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In this episode, Avi talks to Mohit Tater, one of the operators for the Empire Flippers (EF) Capital Fund. They discuss his investing background and the various sites he has acquired. They also dive into the operations of EF Capital, and how Mohit works with his team to run a bunch of sites.EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsApproach by EF CapitalMohit has had a relationship with the team at EF Capital for some years. This led to EF Capital approaching him to see if he’d like to join them as an operator. That's no surprise, considering Mohit’s extensive experience in the website investing field.At the time, EF Capital were looking for 5 operators for their first batch of sites. Two operators would run FBA businesses and the other 3 would handle content businesses. Mohit was among those running content businesses.The DealsAt the start, each operator had around $1-2 million, and they set out to raise an amount equal to that.EF Capital (EFC) would then tap into their investment network and raise money for the 5 deals based on what the 5 investors set out to achieve. EFC determined how much money they would raise based on what each investor was doing, and their goals. Currently, Mohit's fund is complete, and he is now looking to acquire around 5 different content sites.Operations & Profit SplitsThe content operators may only acquire sites from Empire Flippers. This means they are searching for viable sites in the Empire Flippers Marketplace. Mohit will then operate these websites and online businesses with his existing team.The net profit is apportioned 3 ways: 60% goes to investors, 30% to the operator, and the last 10% to Empire Flippers. This distribution ratio also applies to any capital gains when a site is sold. Empire Flippers handles all communication with the investors. The operators don’t necessarily need to contact the investors, and Mohit may not know them. This allows the operators to run their businesses and websites freely and easily without having to worry about establishing and maintaining investor relations. Empire Flippers essentially takes care of all investor relations and management, and raises the necessary capital for the operators. The operators then handle all business operations.Mohit put down 7% of the $1 million capital raised, which is $70,000.Mohit’s PlanThe plan for the future is to have bigger raises, with the next step at $2 million. This will allow the operators to be involved in larger deals and to acquire more businesses. What’s important now, however, is to initiate the whole process and get a foot in the door. Dividends will be paid quarterly to investors, starting in Q3 or Q4 of 2021.Mohit has a team of 18 people to help him run the different content sites. Most of the team is remote, with an office in New Delhi. There are 2 tech people, 5 site managers (with great SEO experience), 5 junior SEOs, 4 writers, 1 HR, and 1 SEO project manager. The team also has a few interns. Mohit prefers his site managers to have prior experience handling a site. He leans towards people who run and manage their own sites. However, Mohit admits that it is difficult to find people like this. He often looks for people with good experience, but who have hit a plateau and are looking to grow further. Mohit provides them with the avenues for learning and sharpening their skills. In terms of acquiring sites, Mohit says that he isn’t looking for any niche in particular. The businesses will be sold in around 2 to 3 years on the Empire Flippers marketplace, with EF taking a commission from those sales.ResourcesWebsite: blackbookinvestments.comGuest InfoMohit’s email: mohit@blackbookinvestments.comWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode, Avi talks to Freddy Lansky, owner of Points Panda, about the pros and cons of SBA loans, and why he’s currently thinking of starting a fund instead of taking out an SBA loan. EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsStarting Out In 2010, Freddy started a business called iChess with his business partner. The business focused on selling chess courses and videos online.Together, they scaled the business to just over 7 figures. In 2019, Freddy's business partner bought him out.After taking a few months off, Freddy started a new business called Points Panda, which began as a product tie service. At the same time, Freddy used his funds for an affiliate blog in the credit card and travel hacking space. Due to travel restrictions resulting from COVID, the business model tanked.Later, Freddy thought about buying a business. He ended up thinking about putting up a fund of his own, after getting offers for SBA loans.SBA LoansSBA loans are usually between $300,000 to $5 million. Typically they are provided by  banks, and supported and backed by the government through the Small Business Administration. Their terms are usually very good, considering that they are government-backed. These days, the interest rate is generally at 6%-7% over terms of 10 years. These days, it's easier than ever to get a loan for an online business through these SBA loans. The market is at an all time high, but Freddy says that there are pros and cons. Around 95% of businesses on the major brokerages are either not SBA eligible, or the sellers don’t want to deal with SBA. This is often due to the huge amount of paperwork and due diligence required from banks. It can take months to close. Banks also don’t like extending loans for Amazon FBA businesses because they regard them as too risky. Also, despite having low interest rates, you can have high multiples and debt service payments. You usually sign a personal guarantee, which means that banks can go after your property if you default on your loan.Freddy says that good SBA loans are hard to find unless it's an off-market deal.Fund Thoughts To address these issues, and after talking to investors, Freddy is thinking of putting up a fund for online businesses as an alternative to SBA loans. With funds, you might have less risk and you can source deals faster when compared to SBAs. However, Freddy says that the cons of going this investor route is that you may not keep the majority of equity. There would be a need to ensure that more passive investors won’t gang up on you and remove you as the operator. Right now, Freddy is stuck choosing between whether he wants to go majority debt and a little equity to investors, or the other way around. He is more in favor of setting up as a fund or as an operator for someone else's fund. Sourcing good investors who understand the business and have your back is very important. Finding them can be tricky. Interestingly, Freddy usually finds good investors in online forums and Facebook groups. These people are generally realistic investors who are looking to diversify.EF Capital is a good model for a fund. In terms of payments, it gives 30% to the operator, with the brokerage taking 10%.Freddy is currently preparing and figuring out the best way to go about this. If it fails, he can always go the SBA loan route.Guest InfoFind Freddy inside the investing.io communityFreddy's email: frederick.lansky@gmail.com and freddy@pointspanda.comWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode, Avi talks to Stacy Caprio, owner of Her.CEO. They discuss Stacy's previous website purchases, and her case study on acquiring an expired website listing on Flippa. Stacy grew this site’s ad revenue 4 times in 2 years, despite not creating any content and being fairly hands-off in its operation.EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsBuying Expired ListingsStacy’s 3rd website purchase was a pair of sister sites. These became the first sites that made a profit for her. She purchased them on Flippa, after searching for expired listings that no one had bought. Stacy searched for expired listings because she doesn’t believe in artificial increases in listing prices. You can definitely find a diamond in the rough by looking for distressed sites.Stacy was confident in her purchase, thanks to her previous experience with online marketing and SEO. A big motivator to search for expired listings is that she likes finding sites in which not everyone sees potential, and which are undervalued.  Growing A Niche SiteStacy bought a site for $6,400. At the time, it was making around $240 a month in profit. Over two years, Stacy increased the ad revenue by 4 or 5 times. She added another ad network, as well as placing a static ad on the site. Stacy did not add any content or links. She was very much hands-off on the site, since it was a forum dedicated to a particular niche. Here, users were the ones generating the content.The downside to owning a forum is that you can’t control what people post, and this may lead to various copyright issues where you could face liability.Prior to the above purchase, her first 2 sites were making little profit, and weren’t breaking even. Stacy eventually dropped these sites because she became discouraged by how little they made.Purchase Criteria Stacy’s criteria when purchasing a site is the purchase price. The price must be good,  relative to your plans for the site. Another thing she considers is the plan for the site. This includes an SEO plan with keyword research, and how to restructure it to get the most traffic to the site. She also likes to buy smaller sites with little traction and with good RPM. Once purchased, she does the SEO work to improve the site and generate more traffic and profit. Stacy prefers buying sites that are in the same niche, or are relevant or connected to one another, thereby creating verticals. This allows her to easily support them, and give the sites a quick link or a boost in keywords. However, Stacy admits that this could be considered borderline gray hat SEO. She also warns against creating double content for your sites in the same vertical, or linking to your other site because Google could recognize these moves.Stacy places prime importance on RPM, because this means more meaningful interactions and engagement with site users. When it comes to e-commerce, Stacy recommends optimizing your site for sales first, including getting a good conversion rate.Guest InfoHer.CEO: https://www.her.ceo/Stacy’s email: stacy@her.ceoWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks to Jen Anderson about how she became involved with online businesses after her time in the financial services world. We also hear how Jen has grown her businesses and the techniques and tools she’s honed to achieve results. EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsThe BeginningBefore getting involved in the online world, Jen worked in the financial services world. She worked at Citigroup and also linked up with multiple startups. She was reasonably active in the financial markets and was big on investing. Jen eventually bought real estate and a few websites. These assets did really well, especially the websites, considering that she didn’t come from an online business background when she purchased them around 2013. The Learning CurveThrough self-learning and networking, Jen learned the ropes of website development and online business. Information wasn’t as readily available back then so it was a struggle.One of the 3 websites she bought was in the sports niche, and she is still growing and developing it today. When she bought it, it wasn’t making any money, and she used it to test and learn everything about website development. Further AcquisitionsJen then started to look for other websites to acquire. Being an entrepreneur at heart, she committed to buy small websites at first. These were under $100,000 and generated at least $1,000 per month in profit. Jen eventually bought an FBA website on Flippa for $50,000. She took on the business full time and hired a VA to help it grow substantially. Growing SitesJen ran a lot of Facebook ads and affiliates, as well doing a ton of SEO work. She also put up a Facebook community which grew exponentially. In 2018, this site initially made $2,000-$3,000 a month in 2018. At the time it was sold in 2020 it was making $8,000-$10,000 a month. It was purchased at $50,000 and sold 2 years later for $225,000.The paid advertising world wasn’t an easy one to learn. But, with the help of free resources, Jen got the hang of it for her websites. Admittedly, Jen made a lot of mistakes at first, especially with Google, pay-per-click, and unnecessary SEO.Jen bought another website; this time through Empire Flippers. The site is a 'mommy' blog, and Jen still owns the website today. She’s used the site to learn and practice her SEO skills, and it continues to grow. She is not afraid to make mistakes because she learns along the way. Other ActivityJen has a channel on Clubhouse called Buying Businesses Club. Here, she chats with people who are interested in buying businesses in general, not just online businesses. Funds are on the rise now, and Jen says that if she were a newbie, she would definitely invest in a fund. ResourcesFacebook Group: Women Buying BusinessesGuest InfoTwitter: https://www.twitter.com/anderjen/What did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks about expired domains with Adam Smith of Niche Website Builders. They cover how to acquire expired domains, how to efficiently build websites with them, and why to use expired domains. They also discuss the different steps and principles used by Niche Website Builders to build these websites and make them successful. EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsExpired Domain “Sniff Test”They use several tools for a five-minute sniff test to gauge domains. One of these is SpamZilla, which finds many sources to buy expired domains. It also filters them using different metrics such as UR, DR, trust flow, organic traffic, and many more. The metrics used depend on the purpose of the domain. Looking at the metrics, you need to determine whether the domain looks good, and is a good fit for its purpose. SemRush is a valuable site for doing quick sniff tests using their categorization of backlinks.Adam mentions that once the sniff test is passed, you can use the Wayback Machine for the domain. You can see multiple snapshots of each year to determine whether a site or domain is really good. There are cases when outbound links to unwanted sites exist. Adam says that you shouldn’t worry about whether or not a website is in the index or if it’s been 301 redirected to another site. What matters is that the link profile is checked and the links are still alive. It's usually still better than having a fresh domain.First StepsThe first thing to do - sometimes even before buying a domain - is to think about the keyword plan or the content plan for the domain. Some niches are more competitive than others so you want to consider if the domain is powerful enough to compete in that specific niche. The keyword research done by Adam and his team is proprietary. However, he mentions that it involves looking at competitors in the same space or niche, figuring out who the weaker competitors are, and analyzing how the outliers with good organic traffic are doing this. Content plans are built around uncovering and reverse engineering the content from outliers who are performing really well in their niche. There are things you can do to increase the chance of success for your domain. In terms of site structure, you want to ensure that your homepage passes as much link juice through to the rest of the site as possible.Starting out, try to cover only a small sub-niche, keeping the click depth of a website really low, i.e., everything only two clicks away from the homepage. You can check the best pages-by-links report using Ahrefs. You want to keep these links for two reasons. One is that they’re good links and you want to keep them active. Two is, there’s a chance that these links might 401 if you leave them.Handling LinksThere are two options for tidying up the links. The first option is to take the existing content and keep it on the website. This is the riskiest, but may be mitigated by hiding these pieces of content from the website navigation so you can’t get to them. The second option is rewriting the content in your own words or repurposing the content.As a rule of thumb, Adam says that any old page with more than five links pointing to it should be recreated, and anything with less than two links is redirected back to the homepage.One thing that differentiates an expired domain is how all the old redirects are handled. Apart from this, the steps are the same as for setting up a new site.Adam’s ApproachAdam has been building out sites on expired domains for his own personal portfolio, but still builds domains or sites on fresh domains for clients.Adam compares his website building approach to a horse race; he doubles down on the ones that are doing the best. A typical worst case scenario seen with expired domains is that they act like fresh domains. This means that they have a sandbox period and revenue coming in after three or four months of the site going live. On the other hand, there are outliers and sites that grow insanely fast from the start.If everything goes well, traffic typically shows within the first six weeks so Adam suggests waiting a month or two to see traffic. You can check Ahrefs and SemRush to see the increase in the number of keywords indexed which points at the right direction.There’s no commonality between sites that perform like rocket ships from the get-go, versus the sites that sit and don’t take off so well.A phenomenon of expired domains is that these sites may have metrics that look good, have due diligence and proper checks performed, but there is still no way to tell how they will do.Adam recommends his company's services as they are flexible and tailored to the level of experience of the client building the site. The client may be as involved or as hands-off as they like.Guest InfoWebsite: Nichewebsite.buildersNiche Website Builders Facebook GroupWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks with Kevin Jourdan about how he built DotMarket.eu to buy and sell businesses online in the French market. They discuss the similarities and differences between the French and English markets, and how the French market lags behind the US by 1-2 years. EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsStarting OutKevin built his first website in 2012. He learned from NichePursuits.com and watched a bunch of courses, gaining valuable tips and insights along the way. He went on to build and buy various niche websites.After buying and selling a few websites on Empire Flippers, he noticed that there was a big opportunity to create a similar platform in France. This led to the birth of DotMarket.eu for the French market.The French MarketKevin says that it’s easier to rank websites in France because there is less competition there.Though the English and French markets are very similar, the French market is often late in terms of content resources. Some English articles are only translated to French a few years after they were originally published. In terms of monetization, the English and French markets are pretty much the same, but options in the French market are limited. For example, it is difficult to find recurring affiliate programs in many niches. Only a few niches allow for recurring affiliate programs, such as casinos and dating. There is little competition if you want to sell online. Amazon is the only way to sell in France, as they have the best conversion rates and reach. When choosing a niche in France, one effective strategy is to look to the US market. France is usually slower to adopt, and many business ideas from the US pop up a year or two later in the French market.DotMarket StrategyDotMarket.eu was created to make it easier and safer for buyers and sellers to meet up. It boasts vetting and valuation processes, contracting, and migration processes. DotMarket.eu is tailored to buying and selling businesses online; including websites, e-commerce, and SaaS marketplaces. To set it up, they had to find the right balance of both buyers and sellers. This was quite difficult, as they needed to convince and educate French sellers that selling online is possible. Many owners didn’t even know that they could sell their websites. They continue to educate many French website owners about selling as a viable exit option.DotMarket.eu just reached the 7-figure mark in valuation of websites sold.Valuation and SaleTo list a website on DotMarket, the website must be valued at a minimum of €10,000 for affiliate and content sites, and €25,000 for drop shipping and e-commerce sites. They do not accept starter sites, sites that have been hit with a penalty or sites that generate profit mostly from ads. It takes an average of 45 days to sell a business on DotMarket, although SaaS and e-commerce businesses can take 3-4 months to sell. Content sites are popular and sell quickly, sometimes within 48 hours. A Growing MarketA lot of sites in the French market are made by people who did not consider selling them (or even know that they could). These sites don’t have the same optimization strategies in place when compared to a site owned by someone who was looking to sell it from the get-go. DotMarket's business model charges the buyer 10%, and the seller 3%.DotMarket has partnerships with Flippa, MicroAcquire, and other platforms. Other marketplaces help supply buyers for businesses listed on DotMarket that are more difficult to sell. In return, DotMarket provides listings for French and European buyers on their platforms. The goal for DotMarket in 2021 is to expand in the French market, and possibly open in the Spanish and Italian markets. In the future, they would like to open up in several other European countries too. Guest InfoDotMarket.eu: https://www.dotmarket.eu/investorWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks with Ron Stefanski about his various YouTube projects. These projects include 'The One Hour Professor' which features some of his courses on blogging and SEO. They also speak about how Ron's YouTube channels complement his blogs, and his recent website sale, which was his biggest ever asset sale. EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsSelling A WebsiteRon recently sold a website he’s been building and growing since 2014. At one point, it had 250,000 visitors a month. The niche was negatively impacted by COVID, Google AdSense issues, and fierce market competition. Due to these issues, Ron decided to sell it. He felt that his heart wasn’t in growing and keeping the website anymore. He had other interests and passions that he wanted to focus on instead. Those reasons led him to sell it recently for a mid-6 figure value.The more focus that you have on your website, the better. Growing on YouTubeRon has a bunch of YouTube channels that he runs along with his wife. Before they were married, Ron's wife already had a YouTube channel with around 2 million subscribers. Ron helped her manage the channel, and in the process, learned a lot about the technical and SEO aspects of YouTube.Ron has a channel called the 'One Hour Professor', which he’s had for around 5 years. It's only since 2020 that he started to focus on it's growth. He also has a website for the 'One Hour Professor'.This YouTube channel has videos and courses on how to grow and develop your website. These days, he releases a video once a week.With a YouTube channel, you get to be more personal with your audience, as they are able to actually see you on video.Traffic & Income GenerationHis main focus is the website, so he uses the channel as a new way to get traffic and open up to a new audience. Some people prefer to sit down and read a whole blog post, while others would rather watch a video. What Ron does is uses the transcriptions of his videos and turns them into blog posts. This is how his channel complements his blog so well.Taking blog content and making it into a YouTube video can be tricky. If it is personality-based, be sure you are personal and sincere with your audience. You need to sit down and not be a robot in front of the camera by simply reading stuff on your videos.Building a channel without you as a brand or personality requires some script, which a voice-over would read. You also have to get creative with editing. Ron has 2 channels like this which he co-owns with his wife. The premise is that there is no personality tied to it. Rather, it is focused on videos about different topics or products. YouTube channels can become a real passive asset. Ron says that the wider the niche, the better. You can profit off of your channel not just through display ads, but also through affiliate marketing. Many channels do this and are successful with this method.Ron doesn’t focus much on subscriber count. He focuses instead on view count, because, at the end of the day, views are what matter. Ron and his wife are thinking about adding another channel by the end of this year.ResourcesCourses on how to build a YouTube channel or blog: https://www.onehourprofessor.com/courses/Guest InfoWebsite: https://www.onehourprofessor.com/YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/OneHourProfessorWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks to Eric Hochberger, co-founder of Mediavine, about the development of third-party cookies and how this completely changed display advertising. They also discuss the efforts of several browsers - like Google Chrome - to remove these cookies to better protect individual privacy. What does this mean for advertisers who have relied on them for years?EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show Summary & InsightsThird-Party CookiesBefore the advent of third-party cookies, advertisers had to buy an ad slot on a webpage, in real time. To do this, they needed to know who they were bidding on.With third-party cookies, this process was eliminated.A third-party cookie is essentially a way to store things in a browser. It allows you to stay logged in to a website, even though you’re on another one. It also allows websites to track which websites you’ve been to.Display advertising has been tremendously shaped by third-party cookies, as advertisers are able to hyper-target their audience, giving them better results than ever before.In recent years, advertisers have been willing to spend more money on display advertising due to the great results these cookies provided. Individual PrivacyToday, we see consumers and companies working to better protect individual privacy by removing third-party cookies. Several browsers, like Safari and Firefox, have already removed them. Google Chrome, has yet to do so.The Privacy Sandbox & First-Party DataAccording to a Google study, this move could drop ad rates by 60%. This now puts pressure on the advertising industry to change their behavior and look for alternatives. Eric believes that there are two prongs to solve this: the privacy sandbox and first-party data. The privacy sandbox is an initiative to create an industry-wide standard for all browsers, for a privacy-centric way to track anonymous segments of users. Individuals would then control which data they allow to be tracked.On the other hand, first-party data involves data owned by the publisher, who obtains users’ data from logged-in traffic or from subscribers. Email addresses, phone numbers or similar data are safely rehashed into anonymous data. This data is then handed off to advertisers to use for audience targeting. This gives more exact targeting and better results too.What’s Next?We can’t predict what will happen a year from now. So much could change in the meantime. Ad rates may drop less than expected, and other alternatives may come up to address this shift. Eric and Mediavine are working on Grow.me which offers a set of tools to help publishers get more users to log into their websites. This allows publishers to collect more first-party data in the long run. Grow.me is currently available in beta for Mediavine publishers. Those publishers just need to opt in and enable it. It will be available outside of Mediavine in the future.When someone is purchasing a site and applying to Mediavine, a background check and vetting take place to verify that the applicant isn’t shady, and to ensure that Mediavine will have a good relationship with them. ResourcesGrow.me: https://www.grow.me/Guest InfoMediavine: https://www.mediavine.com/Email: publishers@mediavine.comWhat did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi speaks with Mo Mullah about acquiring, building, and optimizing websites for sale. They discuss the strategy Mo used to turn a niche site - purchased for $2,700 - into a $24,000 sale. Read the notes below - or listen now! EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show NotesMo’s BackgroundStarting Out in Email Marketing Mo started out with an email marketing company and stayed there for around 8 or 9 years. Throughout that time, he had several successful campaigns in different niches and earned a decent amount of money. However, due to a number of risks and downsides, such as the possibility of your account closing down, (which happened a bunch of times) he decided to look elsewhere for income. These accounts were closed because Mo would personally email people and website visitors, introduce himself and offer the option to stay on the email list or not. This marketing strategy caused a number of problems with ISPs, and was the cause of his accounts getting shut down. Because of this, he decided to diversify and get into SEO. Building SitesMo started building a site, instead of purchasing one off the bat. He did this because he wanted to learn the ins and outs of the trade, and how websites were built from the ground up. This site had tremendous success as a result of continuous finetuning over the years. Interest in the NicheAnother factor that contributed to the site's success was Mo's interest in the niche. When writing the site content, Mo knew how and what to write for a better audience reception. Creative Outreach CampaignsMo also made use of a large outreach campaign. This essentially involves guest posting and targeting the prospects that you’re trying to get a link from. This included figuring out who specifically would let him put a link on their site by finding a smart way to get into their inbox, and have them read and respond to an email. Mo would usually ask these prospects if they had any ideas that they would like him to touch on in the guest posts. Creative thinking is also involved so Mo would try going out of his vertical to collaborate. He'd attempt to integrate trends in his ideas and offers to prospects, to match what they wanted. Further, Mo did his research and due diligence to make sure that when he pitched a specific article, he’d be more or less sure that they would accept.Acquiring and Selling WebsitesAfter building his site, Mo decided to acquire sites. One of the sites he bought for around $2,700 was recently sold for $24,000. This was done in under 12 months, producing an almost 10x multiple. Choosing Which Websites to AcquireFrom the beginning, Mo had a set criteria for acquiring websites. Firstly, he checked whether the niche had multiple affiliate opportunities so he could diversify on monetization. Secondly, he wanted something that was evergreen and not seasonal so that income was steady all year round. Lastly, he made sure that the site had a decent amount of content to work with and had traction. This was usually poorly written content. He then worked on the SEO for these websites and performed some optimization to return the optimal income. Updated Criteria and Quick WinsThese days his criteria has expanded to include one more aspect: CRO. He now checks whether a site has bad or neglected CRO. This enables him to optimize sites and get quick wins in the process. He looks for a site that doesn’t have comparison tables, or tables which are in the wrong place. Secondly, he makes sure that the site doesn’t have any call-to-action buttons. If it does have these buttons, he ensures that the colors stand out. Next, he checks if the site has only a few links within the anchor text. He also looks for images with hyperlinks on the site. Sticky WidgetMo also likes to put a sticky widget on the left hand side of the website so that when users scroll down. they still have access to subscribe buttons or some kind of affiliate link. Mo has found some success with sticky widget on his sites, though it may be hit-or-miss depending on the niche. When it comes to Amazon affiliate links, Mo says that people usually skip them and just scroll down on the main screen. If it's not Amazon-related, Mo says that conversion rates are pretty good and even a little bit higher. He bases this on his experience and data gathered through the sticky widget. The Pet NicheGetting Into the NicheMo decided to enter the pet niche because it had a variety of affiliate programs to apply to. These included Amazon, and others that could serve as backup in case the Amazon conversion numbers weren’t ideal. From his research, he found that the keywords he wanted to focus on were low competition and had relatively decent search volume. This stood out to him, and gave him confidence that it would allow him to rank.Acquiring a SiteMo acquired a site in the pet niche at around $2,700. Finding the ideal site was a bit tricky, since in ~2019, there weren’t as many marketplaces as there are today. Apart from that, one factor he had to consider was the element of trust. Is the website owner trustworthy? You’d have to build up some kind of relationship with the seller to make sure that what they're selling isn’t anything shady, or a scam or rip-off. These days, well-known marketplaces largely solve this problem for you. Previous Run-ins With Shady SellersBack when Mo didn’t have much know-how in the industry, he communicated with a website seller who sneakily tried to hide and mask PBNs and shady links. At the time, Mo was just starting out and didn’t know how links worked. Mo says that you definitely have to understand how links and link profiles work in order to detect shady deals. He mentions that these people would pay for links from a link service, but the link service had used very similar images, or even the same images on different websites. This also applied to the text, where the link service used similar text to accompany the images on various other websites. It became apparent that these links all came from the same provider. Avi says it’s good to check whether the links are on the home page, and whether the links are actually relevant to the site you’re acquiring, and to the niche. At the end of the day, it all depends on your risk tolerance, and whether you are willing to take on challenges like this when purchasing a site. Some Initial SnagsMo ran into some traffic loss and potential revenue loss when he first acquired the site. During the first 4 to 6 weeks, Mo was busy changing the site links while performing his first ever migration. However, he noticed that page traffic was declining at a steady rate of 30-40%, and he couldn’t pin down the cause of the decline. Normally, this wouldn’t be a concern, but these pages were the top 3 pages on the site. As a result, the overall website traffic slid down, including conversions. Mo says that it may have been due to an algorithm update, or possibly due to the fact that he picked up the website from someone who had it in a portfolio and hadn’t touched it in a long time. Mo then reminds us that we should always be wary, and do as much due diligence as possible on the sites we wish to purchase, especially if these sites are in decline.Turning Things AroundMo did turn the decline in traffic around. He first completed a technical audit to make sure that the redirects and page titles were in order. He also checked if any page was significantly slower than others. More importantly, he ran the website through Ahrefs’ Audit Tool to clean up the technical aspects of the site. Their Audit Tool is amazing for this, and according to Avi, is very underrated.Next, Mo did a content audit. He put all the content into a spreadsheet, and assessed which content needed changing or modification, and which could be left untouched. At the end of the audit, Mo deleted 10 to 15 pages that weren’t receiving much traffic. He also consolidated some pages to make the site leaner. Lastly, he performed a backlink audit by listing every link and making sure that none of them were suspicious, spammy or unrelated to the pet niche.   Auditing is a great way to figure out what’s wrong with your website, especially when you weren’t the one who built it in the first place, and more so if the website has passed through several different owners. Keyword ResearchSurprisingly, Mo didn’t perform any keyword research until about 5 or 6 months after he acquired the site. This is largely because many of the pages on the site were ranking highly, and other pages only needed minor tweaks to improve their rankings. Mo was only concerned with on-site SEO for the first few months, instead of creating new content. This is usually his strategy when acquiring a website: he prefers a site with existing content that doesn't need much work. He then optimizes the site and the content, instead of having to churn out new content during the busy first few months. Avi says that there is no point in creating new content when there is plenty of under-optimized content already available to you. Surfer SEOWhen optimizing site content during the first few months, Mo made use of Surfer SEO, which is a very handy and inexpensive tool. At the time, it was relatively new and trendy, which pushed him to use it for his site. Adding ArticlesAt the time Mo bought the website, it had around 50 or 60 articles. By the time he sold it, it had around 200. Writing began after the first 5 or 6 months of optimization. Initially, the content was all written by Mo, but as soon as a little money was coming in, Mo decided to reinvest the income into the site. He would have hired a content writer for the site, but luckily, he chanced upon someone who was passionate about pets and was skilled in writing. This person offered to write articles and edit the existing ones for free. All Mo did was give her the keywords and a template, and she wrote about 50 articles for the website. According to Mo, this is a reminder that niches have people who love the space so much that they will offer to do things like this for your website. However, Avi believes that it's difficult to keep these kinds of people long-term without some incentive for them. Selling the SiteWhen Mo does manual outreach, he always adds a few sentences at the end of the email asking if the recipient could recommend anyone who would be interested in guest posts. One day, an outreach manager came back and recommended someone who was potentially interested in acquiring the website. This outreach manager did this after noticing the backlinks on Mo’s pet website, and seeing that revenue was going up. Mo was then able to sell the site for $24,000, with a multiple of 27x. Audit ServicesA Wealth of ExperienceThese days, Mo now offers audit services, which includes technical, SEO, content, and link audits. He brings his vast experience in the field to the table, and techniques that have worked well for him. He helps people grow and optimize their sites in the same manner as he has done. Reach out to Mo here:Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mo.mullah.77Email - momullaconsultant@gmail.com What did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave a comment to let us know.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
Happy New Year everyone! We’ve got plenty of big plans for this year and we’re kicking off with this enjoyable discussion between our Website Investing “voice,” Avi Silverberg, and Julie Adams from Serpdecoder. Julie transformed from roles as a babysitter and SEO agency employee, to owner of a portfolio of affiliate sites - the largest of which makes $30,000 per month. Sit back and listen to hear how she did it - or read the notes below.EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show NotesJulie’s Background and PortfolioJoining an SEO agencyJulie did odd jobs while in college, including working at a movie theater and babysitting on the side. Interestingly, the person she was babysitting for was the owner of a marketing company who offered Julie the position of content developer. Knowing nothing about the position or anything about SEO, Julie started work and learned the trade quickly through a combination of trial and error and talking with clients and colleagues. Five or six years later, Julie was managing all the company’s SEO campaigns, using a process she’s honed from practice and experience. At one point, Julie was handling a whopping 80 or so clients. She grew to love her work, and happily did SEO for 40 hours a week.Building Her Own Sites and Moving On From the Company Learning and working on SEO for 40 hours a week prompted Julie to take her work home and do SEO on her own affiliate sites. Her first site was a motorcycle blog where she put out informational content and basically wrote whatever she wanted. Later on, she realized she could earn money by promoting products on Amazon. She failed at her first attempt and let that domain quietly expire. Soon after, Julie built another site in the outdoor niche. This time, she went into it with an income-generating mindset. This site performed significantly better and grew to around $1,000 a month. Julie saw the potential and decided to build a site once every 3 or 4 months.With her own sites, she was able to experiment and do things that she normally wouldn’t do for clients at the company. This helped hone her craft even more. Julie's journey with affiliate SEO sites allowed her to earn a significant income on the side--more than what she was earning as an employee. After a couple of years, she sold one site for $34,000 on Empire Flippers and reinvested the money into her other sites. The goal was to quit her job and focus on her sites full time. Consulting Work These days, Julie doesn’t pursue clients. She works 100% with affiliates, and does a few consulting gigs. Growing Sites and Her PortfolioJulie no longer focuses on building sites. She now focuses on certain niches and grows only those sites. Currently, her portfolio contains 6 or 7 sites, and these days she tries to build a site once every 6 months. Half of the sites in her portfolio were built from scratch on fresh domains, while the other half was built on expired domains. Julie says she feels safer starting with fresh domains, since she won’t be worried about the sandbox period. Working With Expired Domains?Julie is generally open-minded and up to trying anything when it comes to building and growing sites. Usually, when she finds a niche, she starts searching for expired domains. However, if she can’t find one that looks appealing after 2 or 3 weeks, she starts with a fresh domain. When looking for expired domains, Julie takes into account niche relevance, the presence of spammy links (usually ones with Russian characters), and others. Also, she doesn’t take on domains that have been expired for longer than 3 years. As for niches, Julie looks at the offers first, without paying attention to the type of niche or even the keywords and SEO. Lastly, she loves looking for domains that were once local businesses. These domains usually have directories containing names, addresses, and phone numbers - all of which get picked up by Google. That way, it has a little bit of authority built in. Julie says that this is a great alternative to links, which can get pretty expensive.  Amazon Working With Amazon Product LinksWhen it comes to Amazon products, Julie starts by looking at the cost of the product, how many reviews it has, and if those reviews are legitimate. She then checks if there is enough demand online to make it viable. Julie does this by taking the cost of the product and multiplying it by the number of reviews. If the value is over 10,000, it shows that the product is both expensive, and has high demand. According to Julie, this is a good baseline to determine the viability of a product and whether it is something she should consider. Getting Away Julie says that getting away (mostly) from Amazon is the best move she’s ever made. Back in March or April, Amazon cut commissions in the home niche. Coincidentally, this was the niche of Julie’s biggest site. It took a drop. Prior to the cut, the site was doing really well, and was on track for a flip at $200,000. In fact, it was appraised only one day before Amazon cut commissions. This prompted Julie to move away from Amazon and deal directly with product manufacturers. Now, Julie’s process involves looking for a 10% commission from 5-6 different manufacturers, and getting them to compete with each other during the negotiation. Julie says that you have to at least triple whatever Amazon offers. As an example, one of Julie’s sites used to earn around $4,000 a month from Amazon commissions, but now that she’s moved away from Amazon, that site rakes in around $30,000. All she did was speak directly to the manufacturers of the products on Amazon. More often than not, Julie says that they will offer you higher rates really quickly. Website DesignKeeping It SimpleJulie likes to keep things simple when it comes to website design. She says that simplistic designs do not equate to laziness. When it comes to copywriting, information can be presented to consumers in many different ways, and Julie likes to test different ways to evoke emotion with her content. Writing ContentJulie has worked with the same writer for over 2 years now. This writer understands Julie's style well, which means that Julie can quickly check the work and make any necessary edits. Using NelioNelio is a great inexpensive WordPress plugin that allows you to take a page and make a carbon copy of it. After changing and tweaking whatever you want, Nelio makes the page canonical so that it won’t interfere with the index. Through it, you can serve a user either the original page or the copied page. It also has a handy heatmap feature.Growing SitesBiggest SiteJulie is looking to grow her largest site, which is currently making around $30,000 a month. Her ultimate goal is to cash out of the website and, eventually, retire early. What’s great about the site is that it’s in a niche that she wants to add additional sites to. When she does finally sell, she’d be offering an entire portfolio dedicated to that niche. This also eliminates any ongoing non-competition concerns. Monetizing Her SitesTrying Other ModelsJulie has begun email marketing. Though she doesn’t have an extensive list, she believes that email is a great monetization model. It involves an audience that she’s built, and which doesn’t have to rely on Google. Email marketing is also great for marketing flash sales. Ads vs. Affiliate SalesJulie prefers affiliate sales since they earn more money than ads. This is why she doesn’t care about ads too much, and is more interested in where the clicks on her website are going. Avi says that a study shows that advertising on affiliate content doesn't really reduce the click-through rate on the affiliate offers, but this is also highly dependent on the niche and the type of audience. If Julie places ads on her site, it will most likely be on her informational content. That way, she would make some money off them instead of funneling them into the site’s buying guides. In the end, there are a hundred different ways to monetize your websites. But, if you’re already good at one monetization model, Avi says that it’s better to focus and double down on that model to get the most out of it. Investing in Her SitesProfits The profit margins on most of Julie’s sites are around the 80-90% mark. She prefers to reinvest this into her sites every month, with around $2,500 spent on content and about the same amount on links. Finding Workers Hiring and FiringBoth Avi and Julie tend to hire and fire quickly in order to find the right person for any job they have available. In fact, Avi likes to hire 2 to 3 people at a time and then choose the best one from them. Finding the Right OneIt is definitely hard to find the right person for the job. Julie likes to find people on Upwork, which has a ton of job hunters and freelancers. SEOOn-pageJulie says that there are shortcuts for on-page that are not really available for off-page. In fact, you can get a lot done on on-page if you have the right techniques, coupled with instinct and experience. There's a lot more to it than just using your tools. It also involves using your past experience - especially when new problems arise.Tracking ChangesPage WatchJulie watches the top 20% of pages that bring in the most revenue. Each week, she goes through those pages to ensure that everything is running smoothly, and to track if any of the changes she’s made have affected page rankings. Diggity MarketingWebinar SeriesJulie is going to produce some type of webinar series over at Diggity Marketing. She’ll share everything she knows about websites and SEO, including all the processes she uses on her sites. What did you think?Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?Please leave your comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi speaks with Jon Dykstra, publisher of the Fat Stacks Blog. Jon starts and grows niche content sites and he has a wealth of knowledge to share. Read the notes below - or listen now!EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show NotesJon DykstraWho Is Jon?Jon describes himself as an online digital publishing company owner. He prefers the term 'online publisher' over niche site owner or affiliate marketer, since not a lot of people know these terms, and it makes more sense when you already own a number of sites. Getting Into AdvertisingDisplay Advertising Jon’s primary income source on his sites is through display advertising. For some time, he did only affiliate marketing, and although he got a lot of traffic to his site, he wasn’t gaining anything from the affiliate links. Because of this, he decided to capitalize on the traffic the site was getting, and go into display ads via AdSense. This move was a huge success and Jon was able to earn a large amount of money overnight. It completely changed his outlook on advertising, as he previously thought that it was the least viable source of income for his websites.Focus on KeywordsJon focuses mainly on low competition keywords. The advantage to this is that you get little competition, especially when you’re doing affiliate marketing and you have to publish on very specific keywords if you want to generate commissions and make a profit. Though product reviews are generally boring to write, the fun is in looking for the keywords that other sites aren't targeting. For this, you need to use your keyword search tools and be creative in your hunt.Optimizing Your SiteSite SpeedRecently, Jon has been onboarding NitroPack for optimizing his bigger websites. It’s a monthly paid service, and, after some checking and testing, Jon found that it improved their scores dramatically. Jon did this because he wanted to take advantage of the recent Google announcement stating that site speed has an impact on rankings. Jon says that a lot of publishers don’t pay attention to this, but he thinks that it’s worth a shot and so he’s not afraid to invest in increasing and optimizing his site speeds. At the end of the day, it’ll give him a tiny advantage over other publishers and sites, and he is happy to pay the monthly fee to achieve this gain.Effect of Display AdsDisplay ads negatively affect your site speed. Jon says that ads can really wreak havoc so that is something to watch out for. Actual Site Speed vs. Page Speed ScoreJon says that it is important to distinguish between actual site speed and page speed score, since page speed score is an artificial concept. Additionally, some tools used to measure page speed score often delay elements of your site intentionally, and alter your speed score in the process. Google states that they do take page speed into account, and, to measure this, they use real metrics. Jon says that since this is the case, a delay wouldn’t hurt at all if it increases your score. Concerns About the FutureGoogle Removing Third Party CookiesGoogle has announced that, by next year, they will be restricting and eventually phasing out the use of third party cookies in the Chrome browser. Cookies stay on a user’s device and are designed to collect a user’s data for the benefit of advertisers. These advertisers get to learn users’ browsing patterns and preferences in order to send more relevant ads to them. Avi says that he read that this may reduce RPMs by up to 50%. Jon states that regardless of which solution Mediavine and AdThrive come up with, there will be a decline in revenue until a viable long-term solution is found. Whether the decline will be temporary or permanent remains to be seen. Moreover, 50%, (if ever this figure estimate is true) would be brutal. This doesn’t mean that display ads would go away altogether or that the business model would disappear, since a lot of money has already been, and continues to be poured into it. Jon says that we’ll just have to wait and see.Purchasing Sites?Due DiligenceJon says that buying sites is a liability for many people, but a tremendous opportunity for the few who know what they’re doing. You have to know how to complete your due diligence when buying a site. Getting Bombarded with Copyright ClaimsOne important aspect of due diligence is to take note of the copyright. Jon says that you have to check on the copyright in terms of the images and other media on the site, and get written representations from the site owner that they have licenses for these. A lot of people don’t do this and end up getting sites with images ripped out of random places, without permission. This practice becomes ripe for copyright infringement claims that can reach tens of thousands of dollars. These claims are sometimes sent to you even if you already have the permission. Senders forward them willy nilly, without checking if permission was previously granted or if the image used is actually the same one as that of the copyright holder. This is something that people should watch out for, and something for you to disprove when a claim gets sent to you. Jon personally doesn’t buy a site if the owner doesn’t give a written representation to that effect. Sourcing PhotosJon gets photos for his websites from various sources such as ShutterStock. He and his writers also try to take as many photos as they can - using their iPhones to cut down on costs. He also has a VA who contacts people and websites to use images that are suited for their sites, along with gaining the corresponding permissions. Jon’s PortfolioCyclebaron.com - A Public Case StudyJon got into this niche largely because of his interest in mountain biking. Due to the huge number of questions he receives on how to build and grow a site, he decided to do a public case study with this site to show people how he does it. In the study, he shows people how to build and design a website, and how to best structure it. Selling SitesAvi was surprised to find out that Jon recently announced that he is selling 8 sites from his portfolio. This is quite a big move, and Jon intends to sell them in order to keep around 4 in his portfolio. These 4 sites are the ones he thinks are the best fit for his plan and for the writers he has.Jon has listed all 8 sites on MotionInvest, which is run by Jon Gillham. This is actually the first time that Jon has sold sites. He hasn’t delved into selling before because of the time and hassle. He doesn’t have time to answer 20 different queries or due diligence requests from various potential buyers for each of his 8 listed sites so he opted to go to MotionInvest. They will handle everything for him and provide him with an easy and hassle-free method of selling his sites because he wants the least possible involvement in the process. Though Jon is looking to sell the sites individually, he is also open to selling the 8 sites as a package should the right buyer come along. The sites will be sold through a Dutch auction, which sets a minimum bid amount. At the end of the day, Jon isn’t sure how he’ll spend the earnings from the sale of the websites. He says that he doubts he will redeploy the cash to his other online assets, as they are already self-financing. DiversifyingJon would love to diversify and own more sites in the long term, considering the high demand for websites right now. Currently, Jon says that it is difficult to grow his portfolio with the current budget he has, but he would definitely love to own multiple websites again in the future. Upping the Ante of His ContentRight now, Jon and his team are hard at work creating stronger content for their sites through high quality processes. They are also going through their existing content, and looking to elevate and update posts to ensure they are high quality. To kick off the whole process, Jon and his team always start with the working draft of an article. They complete several edits in order to tailor the draft to their readers, and also to cater to Google by slotting in as many good keywords as possible. After this, they run the topic through AHREFs while checking a variety of keywords. Interestingly, using this process, Jon and his team find even more available topics for articles. After AHREFs, Jon also runs content through AnswerThePublic and MarketMuse. By this point, the article would have probably doubled in length through the addition of subsections and questions. After that step, he moves onto incorporating linkable assets like graphics. Finally, he publishes to the site. Although this is a lengthy process, Jon says that it is all worth it in the end, and he is willing to outlay the cash to get really high quality content.  Partnering UpJon currently has a partner for an Amazon e-commerce product which his partner offered to him. In the partnership, Jon contributes by promoting the product and generating sales, while his partner handles all the branding, monitoring, and marketing on Amazon. Email MarketingEmail marketing is something that Jon would love to get into more in the future. As it's simply writing to your readers, you don't have to worry about keywords at all. What did you think? Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question? Please leave your comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi speaks with Jim Harmer from Income School. Jim explains how he sold his entire portfolio, his strategies for building successful sites, and his incredible success using YouTube.EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝 Show NotesRecent HappeningsGarage SaleAt the start of this year, Jim Harmer from Income School made an interesting decision.He decided to sell their entire portfolio of websites, calling it a garage sale and documenting everything on his YouTube channel, Income School. They did this because they were getting really busy with the huge amount of work and projects they were handling. They also didn’t have enough expertise to manage everything. In fact, despite getting tons of traffic, they weren’t able to take advantage of it, nor make the most of it. They listed all their sites for sale in order to start their portfolio from scratch. The websites sold quickly, in large part due to how aggressively they listed and because they wanted to sell quickly. They did not use a broker. Instead, they simply announced the intended sales on their YouTube platform. In the end, they earned around $500,000.Valuing the SitesJim and his team priced most of the websites they sold at 32x revenue. Many of the sites had no affiliate links, as they mainly used ads to generate revenue. Amazingly, they all sold within an hour - for the list price. Numerous offers came, and even reached around 20 for one site. To choose a buyer, they selected the first 'Project 24' student who made an offer for the website. As these people were already customers, Jim and his team had a sense of trust in them. Avi says that having an existing audience to sell to is a valuable asset, especially when you want an easy exit from a site or portfolio. No Brokers?Jim prefers not to use a broker when selling his websites, as he’s had prior bad experiences with brokers who left him high and dry after doing several expensive deals. The process was filled with red tape, long back and forth discussions and coupled with horrible service. Though he admits that there are good brokers in the industry, this particular experience definitely burned him and imprinted a lasting memory that deters him from dealing with brokers.What options are there for new website owners who also don’t want to deal with a broker? Jim says that joining a community is a great place to start, as you can post your listing in the group for other members to see. Another option is to just put a banner on your site explaining that it is for sale. Surprisingly, this has worked well for Jim, especially with his smaller sites. Starting OverOne benefit of starting from scratch and building new websites for Jim and his team is that they have shown and taught their whole process to their students. Jim now has 10 sites in his portfolio - all of them less than a year old. Buy vs. BuildJim says that he would opt to buy only if he can find sites that are built the right way. Otherwise, he would build from scratch. He says that he rarely sees sites built in the right way or as he would like. Thanks to their Idaho-based writing team, they churn out tons of content for their sites, tailored to their needs and the sites’ needs. Regular Garage SalesJim plans to make garage sales a regular thing for his Income School website, and post around 2 to 3 sites for sale each month. These sites are all brand new and have been built from scratch by Jim and his team. The websites include all content and SEO, and are non-revenue generating sites. They are also buying some customers’ small sites that aren’t growing as expected. They will dump a ton of content on these and then sell them in the garage sales. Though buying from a garage sale is different from buying an established site, what is great is that the sites will be worth a whole lot more in a year. This is due to their growth potential and the huge amount of quality content that they already have. Jim will use the revenue from these sales to reinvest and build more sites from scratch, and then list these again using the same process. Selling StrategyJim has three strategies for all his websites. The first is build and hold, where websites that he thinks he could build a brand on would be held for the long-term. The second is build, hold, and sell, which happens with the majority of his websites. This is for sites that have good potential for growth. He would build and hold them for a year to 18 months and wait until they're producing decent revenue before selling. The last option is build and sell, which is just for sites that they have recently built, and have added content to, but no monetization. They would then sell them as is. For these, any niche is possible, including the most fun and boring niches out there like power washers and concrete. Surprisingly, these niches are the source of many good keywords and search traffic.Niche SelectionWhen choosing a niche, Jim usually starts by picking a broad (and sometimes very random) topic, from which he determines its demographic and the audience who would search for the topic. From there, he checks if that demographic would appeal to potential advertisers. If so, he starts searching keywords with the goal of finding an underserved topic. That underserved topic pulls the trigger for Jim. They also do not try to limit themselves, because they love challenges. For example, they recently went into the cooking niche, which is a notoriously competitive one due to the number of people and sites online. Though success isn’t guaranteed, what matters the most is that it served as a great learning opportunity for everyone involved. Jim says that it’s great to challenge yourself once in a while, and although it could be scary going into a whole new niche you know nothing about, the rewards may be better than initially expected. You have an advantage going into a new niche, since you’re entering it with a fresh lens, and with experience from other industries and niches which you can apply to this new one.YouTubeEntering the YouTube GameJim has found great success on YouTube with Income School. Part of the reason they started the channel is because Jim loves blogging and has been a blogger for many years. The numbers you see on YouTube are incredible, and this makes the platform one that you definitely shouldn't ignore. Income School already has a staggering 6 million views on its channel in only 12 months - an amazing feat for a blog. Admittedly, this platform is relatively new territory in our industry, with many people still clueless as to how one can grow and sell audiences and channels. Jim says that, to many people’s surprise, it is very doable and something that they are interested in at the moment. The reason is that YouTube has enormous audiences, with underutilized and under-monetized channels that could be making a ton of revenue with the right expertise and marketing. Valuing a YouTube ChannelJim believes that valuing YouTube channels isn't too far off from how we would normally value websites. A 32x multiple is definitely a possibility for a YouTube channel, provided that you find the right one. The only problem is that there is currently no standard, and it really is new territory, with Jim having seen only a few people sell their channels. Finding the right people and the right channels is key to a good offer. Pioneer?Jim has a dedicated team, and a decent amount of experience and know-how of the workings of YouTube. Avi believes that Jim would be the perfect candidate to test the waters for our industry. Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? Leave your comments at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi speaks with Colin Ma who writes our Digital Asset Deals inside the community. Colin has grown a portfolio of sites and also works with us to find and vet our weekly website deals.EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝Show NotesColin’s BackgroundStarting His CareerColin’s first job was as a programmer and consultant, back in 2016. At the same time, Colin started out with his first ever affiliate site involving swimming pools. The site became very successful, and, at one point, Colin earned more from the site than he did from his day job. Getting Into Sites and SEOColin first dabbled with e-commerce and SEO back in college. He devoted a significant amount of time learning about these subjects and investigating how people earn money online. Getting ScammedColin also invested in a training program for affiliate sites and SEO. In this program, Colin initially learned and got advice from the couple running this training on website investing, and eventually decided to purchase the website from them. Though the website wasn’t earning much to begin with, he soon found out that it was a scam. The methods they used to grow their site were not legitimate, e.g. using fake clicks for ad impressions. Colin was eventually banned from AdSense because of this. After 3 or 4 months, Colin decided to stop running and growing the site, and instead focus on affiliate marketing. Affiliate Marketing and First SiteColin didn’t know much about affiliate marketing back then, and he would constantly browse Flippa searching for sites. One day, he stumbled across Spencer Haws’ website, Niche Pursuits, which basically explained everything about affiliate marketing. He then decided to start an affiliate website for pool equipment - after looking around his house and backyard for inspiration. He built his first site while in his first job as a programmer and consultant. Colin usually spent 6 to 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays to put out 3 to 4 articles for the site. It eventually grew and ranked, and, soon after, Colin was able to outsource the writing process. In a few months, the site raked in the insane amount of $29,000 per month. Later on, the site was hit by a Google update due to Colin's aggressive use of PBNs and because of dirty SEOs. He grew the site back to a few thousand dollars per month, and sold it. It was later brokered to Income Store by FE International (2018), before Income Store folded and was exposed as a Ponzi scheme. Colin decided to go with FE International because he was approached by them with an offer to purchase, and not because he was in the market to sell.Colin’s PortfolioBuilding His PortfolioAfter selling his first site, Colin went on to buy and sell different websites. Some were e-commerce sites, but most were content sites. He has built a team that operates his constantly changing portfolio. These days, Colin is busy building sites with his team, and, since COVID hit, they’ve built a whole bunch of new sites - with 4 in the last two months alone. Colin also makes sure that he reinvests most of the money he makes back into his team. Earlier this year, he sold 2 sites in a 6-figure range each. Building Over BuyingColin prefers building sites in niches that he really knows about and that is profitable, instead of buying bigger sites in the high-figure ranges. This is mostly due to his fear of another set of Google updates. The risk involved doesn’t make it appealing for him personally. If he's going to  buy a site, it would have to be a smaller size (in the $20,000 to $30,000 range) earning around $1,000 a month. Long-Term StrategyColin likes to buy sites and sell them within 6-12 months, after performing his optimizations (like building links and SEO) and improving their profits. When it comes to the sites he builds, he keeps these for around 1 to 3 years. Current Portfolio and TeamRight now, Colin has 8 sites in his portfolio, with 4 of them being built in the last 2 months. He also has a 4-person team manning the sites: one SEO manager, two content designers, and another for handling ad hoc tasks. They also work with writers to provide content for the sites. Colin is looking to hire more writers to edit and publish additional content.  Currently, his portfolio value is around mid-six figures. Other WorkVetting DealsColin also helps vet around 6 to 8 deals for investing.io’s newsletter every week. He researches many different marketplaces and sorts through hundreds of deals to complete the due diligence.Domain Magnate and NichesAs the 'Buy and Sell Manager' for Domain Magnate, Colin is responsible for looking at websites, getting them purchased, and also selling their portfolio. He isn’t really involved in managing the sites, but he does provide strategy and insight. Together with Domain Magnate’s outreach team, he performs outreach to many different people and website owners in various niches, as well as checking private deals and marketplaces. Through this, he gets involved in niches that most people don’t really know about, but which are surprisingly viable. These niches include crypto and informational products, which Colin finds quite interesting. This doesn’t mean that they stay away from the more mundane niches, because as long as the niche is making a lot of money, then expect Colin and his team to do some outreach there as well. Their aim is to get around 1 or 2 sales a month, considering how hard it is to find really good sites that you want to buy. Most of the time, the quality just isn’t there. investing.ioColin looks at a ton of deals for both Domain Magnate and investing.io. In finding and assessing quality sites, he usually looks at new and fresh deals that take place within the week of the newsletter's release. He also looks at sites with a decent trajectory, and, for this, Colin considers whether or not he would purchase the site himself. In the investing.io newsletter, he explains why he would personally buy it, and the possible pitfalls it would have if purchased. Colin reminds everyone that this isn’t something readers should take as a definitive guide to buying, as he is only doing the initial research on a deal. Readers should definitely do more research and due diligence on their own, and figure out why the sites are bad or good before purchasing. Risk for one person may not be risk for someone else. Marketplace TrendsColin recently found 2 trends when it comes to brokers and marketplaces. Firstly, Motion Invest, (who sell a lot of smaller sites) sells sites relatively quickly. In fact, they sell so fast that Colin can’t even feature them on investing.io or Domain Magnate. This is the reason why he doesn't feature Motion Invest, even if he'd like to. The second trend involves Empire Flippers, who recently increased their multiples. Colin thought that no one would actually pay that premium for a site. However, within 4 hours, a site with not a great trajectory was sold for a surprising 39x monthly revenue. Colin says it is amazing to see people paying these multiples. Though sellers usually list them at high multiples, you still don't actually know the lowest multiple offer they will take. It might be a surprise to see how much you could negotiate these multiples down. Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? Leave your comments at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Doug Cunnington from Niche Site Project. Doug features all over the web as an expert on niche affiliate sites.Quick update: We are transitioning to a platform play with investing.io (yesterday’s announcement email). From now on, we’ll publish these podcasts as complete episodes. The talented Avi is taking over as our podcast host. EPISODE SPONSOR🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.📝Show NotesWhat Doug’s Been Up To?Staying BusyDoug has a blog, a podcast, and a YouTube channel where he talks about niche websites and affiliate marketing. A while ago, people started asking Doug to create some courses on these subjects. He did, and they've now been added to his website, NicheSiteProject.com. He’s also been marketing these courses, while keeping up with his podcast and YouTube channel.Taking Time OffDoug tends to stay busy, and he has long spells of around 4 to 8 weeks where he completely focuses on his work. But, he always makes sure to take some time off as well. To do this, he basically unplugs, unwinds, and totally relaxes for about a month. This month-long period of rest happens a few times a year, especially during the holiday season. Richard has only done something like this once: 7 years ago. Since Doug brought it up, Richard is now thinking of doing something similar in order to de-stress. De-StressingRichard usually takes an hour off every night to calm down and relax, especially after a long day taking care of his young child and working. Despite his hard work, Richard’s stress levels aren’t as high as expected, and are actually really low. He gets around 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Driving TrafficFor audience building and selling products, Doug has seen that his blog and YouTube channel are the ones driving the most traffic, followed by his podcast. People often find Doug and his blog through Google searches on how to make money online, or affiliate marketing questions. Cross-pollination also takes place. Because of this, Doug isn’t able to determine where people originate, or how people move from one of his platforms to another. With regard to sales, Doug saw his conversion rate improve after he started doing extra YouTube videos and livestreams. These help to show viewers how you speak and respond to questions. These methods create a little more trust for the viewer, leading to a possible sale. Recently, email marketing is something that has been big for Doug, as this helps build relationships with his users. It also helps to keep people's attention on Doug and his work, as well as encourage them to buy. As for his podcast, Doug has noticed that listeners are really engaged, and listen to most of the episodes, in comparison to YouTube where there are a lot of distractions. Despite podcasts typically having smaller audiences when compared to other platforms, they definitely help build a stronger relationship with listeners. Doug notices a lot more engagement and emails from his podcast listeners. PodcastDoug has completed 190 episodes of his podcast since 2019, and has been doing two per week. Most of Doug’s podcast listeners come from Apple and iTunes, though Doug recently stopped focusing on the analytics because checking these stats would have him worrying about how to grow his podcast even more. In order to lessen the worry, he decided to stop looking at his analytics around 6 months ago, but he is considering going back to them in the future. In terms of publishing, Doug uses castos.com, which has no limits on episode length or file size. Richard also noted that Spotify has been a great platform for podcasts.doug.showThis is Doug’s website for his podcast, and Richard thinks the domain is perfect. It’s really difficult to get a 4-letter domain (much more so when it's a first name) for any extension, so Doug was really lucky to secure this one for his podcast. YouTubeDoug has strongly promoted his YouTube channel, and now has over 20,000 subscribers. He also wishes that he'd started with YouTube earlier. Initially, Doug was really nervous about being on camera, but his channel has grown consistently with over 500 new subscribers per month in the past few years. YouTube’s recommendations are also very helpful in distributing videos to non-subscribers.Doug has focused more on YouTube in recent years after seeing his email list and conversions grow. His YouTube conversion rate has been 5x that of other platforms, and so he concentrates on his channel to drive more traffic and cross-pollination to his email list. A part of this conversion is due to the keyword golden ratio, and also because he always links some spreadsheets and templates in his video descriptions. The increased number of videos have helped drive a lot of traffic, especially newcomers. WebsitesCoursesThe main monetization of this website are the small courses that Doug has developed over the past few months. Though Doug has dabbled in promoting affiliate products, he found this very difficult. The reason for this is that people aren’t really interested in the offers unless they solve a problem for them. These days, he usually rejects any offers to become an affiliate. Instead, he occasionally does sponsored videos, if it's something he likes.The main course offering is called Multi-Profit Site. This is the newest iteration of a previous course called 5-Figure Niche Site. The new course is more future-proof: taking into consideration Amazon’s commission structure change. The course teaches you alternate ways to monetize and create income on your website. To put this together, Doug had the help of a bunch of SEO experts who wanted to build an affiliate course themselves. They partnered up and helped Doug focus more on the content production, while the rest of the team concentrated on the marketing aspects. It also relieved Doug from doing everything by himself. KajabiDoug puts his courses on Kajabi, where you can basically set up your own website. You can add a blog and get basic analytics, and also manage affiliate products and even coupon codes. Richard has also used Kajabi in the past for the more technical stuff he’s offered.SubstackThese days, Richard has opted for Substack because of the simplicity of the platform and its use for newsletters, email lists, and podcasts. Substack has grown in popularity, and has been a great platform for Richard. However, Substack isn’t exactly a complete service platform and so he’s keen to try additional features available outside of Substack in the future. Developing New CoursesDoug has been developing courses aimed at solving specific problems, as opposed to creating flagship courses that cover a wide range of topics. The first course he developed this year is called Side Growth Plan, which is meant for people who want to grow their site with more traffic and revenue, but are currently seeing stagnancy. Doug has thought about bundling courses that complement and fit well with each other. He’s also busy creating new courses that aren’t necessarily what users want, but are what Doug himself is interested in.Selling NicheSiteProject.com?Doug hasn’t seriously thought about selling his website, NicheSiteProject.com, but says that it is of interest to him and could be a possibility in the future. One thing to consider, though, is that a lot of the content and marketing on the site (and even on the YouTube channel) is tied to him personally. It could be difficult to let go of the site as that would create some issues. To address the problem, Doug has been trying to remove himself a bit from the newer content. Richard believes that it isn’t too hard to sell personally-tied websites and projects, based on his experience selling his old websites in which he featured prominently.PortfolioDiversifying His PortfolioDoug has kept his portfolio number low, and has sought to diversify as well. There are a few businesses which he's ignored because they weren’t doing as well or weren’t interesting to him, but he has opted to keep these in his portfolio. He says that it is perfectly okay to do this, and not to just keep pushing them in the hope of achieving some success. This allows you to focus on other areas and projects which are easier to grow and develop, and keeps the stress levels down. But, the sites you ignore may potentially be of better use to someone else so it wouldn’t hurt to exit from those businesses.A Tool in the ToolboxDoug has been pushing the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR), and uses it himself as one of his many keyword tools. People often believe that Doug uses KGR and nothing else. In truth, Doug uses many other tools and reference points alongside KGR. Richard highly recommends this to anyone who wants quick results, or is new to the game. Financial FreedomGrowingPeople continually seek financial independence. Quite a number have found this freedom in the website investing space since it allows you to earn while taking time off for yourself too. Education is key for this space since there are many aspects that are a little difficult to learn and put into practice. Thanks to Doug’s website and courses, this gap in information has been bridged for many people wanting to invest in websites. Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Juliet This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Jon Gillham from Motion Invest as well as Website Authority Income.In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 45 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.EPISODE SPONSORS🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.🔥 Blackbook Investments- have been helping folks like you invest in websites for almost a decade with their personalized, comprehensive service and a vast network of buyers, sellers, and brokers. Fill out their Investor Questionnaire and see if website investing is right for you.Part 1 Show NotesJon’s Recent ProjectsAn Array of ProjectsJon has been involved in many different projects over the past few years, and this continues. Among these are Motion Invest, Site Buddy, and a bunch of other new projects in the works. Managing EverythingTo manage all his businesses, Jon set up a holding company and made some of his businesses separate entities. Through this, the main holding company is able to own a chunk of several of the businesses, while the balance is owned by Jon himself - depending on the situation. In terms of management, Jon has individual managers assigned to each project once they reach a certain size. Main FocusThe projects taking up most of Jon’s time are the newer ones. Jon has been involved in a few SaaS and online business projects lately, and has been focusing on growing them to a point where he can assign a specific manager to each of them.Other BusinessesJon also decided to get the best features of Rocket Internet and Consolation Software and create a project that focuses on easy-to-build single problem-solving solutions that have a proven product-market fit. It’s been pretty successful so far, despite a slower build because of its SaaS nature. Jon also plans to acquire everything from scratch, instead of building on something that already exists. Jon is involved in the crypto-world through AdBank, and this takes up around 25% of his time. He has reached 87,000 users on the platform. Those people are users of the BLADE Extension, which blocks ads and replaces them with ads where you receive (AdBank) ADB tokens by viewing them. The browser extension also gives out marketing-type tasks for more tokens, including completing surveys, subscribing to YouTube channels, and retweeting content. For the FutureJon is open to rolling some of his businesses up into a publicly-listed company in the future. He would take some of the most attractive pieces of his businesses where he would need to be the "face." Talking FundsJon says that a fund in this space, if pulled off correctly, would definitely be something to watch out for. He is considering setting one up, though would prefer to invest in much larger sites than the ones he currently owns - like Motion Invest. However, this is only one of the many ideas he’s come up with over the years, and so it isn’t going to materialize anytime soon. He would very much prefer to leave out the operations of the sites to the owners, as he is not too keen on the operator model where investors would operate the site themselves in exchange for a certain amount of money. Jon says that this model is ripe for problems, because you’re faced with an operator who cares only about a portfolio of sites. As such, conflicts arise and interests are not aligned. Funds Going PublicJon is actively in discussions to offer all of his sites to investors and funds, instead of offering them individually. That way, they would be buying up for the fund, instead of just reselling the sites. In addition, they would be able to pick a vertical where they know they could get monetization. In terms of structure, the fund would be a closed fund that won’t pay dividends. Instead, it would offer a significant upside exit opportunity to either take the fund public, or make it a 3-5 year timeline. The latter, Jon says, would best be done as a second fund that would need to gain initial momentum. The former, meanwhile, would require significant costs per year, considering the corporate structure, accounting, and legal requirements that need to be taken care of. Public ListingsThere is a benefit for the whole space if funds go public. People would not need to worry about capital levels and requirements, as they could easily buy stock in small amounts. This would definitely allow this whole space to go mainstream. So far, no one in the space has done this, and it would definitely be something to watch out for. Currently, the closest publicly listed companies are media companies that branched out a bit to the digital asset space.Episode 25 Part 2In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:Site listings and continual improvements at Motion InvestUsing a group fund for website investmentsCreating wealth to achieve financial freedomThe value of informationPart 2 is for paying subscribers. Access this by hitting the button below.Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Avi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host) This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Doron Wolffberg from Cliverse Media - a cutting edge digital media company that creates and grows large and passionate audiences for niche industries.  In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 45 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.EPISODE SPONSORS🔥 Niche Website Builders - a hands-off approach to outsourcing your content. Packages include keyword research & high-converting review templates. Get 10% off your first order.🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.Part 1 Show NotesCatching Up with DoronOver the Last 12 MonthsOver the last 12 months, Doron has set up his own company, "Cliverse", which is tasked with managing his content sites. These sites monetize mainly with affiliates, and most are focused on the pet space. Some of the sites were made from scratch, while others were acquisitions that were already producing revenue. Talking PortfoliosDoron wanted to grow his portfolio really quickly, and found that a mix of both these methods allowed him to do so. To acquire these sites, Doron and his partners injected their own money, and obtained debt financing from local banks. Banks don't normally understand how content sites work, which makes it hard to obtain financing from them. However, Doron and his partners convinced them to fund their acquisitions. This is Doron's 10-step process on how to buy a website: https://empireflippers.com/10-step-due-diligence-guide/Listing His SitesDoron listed 6 of his pet-space websites on the homepage of Cliverse, and Richard says that this is quite uncommon. Most people are scared that if they do this, they might get spam or negative SEO, or that their niche might get copied. Doron says that, considering that the pet niche is relatively easy for starting a site, he isn’t worried about anyone copying his sites - especially since he has many processes in place that are hard to copy. Diversifying Revenue Streams Doron and his partners have been looking for new sources of revenue for these sites. This was brought about by the last Amazon commission cut about 6 months ago and this got them to move from being solely reliant on affiliate marketing and SEO, to branding themselves as a publisher. As such, they’ve started doing new things, like starting a YouTube channel from scratch, and growing their email lists for their sites in the pet space with separate lists for each type of pet. This shift has helped open doors to forming partnerships with companies that want to advertise on their sites. This technique creates a sort of omnichannel approach, where companies that want to work with them make use of ad space and email lists to advertise their pet-specific products. This allows Doron to market his sites as a complete package, which is very attractive for companies. Getting on YouTube Doron and his partners also started a YouTube channel tied to their sites in the pet space. This was made from scratch earlier this year. Doron says that YouTube is massively undercapitalized by SEOs, considering that it is a huge search engine. They took their top content from one of their bigger sites, and created YouTube versions of the articles. The channel has had amazing success, and more engagement than what you would usually get from a site. It is easier to create an audience through people viewing, subscribing, and commenting. Currently, they are trying to start and grow other channels, to replicate the success they’ve had with their first one.Facebook and InstagramDoron and his company don’t really put much focus or attention on Facebook and Instagram for their sites, as he says that they are not very good at them yet. Though they have done some work on Facebook, it is really difficult to get organic reach and traction there, unless you have a very specific affiliate offer. As such, Doron decided to focus on YouTube where it is easier to reach a wider audience. Richard states that Instagram is starting to become a valuable asset that can drive traffic to your sites. Lots of Instagram pages are actually up for sale, with some in the pet niche. One of these sites has 250k followers and 20k likes per video post, and is being listed at $12,000. Instagram is definitely something to look out for, especially if you want to offer a complete package. Branching OutDoron started out in the pet space and has thought of branching out to other verticals. In the near future and over the next year, he isn’t too keen on doing so because that would require building a team that is specialized in more than one area. However, this is something that they will likely do as they grow and scale the company. In the meantime, they are sticking to the pet space. Focus for the Next 12 MonthsDoron and his company plan to focus on growing their existing sites over the next 12 months, and aren’t looking to add any more in the meantime. In the long run, they will look to kill off the smaller sites that aren’t earning much and shift their team’s focus onto the bigger sites in their portfolio. This allows them to manage their time and effort better. It also prevents the situation where one of their smaller sites gets hit by a Google update, and they'd have to invest a lot more time on that - instead of growing their bigger sites which earn them more revenue. Investments and CapitalDoron and his partners have been investing their cash flow back into the business. However, they’ve also been thinking of buying less and focusing on one large acquisition per period as opposed to buying smaller sites. For this, they would seek the help of investors who would provide capital for deals through a SPV. They would then hold onto these sites for the long term, instead of exiting quickly. Doron would rather be patient and grow their sites and their portfolio over time, especially if the niche allows them to do so. AdvertisingDoron’s company currently works with AdThrive for their bigger sites, while their smaller sites work with affiliates. Doron is also thinking of turning the sites into their own ad display network. This is something that will most likely take off in the future, as it will also require working with other media companies and publishers. Working with BrandsDoron’s company also works with brands as an additional source of revenue. It is something that currently just complements the current monetization channels, since it is hard to find a brand that can take in all the traffic of the diverse content on Doron’s sites. ExitingIn terms of exiting, Doron and his partners will look to liquidate some of their smaller sites at the beginning of next year, especially the ones unrelated to the pet space. Redirects and Building LinksDoron recently managed to buy sites and domains that redirect into their existing ones. He’s also been able to copy and paste some of the content and added it to the new pages that he’s sending the acquired site into. He then mapped the pages for the links. Though they haven’t seen a bounce in rankings, Doron thinks that this will happen in the near future, especially when there is a new update. In addition, they have seen a bump in domain rating by a few points, thanks to backlinks. Episode 24 Part 2In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:Doron’s process for starting sites from scratchGetting investors on board and how Doron structures dealsBuilding & acquiring social assets to drive significant traffic at low costPart 2 is for paying subscribers. Access this by hitting the button below.Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.Cheers,Avi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host) This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Morten from the Passive Income Geek website and YouTube Channel.In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 45 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.EPISODE SPONSORS🔥 Niche Website Builders - a hands-off approach to outsourcing your content. Packages include keyword research & high-converting review templates. Get 10% off your first order.🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.Part 1 Show NotesTiny House and GoDownsize.comRunning the SiteMorten and his wife, Maria, own a niche website and YouTube channel called 'Go Downsize,' with their channel having over 100,000 subscribers. Maria came up with the whole idea, thanks to her background in architecture and a fondness for small spaces.Starting Out in BusinessTheir First DownsizeThirteen years ago, Morten started out in e-commerce, but he accumulated quite a lot of debt. Wanting to reduce this debt to become entrepreneurs, they decided to rent half of the space they lived in - effectively reducing the rent they paid. As a result, their expenses went down too, and this started their love for downsizing. Trying Out a Print BusinessThey were also involved in a print business, which they started with the help of an investor. For the first year or two, they saw the business grow quite a lot. Later on, really cheap printers popped up in the market and became widely available to the public, causing them to exit the business. Though they lost the money they put into that business, it was a great learning experience for them, especially with SEO and online marketing. Tiny LivingAs a result of the downsize, they were left with just their 2 living rooms, which had a total area of around 30 to 40 square meters. This was their first foray into downsizing, and, since then, they’ve continued this tiny living and resided in caravans which are like apartments on wheels. GoDownsize.com and Other SitesMain BusinessGoDownsize.com is currently Morten and Maria’s main business. Over the years, he’s also been building sites which Morten says should reach the same potential. Sharing and Listing Other Sites Morten also has additional websites, some of which are currently listed on his other websites (and with others he’d rather not share and would like to keep to himself). The practice of listing or sharing your other websites on one website is rare, and definitely makes you more legitimate. Morten says that since he’s going down the YouTube route, he’d rather become transparent. The only thing he’d rather not share is his monthly income, as that is something very personal. Starting GoDownsize.comHaving started the website 8 or 9 years ago, and only getting it to full speed around 3 or 4 years ago, the website now has around 600 to 700 articles. This is Morten’s main focus, and has been so for 3 years. Though he started out writing articles for the website, he decided to hire a team of writers to do this for him as, back then, he thought that his English wasn’t good enough.ExitsMorten has sold many small Danish-language sites in the past, but his most recent exit, AnimalHow.com, was the biggest one yet. It is also the first site in English that he has sold. He says that the reason he sold the Danish sites was because he wanted to shift to American and English-language sites.AnimalHow.com ExitHe actually sold AnimalHow.com to someone who’d been watching his videos on YouTube. Morten started this website with a clean slate and a completely new domain name. He then grew the site, and even put in a link to GoDownsize.com. He didn’t ask or beg for any links. He had used the site as a testing ground for content strategies in the past - as seen on his YouTube channel. Overall, the website turned out really well, and Morten was able to make a good exit. SewingMachineTalk.comMorten also owns SewingMachineTalk.com - admittedly a smaller website. However, since the COVID pandemic started - with quarantines and travel restrictions being imposed around the world - the site has picked up a lot of traffic. This is probably due to the number of people bored and stuck at home. As time passed, the traffic steadily decreased, which may be due to people going back to work and the easing of lockdowns. It has around 30,000 pageviews at the moment, with the site having about 60 pages.Additional Niche WebsitesMorten would rather acquire and build additional niche websites, instead of doubling-down on GoDownsize.com. He says that he’d rather spread the risk over different niches, and would rather not put all his eggs in one basket. Morten also loves building new websites and watching them grow exponentially. To him, it is very exciting, and is an opportunity to experiment with strategies and content. Lastly, Morten says that he would like to get into the business of selling websites, which is the major reason he sold AnimalHow.com. His plan is to sell one website a year, starting with AnimalHow.com this year. On top of that, he would like to make every sale bigger than last year’s, while also adding new sites to his portfolio in the process. Selling Go Downsize?Morten does not think he could sell Go Downsize, as the site is very personal to him and Maria. It’s a YouTube channel as well, and he's put his and Maria’s names on the website. However, he is not 100% sure on this, and could change his mind in the future. For now, he is leaning more by keeping it. A Trend That Won’t Fade?Go Downsize has the potential to reach 10x from mostly organic search - a truly amazing feat in itself, and something that’s very possible. Morten says that this is due in large part to it becoming a trend. People will continue to move into cities, and smaller living spaces become increasingly attractive because of high rent costs. Housing and land are definitely rising in cost, and when combined with starting your own business, it becomes more practical to live in a small living space. It's a trend that won’t go away anytime soon. Diversifying TrafficRight now, organic search comprises 80% to 90% of the site’s traffic. Other sources are YouTube and Pinterest, but Morten really wants to focus on and grow organic traffic. Moreover, they’ve had to put the YouTube channel on hold for a while due to the birth of their son, Max. So these days, the focus has been on the Go Downsize website instead of the channel. Interestingly, the channel is still growing. They’ve had an additional 19,000 subscribers, and their older videos are still getting plenty of views. Richard thinks that this is an exciting asset to own, with many ways to leverage it. Episode 23 Part 2In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:Buying and listing Youtube channelsMorten’s strategy for focusing on topics rather than individual keywordsWhy Morten thinks it’s better to focus almost exclusively on content, rather than build links yourselfHow to grow your website past 100,000 monthly viewsWhy beginners should focus on ads rather than affiliate linksPart 2 is for paying subscribers, you can access by hitting the button below.Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.CheersAvi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host) This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Jaryd Krause from Buying Online Businesses (Richard was on his podcast last year).In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 45 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.EPISODE SPONSORS🔥 Niche Website Builders - a hands-off approach to outsourcing your content. Packages include keyword research & high-converting review templates. Get 10% off your first order.🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.Part 1 Show NotesCatching Up with JarydBOBThese days, Jaryd is focused on BOB, or Buying Online Businesses. Through it, he guides people on doing good diligence, and he also helps them find and grow good website businesses. BOB offers a paid membership program where people who want to start buying online businesses can learn various aspects of the game through different course offerings, including buying online businesses, and growing them, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The membership also includes access to a community where members can list, buy, and sell sites. These sites are usually in the 5- to 7-figure range.Buying Online BusinessesDue Diligence FrameworkThrough BOB, members are guided on how to perform due diligence, and can even ask Jaryd for advice. They can easily ask Jaryd to review their due diligence by submitting to him a due diligence framework which he can review. From there, Jaryd can offer tips and also point out any red flags to watch out for before moving forward with the listing and making an offer. The Inner Circle MastermindThis is one of BOB’s programs where Jaryd has 1-on-1 coaching sessions with clients. This program involves Jaryd sharing and suggesting business strategies and tips on growing their businesses. The program only accepts 20 members to allow Jaryd to devote a good amount of time and focus to each member.The CommunityThe community currently runs on a platform called 10xpro.io. It allows for a great membership portal, and pages to put up their courses. It is similar to Kajabi in that regard. Different BackgroundsJaryd’s audience for BOB have lots of different backgrounds, ranging from e-commerce to SaaS, and even content sites. Of these, content sites take up a big chunk of the membership, with 40%, with SaaS and e-commerce splitting the remaining 60%.Meetups and EventsThough they are currently unavailable for physical meetups due to COVID restrictions around the world, Jaryd and BOB members usually like to meet up and hang out with one another, coupled with the opportunity to share what they’ve been doing and how their businesses have been faring and growing. It’s a great event for networking and learning, and for newbies, coming into this would give them a wealth of information and advice. They’d then be coming out full of confidence and inspiration to do more business. These days, however, they conduct “virtual campfires” every 2 months instead, but the level of fun and sharing of information is as great as ever, and being able to connect with like-minded people has been a really big takeaway from these events. Around the WorldTravellingJaryd has been travelling and has been based in lots of different countries and cities over the years, including the U.S., Honduras, and his current location of Australia. He’s been able to make friends and network extensively because of this. BOB’s Virtual CommunityLevel of CapitalJaryd says that the minimum amount of capital to spend in order to buy a good online business is at $10,000. Anything lower than that would only allow you to buy a startup, which would require a lot of time, effort, and additional capital to get some returns. In fact, the usual price range you would see in the community is $50,000, with some going as high as a couple hundred thousand dollars. For these high-level deals, buyers usually have partners or investors to help fund the acquisitions. Debt financing is also another source of money and capital for these big deals. Bringing in Capital and InvestorsLots of investors and capital partners come in and help members participate in high level deals. However, they do not partner with newcomers who are purchasing a site for the first time, as they’d rather much partner with more seasoned buyers. GoalsThe goal of the community is to help members run their online businesses, at only 3 to 8 hours a week. This is perfect for newbies in the online business game, and who usually have day jobs and are looking to earn more on the side initially by buying an online business. Later on, as the business grows, these people are then able to leave their day jobs and have their income stream from their business take over. However, this does not mean that they will be spending even more time on the business. On the contrary, they still devote the same amount of time for their businesses, and this gives them a whole lot more time to spend with their family and friends, and do the things they want to do, since they don’t have a 9-5 job anymore. At the end, the goal is to become their own boss, by having their own businesses. Building WealthAnother end goal for the community is to create wealth. As their businesses grow, members are able to acquire even more businesses to increase their income stream. Jaryd also says that this allows them to invest in other types of assets, like property, which is considered as a more stable asset. This helps especially considering that the online space is a volatile space, which can be hit pretty hard by different factors.Episode 22 Part 2In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:Whether buying domains rather than websites is a better path to build wealthHow to know when to flip a site in order to take money off the tableReinvesting in your business vs investment diversification Investing in other online business operatorsSubscription businesses and why Richard may set up a coffee onePart 2 is for paying subscribers, you can access by hitting the button below.Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.CheersAvi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host) This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Zach Zorn from Money Nomad about his new marketplace and partnership with Empire Flippers.In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 40 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.EPISODE SPONSORS🔥 Niche Website Builders - a hands-off approach to outsourcing your content. Packages include keyword research & high-converting review templates. Get 10% off your first order.🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.Part 1 Show NotesMoney NomadHow it StartedZach was approached by Empire Flippers with an offer of them becoming a minority owner in Money Nomad. The reason for this is that they don’t service and broker websites in the $30,000 or less range, due to profitability issues. However, with Money Nomad, Zach is then able to fill in the gap and service people who want to sell online assets which have a value between $5,000 to $30,000, which isn’t really possible with Empire Flippers. Connecting with SellersGenerally, Zach is able to connect with sellers through his following and e-mail list. However, Empire Flippers also helps out on this end by referring clients who do not reach their $30,000 value mark to Zach.Newsletters and the MarketplaceGetting PopularLots of newsletters have been popping up recently and are becoming a great way of bringing knowledge and tips to people, subscribers, and the marketplace too---especially in the website investing space, with Richard also having a newsletter of his own. Good Business ModelThe newsletter space is a really interesting one, as it doesn’t have a startup cost, and has lots of ways to monetize it. It’s a great way to feature deals and listings as well.Zach’s Blog ContentZach usually churns out 2 articles a month, and he makes sure that those articles are really well-tailored with all the keyword research included. He also writes these articles himself, and he’s been able to get lots of readers and really good rankings. Though he’d like to publish at least one article a week, unfortunately, time constraints are currently preventing him from doing so.The MarketplaceZach believes that as the marketplace of Money Nomad grows, Money Nomad will definitely grow as well. People in the marketplace would be ideally able to navigate to Money Nomad and vice-versa in the future. Zach did this, and essentially consolidated everything into one website instead of starting a new one. DomainingRichard’s PortfolioRichard currently has a lot of different domains, and he’s willing to wait in order to get the value of these domains to an end-user level. He’s also trying out different aspects, like branding and local names. Richard is aiming to get at least 10x, and will keep renewing the domains until they get to that level. Domaining, according to him, is definitely a waiting game.Domain DatabaseA great tool to search for domains, extensions, and domains with similar names is dotdb.com. Richard highly suggests this tool when looking for same or similar domains, especially when you are considering buying domains. Building from Expired DomainsZach has been wanting to get into building websites from expired domains. Richard himself has been dabbling in it for quite some time, and currently has a couple in his portfolio. Richard also says that he would definitely not start on a fresh domain, unless he is redirecting a powerful one into it.One popular way of acquiring these domains is through auction, like through GoDaddy and other platforms. They would then vet for these domains and make sure that everything is in order and will work smoothly.Richard is looking into acquiring more domains, and is also looking to get a low 5-figure domain by the end of the year. You can definitely spend a lot of time searching for domains, and it can become a rabbit hole. PPCs and LeadsIt would be hard for someone to put up PPCs, unless you are able to generate leads well enough. Zach does this pretty well, as he’s involved in brokering yachts. Since he’s able to generate leads well, all he needs to do is just create a landing page with funnels, and things can flow from there with PPCs. Zach would then be able to sell boats and yachts from there. Adding Content and RedirectsWhat Richard would normally do is buy an aged domain with a brand name, and 301 redirect any page from that old domain that had links, into his new site. He would map the pages, and also rebuild or recreate them, then get them indexed. He would then add some content to those rebuilt pages, and copy these pages onto his main site. Afterwards, he’d add a canonical tag so Google knows that the content has moved. Lastly, he’d add the redirects. This, according to Richard, is the safest and most legitimate way of moving, while allowing the authority to pass on to his new domain well. If rebuilding can’t be done, Richard suggests redirecting them to the most relevant page, or home page. All of this requires a lot of time, but will reap a lot of upside in the end.Episode 21 Part 2In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:How Zach handles website payments / escrowSculpting the best audience for his marketplaceWebsites investing vs stock market correlationA website investing event?…Part 2 is for paying subscribers, you can access by hitting the button below.Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.CheersAvi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host) This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Mark Mars about investing in content on aged domains. Mark is the co-founder of Niche Website Builders with Adam Smith (who was on the first podcast) and together they run the facebook groups on Building and Flipping.In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 40 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. As is typical, part 2 elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.EPISODE SPONSORS🔥 Niche Website Builders - a hands-off approach to outsourcing your content. Packages include keyword research & high-converting review templates. Get 10% off your first order.🔥 Smash Digital - an SEO growth agency with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. Check. Them. Out.Part 1 Show NotesMark’s PursuitsMain FocusMark’s focus these days has largely been centered on Niche Website Builders, which is his content site building business. Though he has his own portfolio and even a personal team of writers working on his portfolio, it has taken a back seat in his list of priorities and has been devoting a large part of his time to the business instead. Expanding the PortfolioHe is also looking to expand his portfolio come the new year with the addition of a few smaller sites. He is not big on flipping, as he would rather grow his websites and his audience over time. Once he sees that a website is taking off, he would then decide to invest more money into it and build it up into a proper business. Picking Niches?At the moment, Mark does not particularly pick niches he’s interested in. Rather, he would pick sites that have a high potential of growth and opportunity. This is in large part due to the fact that he is not a writer, as he says that writers who would write extensively for the website would very much rather write about a niche they are particularly interested in so as to motivate them to write. Niche Website BuildersStarting OutThe business launched earlier in the year and had a shaky start. Early on, they took on too many clients so they had to slow down for a while. They also initially outsourced content to a US agency, but that didn’t work out as the agency couldn’t handle the workload and even outsourced it themselves which led to subpar quality writing. Prior to ThisBefore this, Mark ran a digital marketing agency called Perceptive Flow for about 5 or 6 years, and this took up a lot of Mark’s time and effort as he worked to build it up slowly. Later, one of his long-term customers wanted to team up, and so Mark gave him equal equity in the business. The business didn’t really work out, as it was not profitable and they only earned enough to survive and get the staff going. This led to Mark leaving the business and starting Niche Website Builders shortly afterwards. Clientele and ServicesUnder the new business, Mark sought to cater to clients needing content sites for their own businesses. To this end, he hired a team of writers and management staff, instead of getting the services of agencies as they had bad experiences with them in the past. Today, Niche Website Builders provides end-to-end services, including niche selection and research. In fact, all the client needs to do is to click on “publish”. In terms of fees, clients usually pay in bulk for content. However, they also offer subscription-based payments, and 30-35% of their earnings come from this. Moving to Expired Domains Mark and his team have been moving towards expired domains when building websites for clients. Firstly, they look for an expired domain in the niche that the client is interested in, and build their websites from there by adding around 100,000 words of content. This is also what portfolio owners are also interested in. In fact, these days, they build websites out of expired domains more than they do through their site on fresh domains. They are also looking to turn this into a business model in the near future, and they’ve been building lots of connections to source expired domains. Currently, they make a very small margin on these domains as sort of like a finder’s fee. However, they view this service only as a way to sell their main product, which is content. They would look to purchase these domains from auctions, and would focus on churning out the content once they acquire it. They have an expired domain waitlist.Purchasing DomainsNiche Website Builders usually base their valuation of domains on calculations based on various scientific metrics, such as SEO value. Realistically, they would not spend $100,000 on a domain, as the highest they’ve spent on one is $5,000. They look to purchase domains below the market value considering their SEO profile. Moreover, through their partners, they’re looking to act as a middle-man between the partner and the client, in case the partner has a domain that the client is interested in. Adam & Mark were kind enough to send through examples of aged domains they own that they have been hitting with content below:Plans for the Near FutureMark is constantly trying to expand their team of writers, considering the consistently increasing demand for their services. They are also looking to focus their services on only a few aspects of website development, in which they are experts in. In fact, they are not really looking to broaden their range of services, as Mark says that it is better that they be good and reliable experts in a few fields than be merely versed in a wide range. Moreover, with their dip into developing aged domains, they are looking to involve this aspect more heavily into their business model of content creation, through the help of their partnerships as previously mentioned. Listing Aged DomainsNeed for ExclusivityOftentimes, domains are listed on two or more platforms/marketplaces, and so Mark says that there is a need to have these domains exclusively listed on one, such that there wouldn’t be a need to delist them on other marketplaces and platforms once it is sold. DNWEOne platform for selling domains is DNWE, and they have an option to list your domain exclusively for a set period of around 15 to 30 days. This is a workaround to what Mark has talked about above. Richard also mentions how this is all very new, and no one has actually enabled people to list aged domains with authority in a professional way. For Mark, he would rather keep things at a 1:1 basis for now in terms of selling aged domains, meaning that he would only source them when a client needs them. Episode 20 Part 2In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:Mark’s strategy on buying and selling aged domainsWhy he thinks aged domains are undervaluedThe difference between Expired vs. Expiring DomainsHow Mark chooses to invest and reinvest profitsHow Mark views diversification of his web assetsPart 2 is for paying subscribers, you can access by hitting the button below.Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.CheersAvi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host) This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com
Comments (2)

Ali Ghafari

good

Jul 23rd
Reply

Fabio Veloso

Great content!

Dec 7th
Reply
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