My short bio: I've been creating small niche sites since grade 8 (currently 28 years old) and would love to answer some questions about the process.

My Proof: I won't post the site unless someone asks for it. Don't really want this to be about the site, more about the process and coming up with the idea.

Here's a screenshot of the Analytics from the last 30 days:

Comments: 171 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

Toledojoe15 karma

What kind of site was it? Did you use paid advertising or how did you get the exposure?

Wayrse20 karma

The site is a unicode emoticon site.

I spent roughly $500 over the month to get the ball rolling. Since the initial investment the site has been growing on its own.

I started by donating small amounts to streamers to let the viewers know about the site. I would carefully pick the channels that would give me the most exposure.

Example: If a streamer would display the top donator on their stream I would ensure my donation would last at least a few hours. I would make my donator name be the url of the website. That way 10-20k viewers would constantly see my url while watching the streamer.

KettleLogic20 karma ?

I checked your history. Yeah I'm right.

Worked on me, I use it on my phone all the time to spam friends with lenny face. For your information it was one of the stupid 'raise your donger' posts that got me.

Wayrse15 karma

Haha yeah that's the one.

That was one of the first sub Reddits that helped funnel a little bit of traffic to the site.

KettleLogic3 karma

Was the project 'to prove I could'?

I have plans to try and make my portfolio viral, do you think I should make a new account specifically for it now? I'm worried a new account without any active posts will be ignored as self-promotion, but I rather not use this account as I want to keep my professional life away from my social media accounts.

Which helped more reddit or twitch? I planning on using only reddit as sites like twitch won't have the audience I want.

Did you have any concerns with traffic screwing up your bandwidth? How did you account for that if so? I imagine that's going to be a big problem for me.

Do you think SEO work or word of mouth promotion of link is more helpful?

Wayrse5 karma

It was, I was just trying to see if I still had it. I set the goal to hit 1mm page views the first month.

As long as your portfolio has something to offer to people (Something they would want to use), or is unlike anything else out there. I would be careful posting on Reddit and other social media sites unless you know the community will be accepting of the idea. It can get flagged as spam very quickly.

I've had traffic issues in the past, it was a massive headache to deal with. So on this project I left that up to the good folks at WPEngine. They ensured my site would always be super fast and never go down.

I think as long as you build something that people have a use for it doesn't really matter how you promote it. It will eventually catch on.

2448x11 karma

Sneaky bastard just got another pageview

Wayrse5 karma

LOL, wasn't my intention, but thanks :-P

doopercooper3 karma

I spent roughly $500 over the month to get the ball rolling

Can you break down where that was spent?

Wayrse7 karma

$300 - Subscriptions + Donations on Twitch $100 - Google Adwords $100 - Deviant Art Ads + BuySellAds

The only thing out of those 3 that was effective was the $300. It really helped get the ball rolling with the first bit of users.

The Adwords was the least effective. The cost per click was just too high, and often times the bounce rate would be 100%.

aredna5 karma

As someone that doesn't know anything - what do you mean by Subscriptions?

Wayrse3 karma

Subscriptions on twitch are $5. You can subscribe to a streamer.

So say for instance you were streaming. I can pay $5 and subscribe to your channel. 50% goes to twitch and 50% goes to the streamer. In return I get my url flashed on the stream in front of all the viewers(if the streamer has that functionality setup).

Jayskes9 karma


Wayrse12 karma

  1. Boredom.
  2. I would love it if some other developers with even larger sites would do one of these. I'm always really interested in methods that people use to promote their site, and ways they come up with ideas.

The problem is they never want to give away their secrets.

Jayskes3 karma


Wayrse2 karma

I totally get where you're coming from, I'd question it as well. Just bored on a Sunday - though it would be fun to get a conversation going.

Thanks :)

CertifiedWebNinja2 karma

Interesting Ama, I have run many sites in my 15 years doing web development ranging from 1,000 visitors a day upwards to 400,000 unique visitors a day.

I'm interested in the stack of your site.

Wayrse1 karma

The site is just a custom template built on top of Wordpress with a few plugins to optimize for speed.

The site is hosted over at WPEngine to eliminate any headaches with hosting. They've done a really good job making sure the site stayed online through all of my traffic spikes.

I also own a dedicated server, but I've ran into quite a few issues when dealing with large amounts of traffic in the past and simply didn't have the sys admin knowledge to optimize my server. So I decided to try a fully managed solution this time.

For a CDN we use MaxCDN.

kevo529 karma

Dose it get you laid?

Wayrse10 karma

Unfortunately not yet :-P

milesabove6 karma

I understand your not wanting to make it about the site itself, but I'm curious about the context in which a site would grow that quickly. Did it go viral? Paid ads? Just really awesome service?

Wayrse5 karma

It didn't really go viral.

I tried paid Ads but those were the least effective out of all the methods I tried. Not to mention the most expensive.

The service was something people just seemed to really grasp. I could tell that from the returning users the first few days.

After that I found a few good newsletters, and a sub Reddit to help the site gain some traction.

MaxIll6 karma

How difficult is it to learn how to program and do webdesign? Like I have always thought about getting into programming apps but unfortunately there is just so much info that it seems like the learning curve is super high to do web designing. Does it require a degree from university?

Wayrse4 karma

Nowadays it's fairly easy to break into the scene. There are so many resources out there for you to learn programming just about anybody can do it.

It all really depends on what field you'd like to jump into (For the most part they all use different technologies). Let me know what you're interested in and I'll point you in the right direction to get started.

A degree is not a must have anymore. When I hire at my workplace I pay closer attention to the work samples rather than the education on the resume.

MaxIll2 karma

What courses/books do you recommend one would need to read to build a website like Reddit?

Wayrse5 karma

A site like Reddit is a little ambitious as a first project.

I would begin with the basics. Start out by learning HTML & CSS. A good starting point would be to do the video courses here:

okokko2 karma


Wayrse1 karma

I work at a Agency in Toronto, Ontario. However this project was a side one and had nothing to do with the agency.

If you are interested in a position shoot me a PM we are hiring for a few positions.

workderp2 karma

Be careful to keep this is completely separate from your job or your employer may take your company. Your contract may stipulate that it doesnt matter if you arn't working on it during work time as well. A friend of mine is a GIS technician and is running in to the same problems with his drone business.

Wayrse1 karma

No worries, thanks for the heads up.

I work as a contractor & have read the contract is detail to ensure nothing like that can happen.

jpfdeuce5 karma

How influential was social media in achieving your feat (Facebook, Twitter, etc)?

Wayrse8 karma

Twitter and Facebook never really played a huge part in the majority of the traffic. But Reddit definitely helped, here's a breakdown:

Total unique sessions for the month: 274,042

Facebook: 3,564 Twitter: 2,793 Reddit: 101,619

Raegnar1212 karma

I see reddit is obviously the largest contributor, I have a business and would like to spread the word on reddit but I am a little worried about being downvoted into oblivion and marked as spam. We have a good product and I'd like to see it get shared. Any suggestions?

Wayrse1 karma

Yes Reddit was the biggest starting point. However now the majority of the traffic comes from Organic Google searches & direct visitors.

Find a way to contribute to the community without spamming. One quick way I could think of is (if you think the community will accept your product) start a feedback contest. Giveaway 5-10 products in exchange for feedback on how to make your item better. This way you're exchanging something for the participation.

If you are planning on doing the above I would message the moderator of that sub Reddit first to make sure they are ok with such a post.

If your product relates to video games you can setup a tournament for a particular game. In exchange have the streamers post a banner of your product on the screen while the tournament is happening. (This can be done fairly cheap $500 - $1000) I would only do this if you feel confident about the viewers supporting the product.

Thewtfker3 karma


Do you think you could do this again or was it just the luck of the draw?

Wayrse3 karma

Luck and timing are probably 30% of the formula. A good idea and some clever advertising tactics can take you most of the way.

I believe I can do this again. This is about the 4th site that I have ran up to 1mm page views monthly. The other 3 weren't as quick but they didn't take longer than a year.

Oax_Mike3 karma

The biggest challenge with our business is by far and away getting enough visitors to our website every month. I looked up this deal and the users there probably wouldn't be our target market. Do you have any other unique traffic driving ideas that you think would work for a boutique hotel?

Thanks in advance if you've got some other genius idea up your sleeve :)

Wayrse2 karma

Another interesting idea would be to create a micro site that covers unique boutique hotels (Possibly some sort of showcase) in a way that might not be out there yet. Get some traffic flowing to the site and use it to promote your boutique.

I'd have to do some research but I'm sure there's an angle that hasn't been covered yet in that space.

Wayrse2 karma

For a boutique hotel I would focus on getting some amazing pictures of the place. Focus on capturing what makes the place unique.

Then take those pics and shop around for sites that feature that kind of content. An example would be &

Another avenue you could use is Instagram. Find the top travel/hotel/vacation instagrams (ex. beautifuldestinations) and contact the authors about featuring you. If your place is unique enough you can get away with free features.

Don't be afraid to contact some of the smaller guys (20-100k followers). Every bit of traffic counts and chances are a lot of these accounts just copy what the next guy has. So if you get posted on one chances are it will spread to some of the others.

Other than that I would search for local forums, travel forums to gather more places you could potentially market your business.

Hope that helps!

mosquitobird113 karma

Have you worked with any web frameworks like Laravel or RoR or AngularJS and what is your opinion of them / which do you like the most?

Wayrse3 karma

I've never worked with Laravel or RoR. The shop I'm at right now started doing most of their projects in Angular. Nothing but good things to say about it. It was really easy to jump into things with my past front-end experience.

Pete0Z3 karma

Do you think you could do this for a site that sells goods?

Wayrse3 karma

It would be a little bit more difficult to do with goods. But I believe it's possible.

I actually have a couple of ideas for physical goods I'd like to sell to test out my theory on. But it will have to wait till next Christmas as it was too late to manufacture and market when I came up with the idea.

Hopefully next year I can do a AMA for 'I sold 1,000,000 XXX' ;-P

jpfdeuce2 karma

Your site was a general web culture orientated topic. Do you think the same success could be found for a niche subject site / blog?

Wayrse3 karma

Sure, as long as the niche isn't too narrow. I always ask myself, would 1/50 random people want to use this website? If the answer is yes, you might be on to something.

With my past sites I found that they key to a big traffic site is to find something that people need to visit everyday, or at least a few times a week. (Daily updated wallpaper sites do this well. For some reason people will come back everyday to check the latest wallpapers)

If you can't think of an idea, always be conscious when you're looking for something and you can't find a good source. There might be an opportunity for a new venture there.

dutsnekcirf2 karma

Do you use a CMS? If so, which one? If not, is there a specific development environment you prefer or are you an html/css and scripting god? LAMP or Windows/ASP?

Do you do your own graphics or contract that out?

What is your inspiration to coming up with new website ideas?

Wayrse2 karma

The site is currently build on Wordpress, I customized and skinned the default theme. I find Wordpress is great for getting a simple idea out there quickly. It's also very stable when it comes to big traffic. I've tried doing the 'from scratch' approach in the past. But when the big traffic hit I ran into quite a few issues with keeping the site online and snappy. (This was to do with my lack of knowledge in optimizing databases)

I do all my own graphic work, I'm very picky when it comes to that stuff. It also saves a lot of $ as good design work is not cheap.

My inspiration usually comes from when I'm looking for something and can't find a good resource. I write my idea down and try to figure out whether it's something that's worth spending a couple weeks on.

UnlockingCharity2 karma

Can you explain what does? Like how did you get views from them?

Wayrse4 karma is a website that allows you to stream yourself playing video games. Some of the top streamers have 10k - 50k viewers at any given time.

Some viewers allow popups on their screen - when somebody subscribes or donates a username or message is displayed on the screen. I would make my message or username the URL of my site.

gallerdude2 karma

Advice to new web developers?

Wayrse4 karma

Keep learning & if you ever think of something that might be useful for people - build it. Don't wait too long and throw the idea aside. If it doesn't catch on I'm sure at least you'll picked up a bunch of new skills along the way.

It's amazing the bits of knowledge you will aquire when seeing a project from the idea stage to the final phase.

elpelonino2 karma

How much money did you make from Ad Revenue?

Wayrse2 karma

$0, It was never my intention to monetize the site.

I just wanted to create something people could use.

I might look into it to offset some of the hosting expenses in the future. But I'll be very careful in doing so as I feel that Ads make the user experience quite a bit less enjoyable.

doopercooper2 karma

What were the topics/niches of your past sites?

Wayrse2 karma

  • Wallpapers
  • Photoshop Resources (Brushes, Tutorials)
  • Illustrator Resources (Vectors)

Dysl3xicDog2 karma

What type of infrastructure issues did you run into using wordpress for the higher than average volume? What did you do to correct any performance problems you had?

Wayrse2 karma

At first I was hosted with Media Temple. But no matter how much I moved up their tiers of hosting plans I always ran into high CPU usage issues. They were unable to help me with my issues so I decided to get a dedicated host on iWeb.

My server was fine for a while, until a couple sites started getting 1mm+ visitors/month. The server started going down quite often. I tried hiring a couple different sys admins to solve the issue but they were unable to pin point the issue. They might have been just bad sys admins? At that point I was so stressed I was ready to try anything.

So with this site I wanted to avoid all the stress and headaches so I gave a fully hosted solution a try (WPEngine). (I had a hunch that the site would do really well with traffic and wanted to be ready). They've been more than helpful making sure the site has stayed online and always performed fast.

Hermago2 karma

I might be a little late to the party but here goes anyway! As a Web Developer in the making I'm really curious how you get the ideas for your next project?

Wayrse2 karma

As I surf the web I usually run into situations where I'm looking for something and can't find a good source for the answer. Or the source with the answers is really poor. I make sure to write down and be as specific as I can in how I would make it better.

When I have some spare time I go through my list of ideas and do some further research to see if anything is worth pursuing.

Other times when I see a large amount of people around a particular topic I brain storm and see if there is anything I could build to take advantage of the large amount of interested people. I did a lot of brainstorming on how I could make something to target the audience as I see that the video game streaming market is a booming one and will only get bigger.

For instance, I was using and found myself wanting to post a text emoticon. I went out looking for where these people that keep posting them get them from. All I could find was really ugly small blog posts that had clusters of maybe 10-20 text emoticons.

Then I went around asking a few of the people who would paste these text emoticons where they were getting them from. 80% of the answers were that they would save the ones they liked to a notepad. From that answer alone I saw an opportunity to create a site where I could consolidate all of the emoticons I find and make it easier for people to find them.

Peechez2 karma

so you wanted to help facilitate a more fluid donger raising experience? Something something big dick club

Wayrse1 karma

haha, you got it ╰༼ ❛ ʖ̫ ❛ ༽╯

GregH302 karma

Did you hire any outside companies for SEO keyword marketing? What kind of marketing did you do?

Wayrse7 karma

No outside companies were hired. I would spend a little bit of time everyday to think of new clever ways to push the site and would act on them. Some of the methods I tried were:

  • Donating to Twitch streamers
  • Subscribing to Twitch streamers (using my url as the profile name)
  • Google Adwords
  • Posting to Sub Reddits (Did a lot of research on which ones would work best)
  • Finding people on twitter interested in the topic and engaging them, letting them know about the site
  • Deviant Art Ads
  • Forums

Those are just some of the methods I used to get the ball rolling.

cuntRatDickTree3 karma

So, spam? And a little paid advertising which is just a money sink.

Wayrse0 karma

I wouldn't consider it spam necessarily. I was very careful in choosing where I would post the site. I made sure it would only be in places where the users would actually have a use for the sites content.

Some of the other methods that were a lot more successful that I didn't mention above were:

  • Finding design and product related sites and submitting the site (Product Hunt)
  • Finding design newsletters and submitting the site (Sidebar, Versioning)
  • Finding Youtube channels that do roundups of this sort of content and let them know about it. (Vsauce3)

The methods mentioned earlier were to get the ball rolling, the majority of the traffic came from the 3 points mentioned above.

Otherwise it would be a big waste of time and I wouldn't see a 50% return rate from the users.

selectorate_theory2 karma

How does subscribing help you? Also I understand that donations give you shout out and stuff, but did not see how people go to your site without a link readily available. Even with your name display on the screen but with no further info, why do people check it out?

Wayrse2 karma

I was surprised myself when I tried it at first. With some 20-30k viewer streams I'd get 100-200 people typing in the url directly to visit the site.

wee0x1b-13 karma

Posting to Sub Reddits

Fuck you. I mean that in the worst possible way.

Wayrse3 karma

The sub reddit I posted in were created specifically for text emoticons.

wee0x1b-13 karma

Perhaps buy an ad and help support the site you're leeching from?

Wayrse9 karma

I was simply providing a resource for those sub reddits, I don't see any harm in that.

spider_842 karma

Have you made any profits from this?

Wayrse1 karma

Nope, it was more of a learning experience/a test to see if I was still able to make a successful website.

The potential for profits is definitely there, I just feel at this time it would take away from the experience too much. I might include an ad here and there to offset the hosting costs in the future, but that's still up in the air.

spider_842 karma

Cool man, all the best. I hope you eventually get some financial benefits.

Wayrse1 karma

Thanks buddy :)

highassnegro2 karma

Do you do it for money/want to do it for money?

Wayrse1 karma

Nope, I simply saw something lacking in a good source and spent some of my free time to create a useful resource.

Sometimes it's just fun to create a project that people love to use. Not having to worry about ads and solely pushing traffic to the site for people to click on those ads. It takes away a large portion of stress related to running a website.

I find joy in updating it and spreading the word about it, takes me away from the other countless paid projects I work on throughout the day.

ThatProFish2 karma

For a website which wouldn't work around twitch, unlike, how would you recommend advertising?

Wayrse2 karma

You can also hit up news sites that focus around your topic. If the idea is good/unique enough most places would be more than happy to write a short article about it. I've had quite a few articles written about the site on some large news sites. (ex. The Daily Dot)

Wayrse2 karma

Sit down and map out who the potential users of your site are. Then do some research to figure out the big hubs where people of that interest hang out.

When you find those hubs you can start putting together a strategy on how to get across to those users.

A pretty standard for most topics is:

  • Forums (These can give you a lot of information on the users, other avenues to research for possible advertising opportunities)
  • Newsletters geared towards that topic (You can find a way to have your product or site features in them, I had quite a bit of traffic come from 2 very big design newsletters)
  • Sub Reddits geared towards that topic (Obviously don't spam, but if you think your idea would be beneficial to the user, let them know about it)
  • Focus on a really clean and nice design (This will give you leverage to submit to CSS showcase sites which will help you get some back links to your website)

In the end when everything settles most of your steady traffic will be Organic (From search engines) so make sure your site is optimized enough for search engines to rank it for the right keywords.

TheLoneDonut2 karma

Have you ever considered doing marketing work for other developers/business owners? If you either know/ learn how to correctly SEO sites and can have confidence in gaining this kind of traffic for clients then you'd make crazy money.

Wayrse2 karma

I've never really considered it.

I feel the advice I give is something anyone can easily figure out on their own with a little bit of research.

TheLoneDonut2 karma

If you're at all interested I'd love to talk to you about a website that my friend and I are currently having developed.

Wayrse1 karma

Sure, shoot me a message I'll take a look a little later this week.

50dollarlogos2 karma

I have a logo site, and I make logos for small businesses, the thing with my site is that its very easy to use (1 page) and logos only cost $50, any tips on getting traffic to it? that is my biggest hurdle, thanks!

(Asked this before, didnt think it went through.)

Wayrse1 karma

A site like that the best form of advertising would be the logos you provide.

$50 is very cheap for a logo, if you are creating completely custom logos that look amazing you won't have to advertise. People will flock to your site.

If the above is true - you can post your amazing logos on sites like or a variety of the other design showcase sites (do a quick google search). Build a reputation on those sites for creating amazing logos and you won't have any trouble getting design work.

50dollarlogos2 karma

Do you have skype? I'd love to talk more with you about this, do you think Pinterest promotion would work as well?

Wayrse1 karma

Sorry don't do Skype.

It might, I haven't messed around with Pinterest too much. You want to focus on communities where people go to get design work done.

FunGoodHappyJoy2 karma

What do you do for a living?

Wayrse2 karma

I work as a Lead Front-End Developer for a Agency in Toronto, Ontario.

FunGoodHappyJoy2 karma

Does front-end web development mean you design how the website looks?

Wayrse2 karma

We have a designer who will come up with the design.

I then take that static design and code it up to be usable template (Pretty much anything that's front facing, everything you see in the browser - minus the backend functionality).

Then the usable template is handed off to a backend developer who hooks it up to a database and gives the elements on the page functionality.

FunGoodHappyJoy3 karma

Oh I see. So a graphic designer will design how the website looks in something like Photoshop (?) and you will take that design and code it in HTML/CSS? What does back-end web development entail? Isn't a website complete once it passes through your hands and you make the design functional?

Wayrse3 karma

Yup the designer would design the site in Photoshop, correct then it's coded using HTML/CSS.

As a simple example, say the design was a form.

Once I'm done with the front-end you have a basic functional form. The backend person would figure out how the data should b stored in the database & hook the form up so it works with the rest of the application.

This process is typically for larger agencies. Most places nowadays have Full Stack developers who deal with the front/backend all in one.

FunGoodHappyJoy2 karma

I see. I always thought the front-end web developers did everything from the designing to the coding, and I had no idea what back-end involved. Is it OK for me to PM you with questions regarding web development?

Wayrse1 karma

Front End also deals with design sometimes. All 3 roles can overlap at times. Sure send me any questions you have, I'd love to help.

Turd--Ferguson2 karma

What are your thoughts on using a program like Adobe Music to build a website?

Wayrse1 karma

Adobe Muse*

Whatever it takes to get your site off the ground.

It's all about the content in the end. Once the site starts getting some good traction if you feel the Adobe Muse built site isn't holding its own you can always try a different platform.

malau12 karma

How much on average do you have to donate to a twitch steamer?

How does your emoticon site make money for you? Or did you just make this particular site as a means of testing your process?

Can you provide a link to the site? (You said you would if asked)

Wayrse2 karma

On average I tried to keep it under $8. The largest sum was $31.

I've had a few sites in the past that have reached 1mm page views regularly on a monthly basis. I haven't started a new one in a couple years and wanted to see if I still had it.

I might possibly monetize it in the future, but for now I'm just happy to work on making the traffic grow.

The site is

Bdubber2 karma

Have you been able to monetize this traffic?

Wayrse2 karma

I threw Adsense onto the site for a few hours out of curiosity. I averaged $16 over 9 hours. This was mid month when the traffic became steady.

I ended up taking the Ad down as I felt it ruined the aesthetics of the site. The intention of this site wasn't to make money, I have other properties for that very purpose.


How much do you charge?

Wayrse2 karma

$0, I've never been a big fan of freelance work. I try to spend most of my free time working on my own side projects. But if you have an awesome site and need someone to bounce some ideas off of I'd love to hear them.

wilfra1 karma


Wayrse2 karma

I currently have 3 other projects in the pipeline, they should keep me busy for the next few months. But I'll be sure to send you a message if I'm able to free up some time.

DubRichardson2 karma

Just curious have you sold any of those domains? Some of them are actually really good. Edit: Just saw you do this for a living, mind explaining a little bit of what you do? I never really understood domain selling/buying.

Wayrse2 karma

I'd love to see a AMA from a domain reseller. I also have a ton of questions :-P

Rks11570 karma

As a former developer who has done the same many times I think you'll agree that page views are pretty much a meaningless metric. Traffic for the sake of traffic is a waste of bandwidth. Visitors that make purchases, provide information or click on paid advertisements have meaning. Visitors that simply load a page and move on have no value.

That said, how did the increase in page views (you didn't mention if they were unique visitors) benefit the site?

Wayrse3 karma

Traffic for the sake of just being traffic could have tons of benefits. A simple example would be:

If you launch another project in a similar category you can use your established site to funnel some traffic to it. This would help getting the new site off the ground in no time without putting too much effort into promoting.

The end goal is to rank really well in google and convert most of the traffic to be 80% organic. This would create a nice stream of constant steady traffic without the need to constantly promote.

The site could become profitable at any second if I choose to. However I don't want to do that at this moment. I'm having a blast driving the numbers up and trying out different promotional methods.

Rks11570 karma

"it could be profitable any second if I chose to. However I just don't want to..." I guess things have changed in business since I retired.

Wayrse3 karma

"it could be profitable any second if I chose to. However I just don't want to..." I guess things have changed in business since I retired.

The purpose of this site was never to make money. It was simply an experiment and a way to provide something for the community that was lacking.

wee0x1b-5 karma

Why do you not think that you are part of the problem instead of part of the solution?

Wayrse2 karma

depends on what you think the problem is, and where this problem exists.

I simply built something that I saw was lacking resources online.