Popular Money Making Websites

By Xah Lee. Date:

Been doing some research on web monetizing and SEO business in the past 2 months. Here's a look at some of the popular sites, what's their content, their traffic rank.

The following data is based on alexa.com.

reach  rank    alexa URL       (site content; type)
0.00156   105k   modularsystems.sl (Second Life Emeral Viewer)
0.00202   112k   staynalive.com (seo)
0.0026     79k   xahlee.org (math, programing, gallery, social commentary)
0.0029     72k   jensense.com
0.00311    66k   writetodone.com (writing tips blog)
0.00358    57k   skelliewag.org

0.0043     46k   terrydean.org
0.00451    43k   cryptome.org (politics, whistle-blower)
0.00529    35k   decor8blog.com (home deco blog)
0.0068     32k   webdesign10.com (web dev tips)
0.0108     16k   webhostingsearch.com (webhosting search) 2010-04-14

0.00661    14k   xstreetsl.com (Second Life estore)
0.0076    24k   microformats.org (comp tech; ref; tutorial)
0.0109    17k   outspokenmedia.com (seo; Rhea Drysdale)
0.0197    9k   zenhabits.net

0.0238    8k   ask-leo.com (Windows tips blog)
0.0238    7k   swik.net (online bookmark)
0.0588    2k   fark.com (lurid news portal; soft porn; shock)
0.0672    2k   labnol.org

0.0668    1.9k seomoz.org (seo; Sarah Bird)
0.0773    2k   problogger.net (seo, blogging)
0.0791    2k   makeuseof.com (computer use tips)
0.307    0.357k   w3schools.com (web programing)

The first number is the site's “reach” of the past 3 months, defined by Alexa as the fraction of readers of the site with respect of all internet users. Higher the number means more popular. For example, if reach is 0.001, that means 0.1% of internet users visits the site. (multiply the number by 100 to get a percentage.)

The second number is the rank of the site. So, 2k means the site is ranked at 2000 of all websites, by popularity. Note that rank can change a lot from month to month, so is not very reliable figure for popularity. For example, on some months, my site xahlee.org is ranked 50k, but in other months, it's 70k, a difference of 20k, even though the visitors only increased or decreased about 1k or 2k.

Also, last i checked in ~2008, alexa under-estimated my site's traffic by perhaps 20% less from actual.

The link is to alexa's data on the site. You can visit the site to see what the site actually is, from a link there.

The text in parenthesis is a rough remark about what the site do.

These data are from alexa as queried sometimes in April.

How Much Are They Making?

Based on my study, my site can generate USD $1k ad revenue per month. From that, one can guess how much other sites are making.

For example, my site has a reach of 0.0026. The site problogger.net has a reach of 0.773. That's 297 times more. So, $1k times 297 is $297k. Well, that's way off. Problogger guy makes 6 digits yearly from 2 of his sites. Assume he makes 100k per year just from the problogger site. That's ~8.3k per month, not 297k. The relation of site's traffic and its ad revenue potential isn't linear. Doubling the traffic will certainly not double the income.

It's is hard to estimate how much each site makes, because there's lots variables, how aggressive they advertise if at all, their reader type, their content type, etc. But, given a site's traffic, a estimate of ad revenue is certainly possible. There's quite a few sites dedicated to providing this info. (See: How To Be A Online Ad Publisher (Monetize Your Website))

(If you are a advertiser, please advertise on my site. I give you the best ad effectiveness price ratio. See: Advertising XahLee.org.)

In 2008, i've also done a survey on popularity of computer programing related sites. See: Computer Language Websites Popularity.

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