I decided to sell one of my niche websites. The decision to sell a website is a tough one!
Should I go for a big payday right now?
Or should I stay on the ship and ride out the journey?
To end the suspense, you can tell from the title of the post that, Yes, I sold the site. (Learn how to create an affiliate niche site using Amazon Associates program.)
The website that I am talking about is what I have referred to as Niche Site #2. That I have referenced in a couple posts already: here.
Overall the website generated about $10,400 in profit about 5 months. Let’s review the full breakdown.
Selling the Site
Monthly Earnings Dec 2013
Monthly Earnings Jan 2014
Monthly Earnings Feb 2014
Monthly Earnings Mar 2014
Monthly Earnings Apr 2014
Link Building from the HOTH
Listing Fee with Empire Flippers
Broker’s Commission for Empire Flippers (15% of the sale price)
I am thrilled at the net profit on this site. It turned out to be a very good earner month over month. There is some very good potential for this site in the coming months too. I hope the new owner has great success with it.
As you can see, the majority of the expenses are directly related to selling the site. In the future, the $297 listing fee will be reduced to only $97 which is a great way to reduce the costs in the future when I list with Empire Flippers.
If you want to learn about how to create a website like the one I sold, be sure to check out the Niche Site Process.
When was the site started?
I started the site in September of 2013. I actually purchased the domain in August — it took me a bit to get started.
There was a minimal amount of content from September to October. I did a small amount of link building in the first six weeks or so. Traffic was pretty much non existent until November. I was very busy during those months working on other projects…I was actually focusing on another money site as well as my book.
In late November I started to work on this website again. In December, the traffic and sales started.
What is the keyword volume?
I can’t be too specific to protect the new owner since I sold the site. However I can say that there were less than 1000 searches per month for the keyword that generates the most traffic. (Use my how can you improve your keyword search results guide)
What is the keyword competitiveness value from Long Tail Pro Platinum?
Again, to protect the new owner I can’t be too specific about the details. I can reveal that the keyword competitiveness number is between 20 and 30.
Where did the content come from?
All of the content was outsourced through both TextBroker and oDesk. I did clean up the writing to make it flow better as well as adding some details.
How much time did you spend on the site?
I do a poor job keeping track of the exact amount of time that I spent. But if I had estimate, it was somewhere between 40 and 50 hours total.
How many links does the site have?
There are quite a few links to the website. Again, to protect the new owner, I will be vague. There are somewhere between 10 and 200 backlinks. You can assume a certain number of links from the HOTH, plus I am a proponent of blog commenting, so you can draw some conclusions there as well.
Did you use a Private Blog Network (PBN) for link building?
Yes, PBN was used for link building. You’ll also notice in the expenses that a HOTH package was used for some of the base link building. I can say with confidence that the main improvement in rankings are directly related with the PBN backlinks.
Why would I sell when the income is growing? It was certainly a tough decision.
I believe the site is very much on the rise. Like many retail based search terms, the search volume as reported by the Google trends is nearly at a low point for the year. The retail season usually starts picking up in October and really shows an increase of exact match searches from October to December over the last several years.
In other words the site has a huge of potential for later in the year. So why would I sell it?
There are a couple reasons…
I’ve never sold the site before and I think that’s probably a very good experience to be familiar with.
In addition, selling the site allows me to obtain 17 months of earnings right away. Obtaining, this income have time is going to allow me to expand more quickly through outsourcing.
I sold my site through Empire Flippers (a review will follow soon!). Empire Flippers fully vet a site before they accept it into their marketplace and require very thorough background information. These tips come directly from dealing with Empire Flippers but should apply no matter how you sell your site.
The main thing is to ensure all of the content is original. For me that was no issue since all of the content was originally written through contractors that I hired myself.
This includes traffic numbers revenue, and other details. Because I was very organize the process was quite sent and it didn’t take very long to complete my application with Empire Flippers.
I also had a pretty good idea about how much time I was spending on the site each week and month. Thankfully, it was a minimal amount of time which is far more attractive to potential buyers.
Having good backlinks is very important regardless of who you sell your site with — even if you’re selling yourself.
You will need to be able to speak confidently about where the backlinks came from. Of course, the reason is because new owner does not want to have a website that will drop in the rankings after purchasing it. Sure, high quality backlinks don’t guarantee anything but it does add a level of confidence for the potential buyers.
Again, because I was well organized it no problem to explain the backlink profile and speak intelligently about the relative security of the backlink profile.
I have the added benefit of Private Blog Network…and it’s really private too.
Overall, I’m thrilled that I sold my first website. It was a pretty quick process from the initial evaluation by Empire Flippers to the actual sale.
The website is still in the process of being transferred and the funds have not officially been released into my account. I expect that will happen within the next 7 days.
Everything went so well that I fully expect that I will sell another website this year!
Have you sold a website? If so, let me know how your experience was.
Do you have any tips to offer?
Comments on this entry are closed.
Congratulations Doug! It seems like it was probably a good time for you to sell, and a good time for the buyer as well. Also, cool to see you went with Justin and the gang over at Empire Flippers. From what I’ve seen, they seem to do a great job at quality control and making sure buyers and sellers get what they are looking for. Thanks for sharing all of this!
Hey Joey –
Thanks! It’s been good working with the crew at Empire Flippers. They do a great job.
Wow – great news for you! Nicely done… take those profits and invest in your virtual real estate I’m sure! Thanks for sharing this experience! I’ve been looking for some link building help and may have to look into the Hoth packages. Guess you would recommend them right?
Hey Crystal – Thanks! I think the HOTH does a great job with the initial link building. I have some other suggestions too – shoot me an email and I can recommend something specific depending on what your situation is.
Hi Doug! Thanks for the reply! I’ll definitely shoot you an email later tonight! I’d love your feedback. I’ve been following along since I was introduced to you via Spencer Haws. I definitely need to improve my link building arsenal!
Very interesting Doug! Crickey, at this stage I just want to get my first site earning well so I can be confident to biild more. The thought of selling sites hasn’t even crossed my mind yet 🙂
I’m excited though as I just recently bought my first expired domain and also got feedback from Jon about 5 domains he’s found me so far. So now I’ve got to learn how to set them up properly. Got my hosting with the option for additional OP’s but I have no idea how to set that all ip. Then I guess the next thing would be to have a look at the archive files of the domain as well as the backlinks and then redirect those to the page with the highest metrics. Any other advice or tuturials you can recommend perhaps?
Selling has been a really good experience… Congrats on the (new) expired domain there! Jon (Haver) does a fantastic job.
Definitely review Jon’s guide on using expired domains. Lewis from cloudincome.com has a very good guide too: http://www.cloudincome.com/building-private-blog-network/
That’s a great move Doug, you can use that money to create more instead of waiting for it… congrats to your new experienced learned…
Congratulations Doug! I’m going to sell my 1st niche sites too. How long is the process (from listing your site to the marketplace to receiving money)?
Do you intend to build and sell all your new niche sites?
Hi Hieu – Thanks!
Short answer: it can be as fast as 3 weeks or less. However, it might take longer depending on the specifics of the website. It does take a few days to a week+ for Empire Flippers to review the site.
I actually haven’t received the money yet as the buyer is still verifying the traffic and sales. I can say that the site was listed on a Monday and the buyer finalized the intent to purchase on that Friday. I slowed down the process when one of the emails related to the transfer ended up in my spam folder! Oops!
Noted about spam folder :D. I got a problem at the payment step 🙁 Must have a few more days to resolve this. However, it’s very exciting to sell my 1st site.
Good job with the sale Doug. Glad to see it paid off so well! $10k is definitely nothing to scoff at. Time to keep it going 🙂
Hey Josh! Thank you!
This is really a mind blowing news and I’m so happy for you. At least, you can invest that money on some other things and make more dough :).
If i may ask, how many articles did you published on the site before flipping it?
Thanks and, more strength to your elbows.
Hey Theo, thanks! There were less than 25 articles.
Nice work, you have definitely made faster progress than 99% of people that build niche sites a true testament to your attention to detail and process!
Hey Scott – Thanks!
getting my first review of the Hoth done, I used them for the niche site we discussed and only used them for natural anchor text as you suggested…….
Congrats Doug! This is really a very great result and listing in empire flippers would boost the value of your site than listed in other website selling marketplaces.
Hi Suresh – thanks. I think you’re right about Empire Flippers in this case.
Keep building Doug! 🙂 10k always good to have! congrats
Great! 10k is definitely a very nice amount. You can now invest in other projects or even start many new niche sites 🙂
Looking forward to reading your review of Empire Flippers. I would love to read detailed info regarding the whole process!
Hey Roberto – Thank you. It’s been really good dealing with Justin, Joe, and the team there.
Thanks for this update Doug. One of my goals for 2014 is to sell a website – pretty much for the same reasons as you. I just want to familiarize myself with the process and also add to my bottom line for the year by cashing in on potential future earnings up front. I also plan to use the Empire Flippers marketplace. Great stuff man! Congratulations on the sale.
Thanks, Matt. I appreciate it. If you have any questions, you know where to find me.
Great going Doug! The funds will shore you up for outsourcing for sure. Looking forward to the Empire Flippers post, would be very interesting.
Wanted to ask your advice on comments.
1. How do you find blogs to comment. I don’t particularly have a method and just search but find myself taking so much time just to get a few potential sites.. which of course not all will approve. Wanted to get some tips on the finding process.
2. I’m also assuming that when you leave comments it’s just your name, like Doug? Or do you use keywords or other styles (I noticed some comments looking like that).
Hi Winston – Thanks!
1. Use advanced search queries in google. Check this out for ideas: http://www.quicksprout.com/the-advanced-guide-to-link-building-chapter-5/
2. Yes, use a name since it is more likely to get approved.
Great post, and congrats on the sale, Doug!
Quick question: did you get the full asking price, or is it common for buyers to negotiate down on the final price?
Empire Flippers seems like a great service, but 15% is quite steep IMO.
Hi Mike – Thank you.
Yes, full asking price was paid. I don’t think they negotiate so it’s fixed price situation.
15% might be steep for some…however, the price is based on a 20x monthly multiple where the monthly earnings are based on the last 90 days. For me, it was a great opportunity to get 17x on a site that has a very short history.
What other marketplaces would you recommend?
Nice Doug, congrats on this success. A 17x multiple is an awesome return and much better than you would get elsewhere (Flippa etc).
I have recently got back into the niche site game (it was my bread and butter for so long) however I will be outsourcing everything and using my PBN to aid the progress. Once it’s steady i will attempt to sell purely to understand the process and prove to myself the model that you have used here!
Great work, looking forward to the Empire Flippers feature!
Hey Lewis, Thanks a lot. I think 17x is great for a young site. I assume that I’d only be about to get a 8x – 14x on Flippa at the best. Plus, Empire Flippers take care of so much of the backend stuff that it is worth the fee.
Mike, I noticed on your site cost-breakdown, you used the $60 package from the Hoth, but on your resources page, you recommend the Platinum package. Is the $60 package generally sufficient in your perspective? or has your thinking evolved toward using their higher-priced services?
Hey mg1 – actually, it’s “Doug” here. 🙂
Good observation. I used the $60 package from the HOTH and it was my first time working with them. It was a trial job essentially.
So, Yes, I like the Platinum package now since it’s a better value, i.e. more links per dollar.
On this particular site, I actually built many of “base” links (the web 2.0 blogs) by hand. It quite time consuming so I like to use the HOTH Platinum now.
Doug, thanks! I’m going to give the HOTH a try, and will use your affiliate link when I do.
Thanks! I really appreciate it!
I’m looking forward to a thorough HOTH review on the site. In particular, about how many links they build for you, and what the quality of them truly is.
Are these more base links with little juice, or do they actually have some PA behind them?
Wanted to ask you something about redirecting the old URLs of an expired domain to get the most out of the expired domain. I read from both Jon (Haver) and Lewis (Ogden) that it important that you identify the old URLs from archive.org and do 301 redirects from the old URL to the new URL.
My question is how is this done. I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but I have no idea whatsoever.
Hope you can explain and maybe link to a video or tutorial?
Hi Winston – good question. You can do it a few ways:
– use a 301 plugin to redirect all 404 errors to the homepage
– manually edit the .htaccess file
– edit the .htaccess file using an SEO plugin (like the one by Yoast)
Google 301 redirects and you’ll see it’s just one line of code in most cases. It’s an advanced topic but it’s pretty simple to implement.
Just to clarify, the 3 points you placed, are they 3 different ways (each of which work on their own), or are they 3 steps that work together?
Sorry newb question.
Just wanted to say thanks!
This post actually motivated me to put one of my niche sites on sale with Empire Flippers. I’m currently waiting for the buyer to verify everything and I’m just wondering how long it took for you to receive the funds from the sale? It’s been 10 days since the transfer and everything is in the hands of the buyer right now. All the other posts I’ve seen on Empire Flippers puts the average time from transfer to payout at around 7 days and I’m starting to get worried…
Hi @disqus_C36ZtKJUMB:disqus – It was just about 7 days for me too. It might just be that the seller is busy this time of year.
Have you sent them an email to see if everything is okay? They might just need to check to make sure that sales are being made and then they’ll release the funds for you.
Let me know how it turns out.
First off, congratulations! Very nice! I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind:
1. What specific Hoth Package(s) did you use? Did they directly impact your rankings?
2. How much was spent on PBN? How big? (5-10 expired domains?) Direct impact?
3. If you had to choose one, would you choose #1 or #2 to invest in?
Hey Moon, Thank you. Great questions…
1. What specific Hoth Package(s) did you use? Did they directly impact your rankings?
I used the Platinum package. Here is how I order my packages…
2. How much was spent on PBN? How big? (5-10 expired domains?) Direct impact?
I used an existing PBN and it was between 20 and 30 links. There was definitely a direct impact.
3. If you had to choose one, would you choose #1 or #2 to invest in?
A PBN, for sure…but it depends on what you are trying to rank. The PBN gives you more power in most cases.
Right now, I am big on the guest posting angle and favor it over PBNs. Managing the PBNs and hosting isn’t very fun and gets to be overwhelming!
Hope that helps! What’s your take Moon? I know you do some Web 2.0s also…
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I’ve done web 2.0 properties (manually mostly) for my own site and when done right, they can grant some nice ranking jumps. Of course it all depends on the competition as well, but I saw some decent jumps.
I have a couple of keyphrases sitting at #20 (just dropped from #13 for some reason, but I’m not worried about a #7 point drop). I don’t want to drop a couple of hundred on a Hoth package if I can do a small PBN and rank my site, y’know? Good SEOs know there are no clear cut answers for us: just keep experimenting away 😉 I think a small PBN it is, for now, with maybe renting a couple good PR 4 ones, if auctions get too expensive in the short term.
Thanks for answering my questions. PS: I have not forgotten about the interview. I’ve had to put things on the backburner for a few months. WIll reach out to you soon 🙂
Sure, Moon. Let me know when you are ready for the interview.
Great report, Doug. I really should get moving on cleaning up some sites I currently am doing nothing with and making them saleable. I wonder ow many others have a whole ‘attic” full of old sites, LoL.
Got a kick out of the comment on Empire Flippers 15% commission being “too high”. As you asked as well, I’d say, compared with who else’s commission rate? You can have a site sit for sale for months and months and get nothing for it, or you can pay for proven results and get it sold. There’s no free lunch.
Hi Dave, Thanks for reading the report. It takes a little while to get them in order!
Yeah, 15% is a great price for the service. They are continuously improving, too. I sold the site last year and I know Empire Flippers have tweaked the process for some points to make things go more smoothly.
I’m feeling good to read your excellent article. I know that a niche site takes a time to rank in Google. But you have mentioned that you have created backlinks between 10-200, that’s good. But I think the backlinks creation totally depends on competitor’s site. If those sites have a lot of high-quality backlinks then we have to create backlinks more than that but be careful on quality.
Hi Zahidul, Thanks for the comment! Yes, it takes a while to rank nowadays – up to 6 months or more – for the competitive terms.
I agree totally about the competitors backlinks, too. Excellent point.
After more than one year of selling it how do you see the new owner ranking it? Did it kept the same ranks or decreased?
Was the owner able to make it convert better or something?
It great to read your new experience and Congrats for the new experience. I am building my very first niche site and looking for some good article writing and link building services. Seems you are recommending Hoth for link building. Can suggest some article writter or article writing service provider from where i don’t need to cleanup the articles to publish on my niche site !!
I stumbled on this post a while ago and I bookmarked it for when I was ready to sell a niche site myself.
In my last blogpost however, I thought this article would fit in perfectly. I hope you don’t mind that I linked to it.
Feel free to have a look at the post here: https://nichesiteproject.com/sold-10k/
Thanks again for this awesome piece!
Looking forward to more of your posts!
I have been following you for a while, along with HPD. I love niche sites and I built a few of them as an experiment. They are all on expired/deleted domains. My only problem is I don’t really know what to expect as I started this year.
The site I am linking to from this comment is almost 6 months old and I wrote about 60 posts for it and it is getting 10-30 daily visitors without me touching it. It’s set up as an affiliate site and I so far sold 2 niche sites for HPD as an affiliate. However the earnings are not consistent. I have done no link building, except for some comments, and a guest post. I wrote some long-tail keyword blog posts that are ranking in Google.
My request from you is if you could take a quick look in terms of what the best course of action for me would be – I see that you put considerably less content on your sites than I do and still get more earnings.
Hey Peter, thanks for the support!
Sure, I do some 1-on-1 consulting. Just fill out the form here and we can set something up.
Congratulations Doug Glad to hear that I’m a bit confused between which writer is best if I hire from Textbroker “Author-Level” 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars or 5 stars Please suggest me a good one it will be highly appreciated.
Thanks for sharing this splendid experience.
I’d avoid text broker these days. The quality isn’t great for the prices, and if you get the higher quality content (4 star or 5 star), then it’s super expensive.
Do you have any suggestions for writers at affordable prices?
Go read this, and then try out Upwork.
What! How come every time I look at empire flippers the cheapest website for sale is 30k? I’d like to buy a website on the 10-15k range but cant ever find that price range except in flippa which I don’t trust.
Kathy, I sold my site a couple years ago and Empire Flippers changed their lower price cutoff. I think the cheaper sites, even $30k, sell almost immediately. It’s pretty crazy.
Congrats bro… by the way i wanted to check out your Private blog network course that you were mentioned … well unfortunately the link is not working.. in fact it looks more of parked domain…
Yeah, I need to remove the references to that. It’s an old course and not relevant anymore.
Thanks for this article. I recently sold my first ever website in Flippa fir $2500.
I predicted that after Google released an update that affected my authority that I would end up just leaving the site to fade away.
But after taking a step back from it the site started to recover in traffic terms pretty quickly which lead me to start believing in the quality of the site.
I was working on larger sites and didnt have the time to push this site forward. But it was my first ever website and held a place in my heart. So I decided to sell it. I advertised it with a starting bid of $2500 after 29 days and much interest but no offers I received a bit in the last couple of hours for $2500.
I’m glad someone is going to pick up the site and five it the love it deserves.
I’m sure they’ll do very well out of it.
Got sent here from your email series… I was surprised that it was such an old story, but interesting anyway since I’ve heard you talk about selling in the past.
If you could go back would you still sell?
Also, how many sites do you run these days?
Thanks for all the great content!
Ryan, thanks for checking it out — I need to update the post and email. I’ve sold a couple more sites since then… But yes, I’d still sell it. It was a great learning experience.
Thanks, Doug for the awesome breakdown of the site cost and revenue. I have long notched the idea of starting a nice site project. Each time I’m about to take action, I get discouraged by unidentifiable reasons.
I will take the bull by the horn before the end of 2019.