Based on the title of this article, you can clearly see what it’s about. I recently bought a niche website, aka blog, from someone for $7,000. In this article I’m going to talk about the process of finding the site, acquiring the site, the condition of the site when I bought it, earnings and traffic, and my plans for it going forward.
So let’s not waste anymore time here, and get straight into how I found and purchased this site.
Buying the site
Up until now, I’ve always started my sites from scratch on brand new domains. Well, except for one expired domain that I am experimenting with currently. That being said, this is the first niche site that I’ve purchased. So even though I’m a full-time blogger and web-developer by trade, much of this process was new to me. Just not the technical aspects, such as transferring the domain and website files.
How I found it
I kind of lucked out with this site. I’m somewhat active on Reddit and try to help fellow bloggers. At some point one of these colleagues messaged me asking me to look at their blog. They weren’t happy with the site’s performance, especially for the amount of effort they had put in.
So I said sure, send me a link. I spent 15 minutes or so looking over various aspects of the site. I noticed a lot of potential, but I also noticed a lot of mistakes. Some mistakes that could easily be corrected.
I told him what I thought, gave him some tips, and also told him to let me know if he ever wanted to sell the site. He thanked me for my time and we parted ways. Then about 3-4 months later (maybe?) he messaged me on Reddit and said he’d had a change of heart…. he wanted to sell now.
I honestly wasn’t even considering buying a site at that time. I went back and looked at the site again and started seeing all the previous potential and opportunities that I did a few months before. It would require a lot of work, a whole lot, but I think it was a really good opportunity.
So I started to get a feel for how much it was earning and the monetization in general. The site had made an average $213/month for the last 6 months. At a 30x monthly multiple that would have only been $6390. I asked him how much he was looking to get for the site and he came back with $7200-$7400. That would have been more like a 34x-35x multiple. A bit on the higher end, but not unreasonable.
After I had done some more due diligence, I decided to offer him $6500 because I liked the site and wanted to close the deal fast. Certainly a respectable offer. We ended up meeting at $7k even, about a 33x multiple. We both felt like that was a fair deal, but there was one problem…
He was already in the process of getting a site valuation from Motion Invest. So he was exploring his options, as he should have been. However I knew that a cash deal from a direct buyer was probably going to be the best way for him to go, so I wasn’t too worried.
He messaged me a day or two later and said he was ready to move forward at the agreed upon price of $7k.
We were initially going to use escrow.com. Even though it wasn’t a life changing amount of money, it was significant enough that we should probably be safe. So we both signed up for the platform and initiated the transaction.
For some reason though, I was unable to fund the transaction on my end. I’m not sure what was going on and I never was able to figure it out. So we ended up using the honor system and doing the transaction through PayPal.
He transferred me the files and sent me the authorization code for the domain, then I sent the payment through PayPal. It was a bit risky for both of us, but we both felt pretty comfortable in this instance.
The domain transfer took about 6 days to finalize, and for me to officially be able to edit the domain name records. However, during these 6 days I had restored the backup files on a staging server and was getting a lot of work done. So that once the domain was mine, I could flip a switch and everything would be ready to go.
Current site condition
In this section I’m gonna go into a little bit more detail about the condition of the site when I purchased it.
Niche and domain
I personally like the niche, and it’s part of the reason I was interested in the site to begin with. The domain is pretty brandable and has the top seed keyword in it, it works. So I don’t have any complaints or changes to make here.
The structure of the site was really bad, pretty much every aspect of it. Visually, the site was a mess. Categorically, the site was a mess. Luckily for me, this was a pretty easy fix. I just changed themes, made my usual tweaks to GeneratePress, and the site was already in 100% better shape.
Then I had to fix the categories. There were only 3. While all content did fit into them, they were too broad and made it difficult to browse to any particular type of content on the site. So I fixed that in a way that I think is going to work nicely.
This is where the bulk of the time is going to be spent. The content is not bad, don’t get me wrong. The grammar, spelling, and tone of the articles is mostly fine. The formatting isn’t great, and will have to be fixed across the board. This will take some time.
I think where he really messed up though is the fact that he went too niche for these topics. To put it another way he was very un-ambitious in choosing his topics. He’s ranking in the top 3 for 227 out of 300 articles. That’s not really normal, and tells you that he went for stuff that was too obscure and with no competition.
You might think this sounds like a good plan, unless you realized that there’s a reason there was no competition. That reason being that there was barely any search volume. That’s ok though because I’ve got some ideas.
In all honesty, the site was very poorly monetized. The EPMV on Ezoic when I got the site was only about $9, which leads me to believe that something was wrong. Possibly not enough ad placeholders? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out soon. I’m guessing though that I can get that EPMV up to more like $15 fairly easily.
The only other monetization on the site was Amazon, and the links are sporadic and unfocused. Many of the products are out of stock, the hyperlink text was atrocious, and the whole affiliate side of things for this site can use a serious overhaul. The majority of articles I’ve come across that have had prime opportunities for affiliate recommendations have had none at all.
The seller mentioned that during the first year he was more vigilant about promoting Amazon, but then lost interest for the second content push which consisted of over half the articles on the site. I believe the site’s only been making about $50/month from Amazon with 25k page views, I think I can get that up significantly. Especially considering there a few high ticket items in this niche that I’ve already identified and created a plan for promoting.
When it comes down to it, this site lost focus. I’m going to edit the content, clean up the appearance, and fix the monetization. There are some big content holes as well, meaning there some obvious articles that should be here that aren’t. I’ll talk more about that below.
Overall though, I think this was a good deal and the site has a lot of potential. The seller was just done and wanted out, it happens. Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective and a new owner for a site to reach its potential.
The previous owner was close to a lot more traffic and money in many ways, but missed the mark in some big ways that prevented it from happening. That ended up being his downfall. I’m betting I can turn it all around.
What I’ve done so far
Money and files changed hands a week ago, but the domain transfer just finalized yesterday. In that week, I’ve had a lot of time to work on the site on a staging domain. Here are a few things I’ve already changed, fixed, or added.
1. Fix appearance – Astra to GeneratePress theme
I use GeneratePress on all of my niche sites. I’m very familiar with it and I can set up sites fast with it. Astra may be fine, I don’t know. It didn’t look very good in this case, but I think maybe it just wasn’t customized at all.
I just swapped themes and customized it a bit so it looks nice.
2. Added/removed plugins to get the ones I like
There were a few plugins that I don’t use so I removed them. Also there were some that I needed to add. Basically I just got my base of plugins on here. A few of those are:
- Yoast SEO
- Classic Editor
- Ad Inserter
- Disable Comments
- Insert Headers and Footers
- WP Count
- Shortcodes Ultimate
3. Added some custom pages and category pages
I basically got bored waiting for the domain transfer to finish processing, so I started over-customizing the site. I made some nice looking custom category pages that are perfect to link to from other articles. They also have a big affiliate promotion at the top.
4. Did a little more branding
Basically the branding for this site just consisted of a logo with 2 colors. I left the logo alone, it’s pretty basic but good enough. I did however adjust one of the colors. I am now using that new color across the site for various things like buttons, info boxes, and CTA’s etc.
I also integrated this into the new custom category pages.
5. Some editing
There were a few issues after importing the database. Nothing major, but the issue does require me to go into each individual post and fix something. I think I’m about half-way through.
I haven’t done much real content editing yet, maybe just on 1 or 2 articles. This content will have to be fixed in waves. The first pass is going to be a scan where we fix things like affiliate links, broken or duplicate images, add disclaimers, and all the important stuff.
In a second pass, after I’ve studied the content a little closer, we’ll do a more in depth edit of each article. Some will get a total overhaul and url change with redirect.
1. Edit content
Some of the articles on this site were a complete miss. I’m not sure how many yet. Some are actually doing pretty well, and they need a lot work too. For now I’ll leave anything that’s performing decently alone. I’m going to focus on the misses, and the ones that are already on the first page, but not in the top 3. Which is actually quite a few.
This is going to be a process. I am not going to try and completely change 300 articles overnight. It’ll probably be more like 10-20 a month over a longer period. Slowly but surely, I’m going to reshape this content and entire site to work for me and not against me.
2. Set up redirects for any url changes
I’m going to try and resist the urge to redirect all of the ugly urls on this site, but there are going to have to be some url changes. Hopefully not too many, but I’ve already spotted at least a handful that I won’t be able to live with.
In some cases the focus of the article is going to have to totally shifted and the content repurposed, requiring the url to change as well. In other cases there’s a number in the url, or just poor naming in general.
3. Better monetize with affiliate
This thing is really under monetized for affiliate revenue. There many articles with no affiliate links, yet plenty of opportunities for them. There are also several that do have affiliate links, but the language is very strange surrounding the offer or the product is unavailable.
Strange language/bad hyperlink text example:
As I mentioned above, there are a few high ticket items in this niche as well. There are some popular products in the $200-$500 range that I plan on promoting a lot more aggressively.
4. Turn on ads
This site was already with Ezoic, so I knew it would get approved ok. I simply contacted Ezoic and they had me put a small piece of code on the site to verify that I was the new owner. I then went through the process of self-onboarding a site to Ezoic.
I just turned ads on prior to writing this. By tomorrow I should see a little bit of money trickling in. I’m going to keep an eye on the EPMV though, $9 is too low. My suspicion is that he didn’t have enough placeholders set up. If it’s the quality of the content, then we’ll fix that as well. It will just take longer.
5. Start collecting emails
This is a good niche for an email list. It’s also a good niche for an info product, none of my other sites really are. I’m not in a huge hurry to do this, I’ve got enough on my plate with this site, but I do plan on building a list.
Right now, my goal is to simply get the existing content in good shape. Along the way I may add just a few articles, because I want to fill a couple of noticeable holes. Past that though I don’t think I’ll add a lot of new content for now.
Option 1 – short term flip
First and foremost, I want to get the current content optimized as much as possible. This way I can squeeze as much traffic and earnings out, before I invest any more money. If I go this route with the intention of just flipping the site, I think I can make a nice profit without investing in much more content. Maybe $500 to hit on some key topics.
After I’m done editing and optimizing, the site will need a few months to see the effects of the changes. So 6-8 months from now it may be ready for a quick flip. However by that point we’ll be so close to Christmas I may want to reap the rewards of being a blogger during the holidays. It may end up being a 12 month flip.
Option 2 – long term asset
The other option I have is to keep the site as a long-term asset. I love the niche, the volume it has, and the monetization. There are endless topics to write about, it has plenty of expansion opportunities, and I think it could make a great earner for the portfolio.
I honestly haven’t decided what I’m going to do with this site very far in the future, there’s too much to do in the present. However I see these as being my 2 options.