I'm introducing a new series - a series I call "Grow The Website". A series where I pick a publically available website for sale and share the strategy I'd use to grow it (and potentially flip it.)
The series is hugely inspired by Zero to Marketing. For me, Andrea's newsletter gives me great inspiration that I can apply to Hekkup.
The ideas and opinions in this post are not meant as investment advice, I am solely sharing how I'd grow it and what areas I see the most potential in. This should be used for educational purposes only and give you more points of view on how you can grow your next acquisition.
Anyhow, let's get going with the first one!
Site listing: Available on Flippa.com
Profit per month: $32
Current price: $800
The website is 1 year and roughly 2 months old, has 108 posts (based on their sitemap), and is monetized by Amazon. The owner removed the monetization from Amazon 2 months prior. This to me is a warning flag as this seems like a weird move and if I were to bid on the website, I'd ask why the seller did this.
Now, I cannot do a full-fledged content audit but just by glimpsing through the website, we can see that most of the review posts are very short. We also see that the buyer posts are usually pretty short - and if you have read any of my blog posts, you know that I am a huge believer in long, valuable content.
What I would do here is consolidate posts like this: https://pickmybrewer.com/how-to-choose-coffee-maker/ and https://pickmybrewer.com/best-coffee-maker-review/, by adding a "How to Choose Coffee Maker"-guide at the bottom of the article. Then I'd add some reviews of other coffee makers and make an ultimate guide for the "best coffee makers".
One big upside you could have when acquiring this site is using the current content, consolidating some articles (and redirecting the old URLs to the new one), and buffing short articles into long, in-depth reviews instead. This can be a huge potential, but also a risk since we could, short-term, lose the rankings and revenue-side of the website - and we can never say by 100% that our new URLs will rank and make the same money (even though it is a site not making much currently).
Looking at "Top pages" in Ahrefs, one can easily see that the majority of the traffic goes to review posts and "versus"-posts (X vs Y), yet they are short and aren't really monetized properly. By just adding some images, buttons, and tables you can achieve a higher CTR and as a result of that - get more commission.
We can also see a referral link in the header - this spreads unnecessary link juice to the external site but shows that they might make some money using this referral program as well. We could promote it better or completely remove it based on how we see it perform - either way I'd put nofollow on it (even though Google just sees nofollow as a hint nowadays).
By looking at the backlinks we can see what type of link building was used. I use Ahrefs as I think they have the hands-down best backlink index out there, but SEMRush and Moz could be used to do a decent analysis as well.
The first thing I see is this:
Another red flag. This doesn't look good.
I then look at the traffic and see the following:
Their traffic peaked and then have dropped quite some. This doesn't look good. I like to acquire sites that either have plagued in terms of traffic (and I see potential in making the content better) or that is trending upwards.
In this case, it is pretty obvious to me that the owner has done some really aggressive link building, and is now trying to sell it before it gets penalized. For all I know, it could have been penalized already.
This is not your normal guest post or PBN site, I love buying sites powered by those types of links, but when I see the anchor text "breville vs delonghi" from 28 different domains - it is obvious that the owner hasn't considered making the link profile natural and healthy, just pushing for short-term ranking. It'll likely bite the new owner in the ass.
Some people like buying sites that are risky or penalized since they are confident they can clean them up, get the penalty lifted and grow the traffic that way - I have yet to try that (I've lifted quite some penalties for others, but not used it as an acquisition strategy) so I stay back from any sites I deem are too risky.
For the right person (that is willing to take some risk) this can be a good purchase. The upside in content consolidating is good and you can probably find creative ways to add more monetization such as ads. I'd for now work on building up the traffic before going into other monetization methods, but later down the road, this would be a good idea.
What are your takeaways from this site? What is the biggest upside in your perspective? And what are the negatives of the website?