I would like to share with you my first experience of earning 2.5 million page views in just one month. This post isn’t about how I got 2.5 million page views in one month, but rather what I did wrong the first time I hit viral. Here is how I lost over $100,000 and how you can avoid the same mistakes.
5 Don't use shared hosting.
The shared hosting site froze my site and killed my traffic - intentionally. They don't want anyone actually earning any real money with real traffic. No they only want small sites with a few visitors a day that earn nothing but pay them anyway without providing you anything in return but a paltry shared hosting that can only bear a few hundred visitors a month - if that. You can't earn anything from a few hundred visitors.
Shared hosting is good for a couple things:
- The basement blogger who thinks that 10 visitors a day is great and that is enough for them to feel good about ranting about this or that because they don't want to earn any real money from blogging. 10 people is a good audience for them. $0 is good earnings. Shared hosting is fine for them.
- Small business website that the owners really don't care if anyone visits because they really don't care about making money - in other words, foolish small business owners. Shared hosting is fine for foolish business owners. Let's leave the powerful traffic for smart and effective business owners! The economy doesn't care which businesses succeed. If the owner doesn't care about their business, the economy will find a business owner who does and make them successful instead.
- The artist who posts pictures of their art online, but never expects it to ever go viral. Better to have a presence than none. If they will not do any real marketing, then they will never get traffic. So then shared hosting is fine, they are starving anyway, why bother taking risks and doing real marketing and having a chance at removing the "starving" part out of "starving artist"?
- The teenager who blogs about high school and shares it with their snickering friends. Shared hosting is fine for the few kids that visit their website - and after all their parents are never going to pay for a dedicated server. The teenager's allowance should pay the $10 per month for shared hosting.
4 Do use a powerful dedicated server.
Unfortunately, by the time they killed it, it was too late. I didn't know enough about hosting and servers at the time so I didn't actually know about dedicated servers. If I had, I would be a house richer, at least. What a disaster. Stay away from shared hosting!
If you use shared hosting and run a serious blog, you are risking losing thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars if your traffic balloons because the shared hosting provider will probably suspend your account when you get traffic surges. If they do not suspend your account, they WILL block your traffic and simply take your site offline before you get a chance to profit off the traffic.
Even though dedicated servers start at $150 per month up to $1,000+ per month, it is worth it if you are serious about your blog and if you ever expect to go viral. If you never expect to get the amount of traffic that you need in order to make real money, they why are you even bothering in the first place?
3 Have a plan in place to handle high bandwidth
Basically, you need to have a backup plan to prevent your server from crashing, bandwidth speed to handle high spikes in bandwidth usage, a server which can handle high spikes in traffic, a stable DNS that doesn't go haywire when your content goes viral, and a plan in place to put all this into motion that is always ready for a viral campaign. If you are not ready, you could lose the chance at internet riches that may only come once every decade or so (or worse, only once!).
2 There is no guarantee your viral success will stick around
I have never recovered from the collapse of that site that gained over 2.5 million views per month. My niche has since collapsed. The method of traffic acquisition that I had used is now obsolete so I can never use that method again. In short, I missed the boat there. It took me years before I stumbled upon another effective strategy.
The takeaway from that is that if you stumble upon serious traffic like if your content goes viral, take adavvantage of it immediately! If you slack or are unprepared, you could lose out big time - and never recover it. The classic phrase here comes into play: "you snooze, you lose".
1 Invest what you earn back into your efforts
In summary, I have gone viral a few times since my first 2.5 million per month, but I still haven’t achieved that 2.5 million number in one month again. I have earned up to $10,000 per month with my online ventures, but it wasn’t through going viral.
I really missed the big one. However, the naivety of my youth was not totally wasted. Now that I know what to do and what not to do, I can know what to do to prepare next time I hit it big virally.
And now that I have a precedent and adequate motivation to not let that great loss happen again, I have gained the wisdom to do the right thing. I will never use a shared server again. I will have a dedicated server always. I do have a backup plan in place and I will use it when the time arrives. I will take advantage of a niche while it lasts, and I will invest my earnings from that niche back into that niche.
Whenever I go huge viral again, I will be prepared for it this time. Anyone can go viral, but without adequate planning and preparation, you could really lose big and miss your one chance. There may be another, but it may not happen for a long time. If you let your viral opportunity slip through your fingers because you weren’t prepared for it, you could lose a lot of money!
As Thomas Edison said, “Success is 1 percent luck and 99 percent preparation”. Ok, ok you got me, I was the one who said that; Edison really said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” But the saying still applies. After all, inspiration is in many ways luck and preparation is certainly perspiration.
And as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” This is very true, and it certainly applies to going viral. Going viral is luck, but it isn’t good luck if you don’t earn anything from it. It only becomes good luck if you are prepared for it. So be prepared! Turn your lucky moment into a successful moment and not one of tragic loss.
I hope my experience and great losses of my first great viral 2.5 million page views per month during my early college years also helps you avoid making the same mistake I did. Good luck!