EFP 108: Anatomy of a $200K Website

Justin Cooke

August 28, 2014

While everyone’s talking about which keyword research tool they should use and how big their PBN is, some guys have been out there building six-figures sites in less than 18 months.

We have one of those site builders on the show today who’s going to dish the details and his behind-the-scenes strategy for building a site worth more than $200K.

Introducing Seth and How He Sold a Site for $200k

Today, Seth and I talk about his background and what makes his website different from the usual authority affiliates online.

This episode provides great insight into how he runs his “deceivingly simple” business. If you’re interested in buying this business, check out his sale here.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

 Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Benefits of not “having a horse” in the race as an affiliate.
  • Creating content that’s helpful and authentic.
  • The website’s lifetime bounce rate of 11%.
  • Becoming authoritative in Google’s eyes without any SEO effort.
  • Creating recurring revenue with low traffic levels.
  • Justin’s offer to support the new buyer in growing this site.

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“A lot of times, people are too exposed to reviews that are one-sided and biased. People have a refined BS detector.” – Seth – Tweet This!

What do you think of Seth’s business and his approach towards building? Do you have any questions about his strategies or his sale? Leave a message on SpeakPipe or leave a comment below.

 

Justin:                   Welcome to the empire podcast episode 108. Well, everyone’s talking about which keyword research tool they should use and tell him how big their PBN is. Some guys had been out there building six figure sites in less than 18 months. We have one of those sellers and site builders on the show today is an addition to the details and is behind the scenes strategy for building a site worth more than $200,000 you’re not going to want to miss this show. You can find this episode@empireflippers.com/sales. All right, let’s do this.

Speaker 2:           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 the book you bought for 1795 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 bullshit. Straight from your host, Justin and Joe from empire flippers.

Justin:                   Joe, what are those are rock solid strategy for making more than $300,000 in 18 months? Would you take a stab at it?

Joe:                        Yeah, I think so.

Justin:                   What’d you or would you think I was full of Shit? What do you think? It sounds kind of scummy. It sounds a little scummy.

Joe:                        That sounds scary for sure.

Justin:                   Yeah. So lemme sell you a package on $2,000 on how to make a site for 300,000-

Joe:                        That was who my first question is, how old are you?

Justin:                   What are you charging me? Right. I think I would think it sounds like a scam, but the bigger question is like could you put your head down and really focused on it because it’s so easy to get distracted, right? So you’re building on a site and you get distracted by this shiny new object and that shiny object. Could you put your head down and really knock it out?

Joe:                        Well, I always say if everything went to hell tomorrow, that would be my strategy.

Justin:                   It is so low Joe. So low hot money building that the Joe show.

Joe:                        I would build a center.

Justin:                   There wouldn’t be a Joe show, there will be a podcast. You’d be behind the scenes just knocking it out.

Joe:                        That’s right.

Justin:                   So we’ve talked about this a little bit, like the shotgun approach to sites or the laser focus approach. And so we actually went with a shotgun approach and that was the way that we took today we’re going to be basically talking to a seller, talking to a site builder, took the opposite approach and really put his head down to a laser focus like approach to building out a very helpful, very industry resource or website for people to use. And it’s really paid off for him.

Joe:                        Cool. Cause Yeah, I definitely think that a few years ago the shotgun approach worked well and, and you can still do a shotgun approach to a limited degree these days, but not to the degree that we were doing it. You know, firing out a thousand sites a month. I don’t think that’s kind of working anymore.

Justin:                   We’re under a thousand PSI. That’s a little aggressive. It was like 300 at one point is not that many. But yeah, we were doing a lot. We had thousands of sites for sure. I think probably approach like that might work. I wouldn’t do that many. I built about som and probably expand the winners. I think that could work too. But I really like his approach here and it was really interesting. He really like gave some strategies I think you could to other industries to parallel industries. And so this is actually something we’ve been doing recently. We wanted to feature some of our larger features sites. Well you sign over $20,000 basically we’ve been doing interviews with sellers and buyers will love it. They, you know, get a chance to hear from the seller in his or her own words and like you know how they built the site, you know what they’re doing to grow it, maintain it.

                                You get to hear that they’re a real person and they’re normal people building sites that are profitable. And I just think it’s really interesting. This actually reminds me of an interview. We did an episode 34 of Pat Flynn. Do you remember that Joe? Where we asked for like a niche business idea and he said, here’s what I do, I’m going to read like here’s my approach. I would take a really high level content approach too. I think it was used cars, right? He was talking about at the time and I think he’s actually started doing that after the fact. After that conversation he started doing with food trucker event and that’s kind of what he’s doing with food trucks, but he talked about taking this like you know, HD video around the cars and showing them off and then selling them that way. I thought that was pretty interesting.

                                I actually think this is the approach that Seth use towards software. He did the same thing. He pulled out and you can’t dig a bit cyber we to pull, you pulled out the HD camera, you know, kick the tires a little bit, went around, showed you the inside of the car. It gives you a really detailed approach toward the software and knew it and was able to explain it and speak to it really well. Do a warning here though. This is not for the cash strapped. So if you are, if you need money next month to pay her rent, this approach isn’t going to work for you.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s the only bad part about this strategy, is that you definitely have to have some runway and probably some capital to pay for some of the software, some of the things you’re building, that kind of thing.

Justin:                   That’s true for a shotgun approach though too. You’re not going to pay it next month. I think a service business, you could probably get up, you’re running within a month. You could probably start making money by offering services, by hitting your connections. So, that would be the approach you have to take. But if you’ve got a bit of cash, and I’d say at least six months runway for this, probably more like 10 to 12 months runway where you’re not getting paid and you’re working your ass off. That’s the other thing. It’s not to take some time. So strategy is not like you just kind of sit back and make the money, let them watch the money roll in. It doesn’t be a significant time investment early on. It does get awfully passive later though. So you’re going to reap the benefits after the fact. And that’s why you’ve got to believe a little bit. I mean you’ve got to know that you pick the right niche, not second guess yourself and just really do the work. It’s time intensive.

Joe:                        But I could see the hobbyist doing it. You know, the guy that’s putting in 20 hours a week. So it was a full time job, but he split it 20 hours a week and it into building this.

Justin:                   You have to really be into it. I think.

Joe:                        Yes. It has to be the kind of information that he’s really into kind of content that he wants to create.

Justin:                   This isn’t fiber content. This isn’t even Textbroker content. It comes from the heart. I mean, that’s a silly thing to say, but like it has to be. You have to know it in and out. And I think if you take that approach with this, it’s you have a much higher likelihood of success. Again, nothing’s guaranteed, but I don’t know. It’s a pretty solid strategy. I dig it and honestly please that’s listening to this show. I want you to do this.

Joe:                        We’re begging you.

Justin:                   Please do it because here’s the thing. We have buyers that want to buy these sites. They’re tripping over themselves to buy these types of sites. So if you do follow the strategy, please give us a call at 18 months. Shoot me an email, let me know you’re ready to roll and let’s get you your $200,000 and a and call it a day. Anyway, before we get into this episode, we’ve got hot money’s featured website listing of the week. What you got buddy?

Joe:                        So it’s from our friend John, who owns a web design and hosting company called Hotline Web design. Very cool. It’s got 15 clients. It’s netting about $1,200 a month right now. It’s fairly on autopilot. I have to do some customer service to do some sales calls out of his leg, but nice recurring income from these 15 clients. And we have a years worth of history, all the breakdown of P and l expenses or revenue. I think it’s the perfect kind of site for the traveling entrepreneur who wants to keep his workload lightweight, but he’s technical or design focused in nature. He get absolutely jumped into this and pretty much have it in an autopilot. Yes. You’d have to put in 20 hours a week or something like that.[crosstalk 00:07:13] And he could still make a decent income combined with something else you could probably get along.

Justin:                   It’s funny you mentioned this is kind of the baseline business. A place like check my, like you could live on this income not amazingly well, but you can live, you can make a living on the site. So it’s interesting that you took that approach. I was actually thinking that this is much better for like a strategic buy. Someone that’s already sells hosting or they’re already familiar with the software. It’s actually a platform called business capitalists, but if your RV got hosting clients or you have products that you think you could offer these, that’s what you do design or you do some development. Some of these clients need redesigns and if you already do and doing some of that stuff, picking up this customer base is recurring customer base and adding on products and services and kind of like enveloping them with what you already have. I think a strategic buyer, it has a lot of opportunity here.

Joe:                        I love that but I’m not sure that it has enough of the market for the strategic buyer, so-

Justin:                   It’s not big enough.

Joe:                        Yes. The clients are not big enough.

Justin:                   Let’s say of a business. I have a design or development business, but you know I’m making five, six grand a month. It’s nice, but I could pick up these clients and you pick up an extra 1200 bucks a month and having an additional customer base to sell to 15 customers that potentially can pay me more money. I Dunno.

Joe:                        I see it. But I guess what I was thinking too was the price tag on this. I’d only $24,000 is quite reasonable. If you are-

Justin:                   It’s not crazy money.

Joe:                        It’s not crazy money. You’re this guy, you want to start traveling, but you want to have a consistent income coming in as well. You want to break off on your own with your design business, you have some money in the bank. I think this is the kind of perfect nature.

Justin:                   I will mention this, the downside of the site is hotline web design doesn’t drive much traffic at all, so there’s no lead funnel, so you’re not buying a business that’s in continue to stack new customers without your input. So I’d say that’s a downside with the business, but most of these customers has been there more than a year. They’re stable customer.

Joe:                        That’s definitely part of the issue. But you know, if you have any sales ability or any sort of funnel already, this would make the perfect condition.

Justin:                   All right, man. Let’s dig into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 2:           This is the empire flippers podcast.

Justin:                   All right, for everyone listening and I just want to thank you. We do this interviews to get potential buyers more information about both the seller, and the sites are looking to purchase. We have these are insightful and help you in making a buying decision. First off, I’d like to welcome Seth to the seller interview segment. Appreciate him coming on and telling us a little bit more about him and the site he asks for sale. So thanks Seth.

Seth:                     You’re welcome.

Justin:                   All right man. So let’s do a quick introduction. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and like building, buying and selling sites? Like have you always built profitable sites? Is that kind of your goal or do you do other stuff? Do you have a day job?

Seth:                     I’ve been on my own for 10 plus year around a marketing services business since 2004 and I sold that. So that’s the only selling I’ve ever done. I have routinely taken mediocre websites and made them profitable and metal living doing that. So that’s my background as to whether or not I’ve sold a website like this. I can’t say how this is the first situation of this kind that I’ve been through.

Justin:                   Do you normally buy sites and look to turn them around or do you build them from scratch and kind of build them up?

Seth:                     I’ve never really done either. I’ve just taken preexisting websites of clients and just improve them that way. So buying and selling is a new thing all together to me.

Justin:                   Okay. So you did sell a business at one point, but you’re definitely not the traditional flipper, someone looking at the sites and saw him off.

Seth:                     Not the traditional flipper at all.

Justin:                   Okay. So let’s talk a little bit about your site. We’re going to get into the details here in a bit, but right now it’s currently monetized. This is the affiliate site, by the way. It covers software you’d use for your business marketing software and automation. Tell me a little bit about the monetization. I know you use an affiliate program for two pieces of software specifically.

Seth:                     And that’s really all it is. It’s a partner program and affiliate program with eight software. That’s been all that is needed. Is that all that’s possible? Absolutely not. I could have definitely added several layers of affiliate programs, but they’re fantastic programs. One of them is one of my favorite programs that I’ve ever been involved in. So part of that is kind of hurts a little bit to sell that because they liked me and I liked them and it’s a good relationship, but great programs, solid programs from solid companies.

Justin:                   I should say. But you know, before we even get any further, we’re going to talk about niche selection at that, but I actually, I’m going to try really hard not to gush. I use your site a little over a year ago, our company was looking for a software options and I used your site as a to help us kind of determine which I thought would be better for our business. So it’s an informational site, but it is, I’d say at the higher end, the simplicities pretty straightforward though. It’s not like there’s a ton of content on the site either. It’s just very well laid out. And I think I struggled in that. A lot of the content that’s out there is from people that are just affiliates and they don’t actually use the software. So you’ll log in and you’ll see like empty information, but there’s nothing actually filled out. Whereas you obviously have a feel for both and I think that’s what made it special, I think.

Seth:                     Yup. A lot of times, especially in affiliate marketing, being involved with that world for a long time, people are too exposed to reviews that are one sided based. And people have a BS indicator sector that’s a little more refined than most marketers realize. So in my marketing services, I was involved with both stuff in the middle. I used them in my own business as well. I knew the strengths and the weaknesses and I got asked all the time about the differences between the two and it was so annoying to me that I said, all right, there’s obviously a need here that’s not being filled online anywhere. So I’m going to buckle down and write the best content on planet earth for people that are trying to make that decision.

                                At the time I knew the markets, this was a year ago, I knew the market pretty well. There’s not a ton of people searching for a comparison between the two, but the people that are comparing the two are the best buyers. So that’s another positioning thing that it was a whole that I saw and it was a great, it turned out to be pretty awesome as far exceeded my intention.

Justin:                   Yeah, I bet. I mean because the site is relatively straight forward. To me it’s, it’s deceivingly simple. I would put it. You know what this brings up is for anyone listening that is a builder. I mean they’re probably ideas wearing through their head right now on different pieces of software, popular piece of software or even expensive piece of software that they could do these comparisons for as well. So I think what’s cool about us, I think the model actually works and not just in this niche. It works.

Seth:                     It’s a brilliant model. And there’s people that are ripping us off and all kinds of different niches and I’ve had several well known people take that very same model and apply it to health supplements too. Just the weirdest niches that are happening to be popular in the affiliate world.

Justin:                   This can be crazy or you can do this like cat furniture works.

Seth:                     It works awesome. It works awesome and the reason it works awesome is because if you come across as an authoritative source of real information and not trying to pitch something or not to suede somebody’s beliefs to buy one or the other, but giving them real information to make a decision as if you don’t care what they choose.

Justin:                   I think your approach that you mentioned, there are several times, I’ll get paid if you buy either, whatever. I don’t have a horse in the race, but here are the benefits, the advantages and disadvantages to both, which I think is helpful. Why did you just stick to the two and not target other competitors? I know there are other competitors out there and there are more. I think starting up as they see the success of these other companies.

Seth:                     I’ve had five different competitors and the owners of the company approached me and I have Compton accounts to all these other softwares as well because they want me to do similar reviews. But I told them that I’m going to do this review and I’m going to be brutally honest. And that freaked out of two of them. But to be honest it’s a lot of work to set these up and I’m lazy.

Justin:                   I see. Cause this I’d say that this is kind of like, you know, small to midsize business software and I think my guess is to at the higher end-

Seth:                     There are some prizes, there’s several enterprise level.

Justin:                   I’m sure there are a ton of that are already out there. Maybe not as clear as yours, but they already have … I mean that’s high-

Seth:                     The good thing about this situation cause there’s a lot still on the table that I haven’t tapped into because this isn’t my main business. This is really nice cashflow that I don’t have to do hardly anything for. So I haven’t milked it at all. I haven’t really turned it into a viable business and there are so many things that can be done with a website and it has, the content is authoritative. The bounce rate on the website over the life of the entire web, the existence of the website is like 11%.

Justin:                   yeah, he looks great.

Seth:                     You go find an affiliate website that has that bounce rate. You’ve never heard of one.

Justin:                   I was thinking about this just in the time we’ve been talking. I mean just another example of something you do this with would be like, optimize press versus premise or lead pages versus, I mean like in a-

Seth:                     Whoever versus get risk. Here’s the other thing. If you target a search term that has versus an it guaranteed, you’re going to shoot right to the top of the certain is what I was doing in the SEO.

Justin:                   Yeah. I noticed that you’re ranked for the individuals are just not just this versus that.

Seth:                     But that then happen and tell Google liked my website because of the versus keywords. So what’s interesting about this is that website it got hold and Google because of the x versus y search term, there’s no competition. And so it shot to the top of the search engines after doing zero SEO. To this day I have not built one single link.

Justin:                   Yeah, that’s pretty interesting. I mean I think, I’m pretty sure that we’ve linked, right, cause you know like you’re going to get real links when it’s really useful.

Seth:                     It’s got hundreds of links to it. But I haven’t done anything. I didn’t know SEO. The content is that good. It’s evergreen content that’s not going away. I have not done any SEO, which means there’s no risk of it getting banned by Google and it’s a really white hat clean website.

Justin:                   I get this question Seth from people sometimes and it just goes to show that weren’t an interesting marketplace, but this is, some people were like, you know, you should absolutely sell and cash out and other people are like, why the hell would this guy be selling the site when it’s doing well? So like what is your reason for selling right now?

Seth:                     There’s a few reasons. One is that this is not going to be my main business. If the right person comes along, they can turn this into a seven figure business. No question in my mind, there is enough demand with little enough supply in that marketplace to create a seven figure business off of the traffic that that website is currently getting because that website gets probably the best monetize bubble business marketing traffic that you can find. It’s people that want to automate and systematize their business. Almost all of them are entrepreneurs. Almost all of them are solopreneurs. A lot of them are high level managers and it’s fantastic traffic and there’s a huge opportunity for the right person to take that traffic and turn it into real longterm, solid business.

Justin:                   Seth, I have a friend that started a business and maybe less than a year ago and he’s broken 20,000 a month in recurring revenue around this business, in the same industry, same niche-

Seth:                     And he’d probably struggles to get traffic and he’s still doing that well.

Justin:                   Yes. He’s pretty good. Sales guys are just going to reaching out and finding his customers. But there are other people in the space and you know this that are six figure a month offering done for you services and stuff around this. So it’s definitely, definitely a profitable niche. What are you doing with the cash when you sell? What are you going to do with your influx?

Seth:                     We gonna buy a house at the first of the year anyways, so it’d be nice to have a bigger down payment. So I mean that’s it’s good timing for that as well.

Justin:                   I love these many exits. It’s not okay. You’re not getting crazy money. You’re not going to be able to walk and retire.

Seth:                     Not retirement money at all.

Justin:                   It’s a nice influx. It’s the set yourself on a new life path kind of money and or move yourself up to the next level kind of money. I think that’s pretty exciting. That’s one of the things I love about, aside from making money and doing our thing. I love that for sure.

Seth:                     And on top of that, I don’t put some cash and then a new thing I’m working on. So that’s not a bad deal either.

Justin:                   What’s new thing you’re working on, man? Can you share that? Are you in stealth mode? What’s going on it?

Seth:                     I love to speak and to share a message. I believe it was powerful and in the personal development world, so focusing on that 100% so another an additional reason on top of that is I’m not necessarily burning my ships, but shifting everything and focusing on one thing that I really cared about.

Justin:                   I totally respect that we’re doing something similar now, dropping projects right and left ourselves to focus on our marketplace, focus on helping others binds all sides. I think it’s powerful, right?

Seth:                     Totally is. And that’s one of the big movement. It happens.

Justin:                   So let’s talk about on this site was built February 2013 so it’s not actually that old what was the trajectory of like when it started off? Like was it just a hit right away or did it take some time to build up?

Seth:                     Again, I didn’t know SEO, I didn’t know traffic generation of all. So I created the content. I did one link on Twitter, one link on Facebook and then let us sit. I got my first commission in March. I believe I was sent 3000 bucks. I was like, oh wow. I didn’t expect that at all. I wrote the content more to solve a problem because I care about people. Then I did to even make money with it and that’s part of the reason why the content is so good because it’s entertaining, it’s informed, but it’s very thorough and it solves a problem and people resonated with it very quickly. So about April, May, the traffic kicked up to be about 90 to 110 visitors a day and it’s stayed there for 10 11, 12 months straight.

Justin:                   What have you tried with this site that just didn’t work? Was there anything you could on their list in terms of monetization of content?

Seth:                     Yes. It was April of this year. April of this year, I got some footage from one of the software companies have of an internal demo that a sales guy did that I thought was really good and well sometimes when some people go to a software company, they have to put in all their information. You’ll give it away that their children’s social security numbers just to see the demo and since that annoyed me so much, I thought people would appreciate the fact that I gave him a demo straight up without having to put in any formation in. But that bombed like you would not believe that. The click throughs to the software companies went from whatever they were to about 10% of what they were because it was solving their curiosity too much. It gave away too much information and as an affiliate you can’t forget that your core function is to get clicks. That’s it. You want people to click to the website, otherwise you’re not going to get paid and what I didn’t realize is that actually gave them so much information that they didn’t click anymore and that it bombed.

Justin:                   It’s funny when you have a winner, and you do a piece to it and you’re like, oh, this is me. Great people who are going to love this. Right. And then it’s just-

Seth:                     yeah, it was kind of weird timing because at that site had a lot of momentum at that point. So I figured what, how can I ride this? And then I did that and then I lost a little bit of that momentum.

Justin:                   You’re like, that’s not good. I’m taking that task.

Seth:                     Not good at all.

Justin:                   So where are you talking about the fact that you didn’t build any back links society? They came naturally. What piece of the site or what have you done to it that just was a winner that you’re like, wow, this is where I need to go. Obviously this versus that comparison I think is fantastic. But what specifically on the site?

Seth:                     A lot of people have the question, will this work for my business. And they don’t have a context for using the software for their industry. So one thing that worked awesome for me is I took all the case studies I could find and I linked to him using an affiliate link for about 20 different industries, from lawyers, attorneys to retail to service businesses, agencies, that type of thing. And that gets the most clicks out of anything on the website.

Justin:                   That’s interesting. So showing them like I gather and I’m going to work for a law office or a manager logs and I’m seeing, there’s a case study for another law of is that uses piece of software. I’m going to want to go through that because it relates to me like more personal to me and my business.

Seth:                     Exactly.

Justin:                   Got It. Let’s talk about traffic a little bit now if I’m correct, I think the majority of this traffic is organic. Is that right?

Seth:                     Right now it’s probably 90% organic.

Justin:                   Okay. Do you have links but you don’t get much track from that and that’s just from other people linking to it as a source. Now the earnings type, is it mostly one time affiliate payments? Is it recurring? How does that one work?

Seth:                     One program is recurring. The other is one time.

Justin:                   And I see that over the last year it’s made a little over $10,000 in net profit per month for the, on average for the last 12 months. Has that been relatively stable? What’s the trajectory there?

Seth:                     It’s been pretty stable. The awesome thing about this is that you’d say, well visitors a month or a day isn’t very much, but that sites earning $4 per click, $4 per visitor over to the life of the entire website. That’s insane.

Justin:                   Which yeah. It is absolutely insane. We had someone to ask about that. A potential buyer was this is ridiculous. I mean it’s so far outside of the norm.

Seth:                     It’s not even close to the norm.

Justin:                   That’s outside your norm too, right? I mean you’re not building sites of $4 per visitor.

Seth:                     No. And I’ve never even told one of my good friends Keith Baxter, I don’t know if anybody knows him, but I told him what the site was making and he just about craft and brick cause he’s never heard of an affiliate website will not much cash out of that few visitors.

Justin:                   It is ridiculous. But I think some of that comes from that recurring. How much of the revenue or earnings are recurring and how much is one time at this point?

Seth:                     About I’d say 15% is the recurring. The rest of the one time. So it was mostly the one time.

Justin:                   Okay. And do you have a special deal as an affiliate and will that be transferable to the new buyers?

Seth:                     There is no special deal.

Justin:                   Okay.

Seth:                     This is what it is and everybody gets the same situation there. If it was possible to get a special deal, I would’ve gotten one.

Justin:                   And we talked about this before the show or via email or whatever we’re talking about, you know, the rock star status for one of the companies and they’re big fans of what you’ve done. Let’s talk a bit about the opportunities here. We have different risk profiles for buyers. Some come in and they want something very stable. They want slow growth. They don’t want to, they don’t want to risk much, so they don’t want to change things around too much. If I was that person and I was going to be buying this site, I wanted like a really non risky path to growth. What would you advise me in terms of what to focus on? Added content or slight changes? What would you tell me?

Seth:                     The non risky route would be to create new content that profiles other software companies. You’ve got to keep in mind that the software companies that I’ve profiled or actually not even the biggest one, there are some of the Haemus out there that are way more traffic available. I just barely put together a review for one of the bigger softwares and that’s already on page one. But there’s a lot more to do there. The other thing that can be done is the social media traffic is very, very safe. I haven’t done a lot with that at all. There’s a few pages on there that don’t even have like buttons on it, so there’s a social element here that really hasn’t been tapped. If you coupled that with simple retargeting, you can’t use perfect audience because it’s affiliate site, but you could use something like ad role or use Facebook’s own. Google’s a retargeting platform.

Justin:                   I love the idea. I that’s interesting point is perfect guidance. We use perfect audience for empire flippers and had some success there but there are other ways to re target. I like what you’re saying with a social because you can target some of the other major companies that are out there, they’re people that liked their page and then use that to drive traffic to the site and look at those comparisons. I think that’s an interesting approach to an opportunity there. What would you do now let’s say that I’m a higher risk profile. I’m more open to risk cause I want, huge fat rewards. What would you tell me if I wanted to really take a stab at this and get it to, mid five figures a month over the next 12-18 months, What would my path look like?

Seth:                     If you did not layer on different monetization strategies like consulting, like I turned down probably two to five high level consulting gigs every month just because I don’t do consulting anymore. If you didn’t want to do something like that’s really low hanging fruit, you could sell a little like that for several hundred dollars to the right person or you can do the consulting yourself. But if you really wanted to scale things, I would be a little more up front and actually try and get the clicks on purpose. This is something I haven’t tried, but it would probably work. If you were to take the same amount of traffic and increase the amount of clicks you can make more money.

Justin:                   What do you mean by that? How would I get more clicks? What are you-

Seth:                     Cause right now I don’t tell anyone to click anywhere. There is no real call to action on the website except on one page of the website where I break down my personal custom recommendations pending on which brings into account there, the personality, the type of industry they’re in and that type of thing. I tell them which software is best for him. That’s the only place where I even say click here on the website. If you were a little more strategic about that and coupled that in addition to capturing leans more effectively, you can easily increase the revenue.

Justin:                   So I mean I looked at this site and over a year ago when I first found it, I was thinking of ways and that was actually thinking of before I talked to you at all, seeing about wow, I could recreate the side actually do something like this. Cause it’s really interesting to me-

Seth:                     And it’s not hard to rip off. Trust me people that are trying to do that and it’s not been successful. But I think that one thing that I’m not doing that I should do is capturing leads and email. I’m versus giving away something for free. Doing that traditional followup, which is really ironic because the soft that I renew is really marketing stuff. Yeah. And I’m not even really using it on that website. The website is literally just content with links.

Justin:                   Yeah. You got to eat your own dog food man. You’ve got to get some, get some email subscribers.

Seth:                     Five bucks Day. Again that’s going back to this isn’t, you know, this is not my thoroughbred in the race. It’s not my main business. So I haven’t spent the love and time and energy to do that. But again, if the right person did it would-

Justin:                   So, someone offers consulting service around this or they offer products and services around this. I see a quick path to significantly improving the rec hall. But it’s not just that though I think you can sell it to those service providers are set up agreements with those service providers that I think even if you’re not in that space cause you’d have to know it right to be able to do that, but not to shut those agreements. You wouldn’t have to be a pro to set those agreements and I think that’s a pretty quick way for someone who doesn’t work and day out to make some extra money.

Seth:                     On top of that, there’s other software companies that are complimentary that are not necessarily in the same industry. Yes, those would be easy to sell and they also offer the residual payments as well.

Justin:                   I mentioned lead pages, I think that would be a fit to-

Seth:                     Lead pages. Great fit. There’s an entire marketplace and the ecosystem of the software companies that you could send to. There’s also automation clinics and automation crew.com and there’s other places that have fantastic affiliate programs for high level consulting programs. So if you send somebody to do that, say automation clinic.com he’ll give you 500 bucks. That’s pretty cool. Not Bad.

Justin:                   So let’s talk about, we were talking about the opportunities, and I think there are a bunch, but let’s talk about the risks to … what do you think are the biggest risks for a potential buyer taking over the site?

Seth:                     My intention is when the buyer takes over the side. I mean, I need to sit down with them and make sure that they understand clearly the physician of the website and why it works so well and as long as they maintain those same principals, they’ll do fine. You almost can’t screw it up. What the risk is, if you step onto the side of too salesy and too much of an affiliate marketer, people are going to sniff it out and it’s going to lose its effectiveness.

Justin:                   Yeah. If you came across as being all marketing, it would have been interesting to me. It’s true.

Seth:                     Part of that why I said capturing leads is risky is because people are accustomed to popups and that type of thing. On affiliate websites and that’s a red flag sometimes. Again, I haven’t even tested that for this, but by virtue of capturing an email address with the type of visitors and type of traffic that this website gets, you could easily monetize that.

Justin:                   What did we do if one of the software, both of software programs end up changing their products significantly? I mean, some updates are going to need to be made, right?

Seth:                     You’d need to make some updates for sure. That’s not going to happen because the partner programs with these companies drive at gigantic amount of revenue for them. They would be chopping off their right leg and their arm and they’re left slit if they did that.

Justin:                   That was actually one of the other question I was gonna ask is, what if they just dropped the affiliate programs completely or significantly changed?

Seth:                     They have changed the feeling program and one of them has changed the once, but it was actually in to favor the partners. The other program hasn’t changed at all.

Justin:                   You know, it’s scarier. The affiliate programs, and I don’t know how to roll out with this, but when the companies themselves start to compete with their affiliates, that freaks me out, and I think for smaller companies there’s more risk there that they’re going to cannibalize. Their affiliates are something that these guys, they’re funded. They have quite a bit of revenue. I don’t know how profitable they are, but they have quite a bit of revenue. There’s a business-

Seth:                     Right. One of them has 23,000 customers. The other has about 11.

Justin:                   So they are a bit more established.

Seth:                     They’re very established, so they’re not in the startup phase at all. They’re in a growth phase and then a growth phase you cannot abandon your partners.

Justin:                   So let’s talk a little bit about the work required for these sites. So I know that you handle email support. I know that there’s order forms where people can ask questions and that type of thing. How much work are you doing on daily or weekly basis for the site?

Seth:                     This is where it gets really laughable Justin, because I do almost nothing. This is almost, I’ve been online since 2004 professionally and I have never ever come across something that takes so little effort to make money ever.

Justin:                   People were sitting like, comments and questions about the software and stuff and you answered those, right?

Seth:                     Yeah. It’s maybe 10 minutes a week. It’s absurd.

Justin:                   I’m shocked that you don’t get more detailed questions. I know that when I went through this, I kind of, I labored, labored over. I didn’t ask. I said, you didn’t ask people a lot of questions though, but I did do a hell of a lot of research on my own, so maybe that’s it. They’re really reach out on that much.

Seth:                     I get a lot of people that more often than not, I get emails of people gushing about saying, thank you so much for this content.

Justin:                   I think if I was a service guy for example, my offer products and services around this, I’d probably make the site a bit more to where they reach out. I think I would try to push that a bit more actually.

Seth:                     That’s true.

Justin:                   You don’t want that. They didn’t want to get the questions that consultant.

Seth:                     Yeah, and it’d be honest, this is kind of giving away a secret here, and this may help your people that listen to this on every page of that website is a contact form, which basically says, ask me any question about these softwares that you have at all about anything. And the number one reason why I did that is for positioning credibility.

Justin:                   I’m totally with you.

Seth:                     Because nobody does that. Nobody does it.

Justin:                   We have ecommerce, we’d be commerce friends. And what they do is they put the phone number at the like front and center or top of the website, make it very, very clear. And what they’ve told me and studies have shown apparently is that it’s not even that the people that are calling in or ordering so much or there’s so much more, there’s a bit of that. But what really happens is that the people that didn’t call weren’t calling before and they still don’t call. They’re more likely to buy because of the credibility.

Seth:                     Exactly.

Justin:                   That’s interesting.

Seth:                     Exactly. And that’s why I did it and that’s why I’m not necessarily pushing super hard for people to fill that out, but it’s there and they know that I’m there if they need me which is different than everyone else.

Justin:                   Let’s talk a little bit about those skills or requirements that are there for someone that’s looking to buy this side. I mean I don’t think you have to be an expert. You don’t have to be a pro either as a piece of software, but you do have to have a basic understanding, and you have to be willing to, I think especially starting out, kind of get your hands dirty and check it out. What would your recommendations be for someone that is looking to buy this?

Seth:                     Couple of things. One is you should read the content and know it pretty well and if you do that I will be able to have a conversation with you and fill in the blanks because again, back to the positioning, you have to position each software in a way that solves a problem for a particular industry. So I did that purpose for a few reasons. That may not make any sense unless you read the content. So if you read the content, I’m more than happy to sit down and lay it out and fill in the blanks. And once that happens it’s really, really super easy to answer questions.

Justin:                   Let’s talk about that a little bit. How much support are you willing to offer a buyer when they take the site over? What do you think would be required to kind of get them set up for success?

Seth:                     I’m happy to help. I said 30 days of email support, and I’ll spend a few hours with them coaching them on, on the software and the website and what should be done, what shouldn’t be done and that type of thing.

Justin:                   I’ll throw it. I’m willing to do a couple of calls on strategy for growing a site forward in terms of like monetization and things that I’d like to see happen as simply because I really dig it. So I like to set the buyer up its success because I think it’s really cool and it’s a helpful resource for me. And for others that are out there.

Seth:                     Cool.

Justin:                   So would you be willing to commit to a noncompete? I know that you’re moving in a new direction, so one thing our buyers get concerned about is they don’t want you to just, you know, set up a very similar site and now be their competition.

Seth:                     Sure. I have no issue doing that at all. I have no intentions of a building site in that industry.

Justin:                   Okay. Another question that we get sometimes from buyers is they want to know about earn outs are splits. Like would you be willing to do a 70% upfront, 30% on closing kind of deal? I mean, oh, like those training, that kind of thing. Are you open to that?

Seth:                     If it’s the right fish, or it’s the thing I would not do is x amount up front and then the rest over the next two, three years or whatever. That’s just that type of thing wouldn’t work necessarily because I think the demand is high enough for this type of website.

Justin:                   We don’t get a lot of requests for that. I think that happens generally in much larger acquisitions. They’ll do stock, and they’ll do earn outs, and they’ll keep you around for a period of time where you’re now an employee temporarily-

Seth:                     [inaudible 00:40:23] because I want to sell the website and make sure they’re set up for success and then I’m done. I’m doing my thing, focusing on my, the other things that I care about.

Justin:                   Is this a one man band? Do you have anyone helping you with this or no?

Seth:                     No. Not at all. I’m not paying anyone anything to get anything done on a website. It’s run with a simple word press setup. It’s just like a normal blog. It’s really, really simple. I will say that in the transition, I set it up so the transition is going to be really stupid simple. I cleaned out everything from that hosting account. I literally just pass the hosting account to the buyer so that the IP addresses not changed. Sometimes Google’s unpredictable. When somebody changes their IP address, they freak out and I don’t want that to happen because that would be lane.

Justin:                   If you go to some crappy shared hosting.

Seth:                     Right. And it’s right now it’s being hosted on WP engine, which is a solid hosting platform for word press. It’s a very fast side. It loads fast, so they get to keep that web hosting account and they just transfer the billing information and we’re done.

Justin:                   I think keeping on the same host it, well our first summer migration team will be really happy about that. That makes it really easy, but I think that’ll be better for the buyer. Let’s do a quick wrap up the site, it’s basically a SAS comparison affiliate site to making 10,100 a month net profit over the last 12 months is created in February 2013, is primarily organic traffic and it’s extremely hands off and you’re including some training for 30 days. You’re going to do a couple of calls and you’ll handle some emails, kind of get them up to speed and I’m willing to step in and do a couple of calls as well. What would be your best pitch to someone that’s looking to buy this and you wanted to close them out and seal the deal? What would you, what would you tell them?

Seth:                     This is the internet drink, this website, this embodies what people have been pitched for years about sitting on a beach somewhere and making money, not doing anything. It’s pretty awesome in that way with an opportunity to layer on top of this and a solid business. And I’ve had the very top guys in the ecosystem of these software companies beat down my door cause they, they’re scared of the website. They’re my competition per se in the marketplace. That positioning is perfect. It’s kind of situation that’s a little bit fairy tale where he could step in and get a website where there’s very, very little risk. There’s almost no work involved.

                                It’s a very simple to maintain and that is a rare thing in the internet world. And I’ve never seen it quite like that in all my years that I’ve done this. So it’s a fantastic opportunity for somebody that just wants to cash flow and doesn’t really care about building a business. It’s an even better opportunity for the person that does want the cash flow. Also can layer on business opportunities. So it works for both situations.

Justin:                   I would say that you got lucky with this one staff, except I think that it’s really good market fit, and it’s a repeatable model. So the fact that it’s very straightforward, you’re an affiliate for both. And you know both, I just think that’s really interesting. And so other people that are looking to recreate other sites in completely different industries could I think, get some value from this and be able to apply that to their … I’ve got my wheels, we’re not even building sites anymore, man. And I’m thinking to myself I want a couple of side projects now. I want us to … it’s boring.

Seth:                     I’ll tell you what Justin, part of it is luck cause you do websites like this and you never know really if something’s going to work like this. And so I cannot claim that my intention was to have a website that makes $120,000 a year just sitting around doing nothing. But the positioning, the marketing was extremely strategic and I put a lot of thought and effort into it and then there’s hard work and so the buyer, I’ll tell you, I’ll do something else. I will lay out exactly the plan that I had and the positioning that the website has stolen that they could it, if they want it to in any market and knock it out of the apartment.

Justin:                   Awesome stuff. Happy to do that. Just want to tell you man, I really appreciate your time. I’m sure the listeners appreciate your time as well. We’re going to have a link to the listing for this website for sale on youtube or anywhere else you might be listening to this and against that, thank you so much for your time.

Seth:                     You’re welcome Justin, and pleasure.

Speaker 2:           You were listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Dustin and Joe.

Justin:                   Move into some news and updates. First up will be in Las Vegas from October 22nd through to October 26th at a conference, and we’re also putting on another empire workshops. So if you are around, or you’re going to be in Vegas or you’d like to come see us, we will be there. We’re actually speaking at an event called the Rhodium weekend. It’s from our buddy’s, Chris Yates and Dave Gas. They’re putting on this event. There’s a bunch of attending actually, we’ve had a bunch of previous podcasts guests on, so Jordan will be there talking about personal branding. Chris Guthrie will be there. Ace Chatman, Justin Gilchrist over from flip filter. So we’re going to get to meet in person. All these people that we’ve had on his guests that we’ve talked to her on the phone. I think it’d be awesome.

Joe:                        Yeah, we get to fly business class too.

Justin:                   You’re flying first now we’re first Class international, thanks to our buddies over at abraders dude. See I told you, man, I told you that she wasn’t going to pay off. That’s boss. We’re going to have a good time. We’re going to be out in Vegas, so we’d love to see you. If you want to go make sure you’re on our email list in the next couple of weeks or something. We’re going to send out a link with a big fat discount. We’ve seen that the pay full price were to give you a deal.

Joe:                        Yeah. And I’m looking forward to some good old American gambling style. No more Macau Chinese stuff. I don’t know.

Justin:                   [inaudible 00:46:17] Vegas his boss though. So I’m sure we’ll have a blast plus meeting unless you will be fantastic. The other thing if you want to consult with us about buying and selling websites, we are opening it up and we were opening up the phone line. So in this episode actually we’re going to have a link. Do you want to set up a call with us and get on the phone and talk strategy in terms of buying or in terms of selling? Want to kind of just cover your bases. If you’re building a site, we’d love to talk to you.

Joe:                        Yeah, I know last week we put the link out there, said talk to Mike, beat him up. A couple of people took them up on it, but we’re really looking to make the outreach here tomorrow. We’re doing cold calls in the morning.

Justin:                   So Joe’s got Mike on this like crazy regimen. Like 7:00 AM shop. We’re going to start making some phone. These are people that said they wanted to buy side, so we’re going to be calling them up.

Joe:                        We’re going to get on the phone.

Justin:                   We’re going to do with the bullets is boiler room stuff old School.

Joe:                        I don’t know. We’ll see how it works. But even if you do want to just talk to us, even if it’s not, maybe about buying or selling, just a strategy call, something like that.

Justin:                   Sorry about the weather Philippines.

Joe:                        Waste my time.

Justin:                   Let’s just talk. You were just talking about something or whatever. It would be fun, man. That’d be good. I live where it’s like, but I guess more personal, but I’m moving in with a hot money.

Joe:                        Oh my God. My House, I’m moving in. We got light coming in, can we get you and your girlfriend coming? How many people can fit my house?

Justin:                   I don’t know. Joe’s where he’s like, dude, I don’t know. My house is gonna be clean. My maid is be overloaded and said, my maid will come twice. She’s got to spend some time at where their family, we’re leaving and everything.

Joe:                        My maid is freaking out already. She can’t figure out how to work the Washer and dryers and she’s like, get to get lessons.

Justin:                   I’d be fine. Maybe I’m going to, I spooned you on the couch and all about that. [crosstalk 00:48:06] it’d be fairly good times. We old school man, back in the day I call it will be called the roomies. All right man. Let’s move it in. The listener shouts, first off, we’ve got a tweet from senior tycoon who said, looking for a fun and pro podcast on online business and site building. I always enjoy empire flippers.com. Really appreciate it. He’s actually got an interesting side. I checked out that tweet is side, I think his senior tycoon.com we’ll link to in the show notes are basically he is showing seniors how to build online empires.

Joe:                        Cool.

Justin:                   Like explain it to them, like trying to like, you know, get them online, explain to them how it works. And I love that niche. I’m not the guy to speak to it, but if you can convince like you know the baby boomers that have built businesses before, they’ve got some cash and around and they want to get in on the online game. I think there’s a ton of opportunity there. I don’t know. Someone like, what’s the x? How do I x out of the page? Just freak me out. I think I can do it.

Joe:                        [inaudible 00:49:03] My tech support days. But old people love being, when do old people stop loving me because now I become-

Justin:                   well not they love you because you’re our old though. We’re getting old men. We got these young kids that are coming out here to the Philippines and does it make you feel a little older? You know, I look at you and I’m like, I see you. I knew you now 15 years ago and we’re buddies. The guy where kids, no dude, we’re not kids anymore. Sucks. Anyway, we’ll on Twitter said thanks to empire Flippers and Tropical MBA for always being so consistent with our podcast schedule. Start to my Thursday morning. Thanks you all for listening.

Joe:                        Yeah, I really appreciate that because I tell you this schedule it can be a grind.

Justin:                   We almost didn’t get out of this a week man. We were talking. We can flake out. No. We stuck to it. We’ve got James who’s a seller, vars the service I receive as quick and easy to understand for a first time seller. I look forward to selling more sites with empire flippers in the near future. Thanks you James for trusting us to sell your site. If I were able to knock it out of the park for you. We’ve got Carlos’s depositor. That Sabine has always been very helpful. Whenever I have questions on sites and also very patient, I continue to look at different listings and ask questions. Well thank you Carlos for trusting us with your deposit. First off and for giving our customer hero a shout. We’re featuring a couple of articles and things this week were featured on the art of charm podcast with Jordan harbinger and he’s interesting guy.

                                So first heard of that or whatever and I thought myself, I don’t know about this man. It’s, I used to like the PA, the pickup stuff and like how did you know sleeves your way in with girls. And I was like, I dunno about this. I actually listened to a show of his just to check out the show, and it was talking about MLMs and how sleazy they were and stuff. He’s not that guy, he’s not that creepy PUA dude. I really talks more about personal development I think. And he’s got some really interesting interviews. He’s a straight up radio guy. You can tell an exempt, the whole, you know, set up and everything and he’s like a pro. I think he’s actually been on the radio. So anyway, it’s a fun show. We’ll link to that in the show notes.

                                You can check it out. We’re also mentioned on WP curves blog. They actually Dan Norris had a guest post on there. They mentioned several brands that do the monthly income reports and Dan talked about kind of the value to their business and doing that. It was interesting before he put the post side, he started about it on Facebook a little bit and there were kind of like the old school guys, I think it was James Schramko who is like, I don’t know why you guys do that. And they made a fairly reasonable case you’re giving the path of the competition. Well, you can’t complain when you get so many copycats and you’re publishing your income. You can’t complain and people are copycatting. That’s a fair and valid point. But I think in the right industry you don’t fear the copycat so much. You know what I mean?

Joe:                        Yeah. I think also provides a nice history of success and failure. It sounds real when you talk about the numbers and when you have the numbers down and you have that history there. I mean I’m glad we’re continuing it. I think people that did it and abandoned in their income reports, I feel like it’s like one of my favorite shows that goes off the air kind of thing. You should continue it and stick to it no matter what happens.

Justin:                   I think we should continue to stick to as long as who are getting value out of it. And when people stop getting value out of it or it’s not valuable to us, I think that’s a time for it to go. Just like it’d be like I’m thinking about canceling. I’m not thinking about canceling, but you know what I mean? Like if it’s not providing value.

Joe:                        Why would it not provide value?

Justin:                   I don’t know. Cause you’re so frustrated with it that you just suck at it. You’re putting out crap. Like it’s just not insightful or helpful. I Dunno, I there could be a reason for it, but I think right now it’s still good. I really appreciate it. The other ones I read through them as well every month because if not, I like to learn from their failures. I like to see what they’re doing well and that’s also some competition stuff. Like, okay, I want to see if I can beat these guys. And sometimes we do this and as we don’t, but I think overall the value’s there for both the readers and the people writing the reports.

                                All right man, that’s it for 108 of the empire podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/seth. Make sure to follow us on Twitter at empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe:                        Bye everybody.

Speaker 2:           You were listening to the Empire Flippers podcast, with Justin Joe. Be sure to hit up empire flippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com. Thanks for listening.


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Discussion
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  1. Jay says:

    This is one of the best interviews on this podcast. As someone who creates software and enjoys checking out new software, this is right up my alley.

    That said, I still don’t know what software to review and how to get started with this type of website. It would be awesome if you could do a show on specific steps, with examples (yes, I understand you can’t mention the URL).

    Thanks for the podcast, it is very informative, enjoyable and entertaining

  2. Scott says:

    very cool stuff. When building “vs” type websites, would you even pay attention to monthly search? or just pick 2 great products (per page/article) and write an ultimate guide about them? I’m under the impression most the value comes from simply having a great guide and taking advantage of long tail search (even if your main KW only has 10 searches a month) Great show! One of my fav interviews!!

    • Glad you liked it Scott, I think Justin should do more of these interviews for the show and not just the listings.

      Monthly search is always something you want to look as you don’t want to be building a lot of content around something with no search volume. That said, I wouldn’t allow it to dictate your content either. Just use it as a guide. If products are “great” the search volume is probably there anyway.

      • Scott says:

        Thanks for getting back to me!!! Just a thought, but I’d love to hear the math behind these types of sites one of these days. I feel like this is something that is rarely spoken about in podcasts. For instance, the first time I even heard about the ideal search volume for eCommerce stores or LMS is when you guys interviewed the dudes from store coach. Keep up the good work!!

  3. OnSynergy says:

    “people have more refined BS detectors than most marketers realize”
    – man this is so true. I don’t know how many times I have been to sites
    thinking wow, do people really believe this s….. I love the idea of comparing
    products with no incentive to promote one over the other, allowing for more
    honest and no-bs content. Awesome show guys!

  4. Gunnar Bengtsson says:

    Guys,
    The Rhodium weekend sounds like a lot of fun. Would you be able to hook me up with a discounted ticket? I’d love to finally meet both of you in person. And hey, looks like we just had another successful sale!

    • Yep Gunnar, we will be emailing out a discount link soon. Stay tuned. Would love to finally meet you in person as well.

      Looking forward to another submission Gunnar! Our new site launch is right around the corner so I’m sure there will be increased eyeballs on your properties.

  5. I have never seen 11% bounce rate in my life. I thought 34-40% was great.

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