?

Mark Mars: [00:15:16] Yeah, absolutely. So it’s very similar. We’re still doing it. We’re still doing manual outreach to find these opportunities, but yeah, we’re not, we’re not trying, we’re not, we’re not doing that first step, I guess, of where we’re trying to just get the free link back to the article.

so there’s a number of benefits there because we, with shotgun, you can get a lot of links. Ask scale, which works out a pretty good cost, average cost per link. but you’ve kind of gotten more mix of whoever responds and kind of people that are interested. So you might have different levels of relevance.

So you might have a site-level relevance, which is the best you might have article level relevance, or maybe only sentence level relevance, but we’re trying to get links of volume here. So increase the domain authority or domain writing, and. And that’s kind of the goal of the shotgun service, whereas we can be very much more, very, very much more targeted with the guest posts and initiate it.

So we can say, look, we want the site to be site. They will relevance. We want it to, you meet all of these criteria in terms of metrics. and, and we want to be able to point it to our money page. you know, with the shotgun skyscraper, we’re trying to get them to point it to our skyscraper article.

And then we pass any link juice. Through to the money pages using internal linking isn’t he using link whisper. Of course, of course. And, and then, and, but, you know, with, with guest posts and he shared it with Lincoln directly to the money pages, which is, which is better, you know, you’re getting all of that link juice, all in one go, But, yeah.

So I guess that’s the difference between the two services,

Spencer: [00:16:50] right? Yeah. That makes sense. So, so what should I expect going forward? You know, things are going to start to snowball a little bit here you say in month, two and three of, of link building. I guess not so much, what should I expect, but maybe what, what have you seen with some previous clients, you know, you’ve now been doing this almost 12 months.

Do you have any sort of clients, for example, that have been, you know, doing the skyscraper link building campaign for a number of months that have seen pretty big results?

Mark Mars: [00:17:17] Yeah. So, I mean, yeah, so, I think probably one of the best examples, we’ve got right now is, the, we had a client who. He started with us in January, we did a niche site for them.

We did a hundred thousand words of content on that site, straight away, and then come April when we launched the shotgun service. So that’s, I think launched in, we built in January, launched in February, the shotgun service was available in, in April. He did a shotgun campaign with us, and that was over, he went for the top package, which I ballistic package.

So that ended up being around 120 links or so that we, we, that we built for him over the course of a four month period. so, and then the site was, you know, showing, showing good progress, but by the end of the summer, it was of 10,000 sessions a month. It wasn’t, it wasn’t, it wasn’t an expired the main, but, or an aged domain and it was very low.

It was like a dr. Two or something with, with, yeah, it had like 19 referring domains.

Spencer: [00:18:20] So pretty interesting. Yeah.

Mark Mars: [00:18:22] Yeah. So obviously it’s, it’s, it’s over, it’s over it. I can’t remember it exactly what, what the DOR is now, but it’s much higher than that in mid, mid, mid twenties, I think. it’s now. It’s going from strength to strength steel.

So he’s, he then ordered a content subscription with us in kind of July or August time of 30,000 bloods a month. So overall, the site’s probably got like, would you like, like 160, 180,000, something like that? Maybe more, maybe nearly 200,000 words now. Wow. But, yesterday you kind of hit a new high of 700 visitors in a day.

so I would. Over 20,000 visitors now, bef a couple of months ago, I co-op with them and he was, he was getting 10,000 sessions at that time. And he was doing about 350 to $400 on Amazon associates. And then obviously we can get Zoe and O on, on there at that point as well, which would add another two or $300.

So it was looking at $500 or so he was easily kind of getting a return on investment if he. Thinking about the asset value that he’s got now. And now he’s up to 21,000. He’s probably doubled, doubled that he’s maybe near a thousand dollars a month, since January. So

Spencer: [00:19:34] yeah. Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. I mean, I love the sort of hands-off approach.

I mean, if I’ll be honest, I mean, you guys kind of nailed it with the terms of, Product market fit. You know, guys like me, I’ve got a few niche sites, plus I’m trying to run a podcast here. Right. You know, I got lots going on. so it’s great to be able to have somebody step in and either do content or links, like what you guys are doing for me.

so it really sort of fits really well with a very specific target audience. so I love what you guys are doing there. Any, anything else that, you just kind of want to share with people that, is working well in terms of SEO, it doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically what you guys are offering there, but I know you guys kind of do offer a whole range of things there, but just kind of anything that, you’ve seen kind of work well for people, either starting out building sites or just something to take an existing site and grow it.

Mark Mars: [00:20:31] And I just have to go back to, the expired, the mains, w w we’re seeing a really, you know, it’s kinda, it’s kind of, I’m not, I’m not really working with expired domains much before, so it’s kind of, kind of reasonably new for me, in the law, you know, in the last sort of six months or so, but, you know, we’ve seen clients doing it and having great success.

We started doing our own portfolios and seeing like, Yeah, no very, very quick growth. we’re about to, you know, w we’re about to kind of take it to the next level. We’re about a little Che, Now the case study, we’ve bought an expired domain, a really powerful expire domain, a car it’s like, yeah, DL 60, I think, in a sports niche and a million words on it, as soon as we can and hopefully in the next three or four months, and we’re just going to see what happens, you know, but yeah, we’ve never put content on our site that fast.

So it’d be interesting to see how it happens, but it will be quite a powerful bought the mine, but we’ve been doing. We’ve been doing this for a number of people and we see the way that we’re thinking about it. Now, I haven’t done it for a lot of people I’m for ourselves is that we’re trying to get, you know, if you’ve got the budget, we’re trying to get several horses kind of into the race because, you just never quite know as with any site, whether it’s an unexpired domain or not, which one’s going to take off and which one isn’t.

So, you know, Adam has been starting, you know, one or two sites a month for a number of months now, despite the mains and the goal, and the goal here is to. It’s the pick, the winning the winning horse. Right? So the way that we look at it at the moment, this is that if we get 10, 10 X by, at the main, standard sites on, on, on 10 X by the mains, the a hundred thousand words.

We expect about four of them to kind of break even. so we kind of get our money back and that’s kind of the worst case scenario. We’re expecting four to maybe do an extra couple of hundred dollars a month. So giving us a return of return on investment and I’m expecting to see two that just clearly other winners.

And then we’re looking to kind of then sell those ones that have broken even, or keep some of the other ones for cashflow. And then, and then just reinvest everything into those ones that are the winners. So I think. You know, most likely if you’re doing it right, like most sites in the end, if you keep pushing, of course there’s exceptions, but if you push for long enough, you can’t, you’re probably going to see results.

But you know why though the way that we’re looking at the moment, it’s like, why, why calf keep pushing together results on a site that’s kind of reluctant to do. So when you can put a few horses into the race, pick the winners and then just reinvest everything into that. So, Although we, we really believe in the expired domains.

You know, we can’t guarantee it every single time. And that’s, that’s the way that we’re personally doing it ourselves. but, you know, like I say, you push for long enough. and, and, and the expire to man gives you a good start, a good start compared to refresh domain. It you’re going to get there quicker anyway.

Spencer: [00:23:17] Yeah, it’s an interesting strategy. And I think a lot of people probably can relate to that. If they built a lot of sites, they know that certain sites do take off and others just take a little bit longer. that’s why it’s been. Really difficult to do sort of a public case study like I’ve done is because I say I’m building this domain, you know, this one site and I kind of put all my chips in and, you kind of hope that it does well, unfortunately on the art has done well, right.

It’s making, you know, 2,500 to $3,000 a month. And, you know, I’m not putting much work into it at this point, other than what you guys are doing, for that’s my work is I pay you guys to do that, but, So I, I totally agree. It’s, it’s difficult to know which sites are going to take off and which ones aren’t.

and so it’s important to invest in those ones that do start to take off. so, yeah, Mark, I think, it’s, we’ve kind of covered, what you guys are doing there and how you’ve grown some of the SEO strategies that you’re implementing there. if people want to check out, Some of your services.

They can of course go through my niche pursuits link, which is just niche, pursuits.com/niche website builders. And if there’s any special deals going on at the time, it’ll be right there on that page, so that people can check out, what’s next for niche website builders. I mean, what, what’s the plan either new services or just scale much bigger.

Mark Mars: [00:24:42] Yeah. We’re not going to go too crazy on services. We don’t want to, we don’t want to become. You don’t wanna spread yourself too thin, you know, we’re, we’re good at what we do now. And we want to carry on that. w we want to keep, scaling up the services. We’ve got most likely that there probably will be others further down the line, but we’re going to do that slowly.

And it’s more about, you know, these are the core things that you need to build a site links, content and the website itself. And that’s probably what we’re going to stick to primarily going forward. But yeah. So what about, how do we get in front of more

Spencer: [00:25:12] people now? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. very good. Any parting words, any final advice or just thoughts for our niche pursuits, podcast listeners?

Mark Mars: [00:25:23] no, I think, if, if, if in the, even if in the description you can put, like, we’ve got a white, a white list for the expired domain. We do we offer an expired on my sourcing service so we can help people. We do some due diligence to help people find the right domains. so, if we can put something in the description about that, like, which is, which is just a waiting list at this time, or, or mailing list, so you can get on the list and that’s what more about that?

So that’s the, that’s the only thing, but other than that, yeah, just, just be patient, I think, with, as anything with the affiliate sites, you know, Yep.

Spencer: [00:25:54] That’s right. Absolutely. Very good Mark. Thanks for coming on and chatting for a little bit, giving us an update on not only the business, but you know, some of the strategies you guys are doing and providing for your clients.

So I appreciate it.

Mark Mars: [00:26:07] Thanks