Have you ever wanted to be Batman?
The allure of Batman is all about the cool gadgets and vehicles Batman uses.
Custom motorcycles are a very real interest for a niche but passionate group of people.
And that's what Chris set out to serve with BikeEXIF.
About this Site
Bike EXIF is an online magazine that showcases the coolest custom motorcycles, several days a week.
I started the site in late 2008 as an experiment, when I was working in Sydney as an advertising creative director. It took off quickly, and I came back to New Zealand in 2011 to run the site full time. We live on a small farm near Matakana, just over an hour north of Auckland.
Is Bike EXIF your full-time job?
Yes. Until 2011, it was something I did in the evenings and at weekends, after the kids were in bed. (By day I was a creative director for a US-owned ad agency.) In the past I’ve written a monthly column for the UK’s best selling motorcycle magazine, Bike, plus occasional pieces for the Japanese magazine Moto Navi and David Edwards’ BikeCraft magazine.
Blogposts and How-To Guides
Bike EXIF is focused on beautiful, custom motorcycles for bike enthusiasts.
It frequently features custom workshops and builders, and gives inspiration to hobbyist to create the bike of their dreams.
In addition to the writeups, the main draw are the stunning images of the bikes from various angles.
This gives a nod to good photography as ingrained in the name of the site, where EXIF stands for 'Exchangeable Image File format’.
This is the data captured by a digital camera when a photo is taken, and often stored within an image file.
How To Guides
As a custom bike community, many of the readers are tinkerers, of course.
There's a section on this blog on "How To Guides" where BikeEXIF will walk you through how to buy a motorcycle, how to customize bikes and more...
How it Makes Money
The primary way BikeEXIF monetised when it first started was via advertisements.
It has since added also an ecommerce store selling biking equipment.
Header & Sidebar Ads
The model which BikeEXIF started with, was a simple but highly effective model.
He places 1 header ad at the top of the page, and several sidebar ads.
Notice the "little squares" on the right of the page?
Don't belittle these squares... they provide him revenue of $795 per month EACH.
In terms of sidebar banner revenue alone, 10 sidebar banners = 10 x $795 = $7,950 per month!
Notice that there's a waiting list of advertisers waiting to sign up to place their ads.
This is not counting the Header Ads and other sidebar ads, or the merchandise the site is selling!
BikeEXIF has been utilising advertisements effectively since years back when I came across this site.
It is these ads that enable him to quit his day job and do this full time!
Beyond simply placing banner ads, BikeEXIF was able to expand to also sell biking equipment and merchandise on his web store.
It makes a lot of sense, since his audience are all bikers themselves.
Which biker doesn't want a nice leather jacket to go along with his custom bike (think Wolverine)!
How It Is Doing
BikeEXIF has an avid fan base of bike enthusiasts, eager to read about the new bikes every month.
Even though he is based in New Zealand, 1/3 of the traffic comes from the US.
And the other "big" countries are Germany, UK, Australia, Canada, where they each provide 4-5% of total web traffic.
Quote from Chris:
My server is in the US, and my developer is in Australia. My main writer is in South Africa, my advertising guy is in the Philippines, and my email specialist is in Canada. For heavy lifting, I've used systems administrators in both the UK and Ukraine - the digital world is a global one.
Love Chris and BikeEXIF? Like his Facebook Page here:
My Biggest Takeaways...
I love the model of BikeEXIF is that it's very simple, yet highly effective.
Instead of say writing about all motorcycles, it focuses on a very niche of custom motorcycles, which turns out to be a true hobbyist haven.
After starting the site as an experiment in 2008, it has grown sufficiently large to be Chris' full time job and he could leave his day job as an advertising creative director.
He also expanded beyond content and advertising to also sell merchandise, which would supplement his site very well.
From this story, I am reminded that "hobbies" are genuine interest, and you never know how others out there will connect with your interest.
Experimenting is key!
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