Why I shut down a side project
Last week, I shut down a personal site. Sussex Pub Links was a directory of pub websites (and related links) but, after a review, I decided it was time to close it. Not soon enough, you might say, because I know this was an old-fashioned site. Yet, over the years, I made some money via AdSense and Amazon affiliate links from the site. So, closing it down was not as clear-cut as you may think.
The main reasons I decided to shut the site were:
- This type of site has had its day.
- Revenue has declined over the last year. This may have been exacerbated because I changed the site layout a few months back. If Yes, that's a lesson for me.
- Initially, pub website owners and web teams would add their links to the site but this doesn't happen now. Pubs are not interested in adding or updating information on a site like this when they have their own sites to update. Good luck to anyone else running a directory site!
- Even though all the site content was managed in a CMS (two versions custom coded, then WordPress), the site still took time to manage (finding and adding new links, updating the site software, checking search engines etc).
Pros and Cons
You might think this was an easy decision but it wasn't. The site gets a good number of visitors and most of its pages have great search engine positions. With more work, I could have improved the site by adding better pub information and useful functionality such as a map with postcode search.
But, I've worked on the site for a long time and more work isn't what I want to do with it.
I learnt a lot by creating the site, coding and recoding it, moving it to WordPress and updating it. However, now's the time to retire it and concentrate on other sites.
I'm still interested in Sussex Pubs so I will keep the associated Twitter account going for the moment and review that in a few months.