The Pareto Principle is Alive and Well

| August 30, 2011

80-20 BlackboardSince we were in the house this weekend due to hurricane Irene, I got a chance to run a few numbers. Actually, running is the wrong word to use. I slowly and carefully raised my exhausted index finger to left mouse click on the Excel spreadsheet to quietly examine my numbers.

You see, I needed a break from the grueling Just Dance competition I had going with my daughter. While most folks ran to the store to buy water, flashlights, batteries and candles for the impending storm, we ran to Best Buy and purchased a Wii console. After several hours of dancing, I needed to do something that wasn’t so physically taxing.

A Tale of 5 Domain Names

As I slowly (and I mean slowly) looked over my numbers I noted that earlier this year I registered five domain names. Of those five domain names 3 were developed into websites. Of the three developed websites two might earn enough to cover the cost of the domain name registration. If they cover the cost then I’ll keep them; if not, they’re history. The final blog is doing very well. In other words, 20% of the domain names I registered this year are doing well.

History Repeating ItselfJust Dance 2

Milking my dance break for as long as I could, I went back and looked at the other four years of my online writing and also noted that approximately 20% of the sites I created are bringing in the bulk of my income (about 80%). This 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle) is pretty consistent across the years.

There was a time where I slowed down in creating blogs because I was writing for content sites, but even the slower pace brought similar results.

Throwing It Against the Wall

The way I look at it is if you throw enough stuff against the Internet wall something will stick. If you have one blog and it is doing very well consider yourself fortunate. Your one successful blog may be the exception to the Pareto Principle. The rest of us, however, will have to throw more stuff against the wall to find the ones that stick.

That leads me to ask and answer the question: What about the dud sites (and unused domains)? That’s the subject of a whole ‘nother post.

I was about to get long-winded here so I decided to break it up into two posts.

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Category: Blog, Internet, Motivation

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (15)

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  1. Good advice. Now I want to go through my numbers and see if they are 80/20. 🙂
    Alina Bradford recently posted…How to Promote Your Articles in Less Than 3 MinutesMy Profile

  2. Debbi says:

    Hi Felicia!

    I’m a quiet lurker on your blog and this comment is totally off topic, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate the guidance and input you provide here. You are part of the reason I’ve decided to stop chasing pennies and start trying to get paid what I’m worth! YAY ME! So, I just wanted to say thank you and I look forward to more lurking! 😉

    • Felicia says:

      Good for you, Debbi. I’m glad I was able to provide a little inspiration. BTW, it is my belief that every blog has more lurkers than commenters. I’m a lurker too. 🙂

  3. kidgas says:

    I can’t wait for the next post since I was just getting warmed up in reading this one. I do think that it pays to throw up a bunch of stuff and see what sticks. I just need to throw up more.
    kidgas recently posted…Revenue is Bouncing Back Following PandaMy Profile

  4. Jen says:

    I just got done reading The Four Hour Work Week. I LOVED the book and am buckling down and getting more serious about my online work. The book also talked a lot about the 80/20. This post lets me know that I’m on the right track.

    • Felicia says:

      Great book to read, Jen. Timothy Ferris really got me all fired up with that one.

      As Crystal mentioned, the 80/20 rule applies everywhere. I’ve recently discovered that 20% of the people in my life cause 80% of the drama. 🙂

  5. Michael says:

    I think a lot of times people think they can make a fortune off of one site because the stories about people doing it gets so much play. But then what we don’t hear about are the 99 percent of the time where that doesn’t happen. But that doesn’t sell ebooks or memberships to online classes where you too can learn to make a million dollars a year off one blog. Those are the flukes. The rule is, branch out, create many sites, and pay attention to what does well and why.
    Michael recently posted…Freelance FilmmakingMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Michael, that’s it in a nutshell. Slow and steady doesn’t sell books. Hmmm, maybe that will be the title of one of the books I’m working on. 🙂

  6. Loretta says:

    Felicia, it was so nice to see this post following Hurricane Irene. It is obvious from each of your upbeat and encouraging accounts that you have weathered many storms and apparently have gotten really good at weathering them. On the wall next to my PC monitor, I have a small “Inspirational Bulletin Board” containing numerous post-it notes with one-line motivational messages that I have I acquired from various sources include your NJFM posts. From today’s post, I stuck this message on my board. “The way I look at it is if you throw enough stuff against the Internet wall something will stick.” I really like that one. What a powerful statement.
    Loretta recently posted…A Tribute to Nick AshfordMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Loretta, I like the idea of an Inspirational Bulletin Board. I’ve got a “Favorite Phrases” file on my computer, but a bulletin board is so much more “in your face” and serves as a good reminder.

      As far as storms go, we survived just fine this go ’round. One of the few times that we kept our power and didn’t have to remove trees from where they didn’t belong. The road, however, that leads into my neighborhood has washed away. The construction crews are in the process of rebuilding it. Hope you and the rest of my co-Irene survivors have fared well.

  7. Deanna says:

    Once again you make a great point. I am sure that all of your blogs/websites are well-thought-out ones, yet even those don’t always produce like they should have. You never know for sure which sites will take off, so you just have to keep trying until some do. I look forward to reading about what you do with the “dud” sites.
    Deanna recently posted…Do You Need a College Degree to be a Writer?My Profile

  8. Ken says:

    I’m warming up my pitching arm…gonna’ start throwing more against the wall! wooo hooo! Let’s do this!
    Ken recently posted…Blogs And the Crew Of The EnterpriseMy Profile

  9. Crystal says:

    Glad you came through Irene ok, Felicia. A dance competition with your daughter sounds like lots of fun and a great way to get some exercise while stuck indoors.

    This post is so encouraging! Isn’t it amazing how 80/20 applies to most everything in life? I find it to be true over and over (and over again). It’s nice to know that it applies so neatly to your online efforts, as well. Now I need to get busy throwing more stuff against the Internet wall:)
    Crystal recently posted…Save Big Money on Christmas Gifts at Department StoresMy Profile