I decided to do a random experiment (I was bored) to see what actually happens if you do buy a site that is earning some revenue and just leave it, I mean do absolutely nothing to it, not a single thing.
Will the revenue continue? or will the site flop and lose my money. I am no fan of throwing money away as it’s certainly not easy to come by so although I am doing this as an experiment (as a bit of fun) I want to emphasize that I do not recommend it and I am not going to spend a lot on the site at all.
I will not been overly picky on finding a site to buy as I don’t want to spend a lot of money for the obvious reasons of the revenue potentially dropping off but could I be wrong? could I just get lucky who knows.
I just want to make sure the site has not been up to anything dodgy that could it penalized or cause me any problems towards affiliate accounts, other than that as long as it’s getting traffic, has a couple of months earnings and passes my standard checks then I am in. Don’t expect to see any big revenue numbers here!
On the next part of the post I will write up the site I ended up buying, what it’s about and the some of the revenue information. I am not going to disclose the URL for obvious reasons but I think it could be interesting to see what happens.
So, I have bought my site and have everything transferred over to hosting and the domain pushed over to me (The seller I dealt with was actually great, he had a good feedback record on Flippa and it all went very smoothly which for some reason I wasn’t expecting for a low level cheap site).
What did I end up buying? here is a quick overview
It’s a WordPress site.
The site is in the employment niche.
The design/template is horrible, I actually laugh when I load up the site (I definitely wouldn’t proudly show any friends/family the site and say ‘I own that site’).
It’s a 4 year old site (I was a bit amazed to get a fairly old site given the low price, usually these low end sites are all really new (3-6 months old) so this should play some advantage here).
It gets around 150 – 200 unique visitors per month all from Google Organic Search.
All the content is unique.
It’s monetized via Adsense and earns (sit down for this) an average of $10 USD per month (next stop retirement, haha).
The site has a total of 6 Articles all around 500 words each in length, fairly well written but not great.
The site has 0 back links, so all organic rankings which I like.
It ranks for several keywords (SERP’s of 8-30).
It’s in a competitive niche (anything employment related generally is).
The question you are all wondering: what did I pay for the site? I paid a grand total and bank breaking figure of $65 USD which to be honest I think I have got quite a good deal taking into account the above stats but time will tell.
I have updated my Adsense (GA) codes on the site so I start earning revenue on my account straight away, it was using a plug-in so it didn’t take long at all to update the Adsense codes and I have taken over the Google Analytics as Admin (instead of starting a fresh one).
Next I will do a quick summary to see what happens. Will the traffic drop? will the revenue fall or increase? let’s see what happens.
I have been equally interested to see what would happen with the site even after a month. I have really not been expecting a lot and to be honest my expectation was that the revenue would start to fall down along with the traffic. The site has no back links at all so it’s relying on pure organic ranking traffic here.
As promised, I have done nothing at all to the site which has been a bit odd and kind of frustrating as I have thought of a few expansion ideas (I always try to do when researching / buying a new site) but for the sake of the experiment I am doing NOTHING.
Ok, enough of my wobbling on – you are here to find out what happened so here is the update;
The traffic has been steady and seems to peak on the weekends, I noticed this pattern when I was looking at Google Analytics before buying it. It doesn’t seem to get as much traffic in the week but in the weekends it does.
There has not been any change or drop in search engine rankings.
The site is getting some genuine comments/questions which is a good sign. (I have no idea how to answer them though as it’s about a very specific area!).
The site has earned some revenue, a jaw dropping monthly total of: £4.10 GBP // (around: $6.55 USD) for the first month.
Overall the site seems to be going OK though, I am predicting that the traffic may start to drop in the next 2-3 months but we will have to see. I was expecting the revenue to be closer to $10 USD but let’s see what next month brings.
I decided to wait a couple of months before adding an update, as I am not doing anything to the site I don’t have a lot to report to do a monthly post apart from any major traffic or revenue changes so I decided to combine a few months together and will follow this format going forwards.
Here is what happened over the last 3 months;
Amazingly traffic has remained steady with the same patterns, spiking on the weekends.
Still getting a few genuine comments (I still cannot answer them due to them being specific to a certain and US laws which I have no idea about).
Revenue has actually increased slightly and below is a breakdown of where we are so far;
I haven’t added in any expenses as there really isn’t any, I already have shared Hosting so there really is no additional cost to me hosting this small site and I just want to try and keep the experiment as simple as possible.
As it stands I have now got over half my money back in 4 months which is pretty nice but the figures are not really exciting!
4 months since the last update, what has changed? has the revenue and traffic continued?
Here is a summary of what has happened over the last 4 months;
Traffic has increased very slightly and same old weekend traffic spike pattern continues.
Site rankings remain relatively the same, some have dropped SERP very slightly but it’s not had any negative effect on the site in terms of traffic.
Revenue has been very interesting as it’s actually increased quite nicely, again nothing to shout loudly about but considering that I paid just $65 USD for the site it is nice to now say that I have made all my money back and everything from now on is pure profit.
I will have to renew the domain name soon which will cost me around $13 for another year but that’s a few months away and even with that I will be into profit still.
Here is a breakdown on the revenue, since the beginning;
It is quite funny looking at the above as I really didn’t think this would work out, I thought the figures would slowly drop a dollar or so each month but I stand to be corrected and as it stands I have made my money back and made $77.95 USD profit (domain renewal is coming up so will need to pay around $13 for this but still work’s out good profit considering the purchase cost was $65 USD).
Despite the results, I do still stand by that you should only buy a site on the basis of having a plan and adding new decent content as well as some good links.
I do think I got a bit lucky with the site, considering it was a 4 year old site with quite a lot of natural rankings, I think that had a big part to play. Most other new/cheap sites would have fallen apart a while ago if they was left neglected and tried to repeat this experiment. (Seems my research methods paid off in this case and some luck but I could not confidently say I could repeat this test again and show the same results).
I might do another and final follow up post in 6 months but for now I think the experiment has done its job and hopefully entertained you along the way. What am I going to do with my life changing profits from this you ask? I might treat myself to a Domino’s Pizza takeaway 🙂
UPDATE: Around 4 months on and the site is still earning consistently between $20-25 USD per month.
IMPORTANT: Please don’t run out there and buy loads of cheap and crappy sites as you will end up losing money on 95% of them without doubt, get a decent site and put some time into it – that’s the best way to get real results, luck is not enough and you cannot rely on it.