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Case Study: Buying Websites and Strategy to Increase Earnings

Case Study: Buying Websites and Strategy to Increase Earnings

A couple of days ago, I revealed that the first case study I will be working on is developing a voice chat software with Perrin.  Now its time to reveal the second case study of the year.  That's right, both of these are going to run simultaneously throughout the year!

This second case study will be buying and selling not one, but 2 sites!  Throughout the process, I hope to show you the steps of what it takes to buy at website (at a good price), and how to take that site and increase its earnings and traffic, and then how to sell the site for a profit.

In fact, I've already purchased 2 sites, so this case study is well under way.  So, today I'm going to share what I've done so far with these sites and how its going, along with the next steps in the process.

How to Buy a Website

I'm not an expert when it comes to buying a website.  I know the best way to learn something is to actually do it, so that is a big reason I am going through the process of buying at least a few websites this year.

Although I've never purchased a website, I've owned plenty of them, so I know a few things to look out for.  Some of those things include:

  • Earnings and Expenses history
  • How long has the site been around
  • Where is the traffic coming from.  Is it 100% from Google, or 1 keyword, or one other vulnerable source?
  • What country is the traffic coming from?
  • Can the site be improved?
  • Links pointing to the site: Natural or Spammy?

This is primarily what I look at, but there are other things that can be considered as well.  I just recently did a podcast interview with Justin Cooke from EmpireFlippers, where we discussed buying and selling sites a bit.

Where I Bought My 2 Websites

Shortly after publishing my goals post here, where I explained that I wanted to spend $25k this year buying websites, I received a few emails from readers offering to sell their websites.  I was only interested in one of them, and after exchanging a few emails, getting access to the Google analytics, and earnings screenshots, I made an offer.

To give you an idea of price, the Empire Flippers list all their sites at a buy it now price of 20 times monthly earnings.  This is definitely on the high end.  From what I've seen on Flippa, a more “normal” price for a website would be around 12 to 15 times monthly earnings.  (Obviously, a large site could go for more 2 to 3 times annual earnings).

The site I was looking at was making about $450 to $500 per month mostly from Google Adsense and a little from Amazon associates.  After we exchanged several emails negotiating the sale price, we agreed that I would buy the site for $5,000.  I think it was a great deal, as I was able to pick up the site for about 10 to 11 times earnings.

Then I was able to pick up another site on Flippa.  Again, I've never purchased a site on Flippa (although I have sold a couple there before).  So, it was a new experience for me.

Essentially, I was hoping to find a site that was getting a lot of traffic, but perhaps the owner wasn't monetizing that traffic properly.  I was looking for upside potential with all the websites that I reviewed.  What I found is definitely rough around the edges.

I found a website that was getting about 3,000 visitors a day, but was only making about $250 per month.  I saw some potential; I'll explain more below.

So, instead of just inputting a bid and crossing my fingers.  I contacted the seller privately and he wanted to discuss things via Skype chat.  I was able to get A LOT of direct answers, and again access to Google Analytics to get all the details I needed.

I learned that the site was banned from Google Adsense, and that most of the content was copied.  I could also see that almost all of the traffic was coming from Pinterest.

So, tons of red flags; BUT these were also reasons why the site could potentially be improved.  I also knew I could buy it for cheap.  So after negotiating quite a bit, I made him an offer for about 8x monthly earnings and he accepted.  We did the entire negotiation on skype chat, and he immediately closed the Flippa listed after I input my bid (which was well below his original asking price).

The site was making about $250 per month, and I paid just over $2,000.

So, both sites are not huge websites, but they will be great testing grounds.

Adsense Site Details and Strategy

As mentioned earlier, I was contacted by a reader of NichePursuits.com and purchased their site that is making about $500 per month primarily from Google Adsense.  The site was making a little bit from Amazon Associates and eBay affiliate program as well, but its pretty small.

This particular site doesn't have any problems, its been a solid earner and ranks well in Google.  The site gets about 200 unique visitors per day.

site1-traffic

So, even if I did nothing but maintain the site where its at, I would recover my initial investment in about 10 months.  However, I thinks this site has a lot of growth potential for 2 reasons:

1. The site only has 5 pages of content.  Adding more quality content can increase the traffic.

2. The site only ranks mid-first page or top of the second page of Google for most of its keywords.  I think some additional SEO/link building can push those keywords near the top of Google, potentially increasing the traffic quite a bit.

The Plan

So, the strategy for this site is pretty straight forward: Write more content, and increase existing rankings in Google with more links.

I will likely just build links via Rank Hero or my own Private Blog Network.  That may be all I need to do to increase the rankings in Google.

And of course, I've already done the keyword research using Long Tail Pro to find 7 or 8 additional keywords that I'd like to target and add content for.  I'll be getting that content up in the next couple of weeks.

The one minor difference with this site, is that it was an PHP site, rather than WordPress.  However, the existing owner was willing to convert it over to WordPress for me.  So, I've now got the site up on WordPress, and I'm closely watching the rankings, traffic, and earnings to ensure that the move doesn't make any of those take a dip.

Pinterest Site Details and Strategy

The second site I bought is my new problem child.  However, I knew this going in, so its not like I didn't know what I was getting myself into.

To recap, I bought this site on Flippa for around $2,000, and its making around $250 per month.

The problems lie in the fact that nearly all of the content on the site is copied (“curated”) and its been banned from Google Adsense.

Because the content is copied, its doesn't get much traffic from Google; however, it gets a TON of traffic from Pinterest.  In fact, the site gets close to 3,000 unique visitors per day, and most of that is from Pinterest.

site2-traffic

Here's a screenshot from Feb 1st to Feb. 9th, 2014 of Traffic Source for the site:

pinteresttraffic

The organic traffic you see is mostly from images searches on Google.

This site is in the craft niche, so most of the content on the site is of images and blog posts about craft items.  The previous owner did a good job of basically pinning all images from the site onto Pinterest.  These images in turn get re-pinned and drives all the traffic.

The Plans to Fix the Site

The previous site owner had let me know that the site had been banned from Adsense, but he said he didn't know why.  So, my first priority was to see if I could get it reinstated with Google Adsense.

As you are likely aware, simply getting the site back with Google Adsense could easily double the income of the site overnight.  Google Adsense just pays more than other options.

Google is still not easy to get a hold of; however, they have added the ability for some Adsense account holders to email an account rep.  Luckily my account has that option…this is the first time I've tried to contact Google Adsense through this newer system.

I essentially told them that I just bought a site, and was told by the previous owner that it had been banned from Google Adsense, and was hoping they could tell me why.

We exchanged a couple of emails, and Google Adsense responded with this:

adsensesupport

My first thought was well, I'll just take down the copied content, or add original content to the current post; BUT there are over 1,500 articles on the site!

So, I was left with the choice: I could do all I could to get the site in compliance with Adsense by taking down copied content and adding original content.  OR I could just ride the current strategy and improve what I could.

At this point, I've decided to just forget about Google Adsense and monetize the best I can with other sources.  If I took down the content, I would be starting from scratch, and I don't want to do that.

This site is monetized with with Media.net and InfoLinks.com for the most part right now.  But I plan on testing a few different options out.  That will be a big part of this case study!

The Content Plan

The site actually has good metrics, Page Authority of 33 and a PageRank of 4.  It also gets lots of natural back links; mostly from others linking to all the images on the site.

But I don't know if original content will rank well on the site; I'm hoping it does.  So, essentially, I've gone to Long Tail Pro and found several keyword ideas that I could write original content on.

I'm going to start with one solid article targeting a low competition keyword that I should be able to rank for, built some links to that article, and then see what happens.

If I can rank new original content in Google (despite the rest of the site being copied content), then I should have no problem increasing the earnings of this site over time.

In addition, I've contacted and hired the previous content provided on this site.  He is still “curating” content for me to take as much advantage of Pinterest traffic.  The freelance “author” comes pretty cheap and is a pretty minor expense.

If original content doesn't rank in Google, I'll just do my best to grow the Pinterest traffic and monetize it better.

I've already started to test out some different ad layouts, but I will dive deeper into improving the monetization of the site in a future post.

Your Thoughts

Overall, I'm excited to take both of these sites and increase their earnings.  For the most part, I'm hoping to use these sites as a learning experience to provide the knowledge I need to buy and sell sites on a larger scale at some point.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this project so far.  I've just given an introduction to both sites, but hopefully its enough to pique your interest.

Have questions or comments?  Let me know what you think below!

Related Projects:

97 Comments for this Post

  1. Nick LeRoy

    Nick LeRoy

    Great stuff. Did you find that weeding through all the crap on Flippa was a good use of your time? I love going through Flippa but just find so much junk. I guess that’s half the game right?

    Very interested to see how the social site does. Have you considered making it similar to ‘supernova’ like Glen from Viperchill covers at http://www.viperchill.com/six-months/

    • Nick LeRoy

      Nick LeRoy

      Viral Nova… sorry 🙂

    • Codrut

      Codrut

      hey Nick

      I find Flippa a gold mine — it just takes more time to filter results and find what you’re looking for.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Probably not for this site; however, I’ve actually been thinking about the success of Upworthy.com for a week or so before Glenn posted his article; not sure that I’ll tackle something just like it; but its interesting. I guess Glenn and I think alike!

  2. Rhodge

    Rhodge

    Great read–looking forward to seeing the results on these

  3. Gabe

    Gabe

    Spencer, how old is the pinterest traffic site?

    Can you link out to craft ecommerce sites (affiliate links/amazon) so people can buy the items in each picture to make that specific item? Obviously just try it on the top traffic picture pages…

    Or sell ad space to some other bloggers in the niche….

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The site a couple years old. Yes, those are some good ideas.

  4. Jenda

    Jenda

    I love the fact that they are different (Original content, Google traffic vs. Currated content, Pinterest traffic), so it will be definitely interesting to see how you will manage to improve them. Looking forward to reading next update 🙂

    GL!

  5. Nate

    Nate

    I’m not a big fan of social traffic. I feel like the views don’t convert as well. Also you never know when these social networks are going to fall off the face of the Earth, i.e. Myspace.

  6. Quinton Hamp @ The Lost Cyclist

    Quinton Hamp @ The Lost Cyclist

    Really fascinating stuff. After reading this, I think buying and improving might be a really fun way to go.

    I’d probably hire some Filipino to rewrite the 1500 pages. Or at least the top 20% of them that get traffic (and delete the rest) It’d be costly, but if the Adsense doubles your monthly, it might pay for itself.

    I’m intrigued to see what you do with this. I hate crafting

    • Quinton Hamp @ The Lost Cyclist

      Quinton Hamp @ The Lost Cyclist

      Oh, and RankHero link goes to wrong domain. 😉

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I could potentially have the pages rewritten, but as you can imagine… and fixed the rank hero link…thanks!

  7. Natalie

    Natalie

    I think we’ve reached a point with social networks that the ones currently popular are likely to stay that way and not go the way of myspace. I say this because many of the newer social networks (pinterest, tumblr etc….) appeal to a niche of people and not to the general population. Everyone uses facebook, but pinterest appeals to people who love crafts and do it yourself at home type things, whereas tumblr is more of a nerds hangout. People no longer just sign up with one generic social network (facebook) but create accounts with ones that are popular with people who have similar interests to theirs, so now its kind of like finding a community online for like minded people. That’s why I don’t see the currently popular social networks going the way of myspace any time soon.

  8. Jakub

    Jakub

    I purchased 3 websites on Flippa with very good results. But it takes a lot of time to find something worthy.

    What niche is the first website? If it’s not a secret.

    Good luck!

  9. Josh Escusa

    Josh Escusa

    Any chance that you’re able to slap an opt-in form and focus on getting affiliate income from related craft items? Or maybe selling an ebook?

    I once targeted the job niche and with around 2000 visitors per day and I was able to get 40 opt-ins per day.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Definitely a possibility. I do plan on trying this among other things.

    • Sachin

      Sachin

      Wow…this is a perfect monetization method for social traffic. Get them on site and ask them to fill the form….seems perfect.

  10. Our Fine Adventure

    Our Fine Adventure

    Sounds like things are off to fast starts! Thanks again for your hard work and going through these case studies!

  11. monk

    monk

    reallly interested how the pinterest site develops. I do like the idea of seeing some google alternatives for monetizing and traffic.

  12. Miki Vicioso

    Miki Vicioso

    Hi Spencer

    How are you? Actually 3,000 uniques a day is not bad. You can definitely monetize that if you do it right. I turned site from making 2 bucks a day to 10 bucks a day with the exactly same traffic.

    If the traffic comes from Pinterest, you just need to mimic the strategy and get good content in there.

    If you need help and want me to take a look to give you advice, shoot me an email at miki at mikivicioso.com

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Miki – I have lots of ideas to improve the earnings. If nothing works, I’ll let you know 🙂

  13. Glenys @ Website Tips 4U

    Glenys @ Website Tips 4U

    Wow, the traffic stats from Pinterest to the 2nd site are compelling (3,000 unique visitors per day). Pinterest members are considered to be keen online shoppers so this is bound to be a good investment.

    This project is all the more interesting because the 2 sites are so different from each other.

    Another fascinating case study to follow Spencer, thanks.

  14. Atin

    Atin

    Fascinating case study spencer, looks like this year you have got your both hands full. I sure am hooked to both the case studies. I am sure most of your reader would be.

  15. Country Musick

    Country Musick

    Great Article. I am actually in the same process, I only want to buy Turnkey Online Real Estate…I wish I had your knowledge for inspection purposes. I need your help with this. Please let me know what we can do so you can run your evaluation on my potential sites.

    I would like to have someone like yourself be able to review any potential investment. This is a service I am willing to pay for!

    Let me know.

    Thank you
    Country

  16. Leo

    Leo

    Great sharing as always.
    I am more interested in the second site as it doesn’t rely on Big G for the traffic.
    3000 uv/d is really fascinating and I am waiting to see how you can monetize it.

  17. Lenny

    Lenny

    $500 a month from a five page site … sweet !
    good find Spencer 🙂

  18. Matthew Allen

    Matthew Allen

    I love that you’re tackling this project as a case study Spencer. I also have never bought a site before, but would love to try it sometime this year now that I am finally producing some funds that will allow me to do so.

    A sweet strategy might be to find and purchase sites like the $5k Adsense one you got for roughly 10x – improve it just enough that it will pass the Empire Flippers vetting process – then sell it through them for 20x (minus fees). You could easily double your money in just a few short months!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Definitely. That may be exactly what I do here.

  19. Pratik Unadkat

    Pratik Unadkat

    Excited like anything. Both properties being exactly opposite to each other – this case study is surely going to be a lot interesting!

    Cheers

    Pratik.

  20. Seddik

    Seddik

    Hi spencer Yesterday there was a google update and it simply destroyed my blog do you have and suggestion for me 🙁
    http://www.mahwos.com/

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      You have too many ads above the fold – remove all the ads and see if it comes back. Also, its not in English so I can’t tell anything else.

  21. 3 Links and a Song | Our Fine Adventure

    3 Links and a Song | Our Fine Adventure

    […] Case Study: Buying Websites and Strategy to Increase Earnings (Niche Pursuits) – Spencer’s blog is one of my favorite out there, and an obvious must […]

  22. Dave

    Dave

    Both case studies sound awesome Spencer. I just hope you’ll be going into more detail about all of the things you’ve already done. The case studies don’t feel like they’re starting at the “beginning”.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Well the beginning was buying the sites, and that’s what I’ve shared. I really haven’t done much else other than what I’ve explained in this post. But I will be going into more detail of course…

  23. Grace's Dad

    Grace's Dad

    Spencer,
    I’m glad to see your attempt to buy and fix-up these websites. I have been wanting to do this but have been a little afraid to pull the trigger. I think your price range is right on, as you should get a couple good potential sites with good traffic. As far as Adsense, you may be better off not using on your craft site anyway as I’ve personally experienced the Google/Adsense slap on a couple of my sites and have found better monetization through Amazon and other sources. More importantly, you have steady income source that isn’t as susceptible to turning to zero overnight based on Google’s feeling that day. Thanks for the Pinterest tip too, I didn’t realize it could drive that much traffic. I’ll be watching closely! Thanks for the great case studies!

  24. BRS

    BRS

    I knew why the 2nd website is banned by Google Adsense. Because Google Adsense don’t like website that got most traffic from Social Network like FB, Pinterest, tumblr. because it’s not organic traffic.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Actually that’s not it. They told me why, its because the content is not original.

  25. Rahat

    Rahat

    Never heard of a ebay affiliate program. May need to give it a go soon.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep its been around for a really long time, but it doesn’t pay very well.

  26. paul

    paul

    Hi Spencer,
    love the case studies …. can’t wait to read more!
    One question I wanted to ask you is ‘what do you do on all your web properties to secure against Hacks and Brute Force attacks?
    I am new to bulding sites and this concerns me. Wondered what the current thinking is on this subject?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Honestly, I’ve just allowed the standard wordpress installation do its job (has security built in). I’ve never had any major issues.

  27. Joey Augustin

    Joey Augustin

    Spencer,

    Do you have any moral reservations about the fact that Google says the site is full of non-original content, yet you are still trying to earn money from it?

    I suppose it would depend on the amount of non-original content and what Google defines as non-original.

    What criteria do you use in a case like this to decide if it is “ok” to pursue?

    Thanks and best of luck!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Joey:
      I don’t like that its copied content, but it IS all referenced to the original. So, its clear to the reader that its not original content and cites the original material, which is the only reason I’m okay with it.

      • David

        David

        Is the pinerest site a wordpress install right?

        With copyscape wordpress plugin I would invest 75$ (0.05$ per article X 1500 = 75$) to remove the duplicate content.

        Also there is very good plugin to find duplicates in WP: (with 1500 it’s very possible)

        http://wordpress.org/plugins/find-duplicates

        You can define a % of content similarity and it will uncover duplicate content on posts, pages, etc.

      • Joey Augustin

        Joey Augustin

        Makes sense. Thanks Spencer!

      • tori

        tori

        Regardless of morality, I think there are some legal, Fair Use issues, regardless of whether you give the owners a link back. Maybe you could just use teasers for the articles, it’s legal to publish a couple of paragraphs. I’m sure a lot of the writers wouldn’t mind, and some would even like it, but some might mind. Artists get very prickly about the use of their images, and I have seen online brouhahas as they publicize violations to each other. (I’m an illustrator myself. Usually it’s a fuss when artwork is for sale illegally–haven’t seen it over republishing–but many artists are very conscious of these issues, even if there is no apparent benefit to them). It’s legal to use thumbnails. The more you develop the site, the more people will see it–just my two cents! Copyright issues are quiet serious. I do wish you luck on it!

        • tori

          tori

          ps when I say artwork is sometimes for sale illegally, I mean when others offer the work as a print or on a print-on-demand product (they will even do that with low-res images). It’s good to have control over WHERE your work is online, so you can figure out how it happened. 🙂

      • tori

        tori

        pps Sorry about all the posts. Creative Commons licenses allow the use of material with attributions, but All Rights Reserved, which is the default, does not.

        Many artists refused to post on Pinterest until they changed their TOS, which they did early on because of the complaints. They had claimed the right to use and republish images without consent. The owner of the copyright has the right to choose which license they want. The sites they post on have their own terms. Some people use a Pin It button so it’s clear that it’s OK for others to pin. Others use a Pinterest-blocking plugin. When I post artwork on my own site, it’s All Rights Reserved, not Creative Commons. Though I would not, in reality, mind if someone reposted it in a way that would get the work out there and link back to me, I’m always a bit surprised when I see it happen. There are ways to attach metadata to images, as well as ways to strip it. I don’t know where the previous owners got the images, I guess off the artists’ blogs, which are usually owned by, say, Blogger–that doesn’t make the artwork Creative Commons.
        Here is some info–(and again, I love this site and am not trying to be a downer, just sayin’ be careful!)
        http://amylynnandrews.com/using-images/

        • tori

          tori

          my last comment–There are class action lawsuits against Huffington Post and Yelp for using content WITH permission and links back. With Huffington Post it’s because the bloggers provided content (cross-posted from their own blogs) without knowing it was going to be used to make a huge profit. There is a boycott of the site. With Yelp (I believe the suit is still going on), it’s based on Yelp pressuring the top reviewers to provide more free content and controlling the terms of it, making the reviewers, according to the suit, employees of Yelp, and they are demanding payment and acknowledgement, which would also have tax implications. If you start to make a lot of money with this site, and publicize it, there could be legal action–so hope it ends up complying with Adsense TOS. Not that it’s a huge dot-com like Yelp and HuffPost (and I think HuffPost won the suit, but there is still a boycott among people who care about copyright who feel that HuffPost doing is devaluing the work of all writers–and I’m sure it cost HuffPost a lot of legal fees). Dicey.

  28. Dhruv Bhagat

    Dhruv Bhagat

    Do share the strategy for the site getting tons of visitors from Pinterest.. I have a site which is getting 60% overall traffic from Pinterest.

    #Excited to know what can work?

    Thanks!

  29. Kimberly

    Kimberly

    This is fun! I can’t not open your emails…

    Regarding the Pinterest site — how about ranking the boards themselves?

    Then monetize your site w/something other than AdSense.

    Cheers!

    • sandy

      sandy

      Building on Kimberly’s idea – if your site has a lot of Pinterest followers you can market re-pins and mentions to other businesses. So if you have 100k followers then you would charge a business $100 to repin their pins for a week. Something like that.

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Yep, good idea as well…thanks!

  30. Adte

    Adte

    Hi Spencer,

    The site you bought on Flippa might definitely be a good target for content curation type of site.

    I understand you said the current content was duplicate content but I think as long as you add your touch and don’t just duplicate content, this was content curation should be anyway.

    There are definitely ways to do that correctly without risk. It would be interesting to see how this unfolds. Never know you that might be the next upworthy 🙂

  31. Donald W

    Donald W

    Spencer,

    This is going to be awesome. It’s great to know how to get a site up and ranked in google. Now, I think this is going to provide awesome value on how to improve monetization and conversions for our current sites too. Not just sites we buy to improve.

    Should be very interesting seeing how these two sites progress especially the pintrest one with the duplicate content.

    Also should be interesting to see that Google is not the end all be all to getting traffic and making money online.

    Keep it up 🙂

  32. sandy

    sandy

    Interesting stuff. If it’s a crafts site take a look at Rivit.com for monetizing. I know a few sites that use them because they specialize in the crafts niche. I’d also consider outsourcing the writing of simple Crafting EBooks and try selling those. You could try Buy Sell Ads (tough to get approved) and sell ad space directly. You could contact crafting supplies sites and see if they’d buy ad space directly from you. Michaels would be the Holy Grail but there are others.

    I’ve seen curation sites where the owner does a short intro and then links to the article he’s curating. He doesn’t copy any of the material in the article. Is this site like that? Or did he literally copy the original content and put it on his site? Did he even credit the original article? If not, it’s not surprising he lost his Adsense account.

    I’m actually a fan of Pinterest and other socially-driven websites. Pinterest in particular has an avid crafting membership. If you don’t rely on Adsense then ranking with a lot of Google traffic becomes less important imo. But if you add new content and rank for new keywords that should get more traffic that you can sell to. Will you be sharing the url eventually?

    Sandy

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ll definitely take a look at Rivit…thanks! Yes, I do plan on sharing the URL eventually – but am thinking I might do so after I sell the sites.

      • sandy

        sandy

        Thanks Spencer. I’m still curious about the curation method of site #2. Did they do an introduction type of post and then link to an article on another site?

        Or did they copy the article and put it on their site?

        Thanks!

  33. Stev Plon

    Stev Plon

    Great read–looking forward to seeing the results on these

  34. Joe Magnotti

    Joe Magnotti

    Spencer, thanks for the mention, though I should clarify that the reason EmpireFlippers.com lists at 20 times monthly earnings is because we do all the vetting and due diligence on a site for you. Next time you are looking to buy sites, it would be an interesting test to get one from us and one from Flippa and see which one does better — just a thought.

    I’m betting the ROI on our sites will actually be higher, especially once you consider all the time you spent personally looking for a good site.

    A note on Pinterest traffic, I am doing some internal tests and have found initial success. The issue is you need to continually update your boards. I wonder why there is no service for this yet. Perhaps we should create one!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I agree – its worth it to pay 20x through your EmpireFlippers marketplace because of the service that you provide. I may indeed go through your service in the future to save me time.

  35. Kim

    Kim

    Great case studies Spencer, really love that they are both different. Intrigued by the Pinterest/craft one. Looking forward to the next post.

  36. Kim

    Kim

    Both “so” different that should be …

  37. Sarfraz

    Sarfraz

    Dear Spencer,

    Why don’t you add one section on your blog for Buy/Sell site, so that whoever wanted to sale their site, they can list on your blog. if the site is sold you can earn small amount of commission. why to pay large amount of commission to flippa. As you have large number of readers & all of them are very much interested in online business.

    This is just my thoughts.

    Regards
    Sarfraz

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, I hear ya! Just have to decide if I want to go that route…not my core competency at this point.

  38. Mac

    Mac

    Hey Spencer,

    Do you plan on creating a detail article, that outlines the process you used to move the website to your domain? I think that process will be very helpful to go over

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Good idea.

      • Andrew

        Andrew

        I, too, would find it helpful to hear the process of transferring the websites to your domain, including whether you had to pay any transfer fees, etc.

        Thanks for sharing these great case studies–I look forward to following them.

        Andrew

  39. Benjamin Aries

    Benjamin Aries

    Definitely following this series, looking forward to seeing your future success with these sites Spencer —

  40. john

    john

    Hi Spencer,

    I noticed a word in your introduction here, you said
    “A couple of days ago, I revealed that the first case study”

    The word REVEALED.. now this may come off topic but

    I learned that your survival knife niche site was attacked by negative SEO … so i was thinking why would any seo do that .. what it benefits them … though we know it hurts your niche site earning but then again there must be something that benefited them…

    though this is just my idea and analysis… im thinking that those seo are in away have a great cause to do that… they are sending an indirect message to people revealing the HOW things are done online… they must be protecting the saturation or the over crowding of niche sites to the point that everyone will be creating BEST ______ ( insert niche keywords there ) ..

    1. using search operator,
    2. keyword planner like input BEST in KP…
    3. and follow the links of PBN ..

    will reveal most of the niche site people already put on the net … (if starter will know how to use these 3 techniques), this could make a minor sales impact on your Long Tail PRO and even Market Samurai … (or i could be over-thinking)

    While we see you as a person with good heart by sharing these very important knowledge … at the same time … revealing could have make an indirect impact on the market’s saturation …. there is a reason behind any action .. and that reason is not visible until you are on the other side, the message is clear …

    Please don’t get me wrong, i love and need what you share, and i do like if you keep doing it, it just happened that i think or over thinking out the negative seo on your site..

    May perrin’s niche site and both of your niche sites be hidden from public, to protect your income …

    Pardon if im i sound out of topic and over-thinking…. have a great day..

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think you are over thinking it :). I think someone did negative SEO simply because I have a public blog and it gives them private joy to see my project site get hit. That’s it; joy in someone elses failure. that’s my opinion. (Luckily the negative SEO had a very minor impact on my overall income).

      • john

        john

        haha yeah i must be over-thinking hahaa… glad to hear the small impact on your income …..

  41. Kevin

    Kevin

    Nice one again. If the 1st one is interesting because of the potential of its current Google traffic, i’m much more interested in the 2nd website. I’m pretty sure your approach for the 1st one will just nail it. But the 2nd one surely seems more challenging. Although some brands now earn money with pinterest buyers. Don’t you think you could do affiliation and sell the actual products showing on the pins?

  42. Simon

    Simon

    Spencer – thanks for a great article.
    I have sold a site on flippa.

    I really want to buy a site but I keep running into sellers who have no google analytics set up, or who have sites that haven’t been updated with original content in years…

    It’s really tough to find a good site on flippa.

  43. Jeff

    Jeff

    Great case study…….looking forward to seeing what you’re able to do with both sites.

  44. Phuong Le

    Phuong Le

    I use SEMrush.com for keyword research – the free version of this will show you the top 10 keywords a site is ranking for and some approximate traffic. You can cross check this against any stats that are provided by the seller.

    Not only that, I also request for access to Google Analytics – not all seller will provide this – but its a great place to start your due diligence.

    I do that to prevent buying a risky website that may be banned by google updates.

  45. Sachin

    Sachin

    I am specially interested to understand the pinterest case study. I am building an authority site and since couple of days I am spending my time on reading “How to increase pinterest followers?” and found some threads on Blackhat forum that advice to build sites with COPIED content and have many other instructions to increase Pinterest followers. When I gone through your craft niche sites description, it seems like owner of that site used that techniques which worked perfectly.

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  47. Dale P

    Dale P

    That 5 page site is pretty impressive. Shows that Niche sites are still popular.

    Without getting into too much detail is this site basically ranking for a low competition keyword?

    Does it have massive backlinks?

    I am interested in the site flipping strategy but I think you really need to know how to build sites from scratch and monetize them first. That way you can buy sites, improve their value, then sell them for profit.

    Nice work Spencer!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No it doesn’t have massive links; just a few relevant links from blogs, comments, and forums

  48. Alan

    Alan

    Spencer,

    Thanks for sharing this public case study. I know I will gain valuable nuggets that I can use even if I don’t buy a website already up and running.

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  50. Minos

    Minos

    This is the first time I read an article about buying site. It’s interesting. May be I will try one.

  51. adam

    adam

    If the traffic comes from Pinterest, you just need to mimic the strategy and get good content in there.

  52. Mike

    Mike

    Hey Spencer,

    Quick question: Will you soon reveal the exact process of buying a website, reviewing the website, and then getting it onto your web host, creating a WordPress admin login/password, etc.

    These are things I know when it comes to building my own websites on WordPress, but buying a site from a stranger, making sure it’s OK before the sale, and certainly the transfer from his/her hosting company to your own hosting service is something I have no clue how to do, but would love to see explained.

    I’m very interested to know how easy or complex that process is.

  53. Siarhei karotki

    Siarhei karotki

    Hi Spencer,

    I have some questions to you. Could you please tell me why one of my websites (see theblogismine.com) gets so low number of traffic from Google (only 15K per month) – PR3, 5 years domain, more than 7000 articles and etc. I know that the content is not 100% original, but this is the news site and it’s difficult to write 100% original content in new field. What do you advice to me? (I mean design, programming and etc).

    I would like to know your opinion about my website (what is wrong with it?!).

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think your question reveals the answer. You are writing on the exact same subjects as everyone else; with nothing original. Why would Google rank your site higher than other larger news sources? So, the reality is that its going to be tough to get traffic from Google unless you are writing original content. Perhaps try driving traffic through social media as a start.

  54. CindyS

    CindyS

    Hi Spencer,
    I’m a stay at home mom – new to all this – wanting to start making some extra money. – 1k a month or MORE. I’ve heard of flippa. Do you think I , newbie, can go there and buy a website and learn how to make money on that site. Are there any program that would help, because I would have never known to look for you stated in your article. I would have just been excited to BUY a website…..and more than likely the person could have gotten over. And secondly, can you buy a good website between 500 -1000. I just wanted to get stated learning AS I’m extremely exited to make internet money this year 2014…. hey THANKS for your help & insight in advance. Sincerely Cindy

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Cindy:
      Buying and selling websites is a more advanced skill. So, I don’t think its something that someone new could easily do. If you are willing to spend some money to learn the process, I’m sure you could learn the ropes. But it may be better to build your first website for free and learn the ropes that way.

      I don’t have a course or place to refer you to in regards to buying websites. I would suggest typing in some queries in google, lots of great content out there.

      • cindy

        cindy

        Spencer, thanks for getting back to me..so greatly appreciated. Hey, sorry I didn’t make myself clear. I don’t want to flip, I want to start a site that makes money and could I buy one from flippa…or do you recommend I just start my own…then I was asking of any programs that teach me to build site and make money like you do above or do you teach beginners. ..thanks again Spencer

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Sure, you could buy one from flippa, but its still a more advanced tactic…because alot goes into knowing what sites are truly valuable and which ones are not. But if you have money to invest and learn from, go for it…nothing wrong with it.

  55. marc

    marc

    what are some other good marketplaces like flippa?

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