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.

reachrankalexa URL (dead) (site content; type)
0.00156105kmodularsystems.sl (Second Life Emeral Viewer)
0.00202112kstaynalive.com (seo)
0.002679kxahlee.org (math, programing, gallery, social commentary)
0.002972k jensense.com|jensense.com
0.0031166kwritetodone.com (writing tips blog)
0.0045143kcryptome.org (politics, whistle-blower)
0.0052935kdecor8blog.com (home deco blog)
0.006832kwebdesign10.com (web dev tips)
0.010816kwebhostingsearch.com (webhosting search) 2010-04-14
0.0066114kxstreetsl.com (Second Life estore)
0.007624kmicroformats.org (comp tech; ref; tutorial)
0.010917koutspokenmedia.com (seo; Rhea Drysdale)
0.02388kask-leo.com (Windows tips blog)
0.02387kswik.net (online bookmark)
0.05882kfark.com (lurid news portal; soft porn; shock)
0.06681.9kseomoz.org (seo; Sarah Bird)
0.07732kproblogger.net (seo, blogging)
0.07912kmakeuseof.com (computer use tips)
0.3070.357kw3schools.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))

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