EFP 66: Comparing 3 Vastly Different Approaches To Niche Site Creation

Justin Cooke October 4, 2013

There are plenty of different ways to go about building niche sites. Many of the different paths share some commonalities (keyword research, content creation, etc.) while others are greatly different from each other. Which method is the best approach? More importantly…which way is best for YOU.

The Different Roads to Successful Niche Sites

In episode 66, Joe and I sit down to compare some of the advantages and disadvantages with these different methods for building niche sites. We’ll be looking at Pat Flynn’s approach with both NSD 1.0 and NSD 2.0, discussing Spencer Haws’ method in building out niche websites, and our approach as laid out in our guide, “Building A Niche Site Empire”. We’ll also discuss the types of entrepreneurs that are in the best position to be taking each approach.

If you’re at all involved in building profitable websites online this is an episode that will likely interest you. I’ll cut to the punchline: All three methods have their merits and risks…the best entrepreneurs will blend all three of these approaches to find their own way, building sites that work best for them.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

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Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Selecting a winner for the GetMeListedNow site giveaway!
  • Pat Flynn’s NSD – Chance to OWN the niche and build a nice barrier to entry, but can anyone build these types of sites? Who are these sites best for?
  • The Spencer Haws Approach – Scalable sites with various monetization methods, but are they Google-proof? Who should build these types of sites?
  • Empire Flippers Approach – Easy to build for someone just starting out and quick to the money, but can you really make long-term cash with this? Who should build these sites?
  • False assumptions and speculation from the peanut gallery


So…which approach is a better fit for you? Think we were spot-on with our assessments or were we out to lunch on this one? Let us know on Twitter or leave us a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts here!


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Narrator:             Welcome to the Empire Flippers podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas but are short on substance?

                                Worried that ebook you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for?

                                Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits without the bullshit. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe, from Empire Flippers.

Justin:                   Welcome to episode 66 of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host, Justin Cooke, and I’m here with my man, my business partner extraordinaire, Joe “Hot Money” Magnotti. What is going on brother?

Joe:                        Hey man, it’s a little weird not being able to see you like right across from the microphone, huh?

Justin:                   Yeah man, we’re countries away and yet we’re still close. We’re gonna be knocking out a fantastic podcast. Got a great heart of the episode this week. We’re gonna be talking about three vastly different approaches to niche sites.

                                So we’re gonna look at Pat Flynn’s approach and his Niche Site Duel 2.0, we’re gonna look at Spencer Haws’ approach with niche pursuits, and we’re gonna be looking at our approach with the smaller sites, and we’re gonna be looking at advantages and disadvantages to all three different approaches so that you can pick the niche site process that works best for you. And even though we’re included in this, we’re gonna be as unbiased as possible, and hopefully you’ll get some great value out of this week’s episode.

                                Before we do that let’s go over some updates, news and info. First one is we’ve got two new five star reviews, buddy.

Joe:                        Hit me up, man.

Justin:                   So first one we’ve got is from BZ503, it says, “Awesome to listen to, five star review, it provided inspiration to work on launching my own site, it provided helpful info on how to build up and monetize niche sites.”

                                We’ve got another five star review from CBC Kid at Heart. “Amazing, five stars, love this podcast. Justin and Joe are honest and straight forward, and share everything they can with you. They seriously rock.”

                                Well I appreciate the five star reviews, guys, keep ’em coming, and glad you’re getting some value out of the podcast.

Joe:                        Yeah, thanks so much. Those guys, those comments keep us going.

Justin:                   Absolutely.

                                So next we’ve got a message from Bob Dack on Speakpipe, let’s have a listen.

Bob:                       Hey Justin and Joe, this is Bob Dack calling about episode 62, just wanted to know if you guys came up with a winner yet, and how you were going to let people know about it. Enjoyed today’s podcast, appreciate it, and hope you guys are doing great. I’ll miss you on your vacation time. See ya.

Justin:                   Yeah man, so we definitely need to determine a winner on the Get Me Listed Now site from episode 62, and Joe, we have a winner.

Joe:                        Yeah, well first of all, Bob Dack, thank you so much for reminding us. Again I know we were slacking off on that.

                                Who’s the winner?

Justin:                   Oh yeah, so our winner for this site giveaway is Mark Savastano from New Jersey. We’d like to thank-

Joe:                        New Jersey in the house.

Justin:                   Yeah, Hersey, baby. So he understood the concept kind of what we were looking to do. I thought he gave a great example of how it was gonna work, and I think his measured approach to building out the business seems pretty solid. So Mark, congratulations, get in contact with us via email: info@empireflippers.com and we will start getting the site processed and over to you.

Joe:                        Looking forward to working with you, Mark, and getting that stuff set up so you can actually give this a good home.

Justin:                   Last bit of information we wanted to mention is we actually have a Flippa Auction ending just a couple hours from now right after this podcast is done recording. That’s our first Flippa Auction in a while, it’s been really exciting. The seller, it’s actually a brokerage site, and the seller’s been kinda biting his nails throughout the auction but it’s funny, it went just as they normally do where you get a lot of action at the beginning, it’s kinda like a lull in the middle over four or five days, and then it’s getting hot right at the end. So it’s fun to watch and it’s been a while, right?

Joe:                        Yeah, it’s been really fun. And I think a lot of people have learned the tactic of offer, buy it now, in the middle of the auction because a lot of people approached us privately for a very low buy it now and I had to tell them, “Hey, you know, we kinda know how it works.” So we’re going into the home stretch here and we’re not gonna do a buy it now for less than what I think it’s worth.

                                But we’re over $10,000 right now, it’s probably gonna be a long night for me staying up, answering questions, and watching the end of the auction but I’m very excited and it reminds me of the fun times when AdSense Flippers first started and we had these auctions going all the time.

Justin:                   Yeah, it’s really important too, if you’re selling your own auction via Flippa, is to be awake and alive and ready as you get close to the end, because you’re gonna get a lot more questions, you may get some comments, that could skew your auction. I mean, you could have people cut out bidding based on some random comment left by somebody or not getting the answer back quick enough, so it’s really important to stay on top of it.

                                We’ve had some questions from people wondering how they can get us to list their site on Flippa, and I wanna explain that briefly. Basically if you order a premium broker product from our products and service section, we’ll go ahead and list you on Empire Flippers for 30-60 days. Somewhere toward the end of that, if it didn’t sell with us, we’ll be willing to then take that listing, and put it on Flippa as an auction. So you do have the ability to have your Flippa Auction under our name and under our promotion as long as your site gets vetted and meets our criteria, be happy to do that for you.

                                And we’ll put a link to that in the show notes so you can take a look.

Joe:                        Yeah I usually follow up with people whose sites haven’t sold in a while. It’s not required, you don’t have to go to Flippa if you don’t wanna go to Flippa, if you wanna just stay on our marketplace that’s fine as well. But if you wanna try something new and exciting and for whatever reason the site doesn’t sell on the marketplace, then more than happy to move it to Flippa.

Justin:                   Yeah, buddy. Alright, let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode.

Narrator:             This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin:                   So as we mentioned at the top of the show, we’re gonna be talking about three vastly different approaches to niche site building, and we’re gonna be talking about some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with these three different approaches.

                                To be more specific, we’re gonna be talking about Pat Flynn’s approach, we’re gonna be talking about Spencer Haws’ approach, and we’re gonna be talking about our approach with smaller niche sites.

                                Now, you know, some people get into the whole authority site debate vs niche site debate, vs micro-niche site debate. We’re not really gonna be putting labels on it. We consider them all niche sites. But there are vastly different approaches and advantages and disadvantages to these three different processes and we wanna go through them.

Joe:                        Yeah and it’s always gonna depend where you’re at in your online career and what experience you have, and we’ll get into it a little bit at the end, but, you know, we’ll try to take an unbiased approach here and just give you the facts.

Justin:                   So the first one, let’s look at Pat Flynn. Now, we’re talking about sites that range… If you’re not familiar with him, he originally started niche site Duel, he’s now in the process of going through Niche Site Duel 2.0. His first site was SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, and his second site is in the food truck space.

Joe:                        Well he actually had a site before that, right?

Justin:                   Oh yeah, he’s had a bunch of sites before that but specifically for the Niche Site Duel, the site used was SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.

                                So we’re gonna be talking about sites he builds that are between the security guard training, and up to the food truck site that he’s building out right now. And if you haven’t seen the Niche Site Duel, I would encourage you to check it out. It’s interesting stuff.

                                But, you know, basically, we wanna talk about the example entrepreneur that would start off building this type of site. And this isn’t for someone just starting out.

Joe:                        No way.

Justin:                   Yeah, this is someone that I think has a track record of building sites on line, right? They’ve built profitable sites before, they’ve had some success, they also have some business experience.

Joe:                        I think that’s gonna be really important here because there’s gonna be some accounting, employees, outsourcing-

Justin:                   Marketing, yeah-

Joe:                        There’s a… Sales, you know you’re gonna have to be able to know how to put deals together, how to negotiate…

Justin:                   It’s not Mark Cuban level of experience, but you have to have some experience to, I think, tackle this type of project. I’d also say that this is really more of an all in, feet first approach. You know, you’re gonna need to jump right into this. I mean, this is… We’ll talk about this in a bit but it’s really building yourself a job, building yourself a business out of this.

                                It also requires, you know, you’re gonna need some kind of war chest. Right?

Joe:                        Yeah.

Justin:                   You’re gonna need either other income streams, you’re gonna need a good amount of money saved up, and we’ll talk about why that is in a bit.

Joe:                        Yeah, so definitely not something you could probably do with a full time job, definitely not something that you can do for pennies a day.

Justin:                   So let’s talk about kind of what this site looks like, kind of the framework for these types of sites. Basically you’re gonna be building out deep content across many different mediums. So, you know, for example, for the food truck niche, I mean these are things like, you’re gonna be interviewing people that have owned food trucks for a couple of years, talking to them about their marketing experiences and how they are able to get people to buy their stuff. You’re gonna be doing, let’s say, HD video walkthroughs, of food trucks and showing kind of the layouts, talking about how much things cost inside the food truck, I mean this is… It’s deep content.

Joe:                        Yeah, unique infographics on the margins of things that would be sold through the food trucks.

                                Let me back up and just say that, this idea, it’s pretty awesome. I mean, that you’re able to build this kind of site and put the process together, I think is pretty awesome.

Justin:                   Do you remember when we had Pat on the show, I mean this is something he talked about, this type of really high level content, and he had mentioned this as one of the business ideas. So it’s interesting to see him fleshing that out in the food truck space.

                                You know, the other thing you’re gonna have to do is, you are really gonna be deep diving into the niche. And what that means is you’re gonna have to have some interest in food trucks or whatever it is that you’re getting into.

Joe:                        Yeah, you’re gonna own this day in and day out. So if this is not something that you like to do or you really don’t have some aspect of it that you love, I would say you either have to choose a different niche or you have to think about one of the other options.

Justin:                   So, yeah, I mean, one of the things I would say too is that you may not have a passion for the food trucks, but let’s say, for example, this is gonna require a lot of reaching out to food truck owners, people in that space. Maybe you dig those business owners and interacting with them, which is gonna be required for this type of business. Maybe that’s the thing that you’re passionate about, it doesn’t have to be the details on how the food trucks are built out, but there has to be something, I think, that you’re really interested in because you really are gonna be putting a lot of time, effort and energy into this niche. You better find something that you appreciate.

                                So, that’s kind of the general layout of what he’s approaching with these types of sites, these larger niche sites that are definitely more in depth.

                                Let’s talk about a few of the advantages of this approach.

                                One of the first things we came up with is the barrier to entry is definitely higher, so…

Joe:                        Yeah I think that’s huge, right. So if you build one of these businesses on… I hesitate to call it a site because it’s really a business. If you build one of these businesses, it’s not easily replicate-able. I don’t care if someone knows everything about your business, they don’t be able to just suddenly make a food cart… food truck niche 2.0 easily.

Justin:                   Yeah so this is one of the problems we’ve had on Flippa, it’s one of the reasons we actually created our marketplace was that, you know, like niche AdSense sites, right? If they’re relatively easy to recreate and it gives you basically a roadmap on how to build those sites out on Flippa, you’re gonna end up with a bunch of different copycats of people that just recreate the site. Right? Maybe not using the exact same content but they target the same keywords and that kind of thing.

                                Which is one of the reasons we hide the niches in our marketplaces. So if you wanna buy these AdSense sites, you’re not gonna see it beforehand because you don’t want ten copycats copying you.

                                But one of the benefits of building a moat around your business is that it’s much harder for other people to copy. This is the kind of site where if you did sell it on Flippa, you wouldn’t be worried about sharing information because good luck, right? It’s gonna be very very difficult for you to copy.

                                The second point, the second advantage we had was that you get to own the niche. I mean you can get to number one or number two in the space and the spoils that come with that can be yours as well. And it’s good to be king, right? In your niche, for sure.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s gonna be a huge advantage to this type of process, is if you do it right, man, you are gonna be the number one provider of that information online, and that’s just not something that you can easily beat. Someone can’t come along and do some shady link building strategy and outrank you. It’s not gonna happen.

Justin:                   Yeah it’s good to be king, right?

                                Next point I wanna talk about is that it is not as reliant on Google. If you look at a site like Empire Flippers, we get only about a third of our traffic from Google. So, I mean, it might be painful if we took a Google hit, but it wouldn’t destroy our business, I mean, it’s fine. I think this type of business is gonna get a similar thing.

                                You know, you’re gonna have, potentially, membership sites, you’re gonna have community people have it bookmarked, you know, linking to it, so they’re coming through via referral traffic, it’s gonna be a site that’s much more fleshed out and less reliant on Google alone.

Joe:                        Yeah, a lot of referral traffic, a lot of direct traffic, a lot of returning visitors, like you said, Justin. That’s awesome traffic that just doesn’t go away overnight.

Justin:                   I also think that it’s interesting because you have multiple monetization methods, right? So, because you’re gonna be so close to the consumers, the customers, the business owners, the people in that space, you’re gonna be communicating with them and you’re gonna be able to pivot or change your monetization based on their needs and wants.

Joe:                        Right, so in the-

Justin:                   Like a real business.

Joe:                        Right. The example I came up with before the show was umbrella stands. You know, maybe you start calling these people and you ask what one of their biggest needs are and they’re like, “You know, I have umbrella stand problems.” And you say, “I know a drop-shipper that can provide umbrella stands at a reasonable cost, and I can make a good margin on that,” and maybe that’s how you monetize this niche.

Justin:                   For us, you know, we created products like keyword research packages because people needed help specifically with the keyword research part. And the only reason we know that is because we’re close to the people that are visiting our site, listening to our podcast, and it’s gonna be the same thing for the food truck space.

Joe:                        Yeah and I think there’s a lot of secondary monetization methods can use. If your primary monetization method is the buying and selling of food trucks, right, and then your secondary monetization method is selling umbrella stands for those food trucks, or some other services, like kind of like we do with ours.

Justin:                   Video marketing, you could sell to the people that own the food trucks, I mean there’s a ton of different things that he can potentially get into, and I’m sure he’s excited to explore.

Joe:                        Yeah, you can mix monetization methods is what my point is, and I think that’s a very big advantage of this, with the method.

Justin:                   It’s also a bit more, I don’t know, intrinsically valuable, right? You’re actually adding valuable, interesting content, that people are gonna come back to. And there’s something glorious about doing that. You know what I mean. There’s something that just feels good about doing that.

Joe:                        You can brag to your friends about it a bit, you know what I mean? Like, if you have a site that sells something interesting, like cat furniture, it may be kind of fun to talk about, right?

Justin:                   I don’t know about cat furniture, I’m not a big cat guy so cat furniture… Every time I hear that with those guys I’m like, oh my God, cat furniture…

Joe:                        But there might be a sub section of people out there that are really happy to talk to you about your niche, and I think that-

Justin:                   Trolling motors are something with Andrew Youderian, right? I mean it’s kind of a weird niche but he’s way into it, and the people who are way into it are way into it as well.

Joe:                        Yeah, so I think that once you get into that group of people, it’s definitely gonna be fun to show off your site.

Justin:                   Yeah. Yeah. Another advantage is that you’re probably not gonna have to use any sketchy or expensive SEO tactics, and you know, we’re not big fans of SEO Guys, SEO businesses, I mean, there’s some legit stuff out there but a lot of it’s sketch. Well, you’re not gonna have to deal with that with this site. Not nearly as much, anyway, because you’re gonna get natural people linking to you, like the way it’s supposed to be.

Joe:                        Yeah, I absolutely see that as a huge plus for this method.

Justin:                   Which is cool, I just hate… Like this just cuts SEO right out of the picture… The offsite SEO, the link building type stuff. I mean, your own site stuff still has to be on point, but yeah, it cuts out the offsite stuff.

                                You can also, and you brought this point up, Joe, I liked it, you know, with a site like this you can use paid traffic. So that’s an easy way to expand or grow your readership, your listener base…

Joe:                        Yeah I mean, I think you’re probably, with this type of business approach, gonna have some big ticket items, some high margin items, and those are great targets for paid traffic. Because paid traffic can be expensive these days, especially if you go with AdWords, and they lend to high margin, high ticket items.

Justin:                   Yeah I’ve known some people who tried to do that, like, arbitrage between Bing traffic and AdSense and stuff, and really, you’re playing with pennies, and you run a risk of losing money. I mean if you’re netting 500 bucks, 800 bucks, 1000 bucks, 2000 dollars on things that you’re selling in the food truck space, I mean you have a lot of room to build in a marketing budget for every purchase, or every sale that you get.

                                Alright man, so those are the advantages. Some definite disadvantages though, and the big one?

Joe:                        Yeah, the big one is gonna be, you’re far from the money.

Justin:                   Yeah, so this is what we’re talking about with the war chest, man, I mean, you’re not gonna start this out and then within a couple of months start pulling in a little bit of cash.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, look, I love Pat, I love what he’s doing over there, and I love the fact that he’s putting this all out there, but for the vast majority of people, you’re just simply not gonna have the passive income from other streams, and the time, in order to get to the money.

Justin:                   Yeah, it just depends. It’s gonna depend on your situation, but yeah, I mean, a 9-12 month period of, you know… Again this isn’t just like as a hobby, kind of doing some extra… We’re talking seriously deep diving on the niche, it’s… You’re pretty far from the money. You’re not gonna be making money right away.

Joe:                        This is a full time job, in my opinion, and definitely gonna cost you thousands of dollars a month for several months.

Justin:                   For a bunch of different things. For the camera equipment initially, for expenses on going to different places, for renting stuff, I mean it’s gonna be pricey.

                                The other thing is that you better dig the niche. Right? Or something about the business, connecting with people, we mentioned this earlier, but, I mean, if you… You’re building a job for yourself. This is gonna be pretty close to a full time gig unless you’re outsourcing it to a bunch of other people, which would be difficult to do with this type of business, but it’s gonna be a full time gig. You better dig something about what you’re doing.

                                And this kind of leads into the next point, is that, it’s not nearly as scalable, Joe.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think you can only build one of these sites really effectively at one time. You can’t really build more than one. Maybe when you have one going and it’s already running on its own and you have people managing it for you, then you can build another site, but you couldn’t launch two or three or four or five at the same time, it would just be impossible, I don’t care how much experience you have.

                                And then, you know, talking about it being scalable…

Justin:                   Yeah, let’s talk about that for a second. So, Pat has a ton of experience in building profitable sites online, building useful and amazing content, he’s particularly good at that, and he’s looking for some things that he can outsource, but this is probably taking quite a bit of his time, which is why it’s kind of been delayed a bit. Like, he’s been pretty slow to getting the site running because he does have other time commitments. I mean, he has the cash, but he has other time commitments, he’s probably not able to devote as much time to this as he wishes that he was able to.

Joe:                        Yeah, and I think that, you know, a lot of this is not gonna be outsource-able. You know, and when I say, “outsource-able,” I mean, you’re not gonna be able to find people that are just, “Oh, let’s just do this stuff for you.”

Justin:                   No.

Joe:                        You have to hire employees, like full time employees to do this kind of stuff, so that’s gonna be not cheap and it’s gonna take a lot of your time to get these people up and running.

Justin:                   We’re talking about cheap, you know, it’s not cheap in terms of time and money, right? You know, full time gig, we’re talking about quite a bit of expenditure in getting this running, whether you’re doing… Even if you’re doing it yourself, there’s gonna be quite a bit of spend.

                                I think there’s another problem too, and I think this applies to some of the people that are probably trying to build out this type of site, and you see it in the feedback from people that are trying it, is they go, you know, it’s difficult, I don’t… There’s so much work here, and they’re not gonna be great at producing the helpful, useful content that Pat is so very skilled at doing. I mean, he’s really good at breaking down a process and giving you a roadmap on how to get started with a podcast, for example, I love that post. But like, he’s so good at that, so this kind of comes naturally to him and I think if you’re not great at really breaking down things, then it might… You’re gonna find this a lot more difficult.

Joe:                        I think between the amount of money needed to start, the fact that you have to have either a war chest or some sort of passive income, the amount of experience you need, and the skills that you need in order to build this, I think there’s a very small percentage of people that can actually execute this type of plan online.

Justin:                   Yeah, I mean, some people may fumble their way through it, and because of the pivots they’re able to make in the monetization, as long as they’re all in and they really dive into it, you know, they may be able to make it work. Maybe not as successfully, but they figure it out.

                                But yeah I think the pool of people that are able to do this is smaller. Which is good, I mean there are some benefits to that, right? The moat we talked about earlier, I mean it’s definitely a moat, right? So if you figure this out and other people don’t, you’re able to build things that they aren’t able to, which makes it much more valuable.

                                But let’s talk about that, like do you think that this is sellable, or do you think that you’re just building a job for yourself?

                                I think if Pat does it where it’s like, hey I’m Pat and I’m Pat Flynn with the food truck site, that’s not gonna be great if it’s very Pat focused. I don’t think it will be, because I think he has a whole team of people and he’s building out content that’s not him. If you look at his security guard training website, it’s not a Pat focused site, it’s more about serving the audience.

                                But I think a lot of people are gonna do it where they’re very involved in it, they’re the ones interviewing food truck owners personally, it’s gonna have a lot of their personality into it. And I think that makes the site less sellable.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, if you put a lot of your personality into it, there’s no way that it’s gonna be easily sellable.

                                But I also think even Pat is gonna rely too much on his own ability to manage these people, to get this content targeted correctly, to make connections with the business owners and kind of give them the vision of what he’s trying to build, and get them involved in the community. And I think that, you know, when people buy large sites like this, because you’re not gonna sell this for pennies, you’re gonna put all your time invested in it, it’s gonna be a very expensive site to sell.

                                They’re gonna wanna know, what does it take to run this thing on a day to day level? And if that’s a job, if that’s a 20 hour a week job, nobody wants to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars to get a job that makes $70,000 a year, you know?

Justin:                   So there’s this weird dilemma, you know, it’s a lot easier to build an audience, to build traffic, when you’re personally invested in it, and you’re putting your personality into it. You’re gonna get people that relate to you, you’re gonna find your tribe, it’s easier to get your tribe.

                                And then of course the problem is that it’s not as sellable, it’s not as transferable, and that’s okay if you’re building yourself a job. But you’re gonna have the additional task of then trying to back yourself out.

                                And you know, it’s not that you can’t overcome it, it just makes it a bit more difficult I think.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, let’s bring it out to get kind of an offline analogy.

                                If you buy a 7/11 that profits $70,000 a year, but you have to work at the 7/11 40 hours a week, or you have to hire somebody at $30,000 a year-

Justin:                   Yeah we have a buddy’s family that did this. Yeah, he had to hire a manager for the 7/11, pay him 40,000 a year or something, so then their net goes down.

Joe:                        Right.

Justin:                   I mean, but then it’s not done as well, and things get kinda screwy and the business doesn’t run as well and you’re losing now. I mean where if you’re buying yourself a job, I mean, yeah that makes it difficult.

                                I mean I guess it’s just next level stuff to kind of remove yourself from it, so…

Joe:                        I think that’s a big negative for this type, besides the fact that it’s gonna require a lot of time, effort, and money before you see any profit, I think ongoing it’s gonna take a lot of your time, and really it’s not very sellable.

Justin:                   So the second type of niche site we’re gonna talk about comes from Spencer Haws over at Niche Pursuits, and an example of the type of site would be bestsurvivalknifeguide.com. That’s something that he’s been doing publicly for quite a while.

Joe:                        Yeah, he puts an awesome guide together for this process, which, it steps you through everything from the keywords research, to the link building, to the content creation, to the monetization method, everything.

                                I really… if you guys have not checked it out, you have to get on his site.

Justin:                   It’s like build a niche site empire for his types of sites, but he does it through his blog. So it’s really fantastic, really useful and helpful.

                                You know, I think the example entrepreneur that builds these types of sites, I think there are some things that they have to have down. They have to have an understanding, and have used some of the fundamental pieces of building sites online, and that would include things like keyword research, you know, content creation and uploading, site setup, hosting, you know, at least have a basic understanding of building a list, an email list.

Joe:                        Yeah, I would think, I would like you to have some technical skills, I would like you to have-

Justin:                   You would like them to have that?

Joe:                        Yeah. I would like them-

Justin:                   Your example, yeah, kinda the perfect person to do this.

Joe:                        The perfect person is someone who’s not afraid of technology, they’re familiar with hosting, they’re comfortable with computers, they’ve used the software needed to do stuff, they have some IM experience as well and doing keyword research, and-

Justin:                   Monetization methods, and a big one you mentioned before the show, I think is first page evaluation.

Joe:                        Yes.

Justin:                   They have to have done that, have used it, and found success at picking the right keywords to get on the first page. I think that’s important.

                                The other thing we mentioned about the example entrepreneur would be, you know, a piggy bank, not a war chest. So, it doesn’t require a bunch of cash, but it is gonna require a bit. You’re gonna have to spend some money to roll this out. You’re gonna have to break the piggy bank open and spend a bit of cash.

                                But this is something that doesn’t require you to be all in. This is something that you can actually do, I think, on the side. It doesn’t require all in, and if you are all in on this, on Spencer’s types of sites, it’s more on process than one particular site as a business.

                                So it’s more process oriented than specifically site business focused.

                                You know, this is more of a middle of the road approach in between, I’d say, Pat’s process and ours. It require lots of content with maybe like a mid-level knowledge or understanding.

                                So for example, if you’re writing about survival knives, having someone that kind of knows the space, maybe they don’t know everything about it, but they know the space a bit, would be helpful.

                                If you’re writing about, you know, I don’t know, kitchen appliances, someone that understands kitchen appliances, someone that’s used kitchen appliances before is really helpful and…

Joe:                        Yeah, you know, I really like this process, not only because Spencer goes into it in such detail, but because I think you can have prior failures in trying to make money online and make this work for you.

                                So you could’ve built the skills from failures in doing our process, from failures in buying E-books and following through stuff, and if you follow through this process, you will make some money.

Justin:                   Yeah, you have a shot at it.

                                Another thing we talked about is that this type of content is not as intrinsically helpful, I think, as Pat’s site. It’s just not. But it’s in the moment helpful.

                                So, you know, I’m looking for… I want more information on a particular brand, or size knife, I find it, I check it out for five minutes, I go buy the knife. I’m not going back to Spencer’s site and going, joining his community. I’m not, you know, I haven’t booked his page so I can go and see for the latest updates or anything. That’s not happening here.

                                But it is helpful in the moment, so I need help right then and there, let me go to it, and then, you know, I can make my buying decision.

                                I’d also say that Spencer’s business is not around the site as Pat’s would be. It’s… He’s actually, Pat’s building a business with every niche site that he’s putting up, whereas Spencer’s business is around the creation of the sites and not the site itself.

Joe:                        Yeah. I actually… I think that that’s great because I think if you just have one business that you’re launching all to, it’s just way too risky. But we’ll talk about advantages later, I guess.

Justin:                   Yeah. Some of the advantages would be, I mean, this is definitely way more scalable. You can outsource the content. It doesn’t have to be someone that’s deeply involved in the niche. You can use a process, I think there’s… I think it’s possible to create somewhat of a process for Pat’s stuff but not nearly as much. It’ll be much more on the cuff. I think this can be, you know, you can have a specific SOP that you follow for this type of site, you know, 95% of the time.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, I see it as you having a small VA team that works for you, two or three people, and you could build these kind of sites out, you can have your own little factory pumping these things out, whereas Pat really needs employees. He needs full time people.

Justin:                   People on the team, right.

                                You know, I think there are still multiple monetization methods, it’s much more limited than Pat’s way.

                                So, I mean I don’t think… maybe at some point Spencer could get to the point where he’s actually sourcing knives from China, but I mean that’s probably two or three levels removed versus you do drop shipping or Amazon, they maybe drop shipping, then sourcing themselves.

                                So he’s a little bit removed from some of the monetization methods, but there’s still… He has some flexibility.

Joe:                        You could get tricky and do like an E-book and charge $9 for it or something like that, I’m not sure how effective that is, you would have to test it versus other monetization methods but there are some options, but definitely not as many as with Pat’s.

Justin:                   Unlike Pat, I mean, he can create a full on… you know, the Flippa for food trucks. You know, buying and selling of food trucks and bringing those people together and build a real community out of it, where Spencer, with these types of sites, not so much. I mean could it eventually expand to that? Maybe, but that’s not what you’re building from the start.

                                So, you know, the other thing with Spencer, you could risk some SEO and you could test through some Gray Hat methods, which gets a bit icky and whatever, but with Pat’s site, I wouldn’t want to do it. I’d be scared to potentially ruin all that time and energy I’m putting in really building the hell out of this. I wouldn’t wanna go Gray Hat at all.

Joe:                        Yeah, can you imagine 6 months of building all this unique content, and making all these interactions and then you get penalized in Google because you did some stupid link building?

Justin:                   Yeah-

Joe:                        I mean it would just be…

Justin:                   I mean, Spencer’s not so stuck on any particular site, I mean it’d be a real bummer, but he can build out a site and test different monetization methods on one site or another until he finds something that works specifically for that site.

Joe:                        Yeah I really think John Haver’s expired domains have great value for this process.

Justin:                   Yeah, onsite SEO.

Joe:                        So either starting with an expire domain or building a link wheel of expired domains, like kind of Spencer talks about doing, but using his expired domain guide to pick up some relevant expired domains to your content is perfect for this process.

Justin:                   I like that this mid-level process is… It’s cheaper to get started, and it’s a bit less risk. So you’re not as all in up front, you’re not front loading your work so much with this process.

                                And I think it can be more of a hobby, right? This is something that you can have a full time job and start to dabble in. Let’s say you’ve had a few successful sites in the past, or you’ve struggled a bit, but this is something you can do on the side, on the weekends, you know, late weeknights or something, and build out these sites to profitability.

Joe:                        To make it an analogy, this could be the poker hobbyist. The guy that plays Friday and Saturdays, he makes a little bit of money from his hobby, he enjoys spending 10-20 hours at the table every week, and he makes a nice little supplemental income from it.

Justin:                   These sites, I think, as long as he’s not putting a lot of himself into, and he’s generally not, these are gonna have, I think, better resale value. So, this is something that’s much more easily transferable. It’s straight up monetization method, so let’s say he’s using Amazon, I mean some of the sites he uses AdSense, but everyone can get an Amazon or AdSense account, I mean that’s transferable.

                                It’s transferable to someone else and they can pick up right where you left off.

Joe:                        Yeah, I love that part of this type of process is that they’re very transferable, in the fact that, once you get a site up, besides maybe adding content, which a VA could do, there’s no real maintenance going on.

Justin:                   Yeah, I buy-

Joe:                        That’s passive, and that’s what people who wanna buy online properties want. They want passive income that doesn’t require them to dedicate too many hours every week.

Justin:                   Yeah, yeah, that’s interesting. If I buy the food truck site, I mean I’m gonna have to dig into it a bit, I’m gonna have to understand the industry. Like if you don’t, you’re gonna take a bit of a loss, and buyers know that, and so I think that the value… I mean it’s obviously gonna be worth more but you put a hell of a lot more time into it, I just think the multiple is gonna be lower on the food truck site.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m just imagining the buying process for the food truck site. I mean that’s gonna be a due diligence process, right? It’s gonna be like, an in depth look at the accounting book and the tax records and all this other stuff, whereas the resale for Spencer’s type of site is like, okay, look man, here’s an AdSense screenshot, and here’s what the site made, and here’s how much I spent on content.

Justin:                   Let me get into analytics, let me check your back linking profile, okay, cool. I can step in and know that I can take this over, I’ve already got my content writers that can add out content and really promote the site.

                                Disadvantages though, I mean he does have some. Big one, big, juicy one, is very Google reliant.

Joe:                        Yeah I mean, the good thing is with all that content, you’re gonna have good long-tail traffic that you probably rank very high for, but still, you are reliant on the big Google God.

Justin:                   You get de-indexed or something in Google and, you know, Spencer takes a huge hit on the site.

Joe:                        Or even worse, I think worse than de-index is penalized. At least de-index the content has been removed from the Google cache, and you can make a new domain and move it over, but you get penalized, it’s even worse because like, you’re kind of making money now, but not enough.

Justin:                   Whereas Pat, if he got penalized on certain keywords, he may take like a 20% hit to his overall traffic, but he’s got a bunch of different sources. Not so much with Spencer. He’s gonna take a much bigger hit.

                                You know, it’s also mid-risk, mid-reward. So, if you have a win in the food truck space or whatever niche that you’re getting into, but you’re following Pat Flynn’s process, and you have a win, it could be massive, right? So you could have a full on business, multiple employees, it could be a 50, 70, 100,000 dollar a month business eventually. Right? Whereas this isn’t even close.

Joe:                        Yeah, this one is… One site alone is not gonna give you full time income.

Justin:                   Yeah, I mean, normally Spencer’s process falls somewhere in between kind of as middle of the road sites, up to Security Guard Training HQ. So, I’d say a huge win for him would be a couple thousand dollars a month, and that would be a huge win. 2000 bucks a month.

                                The most are gonna be in the 500-1500 range, maybe.

                                So, another disadvantages, I’d say, with his process, is that it’s just less intrinsically interesting or valuable.

Joe:                        Yeah I mean even people that love survival knives are probably not gonna sit around and talk about your site. I mean it’s just not really that kind of site.

Justin:                   You’re not providing them just a ton of value where they’re like, “Oh, my God, this is fantastic,” it’s not like you wanna… you’re so proud of the site, it’s just… It’s not as cool.

Joe:                        Yeah, it’s not something you’re gonna show off to your friends, it’s not sexy.

Justin:                   I think you’re gonna have to be more interested in the process of creating sites than you are in the actual business or site that you’re building.

                                I think that’s an important piece for Spencer’s, otherwise it’s probably not gonna work as well.

                                The other one that you mentioned as well is that there may be some seasonal changes because you have a limited number of sites. Explain that a bit. I’m not sure that I agree with that, but…

Joe:                        Yeah, I think one of the negatives when you go after this type of number of sites, right-

Justin:                   20 sites, 30 sites we’re talking about.

Joe:                        You’re more prone to seasonal changes. So hunting knives, for instance, are going to be more popular during hunting season, right, so if you have five sites or ten sites that are all within the same seasonal range, then you’re gonna have big spikes of income during the summer.

Justin:                   If it just happens to be that way, or if you’re doing a lot of e-commerce stuff, and then you have a big, like, leading up to Christmas, and then drop in January. Yeah, I mean, that kinda makes sense, I think, if they’re all on the same seasons, but I mean couldn’t you build one that’s popular in summer, one that’s popular in spring, one that’s popular in fall?

Joe:                        You could, but most likely, you’re kinda gonna go after-

Justin:                   But you don’t know which one’s gonna be the big win. Yeah, the site that makes 60 bucks a month could be in the spring. The one that makes 1200 bucks a month could be in the summer, so your spring sucks, right?

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean trying to… I’ve tried to predict that seasonality, Justin, it is very, very tough. Even for things that you think would be very obvious like the pool industry. Right? No, it’s not where you think it is. You’d think in like spring and summer it would be big but then there are certain other types of pool industries that are more towards the fall, like taking care of your pool or pool heaters, stuff like that.

                                It’s just weird and I think the less sites you have, the more prone you are to seasonality in this type of process. Not in Pat’s process, where your business is pretty steady throughout the year.

Justin:                   So the last type of site I wanna talk about is the type of sites that we build. So, the smaller niche sites, the one that we advocate and build ourselves through our guide, Building a Niche Site Empire, and let’s talk about this a little bit.

                                So the example entrepreneur, I think, in this situation, will be learning the fundamentals, right? They’re starting to get into keyword research a bit, they may not exactly know how to set up their hosting account, they’re figuring that out.

                                I don’t think, they don’t even need… They don’t need a war chest. They don’t need a piggy bank. We’re talking lunch money cash at this point.

Joe:                        Really, I mean I think you could even do most of it for free. You know, nickels.

Justin:                   I think it’s very… The type of person that should do this is much more process focused. If you’re great at reaching out, I think Pat’s approach… Reaching out, explaining things, I think Pat’s approach would be great, but if you’re more process oriented and shy away from that a bit, I think this is more for you.

                                I’d also say that, you know, you’re attached to learning a process in general and not any particular site.

                                So it’s definitely more process heavy and less site or business specific or focused.

Joe:                        Yeah, a lot of people out their always say, “I don’t know what niche to pick, I’m not passionate about anything.” Well you know what? This kinda thing is great for you because-

Justin:                   I don’t care. And [inaudible 00:38:18] is well, what happened, you know, what about this site, or I was worried about this site because I saw it drop down three spots… I have no idea. I don’t even know what sites drop to when, I mean, I see global changes or large scale trends, but you know, specific niches…

                                When we started out, there were a few that were kind of like, because I was so attached to them, I watched those, but I don’t particularly care at this point.

                                So that’s a good example of, I think, the example entrepreneur that would serve this process.

                                Let’s talk a little bit about what it means. It’s basically small, tight focused, niche sites and content, so-

Joe:                        There’s not more tight than we’ve gone.

Justin:                   Yeah, blue ski boots. I mean, it’s not that specific but you get the general idea. It’s definitely more of a low-cost, low-risk, low-reward scenario on each individual site. So, you know, best case scenario with the type of sites we’re building today, you know, 200 bucks a month? At best?

Joe:                        At best.

Justin:                   Yeah, so like we’re talking about much lower earners, so even the winners aren’t gonna make you a ton of cash. It’s definitely more into scale.

                                The primary business is about the building process and not the niche sites themselves.

                                You know, we actually have a podcast about this. We’re gonna talk about whether this is actually a business or not in a few minutes, but let’s get into the advantages of our process.

                                I mean the first one, Joe, is pretty clear, pretty easy. It’s… This is the easiest approach, I think, to get started.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, I would recommend people that wanna get started building a site online that makes them money, try this process first. Because it’s gonna… Like we said before, it’s gonna teach you the fundamentals, there’s very, you know, little money required to get started, so-

Justin:                   Not nearly as much time, and people ask us… you know, still ask us, “Well, Penguin and Panda, is it really still the best way to get started, or the best way to learn?” And I absolutely, clearly, say yes. It is absolutely the best way. You’re gonna make some money, you’re gonna get it up and running, again, you’re not gonna kill it. Even if you have a winner, it’s not gonna be amazing, but it’ll teach you the fundamentals and get you some cash along the way. It’s a great way to get started.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean if you make 30 bucks a month but you just spent a few hours on the site, then I think that’s-

Justin:                   Like, okay, I see how this works, right? And you’re gonna advance, develop, and grow, unless you turn it into a business like we’ve done. Most people don’t, though, I think, not with the type of sites that we create, they don’t turn it into a business. It’s either a hobby or they use it as a stepping stone to get to either Spencer or Pat’s process.

                                Yeah another thing is that it’s great for testing out a niche. So if you want to build out a Spencer type site, you can start with this type of site, which is small, making sure the niche is profitable, making sure people are visiting, clicking through, and you can then expand that site.

Joe:                        Yeah, if your keyword research just sucks, you’re not very good at that, I think this is a great way for you to test out the niche, not spend a lot of money, not spend a lot of time-

Justin:                   Donk it up first on the cheap, while you’re figuring it out.

Joe:                        Yeah, and then take the winners and maybe expand them using something like Spencer process, so…

Justin:                   I also think that these are gonna have good resale value opportunity because you’re not personally invested. It’s not like, you know, we’re Justin and Joe and you listen to these interviews with this person about ski boots and… No, you’re not gonna have any of that. It’s easily transferable to someone else, you know, you’re using WordPress, you’re using AdSense, maybe Amazon eventually, but really basic monetization methods, similar to Spencer’s I think.

Joe:                        Yeah. But, I think, moreover, when you do resell these type of sites, you can put them in packages. So, you know, like we used to do, and we still will do in the future, you can put 10 or 20 of these in a package, and people love those because they’re very diversified, right? This way they have blue ski boots, they have white bunny rabbits, they have, you know, black cats. They have a whole bunch of different niches that they’re in, so seasonality is more controlled, CPCs, advertisers going away, all that kind of stuff effects them a lot less than it would if they just had one particular site.

                                So your resale value on a package is usually much higher.

Justin:                   So this is also great for like a side income or hobby, right? I mean this is something you can definitely do as a hobby, similar to Spencer’s but I think this is a great hobby for those just getting started out.

                                And one of the major benefits or advantages, I think, is that it’s extremely scalable. I mean we have very little to do today with the niche site process. We have complete teams of people that really build those sites out for us. So we’re not intimately involved in the process and that’s pretty awesome.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean I think it’s important that you know and understand the process before trying to outsource it. But there are so many people out there on Odesk that have the individual skills in order to build these kind of sites.

Justin:                   Let’s be clear, you don’t go to Odesk and say, “Okay, can you build me a $50 a month site, and then I’ll..” No, it doesn’t work that way.

                                You chunk it out. You break it into pieces.

Joe:                        Right, you could find a keyword researcher, you could find a content person, you could find a site setup person, you could find three different people, and you could build these kind of sites.

Justin:                   It’s different from Spencer’s where if you’re selling particular products, you need to write a little bit more sales content around that product. If you have different monetization methods, let’s say an info product, then you have to be able to match the content to the info product, and make sure there’s a smooth transition into the sale. Which is a little more complex, I think, than totally scalable.

Joe:                        Unless you have design skills or are comfortable with editing CSS and HTML and that kind of thing, I’m gonna say that somebody like Spencer is gonna need to outsource that kind of stuff. So he’s gonna either need a designer on call or on staff in order to get his sites looking the way he wants them to, whereas you could just make cookie cutter sites in our process.

Justin:                   Another advantage is that, you know, the niches are heavily diversified because you have so many sites. So, I mean, it’s more predictable, more stable revenue. And you’ll see that day after day, where you’ll see that week after week or month after month.

                                Income from Spencer’s sites, especially if you have less sites, may be more streaky, I think, based on seasonal changes, based on your ranking on a particular site, right, whereas you don’t see as much of that in our process.

                                So I think that’s an advantage that it’s more predictable.

Joe:                        Yeah, so like I was talking about the packages before. I mean, that’s just what happens when you have a large number of sites.

                                You know, right now, at this current moment, we have 931 active sites. I don’t know how many we’ll have tomorrow or the next day. Might have more, might have less, we have 931 today. That makes a pretty stable day to day in our AdSense account. Doesn’t get much more stable than that.

Justin:                   So let’s talk about disadvantages, and this is a big one is that it’s completely Google dependent. I mean, heavily Google dependent.

                                So, you know, unlike Pat’s where, you know, he may take a complete hit on Google and only lose 20-25% of his traffic, if our site takes a complete hit on Google it’s gonna take 80-90% of our traffic, even more so, I think, than Spencer’s.

Joe:                        Yeah, you know, to further that point-

Justin:                   Plus with AdSense, too, like you also have the added risk… Because almost all of our sites are AdSense… you have the added risk of, you know, banned in AdSense, or your CPCs go down because your site has a hit or something, yeah.

Joe:                        Yeah, you have to absolutely follow Google’s rules to a T. I really can’t stress that more. We’ve made the mistake on depending too much on outsourced link building, and a big part of our library took a hit back in the BMR days, you just can’t do that anymore. You have to follow the rules and be willing to accept less but be safer.

Justin:                   A big one too is that there’s a lot less intrinsic value or interest in any particular sites. It’s just, it’s not cool, man. You know, it’s not like I’m like building this site and like, hey, I’m really proud of this particular site. It’s not like that.

                                I don’t know, it kind of sucks. If you’re the kind of person that that really bothers you, it’s not gonna be good for you.

                                Where we find value is in the process and not any particular niche site.

Joe:                        To this day, Justin, when I try to explain to our offline friends what we do, and when we get down to the conversation of what kind of site-

Justin:                   Can you just show me the site? And they’re like, “I don’t understand, what do you sell?”

Joe:                        As soon as I show them the site, they’re like, “Oh, you’re just some internet spammer,” and then that’s it, and like, what kind of crap is that? You know, I’m like, “Don’t look at that one particular site. Think about an aggregate,” you know?

Justin:                   Another problem is that a winner is a small win, right? You’re not gonna get… Even the best sites aren’t gonna be huge earners. Now they can be expandable, but it’s definitely… It’s not like you’re like, “Oh, my God, I got a 2000 a month site.” That’s just not happening, whereas it would happen with Spencer’s. And then with Pat’s you have the potential. A big winner could be a full on business.

Joe:                        Yeah, you were mentioning a really big winner before with our process is like $200. I tell you, I’m happy, really happy, when we get $30 a month from a site.

Justin:                   You’re like, “Oh, yeah, this one’s good, man. I like it. It’s a good one.”

Joe:                        When we cross the 25-30 dollar mark I’m like, “That is a great site.”

Justin:                   The other thing, we did a podcast about this, about how building niche sites is not a real business, and I think for a lot of people this never does turn into a real business. They don’t take it to the extreme or to the level that we do where they build a whole brand around it, they’re selling batches of sites, I mean that generally doesn’t happen.

                                Some people do, but normally I think it’s resigned to either being a side income, making a bit of extra cash, or using it as a stepping stone to kind of advance and learn different tactics and techniques that you can use to build valuable sites.

Joe:                        Yeah, I definitely see it as a stepping stone for most people. I mean for us, we had an advantage in that we had an outsourcing company, right? We had the advantage in that we had SEO trained staff that we could adapt to a process like this.

                                So I think we’re kind of in a unique situation in that we could make a business out of it, but I think most people out there are gonna use it as a stepping stone.

Justin:                   Well if you’re building these sites and you do wanna make a business out of it, it requires a heck of a lot of sites to get to the point where you’re a livable wage.

                                So, you know, there’s a ton of work and a ton of sites that have to be built out to get to that point, whereas for Spencer’s process, maybe 15, 20, 30 sites. With us, maybe a couple hundred sites or more. So it just, it’s gonna depend on your particular sites how much they’re earning, but it’s definitely more than either of the two approaches.

                                So, I mean, that’s the three different process, some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. A couple of kind of wrap up points we wanted to mention is that, you know, a lot of people take the easy way out and they try to say that this is the way to do it, or that’s the way to do it. You know, this is the best approach, I do it this way, you need to do it this way, and that’s crap, man, it’s bullshit.

                                So, you know, I think it’s just a false choice, right? Like you’re saying, okay, well this is the way to do it because this is the way I know best, or you’ll give your reasons. Some people are gonna say, “Well you need to be building value, because that’s what Google wants, you need to take the Pat method.”

                                Other people say, “No, that’s way too risky, you don’t need to put all the work in up front, go with the smaller niche sites to test it out.”

                                And you really need to pick one that I think is gonna work for you.

                                A good way to do that is to look at which example of entrepreneur works for you. So of the three that we mentioned in the three different positions, which one fits you the best? Which one would make you a better candidate for, you know, either Pat’s process, Spencer’s process, or ours.

Joe:                        Yeah, and I almost see it as beginner, intermediate, and expert. Right? If you’re a beginner just starting your journey, try our process because it’s not gonna hurt you much. And yeah, a little win at best, but you’re really gonna learn the fundamentals in order to move up the value chain.

                                So I think Pat, more power to him, I love the process, but it’s just too big of a swallow.

Justin:                   You don’t start there.

                                Spencer can build those types of sites, right? I think we can build those types of sites, but it’s not a great focus for us. I’d rather not put the focus and time into that that it would require.

                                I think it’s worth it from Pat’s perspective because he’s building an entire community around it. Right? So it’s not just the site, it’s all the value in showing that site to his SPI audience.

                                And I think when you combine those two it’s a big win for him. The site alone? I don’t know, we’ll see.

                                Whatever you’re gonna do, you know, I think it’s great to forge your own path. So take a bit of what we talk about, take a bit of what Spencer talks about and Pat talks about, and kind of come up with your own process. And I think most people do that over time, as they start to learn little tips or tricks here and there and kind of mish-mash and put together a process that fits their unique interests, their ability to execute, and knock it out.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m always surprised by people that email these questions to us and they’re like, “What’s the exact step you use on Fiverr when talking to the guy from India when you wanna order secondary content?”

Justin:                   Other people are way too process oriented. You need to back up a little bit, man, yeah.

Joe:                        It just doesn’t matter that much, man, you know? So just kinda figure out your own way, don’t study so much, just do and that kind of stuff will fall in line.

Justin:                   Alright, that’s it for the heart of this week’s episode. Let’s get right into our tips, tricks, and plans for the future.

Narrator:             You’re listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   Alright so my tip for you this week actually comes from nomadicnotes.com. James actually came down to visit us in Davao about a week ago. Had a great time hanging out again, and funny enough, you know, I’m in Saigon right now, Ho Chi Minh, and I was looking around for kind of a good guide to coffee shops so I could get some work done, and on his site, on nomadicnotes.com, fantastic guide to coffee shops and cafés in Ho Chi Minh.

                                I ended up hanging out at this place called the Kita Café based on his recommendation.

                                And it’s this great French style café with this little outdoor wrap around porch. And I was hanging out there just watching the crowd and, you know, Ho Chi Minh, and I was getting some writing done, and it was just an absolutely inspirational place.

                                So I’m gonna leave a link to that in the show notes. But I was… Dude, I was fired up I was knocking out a couple of thousand words and I thought it was great post so I think if you are visiting Ho Chi Minh, definitely check it out.

                                He’s got a lot of other great write ups on other cities. He recently put a guide out about Davao, he does a lot of other cities.

                                So if you’re a traveling man and you’re knocking some work out, definitely check out his site.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m gonna be a traveling man soon so maybe I have to get over there to Nomadic Notes and check out some of his stuff.

Justin:                   Yeah, speaking of which, I actually met up with a listener, an Empire Flippers listener, named Alex Liberatori, I think. Great guy, he’s been here in Saigon for about a month, listens to our podcast regularly.

                                A really cool job, so, he basically creates music for indie films, like animated films, and games. So these indie games that come out, you know, they need music to set the mood, and he creates the music for those video games.

                                Really cool, interesting, talked to him about that a bit, about how he captures clients. He does a lot of cold calling, which really surprised me. I wouldn’t think that would be something you cold call for but, yeah that’s-

Joe:                        Cold call for animated music, or music for animated videos… He must have a good list or something that he’s calling on obviously but yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Justin:                   Yeah I was talking to him about that a little bit and, you know, we were talking about kind of his price range, and there are… I guess there are people that want to cut cost even further than him and he recommends free resources.

                                And I was telling him, “That’s awesome, that’s cool if they don’t have the budget for it,” but what he should do is talk to some of the bigger houses, the agencies, and I’m sure they have people that don’t meet their budget requirements… Like that’d be a great lead source for him to be able to pull in some of those indie games that just couldn’t afford some of the bigger agencies, he’s a great go between, between that and the do-it-yourself free crowd.

                                So I thought that was pretty interesting. Buddy, you’re traveling next week. I’m actually heading off to Cambodia tomorrow so I’m gonna go see Angkor Wat, and you are… Next week you’re out of there, where are you heading off, buddy?

Joe:                        Yeah, first I’m going to Manila, I’ll be in Manila for five or six days before heading to Phuket, Thailand and then over to Bangkok for the DCPKK so I’m doing a little traveling as well, I’ll probably be on the road three weeks or so, so if you’re in Thailand, you’re in Phuket, you’re in Bangkok, let me know, maybe we can meet up. If you’re in Manila, same kind of thing.

Justin:                   Absolutely, man, I’ll be excited to see you again. We’ll probably knock out a podcast in Bangkok. I’m sure we’ll be talking to a ton of cool, interesting, crazy entrepreneurs there. And it’s gonna be a blast.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

Justin:                   Well that’s it for episode 66 of the Empire Flippers podcast. Thanks for being with us and we’ll be sure to be back next week.

                                Check us out on Twitter @EmpireFlippers and we’ll see you again.

Joe:                        Bye-bye, everybody.

Narrator:             You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com.

                                Thanks for listening.



  • This was a really informative discussion. It provides some great information as far as buying sites, selling sites, and by extension, developing sites that others will want to buy. Understanding the different types of niches sites gives you valuable insights into what results you can expect, and how much work you will need to put in to make it work.

  • Guys,
    I remember than in one of your podcast, possibly this one, you mentioned that content can be reused letting the Google cache expire, so that it appears as new.
    Or did I dream about it?!

    I’ve an old project with nice content but hit hard by Panda 2y ago. All the attempts to clean the backlink profile and improve the onpage optimization failed, so I’m thinking about abandon that domain and re-use the content on a new one.

    Is it doable and how long is the Google cache memory?


    • Very doable. There are two ways to do this. Take down the old site and wait 3 months for the content to come out of the cache. You can verify the content is out with the “site:domain.com” command in Google. The other way is to 301 redirect your site to a new domain, but this could lead to the penalty carrying over to the new domain.

  • Great episode. It really boiled down to quality vs quantity. And the conclusion was so true – it depends on what you’re fond of, although all options have flaws. To me, SEO would be the biggest consideration, as getting to the point where it doesn’t matter (most of yout traffic comes outside of Google) requires for you to first GET that traffic, most likely through Google. So while Pat’s approach may seem like a good way to not depend on SEO, it’s still what you’ll most often do when starting.

  • Ryan says:

    I am taking place in the niche site dual. The aggressive approach to competition really forces the call to action most popular entrepreneurs ask of their audience, and or offer as advice. I suppose the key is to really sit-down and consider what you feel works best for you, but TAKE ACTION, no less!


  • James Clark says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, Justin! Too bad I missed you in HCMC but I will see you in Bangkok at least 🙂

  • Chicken Cast says:

    Great episode! I agree with your 3 classifications 100%. My problem is I have tried to do level 3’s in the first instance instead of mastering 2 or 1’s. Also, regarding level 3 sites and personality tie-ins; I have tried to emulate the Pat Flynn and Mark Mason examples, but it’s not me. That drains me! I would rather be the wizard behind the curtain!

  • RJ Cid says:

    Tung! Whats up man?! I am looking at your adjustableweights site as a guide for one of my sites. Well, its a mix of survival knife and your’s. Eitherway, I wish i was building sites 10 years ago at 19. Id probably would have had a better time in my 20s.

    In any event, really dig your stuff. I love that how to build your own blog network post you created, even bookmarked it and will be using it this weekend as I attempt to “start” the process.

    Hope all is well and enjoy Bangkok with these guys!

  • Justin Cooke says:

    Hey, man…lots of love for ya! 🙂

    Would love to have a chat with you on the show or a guest post in the future…maybe Nov/Dec when Joe and I are both back in Davao?

  • RJ Cid says:

    Great topic. I feel that many people get started and are sold into the level 3 type of online businesses the Pat Flynn type of niche sites. This is good if you have a lot of experience and want to share that with others, as well as putting yourself out there.

    I am currently working at learning how to do the NichePursuits’ knife type sites. They can be made with the same amount of energy as the tiny micro sites and you get more bang fro your buck – without having to put yourself outthere. Also, these level 2 type sites could probably do really well in flippa and its worth the time and effort.

    the micro sites also takes skill; processing, knowledgeable seo, basic site creation, optiizing for adsense. I tried this route and to be honest, its just not worth it unless its in bulk and that is – IMO – not going to produce enough within a relatively shorter time.

    I think that the most important would be the process and learning how to multiply the level 2 sites. I WANT to go down the “mmo” route as I can add value – but id rather kill it in an industry that lacks that similar business model and proper information site.

    I been redoing a ton of my sites to get up to the level 2 niche sites. mostly product review and one is a BIG one I could really use help with ::hint hint::

    In any event. You guys are with me everyday in the car, on my runs, and before i pass out, as I envision that day I can have my 10-15 level 2 sites an 1-3 leve 3 sites… =)

    • Glad we could help RJ and I agree the level 2 type sites are probably the best way to go. For newcomers don’t discount the valuable skills you can learn with micro niche sites though. It’s a cheap and easy way to get started.

    • Thoufeeq says:

      I agree with with you, RJ Cid.

      I am currently working on 2 level-2 sites (only home page content is published). But what I don’t like about this model is that its quite tough to get ranked for the chosen keywords since they are “buyer keywords” related to physical products , SERPs being dominated with ecommerce sites like amazon, target, etc,

      I keep in mind what Spencer published in one of his blog posts why he never go after ecommerce keywords, no matter how easy it seems. This makes me reconsider this business model.

      But again, his public niche site case study was about physical product reviews monetized with amazon associates. It confuses a lot sometimes.. 😛

      • Guest says:

        wow, some really good points, RJ Cid.

        Glad to know that u too follow Tung Tran @cloudlivingjourney.com. 🙂

        I agree with what you said. As observed from my keyword research experience since a few months, “where to buy xyz”, “best portable xyz” are also being dominated by ecommerce sites.

        I tried some jewelry keywords, ridiculously long tail ones. (7 to 8 word phrase) finely targeted and has a lot of buyer intend; but when i search for it, its again those ecommerce sites ranking on top, with little to no slots available for wordpress made niche sites, even though the latter has the perfect on-page SEO setup.

        Anyways, it looks like its more about the amount of general content (lengthy articles) sprinkled with affiliate links thats gonna help rather than relying on “where to buy xyz” “xyz best price”, etc. But again, they may contain the least buyer intend, as the searcher has just started his research about the product. 🙂

        This is where i struggle a lot. 😛

        About the expired domains for backlinking, no comments! I agree 100%

        Thank you very much for the reply…

        • Justin Cooke says:

          Tung Tran is a cool/sharp dude…I’m looking forward to meeting up with him next week in Bangkok!

        • RJ Cid says:

          Hey hey, great discussion here. Imma keep it going :::untz untz untz untz::: (my party sound)

          A few things I would like to dig into and see if this helps. 1. Trying some jewelery keywords sounds like some work, but minimal was done. If the proper keyword research is done, you should know what kind of niche that jewelry is in and how competitive it is. I am looking to enter harder niches (using longtailpro, these would be keywords with a KW competitive number above 40), and although that main keyword is tough – this only tells me what is going on in Google, but with further research I know I can compete because of the various platforms I can use to still get in front of audience. (Twitter, YOUTUBE, facebook, pinterest… ) Check out cool podcast about platforms here: http://www.internetbusinessmastery.com/ibm-206-build-social-media/

          2. Having great seo still can mean bunk depending on your niche competitiveness. As you can see, Justin and Joe like going for keywords where basic seo and a few low-haning backlinks can do the job and get traffic. But if you are in really competitive fields, aka jewelery, you have to set it up as a level 2. You may need to do something incredibly different and useful to get people to notice you.

          What I am thinking is, you can rank for almost, ALMOST any keyword. We gotta just take a universal approach and not rely on google rankings for our business to work. Here is a good podcast about the ecommerce jewelery business you may find value in: http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-15-building-a-niche-ecommerce-business-with-nathan-hartnett/

          3. If the outcome is worth it, be invested in the process. TWEET THAT lol. Its just a matter of time before you start getting traffic with your niche. Maybe 10 articles wont “cut it” but 20 will, in fact Spencer Haws has been saying he only buils sites with 20+ pages now. I am trying to answer as many questions I can find online about my niche and go to iwriter.com to have smoeone create a post about it. I still have not seen traffic spike, but, its grown from 50 to 100 in just 2 weeks and I am still in building mode.

          We all struggle!! I am spinning figuring out how to actually “get it right this time”. Traffic is there, but not sales/clicks. so its always a learning process and hopefully, :::hint hint::: a certain duo/podcast team/online entrepreneurs can take a few minutes of their time to help a brotha out…

          Lol, yeah, that was a long response, didnt see that comming! lol

          • Justin Cooke says:

            RJ Cid – I think you make a damn fine point here. The strength/competitiveness of the keyword and/or niche is going to somewhat determine whether it’s a level 1 site, level 2, level 3, etc. If I was targeting the keyword “weight loss” my wimpy level 1 site definitely won’t cut it! (I would argue that none of us here should be targeting a keyword that broad, but that’s beyond the scope of this comment, heh)

          • Thoufeeq says:

            Hey RJ Cid,

            I see some results after digging a bit deep. I got some really nice search phrases which I never thought of. These are long tail ones, still in the competitive niche, 0 searches, yet feels like worthy. I feel like “think of candle store” strategy definitely works 😛

            And u r right again! Simply relying on google would tell u if the niche is competitive or not, but nothing beyond that. So setting up a level-2 site in this niche needs a lot more than lengthy content & table-press plugin 🙂


    • Justin Cooke says:

      Awesome, RJ Cid.

      I agree with you that the level 3 type sites aren’t for everyone. The level 2 sites seem to be a healthy balance and are in the repeatable/scalable zone that we look for. Glad you’re digging the podcast, man!

  • Thoufeeq says:

    I think this is the right place to discuss about one of your sites sold in flippa auctions recently. https://flippa.com/2974952-637-last-30-days-13-6k-uniques-kitchen-niche-adsense-site-1-no-reserve

    I have a few questions:

    1. When I checked the site using site:domain.com in google, it shows 2000+ indexed pages. Is it due to the tags and categories being indexed as separate pages?

    2. Roughly how many pages of content in the site? or how much do you think is required to make this many page views per month, in this particular niche?

    3. What are the type of backlinks used? Links were built consistently till the auction? Total cost for backlinking alone?

    4. What about the images used in the site? Are they taken from google searches? If so, won’t there be any copyright issues?

    5. If I add 2 – 3 good quality pics in each post, would that cause me trouble in my shared hosting, as the size of the website becomes too high by the time i finish publishing some 150+ pages?

    I hope you would reply to my questions.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Well, I’m on vacation, so nothing like answering a multi part comment while I watch the sunset and drink a cocktail. 😉

      1) Yes, they are’t all posts or pages. However this is the power of WordPress. Sometimes these tag and category pages can rank for long tails.

      2) Really I have no idea, several hundred posts for sure. And adding 3 new posts a week at minimum is required as spelled out in the auction.

      3) None. No off page SEO or back linking was done. Check the link profile in Open Site Explorer on Moz.com. This shows the power of good content.

      4) I think this was addressed in the auction, but here it is again “The images are found by searching the internet and using properties that do not have watermarks or other associated private message warnings. If the seller received a complaint (he never has) he would take down the image and replace with another.” and “I understand your concern and while you raise a valid point, we have used the exact same process to find images for over 3k sites we created in the last few years. We have never had an issue in using literally thousands of images. Please see our guide, blog, and overall process at EmpireFlippers.com for details. ”

      5) You would have to contact your hosting company about that. We don’t have those issues.

      • Thoufeeq says:

        Thanks a ton, Joseph.

        There’s nothing like getting a prompt reply from gurus. 😉

        (And I am sorry that I failed to notice some points you have already addressed in the auction description.)

        So I hope i can continue the conversation right here, if I have any more valid questions any time in this particular topic. 🙂

        Thanks again!

  • civillibros says:

    in the next post, you could compare some SEO Services, like layered links, the hoth, group of fiver gigs, paid networking blogs like unique article wizard, submit my article, and let us know why you will buy it, with his budget:

    i need your opinion thanks, i mean for each type of site example for a path site you recommend this SEO package, for a spencer site this type of package, and for your micro niche sites you recomend only this, that would be very hepfull thanks

    • Interesting, but we have always said these SEO services are probably best left alone. You’re playing russian roulette with your sites, IMHO. Just a matter of time before Google catches up to you and dings the site. It’s just too risky long term especially because we sell the sites.

  • Troy Swezey says:

    What is the opinion on purchasing content for a small to medium niche site? Joe / Justin mentioned Odesk but…
    I recently purchased several pages from someone I had previously worked with at Fiverr. This time his work was terrible so I hired someone else to write articles on the same KWs. I compared the text from the two ‘writers’ and they were practically the same, obviously spun, even though both claimed they would write original articles.
    How do you guys make sure you are going to get truly original content? I guess it would entail spending more than $5 for 500 words?

    • We use content editors. Our editors fine writers on iwriter.com, hirewriters.com, and fiverr.com. Then then check for spelling, grammar and originality. If the article does not pass the test we send it back and ask them to rewrite. If it just needs minor revisions, the editors make those directly and passes them on to be posted.

      So yes, $5 is an article cost that does not include the editor’s time.

      • Troy Swezey says:

        They FINE writers? Wow! Harsh.
        Just kidding Buddy.
        Right, I have found it worth my time to have to fix minor grammar issues or ‘fine’ vs ‘find’ by myself because that part is easy. (I can’t afford to hire content editors yet.) Actually composing 500 words is harder and takes a lot more time.
        I just worry about getting dinged by The Googles for have spun content from someone who said it was original and I did not catch it. 🙁
        PS- Thanks for the awesome podcasts and lessons.

      • civillibros says:

        how they test the spelling, gammar and originality?, maybe is spun content but pass 100% copyscape, what other tools you use to verify?

  • David Miller says:

    Don’t know what to say about niche site anymore. I just read a material http://www.nlcacademy.net/seo/penguin-2-1-rolled-out-last-night-niche-sites-are-drowning/ that says Spencer was hit by the latest Penguin update. Any news from you guys? Are your sites still ranking well today?

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey David,

      Please keep in mind that Spencer’s site was extremely public and, some months ago, someone dumped links on his public site. It’s not terribly surprising that his site ended up taking a hit because of that. I’m sure Spencer will be out with an update in a few days. My guess is that he has plenty of (private) sites that are just fine.

      If you’re looking for reasons NOT to build niche sites, there are plenty of other examples besides this obscure blog article to keep you from getting started. AdSense/SEO is dead, too reliant on Google, etc…there are plenty of reasons from credible sources. If you’re looking for a process that’s 100% foolproof, please let me know when you find it! 🙂

  • abhi says:

    I have been following your blog since past 9-10 months. No doubt you publish great quality podcasts, but it would be better if you provide transcript of the podcast as well for the users having limited bandwidth or speed restriction. Myself have to wait for few days to download because of bandwidth constraints. I hope you take it as request.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Sorry about that, Abhi. I’m in Cambodia right now with awfully slow internet and I definitely feel your pain! We have a number of transcripts that have been completed but not posted to the site yet. I’ll get on this in November when I get back and (hopefully) we can get caught up on the transcripts…

  • Iain Robson says:

    Great episode.

    Loved how you guys broke it down based on different approaches.

    I totally agree with guys and what Pat Flynn is doing isn’t too feasible for a lot of people. It is definitely a full time job with what he is trying to do. It’s awesome but I think a lot of people were looking at what Pat did as not staying true to NSD 1.

    It’s his prerogative to do what he wants though right.

    I’ve tried Spencer’s strategy and it works for the most part. I feel that his process needs a bit more backlinking to be effective. Whereas your strategy works without any linkbuilding.

    Pat’s strategy is totally a natural link building strategy. Something like what Matthew Woodward does with his zero link building strategy.

    Loved this episode.

    • Glad you liked it!

      I think Spencer overdoes it on the link building and for good reason — he picks more competitive niches. With a good blog network in place and an expired domain, link building should be minimal.

      I would rather have a safe site at position 5 or 6 than a risky site at 1 or 2. Link building adds that risk. Perhaps that’s because I have so many sites though.

      • Iain Robson says:

        Yeah for sure. The size of the website and the competitiveness comes into play as well.

        Also, providing value by answering the question the person is asking is becoming more important now as well.

        I good mix of higher risk sites with lower ones would be ideal. You have to diversify your portfolio right. That’s obviously why Spencer and your guys also have software.

        Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

  • sebi 20 says:

    nice podcast guys. Cool infos. In fact, I am interested in buying the 300$ brokerage package from empire flippers but I disabled the adsense ads 2 weeks ago because I tried to sell the website on flippa. I can apply for the package right now, without the last 2 weeks of revenue?
    the revenue of the last 8 months is 157$ and from the last 60-30 is about 150$

    thanks !

    • It’s probably best you wait at least 60 days to apply, as the numbers will look funny and affect the asking price. It’s something we would have to explain and buyers might be turned off.

  • bobdak says:

    OK .. I am now famous … made the Empire Flippers podcast … Thanks Justin an Joe made my day … I am re-doing my resume to include my co-hosting talents on the Empire Flippers podcast!! JK … Disappointed I did not win the SEO website but Congratulations to Mark … hope that works out well for you .. hit me up Mark if you need a partner or help … I don’t know what J & J are doing but you guys are putting out some great podcast lately … this one is excellent … it’s one I will listen to 2 or 3 more times for sure…. thanks again guys … stay healthy – looking forward to next weeks episode …

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