I was looking through MobilityArena’s backend this morning, when I noticed it. We had hit a milestone. We had published our 10,000th article earlier this week and somehow I had missed that till today. You read that right: TEN THOUSAND.
Building a sustainable content website is a difficult task. I can tell you from experience that creating content that will generate both traffic and revenue is often like navigating a mine-riddled puzzle. You could churn out hundreds of articles that would attract accolades from a handful of readers, giving you the impression of success, yet deliver you insignificant traffic in the big picture.
In other words, you are being hailed as a wonderful writer but the numbers are not adding up. If you have ever wondered how a popular content website that you loved failed, that is how it happens. I have experienced that firsthand, and I have seen it happen to others. So, I do not mock the efforts of others when I say that digital content is tough. I respect anyone who has given it all, even if they failed at it.
Some years after launching MobilityArena, I decided to try out my hands at a non-tech website. I named it House Of Mo. Guess what happened? It drew the attention of people and quickly became a social media rave. As a matter of fact, at a point, more people on social media knew me with House Of Mo than with MobilityArena. Yet House Of Mo never attained a 10th of the traffic of MobilityArena. And it never earned significant income either. There were lots of lessons to learn from that adventure, and I eventually shut it down a few years ago.
MobilityArena started as a hobby site in 2008. Before then, I had been blogging about mobile phones and services on some other platforms, including an earlier blog of mine, since 2004. Around 2012, I began the transition from running it as a hobby to running it as a business concern. That was a tough task. If you know the terrain well, most tech blogs in this region are side projects. It wasn’t – and till now mostly isn’t – a profitable venture. Here I was diving in to make it my primary source of income.
I was being a mad man, as I discovered later. But I am also stubborn and dogged, in addition to being skilled and talented. This was going to work or I’d have to starve. It was all or nothing. We have since come a long way from that time and I am happy at the progress we have made over the years. It has not been a linear growth. Sometimes, traffic plunges – along with income. Sometimes income leaps despite a troubling drop in traffic.
On a few occassions, we have had our VPS shut down for late payment, because of cash flow issues. Sometimes, income just isn’t coming in fast enough. We often missed a shutdown by the skin of our teeth.
Monetization is perhaps the greatest challenge that content websites face. Our team had to learn to diversify monetization options in order to make a headway, and then we succeeded in achieving a level of stability that has kept the website sustainable.
Perhaps most importantly is the balancing act of creating useful content while keeping people’s attention. We know how fickle the human attention span is, but we have successfully held it for 12 years now and we look forward to keeping that up as we adapt to changing times. I read some of my earliest articles and chuckle. Most are cool, but some had me squirming a bit. I have come a long way.
Once upon a time, I was a 20+ young man who read the most popular mobile websites in the world and was amazed at how rich the content they had was. Now, in my 40s, I am amazed that we have built something that was only a dream in my mind once upon a time. It was done with a lot of trial and error, lots of creativity, tons of doggedness, and help from everywhere I could get it. I salute and appreciate family, friends, readers, contributors, partners who have been a part of this story.
I look forward to 20,000 articles on MobilityArena. We are not where we want to be yet, but it already is a massive resource of useful information about mobile phones and services. I will drink to that.
PS: If you need some hand-holding and guidance to start and/or grow your blog, the weekly sessions in my Blog/Content Publisher Support Group on Telegram is what you need. In this group, I share practical details, as well as answer your questions, about the issues you wish somebody would talk about. You also benefit from monthly tasks to help grow your site, as well as increase your revenue.
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