Photo by Kittisak / FreedigitalPhotos.net

Building your own private blog network using expired domains seems to be the trend with today’s big players in the world of professional bloggers. Those who have some money to spend (it really doesn’t have to be a lot) prefer building their own networks to paying big bucks to companies who offer a similar service. And, to be honest, lately I’ve started to consider this too. Should I build my own private blog network?

All the websites that I have ever built were built using white hat methods. I spent tens of hours writing content myself, taking care of the promotion and waiting for my great content to get linked to. What happened? Well, usually nothing as getting free links in many niches is almost impossible, no matter how good your content is. If your blog is new, if your voice is new, if people don’t know you, you won’t get that link. And it’s all a vicious circle, because you can’t instantly become popular. Unfortunately, great content does not guarantee traffic.

Backlinks give you traffic, because they increase your rankings in the search engines. It’s as easy a that!

The difficult part, as you probably know, is getting the backlinks. There are millions of “SEO” firms and Fiverr gigs promising you good links for a few dollars, but usually those are bad links that will hurt your site and not something I’d like to get involved with. Then, there are premium, well hidden Private Blog Networks that offer you links, but they are not cheap. Lightning Rank, probably the most trusted at the moment, gives you 1 high(ish) authority link per month for $75. Now that’s something most of the bloggers can’t afford! And even with this, you’re not guaranteed great rankings!

So, a natural question follows: should I build my own Private Blog Network?

In theory, building a PBN is not that difficult. Here are the steps you have to follow:

1. Find expired domains with high PR/Domain Authority/Page Authority which have no spammy links
2. Get multiple cheap hosting accounts to host your domains of different IPs
3. Install WordPress, create a blog that looks as genuine as possible & create content constantly

Of course, these are some bare bones guidelines, and the actual process is extremely difficult if you have to do everything by yourself. Lewis has a great guide on how to build a PBN over at Cloud Income, but even the big guys like Niche Pursuit’s Spencer had a terrible time building their network from scratch.

Can a smaller blogger do it? One without the funds of the big guys, one that actually spends hours per day generating content just to stay afloat and generate enough monthly income? This is the real question and the million dollar answer is difficult to give.

PBNs require time and resources

Photo source: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo source: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Or just resources if you can really outsource the whole thing, which I can’t. But if we’re talking about a 10 website (which would be smallish) PBN, here are some estimates on how much time I would need to personally take care of everything:

– 6 hours for finding the domains & checking out their stats (and I am VERY optimistic here)
– 1 hour: Registering the domains and setting them up on new hosting accounts
– 10 Hours: Setting up WordPress, installing plugins, writing the basic pages (About Us, Contact, Privacy Policy, etc), setting up Analytics and installing/customizing the theme
– 38 Hours: Writing 5 articles for each of your new blogs (45 minutes per article)
– 8 Hours: Do some minimal promotion: Facebook pages, Google Plus, Tweets and comments, Social shares (for all articles)

Then we would have the minimum costs:

– $100 for registering the domains
– $120 for 1 year of hosting (considering we can find 10 hosting plans of $1 per month)
– $50 for logo designs on Fiverr (I really can’t do it – if you can, you spend more time)

So, bare bones, in order to build our own PBN from 10 expired domains, we would need 63 hours and $270. That’s some heavy work, and the time spent looking for good domains could easily increase from 6 hours to 20 if we’re unlucky.

So, is a PBN really worth it?

The initial investment is huge, indeed. We’re talking about losing time and money doing something that might or might not work – although everybody says that it does, right now. However, if this does work, in the long run, it’s the easiest way to go, because you have guaranteed backlinks for your money making websites. No more asking for guest posts, no more waiting for answers, no more getting your articles or links removed after a while. You have them. They’re yours. They’re there.

I am not 100% sure that it would be a good idea, but I would really risk having these websites link to two main sites. That’s 20 links total, more than enough to really boost the rankings of small to medium niche websites – or just improve the rankings of any website.

I am planning to give this a go. I won’t start with 10 websites as I really don’t have the time for that, but 3 to 5 should be doable. I also have a secret plan for one of the expired domains that I will buy, so stay tuned to find out everything about my trip into the world of expired domains and private blog network building!

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