Cast your mind back several years, when the term ‘multiple-streams of income’ became an established part of the online marketing vocabulary and web-entrepreneurs began launching networks of mini-sites to sell affiliate products.
Fast-forward to today and the concept of developing a number of income sources is still very relevant. Good website businesses constantly innovate, looking for new ways to make money. However setting up networks of mini-sites can be an expensive and time consuming process, so why not consider buying a single generic domain name and set up a virtual network of mini-sites using sub-folders?
Setting Up Your Virtual Network
Developing your virtual network is very easy. Once you have bought a generic domain name, you simply create a series of sub-folders for each of your affiliate programs. If one of your mini-sites is going to be used to sell insurance products, name the folder ‘insurance’. Then create your insurance web page and save it in the insurance folder as ‘index.htm’ or ‘index.html’. When you launch your insurance mini-sites, the address will be www.genericdomain/insurance.
Choosing Your Generic Name
Choosing your generic domain name can be difficult. Ideally you will want a short and simple name that does not align the website to any specific market or product. Unfortunately most of the short, single word domain names are already taken, so you might want to make up a name or use a mixture of words and numbers, such as ‘genericname888.com’.
Advantages of Sub-Folders
There are many advantages to using sub-folders:
Using a single domain name will significantly reduce hosting and domain registration costs, especially if you are building a network of 20 or more mini-sites to sell your products. If you decide to use the same page design across your virtual network, it will also be possible to reduce development costs.
Launching a new website on a shoestring is a tough business nowadays. Pay-per-click advertising can be prohibitive to small businesses and the Google Sandbox will prevent new websites from obtaining search engine rankings that will deliver sufficient amounts of traffic.
However, launching a new mini-site on your virtual network will be much easier as the page will be part of an established website and you will be able to avoid the sandbox. Building links to each of your virtual mini-sites will not only help that particular page receive more traffic, but also help improve the overall visibility of your whole site.
Lack of Suitable Domain Names
Domain names are a scarce resource and it will become increasingly difficult to keep finding suitably memorable and descriptive domains for each mini-site. With sub-folders, it is possible to choose any name you like for your mini-sites, although it helps if the generic domain name you choose is relatively short.
Drawbacks of Sub-Folders
Off course, there are some disadvantages to using sub-folders. Offering a diverse range of products from one website may confuse your target audience and you are less likely to innovate with different designs for each of your mini-sites. If a certain affiliate product really takes off, you may want to launch a new website to specifically sell more of that product; however the use of sub-folders still remains the most cost effective way to develop multiple-streams of income.