Yesterday, I discussed 3 killer ways to build your online empire. I said that the 3 ways work really well if you want to build a solid sideline (that could outright surpass your main source of income one day!). However, the 3 ways require a lot of work and time to succeed. If you want to set your empire on fire and join the major leagues faster, you can always use an accelerator. The most common accelerator I know is to buy a site and optimize it. Besides my Primerica reviews, if there is one thing people know me for is that I buy financial websites, particularly PF blogs.
My partner and I have decided to build our empire through both site creation and major acquisitions. So far, we have been pretty good at both of them:
The Financial Blogger gets over 40,000 visitors/month and was created from scratch in 2006.
The Dividend Guy Blog gets over 60,000 visitors/month and was bought in 2010 (with 25,000 visitors/month at that time).
When we buy a site, we are looking for well established, high volume and solid PR sites. This is why we end-up paying more than 24 months’ worth of income. But there have been a lot of people asking why we would put so much money into buying big blogs while we could buy smaller sites with lower metrics. In other words, why pay $30K for a site that makes $1K/month instead of buying 10 small sites for about $2K-5K and make them grow. So while there are 3 ways to build your empire, I’ve found that there are also 3 ways to use your money when considering websites: Cheap buys, Major acquisitions and Build it yourself. Today, I’ll review the “Cheap buys” business model.
You will often read something like “I only buy a site if I can get my money back within a year”. These sites are cheap buys with very high ROI. If a site generates roughly $100/month and has a small amount of visitors, chances are that you can buy it for 1K or even less. This is why a few quick links and sponsored posts later, you’ve made your money back within a few months.
Cheap buys often occur when you can find a small site with a relatively high page rank (3 or 4) from which you can suck up all its juice through selling private ads. These sites don’t have much to bring to the buyer besides a domain history, already written and indexed content along with a PR. So you basically buy them for Search Engine Optimisation. You can easily get your money back as long as there is enough “juice” on it.
I’d say that it’s a very quick way to make money and that you don’t risk much (1st because you don’t invest much money in it and 2nd because you should be able to recoup your investment within a few months through private advertising). Some people take over these blogs and hire cheap writers from Odesk, Elance or Fiverr. This will allow you to keep some interest from Google as you publish new content but let’s be honest; this won’t bring much added value to readers. I guess that over time, once the Google algorithm focuses on other metrics than being keyword rich (such as time spent on a site or number of pages viewed), these sites will see their rankings tank like a rock thrown from the Empire State Building (you guessed it, the end result won’t be pretty 😉 ).
Some others will take over semi-dead sites to revive them with original content. I think this is a great way to start a new blog if you want to get a kick-start with some SEO tactics already in place with an existing site. This is actually what we did when we first purchased Intelligent Speculator (IS). This was a relatively small site but with an existing history and indexed content. We paid about 3K for this site and it has been making about 1K/month for the pasr 3 years (not bad for a 3K investment, huh? 😀 ). However, in order to bring IS up to this level, we have my partner writing on it full time. No guest posts, no sponsored posts and not cheap hired writing. We simply benefit from an existing structure to start with a site with 3,000 – 4,000 visits per month instead of starting from scratch.
Even though we have done it in the past, I would not purchase a small site in the future. The first reason is because I don’t really endorse the first strategy (simply use the SEO juice from the site and make money out of it). This is like building small link farms for advertisers and will eventually be caught by Google or diminish in importance. It’s easy to replicate and many people are doing this. This is why I think it’s not a sustainable model for a long term vision. On the other hand, if you look at cheap buys as a place to make a quick buck entering in a trade on the stock market to make a quick profit, you might be able to make some decent money for a while with this technique.
I like the idea behind buying a semi-dead site and reviving it with higher quality content. This gives you a quick start as you don’t have to suffocate for a few months with less than 50 visitors a day on your site. This gives you a great opportunity to start ahead ofthe ccurve and get the money back faster on your investment. I would not do it again because I know that I can build a site from scratch and send decent traffic from my existing network on day 1. For example, I started to work on Canadian Dividend Stock in November. Here are my stats since then:
November: 1,718 visits (first mention on my network was November 9th)
December: 1,772 visits (but with 21% coming from search engines)
January: 3,370 visits (I did more promotion and launched a small eBook mentioning my site)
Last 31 days: 4,556 visits (now getting 50+ visitors/day from search engines)
So within 4 months, I was able to generate as much traffic as most semi-dead sites but I remain in control of the content and I know how the site is built. On the other hand, if I hadn’t had my own network, I would definitely consider the cheap buy avenue to start my online empire!
In the end, if you think of buying a small site to make a quick return on your investment, keep in mind that this is probably not a viable business model over the long haul. Still, buying a site for $500 and making 1K-2K with it to let it die is not too bad
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