Back in 2018, a business partner and I invested together in a niche website.
I had not long sold my Amazon FBA business and wanted to invest some of that money into another online business. We decided to try and find an off-market deal rather than going through a broker.
My partner and I started by looking around in private Facebook groups dedicated to website owners. We would simply ask if there was anyone looking to sell. After a lot of back and forth with various potential sellers, we found the site we would ultimately buy – a mom blog!
Most of the content was on crafting, cooking, and parenting, and I thought there was a lot of room for growth. You can read more about the process and our initial plans here.
In this week’s podcast, I want to update you on:
- how much we bought the mom blog for
- the ups and downs that we’ve had over the past 3 years
- and where the website is today
I’ll also share with you the sources of income and what it was making when we bought it, and how much it was expected to make in June 2021.
Since recording this episode, the full month of June 2021 has passed, so I can share the full income!
June ended up with total earnings of $13,479.07!
- Amazon Associates earnings – $7,722.77
- Ezoic display ads – $5,756.30
Watch The Mom Blog Update
One of the topics I hit on in the update, and something I’ve written an entire blog post on, is changing from Adthrive to Ezoic – it wasn’t smooth sailing. I share how much we’re making from display ad revenue.
I also discuss:
- The effect of Pinterest updates on the site (it was getting around 200,000 visits per month – find out where it’s at now)
- The pros and cons of Pinterest traffic
- How we pivoted away from doing sponsored content because it wasn’t our strength
- The SEO work I’ve focused on (Hint: internal linking)
- How we have increased the Amazon earnings by 10x
- How much the site was making and is now making from Amazon Associates
- The traffic numbers we’re seeing now
It’s a fun update on how 2 dads have done running a mom blog – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Read the full transcript:
Hey everyone, Spencer, back here. And welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. Today. I want to share a story of how I purchased a mom blog. That’s a blog in the crafting parenting and cooking niche. I bought the site almost exactly three years ago, and quite frankly, it’s been a scary ride with lots of ups and downs.
I’m going to share exactly how much I paid for the site. A massive Pinterest update. Tanked the traffic, quite frankly. And then what I’ve done to recover and how much the site is making now. So if you’d like a little drama related to niche websites, or if you like the fact that a couple of dads I’m one of those are running a mom blog, then stick around for this story.
Again, I bought this site almost exactly three years ago and I bought it with a partner. He’s actually somebody that lives here in the same city as me. Doesn’t live very far. And we were looking for a business that we can invest in and we decided, you know what, let’s buy a website. Spencer knows what he’s doing.
He’s good with websites. It should have a good return. And so we actually found an off market deal. The previous owner owned the site for about 10 years and we bought it at a 36 X multiple, and I believe that’s too much. We should have negotiated down and paid less for it, but we were really excited about the opportunity.
And so. We took her up on the offer. Now the site at the time was making about $10,000 a month. And with three to 4,000 of that, supposedly coming from sponsor revenue and. If you don’t know what sponsored revenue is, basically that’s where large companies are paying you to either write a sponsored post or to share their content on social media and Pinterest.
It’s not an SEO thing at all. The links are no fault. It’s really just brand awareness and large companies like Walmart has bro. Lots of other companies do this all the time. And so supposedly three to $4,000 a month was coming from that type of revenue, which I’ll get into that here in just a second.
The display ad revenue, which was basically the remaining was about 5,500 to $6,000 a month. And that was coming from ad. So we bought the site about three years ago and we spent $360,000. It was a huge chunk of change. It was a big investment on the majority owner. And again, I’m the one with all the online business experience.
So a lot of it came down to me to make this happen. The first thing that we noticed pretty early on is that the sponsored revenue was not as automatic as we thought. We were told that it was all inbound income, that there was so many people interested in doing sponsored posts that you were basically just fulfilling those orders.
And it, it was not we had to do a lot of outreach, a lot of. Legwork and salesmanship to try to sell these companies on this sponsored revenue. And in addition to that actually fulfilling the sponsored content was a ton of work. You know, I remember some it was for an Easter and I don’t, it was Walmart.
We had partnered with slim Jim or something, and they wanted an Easter basket full of slim Jims, and they were paying us a couple thousand dollars to do it. And so my, my partner, his wife ran down to Walmart. She bought slim Jim’s she decorated you know, this Easter basket and had to take pictures.
And then we had to write a post on this and then share it on social media. It was a ton of work. It’s a lot of manual labor, so many hours, you know, I I’m used to this passive income where, you know, you just kind of get the checks in the mail when people click ads. And this was not, this was very manual.
Also within about a year of owning the site, Pinterest had a major update and the traffic went from about 200,000 sessions a month to about 120,000 sessions a month. So not quite half, but it hurt. And I wish I could say that we simply reversed the pins. Traffic trend, but Pinterest has continued to have updates throughout the years.
And we’ve continued to lose traffic. Now we’re closer to about 50,000 visitors a month from Pinterest. That’s only about a quarter of its previous highs. Ouch. That’s all I can say is that doesn’t feel very good. Now we’ve tried just about everything and continue to have a dedicated Pinterest person.
That’s sharing lots of pins and, you know, creating even some original recipes and we’re doing what we can there, but it’s certainly not all come back. So after about a year of owning the site, it went from supposedly earning about $10,000 a month, which it rarely did because. The sponsored posts.
Didn’t really just roll in, like we thought to about half that of just $5,000 a month. So at that time I took a step back and I kind of took stock on what our next course of action should be. We could sell the site and cut our losses or we could take a different approach. I decided we should stop spinning our wheels, trying to do things.
We were not great at like sponsored content and Pinterest and focus on good, all SEO and affiliate revenue. I did a ton of keyword research focused on affiliate type keywords that I knew could bring in that Amazon revenue which the previous owner never really had done before. The previous owner was not focused on Amazon or affiliate keywords.
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And that’s essentially what we’ve done over the last two years. We really doubled down on product posts, focus content with some informational content posts in there as well. Of course. In addition, we did a ton of on-page SEO work with a primary focus on internal linking. Now we went through every single article that didn’t have any inbound internal links pointing to them, and we made sure.
God irrelevant link. Now, of course I used link whisper, which is a tool that I created to manage all of that. I was able to quickly view the link whisper reports to determine which articles needed more internal links and then had link whispers suggest the relevant links. Really sped up the process.
In addition, I have our authors using link whisper as they write new content. I asked them to build about two or three relevant internal links to other articles as they write the new content and link was for makes it extremely fast and easy to add these valuable links. So as a reminder, the Amazon associates revenue was only about 700 to $900 a month when we bought the site.
But I felt like if there was anything that was in my personal wheelhouse, this was it. And I knew that I could grow it. So what happened? Well, lots of our new content started ranking. On Google. So even though our Pinterest traffic has declined and it still is much lower than it was when we bought the site, the organic traffic from Google has increased.
In fact, it’s basically doubled the traffic from Google has gone from about 35,000 to 40,000 sessions a month. When we bought the site three years ago to now close to about 70,000 sessions. Last month and this month, which is June, 2021, it should do over 80,000 organic sessions. And so. But even that doesn’t really do it justice because the site was ranking for some very off the wall, informational content before in Google.
And it wasn’t really that valuable and some of those rankings have been lost. So some of that less valuable content the, the traffic has come down but we’ve more than replaced it now with this high value affiliate type content that is bringing in. Really decent revenue. So how much revenue?
Well, last month the site made about $6,400 just from Amazon associates. That’s nearly 10 X the level from Amazon, from where we bought the site. And now the site is on track to do adjust just about $8,000 this month from Amazon associates. Hey, I am super happy with that. I’m thrilled. We’ve grown the Amazon earnings exponentially and that’s primarily through SEO strategy.
Now, what about display ad revenue what’s happened there? Well, originally the site was on ad thrive but I moved it over to egoic on the promise that they would more than beat the earnings that AdThrive was giving us. It’s a really long story for another time. And I actually have written a blog post about this a little bit.
But there were some hiccups. In getting the site transferred over to Issaquah and getting it all set up properly. Anyways, there was some things there. And so the site didn’t earn what it was supposed to for a little while. But now the site is indeed earning more per page. Then it was on AdThrive now it’s really hard to compare apples to apples.
Because now we have a lot more valuable content as well. Right. We ha we’re getting a lot more organic traffic. It’s targeting more high value keywords. So of course, that’s going to earn a little bit more in display ad rabbit revenue. And so again, it’s just hard to compare apples to apples, but. It’s all of that story is a long discussion for another time.
But when we bought the site three years ago, it was making approximately five to $6,000 a month in display ad revenue. Now as mentioned our PA page views, thanks to Pinterest has declined overall, but I’m not gonna lie that we had some pretty scary months there where it just seemed like every month we were earning less and less every month from display ads.
At the bottom we were only earning like $2,500 a month from display ads and less than half. That’s less than half what we were expecting when we bought the site. If we recall it was making about 50 $506,000 a month, and now we’re bottoming out at like $2,500 a month. So not fun. But fortunately our page views are now more valuable.
As I explained, and our articles that are monetized with Amazon associates are also monetized with display ads. We’re kind of double-dipping. We’ve had to fight and claw our way back. But last month we made $4,318 from egoic display ads. No, it’s still not quite back to our original 5,500 to $6,000 a month, but it’s close.
For the month of June, the site is on pace to get really close to that $5,500 mark from display ads. And you have to remember that we’ve taken the site from earning like $700 a month in Amazon earnings to potentially $8,000 this month. So a little D decline in display ad revenue certainly is something that we can live.
In fact, when I calculate out how much the site might make in June, I kind of have taken the current earnings from Amazon associates and the earnings from a display ad revenue. And today is the 18th of the month. And so if I kind of calculate out how much the site might make in June, It very well could crack and should crack $13,000 for this month.
Last month the site made just over $10,000 which is the first time that’s happened in a couple of years. And so we’re really happy about that. Overall to recap, we bought a site expecting it to earn $10,000 a month. However, the sponsored revenue was no guarantee. The display ad revenue, thanks to Pinterest tanked.
And we’ve had to fight our way back for almost three years now. So how much have we earned from the site in total since we bought it? And how much is it worth now? Well, since we bought the site, we have profited after all expenses. So after we paid authors editors, You know subscriptions to any type of software, all expenses take into account we’ve profited $192,000.
Now you have to remember that we paid $360,000 from, for the site. And so we are still about $168,000 in the hole after three years. However, we now have a site that’s making about $10,000 a month and it will likely do over $13,000. This month. So if it continues to earn 10 to $13,000 a month and hopefully more, which it’s actually on that trajectory to do more and if it does that over the next several months, Be worth probably 36 to 40 times that monthly earnings, that’s kind of what multiples are going for on a lot of their brokerages.
They’re kind of creeping up. So I think it’s safe to say that somewhere in the 36 to 40 X monthly, multiple range. So if I do some quick math and if I. I can see that the site is going to be doing $11,000 a month. I think that is conservative considering that it’s definitely gonna make over that this month.
I think it’s going to make $13,000 this month. So if I use that $11,000 a month and project that out at a 36 to 40 times, multiple it, the site is now worth anywhere from $396,000 to $440,000. Now that’s definitely number that I can live with. It’s taken three years to get us there. But I now feel like we have a solid cashflow machine and an asset worth about $400,000.
I’ve personally learned a ton of lessons along the way during this mom blog journey. One is to do a little bit more due diligence, especially when there is something like sponsored revenue involved because it’s took us a lot more work than we expected, and it didn’t come in as reliably as we expected.
And I should also say here I don’t think I mentioned specifically is that we’ve decided not to focus on sponsored revenue. And so we actually don’t do any sponsored. Content or revenue anymore. And the reason again for that is because it was so manual, it was so difficult for us. From an owner perspective, we are having to put so much of our own time and it was very difficult to outsource.
And so we’re now focused on activities that we can outsource, which is that organic SEO, traffic writing those articles. We can hire authors, we can hire editors. We can hire somebody to do Pinterest. And all of that is very passive for us. From an owner perspective, we could probably earn even more from the site if we did some of that manual labor of getting that sponsored content and fulfilling that.
But we decided just to not do that any, any more at all. And so we’ve taken that sponsored revenue down to zero and we’ve replaced it fully now. With just the display ad revenue and the Amazon associates revenue. So I wanted to mention that specifically now, number two, the other lesson that I’ve learned is that I’m focusing on what we’re really good at what I’m really good at, and that’s perhaps a lesson that you can take away and that can often net much bigger returns than chasing something that you’re not good.
So I thought that having a site with so much Pinterest traffic would be a really good thing because I’m not great at Pinterest. And so I thought, Hey, if I can take a site that is amazing at Pinterest already, and I can bolt on my expertise of SEO and affiliate you know, earnings, that’s going to be a home run for sure.
So I just wanted to supplement the site with my SEO skills. Now, of course it turns out that Pinterest has been much more difficult to maintain than I realized. But by focusing on. Keywords SEO, traffic and affiliate marketing. We’ve been able to bring the site back to life. And so it’s been a long journey, a very rollercoaster ride, for sure.
But hopefully overall you’ve enjoyed this story and currently where I’m at with my mom blog. I just want to thank you again. Following along and hopefully some of the tips that I’ve shared in the stories that I’ve shared in the lessons that I’ve learned here is something that you can take away and apply to your own business.