Hit a gusher!

It’s been a busy but a good week for me, raised some money, sold some domains & more importantly bought a few websites which are (touch wood) exceeding expectations.

It was only 1 to 2 years ago that I thought although late to the party I should try and do whatever it takes to get a couple of great generic UK domain names, preferably on a budget and with a bit of luck, plenty emails and perseverance I got TVs & PCs & quite a few others.

Over the last 12 months my Adsense income took a pounding, other income levels remained good so while paying the bills was in hand I wasn’t as comfortable as I had been in the previous few years, so I decided early this year that I really needed to raise some funds and get some established sites, starting from scratch sucks, it’s not something I am good at and I am impatient. Also looking at my overall portfolio I have a good couple of earning sites, some good generic domains but really most of the income was still was coming from one or two sources leaving me feeling vulnerable.

I mentioned before I raised funds so really the last few weeks, and weeks to come, are about going shopping, I have acquired lists of websites from various sources, I won’t go into that now as I am still doing it, but it’s simple enough. I paid Ryan to knock up a script so I can sit and using frames click & load up each homepage one by one. It’s not complicated, it’s not exciting and just like when I research domain names you always get a nagging feeling it’s a waste of time because others must have done this before. Not always so, when emailing I have had responses like “I’ve never thought of selling”. Preferably I am looking for sites not polished, possibly neglected or under monetised. I guess for the most part I use gut instinct as soon as a homepage loads as to my interest, in 2000 sites I have browsed recently I have probably sent around 50 emails.

3 sites have been bought this week, one of which I will mention today. The site is animal info, a great informative website built over ten years detailing endangered animals throughout the world. This site really appealed, I have added adlinks at the top & analytics for tracking, it’s pretty much a plain text website with no design and loads of great information. It was also (seemed like) a long time in coming, my first email to the previous owner was on 4th April which received an immediate reply and negotiations went well from $5000 offered blind to an agreement at $10,000 USD for the site & domain, I never asked for stats as the site had not been updated in 2 years. The real delay came about as the seller didn’t want to use Escrow & didn’t want to give me his bank details, I had to get a bankers draft (cashiers check) made up in USD which took a week and then send through FedEx to his door. Oh and the owners email address was on the homepage so no complicated tracking down of owner, a simple email and within 6 hours a reply saying yes he would be interested in selling. Still, I was taking a calculated risk sending him the money up front.

The website looked a good buy, I guesstimated around 1000 to 2000 visitors per day, lots of good links and a really good resource, albeit a bit neglected in recent years. As soon as I got the site I used search & replace to put analytics across the site and it’s been a fun ride watching it over the last day or 2, the first part day produced 2600 visitors, more than I had envisaged, the next full day it had 5710 visitors and yesterday it had over 7000 visitors!

Wow! a real gusher when it comes to traffic, very exciting, I guess a good question to ask would be how much would you have paid for that website blind? Would you have paid $10k? The real value of an old established site with great content shows through when you look up the keywords, yesterday search sent 6,215 total visits via 4,108 keywords. That’s an awesome site, just like prime generic domain names these sites which were built over a decade and many of which now lie neglected won’t sit around forever, again just like generic domains there is a period of opportunity right now to offer a fair amount of money for something you can’t replicate anytime soon.

My plans for the site are not completely agreed upon, the site could be expanded to cover all info on animals and not just rare one’s, I have people willing to write for it, I guess the biggest concern for now will be getting it into a CMS, should I get a shared header,left, right & footer or should I get the site somehow put into a database CMS like wordpress for future posting/adding content. I’m not sure, if you have any ideas please let me know or if you think you could convert it into a manageable site for me for a fee then please get in touch with your thoughts & pricing. I think it’s clear from the traffic and the fact the biggest keyword brings in under 100 visitors that this site could be a big enough project to keep me going for some time.

Apart from that I bought a game site that gets 2000 visitors per day also bought for $10,000, it earned $40 yesterday so with any luck it could pay itself back in one year, I also have an offer on a hobby/information site which would get 1000-2000 visitors per day which could be a great little ecommerce or affiliate site. I think I am well on my way to achieveing the portfolio that I am aiming for, to offer more stability and enough to keep me busy on for some time to come, but ultimately maintenance free sites that earn a good living so that I can enjoy the summer and work as hard as I want to when I want to.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. In your experience what is the best way to monitize sites such as the animal site? By it’s nature it’s not a product based site and is very niche and not a site I that would instantly jump out and scream cashcow at me. Is adsense a good option or is selling advertising banner space another approach to take?

    • Also may I add it looks like a good find but needs a lick of paint I think. As a fan of wordpress I’d go with your idea of using wordpress as a CMS to make future site development easier. I’ve not had much experience with other systems like Joomla so don’t know whether they’d be a better solution.

      • Just got to be careful when switching to a CSS such as WordPress that it doesn’t adversely affect your rankings.

        I have seen a couple of blog posts where just changing the WP template impacted a sites SERPS.

        May be worth it in the long term for the SEO benefits and ease of management at the expense of a short term drop in revenue.

        • I suppose there is the saying that if it’s not broken don’t fix it, but if the project is going to be long term then the risks would need to be weighed up and assessed. Can a short term dip in SERPS be justified for long term goals?

    • It’s traffic seems to go up n down with the summer holidays so seems more a research site which figures so lately the earnings have been lower around £5-£10 per day, most sites that don’t have any obvious products/services are best monetised with Adsense for me, tried other things but with little sustainable/reliable results. The game website I bought at the same time also for £6500 earns around £30 per day so between the 2 of them they will have repaid within 12 months and should earn me around £14k a year for a £13k investment.

      • What would you value those sites at now Scott?
        Based on the income what would you be happy to sell them for?

        Looking at the stats and revenue, they look like a bargain!

        • Personally a zero maintenance well established and linked to site would be worth 3 years income to me and I know I could get it if I were tempted to sell, but they are not that easy to replace, I know many others value sites in the 12-24 months bracket though.

      • £14k a year isn’t to be sniffed at and once your initial investment has been returned then its all money in the bank

  2. The way i see it, the downside to seeing this as an investment is that n 5 years Googles algorithm may change, competitors may encroach and the income may be hit by such things BUT if you were to offer any serious investor 100% over 3 years at what is a pretty low risk investment – they would snap your hand off.

    They would then have the asset to hold or sell, possibly at a better price.

    Cant argue with it, cant beat it really.

  3. Scott, traffic is lower during the summer for a lot of websites. In fact Google does most of their large scale testing of new code, such as the upcoming Caffeine update everyone’s talking about, during the summer because they’re not as busy. Matt Cutts said in a video I watched the other day that they like to mess around with stuff during the summer when less people are using the internet.

    Also people in America are back at school this week (some at different times actually but a lot just after Labor Day) and most UK schools are back in now or very soon, which means a lot more hits for factual type sites.

  4. A nice find with the animal site although I’m surprised at how much it cost but if you can recoup your costs quickly then it’ll have been worth the outlay. I like the TV and PC sites.

  5. Do you mind sharing the sort of CPM have you been seeing from the animal site?

    Have you had any success monetising the animal site with any charity affiliate programs?

    • No joy with the charities, the animal site makes around £14($22) per day just now. The games website also bought for $10,000 has just finished paying itself back in full.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I’m experiencing similarly low cpm on a pet site.

    I guess though that even if the animal site doesn’t pay for itself within the year combined with the games site you’ll have your total investment back within 12 months.

  7. Even at $22 a day it is still 100% in 15 or so months – great investment comparatively.
    For the games site to have paid itself off already is pretty amazing – why on earth did the previous owner sell it so cheap or have you increased the income a heck of a lot???

    Any chance you can give us the URL of the games site – I´m having a very slow afternoon here in Spain – yawn…

  8. Sent you an email Andy, income is up for the games site.

  9. ditigalass says:

    It seems any animal wildlife name domain that was created by hobbyists in the past then left to dry up is always a good investment. I picked up a few with established nitche followings that are return well. Sports wildlife gaming is an area I expect to explode more because of the proliferation of geocentric apps and lower bandwith costs. If you have knowledge of linux, own server access and can take time with Drupal and other 2.0 dare I say 3.0 tecnology its money in the bag..
    The investment of money is low-the time however and the technical knowhow to keep overhead low is the X factor..
    Buf if you lose track of time tinkering under the hood then you know its not all that bad

  10. wow i can’t believe you own pcs.co.uk and tvs.co.uk. That’s really impressive, I’m sure it wasn’t cheap tho…

  11. Wow, what a find with tvs.co.uk! I cant believe you found those…

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