Back in 2016 I saw an opportunity to dominate a niche with very little investment.
I recently sold the site for 4000% ROI.
Whenever I decide to get into a niche it's based on whether I think I can do better than the competition in some way. That's my main concern. Sure I do competitive research, but I don't have any specific metrics I go by that determine whether I'll actually get started.
This particular niche was one where I saw an opportunity to make some money in the long-term with a minimum investment, it worked incredibly well, having secured page 1 rankings after just 3 months, the next 9 months I just let the site sit and bring in monthly commissions from Amazon' Associates Affiliate Program.
What was the niche?
Sorry guys, this is the one thing I'm not going to reveal as it'd be unfair on the buyer.
However, I can tell you there were about 30 competing sites, and 10% of those were established for over 20 years.
The research phase basically consisted of finding competing sites, analyzing their websites, link profiles and social media presence. I then listed out their strengths and weaknesses.
Time: 2 hours.
Step 1: Site Build
I wanted a lightning fast theme, so I built off of a theme called Buso Lightning, adapting it to suit my needs.
I then setup a super basic hybrid-silo structure for the on-page and created custom category pages, targeted at broader keywords and passing more relevance to the related articles on the site.
Time: 2 hours.
Step 2: Keyword Research
All I did here was drop the competing sites into Ahrefs, I then exported their organic keywords and sorted them according to pieces of content I knew would generate revenue...
Using terms like: Best, Top, Compared, Review etc!
Time: 1 hour.
Step 3: Content
I utilized my girlfriend to write the content on the site, so all I had to do was setup some content guidelines for the different types of content we'd be publishing. The niche wasn't massive either, so in total we only needed to publish about 15 pieces of content total.
Time: 2 hours.
Step 4: Formatting
I used Thrive Content Builder to format my content on this site. This was because my competitors sites being old, were very text heavy and had very little formatting. I understood that the millennial segment of the audience were being ignored on these competing sites. So I created the content with this demographic in mind.
The benefit of TCB is that once you have a format you like, you can save it as a template and re-use it. So it saved me a lot of time as well.
Time: 2 hours.
Step 5: Social Media
I setup three accounts on three platforms that I'd identified as being the ones to target. I then setup MassPlanner, FollowLiker & Grum to schedule & automate.
Time: 2 hours.
Step 6: Link Building
I have a pretty simple approach, as I mix white hat & grey hat tactics. So I did some outreach, built some links manually via sites like BuzzFeed, Imgur & even scored a Wikipedia link that still hasn't been removed. In total I got a few guest posts, and built these links directly to my commercially-targeted pieces of content.
The posts from high authority sites like BuzzFeed etc, went to the homepage.
The rest of the links were acquired completely naturally or as a side-effect of the social media promotion & better formatted content.
Time: 3 hours.
Step 7: Wait
I was already seeing positive movements in the SERPs so I knew all I had to do was let the links, the content and the site itself age. Within 2 months or by month 3 I'd achieved the page 1 rankings I knew I would get with the approach I had taken.
This confidence was based mostly off of knowing that my competitors may have been old and established, but failed in a considerable number of ways. For one thing they had got too comfortable, and lacked good links from authority sites that had mostly come to be in the years since the established competitors had launched.
Time: 0 hours.
The site kept growing even after month 3 when it had already achieved top 4 rankings on all its commercial keywords.
When I sold the site it was ranking in the number 1 spot for most of those. It was doing about 10,000 page views per month, and still had 33% of its traffic coming from social media profiles which hadn't been touched in almost a year.
The site was making around $300/mo at this point, all from Amazon. Since most of the items weren't high-value products that really hurt the revenue, which is why I never planned to stay in the niche long term and limited myself to a small budget & time investment.
While it's true that the value of a site is largely determined by it's revenue and revenue history, there were a number of things I did to increase the value of the site.
- I had hundreds of images of the subject that I already had on my iPhone.
- I ensured the site looked great, and that it was lightning fast.
- I had built up the social media profiles to have thousands of followers each with good engagement.
- I had purposely avoided monetizing outside of Amazon to display there is more monetization potential to prospective buyers.
- I created replicable processes that were all described in detail, which were included in the sale.
- I made it clear I hadn't been actively working on the site for over 9 months.
All these little things help a buyer picture themselves running the site, it shows them the potential that's there. Generally most people buying a site are looking to improve what's already there, so you need to leave room for improvement as well as show them that you've made it easy to actually run the site.
So think about the value adds and plan for those accordingly if you want to maximize your return on investment.
It was cool to know that I could put in so little investment and get a good return, it let me sharpen a lot of my processes by challenging myself to be as efficient as possible and gave me just shy of 5 figures to invest into my current projects a little over a year later.
- Article by Daniel Cuttridge