I bought this website from a hospital bed in November 2012, after almost two years of studying Internet Marketing.
I still remember a woman in the bed next to me; she was maybe 35 years old and looked very sharp in her business clothes. I heard her talking on the phone with clients and then arguing with a doctor that she had to leave tomorrow, even though she looked quite sick.
That evening I said, "I can't end up like this," and bought my first website on Flippa for $2500 + $40.63 in escrow fees.
It was earning just $29 a month at the time! That's 86 times monthly multiple. Am I nuts?!
Maybe, but I saw the potential.
How did it go?
- Earned my $2540 investment in less than 4 months
- Overal over $10 000 in passive income
- I haven't touched the website for years
- I published the last article 10th of July 2013 🙂
- Received an equity stake offer from a US startup valuing the website between $80,000 and $280,000
Why did I buy it?
I always buy websites with evergreen content. I don't want to spend my life managing team of writers.
Evergreen content = passive income.
You can always add more, but if you want to take three months (or three years hehe) off - you can!
The first month I purchased the website I did extensive Adsense testing, social promotion etc. That could have been maybe 15 hours.
Couple of next months after it went down to max 5 hours a month. Now for years 0 hours of work. As already mentioned I haven't published any content, done social media or link building since July 2013
Strong Google / Bing rankings
This website had 10 (yes, TEN) pages of below average content. The guy who had started it had poorer English than mine. Yet it was driving a considerable amount of traffic through search. Now approximately 84% of the traffic is from search.
Here is a screenshot from SEMrush - it is ranking in Google for some pretty large keywords on the first page.
In Bing it ranks #3 for a massive one word keyword.
As of now, there are 15 pages, and the content is nothing awesome. The last article was published in July 2013.
The site has been online for over 5 years through dozens of Google's updates (Panda, Penguin, PBN, EMD, Hummingrid, etc), still going strong and ranking for high traffic keywords.
The rankings are as secure as it gets, and I have never done any black/gray hat tactics.
There were 18,000 sessions in the past 30 days.
Of course the earnings and traffic are slowly going down, since the site is neglected. The website is capable to earn considerable amount when taking care of the basic stuff that I did in 2013 - social media, new content.
2012: $1172, 2013: $4993, 2014: $1804, 2015: 1233, 2016: $899
Not optimized Adsense
The owner had just one Adsense unit on the website and in very awkward position. His CTR was horrible.
That's a major reason why I was able to increase the earnings so quickly.
Niche that is easy to drive traffic
People love to share funny alcohol stuff. After I bought the website I was posting funny pictures, memes etc on Facebook and other social media. This was another reason why I've got the initial $2540 back in less than 4 months.
Just take a look at Tipsy Bartender - this guy is killing it!
18 million followers on Facebook, 3 million on Youtube and so on.
He also started in 2012 and now his full-time business is getting drunk with models.
What would I do differently
Create more content
This was major mistake. I just added 5 articles since I bought it. Especially since the site is ranking so well the traffic could be in totally different level.
It ranks for big keywords, not much long tail - since there isn't enough content.
Unfortunately this niche doesn't interest me. Four months later I bought another website and never really forced myself to do something.
Opportunity for the new owner
New monetization options
When I bought the site I had no idea how else to monetize the traffic. There was Adsense and nothing else.
Amazon affiliate wasn't that popular (if I remember correctly) and the alcohol laws in the US were strict.
Since the US alcohol laws relaxed there are many more options
- New startups in Alcohol delivery offering affiliate programs
- Amazon affiliate
- Hangover pills recently become popular - they also have affiliate programs
Companies offer free alcohol often. Which I can't use as 99.99% of the companies are from the US.
Create more content
The buyer will also receive a technique how to generate 50+ pages of high quality content with beautiful pictures with very little work.
I planed to do that since the last year, but haven't - again.
After that you could do same as I did - nothing for couple of years and just collect return. Which is sky high in compare to bonds/shares/real estate.
To see how much difference it makes to actually do some work - even the bare minimum. Last month, after I decided to sell the website soon I actualised the article's titles for the upcoming new year ie "Best of 2017" or "2017 Review". Right now the traffic is already 25% up - seems to be also higher quality traffic as the pageviews went up even more by almost 42%. This is likely Google's "Freshness" algorithm kicking in + increase in CTR.
Exchange for equity in US startup
I've got offered equity in one of the start ups in exchange for the website. It is too complicated for me as I'm not from the US.
The offer from the CEO is between .2 and .7 equity stake. Considering their current $40 million valuation that means between $80,000 and $280,000 in shares value.
You may wonder why would someone offer such high valuation for a website of these earnings. Is it scam?
No it's not a scam. The explanation is simple - while the website is ranking for big, valuable keywords I don't have a business to utilise the potential.
The screenshot on the left is from SEMrush - showing that buying the same quality/quantity of traffic would cost $17,300 a month. While my website gets it organically for free. Using Adsense for website such this produces the lowest possible earnings.
Here is a simple example - let's say you have a website ranking for many keywords such "Plastic Surgeon Beverly Hills" but you are not a plastic surgeon, so you use Adsense and earn couple of hundred dollars.
Now can you imagine the value of new customers this website would bring you IF you would be a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills with these search engine rankings?
It would sound cool on my resume "Purchased a website in 2012 for $2500, received a take over offer in 2016 for $250,000" but well...
The buyer will get contact details to the CEO with whom I'm in touch. They are in the business since 2013 and did not raise much cash as the CEO is focused on profitability and capital conservation - which is very good in my opinion. Unlike many startups burning their way to bankrupcy hell.
Overall I'm extremely happy with this purchase. It was a stepping stone for me into website flipping business.
Now after I hit $10 000 in profit it's time to let it go, if you are interested hit me up with an offer.