OIL 004: An Interview with Chris Guthrie on Making Money with Niche Sites
In this session of the Online Income Lab Podcast, I’m am joined by Chris Guthrie; an expert niche website marketer who’s sold over a million dollars worth of products online in the last couple of years.
Chris’ story is an excellent one for all new marketers because like many of you, Chris failed miserably when he first attempted to make money online. He had a job and was building websites about his various hobbies; the largest of which was playing Halo (he was a pro tournament player). Eventually, Chris did get a winning formula figured out and started to see his income rise…which was a good thing because he was fired from his job shortly thereafter!
When you listen to this podcast, you are going to hear how a regular guy went from failure to success and how you can do it, too!
In this Session, You’ll Hear Chris and I Discuss
- How he got his online career started thanks to Halo
- Some of the biggest mistakes he made early on in his career
- The major realization that allowed him to start making money with niche sites
- His preferred monetization strategy
- A site that he recently purchased and why he intends to purchase more sites
- How he gets his super high quality backlinks
- How to automate link building
- How Fivver fits into his niche strategy
URLs mentioned in this podcast
By the way, if you want to learn how I learned how to produce my podcasts, I highly recommend that you check out Cliff Ravenscrafts’s Podcast Answer Man. Without Cliff’s training, my podcasts would still suck
OIL 004: An Interview with Chris Guthrie on Making Money with Niche Sites
Trent Dyrsmid: Hey there everybody! Itâ€™s Trent here with the Online Income Lab and another podcast where I announced a super secret guest in my Sunday update video. Itâ€™s my pleasure to welcome Mr. Chris Guthrie of How to Make Money on the Internet to the podcast.
Welcome to the show Chris!
Chris Guthrie: Thanks for having me Trent. Iâ€™m actually sorry Iâ€™m not sure if you wanna read it but itâ€™s makemoneyontheinternet.com.
T: Oh, my apologies. I had it on the screen in front of me but like I say when Iâ€™m doing a podcast like thereâ€™s too many buttons to hit to control the sound and everything. So my apologies.
C: No I just figured Iâ€™d interject there.
T: No problem. So Chris I always like to kinda start the same way when Iâ€™ve run an expert interview like this. And that is just kinda going back to college. So and you donâ€™t have to spend much time as put itâ€™s probably more of a curiosity. So where did you go to college? When and where? And what were you thinking you were gonna do before you got into internet marketing?
C: Yeah and thatâ€™s a great question. I went to Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. For 2 years I entered community college to save money and transferred there and got a degree in Marketing. And actually while I was there I kind of heard about websites and was trying to do different types of ways to make money on them.
Then when halo 2 came out, that is an xbox game for people who aren’t familiar with halo although actually it has been around for almost 10 years now I’ve seen most of you have heard of it but basically I used to play that incomparatively but when halo 2 came out I put together a video from my college video editing class and just put together my best clips and timed it to music and put it online. And after showing it in the class and I started getting all this friend request from people who were saying “yeah I saw your video on Youtube”.
I don’t think I’ve even heard of youtube at the time coz it’s back in like 2007 or so. And so I just put those, so I actually had the idea to just make another video and then launched a website with it. So that’s kinda how I got in to websites and certainly one of the things I worked on while in college. But it wasn’t until later that I was able to make a full time income from websites.
T: So is that halo video still online? Can we get a link to that? Put it in the end of the podcast?
C: Yeah it’s actually through the haloguy.com and I’ll send you over the embed code that you can put in there. But yeah I actually spent a lot of time putting it all together and timing every chill to the music. It was a lot of fun. I mean it was one of those things that obviously if I was looking at it from what I know now I probably wouldn’t have gone that approach to try and make money because it was like a really, I mean the video has viewed over a million times and that kinda helps launch the site. But obviously that was a lot to put in just to launch a site.
T: Yeah not exactly a super repeatable process if you’re launching 10 or 15 sites.
C: Yeah I mean another reason why I did it is because I had another video project due for that class I figured I’ll just do it and get some more credit done for this class at the same time and have something to help launch a website.
T: Absolutely. So I’m assuming you graduated at some point or did you drop out.
C: No, I graduated. Yeah I graduated and being the gamer that I was I wasn’t making full time income from my website. I was paying my rent with that website but it wasn’t enough. I was paying rent with that splitting with 4 other guys so it wasn’t a whole lot which I think 500 bucks a month. But I went into game testing in Microsoft and found out that you don’t really make much money as a game tester.
T: Must be mind numbingly boring work.
C: You know the 2 games I worked on – dash – it was easy because they’re reports and one was halo 2 for windows vista or something and so as the game was halo it was easy and the game was already done. They were just pouring it over to the pc. And so there were times where we were for the entire day just playing internet and because I was like the resident player it would be like me and maybe one another against 8 people. And it was a lot of fun but and that’s some cool people that were good friends that I still talk to. And I worked on age vampire as well a real time strategy game. But yeah I worked on that for a year but my contract ends. So one of the ways Microsoft gets around hiring people and paying them good money is just using contractors. So after you work for a year they make you leave for 90 days. So after that year I thought I’m gonna get a job related to my degree. So that’s when I started joining sales.
T: Okay. And so what was that job?
C: It was an IT sales. I worked selling computers and hardware and software to clients and when I ended up getting fired 2 years after I started that job it was, I was doing the biggest companies and started comfortably kind of like where we’re at actually so I was selling stuff to them and I was on the inside then I had an outside guy that made more money and he was kinda more incharge of like keeping the relationship where as I was kinda helping to manage some of the details of all the different deals that we were doing.
T: Yeah interesting. Okay so at some point you made, was that the last job that you had before you became a full time marketer?
C: Yeah that was the last job and I got fired as a result of my business I was dealing outside because the guy I was working with knew that I was doing this and I was timed. Yeah I mentioned that I was “hey last month I made $2,000 from my website” and he said “dude that’s crazy.” And he’d be like “can you get back to work now?”
T: So a little bit distracting I would think.
C: Yes I mean he had a kid and obviously he didn’t have as much time to spend working on these different deals that we’re doing and he wants me to spend more than the 45 to 50 hours per week I was already spending. My salary in the job and so that didn’t really, yeah I mean for me it wouldn’t have meant that much more into this for money especially when the extra 2 hours a day I was spending building websites instead so.
T: Yeah no kidding. I’m sure it would have made him more money that it would have made you hence his desire to get you to do that.
C: Yeah and so I mean it was kind of I don’t know if it’s really selfish of myself but I was obviously looking out for myself and building a business on the side was one of the things I was trying to do through college and was getting more serious about while I was working on this job so.
T: So let’s talk about, let’s shift gears a little bit and talk more about your beginning in the niche site business. So there was obviously the halo site and it sounds like it made a little bit of money. What were some of the strategies that you were doing back then? And are they the same strategies that you’re doing now? Or have things changed?
C: Yes back then I mean I didn’t really know a lot of what it took to make money with websites. So one thing, I was trying all the different types of sites. I mean I pretty had a couple dozen sites that looking back to them were really not very good ideas. I’ll share one. It was gamingfonts.com. Again you pretty notice I’m a gamer so I kinda stuck around the gaming niche for too long actually. But the gamingfuns.com was a just a website where people could download various video game fonts and I thought “hey there’s no website online that I’m aware of that has just video game fonts” and then I saw a lot of free font websites so I built that site. And to date it probably at max has only ever made like $20 a month. so a lot of what my, the way I kinda did things in the past was just based on what I was interested in then not even doing any research. Like I didn’t even know that there were tools that could show you often how things were searched and tell like a thousand aids or so.
You know my search sites were like 2,000 and some I guess a year or two before I did it. I mean for me it was like this website that I’m gonna start on this forum I didn’t think is there a keyword that I could use instead. Obviously it’s just kinda how far I was from where I first started. Because when I started it was soon after adsense just started in even existence. So people, there wasn’t really anyone blogging about how to make money with adsense or how to make money online. It’s either so it was all just trial and error and just kinds of doing websites based on what I was interested in. So after I did this gaming sites and I found out that this aren’t making much money. I mean I had the, it was gamingvidz.com with the “z”. Shows you how I was new by using z instead of s because the gamingvidz.com with an s wasn’t available. But that site was just making $500 a month. But it was getting like half a million previews a month so I was getting a ton of traffic but obviously not that much money for how much money it was getting so.
And I thought I need to figure out like a new way to kind of think about how I should be building these sites if I want it to be a natural business. And so when I had that mind shift of thinking “okay how do I make, how do websites actually make money.” And so I kinda came to the original idea that they make money by selling things or recommending people to buy things and so that’s how I got into review based websites.
And so in the early 2009 I started 1 site. Well I started a lot of different sites but the site that I have shared probably before is netbookreviews.com. And so that was the orginal idea that I would review netbooks on the website and I would make money by selling people these netbooks through Amazon’s affiliate programs. And so that was kind of, it was a shift for me to think “okay I made a really, I really knew I just kinda sit down and see what did these sites that are making money, how are they making money.” In the past I was just making money out of sheer traffic on topics that I was interested in that didn’t necessarily have really strong commercial viability. So that’s kind of why I made that shift and ever since then now I’ll have plenty of ideas for niches but I don’t do them unless their topics that can make money.
T: That was entirely dissimilar. That wasn’t entirely dissimilar to my start as well. I was into car racing games so you know I built a site around that theme. And I was also into mountain biking so I built a site around that theme. And I think like you I very quickly learned that you can built sites about your passion which is great but more than likely your passion doesn’t have a great opportunity to make meaninful profit. And so I developed a new passion that was called making money on the internet so that I can have free time to go and pursue my other passions. And that seems to me like a whole lot better approach.
C: Well I mean that’s definitely the same thing I was thinking after I finished my year of contract labored at Microsoft’s game testing. I believed at the end I was only making maybe $12 an hour or something like that. I was really, it was pretty low and I realized I was like you know I’m gonna just gonna, even though I”m gonna keep I mean trying to build more websites and stuff, I’m gonna actually get a job related to my degree so I can make enough money to just play video games rather than having to actually work on it. And the way I kinda think of it now is I mean even if obviously if something I’m interested in will help me to say passion about the topic but obviously too I suggest to people that are starting is to kinda start with something they’re interested in but they’re just kinda have at the back of their mind like you know if you wanna make money with this obviously the topic fit is something that you can sell or something that makes money. Obviously if there’s advertisers there then it’s kinda better than just kind of saying like I like video games. I’m gonna start a website about video games because there’s plenty of that.
T: Yeah. Indeed there is. So do you remember how long it took you to get to your first to get a $1,000?
C: It’s about 6 months. So actually you gotta count the time where I was testing out these video game sites. I mean that you could say a few years because I was doing some websites and then the form kind of died off coz I was thinking about new ways to make money and I wasn’t spending as much time doing that. It wasn’t making any money. So in 2009 it’s kind of when I started netbook reviews and kind of when I had this mind shift. I don’t know if it was like a new year’s resolution or anything like that but that’s kind of when I started it was January. I was thinking well I need, if I wanna actually make this a business, I needed to have things to sell either through my websites or by myself or just something that you know I can make money with. And so 2009 is when I kind of have that mind shift and by the middle of 2009 I was making a few thousand dollars a month. And then in December 2009 this is after I got fired from my job in October, in December 2009 I made 13 grand off affiliate program.
T: Wow! Thank you Santa Claus.
C: Yeah I mean it kind of a combination of both getting fired from my job and having more time to work on websites and the fact it was a holiday season and netbooks obviously they’re really more maybe misunderstood but they’re really popular in 2009 and 2010 and even so a little bit to this day but Ipads are still popular or kind of getting popular I guess. But yes it was kind of a, obviously a good niche choice but then just the fact that I was building these sites more focused on things to sell or just having a topic related to selling something that kind of helped me make more money.
T: Okay. So I’m sure that everyone listening to this podcast is probably thinking what I’m thinking right now. Great you went to the learning curve save me the time and the effort, tell me what to do now.
C: Yeah that’s a good question. I mean I think, I really think that just kinda going back to what I’ve been saying before, having something to sell. I think that if your, if it’s a website that you’re looking to start think of a topic where there’s something you could sell. This could either be a product that you create, that doesn’t have to be. It could just be a product that is something you sell as an affiliate. You know there’s affiliate programs for literally every merchant on the web. You can go to sharesell.com and there’s different really niche, job shipping companies to sell unusual things. Or you can just go to Amazon and sign up for their affiliate program and sell anything there. If you’re not doing something around selling I think just higher value niches are more worth the time like anything related to finance, auto, anything where money is exchanging hands. It’s kind of where I like to stay.
I mean I think those kinds of niches you could use adsense and obviously you’re gonna get ads for those related products. And I think that’s kinda the best suggestions to go after niches that you can come by and some sort of passion or something you’re interested about with some sort of commercial viability then it’ll work. I mean that just for example just to kinda prove to people that you can make money doing anything I made a course on how to play halo better because I used to do it you know competitively and I just sold that. I didn’t even have a blog to sell it through beyond my halo blog which I hadn’t updated in a few years. And just made a course, sold it for $37 through click bank. And late last year when halo reached, the new halo game came out and it still makes me about $300 to 500 a month or so. And I haven’t really touched it since I released it. So truly I mean selling something is a good strategy and then also if it’s just something that you’re passionate about that helps you.
T: Yeah I agree. Product creation, it’s probably intimidating to people who are starting off coz they think “oh I don’t know anything about anything” but that’s really not true. Product creation I can assure you is not that difficult but in the interest of time I don’t think we’re gonna get too deep into product creation but it’s definitely something that I would encourage that people learn about. And you know I know that Pat over at SPI, I mean his first thing was an ebook on how architects could use a study guide I believe. And that’s made him quite a bit of money for him and sounds like your product has done well. I know my own products have done very well. Shane’s products have done very well. Shane over at IM Impact. Maybe not the place for the brand newbie to begin but surely it’s something that you wanna put on your radar screen within the first 6 months.
And you know it’s funny that you’ve mentioned 6 months because I know for me, for Kane, for you and I don’t know, I interviewed Shane but I don’t remember what his answer was but it seems to be like that’s the window. You should expect 6 months of learning school I’ll call it, probation, whatever word you’d like to use. And then once you get through that you learn enough where you’ll start making pretty meaningful income and then it starts to go up fast which is the really fun part.
C: Yeah I mean I have a friend that I’ve been teaching how to make money because I know he doesn’t make that much money in his day job. And he knew I was making money from websites. And I was like I have 3 monitors here I can just take 1 of my monitors over and set up another computer and you can come over and work at the same time. And since I work from home and I’m kinda bored sometimes so he comes over and he’s up to about $600 a month in adsense with some random sites that actually aren’t related to really high traffic, high earning, high traffic but high income type of thing. He just used someone like shoes and another one on cars and he’s kind of she listed same thing you know just targeting high traffic keywords, builds up a niche site targeting that keyword and then just makes money that way so.
T: So did you find, it’s interesting that you mentioned that because in my adsense portfolio I haven’t built sites that necessarily go after a product like I was when I was building Amazon sites. So you’re talking about shoes and cars. It sounds to me like he has built adsense sites geared towards product related keywords. Would that be a fair statement?
C: Yeah well actually he, the sites and I won’t be able to share his details coz I don’t have his permission but they’re more around like different keywords that includes shoes or include cars in them. So it’s like he likes shoes, I don’t know. And so he’s like let me just search, put in shoes in Google adword keyword tool and then kinda starts filtering through different types of keywords and see if there’s like a potential niche there. Yes it’s kind of about the extent that he did obviously he just made sure that he had that keyword that was searched frequently enough and he bought a domain name that included that keyword and kinda worked from there. And just kinda so he put more time into the site and then once he had it up I showed him like other ways to make more money with the site like where to put his ads inside and after that kinda helped double his income. And then yeah.
T: So is this one site that’s making him 600 a month? Or is he got a portfolio of them?
C: He’s got like a portfolio. That site’s one of the bigger sites. And I know there’s another one that just texted me the other day and said it was up to 200 visitors a day. Maybe he just started like 2 weeks ago.
T: Wow! Terrific.
C: Yeah I mean I’m just kinda teaching him stuff that I do and yeah I mean it’s just really, and I think if obviously I think the biggest thing is, the biggest take away that I had when I first kind of started is that you can listen and learn all you want but the biggest thing suggestion is to just be out putting some of the knowledge you’ve been learning into action and then you obviously continue learning and refining you know what you’re doing but you gotta make sure that your action is still doing something in the first place.
T: You know I’m so glad that you mentioned that. That I blogged a couple of posts ago was called free stuff was killing your business to that effect. And I got more comments on that post than any in a while. And the idea is why people waste their first 6 months. They’re so consumed with reading the warrior forum and other forums downloading $7 WSOs and trying everything, we’ll call them shiny objects, getting obsessed with every shiny objects under the sun. But then they never really stick with any one of them coz they’re free and they’re all easy and you know I can get this course and that course and any other course for free free free free free. One guy comment and he said he has gigabytes worth of free courses in his hard drive.
Problem with free is that it’s actually the most expensive of all because it takes your time. So most of us when we start we have a job, we have responsibilities and you need to eat and you need to sleep. So time is your most precious asset. And you’re out there you try this idea coz some guy in the forum says it’s a great idea and you put 6 weeks in and you don’t make any money and you’re back on the forum and worse you never even built anything. You just spent all your days reading emails, signing up for newsletters and reading reading reading reading reading. I have a friend, a good buddy named Johnny, and I know he’s gonna listen to this he’s gonna be angry at me, but Johnny suffers from analysis paralysis and I had to kick him in the butt hard to get going with you know SECockpit in particular and putting a strategy in place. Johnny is now starting to make a couple of bucks and I think he’s getting pretty excited about it.
So you really just got to stay away from shiny objects and too much free stuff and try and pick one thing and just do that one thing over and over again. And for you it sounds like it’s been, Amazon has been the biggest one thing. Or I guess even simple as niche sites for both of us.
C: Yeah I mean it’s primarily websites. I mean I allow more now to buying and selling sites. My solo site last year for 6 figures that was my first 6 figure sales. And so that was obviously nice coz it’s a lot of money and then kind of another credibility builder for my blog and all that. But I mean yeah it’s my passion is pretty much as making money from websites. I mean I have obviously a couple of courses I shouldn’t mention it now I guess after what you said before. I just finished like a free 10 day course showing like how I build a website. I gave examples of sites that I build and kind of how they make money you know which ones were bad, etc. But yeah I mean I think it’s key to just finding something that you know you consider yourself doing for the next, at least the next year or so and you’re willing to devote your time to doing it. And I don’t think it’s necessary finding absolutely what the best thing is. I think it’s just finding something.
T: Yeah I agree I agree. I would you know base if so many people are looking for I want a home run, I only want a home run, has to be a home run and so they never even swing coz they’re so busy looking for just the right pole to swing at to use a baseball metaphor. Where as base sets, base sets, base sets as an example I mean the last 5 adsense sites that I launched and only 1 of them is on the first page so far. Last week they made $36. You know how would you feel if you’re a brand new guy, you’ve never done anything before and these sites are not even 2 months old and you’re already making $120 a month? You’d think “wow! I’m gonna do more of that and more more and more.” And that’s base sets to the point where you can now, you’ve got money coming in, you’ve learned how to do this, you’ve hopefully systematized it so that you can use that money that’s coming in to hire other people to continue to grow your portfolio. And in doing so you’re taking advantage of a concept of leverage. You really need to lever other people’s time with your money if you really want to accelerate the growth. Would you say that that’s a pretty fair statement and anything to add to that?
C: Oh yeah definitely. I think that if you can, the biggest key I think is just start getting some money coming and even just using this example my friend has started using the money that he’s making from his sites to outsource links coz that’s something that he hates the most and just too boring for him to even really bother doing. So he does, he outsources his link building entirely but he kinda likes to build the sites. But even still though he’s actually outsourcing more of the content writing now too after I’ve been prodding him to stop you know wasting his time writing so much content. I mean obviously if it’s on a topic that you’re already knowledgeable about or interested in then you can do that but I mean if you’re just kind of building sites for purpose of ranking them in Google first, some random keywords, it doesn’t matter if the absolute best person wrote the article as long as it still provides good quality information for the people that come to your website. I think that’s good enough.
T: I agree that works. So where is he getting content with?
C: He’s using text broker and he’s actually pretty impressed with some of the quality of the site they constantly been doing for the site. And I’ve used text broker before as well and I also have a full time person that helps write content as well but and on another site too that I setup another company with. We use more professional star articles and pay them $20 an article and we go for really high quality content for that site.
But yeah I mean it’s kind of, I like to try and think about my business, you know even though I don’t wanna be one of those guys with the card that says CEO and I’m a one person shop the most part. I don’t have a card like that but you gotta think about it in that perspective. I mean CEOs outsource tasks too. You know they source tasks to other people within their company or outside the company to get done because they’re time is too valuable spent on directing where the company should go. And so kind of what I do too is more of trying to find different partnerships where I can hire people that are doing, can do things very well. Or just buying growth by buying websites that don’t take much work. Enough of my advice I guess.
T: Well it’s advice that I would give as well because I was that CEO in my prior life. I’ll be honest with you people are shocked when I say this. I actually didn’t know how to do almost anything that the company that I started and I created to lever the customer. I don’t know how to do it. I knew how to talk about it. I knew how to sell it. And I knew how to hire people to know how to do it. And because of that way over the period that I run the company sold about $7 million worth of stocks. And I was able to then sell the company for a bigger sale all without knowing how to do anything that the company did from a technical perspective.
So this obsession people have of wanting to do everything themselves you become your worst enemy and your own biggest bottleneck. And I really encourage that you learn how to outsource from the get go. The other question I wanted to just, it’s a follow up question Chris, you’ve mentioned where you’re getting this $20 articles from, is that a website with a URL you can share?
C: Yeah actually I use darrensproblogger.net job org to hire these people. The website’s photographytips.net. And so again I’m a huge fan of keyword domain names and also to just, and so it’s me and a friend who’s a wedding photographer and we have several of the content that we do with writers that we hire that are professionals in their niche. And so obviously I pay them this month and it’s great content, good price for their time. And then people that are reading the blog like the content they’re creating too.
T: Yeah and in doing so you become less dependent upon search engines if your content is really that good. I’m assuming this is some type of authority site that you’re building?
C: Yeah I mean like the strategy I’d like to have because I’m really risk reverse is authority sites and mini sites combined. I mean have plenty of, dozens of little mini sites that make me plenty of money every month. But I like to have more authority sell sites as well like the good example is the netbookreviews.com site that I sold for 6 figures. That was a site that I was spending you know a lot more time on everyday and writing articles and I flew down to the consumer like track shows to cover the event live there. And I was getting the actual netbooks from the manufacturers to do video reviews of them and stuff. So it was like that was kind of an authority strategy but at the same time I was doing the other niche sites too so.
T: I think there’s room for both in the portfolio. The niche sites are great in the beginning because they work. They’re relatively easy to rank bringing you the income in the shortest period of time. The smart owner will then take some of that income and build authority sites because in my opinion are gonna be more sustainable. If Google makes future changes to the algorithm, more pandalizing as it were, the larger your site the more likely it is that your site will hold its place in the search rankings. I can see how photography tips you’ve got 616 people like it on facebook. You’re building a mailing list. All of those things help you to reduce your dependency on the search engines to get the traffic there and that’s always a good thing. Well I agree completely there’s place in the portfolio for both.
C: Yeah definitely.
T: Okay so now I know that you’re really an Amazon guy. I can’t help but ask you have you done much with adsense? And have you ever tried using both on one site?
C: Yeah actually I do both. And with Amazon you know I made, I need to look again but I’ve made over $90,000 with them and shipped out over a million dollars of products that they allow in Amazon. Adsense wise I’m kind of getting back to one of the earlier things I said about buying growth. I’m actually just kinda more on the market of buying sites using the money that I made from selling my sites so just the monthly income that I’m getting from my various websites. But I just bought a site a few months ago, or a month ago for about $7,000 and it was making $30 a day with adsense. And so I was kinda using that way to kinda grow my adsense income. On the other side, that side actually 9 days later adsense shut down or Google shut down the adsense URL and that’s stuff that I’ve been dealing with. Trying to figure out you know why they shut it down. I mean I bought the site from this guy that had it since 2007 with adsense so I thought that was alright but anyways I’m dealing with that.
But yeah adsense I use on some of my Amazon sites. I found that people that click on adsense are different than people that click through just simple text links to Amazon. So it’s kind of I’ll use almost everything even on authority sell sites I use the combination. All my blog I don’t bother with adsense because I’ve seen that people reading it they’re not clicking those ads. And even if they are I don’t want them buying products that say make money $97,000 in one month with pressing 2 buttons.
T: You mean that doesn’t work?
C: And you know these are the types of ads that I see on those types of blogs.
T: I want that course. Can I make $97,000? I can click the mouse twice, come on.
C: Yes I mean that’s, I mean that’s, yeah I use kind of both and my income with adsense is kind of growing a little bit more. I’m trying to build it more just by buying sites and yeah.
T: Okay so let’s go in to this $7,000 I’m gonna nickname that your blackhole for the moment and I’m very sorry to see that turned out for you but that way but the case is no way at maybe you could reverse that but there was a reason that you bought that. Was it, what were the things that you say of all the sites I’m assuming you bought it on flippa, is that correct?
C: Actually I don’t buy any sites through flippa. I always kind of buy them from people that aren’t advertising them for sale actually.
T: So you contacted the seller and thought “Hey, do you want to sell?”
C: Well actually in this case and this is kinda an unusual case, he contacted me because he found my blog and we got to talk in a bid. Well really seriously it would have been a fine thing for me to buy. I wanna, I bought it because I could have paid back the initial purchase price in by the end of the year. And then have had an asset that was making me $30 a day with no work. So I mean that’s why I kinda bought it. And obviously anytime you’re buying websites there’s always a risk. And there’s things you can do to limit that risk. And you know I kinda had the idea that maybe it was a little too, I think that part of the reason my Google disabled adsense on the URL is the content wasn’t, there was like a ton of content on each page.
C: I mean I kinda thought it was at the back of my head maybe it’s not the best quality but I mean the adsense account that I was using for that site didn’t have like a, most aren’t making a ton of money with so I figured if it got banned later I would just set up a new URL, see and create another adsense account if I needed to.
C: But yeah I mean yeah it was obviously unfortunate but there’s still some other things that we’re doing to still make money with that site like he’s doing, he’s buying some better ad space to the site. Still gets plenty of traffic. And I’ve been experimenting with other adsense alternatives so that’s another thing too. Obviously there’s plenty of lessons to be learned. Always trust in your gut when it comes down to at a very, even if you look at the numbers and the numbers look good you still kind of have an uneasy feeling about it then maybe it’s better to let it go.
T: There is something to be said for the gut feeling definitely.
C: But on the other hand too I bought another site that I did share publicly and I’ve been talking about it on my blog, it’s a crafting website. It’s copycatcrafts.com. And I was able to buy that site and more than tripled the income first month of owning it. So it certainly not something that’s gonna yeah it’s not something that’s gonna turn me off from the concept of buying in some websites coz that’s kind of. Like I like building them but I also like just being able to take money that I have and just buy something that’s already done.
T: Yeah it’s the speedy way to grow and think about it from an investment stand point to get all of your capital back in 7 months if this site haven’t been banned. That’s phenomenal. Especially if it’s an evergreen keyword like howtocleananything.com for example has been making money for years and years and years without hardly lifting a finger. So you can get your money back in 6 or 7 months and then you have this asset basically as a money printing machine. That’s a good deal.
C: Yeah I mean especially if anyone was listening and they, I know I talk to lots of people that are in career professionals day jobs and they make quite a bit of money and they need to invest and so when I tell them what I do. I’m usually saying “you know if there’s something that you’re interested in just consider buying website around that topic rather than bothering to build them from scratch.” I mean obviously you can do that but I mean if for these people who have a lot of additional income and they’re looking for ways to invest that’s another option.
T: It is yeah.
C: It’s obviously it’s high risk. It’s high risk investing but if you know a lot about the topic then it’s kinda, it can work out pretty well so.
T: Well I think one could make a case that the real estate and the stock market is high risk as well especially given their lackluster performance over the past decade. And the rates of return, I actually think that buying websites is a lot less risk than buying a piece of real estate or buying stocks coz you just have so much more control. You’re not competing like I don’t think against coz it’s still so unknown to the investment community. That’s why the rates of return on your capital are so high. And I think that’s probably going to change as we go forward but it’s an opportunity now.
C: Yeah I mean and there’s entire popular trading companies and their entire business model is running websites then buying them from other people. I mean I have a friend sold one of his sites for I believe it was 7 figures. It’s a huge site and she sold it to a public utility company and that company was eventually sold for $450 million or something. So I mean in any case I think it’s a good business model and obviously to just making money from websites is what I’m all about so.
T: Yeah absolutely. Okay so I have 2 main areas of questions that I wanna touch in before we wrap up today. We’re gonna talk about link building and then I wanna talk about on your blog how you turned the home page into the landing page. And I know you blogged a little bit about that but for folks that haven’t read that we’ll just talk a bit about it here. So let’s deal with link building first. Describe to me the process that you go through if you’re launching a new site and please be as specific as you can on your link building strategy.
C: Yeah so usually it’s, so this assumes that you’ve already done the keyword research, found the high traffic keyword, bought a good domain name and setup the website and written a lot of good content related to that keyword. So after I’ve done that link building wise I do a few of many things. And it’s kind of like you said before it’s constantly changing. So I’ve been using a few different, I’ve been actually doing a lot of testing with fiverr link building and using other companies, see if I can find the name of this one. Basically I hate link building so anything I can do to not have to do it is what I do. So this is the company, I’ll give them a free plug, it’s boostmysurf.com. I’ve used them a few times on a few of my sites. And I use fiverr for different types of link building. So really I don’t do as much anymore of my own link building. In the past if it’s an authority sell site I only kind of look at other sites in the niche and determine how they’re getting their links and how I can either get the links the same way or how I can get them in new ways.
With netbookreviews.com I got links from engadget and other huge massive blogs by breaking the news that I knew that they were linked to. For example when the new netbook was available for purchase on Amazon and it was like a model that had the new processor from Intel and a better graphics chips set or something like that engadget was typically covering that kind of stuff so I would write an article about that new netbook being available, take a quick picture of a screen shot you know on Amazon send an email over to engadget’s tips section and often times I get links from engadget. Then those links pretty much trump any links that you can build manually because that’s one of the top blogs in the world. And those types of links obviously carry a lot of weight with them.
So more of what I have been doing lately is more focused on higher quality style stuff. I have friends that they run companies that are based on getting search traffic but they’re going to really high quality links by doing like a creating info infographs explicitly for one website to use. So they’re spending a few hundred dollars or even more than that to create an infograph for one website to use on their site. And then configure the link back to their site. They’re so in a way I guess they’re paying for link but they’re not coz they’re providing good quality content and they’re being linked back that way so.
T: So just in case anyone doesn’t know what an infograph is why don’t you explain that?
C: Yeah so I mean an infograph is just basically a way to show a bunch of information about a topic in a graphical format. So if it’s on a topic about, I think someone they’d done the other day on like about corporate taxes and how little companies pay and it showed like how do GE pays nothing in their taxes because they hire like 2,000 accountants or something that help to make sure they aren’t paying any taxes. And it was showing like this machine of these corporates, of these corporate companies and how little they pay in taxes. And like what their effect to tax rate was. And I think Google they all use this country in Europe I believe that has a really low tax rate and they route all their foreign income through that branch that has like 2 people in it. And then the money comes in from that branch with lower tax rates and they’re not to pay taxes. It’s like that’skind of an interesting and fascinating thing for people to hear about and I’m interested in it at least. They kind of put it in this graphical format to kinda show people step by step what it’s like.
And so it’s, so anyways I guess the lower quality style link building like boostmysurfs, that’s one thing that I’ve used for like the niche sites that were I’m not really focused on spending a lot of time on them. And for the most part of those sites I just kinda set them up and I come back a few months later because I’m not as worried about turning out a ton of sites. I’m more so it’s kinda weird because my business has shifted a bit. And so the way it shifted it’s kind of more towards authority sites and towards buying sites. It’s almost like I don’t have to deal with a lot of link building. Those are some of the things I’ve done on other sites. And I guess posting too is another good one for specifically for authority sell sites because if you can write some good content that they can get for free then you get a really quality, high quality link back from that site. And I’ve done that with photographytips.net and we have some rankings for different types of keywords that we got just by doing that. And I think Google wouldn’t really be opposed to that because we’re providing good value and then obviously we’re getting credit for our work by getting a link back to our site.
T: Absolutely, absolutely. For the listeners here on the call coz I don’t want to go too much deeper into this coz we are running out of time. I have made a link building video that shows what I do for adsense sites and I’ll be sure to put a link under the podcast that will take you to that video (just making a note to myself).
C: Yeah I mean I could talk about using profile web 2.0 websites and bookmarking and spinning content and all that but I figured you might already be covering that but.
T: Yeah that’s exactly what I cover in the video actually so there’ll be specifics in there for you the listeners that want it.
C: Yeah. So I don’t know if it helps this much with the niche site thing but it’s kind of what works well for me on the authority sell style sites.
T: Well I appreciate you sharing that because some listeners out there who are maybe in that boat that they’re thinking I’ve got money but not so much time. Maybe I’m gonna start off by buying a site so they’re getting these high quality links that’s not as labor intensive that they wanna know about.
So the last thing let’s finished up. I noticed on your blog and a course Be Link. Being a fellow blogger on my own have you got enough data yet that you have been able to determine whether or not running that static opt in page for your free course on your home page, is that working better? How do you know?
C: Actually I haven’t looked at it recently. I looked at it the few days after I did it and it looked like it was getting more people signing up but I still think I probably, I didn’t set up a split test. I realized guys should have like.
T: Shame on you man.
C: Yeah I mean to be honest I spent so much time on creating that course that I just wanted to finally have it done. So I actually set up that page and had it really when I was only done with 6 days of the content because I wanted to finally have it completed. I had the idea to do that free 10 day course on how I build a website and show examples way back from blog world of last year. And I was just so busy doing other things building my own websites or you know coz obviously it was a free course so I mean I mentioned different affiliate products that I used because if I can show value with how I’ve made money doing things and link to an affiliate product that makes sense. But obviously I’m not making direct money from that so I was focused on other things.
But yeah I mean I just wanted to try that because that’s really more on what I’m focusing on just websites and if people come to my blog and the first thing they see is like a post about me talking about some website that I bought then they won’t necessarily even know like what’s the start point. So I kinda wanted to do it like that so people will kinda know this is where you start. And then once we’re kinda on the same page you know you’ll understand how I build websites, websites that I bought in the past or sold and you’ve seen examples of what I’ve done then now let’s take it to the next level. And you can read my blog and see examples of other stuff I’m doing right now so.
T: Yeah I think it’s an interesting approach. I have seen it done in a few other places. And I might test it at some point myself.
C: And I might change it actually because right now it’s not even an opt in like a squeeze page or anything. It’s more of like coz I have a few graphics where I link to the main aspects of the website like my blogs and my podcasts and my story on how I got started. And there’s a sidebar there still with the Facebook. So all that stuff is kinda are distractions to the people actually opting in so I might even just configure that page go back to the way it was. And just get it to the feature rotating section that I have my blogs let us now put in that opt in there. That’s something I might do too.
T: Yeah that’s a great thing about that websites coz you can experiment to your heart’s content. You know another great thing about websites sometimes when you’re doing an interview like this? You’re little iPhone pops up and says we just sent you $97 which is just what happened to me right now. So that is one of the perks of being online is that you don’t need to talk to another person to necessarily make a sale and I’ll tell you it always puts a big smile on my face when that happens. So if you’re sitting on the sideline thinking “gosh I’d like that to happen soon” get started. Build something. Get out and just build something. Because until you start building assets online you’re not going to be successful on this business.
Chris I wanna thank you very much for I had no idea that was going to be such a good segueway. Rather ironic for the end of the interview but I thank you for spending what has been now 49 minutes with me and with the readers of the Online Income Lab. I think you’ve given some great value. For the readers that are interested in learning more about Chris I’ll get his URL correct this time, it’s makemoneyontheinternet.com. I’ll put a link to that under the podcast. If you’re interested in going down the Amazon I guess Chris here, your free course is it tailored towards Amazon or is it tailored towards niche sites?
C: It’s more tailored towards just making money with websites in general. And then I’ve mentioned Amazon a few times. At the end I mentioned my more in depth Amazon course. I think the best thing will be if people wanna know like kind of what I do and see examples of actual websites I’ve built and how I make money with them, etc. then probably just makemoneyontheinternet.com and then just sign up for the free 10 day course.
T: Okay. Alright then Chris thank you very much.
C: Oh I was gonna say but then I guess the main thing too is going back to the earlier point is that make sure that if you actually do go through the free course you actually take action at the end of it. Don’t just look for the next free course to take.
C: You already know enough. Just do some stuff like you said earlier.
T: Yes you’ve got to build something. You know I’ll gues I’ll try them in here I do sell a lot of memberships to Niche Site Mastery and I include a 2 weeks one on one coaching in the first 2 weeks with that and definitely some people take advantage of it but it blows my mind that not everybody does. Imagine that you’re paying, in this case they’re paying me a $100 and to get access to a lifetime membership to Niche Site Mastery and there’s a lot of content in Niche Site Mastery. So I can only assume either the content’s so good they don’t feel the need to coaching or they just go on to some other shiny object which blows my mind. And they don’t ask for a refund. So I’m assuming that they’re continuing to use it. But you know if you’re gonna go down the road with Chris as your mentor or me as your mentor, stick with one of us. Don’t ride both horses. We both have good ideas. We’ve both been successful. And you can learn from both of us. Pick whoever you think you’d be more comfortable with.
So with that said I’m gonna wrap up this episode of the Online Income Lab podcast and if you wanna learn more you can get more information about me at onlineincomelab.com. And so thank you very much for tuning in.