Build. Grow. Sell. Repeat

Looks like this blog of mine is only getting annual updates, so I better start writing more. Incidentally, this is partly what I want to talk about in this post – updating websites and the effect it has on their performance in the long run.

But to start off, a word on what I’ve done and what I’ve learnt in the past year since my last post. I continued buying websites on Flippa throughout the year and it’s been an experience with ups and downs. Here are my takeaways:

  • Google is extremely unreliable
  • Updating a website regularly is absolutely crucial
  • Sell websites at their peek
  • You cannot target the same niche with more than one site using the same Adsense account, server, and anything that can be tracked down to the same owner

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What I’ve Learned in the Past 6 Months from Buying Websites

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, so I figure it’s about time I break the silence and spill some beans. For the past 6 months I’ve been focusing mostly on buying new websites to add to my portfolio, later updating them with new content. There’s a lot to learn from acquiring established websites in very different niches from very different owners.

As I’ve been buying websites from Flippa keeping it very safe, I haven’t bought any duds (with an exception of one site that has died out after having a fair run) nor have I been cheated, so that’s a good thing. On the flip side (no pun intended) I’ve only been able to buy sites with traffic from Google and income from Adsense. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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How Do Websites Make Money?

I’ve come across a presentation put together by Flippa with the last years (2012) website sales data. Even with the current year ending it’s very valuable information on how websites make money. Some of the most important takeaways from the presentation are the following.

The average site site earns $133/mo with a bit over of 2,000 monthly uniques, that is $0.04 per unique. The average sale was $493 at 8x monthly income multiple. This greatly varies based on the type of a website, but it gives us a pretty good rough baseline on what to expect any particular site to earn. And more importantly to check against your own portfolio of websites to see how they fair against this baseline and if there’s a possibility to improve. Because, hey, if your sites makes $0.01 per unique which is 4 times less than the average, maybe there’s unrealized potential to monetize better.

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How to Buy Your First Website

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote anything here, mainly because I was busy with other projects, mostly buying websites. In the past I’ve pondered the idea of buying vs creating, and I’ve settled with creating at that particular moment. Things have changed, however, and as I’ve come up with a budget to buy, I began doing just that and I’ve been doing it for the past year or so.

In the process of buying several websites, I’ve had my share of ups and downs. Some purchases were duds, some were ok, and some were little gems. It has led to the process of how I evaluate sites to minimize the risk of buying a dud or being cheated. This process is very conservative as far as risk goes so I think it’s very well suited for beginner buyers.

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Why You Should Stop Relying on Google

It’s time to forget the notion of starting a website by ranking it on Google once and for all. For years this method used to be the golden goose for Internet marketers. You throw together a site, not necessarily a good one, point some links its way using a desired anchor text and voilà, you have a ranking site that gets traffic and makes money.

Over the past year Google has fought a fierce battle against this manipulation, not without collateral damage of completely genuine sites getting hit. It’s become increasingly complicated to rank a new site, much less maintain a ranking for a length of time.

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Freemium is Dead, Delete Your Lists

Signing up people for free and trying to upsell them is a model that has run its course, according to Christian Vanek, CEO of SurveyGizmo.

And while I wouldn’t entirely agree with such a broad statement it strikes a chord with me because I’ve recently deleted my list for similar reasons.

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More Google Update Horrors

In yesterdays post on Webmaster Central Blog Google has announced yet more updates to their SE algo which would affect 3.1% of English queries (as well as queries in other languages). The update targets backlink schemes, keyword stuffing and other signals Google didn’t divulge in the post.

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Negative SEO?

I didn’t think this was possible and I wasn’t convinced negative SEO was made possible by the latest Google algo changes (and the hit on the blog networks) but looks like there’s more and more proof it out there.

Here’s a case study on TrafficPlanet and a related thread on Google Groups.

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Build or Buy a Website?

I like building websites and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few years. However, lately I’ve been wondering whether building is the best strategy especially when the website buying/selling market is growing so fast and is more and more vibrant. It takes a lot of time and money to create a good website and most of the time it’s not the next big thing I’m pursuing, it’s the proven models that have been done and tried. Therefore, it is likely that the kind of a website I’m building is somewhere on sale. In fact, it’s more than likely since I use Flippa to find proven website ideas.

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A Warning About Instant Commission Affilliate Programs

They’re not new, you’ve probably heard about them and their virtues. You get 100% commissions of the front-end product sale straight to your PayPal account. What could be better? But things aren’t so pretty if you consider what else you get with these programs.

Now, let me make this clear, I’ve nothing against the concept of instant commissions, but there are serious considerations to make and risks to evaluate before taking up on offers like this. It’s not all so great as your next “guru” claims to be.

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