This is a question that is frequently under discussion; how many websites one should create when trying to establish an online business. There was a time when every one would recommend creating small niche sites in large numbers. Each website would bring in 1 or 2 dollars from Adsense advertising every day and the commulative effect could be hundreds of dollars a day.
That was the time when people will use keyword tools to search for a less competitive keyword, get an exact matching domain (EMD) and then add a few keyword rich articles and the website would start ranking in the search engines within a few days. Mostly it will rank with just the power of the EMD but if was not, people would buy hundreds of thousands of backlinks created by software like SeNuke and it will rank soon.
However, this was all before Google caught on this practice and launched its different algorithm changes like Panda and Penguin that targeted spam sites and low quality sites big time. The whole business models that had been build around creating low quality sites powered into higher search engine rankings by spammy links were evaporated overnight. And the answer to the question of how many websites to create soon needed a review.
It was in 2012 that Google launched the EMD update which took away the exact domain match benefit as a ranking factor in search engine results. The websites with EMDs could still rank but they now needed to rank on the quality of their content and backlinks without relying heavily on the exact match domain. This update also hit hard and countless businesses evaporated and these high ranking low quality sites were pushed deep into Google results. No traffic meant sudden death for these businesses. And with this stopped the business model of creating hundreds of thin websites. Now you could not build hundreds of websites and still succeed.
Even before this change, the debate around how many websites to create had been going on and there were people who were of the view that it is better to build authority websites rather than these thin sites. These people were of the view that maintaining these large number of sites was a big hassle, especially if these were not blogger or wordpress.com sites and were actual self hosted blogs. Imagine the pains of updating and backing up these hundreds of websites all the time. That would have been a really costly affair.
Another issue with creating large number of websites is that you end up diluting your efforts and are not able to focus on a project at a time. You are always tempted to update all the sites and you end up maintaining none properly. And after wasting a few years doing this, you feel that it would have been better, had you started with one or two sites at a time, matured these sites and then once these were stable businesses, only then you should have moved to creating other websites and projects.
Especially currently when Google algorithm changes have become real smart, it is now very difficult to rank hundreds of low quality sites. Google now focuses heavily on quality websites and user experience as ranking factors. If you can successfully create and maintain even one authority website, you could be sure that you will be making hundreds of dollars in income. So why waste energies on diverse and rudderless projects when you can get better results by keeping your focus and concentration on a single project with richer dividends.
Another reason why you should not focus on creating too many sites is that you will find it impossible to promote more than 3 sites at a time because of a large number of promotion channels like forum engagement, email marketing, blog comments, backlink generation, social media updates, social bookmarking etc. If you try to do all this for a large number of sites, you will end up doing nothing correctly for even a single website.
Therefore, I will highly recommend that you start with one or two websites at a time and give your full energies to these efforts. It is not the time now to create hundreds of sites for the following reasons:
- Google doesn’t like thin content and low quality sites. These are treated equivalent to spam and are never ranked mostly.
- Google has taken away EMD benefit as a ranking factor. The whole business of creating too many sites was mainly focused on that. Now it is not worth the effort.
- It will be a pain to maintain and backup so many websites
- You will not be able to promote so many sites at the same time and in the end will be ignoring all of these.
So the answer to queries about how many websites to create is one or two at a time. However, one thing should be kept in mind. If you do not see results within a few months, try to rethink your basic strategies like keyword research, promotion, backlinks etc. If need be, do not be afraid to ditch unsuccessful products after significant efforts. You should not unnecessarily wait for luck to grant success to the projects and sites that are not delivering. You could create a new site and possibly rank it with less effort than trying to rank sites that are not delivering results.