It's been a difficult few months.
Two things have had the biggest impact. Lockdown and Amazon's decision on 21st April to reduce affiliate commissions by up to 60%.
I began to sweat when I ran the numbers. Amazon accounts for roughly 84% of my affiliate revenue.
What could I do?
I suppose I could give up, sell my portfolio and move on.
But I decided to take my own advice from when I bought a website the first time. Pivot and Diversify.
Let's expand on that first.
Operation: Pivot & Diversify
On April 14th 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, the start of the season for my two biggest niche websites, Amazon throws a spanner into the works.
This would affect me and millions of other online business owners worldwide.
Check out the fixed commission rates prior to April 21st, 2020:
And now, here it is:
See what I mean? That's a 60%+ drop I'm now experiencing.
And Amazon made the announcement a week before the changes went live. Thanks Mr Bezos!
Anyway, I won't cry about it. Instead, I planned to pivot and diversify.
This would involve me investing in a new property and getting involved in another monetisation method.
And what better than ecommerce?
It's estimated that there will be 2 billion global digital buyers in 2020.
That's a lot of potential customers.
This number is growing rapidly and is expected to hit 2.14 billion by 2021. Check this graph out.
My key takeaway: More and more people are shopping online, year-on-year. You could say there's never been a better time to start an online store, or in my case, buy an existing online store.
eCommerce is something I'm comfortable with. I've used every eCommerce platform except BigCommerce. Also, I've been in several eCommerce based roles since 2014.
Truth be told, I'm not buying this website for its eCommerce success. I'm an SEO, Im buying this for its traffic value and potential to target an extremely tight niche. Such a niche is perfect for affiliate sponsorships too, which hasn't been tested yet.
On that note...
What Website Niche?
For anyone who wants to learn more about what a niche website is, here's my definition:
A niche website is a blog that targets a particular interest, topic or theme that is common to a narrow audience. Using strategic keyword research, a niche site offers its visitors helpful and high-quality content that aims to answer a question or solve a problem common to this target audience.
Back to the website in question.
Look, my advice has and always will be pick a niche you are passionate about. It makes content creation a much easier, natural process.
And I've done that before. I'm passionate about gadgets and smart home technology, so I picked a technology review based website, it was one of my first big acquisitions.
This time it's different, it's in the "hen do" niche. For American readers, this is the equivalent to a Bachelorette Party. Which is bonkers.
What would I know about hen do's? Not a lot. But my fiancée had her hen do and since we've had to postpone our wedding to next year she's planning #hentwo.
Now that that's out of the way. Let's look at the website stats..
Here's a screenshot from Flippa (the marketplace I'm buying the website on).
This is the bottom line, so what did it for me?
Here's a few thoughts:
- Profit: Ultimately, it's making $925 or £725 (roughly) per month.
- Platform - All good. WordPress is my preferred platform and is great for SEO.
- Financials - I've analysed the latest financials to mid-2020. It looks good.
- Traffic - 826,581 page views in 2019. People spent over 20,000 hours on the content. Awesome.
- Site Age - 8 years. Fantastic from an SEO point of view.
- Brandability - The domain name, I'll disclose to subscribers. Highly brandable.
What's missing from the above screenshot is the price.
Given the current climate (coronavirus lockdown), reduced financials and the seller's willingness to sell I was able to bring the listing price down by 66%.
Also, having looked at Google Analytics for the past 8 years there is was a strong seasonal correlation. The majority of the revenue was and is generated on the first six months of the year.
Makes sense right?
This section isn't exhaustive. There's a lot more to it than this.
I'll feature the 'behind the scenes' in detail about different strategies and approaches in my newsletter.
Forewarning, this part is heavily focused on organic growth strategies (SEO), given it's the predominant channel.
These are the stats for the domain I've just bought.
In a nutshell, it's a nice aged domain. It has a good track record and 8 year relationship with Google. No penalties and recognised as an authentic brand.
Here is a graph showing the distribution of organic positions.
From the chart, the website in question has the following organic keyword positions on Google Search:
- Positions #1 - 3: 684
- Positions #4 - 10: 836
- Positions #11 - 100: 4,468
While there has been a decline in recent years this is a website with solid organic traction that I'm happy to invest in.
Unfortunately, we're not talking about baked goods here. Let me expand.
- Protect: the most valuable source of traffic in keyword positions 1 - 3 needs to be protected and sustained.
- Improve: keywords in positions 4 - 10 are still on page 1. With small improvements they have potential to move.
- Expand: Develop and expand into narrower search query intents. Build out medium and long-tail keywords.
Using Ahrefs, I will be looking at my domain competitors and what they are ranking for.
If they are catering to the same audience, it makes sense that we will be going after the same terms.
What is appealing is the low keyword difficulty on quite a few terms.
The website was purchased in May 2020. Not only is the high-season over, lockdown is still in place at the time of writing.
I'm going to be realistic about my revenue expectations, I will sustain as much as possible but will be preparing for the next season.
Let's look at my three of my main goals.
Increase Organic Traffic by 50% in 6 months
Current: 17,000 sessions average per month
Target: 25,500 sessions average per month
Grow Social Following by 30% in 12 months
The social media channels that come with the website are one of its biggest assets and they cannot stagnate. Here are my targets.
Facebook: 34,768 followers +30% = 45,198 followers target
Instagram: 26,300 followers +30% = 34,190 followers target
Twitter: 2,680 followers +30% = 3,484 followers target
Also, there is no Pinterest profile which is perfect for this niche. So that will be actively grown too.
Publish New Content Every 2 Weeks
Consistency is key to success here. I plan on publishing new content on the new domain every fortnight.
All new content will be high quality, unique and helpful (at least 1,000 words).
I will include a content calendar template in my newsletter.
I have a few other goals that I will share in upcoming posts, so stay tuned.
Wrap Up & Discussion
I hope my post has helped you to understand why I've just invested again.
Now I'd like to turn it over to you:
What was your favourite part from this post?
Perhaps you're inspired to invest yourself? (Tell me!)
Or maybe you have an excellent piece of content that you think I should add.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.