For more than 5 years, I had only one niche site.
Life was good!
If I was writing content, it was for one site. If I was building an email list, it was for one site. If I was updating plugins, it was for one site.
But then Google updates started happening more often and even started impacting high-quality authority sites (including mine).
So far, having one profitable niche was enough. But now, it got risky!
The best hedge against these risks was to have a portfolio of niche sites.
That’s exactly what I did!
I started a couple of niche sites, and after learning a few new things and making some new mistakes, I decided to start more.
Fast forward to now, I have a portfolio of 10+ sites on which I am actively working.
This new business model of operating multiple niche sites comes with its own challenges.
In this article, I’ll try to give you some tips that you can use to manage multiple sites.
You may not need these if you only have one or two sites, but as your portfolio starts to grow, you need to work a bit differently and also need some mindset shift.
Before I get into the tips on how to manage multiple niche sites, let me first talk about when not to start multiple sites.
When Not to Start Any Additional Niche Sites
Starting and scaling a niche site is a hard job. It takes years of time and effort to get to a level where you are making decent money from your website.
In a study by AHREFS, where they analyzed 2 million random keywords, they found that only 5.7 % of the top 10 results are from sites that are less than 1 year old.
This means that there is an almost 95% chance that if you start a site today, it will take you more than a year to rank in the top 10 in the search results.
There are so many moving parts when it comes to building and monetizing a site.
These could be processes (such as doing the keyword research, writing an optimized article, promoting these articles, etc.), or tools (for keyword research, SEO, graphic designing, social media management, etc.)
If you’re doing this for the first time, this is bound to be overwhelming.
And, if you start multiple niche sites at the same time, just multiply the overwhelm by that many times.
Consider starting a niche site ONLY if you have some experience with running a successful site. This will make sure that many of these tools and processes are now part of your workflow. So you don’t need to learn anything extra.
When you start working on multiple niche sites, trust me, you will have a new set of problems and limitations to worry about.
5 Tips to manage multiple sites
Let me share some tips that I’ve learned over the two years while trying to build new sites.
Hire a Team or Outsource
Running a site can be a full-time job in itself. And running multiple sites would be like multiple jobs.
You can’t write for all the sites (even if you think you can, you can’t). If you try to write for many sites yourself, I can bet the quality will suffer.
And writing is only a part of the work. You still have link building, social media management, graphic designing, videos, etc.
To be able to run a portfolio of niche sites, you need to outsource a major part of it (or hire an in-house team and train them). Stick to the things you must do (and/or the stuff you really enjoy).
In my case, I don’t prefer having a team, so I outsource to freelancers and agencies.
I only work on keyword research, managing the writers/agencies (including training them and giving them regular feedback), and proofreading + content publishing.
And since I enjoy writing, I also write for two of my sites and all the email broadcasts I send.
For a long time, I thought I can do a better job than any freelancer or agency. Even if it’s true, it’s foolish trying to do everything myself. My time is better spent doing things that I must absolutely do (and some that I really enjoy).
Plan Ahead (Preferably Weekly/Monthly)
Value your time! You shouldn’t be working 18 hours a day trying to give equal attention to all the sites.
Plan ahead and clearly list the things you want to achieve for each site.
For example, at the beginning of each month, I create a plan that clearly states how many articles I will publish for each site + all the other things.
I use a simple Google Sheets document for this, but you can do it whatever way it suits you.
This plan becomes my compass for the entire month guiding me on how many articles need to be published for each site (and any task apart from content publishing).
Without this, I would be running around like a headless chicken.
And this plan is not set in stone. You can course-correct anytime in case you think the current plan is not working or you need to focus on something more important.
Pick the Winners and Let Go of the Losers
Not all of your sites would work out. As you start more niche sites, you may also end up with some sites that are not working out (or not doing as well as as you expected).
If this happens, take a hard look at your portfolio and let go of the sites that aren’t doing too well. You can choose to sell these sites or just stop working on it.
This will free your time to focus on sites that are performing well.
Pick the winner sites and work on growing these.
In my portfolio, I have five sites that are already doing well and look promising. I prioritize these sites over others and make sure these don’t suffer due to the new sites.
On average, I spend 60-70% of my time on these winner sites. The rest of my time is spent on the remaining sites.
I know that some of my sites would fail, so I need to accept this and keep on nurturing the one that shows some promise.
Quality is Hard to Maintain (Strike a balance)
If you have just one site, you can focus on creating really high-quality content (be it blog posts or videos or social media).
Can you maintain the same level of quality when you have two sites?
Maybe you can.
How about if you have five sites? Can you maintain the same quality?
As you start to grow your portfolio, you need to accept that it will be hard to maintain the same quality on all the sites.
At this point in time, you need to choose whether you want to have less number of sites and focus more on quality or have more number of sites and be ok with some sites having not so high quality.
For example, I have some sites that are built purely for search engine and Amazon affiliate. On these sites, I don’t strive to have the best possible content or design or user experience. These are built to get maximum traffic and make the money.
I accept the fact that these sites are not my highest quality work, but these are useful and bring in some money. This acceptance also allows me to devote more time to sites that are more important for me and make sure that the quality is top-notch.
And in case some of these new sites start performing well, I will promote these to the winner’s category and devote more time and money to these. This eventually will help improve the quality as well.
Work on Operational Efficiency (Reuse and Automate)
Now let’s talk about some tactical stuff.
When you have multiple sites that involve similar kinds of work, you can easily find things you can reuse (and maybe some parts can be automated).
Here are some of the things at the top of my mind that can save you some time (I am sure you can find more).
Create Reusable Templates
As you work on multiple sites, you would notice that some things can be reused across sites,
For example, if you have used the theme builder in Elementor, you don’t need to redesign the new site you just started.
Simply export the design templates from the existing site and import these to the new one. This alone can save you hours.
While this is more of a one-time activity (to be done during the initial setup), you can also reuse on-going work.
Some of the templates I create and reuse on multiple sites include:
- Article briefs for my writers
- Guidelines for agencies
- Keyword research template spreadsheets
- Elementor Design templates for tables and boxes
I have recently started giving feedback to my writers and graphic designers using videos. You can use a free service such as Loom to quickly create screencast videos and give feedback.
Apart from the fact that the feedback is a lot clearer (as compared to back and forth emails), it can also be reused later when you want to give the same feedback to other writers/designers (or train new hires).
Use Same Tools on All the Sites
Managing multiple sites would mean using multiple plugins and themes.
If you use the same theme and the same plugins on all sites, it will be easier as you just need to learn and keep track of these.
Once you know how a plugin/theme works and how to configure it, you can use the same on all of your sites.
For theme, I prefer GeneratePress, where I have the paid version and I can use it on any number of sites.
Make Sure the Site has Security and Backup
The issue with having the same theme and plugins on all your sites is that in case there is a vulnerability, all your sites would be at risk.
And to mitigate any remaining risk, make sure you take regular backups (preferably daily). You can use services such as VaultPress or ManageWP or Updraft.
In case your site still gets hacked, you can restore it with the latest backup.
Your hosting service may promise daily backups, but just don’t rely on it. Make sure you’re also using some other service for daily backups.
In case something goes wrong with the hosting company server, you should also have a backup somewhere else.
Use Manage WP to Manage All Sites from One Dashboard
Manage WP is a free tool that allows you to update all your themes and plugins from a single place.
This means that you don’t have to go into each site, check if there are any updates needed, and then updated manually.
With manage WP, you can do this with a click of a button.
You can also use it to take daily backup of your sites (which is a paid service). Else you can use their free monthly backup. In case you need to restore the backup, you can do that with a click of a button.
Use any Free Uptime Service
You don’t want to be in a situation where your site is down for days/weeks and you don’t come to know about it just because you didn’t open it.
An uptime service pings your sites at regular intervals and in case it’s not reachable, it emails you.
You can use the free service by Uptime Robot
Once you have this setup, you can rest assured that in case your site is down, you will know about it in minutes.
Managing multiple niche sites would require you to work efficiently and outsource aggressively.
While you can work on most of the things when you have only one or two sites, you need to pick and choose the stuff you should do yourself and get help for the rest.