Website Income

How To Build a Website for One Dollar Guaranteed to Get Traffic and Why It Is a Bad Idea

Like most other internet marketers/online entrepreneurs I struggle with the curse of always thinking up new ideas even though I know I should be focusing on my primary business plan.

Well what I have today is a simple way to build a website “guaranteed” to get traffic for $1…along with an example of how I did it and why it is a bad idea!

What Was I Thinking – This plan was dreamt up and post created on a Saturday night after my baby boy and wife had fallen asleep. I was deep diving into my analytics enjoying a couple beer after my day having started with a teething baby/dirty diaper at 4:30am. So I am not surprised it was not my best idea! But I still find it interesting and hope you do to!  

I have come back and made some edits inputted the results but for the most part this is a pretty raw dump of me thinking through a potential online project and geeking out with Excel…

A Surprisingly Fun Saturday Night!

A Surprisingly Fun Saturday Night!

Exactly How Do You Build a Website for $1 “Guaranteed” to Get Traffic


The Overall Strategy in One Sentence…

Find a domain recently expired that has a low Alexa rank, register the domain for $1, build a simple website on it and make money from the traffic.



My Big I am a Dumb Ass Disclaimer

This idea has obvious flaws but what had me interested in thinking it through was that it could be possible to outsource every step of the process and turn it into a systematized machine!

3 Key Assumptions to Test

In order for a plan like this to be profitable I believe there are 3 key assumptions that will be the focus of the rest of this post. Testing and analyzing them…

  1. Profit/website created
  2. Cost/website created
  3. Number of websites able to create

Well I May As Well Do 1 Case Study to Test The Assumptions

I couldn’t help myself…let me repeat – this is a terrible business model and I do not recommend it but curiosity has me.  So in the spirit of the Lean Startup let’s test some assumptions quickly and see how this goes…

I hate hate hate GoDaddy but for $1 domains I can’t argue

The Process Step by Step…

  1. Run a seed list through Xenu (see Ultimate Guide to Expired Domains for more details)
  2. Run Xenu output through DomainSpoon
    1. Or my free software alternative (not as good as DomainSpoon)
    2. Or use the search parameters at
  3. Take the best of the list and run it through the free tool – Bulk Alexa Checker
  4. Pick a domain that meets my expired domain metrics and has a low Alexa score
    1. Alexa < 10M (lower the better)
    2. Some traffic recorded in SEMRush, Quantcast, Compete
      1. I want to have 2 tracking tools verify traffic
    3. No Porn/Poker/Pharmacy in backlink profile according to
    4. Some reasonable commercial viability
    5. Trust Flow & Citation Flow > 15
    6. Natural backlink profile
  5. Search Google for $1 GoDaddy Domain Coupon
  6. Register the domain
  7. Point it to your existing hosts Name Servers
    1. Cheapest Reasonable Host Option if we don’t want this test on our main host
  8. Set Up Website (Outsourced to a fast VA via ODesk)
    1. Add-On Domain
    2. Install WordPress using One Click Install
    3. Setup WordPress Quickly (duplicator plugin can help)
      1. New Theme/General Settings/SEO Plugin/QuickAdsense Plugin
    4. Add a couple original articles
      1. I had a couple medium quality related from another project I wasn’t going to use so I sent them for uploading
    5. Install analytics
    6. Install Monetization method
  9. Set Google Calendar reminder to check stats and kill or renew the site based on income/traffic at 10 months
  10. Become Rich Overnight 😉

I outsourced a bunch of the set up steps above to one of my fastest VA’s and if I was going to scale would assign a dedicated VA to “own” the entire process.

Some Screenshots of my Wild Saturday Night…


$1 Domain – Can’t Beat That Price


Ok Link Profile Hopefully Means the Traffic Will Stick


Alexa Rank for Case Study Site


Make Sure the Alexa Isn’t Displaying for Another Site…

What Would This Look Like as a Business Model?

There would be 1 VA to manage the whole process, 1 Google Document(SOP) describing exactly how to do each step and 1 Google Spreadsheet to track everything.

Each step would be entered into the tracking document. The VA would generate a list of sites for me to give final approval on. Once a domain was approved the VA would then go and execute each step with review hold points for me.

There would be 1 GoDaddy Account and 1-5 Hosting Accounts dedicated to this project.

The key metrics for business success would be:

  1. Revenue/site
  2. Cost/site to create
  3. Number of sites created


How Much Would We Make?

There are the 3 metrics to optimize

  1. number of sites created
  2. cost per site created
  3. revenue per site

Number of Sites:

The number of sites created with this set up of 1 dedicated VA could average 1/day and I am confident in the ability to achieve this. The challenge may be finding the domains that meet my metrics and diminishing returns as a result over time.

Cost Per Site:

The $1 domain is limited so we can’t base the business on that (limited to 4/customer). Each step has been assigned time and a cost.

  • Identify Potential Domains – 1hr/site = $2
  • Register Domain = $10 ($1 for the first 4 domains with GoDaddy)
  • Set Up Website = 2hr = $4
  • Content = $15 for decent content or $4 for Spun (DON’T DO IT!)
  • Final Set Up of Site/Tracking = 0.5hr = $1
  • Hosting = $3/month for all the sites = Assume $0
  • Our Time = Assume $0
  • Total Cost = ~$32
  • Minimum Cost = ~$12 (not scalable! Using original content “lying around” and $1 domains)

Income per Site:

This is up for debate but let’s run 3 cases

  • Worst = $0.5/week (Could likely do better!)
  • Likely = $1.5/week
  • Best = $3/week (probably unreasonable!)

Based on the case study results this seems reasonable.

The Analysis

Well it’s always fun to geek out on a spreadsheet on a Saturday night when my wife and baby are sleeping.

So here is the profit loss analysis for this plan…


and the final result is a smiley face…



Projected Cumulative Net Income/Loss for Business by Days

We would start off loosing money each day until the income generated from the sites in existance would start to bring in more than the cost of continuing to create one new site per day. Eventually we would make back all the money we had invested and in the last 3 months of the year generate a net income of $2,600

  • Cash Required = ~$2,500 (cash required to start)
  • Net Income = ~$2,600 (at the end of 365 days)
  • ROI (not sure which calculation makes sense)…
    • = Net Profit / Total Expenses = 2,600/11,680 = 22%
    • = Net profit / Capital Required = 2,600/2,500 = 104%


Case Study Results

After 2 weeks with no promotion here are the results…


Traffic to Site after 2 Weeks

Traffic to Site after 2 Weeks


Final Analysis of This as a Business Model

First it does not pass my golden rule I always try to follow…

“Does this add value to a human?” – FAIL – Unless true quality content is created for each site which would drive up costs!

Next the one BIG thing missing from this analysis is the value of our time. I think I have a lot of experience with outsourcing and project management (my day job as well) but I know this would take up a lot of my time or anyone else implementing this to manage, tweak and improve the system.

At some point there becomes a loss of efficiency as the number of sites under management gets to become large. Sometime this optimal number gets referred to as the Economic Order Quantity in the manufacturing world. Just because the number of items created gets bigger doesn’t mean our cost/unit goes down indefinitely!

Tools would need to be purchased to manage the thousands of plugin/theme updates, there would always be the risk of the hosting company kicking you out and having to move the 300+ sites. If the sites were built the same there would be the chance of malware moving through all of them. Plus many other unforeseen problems and challenges especially around monetization!

So, the fact that I am adding no value to a human, the multitude of risks and a marginal return for the amount of time it would take for me to manage this system means this plan is dead dead dead!

So Why Create This Post Then?

I am not going to execute this strategy and don’t recommend anyone else does either so why create this post?

Until an idea has been written out it consumes a portion of my limited brain power. So since I had spent some time thinking/planning this one I thought it would be fun to post it on here for everyone else to discuss. Then once I started writing the post I figured a case study site to test the assumptions would be interesting and make the discussion more fact based and valuable.

Hope you enjoyed and please comment below with your thoughts and challenges to my assumptions…

  • Has anyone done this before and had success/failure?
  • Would you consider doing it on a small or large scale? Why/why not?
  • Did I mess up in my analysis and it’s a better opportunity or worse than shown?
  • Am I a terrible person and should be slapped by Google for just thinking about this?
  • Should I get focused on my core business – YES



About the Author Jon

I am a 36 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

Add Your Reply