Want a great story filled with practical insights from someone who successfully jumped headfirst into an online business with no prior experience?
Will I.O. joins the Niche Pursuits podcast this week to share withhow he went from teacher to full-time site owner.
It all started with a teacher training program he started growing before 2020. He started the side hustle because it was about something he knew well. But then Covid hit, and he was forced to pivot and move his business online.
This was all new to him, but with the help of, he managed to start building momentum.
Soon, he was building his site and email list to sell info products and teacher training courses.
His email marketing strategies were crucial for this. Will even says that 50% of his revenue came from his email list.
And the email strategies he shares are very practical for any niche.
Eventually, he sold that site for over $100,000 and used the profits to start buying and selling more sites.
He now has a portfolio of five websites, primarily focusing on three.
His strategies are working, though, as he recently flipped an outdoor niche site for $82,000.
A site he had purchased for $5k.
And some of the best tips he shares are how and where he finds sites to buy.
He emphasizes the importance of backlinks and domain authority when evaluating sites for sale. He looks for low-hanging fruit opportunities, such as improving ad revenue and utilizing underutilized email lists.
When it comes to content production, he emphasizes the importance of keyword research and creating tightly clustered content around successful topics. Will also mentions using AI tools like ChatGPT for content creation but heavily edits the output to make it sound more human.
He plans to continue buying, building, and flipping websites while maintaining a measured approach to minimize risk and ensure profitability.
Overall it’s a great success story. And it’s interesting to hear how a relatively new site owner is managing to grow a profitable portfolio by buying sites!
Table of Contents
Watch The Interview
Topics Will I.O. Covers
- Will’s teaching background
- Starting his online business journey
- How much he sold his first site for
- Revenue breakdowns
- Why he sold
- His current portfolio
- Where he buys sites
- How he chooses and vets sites
- Low-hanging fruit
- Email marketing tips
- Launching info products
- His blog writing approach
- Keyword research tactics
- Content tips
- His current business numbers
- His buying process
- Use of AI
- Future plans
- And a whole lot more…
Links & Resources
Jared: All right. Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman. And today we are joined by Will IO. Well, welcome. Thanks Jared. Great to be here. Very excited for today’s podcast. I will say that I have a brand new microphone after, after hosting this thing for two plus years, I got myself the exact same microphone that Spencer has.
And you’re the kind of inaugural hopefully upgraded sound recording here. Welcome to the podcast.
Will: No, it’s a real honor to be the testing this mic out and to be on this podcast at the same time. So thank you very much.
Jared: Hopefully it goes well. I mean the mic, not, not the podcast. I’m sure the podcast would be great.
The agenda looks wonderful. And you know, we’re going to be talking about your. Really your journey, but I think spending the bulk of this talking about the buying and selling of websites that you’ve that you’ve embarked on before we get into that, how about you tell us a bit about yourself, catch us up on your backstory and then we can kind of get into the to the meat of the interview.
Will: Yeah, sure. Well probably about six years ago, basically I was a teacher and I had been for about 10 years and at this point I was coming to towards the end of my kind of a 10 year teaching career, basically, and I was. Pretty, pretty skint, to be honest, but penniless, to be honest, like I’d sort of debts and stressful times really had a few young kids and all that kind of stuff and just suddenly understood that being a teacher in the UK, very hard to support a family of four kind of thing.
So I was looking around for sidelines to start with. I tried a few little sort of sketchy businesses to begin with, like sort of secondhand cricket bats on. On eBay, all this like, sort of cool, very random little things to begin with, but kind of got me, got my mind going I need a sideline basically.
And in the end I, I basically started doing teacher training courses. This was like the thing I, I kind of came up with and to start with just doing them in the holidays and in the evenings I’d sort of invite lots of local schools and local kindergartens and things come to these training courses.
And over about a year process, I went from being like a full time teacher to kind of, in the end going full time with the training courses. Which was a big process, like it was a big, you know, painful, painful year doing both side by side, but in the end, it was all good. I was out, this is about five years ago now, and I was out on my own with a kind of info product course, basically.
It was basically just me going around doing training courses. So for the next next two years. That’s what I was doing. I was doing real life courses. I tried to make it as fun as possible. They’re a bit like sort of hen party style kind of trying to make it as, you know, like real life, get everyone up doing all these teacher training, fun activities for the kids and stuff.
Great fun, great fun. It was like driving around the UK doing all this kind of stuff. And at this point I was a total sort of noob with technology, to be honest. It was it was proper baptism by fire doing this because I was trying to kind of you know, advertise the business. And I tried a bit of everything.
I tried a bit of like Instagram, YouTube all sorts of different things. And in the end, what I found what worked was kind of a bit of spammy email that I was doing at the time. And also I sort of started a bit of blogging. This is probably about five years ago, basically. And to start with, it was just a sideline for the first couple of years.
Setting up the blog. It was very much the kind of the side, the side gig and the, the real life training was the, the main way of making money. But I joined project 24, the, I think it was the day it launched. That was what kind of got me into it. And I sort of liked blogging from the start and much more than the other forms of social media.
I liked the way it was kind of like there for a long time, whereas other social media, Facebook and stuff, you can put something up and it’s, it’s kind of gone. But blogging, it was like, you know, exciting times. It was, it was then people were reading it in years to come kind of thing. But even, even then I was driving around all over the place.
It was very much a sideline. Then basically COVID, COVID arrived. And I was kind of in a total bubble at that point. I didn’t even, I didn’t even heard of COVID by the week. Everything like shut down kind of thing. I had to read, wasn’t really watching the news or anything. And that’s like a hundred percent shut down.
The training business kind of thing, which is, you know, the devastating thing after, you know, building this thing up for a couple of years and getting out teaching a lot sort of stuff just have to Just shut it’s a heartbreaking thing I’m with the same time we just sold a house as well and we actually moved out of our house the day that Boris Johnson, you know came on the news and did like the kind of, you know, crazy Sort of you know speech about you can’t go to work and all that kind of stuff.
Yeah grim times So it’s basically at this point stuck at home No income, three kids now at home, trying to, like, homeschool them, all that kind of stuff. And it was a bit like, like, I’ve had a bit of a sideline now with the, the blog and all that kind of stuff, but now it’s gotta go, gotta do something online.
So that was, that was the turning point, really. It was another painful moment, but it just, it focused my mind, I’ve gotta go online, kind of thing. So, for a few months, it was all kind of panic stations. I was To start with, I just wrote lots and lots of blogs. Probably wrote at least 60 in the first month.
For about, like teacher training style stuff. It was all sort of education based blogs. I was trying to do at least two, two or three a day. 2, 000 word blog posts. It was almost like a panic to start with. Then I started thinking of other ways of kind of branching out. And in the end I started training, like I filmed…
I started filming the training courses I’ve been doing. The teacher training courses. I started filming them at home, basically. With my, sort of, 8 year old son as a cameraman. That kind of stuff. And then tried to build a bit of an email list. And all that kind of thing. And yeah. I started trying to sell those, basically.
I also wrote a book in the lockdown as well. Like a sort of teacher training book. And tried to sell a bit of that. I was just having a go at everything, basically. I’m trying to get it all working online. It took quite a while. The blog probably, it only really took off the actual, the blogging side of things, probably about a year after that, I’d say.
Because I laid, like, I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time, but I sort of lay a sort of foundation of, you know, a couple hundred blogs and pretty much just left it then. And it took a long time to rank, kind of thing. But then when they were ranking later on, like, you know, six months, a year down the line, it was very exciting.
And they started, you know, generating money by itself. But the, you know, the bulk of the, the revenue then was coming through the online training courses basically. And then I probably ran it like that for probably about two years. I got a bit more tech savvy over that, that period learnt, you know, more about ss e o I was always quite interested in ss e o really from pro from about the last sort of five years or so, even when I was.
Just driving around to the training courses and things in the past, I’d be like listening to sort of podcast, like your own, your own podcast, for example, but it was more expensive back in the day. And yeah, the income school podcasts and all this kind of stuff. And just always sort of imagined I was going to go online, but it just, it took some drastic events really to take it properly online.
Anyway, then I sort of ran, ran the, that business for about probably about two years, I think 18 months, two years in its online form. And it was still, it was still growing. The blog was growing you know, the training courses selling those, all that kind of stuff but in the end I sold that about, it was about 10 months ago now sold that.
And and so, yeah.
Jared: I wanted to ask about the idea that you, I mean, in essence, COVID was a huge. block for you because you were doing so much in person training. But at the same time, I’ve got to imagine that a lot of people when COVID hit were craving for resources to educate online to educate from home.
Like how much of an impact did that have? Whether it was on direct traffic, whether it was on, did you get a lot of traffic from that? I know you said that it took a while for the SEO to kick off, but I’m just curious, like how much did that impact of everybody going online for a period of time to educate you know, have on,
Will: on what you had was, it was definitely a huge demand from the schools for online training because sit in the UK schools have to do training of some sort.
It’s kind of like a requirement and with all the, but before COVID, it was all face to face. And so there wasn’t any way of doing training, basically. So even though the trip like the first batch of training courses I filmed was really amateurish. It was all kind of one take. I didn’t know any, no editing skills or anything like that.
Just like my son filming it kind of thing. Even though it was pretty amateurish and it was pretty sort of spammy emailing strategies, I had that point. The, the demand was massively there because all the big companies hadn’t really, they just shut down and furloughed everyone and they went, you know, they hadn’t really gone online.
So for probably about nine months there was a huge… Gap in the market basically. So it was, it was an exciting time. Yeah, the, the need was I mean, my strategy that mostly was like cold email, I’d like the email addresses of all the, all the schools in Britain. Like 20, 000 and just used to kind of just email them all in different areas for these, not, not like, I don’t, I don’t even know that work now.
It worked then before there was less aggressive sort of spam filters and stuff back in the day. But yeah. The demand was there and the blog traffic sort of crept up a bit after that. I kind of missed the, the height of the, you know, the everyone at home kind of stuff. But it was sort of laying, the seed was laying at that point.
Jared: went on to sell this. Can you give us any details about, you know, when you sold it? How, you know, what it was making? How much? Just to give people a framework for what you’re able to grow it into.
Will: Yep. I sold it. It was, I think it was about 10 months ago. And, I think roughly it was making about 6, 000 a month, roughly.
It was very seasonal though. That was there was some, some months where it wouldn’t make much at all. Like the summer holidays, for example. No teacher training courses getting sold, or Christmas. But then in like, like the fall period, you’d be making, you know, five figures every month kind of thing.
It was, but like the last year, like the last 12 months. When I sold it, it was making about half from ads through Mediavine and half through the online course sales. And yeah, it’s probably making like about 3, 000. Averaged over the two. And a little bit of books as well, so I wrote like a couple of books now and then.
They were linked to the courses and that was probably making like maybe like 500 or so out of those. And so it’s, it sold, I think it was about 30x multiple. It wasn’t like one of these massive multiples, you had like a 50 it was about a 30. I think it was, yeah, it was sort of 160, 000. Oh
Jared: yeah, okay, well I was going to say it must have been a six figure exit then.
Yeah, it was a happy day. It was Yeah, congratulations!
Will: Oh thank you, thank you. It was a bit sad to see it go. Because it had been like my little baby, I’d kind of nurtured from, you know, all the, like, walking to school, thinking I need to do something and have all these, like, dreams of You know, what could this business be kind of thing, but it was sad, but I had done so much I’ve done like 15 years in education at that point either teaching or training So I felt like I was kind of going a bit out a bit out of education in a way if that makes sense
Jared: Well, let me ask you one more question on that on that business and I know we’ve got a lot in front of us that I want to talk to you about but just out of curiosity, what, like, what was the reason for you to sell it?
And I think this is a question I ask a lot because a lot of people are always wrestling with maybe a project they have that’s going really well. Do they sell it or do they keep growing it? Perhaps a project that they’ve lost interest in. Should they just hold it and cashflow it? Or should they sell it because they’re not as interested?
So I just always like to hear from people why they choose to sell, you know, what arguably is a very successful brand that you had.
Will: No, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Like, I’m sort of, I was getting into like a bit of mush feek and stuff at the time. You know, like the website flips kind of stuff. I’ve been, I’ve been a big fan of him for about 18 months.
And I thought about selling it for a bit. It was, it puts the the allure of having all that money in one go is quite exciting. And it’s all that kind of emptying up of your time as well. And kind of de risking as well to an extent. It was, it was quite diversified in fairness, but, you know, that kind of de risking element.
I had a couple of other businesses going at that point as well, because I’d I’d started a couple of other sites within the last sort of 18 months or so, up to Salnet. And also I think I bought one, I bought one at that point as well. So there was at least four things in the frying pan. The, the education business was the biggest one kind of thing.
But it just, it just felt like a good time to kind of go more kind of purely. It was sort of more purely blogging as well, I think, because it, like, the, the info products, it was, it was I was kind of running four sites, but the, the, the other three were very similar. They were just, like, blog driven, whereas the education business was kind of a blog, but it was info products, and it was, like, an email list, and it was, it was, like, lots of things happening at the same time kind of thing.
So it seemed like a good time to, to streamline. It took, like, a huge process of thinking about it. So I probably spent, like, a couple of months thinking with it. Well, we should do this or not kind of thing. As I have done about any other sales previously as well, it’s all like a, it’s a painful process thinking, you know, should you sell or, or hold?
But I’m much more in the selling camp these days. Just, just kind of just getting the cash in the bank and kind of, you know, that kind of fear factor of some disaster around the corner is kind of reduced if
Jared: you know what I mean. It’s great to hear your perspective. Like I said, it’s it’s, it’s a challenge.
It’s a challenge to figure out. I feel like I would spend a couple months belaboring over it. I have a couple of sites myself I’m always considering thinking about one way or the other. And that makes a lot of sense. You already had a couple other projects going, which now that I can see, you know, ahead and into the future here with the agenda we have today, that was really where a lot of this started.
Why don’t you Why don’t you let us know where things are at right now and then we’ll work to kind of unpack and learn a lot of the tips you have for kind of buying and selling sites. Like how many sites do you have right now? What, how many are you working on? And kind of what are your, what are, you know, where, where are they at right now?
Will: Yeah, great. The, well, pretty much the model I’m working on now is buying sites that are either a bit distressed or kind of, I can see a bit of low hanging fruit. Things I can improve souping it up, improving everything, driving traffic and revenue, that kind of thing holding for, you know, who knows probably at least nine months, but nine months to two years, maybe a little bit longer potentially and then trying to sell when they’re on, they’re on the up.
Basically. It’s, it’s still kind of early days. To be honest, I do feel like a bit of a noob when I sort of, you know, see like podcasts, 20 years and all the rest of it. And I’ve only really been online fully for three years, and I think I’ve like sold three, three sites now. But that is very much the the model I’m going for now.
Currently, I’ve, I think I’ve got five, five sites. In fairness, it’s probably slightly too many. I think I probably, I’m only really working on three most of the time now, to be honest. And the other two are kind of one is. Not exactly abandoned, but one is one I started myself a couple of years ago.
And it’s not really kicked into life that much. That’s just kind of sitting there. I’ll tell you like what I’ve had a, a good flip recently, a couple of months ago, so this one I bought an outdoors site about probably about two and a half years ago now, I think I bought it was about 5, 000 on the on the income school community.
Most of the sites I’ve bought have been on places like communities or kind of you know, Facebook groups and stuff like that. So when I bought it, it was sort of abandoned really. The, the, the right, the, the owner hadn’t really done much for maybe 18 months or whatever. But it was lots of great things were in place, you know, that the the owner had been really passionate about the niche.
And there was, you know, lots of exciting, you know, good quality stuff was going on. It just not much had happened basically. So. Basically over the last, well it was a two year process of kind of souping it up improving all the EAAT kind of stuff. I think I added about 300 articles. Wow. And I went, I went through all the pre, or most of the previous articles as well and did a bit of, you know, sort of jazzing them up kind of thing and tried to, you know, update old content, all that kind of thing.
Fixed a few of the, you know, a few issues with stuff like lots of orphan posts and, you know, just a bit of SEO stuff like that. And sold it just Easter, just gone. That went for, I think it was 82, 000 that one. And again, it was a bit sad to see it go because it had grown really nicely. And it was another kind of, one where I was thinking for like a couple of weeks, you know, I could grow this into some kind of…
Monster in the future, you hold it for the next two years and create some kind of, you know, super site, but I’m feeling quite sort of cautious and just having pretty, I know it’s because I’ve been like quite skint and penniless for a long time in the past, I kind of value the kind of, I don’t, I don’t really, looking to make millions, I just, I would rather have the cash in the bank and less of the risk of some horrific algorithm hits or any of that kind of nonsense happening.
Because it went up and down a little bit with a couple of algorithm updates, but nothing, nothing drastic you know, thankfully, basically. And on the sites I do try and, I try and, you know, follow the rules as much as possible. If there are any rules, you know, to Google, try and do no shady stuff kind of thing.
And but yeah, that’s sort of where I am at the moment. With so I’ve made quite a lot over the last sort of 12 months, I suppose, through… Selling some of these sites, though, most of the work has gone into the, into it sort of in the, in the years previously, to be honest, I’ve just kind of cashed out this year, to be honest, but you know, it’s like a four, a four year process to get to, to that point I did, I think I bought, I think four, I think I bought four new sites since selling those two larger ones so I bought like a tech site off flipper.
A travel one. I bought one off Motion Invest actually, it was very exciting. That’s probably my favourite site, like a gardening site. With a real gardening enthusiast, hobbyist has sold that one. So yeah, that’s kind of where I’m up to. Yeah, as I say, focusing on three, three sites predominantly.
But another couple, sort of in the background as well. Let’s get into the process
Jared: you use to evaluate sites for purchase because, you know, like speaking of MotionInvest, I mean, there’s an email that goes out, I think every day, right? And there’s two, three, four, five, there’s Flippa, there’s private marketplaces, there’s the bigger places like Empire and Effie.
There’s no shortage of sites for sale, right? You know, how do you determine which sites to buy? You mentioned a little bit, you’re looking for low hanging fruit, you’re looking for kind of depressed. Can you go into maybe some more tactical things that you’re actually looking for when you evaluate them?
Will: Yeah, definitely. Probably these days, probably backlinks and domain authority is my number one. Because that is something I’ve never really done much of actively. And so if we can get a domain, or like a site, that’s got lots of backlinks. And you know, a bit of juice and power that, that is very exciting.
Even if, even if not much else is happening. Even if not much traffic or, you know, money being generated. If it’s, it’s got like a powerful base that’s, you know, very exciting. So I think I can normally do somewhere with that. I try and avoid super competitive niches now. I’ve had a couple of sites that have not really worked.
Like one in pets that just was a bit of a hard fail, to be honest. So I try, if it’s a slightly more unusual. something a bit kind of out of the ordinary, that’s great as well. Those are probably the two biggies. Backlinks and yeah, the niche basically. If it’s probably from a traffic perspective, like in a perfect world, if the traffic is going up, you know, that’s a fabulous thing.
In reality, that’s not always the case. Right. So those sites do get the… You know, the biggest multiples really. It’s the healthiest time to buy a site when the traffic’s going up. So as long as the traffic’s not sort of dying hard, or getting, you know, hit by multiple algorithms and things like that, as long as it’s reasonably steady I’m normally sort of okay with that.
Jared: of the sites I’ve bought… You mentioned low hanging fruit. You mentioned, like, low hanging fruit. What, what do you define? Like, what are some examples of low hanging fruit? What would trigger in your brain, like, what would, what would get you really excited as an opportunity when you saw a site that had something like that?
Will: Yeah, great. Ads is a big one. I’m with like, Adthrive, Raptive now. I’ve got like, yeah, one site that’s over 100, 000 page views. So I can onboard sites from 30, 000 page view onto, onto Raptive, basically. So if I see a site, That’s on, you know, like AdSense or a Zoic or something, but it’s getting say like 35, 000 page views and I’ve seen that on Flippa.
Yeah, it’s very exciting because I know I can from experience. I’ve got nothing against a Zoic because I’ve used them as well. But just from experience, I think you can at least double your revenue when you go on to either Mediavine or Raptive. And sometimes quad, like triple or quadruple kind of thing.
So that can be a huge boost right, right from the beginning, basically. You see other things like random things like sometimes sites have an email list that’s not really getting used or sometimes enormous email lists that not really getting utilized things like that. I’m not massively into affiliate as yet, though I’m, I’m, you know, keen to have a go of anything.
My main, main sources of revenue mostly are ads, you know, just trying to increase the, the traffic. And if there’s any possibility of an info product as well. In a niche, but that’s great as well. And I’ll be all over that. I’ll be, you know, Oh,
Jared: okay. So many things to talk about there. I think let let’s talk about email.
Like what are some of the successful things you’ve been able to do with email on some of the sites you’ve bought? Give people kind of a little bit more context. Maybe they can think about their project a little bit differently.
Will: Yeah, great. But I’d say definitely like my education sites that I had, probably half, half the money came through the email list in the end.
And that was the, the email list had all come through the same lead magnet, which was a, it was like a free ebook, basically a free short ebook, which I basically promoted everywhere for a couple of years, really. On, you know, social media and if I did a podcast or any of that kind of stuff, just pushing everyone onto this ebook.
And it wasn’t an enormous email list, but I think it was about 15, 000 people. Which was, it was a powerful thing to have. It’s just the consistency with an email list as well. It’s not really my best, my best, my strongest suit consistency to be honest. That’s probably one of the reasons that drew me into blogging.
I quite like that you can, you know, crack out a hundred blogs in a month and like leave it for four months or whatever. But I do, that is one thing I try and be consistent with is the emails. And just my main, my main strategy with email is to sell things sell info products. So, with the Education Society, it was just basically fun, exciting info informational emails about, you know, exciting strategies you can try with your kids, that kind of stuff.
Mostly that, and every sort of six weeks or two months, some kind of launch of a, like an info product. Either a new one. Or I’d like relaunch one of the, the old ones kind of thing in some kind of new form. I tried to do like the kind of either like an open and close cart thing where you’re at the, the product zone, you’re like, you can only join the course for five days or something.
Or some kind of discount where again, there’ll be a bit of urgency. It’s half price for five days, that kind of stuff. So that’s probably my main email strategy. It’s just like launching things every couple of months. I’m trying now to do a bit of like sponsorship stuff, which seems to be a bit more kind of in vogue now with my gardening site I’m trying to get like a bit of a sponsored slot on it.
But I do like a bit of a media kit on the site, so hopefully some people will, will, will come, come to me basically rather than me having to outreach and find sponsors. And that’s started. I’m not sort of had huge successes yet, but it’s starting to happen. That one and a little bit of affiliate as well now as well.
But same in main email approaches. Yeah, launching stuff every couple of months and then keeping the list happy the rest of the time and entertained and, you know, interested. That
Jared: makes a lot of sense. You’re combining email with the info products are now are you creating info products for all these different websites you have?
Clearly having a history in teaching. That makes a lot of sense that you can probably fairly quickly. Good info products there. You talk about like the videos you made, the courses, but like gardening, I mean, are you making your own or you could also in theory go out and like affiliate for other info products that have already been created?
Which, which way are you going?
Will: Yeah. Well, for the gardening one, the, the previous owner who was like a hobbyist really, you know, the bit of like, it was just like a fun sideline project. She, I’m hoping she’s pretty much agreed that she’s going to do the info product for. For the guy that like, we’re just going to try a couple of short info products, video courses and I’m just going to play her, pay her a flat fee, basically flat.
And she’s quite, you know, quite happy to have a go at that. And she, she has, you know, incredible knowledge. You know, worked in gardening for 20 years, runs her own like homestead on several acres in like Northern, I think like a Washington state, I think it is. So yeah, if you can tap into the previous owners amazing.
If I have some knowledge myself as well, I would. I would try and, you know, the easiest way is to do it yourself, I suppose. And certainly if it was something like a sports niche or kind of education again. Though I’m kind of banned from education for the next 14 months since that sale. When I can do an education site in the future, I would yeah, I’d do it myself basically.
There is one site I’ve got that is just an affiliate for an info product that someone else has made as well. So that’s, that’s one way of doing it. But I, I do prefer to get more money and You know, through the business, if possible, you know, if you can create your own thing, even if someone else is delivering it, it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s an exciting thing.
If you’re selling something like info product for 297 or something, every sale is very exciting. You know, when the email comes in, you’ve, you’ve made a sale, it’s, you know, it’s happy days and you get like majority of that money the business will keep. So yeah, that’s, that’s the deal with the, the info products eBooks as well.
I often do like an e book that’s linked to an info product. The e book’s normally a simpler version of the course. And pushing, pushing the course as well. Very
Jared: smart, very smart. Yeah, you know, I mean, it’s it’s, it’s, they say the money’s in the list, right? Like email, and a lot of website owners are not doing, I would say quite as proactive of an email approach as you are.
So hopefully, you know, a lot of people are listening and hearing how you’re layering different avenues into email and certainly with the info products. I want to ask you about the blogging part of it now, maybe transitioning a bit. You’ve mentioned many times now, like either you’re a phenomenally fast writer or you have other people that you’ve, you’ve brought in to help you out with creating content.
You have five sites. Like, what does content production look like? Certainly at this scale you’re at now and talk a bit more about how you’re finding the articles you want to write. Yeah, great.
Will: Well, the, certainly when I started off the first couple of years, I was writing like everything myself, basically, the education site was almost entirely me.
I think there’s only about 170 blogs or something. It wasn’t enormous, but it was, it was kind of, it was pretty much all me. And then since then I’ve kind of, there was a period where I was sort of 50 50 where I sort of had a couple of writers and I’ve tried different things at different sites.
There was one site I did where it was almost, the whole thing was outsourced to writers. But in fairness, it didn’t actually work very well, but it might, who knows. It was like a pet, that was a pet site that failed hideously basically. But it might not have been the writing that was a problem. But like, I do try and write at least some articles myself for every site now.
I think it’s quite good to get into like the headspace of what it’s about. Even if I’m not really an expert, which I’m not really in a couple of these things, but I’m, you know, I think you just get in your head round. What it’s about is good. For the outdoors site, I think I wrote about a hundred articles on that, and outsourced, you know, two hundred.
That kind of thing. And that’s probably, that’s sort of the ratio I’m at now. I’m still trying to write at least one, one or two blogs a day, but also outsourcing. I’m trying to do four, four blogs like upload four blogs per working day these days. If that makes sense, so I’m, I’m actually uploading to four sites, 20 blogs a month.
So 80 blogs, 80 blogs in total, if this makes sense.
Jared: You are, okay, so you’re, you’re writing you’re writing four blog posts a day right now.
Will: I’m writing probably either one or two and I’m outsourcing the others. I’m probably writing myself about maybe 30 a month and outsourcing about 50. Okay. It’s probably about
Yeah. So let’s see if you have five sites, 80 blog posts, you’re probably producing whatever that is, 15 or 20 per month per per per site. And then you’re writing some of that and you’re getting other writers to write some of that.
Will: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. 20, 20 a month for all the, like the four sites. Yeah.
Yep. I’m trying to bring one of the ones.
Jared: Yeah. Talk about your keyword research and where you’re finding these topics. I mean, everyone’s got a different approach and Yeah. I’m curious to hear it because you, you have five sites. So there’s a little bit of scale going on with your keyword research. How are you finding keywords?
How are you building out topics? And then I want to ask some follow up questions about, you know, kind of how you’re empowering your writers to write for you.
Will: Yeah, great. These days I’m trying to keep everything a bit tighter in a, you know, like silos and clusters much more than ever before. So over the last year or so the sites haven’t worked very well.
I think it’s cause it’s been too broad. So I’m trying to really go for it. If I find the topic that’s working, I’ll write lots and lots of things about that and try and get a bit more power in that, in that topic, basically for the, for the sites that are by McKeeway strategy is basically looking at what’s working, you know, what the top 10 or, you know, 20 posts, if there’s some sort of pattern between them great.
You know, if there’s four posts that are very similar, all about the same thing, you know, happy days, that’s the one to go for. And. You know, just create a silo around that those topics basically very, very simple sort of a keyword strategy. I’d say I’d normally just use alphabet soup and the other keywords everywhere extension basically.
And I just I do, I do try and go for low competition stuff most of the time. Unless a, unless a site is getting quite powerful, like an education site towards the end. Was a bit more of a beast and he could like attack these more you know Like competitive terms kind of thing, but the ones I’m working with now are not really like that So it’s more kind of low competition.
If I can find something that no one’s written anything about at all, you know, happy days That’s a, you know, straight away I’ll be all over that But even if it’s like, you know, Cora, all that kind of stuff will be They have forums popping up at the top of the SERPs. I’ll be writing that as well And I do try and, I’ve gone shorter with my content now.
I was writing 500 words for the education site and the outdoors one, it was all along. But now I’m trying to go shorter, like 800, 000 words. More, more blogs, but shorter. And like tightly, tightly clustered basically. And yeah, that’s basically it. Similar guidelines to give to the writers. Try and, you know, there’s a framework I send out.
to the writer. It’s just stuff like, you know, super short intro, trying to get the reader’s attention. Give the answer as much as possible straight away, you know, if there’s a specific question that’s being asked about the blog post, answer it immediately. And then just, you know, tell them exactly what they’re going to get out of the blog post.
And, you know, just get straight into it basically. And I try and, you know, split them all up, all the blogs as much as possible. Loads of subheadings, loads of snappy… One or two sentence, paragraphs, loads of quotes and tables all that kind of stuff. You know, some sites have taken all the photos. The education site was 100% original photos, which I’m very proud of.
But hands down, some of the sites I’ve got now, I’m just doing mostly stock photos, to be honest, just because it’s, it’s just the scale of it. But, you know, in an ideal world, original photos would be great. And yeah, that’s in a nutshell, that’s pretty much it.
Jared: Are you have you started doing any backlink building?
I know you mentioned you try to find sites that already have a good base of backlinks so you don’t have to kind of navigate into that, but at the same time, have you kind of dipped your toe in yet or still just buying sites and relying on what they already have to, to, to be their backlinks?
Will: Yeah, to be honest, that is mostly relying on what’s, what’s come before, to be honest.
I’ve done a little bit of attempted, like, PR style link building on the Outdoors site. I wrote a few articles that were kind of, like, one was about Rishi Sunak, for example, linked to the niche. And they were just, like, sort of, things that I thought were, like, quite newsworthy, and tried sort of, you know, emailing them to newspapers and that kind of stuff.
And I got a couple of links. Nothing, nothing massive to write home about. At the moment, it’s very much just organic links. But even better, if you can find a site with loads of links already, that is the one area that I do, I find, you know, I’m not a massive backlinks expert, so if I can avoid that, then, great.
I do, I do find it a bit of a mystery, like, one of the sites I’ve got now, the gardening one, is very powerful, has like a DR of about 50, which is, you know, exciting stuff. Whereas another one has about, a DR of about, I think about 9, but I think, but I’ve found if you write, on the, on the DR 9 one, if you write all the topics in a very similar way, And it’s all kind of closely interlinked and stuff.
It seems to rank really well. So, I do find it all a bit of a mystery, the whole, the backlink stuff. But some sites seem to work better than others as well. I’ve had sites where technically the DR is more powerful. But, like, nothing is really happening. Nothing’s ranking at all. And then others just seem to kind of rank.
So, yeah. It’s a bit, it’s a much, as much an art as a science, I think, SEO. In my experience anyway, it’s like, it’s just kind of getting a feel for if something is working, just go all in on that and just don’t question it too much. And if someone’s not working, sometimes you just seem to kind of abandon stuff.
Jared: One thing I will say is that your consistency is to be admired, you know, like you’re showing up and writing and publishing, it seems like very consistently, and that’s got to play a part to some degree in your success because you keep feeding. At least the sites you’re actively working on, you keep feeding them with content.
So let me ask you about that. So, you know, like, let’s, let’s take a, a, maybe a bird’s eye view of where things are at right now. I’m curious with the four or five sites you’re working on you know, maybe anything you can share about where they’re at and, you know, in terms of revenue or page views or growth or anything like that.
Will: Yeah, great. Probably the biggest sites I’ve got at the moment is making probably making about. $2,000 a month. I think my, my income actually over the last sort of few months has probably been very, like, much lower than in previous years, basically just kind of, kind of sold everything off in a way.
Mm-hmm. But, but the kind of, but I feel like I’ve put the money into assets and I’m sort of growing them again as well as managed to keep managing, to keep a lot of the money as well, which is, which is good. So yeah, the tech side. I think when I bought it, I bought it for about 17, 000 just around Easter time.
It was I think it was a bit of a steal. It was making about, probably about 1500 then on Mediavine ads. So it was very low, probably like 11 multiple or something. Yeah. The seller was very keen to, to get rid for various reasons. He had like an enormous site, like some kind of travel site that had like a million page users.
He was just there. He just wants to focus so that, that’s yeah, that’s, that’s growing quite nicely in the, in the few months and it’s, it’s probably making maybe 2, 000 ish on Raptive ads. But I’m sort of in the process now of monetizing a bit more, getting a bit of a tech support line is, is the dream with this one.
It’s not actually happened yet, but kind of pushing people to this tech support line, a bit of affiliates, that kind of thing. Kind of in its early days, but a lot of sort of technical improvements have been made on that site. I think that hopefully will, will work. Gardening site as well. Bought a motion vest, I think I bought that for about 11, 000, I think.
That’s making similar now, it’s making about 2, 000 a month. About 1, 500 on Raptive through the ads. And a bit of… Bit of like historic affiliate, the like old affiliate there’s a few sort of pages that have good affiliate stuff on them. They’ve kind of been brought back to life with a bit more traffic kind of thing.
As well as quite good email lists on that site as well. So yeah, and there’s a couple more sites I’m working on that are currently on Zoic. I’m trying to really get them up onto sort of those raptive levels as well. So that’s kind of, they are more in their infancy these sites than the two that have kind of offloaded in the last 12 months.
Jared: Well, I was going to say, I mean, you have this track record. The first one, the, the teaching brand, like you started that yourself and grew it yourself, you sold it for six figures, but then last year, I mean, and this is a thread I would kind of want to pull on a little bit. Like last year you bought this site for 5, 000 if I have my notes correct, and then sold it for 80.
Plus 80, 000 plus. So, you know, the 80, 000, not six figures, but you bought it and basically turned it into pure profit at that point because of how much you paid for it versus how much you sold it for. And then hearing you talk about the sites you’ve bought since then, they all have a very similar thread there.
They’re all, I mean, I’ll say almost shockingly low price deals, right? And you seem to have this knack for finding them. Do you just review a ton of listings and inquire with a ton of buyers? Is there a process you go through or how are you, you know, just any tips on how you find these kind of 11 X site purchases?
Will: Yeah. Yeah. A bit of a fluke that one, I think, I mean, that, that was, I do, I think it probably has been a bit of a buyer’s market over the last six to nine months. Possibly there’s been quite a lot of fear with your AI and all this kind of stuff in the end of. The end of SEO and all that kind of stuff.
So I think, I think the multiples in general have gone down a little bit. And there’s been lots of people trying to get out of the industry. So that, that, that’s you know, that’s definitely helped. I’ve seen that on Twitter as well. I’ve seen a few, you know, a few, a few guys that have been buying a lot of things recently.
Like a lot of sites just because this, this this process is happening. But I think, yeah, it’s just, it’s just sort of scouting around really, scouting around. On these, on these, these sites really. I think flipper auctions are definitely the number one place to look. Especially when, you know, you’re in the last sort of few hours and you can see there’s, you know, nothing much has happened on the site, but it looks pretty good.
Some of the brokers as well, you do sometimes get things that are on there for a long time and the price reduces a lot. And it might be on for like three or four months. So I’m always on the, on the lookout for a bit of a bargain like that, to be honest. I think the, the bonus actually of I’ve bought a couple of sites on the Incan school community and people, you know, put them up on there.
And I think if you’re on there, there’s not much competition really, cause like you’re probably the only buyer interested for a lot of them. So getting a bit of a bargain is a possibility. Having said that, like if I, if I saw a site. Even if it was like a high multiple, if I knew I could, you know, change its fortunes around quickly, I’d still, I would still go for it was like a 40 X or something, if I could see that it was quality and you are what I could do with it, it’s just sort of fits in your kind of blueprint of what I, what I know I can do kind of thing.
So yeah, that’s pretty much it for the, for the selling side of things as well. I think just from experience, I think it is easier to sell. Probably just below a hundred K is when you thinking on this. I think when you go over, over a hundred K, like definitely the, the buy pool is smaller and it’s a bit more of a process involved.
You, you have to meet the buyers, you know, a few zoom calls, negotiations. So from education side, there was quite a lot of negotiating when it went on. I probably got like bit like pretty pummeled in the negotiations, to be honest, in hindsight. But. Yeah, but I think for lower price sites, it’s not, not so bad, you know, under, under 50k.
You do see them go quite quick sometimes. Certainly, you know, 50k to 100k. And following Mushfiq as well, he seems, he’s big on this these days, I think, as well. From what I’ve, you know, what I understand, you know, if you, if you want to sell reasonably quick, reasonably pain free, just under 100k is a nice little sweet spot to, to aim for.
Jared: mentioned it earlier, and I’m sure you’re, you know, partially correct. Like a lot of these deals might be available partly because of the trepidation that AI creates in some site owners. How are you either utilizing or not utilizing AI as it relates to your websites? And, you know, where does that play in to what you’re doing right
Yeah, I’ve started using it probably over the last sort of three months. I’ve used a bit of chap GPT heavily edited though, and probably up to about Easter I haven’t reused anything at all. It was all purely human, written, and that kind of stuff. But now, yeah, I do, like, certain, certain writers have got writing for me and they claim they don’t use it at all.
Which, you know, I don’t know if that’s true. But, like, I trust them. I put, and I put everything through, like, originality AI just to check. Cause. I know like Google says it doesn’t mind a written content or whatever, but like, I don’t really, I don’t know if that’s, it might be true now, but I don’t know if that would be the true in, you know, six months or a year or whatever.
Basically the internet goes downhill. I could see there being some kind of apocalyptic kind of super algorithm hit any kind of sites that don’t get sort of go through the kind of AI detectors get sort of absolutely smashed. I don’t know, but like, yeah, I’m fearful that could happen, so I try and keep it to a minimum.
It’s definitely improved the speed of what I’m creating and yeah, I think you have to know a little bit about the niche anyway, if you’re going to write the article, but as long as you know a little bit about it and you, like, get in the chat with GPT or whatever to kind of give you a good framework and lots of ideas, that kind of stuff, loads of prompts, it’s definitely a good framework, but I rewrite everything as well.
Everything is reworded and rewritten, so it’s not a single And just try and make it not like AI. I mean, I think you can definitely write like AI. Or you can write, like, not like AI. If you know what I mean. Like, humans can write like AI, but it just sounds a bit, kind of, like, formulaic and sort of using the word moreover 30 times and all that kind of stuff.
Jared: There are some telltale giveaways, aren’t
Will: there? Oh, massive, yeah, loads of that, all that kind of stuff. Massive chunks of text and loads of moreovers and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, just trying to make it sound like a real human is A big skill. So yeah.
Jared: Well, hey, as we start to wrap up, I mean, I really enjoy this interview because I feel like it’s going to be a very tangible interview for a lot of people listening.
You know we’ve, we spent so much time on the podcast over the last nine months and probably into the future talk about AI and its role and how you’re utilizing it. But you really have, you know, and I want to kind of extrapolate on a bit, but you’ve untapped like. A lot of the opportunity that AI has created in terms of buying sites and stuff.
And you’ve got some good track record there. Like, what is your plan going forward? Are you going to continue to stay in a rhythm of selling a site or two a year? I’m not saying you are, but that’s just kind of what you’ve done the last couple years. Are you going to continue trying to expand the portfolio or keep it at a certain number?
Like, I’m just curious. Like, what’s your model going to be going forward now that you’ve kind of created this track record over the last couple years of success?
Will: Yeah, at the moment yeah, keep going. Yeah, keep going with buying, building, and flipping. That is, that is the plan. I’m sort of ready to pivot at any point now, because it’s Online is, you know, crazy the way it changes, And, you know, rapid change can happen at any point.
So, I’m sort of, you know, ready now for, Having, having already sort of pivoted a couple of times, Very, you know, violently over the last couple of years, I’m ready to potentially do that again. But, yeah, I’m just trying to take as much… Much cash off the table as it go, basically just keep everything profitable.
You know, it’s like a soul breadwinner for five people, like three kids on the rest of it. I’m trying to keep everything nice and risk free, get the, get the cash out when required and just keep going. It’s the plan. I like
Jared: it. Very measured approach. I think this is, this is you know, for people listening, there was a lot of great tips about how to identify really good opportunities where you.
In a, if you think AI is posing a big risk to websites, like the approach you’re taking to buying them is as risk, I say risk free in air quotes, but it reduces a lot of that risk. I think there’s some good tips there and then how you’re going about growing them. Like you’re not just sitting back and resting on your laurels.
You’re really publishing a lot of content. So anyways, great, great interview. Thank you for coming on. Well, where can people follow along with with what you’re doing?
Will: Yep. Twitter is the place to go. Yep. Check me out on Twitter. I’ve only really been active there for probably about six weeks, but I’m yeah, exciting place, so yeah, check me out there.
Jared: Perfect, I’ll include a link to that in the show notes. What is it, just in case people are only listening, what’s your Twitter handle?
Will: The name is WillIO, and it’s yeah, the handle is something like Will, Will underscore IO, something like that. Well,
Jared: hopefully, hopefully by the time this goes live you can do a search and you’ll be, popular enough. That’ll come up. Yeah.
Will: Great. Yeah. Fingers crossed.
Jared: Good. Good. Hey, thanks so much for coming on. We’ll, I really appreciate it. And we’ll have to catch up again and hear how all your how all your sites are going. Oh, it’s a
Will: pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on. Been great.