Welcome to our first (of many) income reports under the new brand, EmpireFlippers! This report will cover January – March (Q1) 2013 and we’ll be following a slightly different format than we’ve used previously.
We’re excited to again share with you our numbers in the hopes that they inspire you to take action in building your online empire. We’re also looking to hold ourselves accountable and to elicit feedback from you on areas of opportunity and growth.
I’d mentioned that we considered switching to a quarterly report last year and the feedback we got from you was that you’d much prefer a monthly report. Based on that feedback, we’ll be continuing on a monthly basis as of right now! Thank you so much for your continued support! So how have we done so far this year?…let’s dig into the details!
Much of our efforts in the beginning of 2013 were focused on combining all of our business under the Empire Flippers banner and we’ve had plenty of time to consider what that means for our brand, our company, and our content.
We discussed the plan with others…those who had split up their companies into several different brands and others who put everything under the same banner. The “one banner” arguments appealed to us the most, which is why we decided to roll them up here.
What We’re Working On
We’ve quieted down a bit over the last couple of months, mainly due to all of the projects we’ve been working on shipping. Here are a few of the things in the pipeline currently:
- IntelliTheme “Launch” – We’ve been working with an affiliate manager, Mark Thompson, on getting IntelliTheme out to the Internet Marketing community. We’re in the final stages of preparing Version 2.0 which should include automatic reporting from AdSense to the dashboard and (hopefully) automatically created Ad Units and custom channels inside your AdSense account. The JV launch is scheduled for this Friday (April 12th). I’m planning to do a full write-up afterwards regarding the entire process to share both our successes and failures during this launch. (Check out our promo video – Thanks to our latest Intern Erik for this!)
- Marketplace – We’ve added sections for both Featured And Vetted sites, but it’s still a bit ugly and not nearly as streamlined as we’d like. We have a developer working with us to make this section cleaner, more intuitive, and user friendly.
- New Tools – We created our Niche Site Profit Calculator quite a while back and it’s been one of our most visited pages all-time! We have another tool we’re working on for SEO that we’ll be using ourselves and providing to you…for free! More on this in a few weeks…
- Better Customer Tracking – Now that we have site buyers, sellers, and products/services it makes sense for us to better segment our audience as contacts rather than lists. AWeber has been great for us so far, but having more detailed information regarding our customers will allow us to better meet their individual needs. We’re looking at both InfusionSoft and Office Auto Pilot (now Ontraport) for a better solution here.
We’ve had a total of 51,500 visits to our site(s) from January through March 31st.
We’ve seen our organic search volume drop a bit with the switch, but we’re expecting that to bounce back once all the dust has settled and our 301 redirects have kicked in. Here’s a look at our top content from both sites:
And our top referrals:
It’s great to see that our number of pages visited (2.6 pages) and average visit duration (3:12) remain high, but I feel like our content is a bit harder to find with the new design. I’m going to see what I can do about adding some additional navigation resources in the sidebar that should help.
We’ll be working with Dan Norris from Inform.ly in the coming weeks to test through his Content Analytics beta test. I’m really excited about this…I’m looking forward to better understanding our analytics and he’s working on some really cool stuff over there to solve that problem.
We’re excited to be back to a weekly publishing schedule with the podcast and we’ve noticed a bump in downloads in March:
We focused on improving both the production and content quality of our podcast in our latest mastermind and have some great ideas on putting together an even better show for you in the coming weeks and months!
Here is our AdSense earnings report from the niche sites we’re still holding:
Even with the sale of some of the niche sites, not building new sites for several months, and the spring cleaning we’ve done with the “losers” that didn’t earn enough to be worth renewing, earnings have remained relatively consistent here at around $2K per month. Much of that was due to improvements in earnings we’ve realized by using IntelliTheme and the fact that some of our niche sites have bounced back in recent months.
We’re expecting this to grow as we’ve been back on track building niche sites as of February…it will just take a few months for those sites to start popping up on the SERPs and earning. If you’d like to know a bit more about our costs in creating these niche sites, you can check out how we spend our money here.
Note: When our sites come up for renewal, we have a process where we look at the previous 6 months of revenue and decide whether to keep or to drop the sites/domains. It seems like a real waste to lose all of the content on the sites that aren’t earning their keep…any ideas on what we could/should be doing with that content instead of dumping it?
Selling Our Sites
We sold off $4,455.20 worth of sites in January, $317.00 in February, and went big in March at $12,622.00 in site sales. We still have a few sites here and there that are strong and earning enough to list, but many of the sites we started creating in February won’t be up, stable, and earning for a few months yet.
We’ll be holding these sites for a while…selling them off too early represents a loss for us. Joe has a (somewhat complicated) process he puts the sites through when evaluating which are ready to sell and which are not. Primarily, we’re looking for sites that are stable and have slowed down their earnings growth from their initial “pop” when they became ranked.
We haven’t put up a Flippa auction in some time and I think I’m going to see if we can put together a package in the next month or two that we can list. We’ll send out an email when/if we list a Flippa auction.
Products & Services
We had a few beta testers with us in January/February, but the majority of the $5,830 sold in the Products & Services section came after March 21st…a definite win for us and a valuable new revenue stream.
Our most popular products so far have been the Empire Starter Packs and our Empire Auction Assistance packages, representing well over half of our earnings here. The only product that didn’t sell at all was the Empire Social Media pack. (Although we did sell $474.00 worth of custom Twitter backgrounds directly through TwitArt.com…included in the total above.)
We’ve sold a total of $14,615.20 worth of brokered sites on the marketplace since launching in March, representing a total revenue for us of $2,192.28. We’ve had to turn a couple of sites and sellers away with a refund that either couldn’t be verified or weren’t offering sites that met our criteria…the rest have been listed. (And usually sold within a couple of days)
This is definitely promising, but there are two things to note here:
- Time/Cost Intensive – These brokered site sales made less than half the revenue and took up considerably more of Joe and I’s time than the Products & Services did. (Not to mention the cost involved with building out the marketplace) Automation and passing off some of the tasks to our team will help here, but it’s not a great ROI for our time quite yet.
- Higher-End Sites Are Slower To Sell – Our $64K eCommerce site and the $14K affiliate site have drummed up some interest, but nobody has yet pulled the trigger on purchasing these sites. This price range is new territory for us (and our buyers) and I think it will take some time to attract more buyers looking for this type of investment. We’re considering some advertising and Remarketing opportunities that may help here.
I should note that I’m including the $297 “vetting” fee under Products & Services…we wouldn’t have had those if we weren’t brokering sites. Additionally, I don’t think everything can be measured in terms of ROI on your time. I truly believe that offering the marketplace provides a ton of value to our audience for both buyers and sellers alike. Even if we earn more money by focusing our efforts on different revenue streams, providing this as an option drives the market forward, which is good for everyone.
This is the first time we’ve actually shared our IntelliTheme numbers publicly. We earned a total of $1,482.72 from IntelliTheme in Q1 2013 and we’re just under $7,000 overall. We’d just about made back our development costs when we decided to put another $3K into the product to get Version 2.0 ready for the launch coming up this Friday. We’ve used the last several months to fix bugs, make adjustments, and prepare the product for primetime.
We’re not actually expecting to make much on the launch of IntelliTheme. We’re discounting the price heavily, giving 60% to affiliates, and splitting the rest with our affiliate manager. The idea is to get the product in more hands, introduce the buyers to EmpireFlippers, and to prove the market. We have some pretty major plans for Version 3.0 and are talking to people in the niche that could make this a major success and getting more users is a critical step in making that happen.
We brought in a total of $2,175.96 for the quarter through affiliate revenue. ($670.75 of which is through Kindle sales of “Building A Niche Site Empire” – Not too shabby!) Most of that came through sales of LongTailPro, HireWriters.com, and HostGator. I’d like to do more with this (and our Resources Page is sorely in need of being rewritten for Empire Flippers), but we’ve put this off to focus more on our core offerings.
I don’t really like having to test through all the new/shiny tools and products that come out, but having specific review pages for products that provide us a ton of value seems like a no-brainer. (Similar to our Long Tail Pro review seen here.)
Since we’ve merged our outsourcing company with AdSense Flippers, I thought it best to record our income from our more “traditional” outsourcing projects here as well. I’ll also mention that I’m listing actual payments instead of invoices and some of our clients have terms, are slow to pay, etc. so there may be more significant ups and downs every month as the payments come in. Our Accounts Receivables are fairly large right now, so we’re expecting a good month in either April or May as those clients get caught up with payments.
- January: $35,512.05
- February: $24,371.13
- March: $10,926.90
- Total For Quarter: $70,810.08
Another thing to note is that we’ve signed up a client with a team of four agents to build out sites. The process is slightly different than our own, but training has been provided and the team is working away on building out the sites as I write this. (Please contact us for more information regarding team-based outsourcing)
We’re changing our business around quite a bit and we have some catching up to do if we want to break our 2012 totals, but I do think we have a shot! We’re really looking to expand our brokered sites section, our products and services, and create a few more tools through 2013.
- Employees: 32
- Interns: 1
- Contractors: 5 (3 programmers)
- Site Visits: 51,500
- AdSense: $6,231.21
- Site Sales: $17,394.20
- Products/Services: $5,830.00
- Brokered Sites: $2,192.28
- IntelliTheme: $1,482.72
- Affiliate: $2,175.96
- Outsourcing: $70,810.08
- January Total: $43,456.23
- February Total: $27,963.56
- March Total: $34,696.66