Man down

We’re behind. Dammit. The reasons are nothing special: life is a busy place, and when the going gets tough, crazy overcommitments to constant product development take a back seat.

The aim of the 52sites project is to learn and share. So here’s an early lesson: the more you build, the less you sell. We’ve churned out websites, but haven’t made any time for promoting them. We knew this would be a problem, but I certainly underestimated the scale of it. My early sites are getting about 20 visits a month on average, with the exception of How to Publish Poetry, which is getting about 120. We’ve spent about twenty times more than we’ve made, and that doesn’t look like it’s changing.

So we need to change things up a bit. While persistence is valuable in business, persistence in the face of an obvious need to change is crazy. So we’re pivoting. We have a pretty good idea of how, though we’re still working out the kinks. We’ll still be making a lot of sites (it’s fun, and we’re learning), but we’ll spend a lot more energy on promotion too.

Ready to rock

It’s D-day. Jon vs Arthur. Brotherly rivals since childhood, now we meet to compete in the most extreme environment on earth, apart from those underwater volcanoes: the Internet.

Once a week for the next year, we’ll each create a revenue-generating website, and pitch it on video here. The rules? Build them ourselves (no help from friends). We can include or sell content or products by others, as long as they get their rightful share of any revenue. And keep costs as low as possible, ideally to domain registration fees only — about $12 per site.

The aim? Make back our costs.

The real aim? See what happens and learn from it.