Last Updated (20th Jan 2020)
What is up good people!
Today I’m starting a brand new case study and I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two if you’re interested in buying an existing website, building it up for 6-12 months and selling it for a nice profit.
I often do this and have purchased and sold many websites since 2007. I always have an exit strategy when starting a fresh site and the same applies when purchasing an existing site.
Well, that is my business model. I create websites or buy existing sites, get them earning a nice monthly revenue and then sell them for anywhere between 10 to 24 times monthly revenue.
So that means if I get a site earning $10,000 per month I can potentially sell that site from anywhere between $100,000 to $240,000+.
With the funds, I normally invest back into other projects, go on holidays, save or buy the things I want.
Why not just keep the site and build another or increase earnings I hear you ask?
Well, my answer to that is, I like to sell while the going is good. The sites I build heavily rely on search engines like Bing and Google – Google is the bigger traffic source.
This is fairly rare because I do focus on mostly white hat SEO, but anything can happen. If my main traffic source changes something, do an update or for some reason, the site loses its ranking and earnings.
All my sites I’ve sold still rank very good to this day so the new owners would have made their money back or are close to it. The buyers are aware of the risks and there are companies out there that buy websites as an investment – just like real estate.
One company I sold a site for six-figures to was an internet holding company. Their business model is to buy sites with earnings and once they recoup their investment it’s all profits.
A Simple example of this would be buying 10 websites that all make $10,000 per month. That would be $100k per month coming in and once they recoup the money they spent buying those websites it will be all profits.
Niche Site Case Study #2
Ok, so for this one I’m going to buy, build and flip.
I’m a regular on many internet marketing forums where you can buy and sell websites and I’m always looking for sites that have traffic or earnings.
Today I discovered a website on a forum (I’m not going to disclose that just yet) that was for sale at a fairly reasonable price of $250.
However, there were a few things wrong with the site, plus it doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic, so I talked the guy down to $125 USD. That’s half of his original price 🙂
Just a heads up, for obvious reasons I’m not going to share the website for a few months because I don’t want people copying the site or ruining my chances of building it up in rankings by creating more competition.
Here are the details so far:
- Monetization method: This is an Amazon affiliate site in a sporting/hobby niche.
- Total Articles at time of purchase: 10 articles, 4 pages (Privacy, Disclaimer, Contact, and Home). Each article has around 1000 to 2000 words of content which are – 2 product reviews and 8 listicles *Best XYZ type posts*
- CMS + Theme: This site runs on WordPress using Newspaper theme (Looks to be a cracked version though so will be changing this to GeneratePress Premium.)
- Domain: This is a 3 word .com domain. Example: keywordkeywordpro,com
- Domain & Site Age: The site was created on 2nd May 2017. There looks to be some history in the domain dating all the way back to December 2005 to 2009 but it was just a one-page site with an image and about 100 words of text.
- Plugins: This site has a bunch of plugins that are not needed so I will be deleting a lot of them and adding the plugins I use (mentioned below).
- Logo and assets: Logo is very poor and unprofessional-looking which will give very little credibility. The content and images all look good however I will be changing a lot of the product images. There are no social media accounts with the site, unfortunately.
- Revenue at the time of purchase: $0 Yup zero. Normally I buy sites with some earnings to show it converts but I’m taking a chance on this because I do see the potential.
- Traffic and Rankings: The site does rank in second and third pages of Google for some long-tail keywords and two very nice product name keywords which get some nice monthly search volume of around 3600. Traffic is about 100-200 visitors per month which is pretty much nothing. This will take some work.
- Backlinks: 109 from 29 referring domains according to SEMRush. 107 are DoFollow while 2 are NoFollow. These links are not very strong so I’m going to have to build some strong links to this site if I want to increase rankings.
- Other: The site loads super slow and there’s no SSL certificate. It’s missing a lot of images, there’s absolutely no internal linking – only in the sidebar and the Amazon links all go to the home page so I’m going to have to add all the product links in manually. The previous owner either didn’t add them at all OR removed them before he wanted to sell which is weird. The content is pretty good but the formatting needs work. I’m thinking this will be around 2-3 hours to fix this site up before building it up.
This site kind of goes against what I normally look for in a site but I’m up for the challenge. To be honest, I’m going to be using the age of the site to my advantage, 2 and a half years.
The previous owner wasn’t very experienced at all and started this site then got distracted with other projects. It does look a little half-assed but once I fix it up it will look brand new.
Plans For This Site Moving Forward:
I plan on building this site up to around 50 pages but may take it further and turn it into 100 pages. The aim is to build this site up to at least $1,000 per month within 6 months.
There are a few things I’m going to do before building the site but here’s my main plan of attack so far:
- My first steps will be to fix all images, errors and broken links on the site. (1-2 Hours)
- Add the site to one of my SiteGround hosting accounts.
- Change the theme to GeneratePress Premium, remove unwanted plugins and change layout of the site completely.
- Install Free SSL.
- Compress images and work on the site speed. Changing to SiteGround will improve speed but I will need to compress images and make a few tweaks. May also add Cloudflare CDN,
- Hire my designer to create a new logo ( I pay him $35 – however, you can get them cheap on Fiverr.com ).
- Go through all content and add internal links to relevant content both on and off site. I’ll also make it easier for people to read the content as there are large walls of text with little to no paragraphs.
- Fix any meta tags like Title and Descriptions if needed to more clickable titles.
- Add Google Analytics and Search Console and monitor the pages that are getting impressions.
- Put together a content plan and build the site to around 50 – 100 pages of content. I’ll start with 50 and if the site starts moving rapidly I’ll continue adding content.
- Put together a backlinking strategy.
- Create social media accounts for Facebook, Instagram, Youtube ( I can use Content Samurai to make videos for this ) and possibly Pinterest.
- Add my Amazon affiliate links + look for other monetization methods (Maybe Clickbank, banner ads or other can be added)
Expenses so far:
- Website Purchased for: $125
- Logo: $35
Since I already have a hosting account, I’ll be simply adding this. SiteGround has super fast hosting + you get free SSL certificates. I will update the expenses as I go but things I will be spending money on are:
- Content: For this site, I will aim to outsource about 20k words per month from my team of writers. Each article will range between 1000 – 4,000 words. So roughly about 10 articles per month.
- SEO: I haven’t got my plan of attack yet but I will be doing a mix of guest posts, web 2, PBN and reaching out to other sites with broken links. This may change depending on what I’m going to do.
- Social Media: I’ll hire my VA to create images for social media using Canva. (Normally pay her $10 for 10 images.) I will create some videos using Content Samurai and submit them to Youtube + social media accounts. I may also hire a VA to manage the accounts as well – or do them myself.
My estimated monthly expenses are around $500 – $800 per month for the next 3-4 months. This may change as I do also have other projects I’m working on at the same time in totally unrelated niches.
Mission – $1000+ month by January 2020.
Update: 28th August 2019
So it begins…
Not off to the greatest start, I had some trouble with the DNS propagating over on my end, turned out it was a system cache so I had to flush my DNS on my Mac and browser cache.
Now that everything is up and fully propagated I went ahead and started making changes.
I actually did a brand new WordPress install, and that was mainly because the theme the previous owner used was nulled and I definitely didn’t want any sneaky files biting me on the ass later on down the track.
Installed GeneratePress premium (My fav WordPress theme) and I customized it to my likings and now look a lot more professional, easier to read and a LOT fewer distractions. The previous owner was using NewsPaper theme and all the widgets he had on the site may have seemed like a good idea at the time was only slowing the site down, taking the focus away from the actual content and diluting relevancy.
The layout now is much more simple but looks clean. I’ve taken away the sidebar completely on all posts and added internal links to other pages since the previous owner had no internal linking.
I have Grammarly installed, so I went and checked all articles (there’s only 10 so it was easy) and found a total of 44 spelling mistakes and tweaked a few sentences because I didn’t like the way they were worded.
My main menu is now a lot cleaner as well. The previous owner had way too many menu items which really was not needed. I’ve taken out things like, contact us, privacy, terms of service and disclaimer and put them all in the footer. Now I have a nice simple menu with only 4 links which are all category links and nothing else. The logo is the link to home, so no home text link.
To paint a picture the menu looks like this – LOGO – Category 1 | Category 2 | Category 3 | Category 4.
The previous owner had only 3 categories but I’ve added a new category because I plan on adding things like online games, viral videos, and sharable/linkbait type content. There’s a lot of videos and online flash games for this niche 🙂
Most of the images didn’t work so I deleted those and added a cool amazon plugin called AMZImage which Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits released a while back, it’s actually very hand and I highly recommended it.
Adding the images using AMZImage was super fast and easy so that only took about 20 minutes if that!
Each link that went to Amazon that the previous owner had was pretty poorly placed and the call to action was a simple “Check Price” button. I’ve now changed this to text links with anchor text like “Click here to check to price on Amazon.com” and “Read the reviews on Amazon.com”.
Over time I will test these links and tweak to see which works best.
Because I have the premium version of GeneratePress, I’ve added page headers to the home page and posts. This just makes the page look a bit more professional and I’ll be testing with and without page headers once I get some traffic.
I’ve added the site to Google Search Console and now waiting for Google to collect the data for the site. This will give me a rough idea of the keywords the site is getting traffic from (if any) and what keywords are getting impressions in search results. That way I can see which pages I need to fix and work on promoting more if they are worth spending time on.
Other than that, that is all I’ve done to the site so far.
Next, I plan on going through each page, fixing meta titles and descriptions. Once Google shows some data in search console I will know more about the site and then begin putting together a content plan, do keyword research and get more content on the site.
Fun times ahead 🙂
- Total Cost So Far: $160
- Total Earnings So Far: $0
Update: 8th September 2019
Back at it with a quick update.
To be honest, there’s not too much to report here. I’ve been super busy and haven’t done a great deal to the site apart from monitoring the data in Google search console and doing some quick research for content for next week.
It took Google 4 days to start collecting data and display in my search console. I wasn’t expecting much data but there are 35 keywords the site is showing impressions in Google search results. Didn’t expect too much because of the sites lack of content, links, errors and time put in from the previous owner.
Here’s a quick look at what I’m working with:
Some of these keywords are review and brand/product names so that’s a bonus. I’ll be going over these pages and tweaking + adding more content to them to try help climb up the ranks.
Once I have changed the content a little I’ll start building some links.
While I waited for the data in search console I continued tweaking the home page until I was happy with it.
Here’s an image to show you what the home page layout looks like:
I created this image with canva.com to give a rough idea of what the home page looks like.
I don’t try rank the home page unless I have an exact match domain and it’s a thin site. Basically, the home page just takes them to category pages and important pages I want them to read like BEST XYZ or a how-to guide.
Here’s an image of what the posts pages will look like:
As you can see, it’s pretty basic and you may also notice I have no sidebar or any distractions. This is because I want people who land on that page to focus on the content and the links I have in that content (affiliate links or links to other pages I want them to click).
All I really have is my main title which is designed to capture their attention, an eye-grabbing featured image, a first paragraph with an image of authors face, content is broken up into small paragraphs (2 sentences max to make it easy to read on mobile) and text links to affiliate links or pages I want them to look at.
It’s actually very similar to the layout of the page you’re reading right now.
Moving forward I plan to order 5 articles which will range between 1200 to 2500 words from my team of writers. ( Same team who writes for my article writing service at AuthorityRocket.com )
For keyword research, I’m not going to use paid tools because I know some people following this may not have money to spend on keyword tools like ahrefs, semrush or other paid tools so I will use the following for keyword research:
I’ll be searching for a mix of easy to rank (low keyword difficulty) long-tail keywords and some keywords that are somewhat difficult but worth writing content for, especially if I see potential to rank later on down the track as the site and page ages.
Using UberSuggest I’ve already found some keywords I can look into that have low keyword difficulty score. (Green is easy to rank)
There seems to only be a small handful of sites that are optimized for these keywords. The content on their sites is ok but I think we can do a lot better.
This is just a quick look into keyword research. I will try to go deeper into how I will be doing the keyword research in the next update when I have more time to spend on the site.
- Total Cost So Far: $160
- Total Earnings So Far: $0
Update: 20th Jan 2020 – A Long Overdue Update
The goal of $1000 per month before Jan 2020 = Fail 🙁
Firstly, I apologies for how long it’s taken me to update this post. Things have been super hectic for me over the past 12 months and unfortunately many side projects, case studies, and tutorials I had planned for the year I just didn’t get to do. I am dearly sorry about that.
So how is this site going and what has happened since the last update in August?
Well to be 100% honest, I have not touched the site at all. I didn’t end up ordering articles, haven’t built backlinks, no posting or sharing on social media – zilch, nudda – NOTHING!
I’ve simply been swamped with working on my main affiliate sites, working on client sites who purchased a DFY custom built affiliate site and sharing what time I have left with my family. Ahh the joys of trying to please everyone 😀
Now, you might be interested to know how the site is going without me touching it?
Well here’s the thing, it’s actually made some sales from Amazon and you can see below it’s nothing overly impressive but it’s a good sign and shows the site has a lot of potential.
There was nothing in September or October worth sharing plus I can only show 90 days report with Amazon so here it is, a whopping $92.12. This is a long way off my original goal of hitting that $1000 per month by Jan 2020 lol…
Not too bad considering I haven’t touched it and it’s just sitting there marinating building some age + earning proof to show future buyers.
The interesting thing about this site is the traffic is quite low but clicks on my Amazon links are fairly high.
Here are Google Search Console stats…
It’s just cruising along but clicks, rankings, and impressions are slowly going up.
Do remember – I have literally done nothing since my last update. This site is just sitting there and I haven’t built backlinks or done any promotional work to help move it along.
No extra articles – nothing.
So, what’s next?
Ok, I think it’s time to start giving some love to this site and start adding some content.
My approach from here on in will be articles focused on keywords such as – Best XYZ, Product A vs Product B and a handful of informational articles that will actually help people.
I’ll be putting my trusty writers to work on this site who have been working super hard over the past couple of months for my article writing service at AuthorityRocket.
Once they are done and up on the site, I will then start slowly building some backlinks. With a new site, I would normally start with social media and low-quality stuff like blog commenting (useful comments, not spam) and help out in sites like Quora and forums dropping a link here and there.
BUT…Since this site has some age and already been around a bit I think I might move straight into some guest posts and possibly even PBN (private blog network) links.
Time will tell but first I must take action and start ordering the articles from my team.
Well, that wraps it up for this update. I will try not to let it go too far next update. Maybe once-twice per month depending on if there’s anything worth reporting.
Also – I do plan on selling this site for a nice profit in the near future. That update should be an interesting one so maybe bookmark this page so you can check back in from time to time.
Until then, have a great day and I hope you are working on your own projects – without action you will see little to no results so try to get something done daily.