The Piece by Piece Website Flip

Have you ever seen the movie “Pretty Woman?” It’s the one with Julia Roberts and Richard Gear. My wife was watching it the other night and it got me thinking about website flipping.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember that Richard Gear plays a billionaire business takeover guy that preys upon struggling businesses, buys them out, and sells them off piece by piece to other companies.

In today’s post, I want to talk about doing the exact same thing when it comes to websites and group auctions. Let’s call this a Piece by Piece Website Flip.

One type of auction I see passed over by so many people in online marketplaces is the “group of 250 adsense sites” type auctions. Usually, there’s 1 or 2 sites in the bunch that make up the majority of the claimed income, and the owner is throwing in his collection to inflate the perceived value.

If you’re like most people, you don’t even give these auctions a serious look. I mean, who wants to pay to renew 250+ domains every year?! Who wants to go through with the hassle of transfering 250 sites to a different hosting account?

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can get the owner to sell you just one of the sites in the bunch, but more often than not they aren’t willing to separate the wheat from the chaff for fear of not being able to sell the chaff.

So, what’s a website flipper to do? Become Richard Gear!

When I see these types of auctions, I like to take a look at each site to sniff out ANY potential value in them. Even if the sites have zero traffic or revenue, the domains, content, and designs may be worth something. Even if only $25-$50 each.

Lets use the above example. You go to Flippa.com, and come across a listing that says “Network of 250 Adsense Sites for Sale”. The network of sites collectively earn about $350 per month, and over $300 of that is from less than 5 sites that are the real winners in the group.

The BIN is $3,000.

Also, the seller is absolutely UNWILLING to sell you the 5 money makers by themselves. They want you to take the whole bunch of them, or nothing at all.

After browsing through the 245 duds, you see that most of them have 5-10 quality original articles on them. They each have a decent looking design with a unique header graphic. In fact, the only reason they don’t make any money, is lack of traffic and ad placements.

So, with the domain names, site designs, and original content, you figure each site is worth about $30 to you.

You quickly place the BIN for $3,000, (primarily for the $350/month in adsense income from the main 5 producing sites), and you devise a plan for extracting that $30 per site from the rest of them.

Instead of being blindly optimistic, we’ll assume that  we can only successfully extract that $30 per site from about 40% of them. So 40% of 245 sites = 98.

The plan is twofold:

1.) List the sites at eBay, digital point, and other cheap marketplaces where these types of sites will sell for $30 without much cost to you.

2.) Create a special offer at Warrior Forum or to your own marketing list to create “unique, high quality adsense sites with 5 + articles, graphics, & domains for $30 each”.

Between these two strategies, you successfully sell 98 sites times $30 for a cool profit of $2,940.

Your new income stream has paid for itself, and you still have 147 sites you can use for link building or whatever you want.

Perhaps this will give you a new perspective on monetizing auctions you normally wouldn’t give a second thought to.

Have you ever done a “piece by piece” flip? Have you ever broken down the assets of a larger site and sold them off piece by piece to other people? Better yet, have you ever bought a business and sold off chunks of ownership to 2 or more parties to recoup the initial spend?

Comment below with your thoughts on Richard Gear, piece by piece website flipping. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Building Passive Income with AdSense Sites

Three months ago, I posted a review of Cary Bergeron’s AdSense Recipe and noted in the forums that I was going to start building some niche AdSense sites.  I’m not new to AdSense by any means, but in the past I had never really given it a serious go as the primary monetization method of a site — it was always kind of an afterthought on my sites.  That changed after reading Cary’s guide and doing some in-depth analysis on past Flippa sales… there’s a ton of opportunity to make money holding or selling AdSense-monetized sites.

Getting Quick AdSense Results

I finally got around to launching a few sites in early December.  I knew I wanted to get quick results from my sites so that they could start funding more niche sites.  As a result, I tried to pick some lower competition niches where I could acquire exact match domains.  I also decided to “launch” a bunch of sites at once.

I put launch in quotes, because all I did was throw some unique keyword-rich content on them, point a few links at them, then track to see where they landed in the search engines.  I didn’t do much link building right away.

The idea here was to see where they naturally fell, pick the two best ranking sites and start building links for them.  For me, this proved to be a great strategy, as it enabled me to start generating some profit in my first month.  In December, my newly launched sites made $45 — not a huge sum, but it all came towards the end of the month when they started ranking organically.  In January, they made over $150, and in February a single one of those sites cleared over $250.  In four of the past seven days, that site has cleared over $20 per day — if it can stabilize at that number, it’s going to be a $500-600 per month earner.  I also launched several other niche sites in February that have started earning.

How I Built My Sites

A good AdSense site needs three things:

  1. Unique, keyword-rich content
  2. A design that caters to your ads (allows good ad placement for high CTR)
  3. Organic search traffic

Here’s how I tackled each of these concerns:

Unique, Keyword-Rich Content

For one of my sites, I wrote the initial content (only 5 pages worth).  For the other, I outsourced content creation, splitting between a writer hired at oDesk (for only $5 per article), and TextBroker.com (around $9 per article for the length I requested).  At oDesk, you have a little more control over who you get as a writer, since individual candidates apply and you hire them specifically.  TextBroker handles the writer assignment for you — you just specify the quality level you want (I used 4 stars).

For these types of sites, writing is a commodity.  You want good, accurate information, but it doesn’t need to be the quality of a doctoral dissertation.  I was quite pleased with what I got back from both services.  Note that you should run your content through Copyscape to make sure it’s not plagiarized if you hire someone to do the writing for you — you need unique content if you want to rank organically.

Getting Ad Clicks – High CTR Designs

I decided to build my sites on WordPress, since it’s super easy to setup and get running.  Beyond that, it’s a great choice if you ever decide to sell the sites, since nearly everyone looking to buy a website is familiar with WordPress.

I started looking around for high CTR (click-through rate) AdSense templates and a good ad management plugin that would do everything I wanted… and I found myself pretty underwhelmed.  So I built a theme that would do everything I wanted, namely:

  • Let me enter my AdSense code via WordPress’ admin panel
  • Automatically color match my ads to the theme I’m using
  • Rotate my ad placements between several high-CTR options
  • Let me easily track ad channel performance
  • Hide ads from editors at specific human-edited directories

The coolest part about having this theme is that it makes it SUPER easy for me to roll out new sites.  I just order (or write) some content, install WP and my theme on the domain, paste in my ad code in the admin section, and start building links (via automated tools).

As a quick aside, I’ve made CTR Theme (that’s what I’m calling it) available for sale in case you’re interested (I’ll write another post about launching CTR Theme as its own product later).  With that out of the way, that leads us to:

Getting Organic Traffic – Building Links to AdSense Sites

So, I’ve got good content and a high-performance theme in place that will turn traffic into clicks… now I just needed to get the traffic.  Easier said than done, right?

Actually, it is.  The keys for me are that I:

  • didn’t choose overly-competitive niches
  • used automated tools to “place” links, instead of trying to build them “naturally”

Google wants you to think that the only proper way to get links is to write amazing content that will *somehow* get discovered, linked to, and they’ll pick it up and rank it in their search results.  Then you’ll have a magical stream of high-quality traffic making you money forever and ever.  It just doesn’t work that way.

The bottom line is that with AdSense niche sites, you’re not writing about stuff people will naturally want to link to like crazy.  Especially if you slap ads all over the place — haters love to hate, and people get REAL stingy with their link juice when they know you’re going to make a buck from it.

So forget them.  Let’s do it all ourselves.

The core of my strategy was to create unique content (or grab existing content from my niche site), spin it using The Best Spinner, post it to ezine articles, then use Article Marketing Robot to blast unique versions of the article out to hundreds (sometimes thousands) of websites.  Then, I used Bookmarking Demon to social bookmark my money site, the ezine article, and the secondary articles.  For more difficult terms, I also do some other stuff (blog commenting, link wheels, etc).

I’ll be adding some tutorial videos about how I use these tools in the near future.  Keep in mind that everything I use a tool for, you can do manually… it just sucks a lot and takes loads of time.  But if you’ve got way more time than money right now, you’re not out of luck.  You’ll just have to work harder.

I’ve also written a 40-page ebook outlining my entire link-building strategy in greater detail that I include as a bonus with CTR Theme.

So, does this strategy work?

For low to medium competition keywords, it works like a charm.  Here are the results after a single article blast (and bookmarking run) for a low competition term:

That same blast also had a great impact on a secondary term, even though I hadn’t targeted that term with anchor text:

I’ve also got a site that I’m building that is in a MUCH more competitive (and profitable) niche.  I haven’t focused on it much, but this month I ran 2 blasts to see what they would do.  The first blast took me from ranking 222 to 83.  The rankings dropped a bit to around 125, then I ran the second blast, which shot the site up to 48.  It may still move up some from that blast, since I just ran it.  Here’s the chart showing that movement:

The site is ranked high enough now that I feel like it’s worth devoting some more time and energy to it.  I’ve got a bunch of other sites in lower competition niches that I launched in the last month or so where this strategy got first page rankings after 1 or 2 blasts.

I’m going to put a lot more attention into building links for this site and I’ll try to add updates as things develop with this site.  It’s worth noting that this site was already making over $20 per month in January and February with really minimal traffic (none from its primary keyword), so the extra effort could really pay off well.

What’s the Bottom Line?

AdSense is still a really viable option for monetizing niche sites, and I love how hands-off the income is.  It’s awesome to wake up every morning and see these sites earning for me without having to do any additional work (after they start ranking well).

Whether you intend to flip them or hold them, AdSense niche sites can be very profitable.

Cary Bergeron’s AdSense Recipe Review

Cary Bergeron (see our previous interview with him and our AdSense Report review) is back with an update to his AdSense Report ebook entitled the AdSense Recipe.  Suffice it to say, Cary’s the real deal — one of his AdSense sites is responsible for $150k in annual earnings, and he’s had over $110,000 in successful sales on Flippa.  He also turned down a $120k offer for one of his sites there.  Thankfully, he’s not shy about spilling the beans on what makes his sites so successful. Continue reading “Cary Bergeron’s AdSense Recipe Review”

Content is Queen, Revenue is King

This is a guest post by Mike Roosa from mikeroosa.com.

If I’ve learned anything over the last couple of months with regards to selling sites, it’s that REVENUE is King. Selling new startup sites on auction sites such as Flippa has become much harder and the return is not as good as it once was. The buyers have realized that it takes work to build a successful site, which means you need something to make the site more attractive. That something is revenue.

In order to maximize the sale for a new startup site, you need to take a little time to drive some traffic to the site and try to convert that traffic into cash. When selling your site, a potential buyer is much more likely to place a bid when you’ve already proven the concept by making some money.

The more revenue you are able to generate over a 30-60 or even a 90 day period the more likely it is that your sale will be successful.

While making a living online can be difficult and take many years, earning some money for a website is not all that hard, but does take some planning and a little luck. I don’t care what anyone says, there is some luck in getting ranked on page 1 of Google.

Here is the quickest and simplest way I know to get your site off on the right foot and earning money quickly.

It all starts with traffic and the traffic that a buyer wants to see is search engine traffic. I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times, but you need to find the right keywords with lots of searches and little competition.

When selecting a keyword, I like to find a 2 or 3 word keyword as my main keyword for the site I’m building and find an exact match domain name. For example, if my keyword is “glass french doors,” then the domain name should be glassfrenchdoors.com, glassfrenchdoors.net, glassfrenchdoors.org, or (hold your breath) glassfrenchdoors.info. Don’t be scared off by the .info domain as they will sell if you can show proof of earnings.

There are many other sites that tell you how to do keyword research so I’m not going to go into that here, but the keyword you select should get at least 5,000 searches a month, have less than 50,000 competing sites and have at least 2 page rank 0 sites on the first page of Google.

Try to come up with 4 or 5 similar keywords and incorporate those into your site as well so you can try to gain some additional search engine traffic.

Once you get the site built and optimize it for your keywords by creating some quality and unique content, then you need to get your site indexed.

You can wait for Google if you want, but I’m not that patient. I recently discovered a way to get a site indexed quickly and that is to go to http://www.ismysiteindexed.com and put in your url. Just by checking on your site, it will get indexed quickly, many times in the same day.

If you’ve done your keyword research correctly then you should be somewhere on page 1, if not then you are going to need to build some backlinks by writing articles for EzineArticles, GoArticles, Squidoo, Hubpages, or some other article directory or Web 2.0 site. You also should ping your site and submit some social bookmarks.

Hopefully, within a few days of adding some backlinks, your site can get enough juice to move up to page one where it can start earning some money.

The simplest way that I know of to make money with a startup website is with Adsense. You probably aren’t going to make a killing with Adsense, but you don’t have to. If you can show proof of $15.00 per month ($.50 a day) then you should have a sale between $200 and $300, and if your site is attractive and has some good content then you could make much more.

Like with keyword research, there are many guides to setting up Adsense, but here are my 3 tips.

First, less is more. I like having one Adsense block on the page and no links to external sites AT ALL. You want visitors to either click on an ad or link to an internal page which will also contain the Adsense block.

Second, your content text color should be light and your Adsense block a little darker so it draws attention to the ads.

Third, try your own thing. There are no rules when it comes to what works and doesn’t work. Any given site could have success with something that doesn’t work on another site, so don’t be afraid to try new things.

An added benefit of using Adsense is that it is one of the most watched tags on Flippa which means your site will get its share of views.

I hope that I have been able to shed a little light on what it takes to build a money making site so that your next flip is a profitable one.

What about you? What are the best ways you have for monetizing a site to bring in some money quickly?

Mike’s blog can be found at http://www.mikeroosa.com where he writes about such topics as internet marketing, site flipping, building niche sites, making money online, and general productivity among other things. You can also follow him on Twitter.