Jacky Chou is today’s guest on the Niche Pursuits podcast. Jacky is the founder of Indexy — a successful SEO agency. He is also a very successful website builder with a portfolio of around 35 websites.
The interview starts with Jacky talking about his background and how he got started online. From dropshipping to eCommerce, he has built lots of profitable businesses. Today, on the podcast, he shares some great tips for anyone looking to get started, and in particular, those looking to scale or grow an online business.
Most of the conversation focuses on the website building aspect, and with well over 30 sites, he has a lot of wisdom and knowledge in the game to share.
Jacky talks about how he scales his business, buys starter websites, creates content, builds links, and how he manages to operate a portfolio of so many websites.
In addition, Jared and Jacky Chou discuss some of his other successes, including Amazon FBA, private label branding, and selling websites.
Table of Contents
Other topics discussed with Jacky Chou include:
- The type of websites he buys (Hint — they don’t always have to be making money)
- What to look for in a starter site
- Approach to Link building and what he believes Google thinks about links
- First and second-tier linking
- How he manages and scales the business
- Content process and strategy
- Does speed matter with SEO?
- You don’t need to produce lots of content
- Risk mitigation framework
- Where to find starter sites
- Dealing with Google core updates
- Private label selling
- Taking profit from one business to build others
- Plus much more
Towards the end of the interview, Jared throws some questions at Jacky and asked him what he thinks is essential for ranking today — i.e., expertise, custom imagery, video production, speed, etc.
Finally, Jacky gives us a glimpse of a day in his life and offers advice on diversification, time management, quitting your day job, and, very importantly, when not to quit your job. Whether building websites at scale or not, you will learn a ton from Jacky.
As always, take notes and enjoy the episode.
Links And Resources:
Watch the Interview:
read the transcription:
Jared: Welcome back to the Nichepursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman. Today I am joined by Jackie Chou.
Jackie, welcome. Good to be here. Good to have you on board. This is gonna be a journey down pretty much. I mean, I don’t wanna say every side hustle, online marketing approach and, and whatnot, but you’ve been had your hands on almost everything I feel like.
So I’m really looking forward to hearing. Not only all about your backstory, but what you’re working on right now. And you got a lot of success happening right now. Why don’t you give us a little bit of backstory and we’ll kind of dive into some of the specifics along the way.
Jacky: Yeah. I documented a lot of my successes on Twitter as well as a ton of failures.
So it’s definitely not all rainbows and butterflies on my end. Unfortunately, but yeah, to give you a bit more backstory, I’m a electrical engineer by education. Figured I should probably, I, I was gonna be a terrible engineer, failed ton of courses, eventually, I think a day before I a final exam that, which I failed, I Googled how to make money online.
And then the rest was history. I did everything I could to make money online. It was ranged from like terrible. Like CPL offers all the way to selling LinkedIn recommendations on fiber. So that’s how I got started.
Jared: What year was this that you you decided electro engineering wasn’t quite the right path for you.
Jacky: yeah, I think it was like 2015 or 2016. So I’m not that I’m not that tenure SEO veteran that
Jared: we see that’s okay. That’s okay. We’ll forgive you. Especially when we, you start sharing about some of the things you’re doing. I think I think everyone will forgive you. What were some of the, the first forays into, I guess maybe first successful forays into, to making money online that you had?
I mean, I’m trying to think back to 20 16, 20 17, there was certainly some drop shipping, a lot of Amazon stuff happening. A lot of obviously SEO and website building at that. Yep.
Jacky: Yep. I think my most significant like internet, internet money, so to speak was probably drop shipping. I was sold selling these, like, what is it?
They’re not called, but it’s like beads like that. You, you have, like, what is that? What are those called? Like it’s like fashion accessories for men. Mm-hmm and I would think I was just manually fulfilling on Ali express. There was no like shop buyout back then. It was on WordPress. I think I got. 15,000 in like revenue in a month.
And I was like, this is insane. And I didn’t have the concept of like hiring her VA back then. I fulfilled everything manually by hand. Oh. And I was like, in the middle of class, it was doing like, I, I was doing like hundreds of orders a day and it was insanity. But yeah, that’s how I first got started.
Probably my first piece of success online after that had a ton of like, Churn and burn affiliate sites where I just like pounded it with PVNS definitely ranked very well. There’s a couple thousand dollars a. They eventually tanked, but yeah, I figured that was like something I wanted to continue as well as drop shipping.
I guess we’ll cover that as well.
Jared: So with the, with the drop shipping, I mean, you’re not doing drop shipping anymore. Mm-hmm what, what caused you to transition out of that besides the fact that I don’t think fashion beads are in anymore.
Jacky: yeah. Why I should try transitioned out of it while we made a lot of money in it.
I think we had a home decor drop serving store that was doing like two 50 K a. With like, wow, 90, 90% gross margins or something like that. And we eventually sold that to a P from in Detroit. And it was something that we weren’t proud of. You know, we were like selling pretty much garbage from China and I wouldn’t be able to give it to like my parents to use.
I wouldn’t want them to use that. You know, so we figured this time around, we do it. Right. And then that’s why we started this idea to see homeware brand called far and away. Which I’m happy to share as well.
Jared: Okay. So let’s talk a bit more about that brand. So you sold off to a private equity firm, you got rid of the, the chaff or the, the, the stuff you didn’t like.
And then you started a completely different, I guess, line of products or what, what is it?
Jacky: Yeah, it’s like Portuguese dinnerware, Cutler, as well as you know I think the whole idea is like heritage products from countries that they’re known for manufacturing. Those said product. For example, Portuguese ceramics, perhaps we’re, we’re moving next to France.
So France like French fragrances. So for example, like French sent to candles, we’re working, we just visited like the oldest candle manufacturer in the world. And we’re gonna work with them. It’s like very exciting stuff. And it’s like stuff I’m proud of, you know,
Jared: mm-hmm and is this, how are you, how are you selling this product?
How is this all set up? It’s
Jacky: like private label. We find like mom and pops that we wanna work with. And then just kinda negotiate a as well as like payment terms and focus really on the storytelling and like putting these mom and pops in the spotlight and telling their.
Jared: How did you end up finding that niche?
That area? I mean, I wouldn’t even think about the, you know, Portuguese dinnerware and, and French fragrances and these, like, how did you go from selling? I mean, as you put it junk from, from China and into these really highly specialized niches or, you know, areas
Jacky: we saw. So from our data, from the drop shipping that home decor from China, we could see like winners in certain categories.
And then we focused, zeroed in.
Jared: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. And obviously the there’s a demand for this and it’s, it’s growing well. You’re, you’re just lining up, you know, new products as we speak.
Jacky: Yeah. Yeah. I think we’re averaging like just six figures a month in euros with like our gross Margins aren’t as high.
I think it’s like 65% or something.
Jared: Yeah. Okay. So that’s something that you’re working on right now. Do you mm-hmm I know you have your hands in a bunch of different things. What else is on the list that you guys are tackling in today’s you know, today’s environment in today’s Workday.
Jacky: We also have an SEO agency that does like mid five figures as well as a portfolio of content sites.
So our idea. The SEO slash content site synergy is kind of like, Hey we can help you rank your sites, but we want to like, practice what we preach. So we want to build out our portfolio and focus on what we’re good at, which is ranking websites. Just putting all that profit, because agency is an extremely high margin business.
Let’s, let’s be honest. So putting all that profit in, because I don’t, I don’t need all that money unless you said like I don’t. To be spending mid five figures on, on, on my lifestyle. I’m not in Neil Patel quite yet, you know? I, I can, I can put that all into content, revenue, generating assets, and yeah, go from there.
If you have a wide enough big enough portfolio, it’s kind of like a risk It helps you dissipate some risk.
Jared: A lot of people talk about the risk involved in owning a portfolio of sites, which you’ve kind of offset by having an agency that serves clients. And so your model is, I mean, to summarize you basically like take the profit from the agency and then.
Which agency life is fickle. Like I run an agency as well. So it’s you know, obviously the goal is to streamline that client base, but you know, most people who run agencies talk about how you have some really good months and down months, year over year, you know, if you’re doing it right. It kind of averages out a bit, but you’re offsetting some of that risk by then putting a lot of that profit into, into a portfolio of websites.
That’s really, that’s really sound.
Jacky: Yeah, I think yeah. Portfolio of websites as well as. Traditional investments such as like equities crypto and yeah, so, yeah, and then content sites as well. That’s like, I think that’s our, our split right now.
Jared: So I could ask this question later on or I could just ask it now.
How do you handle all this stuff? On a date, each one of these on their own sound like a, like more than a full time job, right? You’ve got this product line that you’re building out. And that sounds like a lot of work. You’ve got an SEO agency. That’s a lot of work. You have a portfolio of websites and that’s a tremendous amount of work.
I mean, how do you, how do you structure all this in a way that you and your team can give all of these things the time they need.
Jacky: So the biggest time sinks, surprisingly is the D to C homework site that takes out most of my time. So like time to revenue probably that’s the worst one. Yeah. Through, in terms of like structuring my days, honestly, I don’t, I’m pretty, I got really good at delegating through the last couple of years.
I think I take a lot of notes from Andrew Wilkinson from com. This guy is. A great delegator. He he’s good at hiring operators for each business. So one thing I like to do is when I buy a business from someone, I would keep them on as an operator, as like a minority you know, let’s say owner and, you know, have some skin in the game and also keep them like motivated to continue to grow the business and just kind of like, okay, this is your piece of the pie.
Now you focus on that, but I’ll attach my. I’ll give you my resources to grow this. How would you grow it? If you had infinite amount of resources and like, let them just like go cause like they’re still attached to the business. They built it from the ground up. So it’s simply going from is instead of like zero to one, it’s like one to, you know, a hundred mm-hmm mm-hmm
Jared: Is that like a good analogy for how you’re running some of these websites in your portfolio?
Jacky: Yeah, for sure. I think I have four, four businesses that. Are about worth six figures. I just exited. But yeah, I I’ve had four operators that I’ve done this with. And then I think the remain remaining 30 sites are done in house.
Jared: Okay. So 34 sites. That’s a lot. yeah, it’s a lot to manage. Maybe walk us through the process that you went through to get 2 34. And again, I’m talking more high level. Like, was that always the goal was the goal to have. When you said portfolio of sites, was it some, somewhere in that range, did that happen over time?
How did you end up landing on that number of sites and that sort of scale?
Jacky: Yeah, I don’t wanna make it sound like these 34 sites are all generating crazy revenue. Cause they’re not, I’ve only done max, like from these sites, like 60 K a month. I, I guess in, in retrospect it’s still pretty, it’s quite a bit, but it’s nothing like the sort of volume we get for e-commerce.
But yeah. How do we manage that is, you know, we buy a lot of starter sites. Mm-hmm we pound it with lots of content and links, and then we just simply wait, I think in content, like with niche sites, there’s a lot of waiting involved and I just like to have, you know, you buy sites in different stages, you know, and then you implement what you think is the best practice and you wait and you.
What works and what doesn’t work. Maybe you can go more aggressive and more risky tactics for the sites that are worth like 5k instead of a hundred. And then if that works me, you can maybe then move on to your bigger sites on, in the portfolio. So on and so forth. So I just like to do a lot of testing and a larger portfolio enables me to do that.
Jared: we had someone named you went on the podcast a month or two ago. Oh, I know. Okay. You know, you he, he kind of broke it down and said that he would start a batch of. Put 50 or 60% of his budget towards these, let them sit and wait and then pick out the winners and put the rest of his allocation into those winners.
There. It sounds reminded me of that. I guess when, when you’re talking about how you have a lot of starter sites that you wait and watch.
Jacky: Yeah. I think it’s just the time it takes, you know, waiting for Google to pick it up is it takes too long. So you have, you have to go for volume. Cause there are just sites where you follow best practices and it just doesn’t.
Some guy can be an industry expert, right. For like months. And it’ll just simply not rank even with all their links in the world. But yeah, I think I would be considered something like launching at a much smaller scale than you. Yeah, he was, that guy does like, he does like, yeah, crazy. I don’t even know how he does that.
I don’t think I have the mental comp capacity to do that. Yeah. Well, you
Jared: guys are all on another level, but yeah, you’re right. I guess we’re talking 34 versus hundreds. I mean, mm-hmm, , it’s all big numbers to me, but yeah, he’s certainly at a different scale. can I ask you about some of the insights that you I guess have gained from seeing.
Specifically all these starter sites and maybe any patterns that people can learn from as to what can move the needle a little bit faster for people. A lot of people are in that spot where they’ve either started a site or they’re year in and they’re, it’s still crickets or it’s very, very early days.
Any insights for people into how to evaluate what’s working. And what’s not in those early days, how to know when it’s working, how to get it working faster. Another piece of feedback we hear is, Hey, there’s no feedback loop, right? Like I write 30 pieces of content I put ’em live, but I don’t really know what’s working and what’s not working.
So any insights from all the, the starter sites you work with?
Jacky: Unfortunately, like I don’t like making these statements cuz it changes so quickly. You know, even like with the core update, I, I got tons of sites that got destroy. I don’t even know why some of them went up. Like I’ve had one of my or major ones went up, but I, I, I can’t even tell you why.
Cause the site speed sucks. For example links we used were the same as the ones that got hit. So it’s, it’s, it’s really tough to say. I would say in terms of content, I think you have to publish on a regular basis, but it doesn’t have to be that frequent. It doesn’t have to be like 10 posts. It could be four to five and Google will still see it as like, oh, you’re still updating the sites of cool, you know as long as you don’t let it sit and just let it die.
I think that’s the one thing I’ve noticed across all the sites is that you have to keep publishing.
Jared: Does, have you noticed any indexing challenges? I know that’s kind of all the rage with people talking right now about new sites, having problems with the the articles, getting index.
Jacky: No, I think rank math has a really good plugin for that.
Mm-hmm I think it was like something that uses the search console API or something like that that has been working great for us, as well as like you can use apps, you know, those paid apps, that indexing tools, those work like crazy, like they’re great. the,
Jared: the core update. I mean, you, you, you mentioned it.
So I thought I’d ask you about it with 30 plus sites. You’re pretty much just by the sheer nature of the odds. Gonna have some that go up and some that go down when an update like that, you mentioned how it’s hard to find any patterns. Do you think that having a, a larger portfolio, like kind of mitigates the risk of updates and like, or maybe how do you guys approach updates?
How do you guys think about core updates as a part of that strategy? I
Jacky: personally calculate payback periods as like a main metric that I run our projections on. So typically I buy sites with a payback period between two to three years and once purchased, for example, because I’m on a custom rate card for Amazon, I I’m able to shorten that payback period to just under two years.
And as long as I can hold, like as long as it doesn’t die within the two years, I’m I’m. In the green. So for example I’ve had a, a huge site that I hit was doing 20 K a month, but, and it it’s, it’s currently a three K a month. But I’m already in the green cuz I paid like I think it was like 60 K it was a, like a God awful 3 0 1, like non-brand.
Like pure garbage, you know, like if, if any of the people you’ve had on they, no, no one would pick that up, but I picked it up for like pennies on the dollar. So I I’m like a risk on type of guy. I know this will get hit on the next update, but I’m gonna, I’ll be still in the green cause I’ll be making my money back.
Right. So I’m like a fan of taking like these huge swings and so far has been paying off. But in the last couple months I have been bowing back a bit on the risk side, just because of the economic.
Jared: Right. Yeah. Well, at the time we’re recording, you know, could have a global recession or all sorts of different things in our hands inflation and that sort of stuff.
That makes sense. Probably a good time to ask about I’d love your thoughts on it. A lot of us build a site, build two sites. And when we, when are asked about the long-term plans of the site, it’s like, well, you know, get the income as high as I can. Maybe some. At your size, is it more about the monthly income and maximizing that?
Or are you more conscious of pouring as much back into those sites to grow them where the real maximum payout is? What you’re focused on at time of sale?
Jacky: Yeah, we calculate by definitely monthly profits because these exit. Especially if you are buying starter sites and trying to grow them, we’re, you’re taking moon shots essentially.
Right? You’re trying to get that six figure six, seven figure exit on these starter sites. Those are the moonshot ones. So I would buy a ton of like five to 20 K sites, try to get them to a hundred K and then sell them. But if they don’t, then, you know, if it’s making one K a month, I’ve already, I’m already in the green.
I’m not too worried about it. If it dies, it dies. You know, it’s a very different approach from the typical niche site, you know, like builder, I think it’s important. I’ve just spoken. I just met two people in the content site niche. Yes. Or in person. And they have like 90%, I’m pretty sure like majority of their net worth are in content sites.
And that’s not something I can really stomach. And I think I urge a lot of, let’s say your listen. You know, to take some chips off the table, once in a while, mm-hmm because these updates like can be like life ruining, you know, because some of these people maybe only have one site and their whole family depends on it, you know, so sometimes it’s good to take, take some profits.
Yes, I get it. You’re making 20 K a month. You’re making double what your friends are earning at a full-time job. You’re probably on the mood. You’re out having fun, eating expensive dinners now, but that can be wiped off. The next day with a Google update. So I think it’s just like, there has to be some risk management in this.
Jared: There are lots of places to sell sites. So there’s no shortage of that. And at, you know, I think that that’s the argument against having one site, like the, the argument for it would be to be able to put all of your time and effort into it, to be able to focus, to be able to, you know, establish. You know, it’s talked about a lot, like an authority site, right?
To the level where it is quote unquote, large enough to not be as subjected to these fluctuations and these Google updates and stuff. Your counterargument makes a lot of sense. I think a lot of people struggle though, with the amount of focus that clearly you’re able to have and the delegation that you have.
So it’s tough. It’s
Jacky: tough. Yeah. It is tough. I think it’s just like a matter of sitting down and focusing, I. See it to be that hard. I think some people probably have a bit more distractions than me because if they have like young kids, for example, it’s a lot harder to focus.
Jared: I’m in that camp. yeah, but you still gotta figure it out.
Right. You know? Yeah, exactly. Let’s look at, we don’t even have, I’m guessing that with the number of sites you have, I could give you a theoretical example and you can probably think of a site in your portfolio that matches that. But I, I kinda wanna walk through maybe a more specific use case in your portfolio.
Let’s say you grab a site that’s you buy for $5,000. What is a typical site look like that you. For 5,000 and what’s, you know, a typical roadmap for you to grow that site. I’m really curious to hear what you, you know, the things you do right outta the gate.
Jacky: So what I’m looking for is high amount of indexed keywords on HRES.
The graph should be up into the right you know, like nice trajectory. Earnings is not important at the five to 10 K range. It does not matter. It can be making $0 and I would pay. And what I do is I would figure out which niche I want to get into. See if I’m selling any products in that niche. For example we have an FBA brand in the homeware niche as well in the us.
So if, if they rank for the product we’re selling. We’ll buy that. It doesn’t matter. You know, it doesn’t matter the price we’ll buy it because we’ll just push our own products. Kind of like what a VP mentor did, you know, with north or with the Cape brands. Other than that, it’s just a bunch of keyword research after purchase scheduling posts.
If the trajectory is super strong, we do like 30 posts a month. But if it’s like just our standard, you know, couple it’s like not. Crazy vertical line, then we would probably just do, you know, five to 10 posts a month. Lots of link building in the beginning. See how it reacts first and then adjust accordingly.
If it’s like still mooning, then we would, yeah, just like pound the site with content mm-hmm . Yeah.
Jared: Where are you? Are you working with your content all in house? Do you have a setup there? Do you, do you work with other agencies?
Jacky: Yeah, we have like. I think eight to 12 writers, but we pay a flat rate for per word written for.
So there are contractors and then we have four editors editors, which means they upload and design the posts as well as like, you know, check the content for readability issues, you know following our standard our, our so. And then I have a director of ops who’s like handling just about everything for me going from like content sites, all the way to agency side mm-hmm
Jared: mm-hmm yeah.
You ever run into, you know, some months you have to kind of load balance. Like we wanna put 25 articles on this site, but you know, given the way the team is structured, we’re not able to put 25 articles on that side. Like how do you kind of prioritize where to put their time on a daily or, or monthly
Yeah, depends on how the sites are doing. So if. If they’re hit by their core update. I’m I’m. I told them to like pause all the articles. We’re, we’re fixing up the existing ones before we move on to new articles and for the sites that are doing well, I, we like double down on them. So for example, we had one site doing, like, it was like 20 articles a month and I’ve asked the team to like, double that because it’s doing well now.
Jared: sense link building, you know, what kind of link building are you, are you doing for most of these sites? Are, are you seeing a certain type work better than others? You know, I mean, obviously at, at, at the number of sites you have, you probably have some insights that most of us would not get from one to three or four, you know, websites.
Jacky: Yeah. So we’re, we’re always testing, right. Because that’s a way to manage risk as well because, and a lot of people don’t actually do this is you’re supposed to implement different link building tactics for each. Because if you follow the same you, if you have an so P for link building, then if a core update hits all, it’s gonna hit all of your sites, essentially, if it’s like a link update.
Yep. Cause you’re following the same ones. For example, you can’t do all niche sheds across all your domains. If you guys slot, it’s like, it’s like a complete wipe out. You’re like, so we try to split things up. The churn and burn sites, PBNs are still working great. A lot of niche edits a lot of the guest posts.
And if I’m feeling a bit more dangerous on some of the sites, I would build like tier two links as well. Mm-hmm . Yeah.
Jared: Would you call P PBNs or tier two links, more dangerous these days?
Jacky: Definitely. PBNs tier two has like, I, in my opinion, have never been like algo penalized. Yes. Yes.
Jared: Right? Yeah. Well, and for those listening who maybe don’t know much about tier one, tier two link, but tier one would be, Hey, you’re building a guest post, you place a guest post on a website.
And that website links to your site. That would be a tier one link, but then a tier two link would be. And correct me if I’m saying this wrong, at least from the, from the way you’re doing it, but you, you build that guest post that does link to your site, but then you’re gonna send a lot of links to that guest post, which will prop up the value or the link juice from that, that guest post or that tier one link.
Jacky: Yeah, exactly. And like for these guest posts, we’re trying to target the same keyword in our money site. Keyword. Does that make sense? Mm-hmm for example, if we’re linking to a best SEO company article. That the guest folks would try to rank for life. For example, top SEO agency, 2022, and then we would try to rank.
Guest post site. It’s kinda like parasite SEO mm-hmm but we’re also linking to our own site. Yep. Type of thing. Yeah. Yeah.
Jared: Yeah. And, and, and typically when you’re doing tier two link one, you, you want to do it on really? You wanna point those to really powerful domains. So mm-hmm , that would make sense to similarities there.
What you talked about the need to, to build different ways. When it comes to links for different sites is that like, is that complex? How do you solve that complexity? And again, I’m trying to think of maybe someone who has one or two sites they could learn a lot from different types of links and trying and testing and the complexities that get involved in that.
How do people think through that? How do you think through the complexities of that?
Jacky: I think it sounds complex, but it’s really not. It’s more like, okay, this site, we do niche, this site guest post, this site. Blended the site PBNs. And you just remember that maybe, maybe you write it down on a piece of paper.
It’s it’s not that bad. With someone with like one or two sites, let’s, let’s not do PBNs, you know, yeah. If if it means putting food, if it’s the site that puts food on the table, let’s not do these risk tactics. Let’s not do tier two links, you know, maybe guest posts and hyper relevant sites.
Cause I know people, for example, Mofi from the website flip, talked about it. He only builds like ex hyper relevant links. He doesn’t, he doesn’t build anything else, you know? So I know people who have found success like that. I personally don’t do that. I, I believe quantity over a qu like. Hyper quality.
I should say that. Yeah, because Google doesn’t really penalize links nowadays. They just ignore it instead. Ignore.
Jared: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, maybe there’s a, maybe there’s three classes of links. There’s like the really good links. Like maybe the kind you reference mofi building who’ve had in the podcast a couple times, then there’s the really bad links, which are ones that could get you caught up.
Could be bad. Might just get ignored. And then there’s links that kind of go down the middle. They might not. The best links for your niche. Mm-hmm but they’re certainly not flagging or, or
Jacky: bad. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So I tend to be in, in, in the middle, in the middle, in the middle, and then if I’m feeling like risky, then probably on the bottom side.
Jared: I mean, well, cause those really good links are really hard to build. Right. Especially if it’s something you’re not as much of an expert in, you know, I mean that, that, that, that, that makes a lot of sense. Have you connected any of these link building patterns to sites that were hit in the core update versus sites that weren’t, is there any patterns that, that have emerged there?
Jacky: The recent update I can say with pretty high certainty, it’s not a link building update. Yeah. I would say like very, very high certainty. Yeah, I think for me personally, the sites that were hit the hardest were the ones that I reversed a previous penalty with like a 3 0 1. And those were now like completely decimated.
But, you know, I re recovered some already made my money back. Can’t really complain. Yeah. I, I, yeah, I know the name of the game. It’s a high risk industry.
Jared: Yeah. Let’s let me take a step back and maybe look at your portfolio of sites from a. 10,000, 20,000 foot view. What are for someone who is, has one or two sites and aspires over the next year or two to go from one or two to a portfolio, maybe not 35 or whatever your number is, but maybe from one to five or from three to 10, what are some kind of high level tips you can give people who want to go from being a single site operator to having a portfolio of sites.
Jacky: I think I wouldn’t want to give any advice unless I knew their financial situation. So let’s say that this person has, you know, 5k in the bank and they have a site making one K a month. I would say, sell that right now. take the money, rebuild the sites, and you’re gonna re you’re gonna be writing the site.
Like you’re gonna be writing the content. Whereas someone with like a hundred K in the bank with a site making one K a month, I would say, Hey, you can start buying some, you can buy some starter sites, you know? So it really depends on their financial situation. Everyone’s different because yeah, a site making one K a month is worth at least 30 K.
You don’t want your too much of your net worth to be caught up in a high risk asset. Like this, that can go to.
Jared: The, the nature of starter sites and buying them, it sounds like you’re really bullish on that because you kind of shorten that timeframe to which you can move the needle on this site. Mm-hmm how lo like, are you also starting your own sites, your own starter sites, and then letting them age, are you pretty much just buying starter sites?
Jacky: Let me think. When the last time I started my own site was. Yep. The fact you’re having to think about it. yeah. It’s it’s it’s like a year or two at least. Yeah. So it’s not, it’s not recent. That’s a lie. I have, I have, I have one right now six month old mental health niche. Yep. It’s it’s going well.
So yeah, I, I do that. I do that. Not often, not often at all. I I’d rather buy. Yeah. Cause like, I think it depends on the financial situation. Once again. 5k a month is a, a smaller percentage of my net worth than someone else. So if it’s 5k a month to save months of time, then we take those all day, all day and every day.
Jared: Where do you find starter sites? Like where, where do you, where do you get those?
Jacky: Yeah Facebook groups are great. I get offered a ton from private deals. This is why I’m actually on the podcast. I get great deal flow from. Lots of people offer sites to me when I appear on podcasts. So please send me a DM without your sites.
We’ll be buying them. And yeah, I think mostly private deals. Before I would be posting on Facebook groups, but now most people would message me before they list anywhere else
Jared: you talked about when you looked at starter sites like, Hey, I wanna see keywords going up under the right. I really don’t care if they’re making money again, putting myself in the shoes of someone who’s saying, okay, I, I built my site, but I wanna go out and buy a starter site now.
And I remember the first time I bought a site, there’s so much trepidation behind it. And I remember actually listening to moose F’s podcast interview a from a couple years ago here on this podcast. And he kind of talked about some of the things to look at and buying sites that that helped a lot what the things did, you know, you wanna make sure you look for when you’re buying a starter site maybe a certain age or a, you know, these, these other things you might be looking.
Jacky: Yeah, I, my due diligence is not as thorough as smoosh speaks. I’ve seen what he does. Mine is I throw into HRES. If we’re talking strictly star sites, so I only throw into HRES. I can make an offer immediately, I think within five minutes and I can go into escrow within half an hour and the funds will be ready.
So like, I, I push for a speed. That’s why people actually sell to me. I, I move a lot quicker than someone who’s gonna be like, oh, let me take a look at GA. I don’t really need to take a look at GA search console at most. I don’t really need to see anything because I would maybe put like the rankings from HRES into my own ranking tracker.
I, I move a lot quicker than some of these people, so I just need reps and verifying it on search console. That’s. Okay,
Jared: I’m gonna switch gears to now the, we are we talking about starter sites and how to start a portfolio and all that. I’m gonna switch gears and go to the other end of the spectrum, which is selling sites.
How for you, do you evaluate when to sell a site versus when to keep growing it? Any. Insights from you on when to sell. Do you sell sites only when they’re on the uptick or do you wait for a plateau and then sell, do you sell sites certain quarters of the year to maximize revenue? How do you determine when to sell and what are some of the qualifiers that go into it for you?
Jacky: Yeah, I think best time to sell a site is also the best time to sell your stocks or crypto. It’s like at the moment of like peak euphoria. When you think you are like, Nothing can hurt you. That’s, that’s pretty much the time you should sell. When you think you’re like on top of the world, you’re the best in the industry at this?
You should probably, you know, when yeah, I think I, I learned this from like trading and stocks a lot. This is something I I’ve have not done perfectly on the niche sites because it’s not as liquid in this industry, but I think it’s when you’re, when you think you don’t need to sell that’s when you should sell.
And when it takes up too much of your net worth, you should sell. So that’s my, my general rule of thumb, take some money off the table, always. Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be a hundred percent of like, I’m happy to buy sites, like 70% of your site and you can have 30%, there’s still upside for you, you know?
And you get to keep a lot of. And maybe go pay down your loans, et cetera, et cetera. It’s, it’s a great time to take some profit.
Jared: it’s interesting. We’ve probably all been there. Those of us who have a website that’s on the uptick and you’re right. You’re thinking, man, the sky’s the limit for this clearly Google loves what I’m doing.
I’ll just keep doing more of it. And then obviously when your site’s in the downturn from an update or from something like that, or even when it flattens out when it plateaus, not any update specific, but just because sites plateau. You start thinking, man, I should have taken my money off the table.
Maybe, maybe I should have sold it at that point. Maybe I should have diversified. These are the questions that run through my mind
Jacky: right now. Yeah, exactly. These aren’t thoughts like that. You don’t think about these things at all when it’s like, when you’re rankings are flying, you never think about. Just think about, oh, how else can I grow this?
How else can I push the revenue higher? You never think about the downside, which is like a huge mistake. People make, I don’t have it
Jared: in front of me, but I, I would imagine that for someone who is heavily involved in websites with the may core update of 20, 22, and also potentially heavily involved in crypto with a lot of the downturns that happened in over spring and summer is probably a very disheartening time for people who had a lot in both camps.
Jacky: Yeah. It’s like a triple whammy with like a stocks core update and crypto,
Jared: and then we got inflation on the backside of
Jacky: that. yeah, no, no. One’s winning here. . Yeah, definitely hurting a lot. How much
Jared: are you doing in your portfolio of sites, in some of the maybe secondary things that move the needle and I’m gonna throw some things out there.
None of these things necessarily all SEOs will agree, help many will debate ’em. So I, I don’t, I’m not trying to create a debate here about what does, and doesn’t move the needle. I’m just trying to get your thoughts in general at a portfolio level site speed. Video custom imagery expertise, as it maybe relates to that eat conversation, where do some of these things enter into your portfolio?
Jacky: So it really depends on the niche. If you’re in homeware, no one cares about if you’re an interior designer or not. I think we write, I I’ve a, I prompted our writers to write from the point of view that we’ve used it and that’s helped rankings and site speed is definitely important on a conversion level.
So if it takes too long to load, no, one’s clicking your affiliate links. That’s the same. I I’ve learned that firsthand. And I’ve, I’ve seen that because of e-com. So sites that take more than two seconds to load. No, one’s waiting for that, especially on mobile and they’re out, they’re not logged into like, they were wifi.
They’re like 4g outside, you know, if it takes too long, they’re not waiting. So size speed is important. Expertise is not so important. Certain niches, but let’s say if you’re in the VPN niche and you’re trying to do something you’re searching, you’re about to do something illegal, you know, like buy drugs on the internet, like that.
Probably double check that you’re like cybersecurity expert where yeah. Home niche. Fine. What, what else did you mention these growth levers that you video speed, video video. Great to have. I haven’t been able to implement it properly. I think that’s extremely important actually. And it’s great for eat if you believe it or not.
So I guess that’s why you meant about ex expertise, but yeah, video is great. You should, if I could, for example for our VPN sites, it’d be great. If I could make like a, how to video for each article, you know, especially our one, the ones that rank for best VPN. Yeah. That’d be great. It’s a good idea. I should probably do.
But right now we’ve been just embedding like other people’s videos and Hey, this guy liked it, you know, type of thing. Yep.
Jared: Yeah. Well, don’t take it for me. I’m just asking. not, not advising . Yeah, but curious, certainly videos seem to make a big D make a big impact on sites. From the, the may update. And since we’ve been talking a lot about the may update mm-hmm but yeah.
Yeah. I would imagine it’s scale videos, hard to pull off videos hard in general, but I would, I would think that a single site operator or someone who is doubled down on one site would actually have a competitive advantage in creating video because, you know, they know the content so well at scale with teams of writers, writing different contents, that that’s gotta be hard to pull off.
Jacky: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s heavily niche dependent as well. Yeah. For example, I think one example is my brother, who’s like pretty big on TikTok, like 300 K followers. Anytime he writes a recipe. And if he embeds his TikTok video in there, I think Google’s able to tell that he actually made this recipe and like, The rankings just fly every time he posts, it just flies up zero, zero links site is crap.
, backlink profile is also crap, but it just ranks for some reason, you know, and these are extremely competitive terms. Like there’s keywords, like best air fryer. He doesn’t rank for that, but I’ve seen examples of like friends who are also big influencers. They just like talk from the POV that they’re they’ve used it.
And then they make a video out of it and it just ranks once they embed. Wow. So I think, yeah, I think there’s something there. I think Google’s like natural language processing is pretty good now they, that they, they can figure it out.
Jared: The YouTube API gives a lot of clues about how much they actually.
Know about every video you create. Mm-hmm you know I don’t remember. I won’t start referencing some of the things because it’s, it’s been about a year or so since I, I saw some of the details on it, but it was fascinating. Like they could tell if you’re recording in front of the Eiffel tower, they could tell it was the Eiffel tower.
They’d be able to note that you’re in Paris, France, they’d be able to know more about it. It was very fascinating to see them do that at that scale. It’s not just processing words anymore. It’s understanding a lot of depth there. It’s really crazy. Yeah, that’s crazy. Let me as we start to kind of bring it back here and, and wind down a bit.
I, I’m just, I’m really curious maybe what a day in the life looks like for you. Maybe, you know, could you walk us through a day in the life of, of how you do balance? I know we’ve bounced around a lot, so I’m kind of coming back to it, maybe productivity and that sort of thing. But I do wanna hear. You keep saying things like, well, I think if you just, you just gotta do it you just gotta sit down and, and do it well.
How do you, what does the day look like? Like how do you do it? And, and maybe there are some insights there without you even realizing it
Jacky: yeah, I think I think now I’m at the point where I’m putting in normal hours, so like four to eight hours a day. It’s not anything crazy anymore, but when on the come up, so on the come up, I.
Busting out like 16 to 18 hour days every day for the, like, for example, in COVID I had nothing else better to do. I was in front of the computer, 16 to 18 hours a day. I had like severe Caral tunnel. Wow. Syndrome. It was like, my arms were paralyzed. Yeah. So how, what, what I, what would happen is I would wake up every day, put out the fires that started when I was sleeping.
Get a workout in afterwards, eat something, have some coffee, you know think about what you need to do afterwards while you’re working out. Maybe listen to a podcast and then yeah, just implementation comes after the coffee and you just like knock out the things like maybe you would want to depends on your hours, but like knock out the five things you, you dreaded from the day before, you know, just through.
Because if you’re even like 1% better than the day before it compounds like pretty greatly. So that’s pretty much what happened.
Jared: The it’s interesting to, to hear about, again, I’ll say this every other podcast episode this year, I feel like it’s 20, 22. And I feel like we’re really having so many people on this year that talk about so much of what they’re, where they’re at right now is on the back of what they did with their time during COVID at least on the early parts of it.
And so it sounds like you were able to just make. Really effective use from a business standpoint, maybe not as much fun mm-hmm , but from a business standpoint, you really use that time to just put your head down and go and go and go and
Jacky: go. Yeah. Yeah, I, I was extremely lucky on several fronts though.
I caught like some great investments. I bought sites when everyone was scared during COVID, you know, when I think it was like March. When stocks were like drilling into the floor. That’s when I bought a ton of sites fire sale, I’m ready to do that. If, if, and when the recession comes. So I think it’s just a lot of luck, but also you have to be ready when the time comes.
Let’s say that very general. Cliche, but yeah,
Jared: well, it could be, you know, I mean, all this is cyclical. So like you said, if a recession does come again, people could have those somewhat similar opportunities, potentially even if it’s just you know, getting laid off from a job and having a couple of months of unemployment and you know, knuckling down and putting that time to good use or something like there’s a lot of scenarios that could come in the future for people who get the inspiration.
From all these COVID stories and, and people put their head down. So,
Jacky: yeah, but there’s also a, sorry. No, go ahead. I want there’s one point over where we want to hammer it. There’s a survivorship bias, for sure. So you don’t see the people who failed because no one wants to get them on as podcast guests.
But yeah, please don’t like quit your full-time job right now with zero money in the bank, you know, you should have at least 12 months leeway. You should have a site that’s already generating revenue. So like don’t quit your job and like start a site from scratch. That’s irresponsible. Mm-hmm and. It’s bad for your family as well.
Please do that. Yeah.
Jared: And we’ll put lots of stress on everyone. yeah, exactly. You mentioned that you’re in the buying mood and that now did you mention Twitter is the best way to get in touch with you, maybe share some of your contact information so people can follow along with, or I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while now, and mm-hmm, do enjoy and get value outta what you tweet.
I know you were buying though. Maybe I’ll send you over a few of my mm-hmm my websites here, but , what’s what’s the best way for people to keep up with you.
Jacky: Definitely Twitter at indexy I D X S Y I respond to most DMS unless they’re, how do I start a new site? But yeah, I would, I would, would respond to most DMS and yeah.
Or. My email or contact form on index and do com would work as well.
Jared: Okay. Really good. This has been man. We ping ponged a lot, so I, I know which is good. It’s not bad by the way. I, I say that because I, I, I feel like I wanna go back and re-listen to this on my own accord, just to kind of glean some of the things we were talking about again, and take more notes, but I, I love your strategy about how you’re balancing the risk.
And the reward that comes with the different things you’re involved in. And I think, I guess I just wanna underscore that as we close you’re involved in a lot of different things, but it there, it really does seem to be built on this platform of having a strategy underneath it all for risk mitigation and for making sure that you aren’t overly.
Influenced into one section of business or one section of websites or one section of link building or one, you know, like you’re very good at that. And I think there’s a lot people could learn from an overarching standpoint that I really got out of this, this interview today. Yeah, for
Jacky: sure. And all this is from being a.
Degenerate crypto trader, you know,
Jared: I guess that would do it to you, wouldn’t it?
Jacky: Yeah. Yeah. My skin is extremely hard.
Jared: very hard at this point. Well, with that we’ll close. Jackie, thanks so much. It’s been great. And I hope to hear, I hope in a couple years, we’re gonna have you on, we can hear more about how this portfolio of yours is doing and maybe here’s some, some more success stories, but thanks for coming on and sharing.
Perfect. Thanks for your time.