RMRB 16: Building Amazon Associate Sites

Jake Davis

October 24, 2018

 

This Amazon Associates business was created in December 2015 in the home improvement niche by someone with a lot of experience building new Amazon Associates sites. The WordPress site features articles reviewing a useful home technology. The business has consistent earnings history, good growth in the last 6 months, and is a mostly hands-off business. The owner, Josh, has grown the business to be making over $8k/month in profit with minimal effort on his part!

Find more businesses like this one on our marketplace: http://bit.ly/2AocdrC

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Jake Davis:          What if you could cut through the noise in the online business world and learn from someone who has built a real business? We verified the numbers and comb through the PNL. This is not only a real business, but a real asset that people want to buy. We’re going to pull the curtain back and give you the insights this entrepreneur has discovered that you can use to level up your knowledge, whether you’re looking to buy a business or looking for inspiration to take your current business to the next level.

                                Hey listeners. Welcome back to the Real Money Real Business Podcast. This week, we’re going to be talking about an Amazon Associates business that is making over $8,000 every single month. But the really interesting thing about this business is that it comes from an owner who has made a career about creating new Amazon Associate sites and then selling them, so it’s really interesting to get his take on why the Amazon Associates model is so lucrative.

                                Josh, thank you for coming on here today. How are you doing?

Josh:                      Hey, how’s it going?

Jake Davis:          You know man, it’s going great for me. How are you doing?

Josh:                      Really good, really good.

Jake Davis:          So, I’m really interested in hearing how you built this Amazon Associates site to a quarter million dollars, but before we get to the questions that I have for you, I want to go ahead and run through a little quick summary of the business. Again, the business was built in December of 2015, has a monthly revenue of $8,581, expenses of $305 to make for a net profit of $8,276, which is generated on a 12 month average. Included in the sale of this business are the primary domain and all site content and files and social media accounts.

                                Josh, can you tell us a little bit about your background in building and running online businesses?

Josh:                      Yeah. I’ve been doing this for about three years now. Probably more than that, but really full time basically for about three years, and now I have a whole team that works with me, mostly in the Philippines and an American writer and stuff, and we build a lot of sites. We build, depending on where we’re at in the business, we’re building one or two new sites a month usually. We also do a little bit of flipping.

                                We’ve just recently gotten into a little bit of site flipping as well. So, yeah, we build these mostly Amazon Affiliate-style websites, and then when they reach a certain point of maturity, we’re usually about ready to sell them. We’ve sold already, I think it’s nine or 10 sites through Empire Flippers, and this is another one. This is a really nice one. This is a really good earner, and a really strong site going up on the marketplace.

Jake Davis:          I think it’s funny. You mentioned that you’ve sold nine with Empire Flippers now, and I think that speaks something to the quality of your sites that you’re able to just sell all of these sites. And as you said today, you have a great one today. It’s making over $8,000 a month in profit. Why did you settle upon the home improvement niche?

Josh:                      Well, I mean, we actually, we have sites in lots of different niches. So, this isn’t necessarily the home improvement niche instead of another niche. We go to a lot of different niches, but this particular niche ended up being a home run for us, a really strong niche, and a lot of magic came together for this site. One of the things about this site, I think, that made it really successful is that Google, for whatever reason, for some of their algorithm magic just decided that they liked this site, and that’s the kind of thing that you see a lot when you build a lot of these sites.

                                That’s the kind of thing that you see a lot when … When you build a lot of these sites, there’s a fairly high failure rate. We do most of our sites in very similar ways, so we do a little experimentation, but for the most part, we’re doing pretty similar stuff. A lot of our sites, maybe as much as 40% of the sites that we build, fail and it’s going to take us, and this is the bummer part about building sites is it might take me a year to decide that this site has failed, so I’ve invested in a lot of money in all the link building and all the content and just in all the technical behind-the-scenes stuff before I even know if the site has failed.

                                But then you also get these sites that Google, just percentage-wise, some of the sites are going to end up being sites that Google just loves, and this is actually why a lot of people are … This is probably interesting for the buyers. You, as a buyer, might relate to this that a lot of the reason people are buying sites right now, and we’ve actually gotten a little bit into some site buying instead of just building, is because of that big failure rate, and because it takes so long to even maybe know if that site has succeeded or not, that starting with a site that is already in favor with Google is a really big step in the right direction.

                                For our particular business model, even if we are going to buy a site, we’re looking for really, really small sites. For the most part, we’re still building, just because that’s the business model that we’ve built and it’s successful for us. While we’re also still in the business of selling sites, this is why we’re selling this site, but we just lucked out with this particular website in this niche. It’s also, I’ll say, also about the niche that it’s … Go ahead and it probably makes sense to put a deposit down. If you’re interested, put a deposit down on this site, and then follow along a little bit more, but you’ll see when you put a deposit down, this is a niche that’s a relatively new type of product, but it’s not going anywhere.

                                It’s not just a fad. It’s definitely growing, and I think that that’s been another thing that’s helped make this site successful, is because this type of product is becoming more popular. This is the kind of thing that you really want to see, I really want to see in a site. I’ve experimented with lots of different niches, but I’m much more interested in a niche that, over the next few years, will presumably … Google Trends indicates this and logic indicates that this is going to be a growing thing versus a niche that’s a bit more of a fad or maybe in decline or something, so that’s another reason why I really like this niche, and why I think this site was such a successful one.

Jake Davis:          Your whole business model for yourself is built around building these sites and selling them, so that answers the, “Why are you selling it,” question. Moving along from that and looking at this business over the last year, you notice that, in the springtime, the business was making about $10,000 every single month in profit. That’s a big number on an Amazon Associates site, passive income, and then it’s been down a little bit in the summer. Above $7,000, which is still a lot, and then there’s also a dip in October. What has contributed to this not just being a flat $10,000 every month?

Josh:                      That’s a great question. This is probably one of the most important things to address about this, probably one of the things that buyers are wondering, so two separate things. What happened in October was that this site, along with a lot of other Amazon Affiliate sites, or even just small affiliate-style websites in general, got a manual penalty from Google. It was a … What do they call it? Unnatural inbound link penalty, and we were able to recover it quite quickly. Going forward, I’m sure that this is going to be on people’s minds buying it, and totally should be, but this is something that can be recovered from quite quickly.

                                I’m happy to give somebody more details on how the recovery works. Pretty much, it works for any site. It’s a pretty simple process of going through and disavowing links and stuff. At the time actually, I think part of why this site got a penalty is we were getting a lot of negative SEO to the site. I’m not seeing this so much anymore, but for awhile there last year, I think probably one of the competitors, just wanting to outrank us, was sending a lot of spammy links.

                                They would send a lot of links from cheapy places and directories and comments, these kinds of links that you can just generate. You can pay somebody on Fiver to generate, and they were all saying, they all had exact match anchor text. Basically what we did was we just disavowed all of those. I have somebody who I’m happy to connect anybody with who’s listening to this. He’s great, and he did it for … It’s $150 or something, and he was able to just disavow all of those. And then within a few weeks, we recovered and we haven’t had any issues since.

                                I don’t expect that to be an issue going forward at all. I’m not actually seeing, I’m not seeing loads of these new spammy links coming in. If you’re geeking out about that, and you look and you see all these spammy links from spammy sources, that’s what we’re looking at. I’m happy to share. We can talk through about what are the links that have been disavowed, but you can also know that we have a big list of spammy links that have been disavowed that Google’s now ignoring. And you can see overall, I think the most important thing is you can see that Google’s cool with it.

                                The months after that, this spring was the best earning months ever for this site, so Google is on board with disavowing those links and treating the site like it was treating it before, where they’re really happy with this site. We will see a pretty big dip in earnings in October there, and actually that affected, I think that affected the end of September last year as well, and October and maybe even a little bit the beginning of November.

                                Essentially, the effect for you as a buyer is that, when we’re doing the valuation based on the last 12 months, you are going to get a little bit of a discount built in there from what you can expect the earn next October, based on the consistent earnings of these sites, because next October, the earnings should be consistent from previous months. That’s to address that, and then in terms of variations since the beginning of 2018, we had the best months ever at the beginning of 2018, and then it’s been down a little bit since then.

                                Some of that is a little bit of natural ranking variation. I think the traffic for the site [inaudible 00:10:22], and actually we’re doing this interview right now end of July, middle to end of July, and we’re seeing the traffic. The traffic’s going back up. You can take a look at the clicky analytics and the traffic’s going back up to where it was since September. The other thing that I think though is that there’s a slight seasonality to this site. I wouldn’t really consider this a particularly seasonal site in terms of, I have a few sites that are just winter equipment, or they’re just for summer, and it’s not like that at all.

                                It should be fairly consistent earnings, but if you take a look at Google Trends for this niche, you are seeing a little bit more traffic for buyer-related keywords in this niche around December through March. And then usually around June, July is the weakest months for these keywords, and then it, looking at Google Trends, these are picking up again typically end of summer an into fall. I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect that, it’s in the home improvement niche, and especially for this particular product, the springtime is the time that people are doing this type of project more often.

                                I think that that’s why you’re seeing a little bit more searches, but also especially more sales, a little bit more sales happening in the spring than in June, July. It’ll probably pick up again a little bit more in the fall. I think that the monthly average that’s on the listing right now is probably a fairly accurate representation. It’s probably a little bit discounted from the October stuff, but in terms of … you have the highest earning months in there and then you have some lower earning months. So, I think that that’s a good way to think about the business. Of course, it has room to grow, and I’m sure we can talk about that later. But, in terms of how it’s been doing and if you didn’t touch is, basically, how you could expect it to continue doing.

Jake Davis:          When you look at the business right now, so as you’re saying traffic’s picking back up, it’s July, things are going well, right now, what work is required on your end and your teams end to maintain the business as is and keep that upward trend going?

Josh:                      Yeah, for sure. Great question. So, once we get one of our sites ranking, we do very little with it to maintain it, and obviously, that’s a different conversation than continuing to grow it and make it into something even bigger, or higher earnings. But, in terms of it should maintain the current earnings, basically, the only maintenance we’re really doing for it is we’re gonna check … We have this on a quarterly schedule. We’re gonna check all the products that we’re linking to, and just make sure that they’re filling sold on Amazon, that they’re still the best products to link to, that there’s not some big competitor in the niche that’s become, obviously, a better choice or something.

                                And, I can’t really speak to … I don’t really know, actually, about this site, particularly, but I can tell you across all our sites, we probably replace one product once a year on average for most of our sites. So, if you think about this site, you want to spend an hour or two just make sure that the products, that the links are still good and the products still have good reviews and everything on Amazon. You want to do that quarterly, and then you want to have an extra … depending on how fast you write and stuff, or if you hire a writer to do it, it’s gonna be one little blurb of a review to replace that product if there’s a new product that’s coming that you’ve decided is better product to link to, or for some reason there’s an older model that’s discontinued. It’s very, very little work, and you know, I bet if you did not touch the site for a year, even if you didn’t do that, that process that I went through … I mean, people are still going to Amazon with that buyer intent. You probably, actually, wouldn’t really see much of a decline in earnings.

                                But, I just think I really like to keep the sites as relevant as possible, up to date as possible, and then make sure it stays as a really good resource for people so that it can get natural links, and that user engagement, and then eventually the people reading the site will, of course, then go actually buy the products directly from our … after reading out site, not feel like they need to go to any other sites, ’cause we have the good quality info on there. That’s really all that’s needed.

                                I mean, of course, what I would suggest if you’re this type of buyer, I think that there’s a lot of opportunities to add some content to the site, and also to continue doing more link building, outreach stuff, or if you’re more into the PBN side of things, there’s opportunity for that stuff. So, I think that there’s a lot more opportunity for this site, but if you wanted to just hold it in your portfolio, that’s the minimum amount of maintenance I think that it needs.

Jake Davis:          Can you explain what a PBN is for someone who’s listening and heard you mention that and it’s just like what the heck is he talking about?

Josh:                      Yeah, so, and this is important ’cause this site has links from out PBN’s. So, PBN stands for private blog network, and I’ll go really basic here. So, most of the traffic, the vast majority of the traffic is coming from people and Google is ranking our site for number one, number two, number three for these key words because we have a bunch of links going to the site from other authoritative websites, and for this site we have a lot of links from guest host, natural outreach we’ve done, and then we also have links … which, those are links in the way you might expect people to get links. We’re emailing blog owners, and saying, “Hey can we write this guest post for you?”

                                We also own a network of sites. This is our private blog network. We own a network of blogs that we’ve bought them from previous owners, or after people were done using them for whatever, their personal blog. We’ve bought them and we’ve repurposed them so that we can link to our sire, or our sites, for that added, for more links and for that added authority. So, these are all owned and controlled by us. This isn’t something that Google wants you to do. This is considered more in the gray half, black half realm. This isn’t something Google wants you to do because it is all being controlled by us, rather than being a totally natural around the web thing.

                                But, it’s also very … in terms of the various types of link building that can be done, we stay on the pretty far conservative side of people who are willing to bend the rules a little bit. We are not doing any big expanding or blog commenting or anything like that. We’re staying know on-

Jake Davis:          You try to not go too dark. Right? You don’t want to go too black hat. You don’t want to get super risky. Right?

Josh:                      Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Thanks. Thanks for setting me back onto that train of thought. Yeah. We’re quite conservative, and for somebody who maybe has heard some stuff about PBNs, there’s really a very wide range of what kind of links people call PBN links and one of the big distinctions that I like to make is that a lot of people just throw the term PBN around for links that they’ve purchased on somebody else’s network of sites, and I consider that more like a public blog network, in a way. I mean, there are people doing it in ways that are fairly safe, so as long as enough people doing it in the ways that I see as a lot more risky. But, the least risky way to do it, really, is to keep it totally private.

                                So, you’re not advertising anywhere, he we sell links, anything like that. That’s the way that all the links that are from a PBN that are going to this website are coming from this totally private network of sites. So, and, I mean, I don’t think it makes sense to go into crazy amounts of detail, but we do a lot of stuff to keep our PBN super secure. We do testing. We have completely unique articles and designs on all of it. We have everything on different shared hosting accounts and stuff, and if you don’t really know what I’m talking about, feel free to just … I mean, we do a lot to make it super duper secure. It’s probably some of the most secure PBN practices that people are doing around the web, and if you do know what I’m talking about then maybe that’s a little bit more information on what our specific practices are that make it so secure.

Jake Davis:          Then, when looking at the future, if the new owner for the site wanted to continue having those links from the PBN, what’s gonna be the protocol there?

Josh:                      Yeah, so we keep that really simple. So, there’s built into the price right now is a PBN link fee. So, I forget what it is exactly. But, there’s a monthly fee that you pay just to keep those links live. It’s just covers the maintenance and stuff. Of course, if you at some point decided you want to transition off of using PBN links, that’s an option. Then you wouldn’t be paying out a fee. I don’t really recommend it, and I’m not saying this from the point of view of selling these links or anything like that. It’s fine with me whatever you want to do with that. But, I recommend just keeping as many links as possible going to the site. But if you know what you’re doing, and you want to experiment with something like that, of course, totally food to do that.

                                But, if you want to just keep it simple, you pay the fee that’s already built into the pricing and those link stay alive indefinitely in the future, and this is an arrangement we’ve done with pretty much all of our past site we’ve sold in Empire. It’s pretty standard. It’s pretty safe and stuff.

Jake Davis:          Hey listeners, do you want to find a business that is just right for you? Head on over to Empire Flippers and have a look at our marketplace where you can see real businesses making real money just like the one we’re looking at today. In fact, don’t miss out. Head over now. Share your email address and we’ll send you hot, fresh new listings of successful business every week to your inbox. Now, back to the interview.

                                And, you touched on this earlier, Josh, when you mentioned that if you were a buyer, you would try to do all these things to try to grow, oh we’ll touch on that later. So, now it’s later. What do you feel are all of the major opportunities for growth that you would recommend a new owner try to do?

Josh:                      Yeah. So, there’s a lot of directions that I can go with this. But, I think that the simplest thing that I would do is more link building to the sire, because in general, just overall, the more you build links, the more Google will decide to rank your site. Even just one or two notches high, or one or two rankings higher for all kinds of different long tailed different types of keywords like that. So, just building more links to the site is always a good idea. But, probably even the number one way that I see an opportunity for growth here is to really do a big content expansion, and target a lot of the smaller key words that are related to this niche.

                                So, right now, on this site, we’ve really only targeted the top three or four keywords, or topics related to the niche. It’s a little hard to talk about it without using any of the details but if you can imagine, we have the [inaudible 00:22:30] related to the niche, and then we have to subcategories within there, and those are the top keywords in the niche. But, there’s a lot of other keywords. What’s the best version of this product for this specific type of use? I’ve actually seen people do this, and I’ve been doing this a bit with smaller sites that I’ve been buying and I’ve seen a lot of people do this even with sites, even people who I’ve sold sites to in the past, they’ve done that, and I’ve seen them increase their rankings, increase the traffic quite a bit within a few months really by doing that kind of horizontal expansion on the site. Just getting a lot more content related to the site.

                                Because the thing is, Google loves this site for this niche. I mean, that’s clear from how they’re ranking it, and how it’s been ranking since around the beginning of 2017. It’s been ranking really strongly for a long time now. So, Google really trusts this site for these topics. So, anything that you can add related to these topics are gonna rank fairly easily, and there’s actually some evidence already. In the spring we did a little bit of this kind of expansion, although we weren’t really focused on money keywords, and keywords that would convert to pull into Amazon customers so much as just adding a little bit more trust, a little bit more types of articles to this site, and some of those articles, they’re getting traffic regularly. It’s a lot less than our main keywords, ’cause we haven’t really done much in the way of link building or even targeting them at all to optimize them.

                                But, even with those articles, we’re getting some natural traffic just because Google trusts this site. So, when you put a bunch more of these types or articles, and especially if you add a little bit of link building to them, you can easily get a lot more rank for a lot more keywords in this niche, or even in the very, very related niches, I think could have a lot of potential because this site already has a lot of authority with Google, a lot of trust in Google’s algorithm right now.

Jake Davis:          When you look at the site, obviously the PBNs is a potential risk that, you know, we’ve already acknowledged. Do you feel like there are any other potential risks associated with this business that you would want a new owner to be aware of?

Josh:                      Well, I think that somebody should come in with open eyes about the risks of owning a site that’s super reliant on Google, and to some extent, I guess, on Amazon. You know this is probably somebody who’s ready to buy a site with this kind of level of site from Empire Flippers. They’re aware of the sorts of risks and rewards. But, I think it’s worth voicing that with an investment like this, you have … and I’m in this business so I’m right there with you, you have a lot of great stuff. It’s pretty great investment on paper in terms of the amount of money you’re putting up front and the potential return on that, and so especially with something like this, there’s no work involved. You don’t have to be releasing new articles all the time. You don’t have to be serving customers. It’s really, really hands off.

                                But, the other side of that is it’s very, very reliant on Google, and really on Amazon. So, they make changes, and that affects you. I mean, even just some of the traffic variation on this site, I mean and you get this on pretty much any site that’s very reliant on Google for traffic. So, some of the variation in earning some [inaudible 00:26:28] are coming from just small variations in the Google algorithm, and which keywords that rank me number one versus number two or number three. So, it’s a risk. It also can be a reward sometimes. Sometimes a bunch of my sites, all of a sudden, start doing better, and I’m like, “What did I do,” and I’m looking through like oh, maybe I did some change, and I talk to my team about it and we’re like, “Yeah, we didn’t do anything. Okay. Must be just that Google changed something.”

                                So, you can be on both sides of that. But, it is very, very reliant on Google. So, I think that that’s the thing you gotta be aware of in any of these types of sites is that kind of risk. Outside of that I don’t really think there’s any unexpected risks. I mean, this is … you know, one thing I would look at with this type of site is is it a trend thing. Is it based around one product that could go out of fashion next year, and that’s definitely not the case with this site. This type of product is definitely here to stay. So, I don’t think you have much in the way of unexpected risks.

Jake Davis:          You have built many, many sites, and have even sold them on Empire Flippers, and I can’t think of one, correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re always Amazon associate sites. So, what is it about this business model about this program that is more appealing to you than other programs that you could be a part of?

Josh:                      Yeah, well I have actually sold I think one or two Adsense sites and one site that was really different. It was in a different affiliate program, different type of niche. It was more of a self help site. But, I do like most of my sites, and especially where I’m focused now is really an Amazon affiliate category. There’s a lot to be said about the Amazon affiliate site. One thing I like, this is like … might not be a concern for a lot of people, but I don’t want to get into business on something that I have moral qualms about. I don’t need to be saving the world with my businesses here. But I don’t want to be promoting something that I actually think could be harmful or dangerous to somebody.

                                So, a lot of the affiliate programs that I see out there, or that I see people making a lot of money in, just don’t feel right to me. A lot of the supplement stuff, a lot of the weight loss stuff, that doesn’t feel good to me. So, the cool thing about Amazon is you can promote stuff that is actually really useful to people, that people want and you are really providing them a service by telling them what’s the best one for their needs. This is something, people do spend a lot of time trying to figure that out. So, if you can give them that information, you’re providing a useful service to them, and so I really like that aspect, that I feel like it’s actually a useful things. There’s not promoting anything that fells icky to me.

                                Then, there’s a lot to be said just about the Amazon affiliate program. They have pretty good commissions. They pay you for everything somebody buys within 24 hours of clicking to Amazon. So, the majority, I think maybe about 80%, … at one point a friend of mine was in this same space. Did a private analysis of a bunch of his sites, and I think mine are probably similar. Probably about 80% of the revenue comes from the product, from people buying the product that we are recommending, or another product in that niche. But then, about 20% of the revenue comes from stuff that’s totally unrelated, totally random, like some children’s toy, or some grocery thing. Amazon sells so much stuff. There’s even these bounties, somebody signs up for some home bounty program and Amazon will give us a commission for it. We didn’t even promote the home bounty program, or whatever, but we still get that bonus because they clicked from out site.

                                So, that’s really a cool thing about doing the Amazon affiliate program. Also, their conversion machine is great. We don’t have to convince people to trust Amazon, or to buy from Amazon. We just send people to Amazon and Amazon does the rest, and that’s really, really, easy. So, we just help people with which product to buy, and we send them on their way from our site. We don’t have to tell people why they should buy from Amazon or anything like that. So, it makes it really simple.

Jake Davis:          Josh, seeing as you’ve built so many sites, and you do it all the time, like you said, there are a lot of people who want to get started in the online business world. So, what would be your piece of advice to someone who wanted to go and build their own website?

Josh:                      Yeah. These days, that’s funny.

Jake Davis:          You say that like it’s a little too late to get into the game.

Josh:                      I mean, here’s the thing. It takes us … I was mentioning this before, but it takes us, usually, three … three would be a very fast turn around time, but as much as 12 months to really know if a site is gonna be successful, and usually we’re not earning … most of our sites, we’re not earning a whole lot from that site for the first 12 months, and it’s really an investment for a long time for those first 12 months. If you have the … either, if you have either the time or the money to put into it, you could build … we talked about this 40% failure rate. So, if you built 10 sites, you could expect, maybe, six of them to be successful, and then if you have either the time to do a lot of this manual outreach, write your own guest post, write your own content, or you have the money to invest in either going and buying PBN links or going and paying one of these services that will do guest posts for you, you could definitely go down that route and I think you would have success.

                                It’s interesting. Every year I run these same numbers, and it’s like the math still makes sense. It’s still quite profitable to build your own websites and sell them in that context even with that failure rate, even with the long wait time until the site is making money and really paying for itself. But, I just know when I got started, I didn’t have 12 months to wait and see if this project was gonna be successful, and I was lucky enough to get started with this particular type of site building when Google didn’t slow you down that much, when Google was willing to rank you in a month or two if you got a few links for a topic. It was just a lot easier to rank, and it was a lot faster to rank, I think.

                                So, for this type of site, yeah, that’s how you could do it. Honestly, if you don’t have the money … if you’re watching this interview, you’re not gonna buy a site. You’re not interested, or you just don’t have the money or whatever. Honestly what I would do is really start on more of the authority site type of thing, not going for these little sites that are just about a particular product and doing an individual product review on it, but more on trying to build a community, trying to get interest in traffic and stuff outside of Google first, and then over time optimizing for Google as well. I think that that’s the way I would start at this point, and I wouldn’t be aiming at a smaller affiliate site type of thing.

                                But, because I have this system in place, and I have the resources and the trust that when I build a new site in 12 months, it will be a percentage, and a high enough percentage of them will be worth enough money that it’s all worth it, then I’m willing to do it. If you have the trust, go for it. Do it. But, I’m not trying to scare off competition. There’s a lot of niches out there. I’m not worried about that. It’s just it might take quite awhile, unless of course … I mean, there’s people who are doing … I see people all the time. These people do this really spammy stuff. People have various little hacks and stuff to get something ranking a little bit faster. But, that stuff, you’re not gonna be able to sell that on Empire Flippers because that stuff just really isn’t sustainable. You not going to be earning for 18 months and then be able to sell it because if you go down the really spammy route, Google will probably be on your case fairly quickly on that one.

Jake Davis:          Would you commit to a non compete?

Josh:                      Yeah, of course. Of course. I mean, we have so many niches to go into. We’re not interested in trying to compete with another site that we built, or somebody we sold to. We’d much rather just go into a different … build more sites in a different niche. So, we’re always moving into new niches and not trying to overlap with a previous niche that we built a site in.

Jake Davis:          How much support are you willing to offer a new owner during the transition period?

Josh:                      Yeah. I’m happy to do a Skype call or two. Really, especially for bigger sale like this, but really for any of the sites that I sell, I really want it to be successful for the new buyer. It makes me happy. It also makes me look good. In a year or two when I want to turn around and say, “Oh, I’ve sold 20 sites, I’ve sold 30 sites on Empire Flippers,” I want to be pointing to a track record of the people who are buying my sites having success. So, I really want it to be super successful for you, so I’m happy to help you out however I can. I’m happy to jump on a call, jump on a Skype call and explain whatever.

                                There’s not really a lot of training. There’s not that much you really need to know to run the business. But, I’m happy to talk to you about just answer questions or talk to you about my processes, or just if you want to run any ideas by me feel free to. I’m also … most of the time when sell these sites, most of the time we end up just doing some email exchanges and I’m happy to do that too and then … I can’t offer completely unlimited support forever, but everybody has their own business to run, so usually peoples aren’t asking me questions all the time, or anything. So, an occasional email now and then is totally fine. I’m happy to support people through that. But, just to give people a few parameter, we could say 30 email supports, one hours Skype call and then if we need to do another one, I’m happy to throw that on if you want to do any of that stuff.

Jake Davis:          Are you willing to negotiate on something like an earn out?

Josh:                      Yeah. Definitely. I’m super open to a more interesting deal structure. I mean, obviously, if somebody came with cash up front, that’s the best way to get the deal done. But, I know for a bigger sale like this, not everybody has the cash up front, or maybe because of PBN or something, maybe people will want a few months of extra insurance based on that. I’m super open to that. I think the site is pretty strong on its own. As long as you know what you’re doing as a buyer, and you’re not gonna trash the site in some way, then I have enough trust in where this things going to be comfortable with an arrangement like that. So, happy to discuss that kind of thing with a buyer.

Jake Davis:          Josh, thank you. I do have another question for you. But, before I get to that, I want to go ahead and run through that quick summary of the business again. The business was built in December of 2015, has a monthly revenue of $8,581, expenses of $305 to make for a net profit of $8,276 which is generated on a 12 month average. Included in the sale of this business are the priority domain, and all site content and files, and social media accounts.

                                Josh, seeing as you’ve sold so many sites, can you objectively look at the site, why do you feel like it’s a business worth buying?

Josh:                      I’m gonna answer this in two ways. So, first of all, I think that these types of sites are pretty good investments right now, especially if you have ideas of continuing to work on growing it. To have an investment that could have this type of return and has so, so little maintenance going forward, especially compare it to drop shipping websites or something like that, this is so little maintenance. You can focus all your energy on growth, or even just have it as an investment and focus your energy elsewhere. So, that’s speaking to this type of site in general, and then what I think is really cool about this particular site is just how strong it is in Google, and how strong this niche is. So, you can see how strong this niche is just by the actual earnings, which I think, to me, indicates that if you continue to put up more content and get more visitors in this niche, you could really increase the earnings very dramatically because every visitor is going to be worth a lot more than compared to a lot of other niches.

                                And then, this particular site, it’s favored by Google. They like this site. Sometimes we’ve had … I don’t know if this is happening right now, but I think for some keywords I think it still is happening, but on and off we’ll have two different pages of this site ranking for the same keyword. Goggle doesn’t usually do that, but usually when they do do that, then they’re indicating that they really see this site as really one of the top authorities on this little sub niche and this keyword search. So, I think that you have a really big leverage opportunity basically for what you can do with this site.

Jake Davis:          And, aside from all the opportunities, aside from everything else we’ve said today, Josh has sold many sites with Empire Flippers, and I think that speaks to the quality of his sites, and like he said, he has great success rate. Buyers are buying his sites and being successful. So, that should instill some confidence in you if you’re looking at this as to I can buy this and I can be successful as well, because this guy, Josh, makes some quality sites.

                                Josh, thank you so much for taking the time to be on with me today.

Josh:                      Let me add to that, just really really quick, that at one point a year or two ago, I followed up with a few of the buyers of some of my sites, just to get some testimonials from them. I’m happy to share that with anybody if you make a deposit, feel free to ask for those, and yeah, people have grown their sites that they’ve bought. People are really happy with them, and then I followed up recently with a few different people and some of them had gone on to sell the sites again within 6 months or a year, they’d gone on to sell the sites again after growing them. I think one guy even doubled the revenue on the site and sold it again in six or 12 months, again, with Empire Flippers. So, it’s really cool for me to see those people being really successful with those sites that they bought.

Jake Davis:          Josh thank you so much for taking the time to be on with me today. This is what our 6th time talking in the last year? It’s always a pleasure to have you on here.

Josh:                      Yeah you too.

Jake Davis:          You’ve just learned how this business works, and I want to give you the opportunity to learn more about what you can do to buy real online businesses just like this one. If you want to find out more about businesses making real money head over to EmpireFlippers.com and sign up for our mailing list. There is an entire world of people quietly investing their money into online businesses and seeing great returns. Now, we want to help you do the same thing.


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Discussion
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  1. Richard says:

    Wow, really enjoyed this podcast!

  2. Richard says:

    Really enjoyed this podcast!

    I know this is a long shot, but is the site featured in this episode still listed?

    If not, is there a way I can get notified if Josh will be listing his next Amazon Associates sites in Empire Flippers’ marketplace? He seems like a great guy/seller!

    • Greg Elfrink says:

      Hey Richard!

      Glad you liked the podcast! Josh has sold a few websites with us over the years. I recommend getting in touch with us here to set up a call. Whenever a site like his (or his next one) goes live, you’ll have a contact to help you do due diligence with.

  3. Christina says:

    Great episode. It was crazy to hear Josh say 40% of sites don’t make it. What do you do with the sites that don’t seem to produce? Thanks!

    • Greg Elfrink says:

      Hey Christina!

      I’m glad you enjoyed Jake’s interview with Josh :-)

      It is true, A LOT of websites people build just never take off. Now, some of these failure to launch sites might still earn a bit of money ($20-100 per month etc), but not nearly as much as the other ones that just hit their groove.

      I’ve seen content site builders do a few things with sites that don’t end up working for them. Some buy an expired domain and transfer all the content over to the new site (often 301ing individual URL pages to the new site) in hopes that the expired domain will have the extra power needed to get the site going. Sometimes, they’ll just let the site sit there and let it age naturally – potentially returning to the project.

      Others though, they’re just chalked up as a failure and the site builder moves on to their next niche.

  4. Darion Robinson says:

    I am interested in the guy Josh mentioned that can disavow toxic links for $150.00, can that information be provided?

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