Today we interview web entrepreneur Jon Dykstra, who purchased the 8-year-old entertainment blog PopOptiq.com for $10,000 on Flippa. Jon talks about the power of internet marketing, his experience buying a website on Flippa, and his due diligence advice for other web entrepreneurs.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in this space?
In 2006, a small professional firm at which I worked needed a website, so I took on the task of getting one built. After it was built we needed a way to drive traffic to the site, so I started blogging on topics related to the services we offered. The results were nothing short of spectacular. The new website and blog attracted many new clients, and really opened my eyes into the possibilities of what can be achieved through web development and internet marketing.
Any special skills that you bring to the table?
I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades, and ace of none. I’m a decent writer, but I’ll never win a writing award. The most important skill I have is not a skill, but instead a passion for being a website publisher. While I enjoy the collateral benefits of being a website publisher such as flexible hours, no commute, being my own boss and earning a decent living, none of those are a motivating force. Instead, the motivating force is my desire to build successful websites.
What brought you to Flippa?
For a long time I failed to recognize the benefits of buying a website. I always figured I could just as easily build it from scratch. However, after building a few websites from the ground up, it became apparent that buying an established website can save a lot of the time and effort. With Flippa, the primary benefit is the unmatched selection. Scanning thousands of websites for sale at any one time, many of which are cash flow positive with sustainable traffic, is what makes Flippa so truly unique.
How would you describe your experience on Flippa?
My experience with buying my first website on Flippa was very good. The built-in escrow system eliminates many of the trust issues that arise when completing private deals. The Flippa support team is very helpful, and the seller was also very cooperative providing me access to all the data I requested while I performed due diligence.
Tell us about your recent acquisition of PopOptiq.com, what is the site about?
Popoptiq.com is an 8-year-old quality popculture website that covers film, TV, comics and video games. The site maintains a large community of contributors who write articles about these topics. It was started and built as a passion website. That is to say, everyone involved in the original project was passionate about the purpose of the site, and it really showed, as the content they produced was excellent (and there is a lot of it). All in all, this is a business that has tremendous growth opportunities, which is why I ultimately decided to bid.
What have you done with the site since you acquired it, and how has it performed?
I’ve been working with the seller, who has stayed on as editor-in-chief. I’ve hired more editors and writers, and the focus is to leverage the site’s authority with more popular evergreen content. Specifically, I have researched the existing content to determine which type of content performs the best, and then I reinvested into that type content. The result has been better performing content overall. While we’re very focused on traffic growth, we’re also working on improving our social media reach by attracting more fans/followers as well as posting content that receives higher engagement.
Any advice for other web entrepreneurs looking buy websites on Flippa?
Before starting your search, know what you’re seeking. If you’ve got specific criteria around traffic or financials, or even more subtle criteria around things such as site type, vertical, or site age, then you’re going to find it much easier to qualify and vet potential opportunities. My background is publishing content-rich websites monetized with display ads and/or affiliate offers. That’s what I know, and therefore, that is what I search for when I’m looking to buy.
The biggest tip I can suggest around due diligence is to secure read-only Google Analytics access. A website’s traffic is its lifeblood and Google Analytics is a great tool for evaluating traffic. It is incredibly important that you don’t rush this analysis because it can help you avoid a bad purchase or help confirm a good deal.
Once Google Analytics access has been granted, I always analyze the following:
Traffic by Source/Medium
Search out traffic anomalies, for example a steep decline in Organic Search traffic typically indicative of a search engine penalty. Identify the sustainability of each traffic source, and confirm which (if not all) sources will carry over to the new owner.
Traffic by Device
It’s good to know if any site receives most traffic on mobile or desktop. Neither is better than the other, but it’s good to know because monetization strategy may change.
Traffic by Country
I think this is obvious since traffic from some countries is more valuable than other countries.
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