Debate: Done-For-You Sites Vs. Building Niche Sites

Disclaimer: There aren’t any affiliate links on this page. NONE! I could have put an affiliate link for any and all of the service providers in this article. But instead of profiting off of this informative post, I’ll just leave it at that: information to help you.

I get emails every week that ask something like this:

“I bought a pre-made, done-for-you niche site and it’s a great one. The content is great! And I know the keywords are too because that was part of the package that I bought – like 5,400 searches for the main keyword. The trouble is the site doesn’t get any traffic. And I can’t figure out why. What do you think? Can you help?”

It’s a sad situation and it bums me out every single time.

 Cool Bonus: Download a free PDF version of this guide. The PDF version contains all the tips, links and resources found here.

Here’s why: Someone spent their hard-earned money on a done-for-you-site and they expected that traffic would show up over time. It never does. The dream of passive income disappears.

I was about to hit publish on this blog post where I railed the service providers for taking advantage of newbie internet marketers. It would have been one-sided and no fun!

I know two things for a fact:

  1. I’m wrong all the time and always want to learn more.
  2. And, some people swear by the done-for-you niche site services.

So, I was inspired by the debate posts by Empire Flippers back in the day, especially this one. I decided to do the same thing here, except expand it. It turns out I have several friends that have services that build niche sites for you.

The question is this:

Do you prefer “Done-For-You” affiliate site services or building your own site? Why?

I asked some friends to pitch in and tell me why they are great services. And, I took it a step further and asked some very successful affiliate marketers to weigh in too.

Disclaimer: All the opinions are biased. It’s no secret and I’m calling it out right here so no one else needs to. Look, I sell a course – It’s called Five Figure Niche Site (FFNS is coming soon! Sign up here for the waitlist). All the people arguing for done-for-you niche sites sell those services. We all have a conflict of interest. Period. Some of the other people sell courses, too. But since we’re all arguing with each other on this page, I think a person can take away insights from both sides and decide what’s most important for them. You’re getting the full picture and different opinion from very smart people, and that’s better than someone selling an affiliate offer while telling you it’s the best product ever.

There are some great insights throughout this lengthy post. We all tried to consider the different stages of online entrepreneurs and how the different approaches to niche sites apply.

So, if you’re new to the internet marketing arena, you’ll read why you should or shouldn’t think about buying a done-for-you niche site.

If you’re experienced and want to grow your niche site portfolio, then you’ll find out when and if you should be building sites from scratch or if jumpstarting the process actually works.

And, I want to hear from you in the comments, especially if you are in the market for a pre-made niche site or if you’re thinking about creating a niche site from scratch.

Doug Cunnington – My Take

It’s better to build sites on your own the majority of the time. Here’s why:

  1. You’ll learn more.
  2. You’ll have more control.
  3. You’ll be able to adapt to an ever changing SEO landscape.
  4. You can use the skills to spring board to other online businesses.

Let’s look at 3 main scenarios based on you:

  1. A newbie, that never created or owned an affiliate site
  2. An intermediate affiliate site owner that has built one site that makes a few hundred a month and wants to expand.
  3. An experienced affiliate site owner with a portfolio of several sites plus a small team of virtual assistants.

First, the newbie:

The main problem is that you buy a complete niche site, but there isn’t any traffic. Further, nothing has been done to generate free, organic traffic from Google. That’s the life blood of a niche site. That’s why I spent about 2 hours a week in October to December of 2016 (24 hours total), yet the site generated over $23,345. Tens of thousands of visitors found their way to the website and I hardly did a thing.

All the work was done way earlier in the process, earlier in 2016. It was all about solid Keyword Research using the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR), publishing content based on the KGR, and White Hat outreach for a few posts that don’t have KGR compliant keywords. (Learn about the Keyword Golden Ratio on YouTube.)

So the problem is that a newbie has a site but doesn’t know how to connect the dots to get from 0 visitors to 100 visitors to 1,000+ visitors per day.

I’m not saying it’s easy or fast – No. It takes time and a lot of work. In FFNS, there are multiple units that explain how you can start small with some simple daily tasks to get to 10 visitors to 100 to a 1,000 visitors a day.

Overall, a newbie doesn’t know what to do with his or her finished site. So it just sits there. The other downside that’s inherent is that a newbie doesn’t know if the site is high quality or not.

The keywords, the content, the on page SEO, and so on. There’s a risk on getting a totally crappy site! (Okay, none of the providers in this post have low quality sites …But many providers are shady. They are all good people on this page.)

Next, the intermediate:

This is the internet marketer that has at least one successful site and has been in the game for a couple months or more. He or she knows that niche sites are the real deal and is looking to expand.

This is the only time where I think a done-for-you service can pay off. It’s a great short cut in setting up a site and getting the base content in place.

The intermediate niche site owner is different than the newbie since they know what to do next. They know:

  • How to find more keywords.
  • How to get content.
  • How to get backlinks.
  • How to get traffic.
  • If something is wrong on a page or post.
  • What to do next…

I’d also say that a custom type package would be better, in that the intermediate niche site owner could supply all the keywords. For example, in the FFNS course we use project management principles to get things done faster – important things like generating revenue! So it’s based on the Content Traffic Profit Sprint which calls for 10 pieces of content to launch, and that’d be perfect to task the done-for-you service with that content.

Last, the experienced:

I’m a control freak on the edge of obsessive. It’s a terrible trait for some disciplines, but a great one for others.

This is the internet marketer that has at least one or two successful sites and has been in the game for a year or more. He or she has a budget to spend and a positive cash flow to support it. I was thinking this would be one of the best times to use a service to expand and scale. After all, building out the sites at a quick pace takes a bunch of time and probably a team. A team is time consuming to build.

But after I thought about it, I changed my mind. Look, I’m a control freak on the edge of obsessive. It’s a terrible trait for some disciplines, but a great one for others. It turns out that I like to have things a certain way: the keywords, the content, the calls to action, the site architecture and silos, and the list goes on.

I expect most all experienced niche site owners are a little particular, just like me. So they probably want to build sites themselves to have everything just right. Or, they will take the time to build and train a team to do things right – at least, whatever they deem to be right and whatever works for them.

And to play devil’s advocate for myself, if an experienced niche site owner isn’t as fussy as me and can deal with the done for you service, then it’d be a great way to scale a niche site portfolio.

The alternative – Buy an Existing Site:

Go to Empire Flippers or FE International and buy a site that’s proven to be profitable. Yeah, it will cost a lot more, but the point is that you have a plug and play business with cash flow.

And, this is a real scenario to look at. Have a look at this email I received from a reader, where I turned away a consulting gig. The person was ready to spend thousands of dollars and was very interested in working with me. Here’s the email:

“I guess the only issue I have with these types of services is that they tend, in my opinion, to be ‘half-services’.

Due to being extremely busy and extremely low tech savvy, all I read when I read sites like leads fox is “we’ll build you something really good and then send you a guide, like the 50,000 videos on YouTube, that show you how you do your own SEO, link-building etc yourself”.

Let me know if I’m being unfair in that summation.

Maybe my expectations are different than most. I’d be willing to pay a little more to get the WHOLE thing done, the full marketing of the site included. Perhaps you read that and think ‘well affiliate mktg isn’t for you’ but if you know of anyone that happens to offer a fuller service,

I’m all ears.

Thanks again.”

My reply was this:

“Hey, Great to meet you! So, your assessment is right for the most part. I actually don’t like the services that you mentioned – or any of them.

The problem is that people pay good money for a site – $500, $1500, or $4000 – then they don’t know what to do with it. They may read my blog and ask for help, but it’s all very time consuming.

The problem with what you’re looking for is that if I built a site for you and then did all the marketing, then it’d be worth a big chunk of cash. And it’d be in a positive cash flow state so I wouldn’t want to sell it.

However, what you describe is a site that’s already set up and the marketing is done – So you really want to buy an existing site which is making money. Right?

So I’d go to a broker, like empire flippers, and buy a site.

Also, if anyone will sell you a site and do the marketing, I wouldn’t trust them. If they were actually building a profitable site, they wouldn’t sell it for a cheap price…it’d be about 20x-30x the monthly earnings.”

Overall, a done-for-you service won’t get you a profitable niche website unless you know what to do once you get the finished site. It seems so obvious to say or write out, but so many people especially those NEW to Niche Sites are surprised when they don’t start making money.

I know we say “Niche Sites are easy and online marketing is your ticket to freedom,” but nothing worthwhile comes from a small amount of effort or work. And if you take my course (or one like Five Figure Niche Site) and you buy a pre-made niche site, then you will get a faster start.

Doug Cunnington is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and keep an eye out for his latest course, Five Figure Niche Site. It’s coming out soon…Plus, there’s going to be a new series showcasing a crazy, ambitious case study: Selling a Niche Site for OVER $500,000. Be sure you’re signed up for the newsletter to be notified when the case study starts in a few days.

What Others Have To Say

Dom Wells from Humanproof Designs

Dom Wells from HumanProofDesigns

Dom Wells from HumanProofDesigns

Of course I’m going to say I prefer done-for-you sites, but that’s because I honestly believe they have advantages for all those involved that many people don’t consider.

Let’s look at beginners, and then the more seasoned or experienced affiliate marketers out there.

Done For You Sites For Beginners

To really see the advantage that services like ours provide for beginners, we really need to look at a beginner before and after buying a done for you site from us. For many people the debate really stops at what they have after buying one..and that’s a website that they might not know how to use.

Spending money on a website and then not knowing how to use it is a pretty bad decision, it’s not going to do anything but make you more frustrated, and leave you out of pocket. It doesn’t matter who you buy a site from, you need to know how to use it.

So let’s go back to the average beginner and look at them in more detail. I’m going to base this on what I was like as a beginner, so I’m not trying to criticize anyone here.

Let’s look at what they feel, what their average day looks like, and what their pains are.

The Average Beginner’s Average Day

The average affiliate marketing beginner is confused, frustrated, and for better or worse, impatient. Their average day online consists of reading up on multiple different methods, following new influencers, attempting a bit of keyword research or trying their hand at writing an article, and countless other efforts which leave them just as frustrated as before.

It’s not that they don’t have any motivation or tenacity, it’s that they simply don’t know what they should be doing and how much of it.

Throw something fiddly like WordPress into the works, and you’ve got somebody who is on a rapid path to burning out. I know that this was definitely me in the beginning.

Sure, you can learn how to build a site, you can practice keyword research, and you will get better at writing, so there’s no reason to say you absolutely need to invest in a done-for-site, in fact I would say you should learn, practice, and get better regardless, but let’s look at something else I didn’t mention yet.

Doubt.

I want to talk about the ‘feedback loop’. If you’re not familiar with the term, this is the time period it takes for you to find out whether or not what you’re doing is correct.

When learning how to cook, you can find out pretty soon if you did it right or not. When learning how to play guitar, you can find out instantly if you play the wrong chord.

When building and ranking an affiliate website, you can wait MONTHS just to find out if you did the right thing or not, and when you consider how many things you did during those months, how do you even identify what might have gone wrong, if anything went wrong at all?

This leads most first-timers to not only doubt whether or not affiliate marketing really works, but they start to doubt themselves. I know I certainly did.

It was only once I had successfully built and ranked sites multiple times that I got over this problem.

The Intangibles

So when you’re buying a done-for-you site, you can’t just look at it as a site or a shortcut, even though that’s how a lot of sites get marketed. What you need to do is consider the intangibles.

Going with someone like myself or Andrew, you’re not only saving time, and saving a lot of mistakes, but you’re also leveraging our experience. You don’t NEED to worry about the feedback loop because we’ve been through that process for you. We know the best way to build a site, the best way to research a niche, and the best way to get started, and for beginners, that is huge.

It solves the biggest reason why most people quit before they even get started, and this is something you’re going to face even if you learn how to do it all yourself.

I see a lot of people warning beginners away from done for you sites, and a lot of that is because of the tired argument “It’s better to learn how to do it all yourself” or the even more obvious “Buying a site isn’t going to make you any more”. Neither is buying your own domain and installing WordPress yourself.

Actually it’s not better to learn build a site yourself. It’s better to learn how to succeed and how to take action, regardless of who assembles your site.

  • Do you need to learn how to build your own car? Or do you just need to learn how to drive it?
  • What if you could buy a car and it came with free driving lessons?
  • Do you need to learn how to build your own guitar? Or do you just need to learn how to play it?

You get where I’m going with this by now.

My favorite type of testimonial is when a customer tells us that the site we built from them was pretty good, but that the real value was in the support team, training, and community we put in place to go with it.

So for a done for you site where all you are getting is the site, such as something you’ll find on Flippa or elsewhere, I’m actually going to say I 100% agree with many detractors.

Do not buy a done for you site based purely on the site itself.

Buy a site because of what you get with it. For our service, that’s the training, the community we run, the support tickets, and the hand-holding, for want of a better phrase.

The More Experienced Internet Marketer

Where a service is only offering the site itself, then this is something I only really recommend an experienced marketer buys. They don’t necessarily need to be a successful marketer, but the people who are more experienced are much better at taking a site and knowing what to do with it, and knowing how to learn. In other words, they can figure it out for themselves.

Now for an experienced marketer, buying a done for you site really is down to scaling. Many veterans who buy our services are more than capable of doing the keyword research themselves, outsourcing articles themselves, and building the site themselves. What they like about us is that they can scale by using us.

They don’t need to deal with a team of freelancers, a bunch of different service providers, or the tedious aspect of building sites over and over again. They can just re-invest their earnings and build out sites again and again.

There’s definitely a philosophical difference to how people prefer to do things, much like with link building and which affiliate program to choose, but you can’t deny that there are huge advantages to done for you sites, regardless of your experience level.

Not everyone will go with a service like ours, but you can’t deny that people can get immense value out of them either.

Dom Wells owns Human Proof Designs. His goal to make starting a niche website easier through training on the blog, the ready-made sites, and the custom projects they do. You will find that getting started doesn’t have to be as confusing as you first thought.

Jon Dykstra from Fat Stacks Blog

Jon Dykstra from Fat Stacks Blog

This is a great question.  Overall, it’s my practice to build my own sites rather than pay for a done-for-you website.

I explain considering 2 situations:

Newbies:

Pros for done-for-you websites:

  • For people who are new to niche sites, I think there’s some value in paying for a done-for-you website because it can save time with site set-up and it provides a nice foundation of content.
  • I also think it’ll help inspire continuing with a project that’s been started with seed content.  From there, a new person to niche sites may be inspired to build upon what’s been started.

Cons for newbies paying for done-for-you websites:

  • A good argument for newbies to build their own site from scratch is it can be helpful to figure out how to set up a WordPress website.  While WordPress is relatively easy to use, there is a learning curve and investing time in learning the infrastructure will be helpful down the road.
  • Also, with respect to content, it’s important to keep in mind done-for-you content is seed content.  I think it’s important a site publisher very carefully vet the content and in most cases enhance it with their own editorial.

Experienced affiliate site owners:

I consider myself an experienced affiliate site owner and I would only start a site from scratch.  I’m very experienced setting up sites and typically I like to customize things that I think is right for a particular site.

More importantly, I like to have full control over the content, both seed content and ongoing content.  That doesn’t mean I won’t outsource some or all of the content, but I prefer to be in the driving seat with respect to the content that’s published.

These days, I think a site owner, especially an affiliate site owner, stands a better chance to succeed by putting their own twist and flavor on the site.

Quality is paramount.

Outsourcing is possible, but I’ve learned firsthand that if you outsource content, invest in very good content. I’ve gone the cheaper route only to have it not perform well and in some cases be detrimental.

Jon Dykstra loves Breaking Bad. Respect – I’m a huge fan too. Jon publishes informational and entertaining niche sites that generate revenue from ads and product promotion. It’s the online magazine model and he’s been making Fat Stacks for a few years. The Fat Stacks Blog is the platform to share what Jon does to build successful, popular, and profitable niche sites.

Andrew James from BrandBuilders.io

Andrew James from Brand Builders.

I think that Done For You site building services are far superior to building your own affiliate website, whether you’re a complete beginner, seasoned veteran with a large portfolio, or anywhere in between.

Done For You, For Beginners

Let’s start with newbies and beginners to affiliate marketing, and take a look at everything they’re going to have to learn while they’re building their first website.

When you’re just getting started, you’ll need to:

  • Learn about WordPress and hosting.
  • Learn how to customize a theme to your liking.
  • Learn which plugins do what, how to install, and how to customize them.
  • Learn how to use graphics editing programs.
  • Learn how to create content people want to read.
  • Learn how to research keywords and properly tie them into your content.
  • Learn how to use and read data tracking, like Analytics.

And that’s just the beginning, to build a barebones affiliate site.  As you learn how to do each of those, your work has really only just begin.

You’ll need to learn how to read heatmaps to increase your conversion rates and how to collect emails and convert them into sales later.  Along with countless other skills that will help you build a successful, long term business.

The sheer amount of information that beginners have to process is one of the biggest reason for most people bailing on the business model and never making any headway with their websites.

It’s easy to understand why they quit.

Good Done For You services won’t just build the site and send the beginner off on their way, either.

They can provide the training and guidance that the new marketer needs to successfully navigate their way through the hurdles that are going to be standing in front of them.

Take this example.

Let’s say that a new marketer is opening their doors to a brand new ice cream shop.  They choose an amazing location, and are practically guaranteed to get customers through the doors.

Except they have no idea how to make ice cream, hire employees, manage their finances, advertise their business, or even how to provide great customer service.

Someone could come in and build their entire business for them, but they still wouldn’t have a clue how to run it properly.

Many beginning marketers do the same thing with the websites that they buy.  They have the keys to a brand new business, but are stumped when it comes time to actually run the business.

Those marketers are going to end up letting the business just sit there idle, or are going to eventually close their doors because they do not know what to do next.

The extra training that comes from reputable Done For You service based companies helps the marketer figure out exactly what they need to be doing next, instead of allowing them to let their business see the same fate as the ice cream shop in my example.

Even though affiliate marketing and building a website is one of the lowest barrier-to-entry business models that currently exist, the amount of time involved and the learning curve also makes it one of the hardest businesses to start.

Beginners that make it through the learning curve then realize that if they want to scale their income, they’re going to have to build more sites.

That makes Done For You services even more popular because, again, time is more precious than money when it comes to affiliate marketing, especially when the marketer already has a site that is earning.

Using profits from that site to reinvest into new sites is one of the best decisions they can make.

Done For You, For Novice Marketers

When marketers begin to see the fruits of their labor and realize that this business is for them, they’re going to want to scale.

Scaling a single website isn’t too difficult, and can be done by outsourcing a large portion of the content and marketing, using profits that the site is already generating.

However, when they are ready to start building a second site, the real work begins.  They’ll realize how much they’ve learned since building their first site, and how much they got wrong at the same time, so the learning curve almost starts over again.

They’re making decent money, but not quite enough to have a full team in place, or the time available to hire that team and properly manage them — which is another skillset all on it’s own.

Done For You services allow experienced, novice marketers to start a second site while taking care of a majority of the work, getting it to the point where the marketer can begin investing into content and marketing, instead of starting over from scratch.

That means experienced marketers are able to hit the ground running, and focus on building out their new site using lessons they’ve learned from the first site, while also understanding the work that goes into a properly built out website and having the knowledge needed to ensure the quality remains high.

Done For You, For Advanced Marketers

For marketers that have a few successful sites under their belt, and are stuck on the fence and curious whether they should hire people to continue building their portfolio, or use Done For You services, the Done For You services always make the best choice.

It’s arguable who can benefit more from Done For You services, either complete beginners, experienced marketers, or advanced marketers looking to truly scale their business, but if you asked me, I would say that advanced marketers will see the most benefit.

Two paths to scaling:

  • Hire a team of people and manage them.
  • Leave the process up to a professional service company.

Hiring people is frustrating at the best of times, and a majority of people that are hired either fall off over time or end up needing to be fired because they fail to live up to expectations.

Good help is hard to find, and comes with a premium price tag that usually goes up as time goes on.  That means profits tend to dwindle, as the team gets bigger, while the time requirement usually stays the same.

Successfully launching new sites, and then using profits from previous sites to continue growing them — through content and marketing — is the most hands-off approach advanced marketers can take.

It allows them to step back away from their business and allow the content and marketing companies to hire and fire their own team, while the marketer can focus on their bottom line and their growth year over year.

Outsourcing the site building, content, and marketing aspects of their business to other companies also allows them to take a step back from their business and watch the big picture come together, instead of getting tied down in the small details that tend to overwhelm beginning and experienced marketers.

Done For You Services Work at Every Level.

It really doesn’t matter what level the marketer is at, Done For You services take out a large portion of the workload, and as long as the services can keep the quality up, the prices that they charge are typically a lot less than what outsourcing each part of the process separately would cost.

Then when you consider the time savings and how most marketers are better off spending their time in their business where they’re stronger, it’s hard to put a price on the value that’s really being delivered.

Andrew James is a entrepreneur, digital marketer, wine enthusiast, hustler (in a good way) & the guy behind BrandBuilders.io. They will build you an FBA site or an Amazon Niche Site, and it seems to be one of the most thorough packages out there. Brand Builders has a new case study that you need to keep your eye on: How To Turn $4,000 Into $100,000 In 12 Months, Or Less (Live Case Study).

Chris Lee from RankXL

Chris Lee from RankXL

I’ve personally never purchased a “Done For You” niche site service so can’t say from first hand experience how great it is.

Whether you buy a “done for you” site or not should really depend on where you are skill/experience wise.

For newbies, a “Done For You” service can be very helpful. It can save them a lot of time.

I know first hand that finding a niche and just getting the site started is the most difficult part for newbies. It’s something I experienced myself when I first started out in internet marketing, and it’s also the area my students struggle with the most.

The biggest challenge is setting a game plan:

  • What keywords to target.
  • What your first posts should be about.
  • What your site will expand into (the long-term goals).
  • What audience your site is serving.
  • Setting up the site with a professional design, logo, on-site SEO settings, and essential plugins.

For me, I prefer to research and plan all of this out myself. I feel my experience and knowledge gives me an edge over others in this area.

I feel that my ability to pinpoint exactly what my competition is lacking in, and knowing clearly how to stand out against them, is something very important to the success of any site I create.

But not only are these things what give me my edge, it’s also how I determine which niche to target next (the more areas I can notice competitors lacking in, the more confident I’ll be in being able to dominate that niche).

Being able to notice these “holes” in your niche, and understanding how they can be filled by your own site is an advantageous (I’ll even say essential) skill to develop if you’re going to succeed with growing out sites.

Note that I said develop. Developing these skills can only come from experience, and that comes from building sites on your own.

Now that doesn’t mean that “done for you” sites are a bad idea, and you shouldn’t buy them.

If you’re an intermediate level marketer and site builder, you can really benefit from them. By intermediate I mean that you know the basics of how site building works, and have a good understanding of SEO and your monetization channel.

If you have absolutely zero experience with this stuff, then purchasing a site isn’t a good idea. You won’t have any clue what to do with it after you’ve received it.

For intermediate level marketers, the key is to purchase them not just as a “done for you” site, but moreso as a learning experience.

There are a lot of very smart marketers offering “done for you” sites right now.

And I would say that, more than the site itself, the biggest value in purchasing their service is being able to see exactly HOW they built out the site and WHY.

  • Which keywords did they choose to target first?
  • What did they choose as your brand name?
  • What did they choose as your domain name?
  • Which competitors did they analyze?
  • What about the content they put up for you?
  • What titles did they use?
  • How did they structure their keywords within their titles and paragraphs?
  • How did they implement images into their content? Are they optimized for SEO?
  • How did they monetize the site?
  • Which plugins did they use?
  • Which design/layout of theme did they choose for you?

This is all indirect private training from the world’s best marketers, whoever you purchase the “done for you” site from.

They might not list and describe every strategy they used to put up your site, but you can notice and analyze for yourself. And you can copy their methods for future sites you create, giving you a much better understanding of what to do.

Honestly, the price that most marketers charge for their “done for you” sites is way too cheap in my opinion.

In fact, here’s a note to marketers selling “done for you” sites:

Raise your prices. A LOT.

And add in this training component alongside it because it really is the biggest value that your service is delivering. And it’s what will help your customers the most.

Anyways, that’s my point of view on it 🙂 Hope it helped.

Chris Lee has been making a full-time income from online businesses since 2013. He blogs at RankXL and writes about grinding online trying to exploit what I’m good at to create a lucrative passive income. The blog there is excellent and I’ve been a fan for a while.

Ken Muise from Content Ken

Ken Muise from Content Ken

Got an Extra $14k Just Laying Around?

Yeah.  $14k.

That’s the current, cheapest website right now on Empire Flippers’ marketplace.  That’s a big chunk of money.  Actually, to be exact, the price of the site is $13, 910.43

But…It’s already making money!

Sure.  And at the current $347 monthly revenue you’ll make your money back (and actually be able to say you’re “making money”) in 40 months.

That’s assuming that nothing is done to the site and there is no loss in rankings, traffic, or market demand.  Oh, look at that…it’s in the photography niche.  I’m sure nothing will change in 4 years.  (Sarcasm).

Look, I’m not bashing on Empire Flippers or Flippa’.  It’s a great way for people to invest in websites that are already established.  That is, if you’re an investor and NOT an internet marketer.

Let’s face it, $13.9k is an investment.  And it’s a large gamble.  Particularly if you’re not really keen on all this niche site and affiliate marketing stuff already.

To me, that’s like buying a $14k boat and being terrified of the water and never using it.  Smart, right? (Wow…more sarcasm, Ken?)

I’ve never bought a site from Empire Flippers. I have, though, bought from Flippa’.

I like to build and grow sites. I treat niches and review sites like a homegrown, family business.  Not a Dow Jones stock.

Some of the website that I buy turn out ok.  Others have done the “Flippa’ flop”.  Zilch.

Nada.

As Charles Barkely might say, “They were tuuuurrrrible”.

Risk vs Reward

So, why have someone build a niche site for you?

  • Smaller investment. Less risk.
  • Knowledge and control of the business from the beginning
  • Custom made. You pick the niche, keywords, design, images.

Once your website starts making money you can either hold on to it for it consistent income or use a place like Empire Flippers to sell your website for $13.9k.

It’s a matter of risk and reward, to me.  You invest $400 to $800 in a custom-made niche site and you build and nurture your baby from the beginning. OR…you buy someone else’s baby that you may collect on in 4 years….and risk $14k.

Don’t get me wrong…not every site that I make for customers will turn into a winner.

But compare the risks?

In early 2015 I created a website for about…free.

I mean, I paid $7 per month for hosting and about $7 bucks to register the domain.  The theme was around $39.  Plus, I got the EazyAzon plugins for a (don’t quote me) maybe…$47.

That site today is still in my arsenal and I talked about it with Doug here on Niche Site Project.  Since that time it’s grown in revenue and is consistently bringing in around $3k to $4k.  I could sell it on Empire Flippers for around $60 to $80k and it’s already made me $30k.

That’s a $90k to $110k value for a whopping initial investment of about 100 bucks.

Don’t Wanna’ Buy at all?  Learn to Do it Yourself

Doug has an awesome course that will show you exactly how to build a great niche site and get it earning.  Sure, it may not work right away but think about the experience and knowledge you’ll be getting.  So, you try again.  And again.  Until you find a method that works for you!

It’s the whole “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”. Or something like that.  That’s gotta’ be pretty close, though…

Matt Diggity did an interview recently on Lion Zeal (by Daryl Rosser) where he likened it to planting trees.  Not every tree you plant is growing to grow up big and strong.  Some won’t make it.  Other will be okay.  Some will throw shade on a mountain!

The same goes for websites…  Some won’t make it.  Other’s will bring money in but not much.  Other’s will pay the mortgage.

For a 6-step process on how I build my Amazon Review sites, you can grab my free eBook.

Ken Muise blogs at Content Ken and is an up-and-comer in the internet marketing niche. He was featured on Niche Site Project as a success story.

Conclusion

I knew this coming in: There isn’t a clear answer.

You have to look at whether you have more time or money.

You have to look at yourself and decide if you want to tinker, learn, and struggle from square one.

Or, maybe you’re building a portfolio of sites and you have a bankroll to get started. For me, I definitely want to build my own sites.

Links to all the sites

Other links & helpful resources:

What do YOU think?

I want to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me:

  1. What you think about Done-For-You Niche Sites?
  2. If you’re in the market and have a question about them, this is the place to ask and get real, honest feedback.

And if you’ve bought a Done-For-You Niche Site, how did it go? Was it worth the money?

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11 comments… add one
  • Done for you sites all the damn way!

    The confidence that comes from owning such a site is enough recipe for success. Plus there is the ‘value of investment’ factor. The more one invests in a project, especially in terms of money, the more likely it is that they will want to follow through with the project.

    Most done-for-you-site service providers also pack awesome training and support in their products.

  • Jeff

    Very helpful article. Doug’s Conclusion is an excellent summation. Whether you have money or time, and whether you like to tinker.

    I appreciated the input from all the experts.

  • Mindy

    Wow, such a useful debate/discussion that has really been lacking on the internet till now.
    For anyone reading this, I’m the one that Doug references by way of email-quote in his argument above.
    I’d like to thank Doug for going to the trouble of pulling this information together from such a strong group of contributors. Doug has provided wonderful advice from the start and is always willing to see a different view (hence why he has even been willing to post this debate in the first place).
    I think regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of full done-for-you, through to do-it-yourself, we are spoilt for choice with the panel that has formed this debate.

    Thanks again Doug!

    • Ken

      Great comment, Mindy. It really comes down to preference and situation, I think. As a builder, my first site was a “do it yourself”. Had I known about Doug at the time I may have taken his course.

      Over time I wanted to see how others build and learn that way. So I bought a couple custom builds and a couple pre-made.

      It’s a great way to learn and observe. The BEST thing, though, is that the learning never stops and you can always tweak and test methods. I love that!

  • David

    I have several money making sites under my belt that I built from the ground up.

    I simply do not have the time to create more sites on my own. I also have to deal with employees for my day job…I have zero more interest in dealing with employees for my side projects.

    I am looking for a done for you service to scale. I love the idea of investing profits from existing sites into a couple of new sites every month.

    Biggest hurdle is figuring out who is good and who is crap.

    • Hey David,

      whatever I say will look promotional, and that’s not my intention.

      If you have a budget for it, I’d suggest testing out a couple of different services and figuring out which one’s process suits you best.

      The most important aspect of working with a d4y service provider is trusting their process – and there’s no better way to do that other than testing it out/taking a leap of faith.

      Hope that makes sense.

  • This was fantastic. I appreciate the time and effort that was put into this. Also, the willingness to share.

  • my name is Ronnie Jones and i have a passion for helping people, i am currently working on a website(s) that focus on the Done For You Niche WordPress Websites. This particular site is still a work in progress.Done you services is part of my marketing strategy.
    i want to personally thank the owner of this site and all those who contributed content.I found the information very informative and is looking forward to applying the methods learned here.Thanks in advance.I will keep you posted on my progress to profitability.

    • Ronnie, thanks for your comment.

      But I’ll tell you right here: it’s weak posting a link to your site in your comment when you don’t know the owner of the blog. That’s me, Doug. The affiliate offer you’re pushing on your site is subpar and I don’t expect my sophisticated readers to be interested in it.

      Anyway, good luck.

  • Hey Doug, thanks for the trip down memory lane. In reference to your post about Empire Flippers, I had almost forgot about writing that guest post about buying vs building years ago.

    At the time of writing this comment, now nearly 3.5 years later from the publication of that post I’ll sum up my current feelings based on the two camps I see people in:

    1. You don’t have any money
    2. You have extra money to invest (that you’re willing to lose entirely in a worst case scenario)

    Then there are people that sort of fit in between those camps but keeping it black and white, if you don’t have any money that you can afford to lose congrats your decision is made for you. Go learn how to build websites and to it yourself. That was me 7+ years ago.

    If you have extra money to invest you have the additional option (but not a requirement) of finding the website that best fits your long term objectives. Are you looking to have something you can build on and just don’t want to work from scratch? Are you looking to sit back and ride out the cash flow for as long as possible?

    I’ve met buyers that have done both approaches and it really just depends on what your objectives are.

    I still build from scratch and I have still continued to buy. Since that article was first published 3.5 years ago I later sold a site for over $40k that I bought for ~$15k for example (but even that was like 2 years ago). I haven’t bought recently as I’ve been more focused on the businesses I do have right now.

    For the long term my goal has always been to try and take on bigger challenges, projects etc and so far I’ve been having a lot of fun doing that too.

    Great read

  • I have several pre-loaded websites for about a year. No sales at all, Amazon and Click-bank ads. I’ve talked or emailed various sources for help but all are too expensive. Traffic programs I bought are mostly increasing the bounce rate, one website is now at <99.96. I did some FB ads until the ad account was deactivated.

    This article is interesting and confusing.

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