Over the last 21 months, I have been building a website from scratch off of an existing domain that is over 10 years old. In this article, I’m going to be detailing for you exactly how many posts I’ve published, how much I’ve made as well as whether or not this has been worth it. This is just one of many websites that I run. However, it’s one, that’s demonstrated a lot of great growth potential, and I think it has some great lessons as well that I prepared for you today.
Overview of the website
Digging right in, I wanted to give you a high level overview of this domain before it came into my hands. I noticed digging through some expired domains a few years ago that this website was just laying dormant and that the owner had failed to renew the website even though it had been in existence for several years. In fact, it was over a decade or so. And what I noticed was that this website was specifically very peculiar because it actually had a ton of great backlinks already to the site.
In fact, when I dug into the backlink profile of this particular expired domain, I noticed that there were even links to websites like the New York Times, which are super reputable. And I knew that if I were to just create a high quality website that I could probably start to rank really well, just because of this site’s existing backlink profile. So from there, what I did was I reached out to the guy on Twitter and essentially negotiated a deal to buy the domain name off of him.
After a few back and forth, in terms of negotiations, we transferred the actual domain rights to me. And then from there, I went about starting to build out my strategy.
My approach building this site
Overall, when it comes to building these sorts of niche sites, it’s one in the same for me which is I always like to go for long tail keyword phrases, build up domain authority and relevance, and then consistently publish content over long periods of time.
So what this meant for me was I wanted to publish at least 10 posts every single month for about a year. See how the site did and then see from there, whether or not I wanted to continue investing in the site. So that’s pretty much what I did. I had a team of three to five writers at a time working on this website.
And let’s go ahead and dig into take a look at some of the results that we’ve seen on this particular website. So digging right in the first few, I want to show you the page views per month for this particular website. You’ll notice that I started this website somewhere around early 2020. It didn’t really have content coming up. But over time in the last 21 months, I’ve effectively grown this website to getting around 30,000 page views every single month, which is really healthy growth. And I think that this will continue to grow because I’ve actually started to invest more and more in content on this site.
So you’ll notice that it wasn’t a direct up into the right path as well. And this is something I want you guys to remember when you’re building your own websites. It’s not something what you always expect the graph to always go up into the right. In fact, sometimes there are some deeps along the way. You can see that there was a deep here in the first year. So just going from August to October, but you’ll notice that this also kind of told me some things about the niche that I was in, that I kept in mind in the future when I started to look ahead to the next year.
There was a little bit of a deep here so I knew I’d expect this little dip to potentially be momentary or fleeting when it came around the next time around. So understanding exactly what niche you’re operating in is really important for you regardless of what space you’re working in.
The next thing I wanted to show you is the revenue per month. So what you’ll notice is that I didn’t really monetize the site into a few months in of publishing content. However, for the most part in the first year or so of its lifetime, I didn’t really make much money from this site. In fact, I made less than a hundred dollars for the bulk of the time period in the first few months.
But what you’ll notice is that in the tail end of this graph, you’ll notice that this has absolutely been going on a hockey stick growth curve. In fact, in the latest month of October, I made over $400 from this website and that’s only growing as we start looking ahead to the months ahead as well.
I’m showing you this graph because I want you to remember that nothing comes overnight. This is something in which it’s taken 21 months to reach the point where this site is making $400 a month. And so this is something in which it requires commitment over long periods of time, and you shouldn’t be expecting some sort of magical result within your first year of publishing.
Sometimes people do get those results, but that’s not something that is typical. It’s more of an atypical result. The third graph I wanted to show you guys is the publication by month. So pretty much since the onset of this site, I have been releasing content on a regular monthly schedule with the exception of a few months in the middle where I had tables this project, because I wanted to see how the first hundred or so posts went in terms of their ranking.
So you notice in terms of my content strategy, when I was first starting out on this website, I was pretty much publishing 30 plus posts every single day. So for the first three months, you’ll notice that I’m pretty sure pretty much publishing at the velocity of about a post every single day. I was just running up my content because I was starting from zero.
And then over time I started to stabilize, whereas releasing maybe 10 posts a month or so. And then I actually took that little break because I wasn’t sure if this site was actually going to turn it around and that’s something in which when you’re building a niche site, it’s helpful to sometimes just let your content age because then you can see whether or not it’s worth it for you to continue investing in that site.
Or if potentially that niche is going to be too competitive for you to actually get some meaningful traffic around. And then you’ll notice that over the last few months, I’ve essentially started picking things back up mainly because again, I just wanted to start to reinvest in the site as we started to see an uptick in terms of the overall traffic.
So what I was looking for overall was I was looking for traffic to grow. I was looking back at this graph and I was looking for an upward trend. And for a while you notice that I didn’t really see that trend. However, over time I started to get a lot more meaningful growth and that’s why I started to reinvest into this site a few months later.
But overall, this is my months to publish rate, and just to give you some overuse as to the lifetime stats at this point in time, this site has over 250 posts on an average basis, even including the months where I was publishing nothing. I averaged 12 posts a month, which is a little bit under a post every other day.
But essentially in the trailing 12 months, I have been averaging 20,000 page views for this particular domain. And total revenue has been about $1800 with 1100 coming from Ezoic, 630 coming from Amazon affiliates lifetime, and overall I’ve spent about eight grand for the content on this site. So my return on investment to date is actually only 22%.
I haven’t even made back my money. However, I’m very excited about this project. And I’ll explain to you exactly why in the next slide.
Current Market Valuation of the Site
Where things got really interesting is in the up into the right curve in the last few months, just looking at the month of November, I’m on pace to make $750 from this lay ads alone on this website that doesn’t include Amazon affiliate or other affiliate programs, and also doesn’t include any info products I might sell in the future. And then what’s really powerful is just thinking about the concept of if I were to sell this site now.
It has a clear uptrend, it has a healthy domain in which there’s no bad backlinking, it’s all organically built and it’s on a really old existing domain. And what that means is that it could probably command a pretty decent multiple. In fact, right now when sites are being sold, they’re being from anywhere from 45 to 50 times multiples at times. And so what that means is that you can take how much a site is making on a monthly basis multiply that number by 45 and that’s essentially what the sale price is going to be.
So just taking an example here, what I’ve done is I’ve mapped out for you guys, an example of what it might be based off just some different averages of the monthly revenues. If, for example, this site were to sell at the average revenue point of $300 a month, then that would mean that 13.5K would be the sale price.
If it were $450 a month, it would be about 20K. If we were $600 a month, 27K and then $750 a month, it would be close to 34K using a 45 times multiple. And the reason why that’s really powerful is because of what it helps you realize is that even though I’m only 20 something percentage ROI, when it comes to the actual revenue, I’ve realized today that if I were to sell this site today at its current valuation, we’d be looking at something in which pretty much even using a really low baseline multiple, I am still profitable and up for the amount of time that I’ve been investing in this website.
Just to help you understand this, I’m going to break down each of these points. If I were to sell the site based off of a $300 a month multiple. So in other words, for 13.5K and then include all of my lifetime revenue from display ads, as well as Amazon affiliate and not even include my November revenue as well, that would mean that I would get a 90% return on my money, which on a monthly basis for the 21 months means that I’ve been making 4.29% online money for that entire time period.
If on the other hand, I were to be selling at a higher multiple. So for example, at the $600 a month, then what that would mean is that it would actually result in a 259% return on my investment in which over a 21 month period, that would mean that I have earned about 12% on my money every single month.
And that is really powerful because essentially what it shows you is that it’s not an actually the amount of revenue I’m making today, but actually in the inherent value or the equity of the website that really provides the upside to the owner. So that just goes to show you that even though you might have invested a few thousand dollars into a website and you haven’t really made back your money yet, you can still make a lot in the long-term as long as you just keep running your website, as long as you keep investing your website, building up the equity so that it becomes inherently more valuable.
Now that said, I can give you another case study example of which it’s a website that I’ve largely continued to build upon it. It hasn’t really broken past a plateau and that situation it’s something in which I’m just continuing to add cost. However, what that website’s doing on the flip side of things is it’s slowly making more money to the point where it will eventually break even.
In fact, this website alone would break even if I were to just add no content and then continue to take in the gradual revenue that’s generating every single month.
Some mistakes I’ve made when building this site
So hopefully now you have a better understanding of how lucrative building websites can be. Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes that I’ve made along the way with building this website, though, that I wanted to recap for you guys.
The first thing that I think that I made a mistake on was not consistently publishing every single month. I took that break in the middle because I honestly started losing faith that this project could turn it around. I had already invested around four grand or five grand at that point. And I was not seeing ROI. I was making a hundred dollars every single month and the traffic trend was also not very good.
And so it was something in which I needed to see that hockey stick or that inflection point in the curve in order to have the confidence and the conviction to invest further into this website.
The second mistake I made along the way was I didn’t actually maximize my Ezoic earnings along the way until a few months ago. You’ll notice that there was a big jump when it came to my revenue in the last few months. And that was simply because I had Ezoic review my website and the placeholders for the website. And what they realized was that I wasn’t having a nearly as many placeholders as I could. And so by simply increasing the number of ads I had on my website and properly aligning the full entirety of my website she was old standards I was able to drastically increase the revenue per day on this particular domain.
And then the third thing that I would say I made a mistake on was I didn’t start building my email list from day one. If I had started building my email list from day one, I really would’ve probably made more money because I could have released an info product or it could be just converted that traffic way more intentionally in terms of an email list. But I recently just started introducing that email list, and since then, I’ve already been building up that email base, which will give me just another avenue for me to either drive more page views back to the website or to drive them towards some sort of product that I built myself.
Was it worth it?
So you probably already know the answer to this question, but in case you didn’t, I want to hammer it home, which is, was it worth it? Absolutely. In the last 21 months, I’ve learned a lot by just entering an entirely new niche. Previously, my other niches were in completely unrelated spaces. And so here was a case where I was taking an expired domain and building it back up from the ground, pretty much like a rising Phoenix.
And then the other thing that’s been really valuable for me is that I’ve been able to hire a ton of people as writers, as well as as assistants to give them continuous work over the last 20 months. Sure, I haven’t made my ROI to date in terms of actual money in from the website, however, I haven’t just the equity itself and the website and in the satisfaction of knowing that I’m able to give people different side hustle income, or even just primary income in terms of some of the work that I have available for them.
And then the last reason why it’s really worth it to me is because the site is growing. The trends are all up into the right. This month it’s going to be a big month of growth as well. And so what this allows me to do is to really evaluate whether or not it’s time to double down on this website or potentially exit at a local maximum so that somebody that is even more experienced can take over and grow it from here.
From this quick, deep dive though into one of my websites, I hope you guys can notice from both seeing the upside as well as the mistakes I’ve made along the way that it’s okay if you don’t get it right the very first time. Sometimes you’re not going to be able to tackle everything you want for your website.
What’s more important is to make sure that you’re continuing to build your website if you still care about it. And in the case where you don’t, then potentially sell your website. It’s not a big deal. If you decide to move on from a project as well. But overall, the key takeaways when it comes to learnings at the high level for the positives are consistently release content, make it high quality and look at what the data’s telling you.
In the case where the data’s starting to show you that there is a positive trend line forming that is the time to double down your content and see where it takes you.
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