The 4 phases of niche site growth and traffic trends

phases oct5

4 phases chart

We chase traffic; that’s what we do.

We’re always making an attempt to retain present and develop new traffic.

Content material is our traffic-getting car.


This got here to thoughts to me right this moment as I used to be setting some loosely-based traffic objectives for some of my better-performing websites.

Particularly, I’ve some websites doing nicely with good growth potential within the quick time period (subsequent 12 months).

So these websites will likely be a spotlight.

I can solely accomplish that a lot.

Newer websites I launch, seed and let sit. There’s not a lot else that may be finished because it takes months for traffic to materialize to a brand new site.

As soon as traffic begins coming in, it’s time to pour on the content material gas.

When websites hit the primary growth stage, they want consideration. These are the websites that provide probably the most growth alternative within the shortest quantity of time.


I hope in time, my newer websites hit this stage however given they’re solely a pair months outdated there’s not a lot I can do apart from seed, sit and wait.

Which brings me to the 4 phases of a site. They’re:

  • Infancy (0 to six months)
  • Baby (6 to 18 months)
  • Adolescence (18 to 36 months)
  • Mature: Slower, long run growth (money cow or locomotive as Ann at likes to name them).​

In between these phases will likely be plateaus and even loss of traffic.

All websites endure traffic loss sooner or later. I’ve had many downturns over time.

The longer you personal a site, the extra you want to have a look at the 12 to 24 month charts for the general trends.

Let’s check out a couple of examples:

Mature site (Site 1: 7.5 years outdated)

Mature site timeline

The above site launched in 2014. For some cause that is way back to Analytics would go. It undoubtedly wasn’t the quickest rising site on the Internet however the long run pattern is up. I’m in a downturn presently however I’m not stunned. The annual cycle is growth Jan. via June adopted by plateau and then downward in Fall. Most years, the 12 months over 12 months traffic degree for any month is up. That’s key. Now that I perceive the annual trends, when the downturn comes round it’s not sudden (I nonetheless don’t prefer it however them’s the breaks).

Income potential on this part: 5, six and even seven figures monthly. Past that it could actually fluctuate however it’s commonplace for a 3+ 12 months outdated site to be incomes 5-figures monthly. There are huge websites on the market incomes 7-figures monthly and then all the things in between.

Adolescent site (Site 9: 17-month-old web site)

Adolescent site

I’ve put a giant effort into this site and it’s working. It’s in a broad niche with good long run growth potential. Whereas the growth pattern line isn’t dramatic, it’s persistently shifting in the correct path.


I’ve not had this site lengthy sufficient to note any annual traffic trends. That takes a couple of years.

Income potential on this part: 4-figures monthly. Once more, it could actually fluctuate an awesome deal however many websites hit the low to excessive 4 figures monthly through the 18 to 36-month part. Many breach 5-figures. It’s an thrilling part as a result of site valuation will get up there.

Baby site (Site 11: 6-month-old site)


This youngster site launched on an aged area so it began getting traffic pretty quick. It’s in a speedy growth part now and with some luck, the chart line will proceed like that for the subsequent 12 months.

Income potential for this part: Low a whole bunch to low four-figures monthly. Some that take pleasure in meteoric growth can crack 5 figures monthly in 18 months however that’s not typical.

Toddler site (0 to six months – not listed in revenue reviews… nothing to report)

The infancy stage is the hardest since you plow heaps of work into it and get no outcomes for months and months. Sure, that is typical so when you’re simply beginning, it’s regular for a brand new site to haven’t any or little traffic for months.

Income potential for this part: It’s not nice. $10 to possibly a pair of hundred monthly is practical.


Not one of my websites are stand-outs. They really function respectable examples of typical… maybe a tad above common resulting from having the ability to outsource content material. My largest site does nicely however it’s not massively profitable. My youthful, rising websites are performing nicely however they aren’t meteoric by any stretch of the creativeness.

There are at all times exceptions. There are websites that by no means develop. There are websites that develop exceptionally quick. However for probably the most half, the above is what you’ll be able to count on when you persistently add good content material focusing on easy-to-rank key phrases.

When to promote?

Many of us promote after adolescence (18 to 36 month mark) which is smart. By this level the site loved pretty speedy growth leveraging time to succeed in values many instances the quantity of cash put into them. It’s additionally the purpose when websites begin requiring funding in updating older content material which is a labor-intensive course of. Avoiding that is good cause to promote.

FYI, the adolescence stage is when websites turn out to be worthwhile on a month-to-month foundation. In different phrases, income usually exceeds month-to-month funding. Till this part, many websites both rely totally on sweat fairness or lose cash each month. Getting within the black is a unbelievable stage as a result of you’ll be able to reinvest on autopilot to gas future growth… or money out.

Some of us promote after the kid part (6 to 18 months). At this level not an enormous quantity was invested and if it’s incomes a couple of hundred to low 4-figures it could actually additionally internet an awesome return on funding. Furthermore, websites at these valuations promote quick for very excessive multiples which is a robust argument for promoting at this level. When you get your site launch and early growth technique working effectively, you’ll be able to crank these out and principally deal with flipping like a list enterprise. Launch, fast develop, flip… rinse and repeat.

After which there are of us who don’t promote. I kinda fall into this camp. I’ve bought websites and I’ll once more, however a component of me can’t let go as a result of I get the blinders on a site’s potential. My mindset is that if it could actually get to $3K monthly, think about what it’ll earn in one other 24 months. This line of considering can work and not work. Traffic does go down. In actual fact, when you cling onto a site lengthy sufficient, it is going to go down. I’m biased as a result of I did cling onto one site that does very, very nicely so it’s pure I’ve a penchant for hanging onto websites indefinitely.