June 26, 2020

Website Flipping: A ROI Of 382% With Our First Flip

Are you looking to start with website flipping? Buying a site, turning it more profitable and selling it for a higher value than you bought it for? Then you are reading the right post!

We will go through our journey of acquiring our first asset, growing it and flipping it for $10,000. Enjoy!

Why we want to try website flipping?

A good chunk of our buyers are website flippers, so getting into their shoes ourselves and understanding all possible problems that might occur, or things we can lift off their shoulders, is a huge gain for us.

We wanted to get a better understanding of what challenges our buyers have when they are website flipping: what are the big obstacles that we can help with to ease their workload?

That's why we bought a site for $1,200 just to get a taste of it ourselves.

Ok, you're right. We also wanted to make some good money.

We want to get more experience in flipping websites since we are usually only focused on building and growing websites.

The case study, or journey, whatever you want to call it, is written in real-time but posted after we're finished.

Personally, I have a hard time reading case studies or journeys that aren't yet finished, because, most of the time, they just stop getting updates half-way through, making 99.9% of them incomplete.

I don't want to waste my time reading a journey/case study that never get completed or that never comes to a conclusion - and I am sure neither do you.

That's why we post this after it is done.

Ok, enough with the rambling.

Let's get into it!

The Journey of Flipping A Website

When writing this, on 1st of May 2019, we have just bought a website from a guy in the Flipping Websites facebook group.

earning from website flipping site

The earnings are quite low, $37.5 per month and a rather high valuation at 32 times the monthly earnings - we bought it for $1,200.

The site is based on an auctioned domain that has been rebranded into an Amazon Affiliate site, a perfect match for us as that is exactly how we do it.

The website has 16 built links: 9 guest posts, 3 niche edits and 4 PBNs from the previous owner. We have asked the owner to remove the PBNs to make sure we are completely clean in that regard (in case they start linking to other affiliate sites from the same PBN).

The idea here is to re-make it a bit, and grow it - once we're satisfied we will flip the property.

We don't really have a goal with the journey, we just want to soak up as much information about this as possible.

Month 1: May

The site will receive a re-structure like we structure all our website, as explained in-depth in our how to make an affiliate site guide. Thus, there'll be a bit of work during the first month.

1. Keyword Research

The keyword research was not that extensive, due to the fact that the niche we start with is quite small in terms of types of products.

This is a huge upside because it will be easy to sell a very scalable site to a buyer later on.

The keywords we found has a total search volume of 27,100 searches per month. The keywords will be divided into 14 articles, one of which is already posted on the site by the prior owner. Here we will make sure to optimize properly for the keywords and extend the current word count to exceed the word count of our competitors.

For some of the keywords, we saw our site as the featured snippet, giving us a great start with the project. This is usually something we get after a few months, but as we've bought it aged and ranking, we already have this huge advantage.

Time spent: 30 minutes

2. Migrating the site

The migration was very effortless. We got access to the site, exported the whole site with the All in One Migration plugin and, once the domain was pushed to our domain registrar, we just switched the name servers.

We then uploaded the exported version to our fresh Wordpress installation.

We've removed all posts on the site besides one, since all articles except one was sort-of irrelevant to the niche. Also, the only article making money is the one that is very niche-related - this is a great potential to expand the content with other niche-related keywords and quickly grow the earnings of the site.

Time spent: 15 minutes

3. Word counting

This was something our team fixed. In total, we need 55 600 words initially. This took them a bit longer than usual due to a slow internet connection.

Time spent: 80 minutes

4. Content production

Our content team takes care of this, so no time is spent from our side on this. We should be able to be done with all the articles within the month of May.

5. Going through/making our checklist

We're trying to document as much as possible of this process so that we can make some of these processes more effective in the future. This is our checklist for now:

  1. Are "broken" URLs with external links pointing to them, redirected to a relevant page?
  2. Is there a comparison table on the money page(s)?
  3. Are affiliate links placed on images?
  4. Do the products have good and prominent CTA buttons?
  5. Are all the affiliate links replaced with your affiliate links?
  6. Are there any URLs indexed that should be removed?

These are just some of the quick fixes that can help increase the CTR on the affiliate links, as well as adding more link juice to your site.

Time spent: 30 minutes

Costs during May

Website: $1,200

Hosting: $2

Content: $556

Content uploading: $18

The one-off costs are now done during May, so in total, we've invested $1776 this month. We'll now begin buying links to the site, thus lowering the operation cost in June to just about $37.

Time spent during May

155 minutes (~2,5 hours)

Earnings during May

Amazon Affiliate: $122.12

We bought the site as one that makes on average $37,5 per month, and the first month we made $122,12. Which means we have already made 10% back within the first month. This goes to show how good of an investment buying established websites are.

We only got one article getting organic traffic currently. With a few links and some more age on the newer articles, we should be able to increase the earnings enough to flip the website within 6 months.

Month 2: June

1. PBNs

The coming month, we will order 5 PBN links to rent monthly. Other than that, since the content is pretty much all uploaded and the structure is laid out - we don't have much to do on-page.

We'll add 5 new PBN links each month to keep the link velocity natural, and to strengthen the link profile overall.

Time spent: 15 minutes

Costs during June

PBNs: $35

Hosting: $2

Time spent during June

15 minutes

Earnings during June

Amazon Affiliate: $9.20

This month has been super low in relation to the last month's earnings. However, something I didn't actually comment on the last month was that we only got 5 orders in May - and two of those was quite big resulting in a peak in earnings one day.

We could also see this as an effect of us removing some of the PBN links pointing to the website. I personally think this is the right way to go forward since we now have complete control over the anchors being used.

Let's hope next month will treat us better in terms of earnings, though!

Month 3: July

During July I've been out traveling Europe, which means I've not touched anything on-site nor off-site. We ordered some PBNs that went live through the month, though.

Time spent: 10 minutes

Costs during July

PBNs: $70

Hosting: $2

Time spent during July

10 minutes

Earnings during July

Amazon Affiliate: $60.64

july website flipping earnings

July was a better month. We are not profitable (yet), but we are not far from it. It's still only a couple of orders per month which is a bit worrying.

This is a huge beginner mistake I am sure, not looking into the numbers more clearly. Maybe we should display number of orders per month to our potential buyers?

Month 4: August

August was another of those months were we didn't have to move a finger. We planned 5 more PBNs to go live.

We also switched hosting, adding +$2,66 more in recurring costs per month (but making the site much more secure, and fast).

Costs during August

PBNs: $105

Hosting: $4.66

Time spent during August

25 minutes (15 for planning PBN links, 10 for moving to new server setup)

Earnings during August

Amazon Affiliate: $122.33

August was a profitable month!

One thing to notice is also the amount of ordered items, this is mostly due to the increase in clicks I'd say. Our rankings starts to go up month by month, and we've secured some pretty good top 10 positions.

Month 5: September

Not much to report for September. Not much hands-on work.

Costs during September

PBNs: $140

Hosting: $4.66

Time spent during September

15 minutes

Earnings during September

Amazon Affiliate: $130.04

September was not profitable. We grew in amount of orders, and in the amount of clicks, but the earnings didn't follow. It's only roughly $14.4 negative, so not far away from having yet another profitable month.

Month 6: October

If you think the case study is boring by now (which I would too), it seems like now something is starting to really take-off.

Costs during October

PBNs: $175

Hosting: $4.66

Time spent during October

15 minutes

Earnings during October

Amazon Affiliate: $207.96

During October we were profitable!

Our earnings, clicks and amount of ordered items really took off during October. We've seen great gains on our rankings.

We point 5 links per month, and we spread them across 2-3 articles per month.

Currently, we're not ranking at all for the most profitable keyword - we're at around position 30, so we try to push more links to it than the smaller terms, but it is the smaller terms that make us money (right now).

Month 7: November - The Surprised Exit

What a month!

The site really took off during November. So I posted a screenshot of the growth of the site on the Flipping Websites facebook group.

I didn't have any hidden intentions behind the post, I was just really impressed in how fast this one turned out to become profitable - and the overall growth of it.

But since I posted this I got a few people asking if they could buy it from me.

I sat down and thought for a while, and decided to sell it.

For a pretty good sum of $10,000.

Before we break down the overall profit we got with our first ever website flipping case, we will just break down the costs, time consumed and earnings for the month of November.

Costs during November

PBNs: $210

Hosting: $4.66

Time spent during November

15 minutes

Earnings during November

Amazon affiliate: $769.98 (!) + $534.56 (shipped in December)
Website acquired: $10,000

Case study breakdown

Invested: $2476.98

Earnings: $11956.83

Profit: $9479.85

ROI: 382.72%

Key takeaways

  1. Replacing affiliate tags is a time consuming task - that's why we made this plugin for our future buyers and our future acquisitions.
  2. Buying a site based on avg. for last 3 months (if it only has been up for 4 months) is not the smartest. L3M works good for a more established website, but for a completely fresh site - no-no.
  3. Buying a site that makes money with just one article is never a good idea - it should be diversified with at least 5-10 articles (depending on niche).
  4. Flipping websites can be very, very profitable and is a great way to start making "passive" income. We spent some time the first month, but after that we've spent 15 minutes per month - I'd call that passive.

That's it for this case study. I hope you enjoyed.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop them below!

And please let me know if you'd like live case studies or case studies published once done in the future.