(The Entrepreneur Ridealong) Building A Niche Animal Site From $0 to $500,000: Day 1
Informational content written by niche experts. Competition analytics, Ahrefs, Google’s Autosuggest, and keyword tools to find topics.
HARO and auction domains
$10,000 per month in net profit
$400,000 – $500,000
Welcome to this SEO case study/ridealong, where I will be building a website from scratch to sell it on Empire Flippers.
I will detail the progress made regarding website design, content creation, link building, and other SEO strategies.
I won’t disclose the domain, but I will include the high-level niche.
Along the way, I will track key metrics such as traffic, rankings, and earnings. As well as documenting the time and money spent.
Through this case study, you will gain insight into the process of building a successful website (hopefully) and optimizing it for maximum value on a popular marketplace like Empire Flippers.
The aim is for a $400,000 – $500,000 exit.
At a 30x multiple the site will need to be earning $13,333 – $16,666 per month in net profit to achieve this exit target; at a 40x multiple, it’ll need to be earning $10,000 – $12,500; and
at a 50x multiple, it’ll need to be earning $8,000 – $10,000.
Empire Flippers has plenty of guidance on how to get a higher multiple, but high-quality content, high-quality links, and diverse traffic across the sites helps.
My monthly profit target is $10,000 which is $120,000 a year.
The maths behind a $120,000 per year blog:
- $10,000 per month
- $333 per day
I have a $500 per day revenue target which leads into my profit target after expenses.
At $15.5 RPM that’s 32,000 visits a day and at $21.5 RPM that’s 23,500 visits a day.
The low end of this RPM is relatively conservative and based on my experience in similar niches, speaking to others in the space, and my RPMs in other niches. However, if the RPM is lower than expected, this could take more traffic to achieve.
Breakdown of costs:
- Content: $4,545 for continued content in order to keep the site growing. This is high end estimate.
- Software/Hosting: $25 a month for hosting, $30 a month for miscellaneous software
- Virtual Assistants/Operator: $400 for an operator that helps manage writers and publish articles. This cost will change as the site grows.
Content will be the majority of my costs. This is primarily because I will hire writers for 90% of the work. I have a few writers that do $0.04 – $0.06 an article/word. For writers that work at lower rates, I’ll be working with a niche expert to review the content.
- Revenue: $15,000
- Costs: $5,000
- Profit: $10,000
There is some room for affiliate offers and plenty of room to link to products, but I like to focus on display ads when preparing for a sale so I can do what I do best and leave something for buyers to add value with.
However, as the site grows I will explore additional monetization options.
Make sure to bookmark this page and come back to it for future reference. Hopefully, if you’re starting out or already have a blog making some revenue, this can spark some ideas to take your website to the next level.
My name is Logan Mastrianna. I’m from Florida but currently live in Colorado.
Even though I’ve worked in online marketing in some way for almost a decade, I was still late to the party compared to most and had an entirely different career in the veterinary field before going online full-time.
Looking for freedom, flexibility, and more financial rewards I was drawn to online marketing where I eventually found success with site-building. I’ve been building sites for around 4 years and have been focused on scaling as quickly as possible ever since.
I’ve achieved a six-figure exit, made some acquisitions, had a few big wins, and, of course, had plenty of failures along the way.
A couple of successful websites in my portfolio make $3,500 a month and a few make $8,000 a month and most are still growing.
The core of my SEO strategy is finding underserved content topics and producing the best possible piece of content for those topics.
While finding underserved topics has become more difficult over the years (and the definition of what’s “underserved” has certainly changed), there are still more than enough opportunities to build sites with these topics, even in some more competitive niches.
As sites grow in authority and topical relevance, the content focus can shift to more competitive topics.
When it comes to content production, I rely on real niche experts to either write or at least review content. While this does end up costing more per article than it would to write my own content or have content produced by non-experts, it allows me to leverage real credentials and active online profiles of these experts to satisfy Google’s experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) guidelines. It also leads to higher-quality content that stands the test of time and is generally more appealing to a future buyer who could acquire my site.
When it comes to link building, I create content that attracts links naturally by using HARO and relying heavily on auction domains. For this project, I’ll also be using domains purchased from ODYS. These domains are niche-relevant and have existing links, many of which I wouldn’t be able to acquire anywhere else.
I have big goals for this project and while it’s absolutely possible to break into this niche with a new domain, to hit my targets sooner I’ll be leaning on this strategy.
I’ll be targeting the animal niche for this case study. It’s a very big niche with many different directions to go.
While anyone can write content for this niche, the best content comes from real niche experts and it’s a space with plenty of experts. I have lots of experience working with experts across a variety of niches and it’s something that I think gives me an edge over the competition.
I prefer to focus on informational content and while there is room for affiliate offers or selling products, the ad revenue path is the most straightforward in this niche. I’m not expecting RPMs to be exceptionally high, but the large search volume that I expect for this niche will make up for that.
Content Production and SEO Strategy
I’ll be working with niche experts to create content, review content, or both. This means my cost per article will be on the higher end compared to some other projects, but I get deeper alignment with Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines by using experts with real credentials and an active online presence.
Higher-quality content does increase the chances of acquiring natural links, so that’s another added benefit even though it does take time to really feel that impact.
I’ll be starting with an expired domain that has existing links, but that also means my first step is to recreate existing pages that already had links pointing to them. Luckily, most of these pages are straightforward enough and so I’ll be creating these pages so writers can focus on new content.
Even though I’ll be starting with some authority, I’ll be targeting lower-competition topics to get some momentum. Once I’ve got around 75 articles live and indexed, I’ll be paying close attention to Google search console (GSC) data to see what Google thinks my website should rank for and adjust topic selection from there.
I’ve had plenty of experiences where amazing content just doesn’t rank and Google clearly thinks your website should take a different focus. While you don’t want to over-pivot, it’s important to pay close attention to this and follow Google’s lead.
My content production process is straightforward; I use a combination of competition analytics, Ahrefs, Google’s Autosuggest, and a few keyword tools to find topics. Since I’m working with niche experts, I also often ask writers for ideas I wouldn’t have considered on my own.
I use a variety of templates to keep writers on track and produce consistent content. I’ll have an editor in place that will review the content, but I expect the content won’t need heavy edits at that stage. Instead, the editor is doing basic formatting and reviewing the content for SEO best practices.
When it comes to link building, I’ll be relying on HARO and again using niche experts to produce high-quality responses. Using auction domains will provide plenty of high-quality links so I won’t have to worry about too much link building.
Still, in addition to HARO, I’ll be producing statistics pages to try and attract more natural links.
When starting a new project, the most important thing is to just get content live and indexed—we can worry about the finer points of design later, so I stick with a simple and easy-to-use theme.
I’ll put together a very simple color palette, select some fonts, create a logo in Canva, and make a few small adjustments to the overall layout so that we’re ready for ads when it’s time to monetize.
From there, I’ll create a simple and clean homepage along with the About Us pages. I want to get author pages live with profiles of each of the writers I’ll be working with. This will be used to show that the site is the real deal and it’ll help when submitting HARO requests.
I’ll add a few plugins to optimize for site speed and set up my backups. I know it’s a bit over-the-top, but I have 3 different backups: one from Updraft Plus, another from the hosting provider, and a third from a 3rd party service. It helps me sleep at night!
I’ll also set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console right away.
I’m starting a new website in the animal niche.
I’ll be working with niche experts to write and/or review informational content, which will be low competition at first until the site has gained some authority.
Once I’ve got around 75 articles live and indexed, I’ll be paying close attention to Google search console (GSC) data to see what Google thinks my website should rank for and adjust topic selection from there.
I’ll be starting with an expired domain that has existing links and I’ll recreate existing pages that already had links pointing to them. I’ll also be relying on HARO and again using niche experts to produce high-quality responses.
To build the site, I’ll use a simple theme, put together a very simple color palette, select some fonts, create a logo in Canva, and make a few small adjustments to the overall layout so that we’re ready for ads when it’s time to monetize.
Follow along my journey to learn how to grow a site from $0/mo to $15,000/mo for a $400,000 – $500,000 exit!
Project Completion Targets*