Your Step-By-Step Guide to Turning a Newly Purchased Website into a Money Making Machine
Affiliate marketing isn’t as easy as the experts make it seem.
Sure, it would be nice if we could all buy an established website and trade in our full-time job for Mai-Tai’s on the beach.
Image credit: http://gph.is/Zeq0fl
But an early retirement requires work.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to earn those Mai Tais. We’re going to talk about how to convert your affiliate website into a passive income machine with the help of search engine optimization (SEO).
We’ll delve into evaluating the most valuable pages on your website, analyzing the competition, and finding a profitable niche to target. We’ll then talk through capitalizing on your top SEO opportunities, stealing the success of your top competitors, and scaling the most impactful initiatives to maximize your results.
Why SEO Matters
“SEO seems like an arbitrary place to start.” You might be thinking. “Why not focus on social media or YouTube instead?”
A 2018 study conducted by SparkToro shows that Google drives 10x more referral traffic to the average website than Facebook.
In an ideal world, you would be focusing on SEO, social media, and every other marketing channel out there. That being said, we believe in putting the most emphasis on the initiatives that drive the best results.
With that in mind, we’re not going to delve into using email marketing or a massive social media following to drive affiliate commission. Instead, we’re going to talk about how the most successful affiliate marketers build those massive email lists through SEO-centric blogging.
Assess the SEO Value of the Site
The first step after buying an established domain name is to look under the hood and see what you have to work with.
We break this down by asking three questions:
- Which pages hold valuable keyword rankings?
- Which pages have the most meaningful websites linking to them?
- Which pages drive the most organic traffic?
As we search for those answers, we note our current standings and identify how this stacks up to competing websites in our industry.
1. What Keywords Do You Rank for?
Our team uses SEMRush for this process. However, any keyword research tool will work.
Plug the site into your keyword research tool. Look at the top keywords that your website ranks for.
Does one page hold 80% of these keyword rankings, or are rankings spread out evenly across the site?
Notate your top 10-20 keywords, as well as any keywords that you rank in positions 11-20. Highlight keywords that have a high search volume or a strong commercial intent.
Keywords that you rank in the top 10 positions for drive value to your site today. Keywords that you rank in position 11-20 for will be the easiest keyword ranking wins to focus on first.
2. Which Pages Have the Most Meaningful Websites Linking to Them?
Backlinks are the currency of the internet. Take 30 minutes to understand which pages on your website drive the most link value.
Use a tool like Ahrefs to sort your pages based on their link profile. Hover to “Best by links” and sort in descending order based on URL rating or root domain backlink count.
You should see something like this:
Note the top pages that show up here. These pages have the most authority that can be passed to more meaningful pages on your website.
If you see that 50% of your links come from 3 different articles, ensure that those articles include a link to relevant, revenue-driving pages to enhance rankings of those pages.
3. Which pages drive the most organic traffic?
Now log into Google Analytics and review your site’s organic traffic.
Set the time range to view the last 12 months of data (if you have access to this data) and view “Landing Pages” within the “Behavior” tab.
Note the pages that have driven the most organic traffic to the site over the past 12 months.
You should see a strong overlap between the three and have a better understanding of your site’s current search value.
Evaluate the Competition
With a stronger understanding of your site, it’s time to see how you stack up against the competition.
Review your top 5-10 highest traffic-generating keywords. Search for each keyword and list the websites that appear above you in search results.
Now describe your website’s niche in 2-3 words.
Go to Google and type in the phrase “best [insert 2-3 word descriptor] blogs.”
Click on each of the search results that look like these:
Open up each article and list out all of the websites that show up in these lists.
Take all of the websites in your list and plug them into Ahrefs. Write down their total count of referring domains and estimated organic traffic.
Add your site to the list to get a stronger sense of how you stack up against the competition.
Identify a Niche (and Revenue Model)
If you find yourself at the top of the list, you’ve found a great opportunity for a niche site. You can now focus on monetizing.
If you find yourself towards the bottom of the list, it might be time to think about finding a narrower niche that you can outrank the competition in.
Once you’ve solidified your niche, it’s time to start thinking about your revenue model.
There are pros and cons to each option, but the most common forms of monetization for authority websites are as follows:
- AdSense (or similar display networks) – advertisers pay per impression or click that you generate to their site via display ads. AdSense provides minimal revenue per visitor, but can be an excellent source of affiliate income for sites with millions of monthly pageviews.
- Sponsored Posts – offering others in your industry the opportunity to write full-length articles on your site as a form of advertising.
- Affiliate Products – build relationships with advertisers and taking a commission for each customer or lead that you generate. For simplicity, start with an affiliate network like ShareASale, Commission Junction, or Amazon’s affiliate program. Matt Diggity made a list of the top affiliate networks here.
- Ecommerce – sell your own products/services on the site, or drive visitors to another site that generates revenue.
If you struggle to find a revenue model that for your niche, search for a more profitable niche to target.
Optimize Top Pages
With your niche and revenue model at the front of your mind, it’s time to target the low-hanging fruit.
Revisit the top pages that you identified in step 1. What opportunities do you see to enhance the value of those pages?
- The average first-page result on Google is 1,890 words. If your page is shorter than that, focus on expanding the contents of the page
- Look at the pages that rank above you. What content do those pages include that your page lacks? Does it make sense for you to add sections about those same concepts to your page?
More SEO opportunities to scale these pages here.
Next, log into SEMRush and filter down your keyword rankings to show all keywords that you rank in positions 11-20 for (we also recommend filtering out keywords that receive <50 searches/month).
As mentioned above, these keywords will be the easiest opportunities to capitalize on.
The pages that rank for these keywords are on the cusp of seeing massive traffic gains. Expand these pages; improve their readability; link to these pages from other sections of your site.
Keep your revenue model at the front of your mind when prioritizing these updates. Some search queries will be more valuable than others. However, all queries that relate to your niche have the potential to drive revenue (more on how blogging drives revenue here).
After capitalizing on these top opportunities, it’s time to steal your competitors’ top search rankings.
Steal the Success of Your Competitors
Revisit your list of top competitors. Plug each of those competitors into SEMRush or Ahrefs and isolate each competitor’s top-performing pages.
Add those pages to a list and analyze each of those pages. Break down the length of the content and estimated search traffic that the page sees.
Now evaluate your site. Do you have a piece of content that relates to this overarching theme? If so, is your page more or less comprehensive than the top-ranking page?
The average first-page result on Google is 1,890 words. Scour your competitors for any top-performing pages that are <1,500 words and focus on creating higher-quality content.
(More on how we find and write top-performing content here).
Identify pages that you have an opportunity to enhance. Then identify new content ideas that make sense to add to your editorial calendar.
P.S. Download this sample template for evaluating competitor content.
Set aside time to promote each article that you write.
Link building is the most effective starting point for scaling long-term visibility. One of our favorite link building techniques is to pull a list of all the websites that are linking to similar content. From there, we start conversations with those publishers.
Build relationships and encourage them to link to your article as a helpful resource for their readers. Outside of that, here are a few simpler link building techniques to gain high-quality backlinks.
Scale What Worked
Take time every 1-2 months to identify the pages that see the most meaningful traction.
- Review keyword rankings and organic traffic to see which pages gained the most visibility
- Review on-page metrics like bounce rate and average session duration to see which pages kept your site visitors most engaged
- Review goal completions and goal conversion rate to see which pages generated the most leads/customers
Look for trends in performance. Do how-to articles have a higher goal conversion rate than product reviews? Do image-heavy articles keep people on the site longer than articles without images?
Scale up what works as you learn more and more about your visitors.
Converting a newly purchased site into a successful affiliate site is hard work, but follow this framework and you’ll be well on your way to building an industry-leading website.
Interested in working with experts who do this on a regular basis? Learn about our content marketing services to see if we’re the right team to help you out.
Many entrepreneurs think that they will be able to launch their startup and find success within the first year. However, they are soon hit with the reality is that this almost never happens with an online business.
In the majority of cases, it takes much longer than that to achieve any measurable success. In fact, in most cases, it can take as much as four years before seeing any kind of significant revenue.
A lot of people do not want to have to wait this long to achieve success with their business. These people will either end up losing interest or funding long before they reach the one year mark. Luckily, there is a way to find success faster by doing one simple thing. By buying an already existing online business, entrepreneurs can help to jumpstart their startup success story by months or even years.
Thriving Customer Base
Finding and retaining customers in the online marketplace is the third biggest challenge that online businesses reportedly face. Therefore, when they are able to start with an already present customer base, it makes the challenge much less daunting.
Thankfully, if an online business is up for sale, that means it will have already been in full operation for at least several months. During this time, it should have gathered quite a few new and loyal customers. In addition to customers, it should also have a developed email marketing list. The entrepreneurs will take possession of both of these once they purchase the site.
Therefore they can focus a lot of their attention on things like improving products and altering the website layout. This saves them from having to spend a lot of time trying to entice new customers to visit the site.
Developed Social Media Presence
Considering the fact that 75 percent of customers use social media as part of their purchasing process, it is incredibly important for online businesses to have a strong social media presence. However, in order to do so, they need to make a lot of social media posts on all major platforms.
Developing fully fleshed-out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other accounts are something that takes at least several months to do but can often require years of effort. This can be easily circumvented by instead purchasing an online business that has already spent all of this time and effort creating engaging social media accounts.
Depending on how long the online business was in operation for and how large it grew to be, it could have a total follower count upwards of 1,000 people. This is something that can help put the entrepreneur a lot closer to achieving success with the online business.
Finding Successful Business Operation Tactics
When someone builds a company from the ground up, they’ll have no basis for what kind of tactics work. This is unless they have previously run an online business that is very similar to their current one. Having no frame of reference for successful business tactics will force them to do a lot of trial and error.
This can often lead to a lot of time and money being put towards something that then ends up failing. It is during this process of trying to figure out what combination of tactics to use that an online business often runs into financial problems that lead to it closing its virtual doors.
When you decide to buy an online business, a lot of the trial and error will have already been done for you. If the online business has grown to a point where you are interested in buying it, then it means that the combination of tactics that it is using must be at least mostly successful.
Therefore, it is very likely that you may only need to apply small changes to maximize the business’s performance. This will end up saving you a ton of money and effort and help you achieve success a lot faster. With all of these great benefits, it is no surprise that so many entrepreneurs choose to buy an online business. To buy some of the best online businesses out there for some of the best prices, then visit Flippa today.
A VA should be one of the first hires you make as an entrepreneur, and is one of the most important. A motivated, skilled VA can take many of the most time-intensive tasks off your hands, and let you focus on the strategic direction of your business.
Hiring a VA can be a little tricky, however, particularly for entrepreneurs who are inexperienced when it comes to managing the recruitment process. In this guide, we’ll give you a simple process for making sure that you get it right first time.
Do You Need a VA?
First, though, let’s take a more detailed look at whether you need a VA. Spoiler alert: you probably do.
If you’ve built your business yourself, it can be difficult to pass over responsibility for key tasks to someone else. The truth, though, is that you are probably doing a lot of tasks that you don’t need to be doing. Whether you are trying to leverage video marketing, or increase your Twitter following, you need to be aware that every task you do has an effective dollar value.
And if you are spending your time on tasks that are of low value to your business, your income is never going to rise.
The first step in hiring a VA is therefore to work out the actual dollar value of all of the tasks you do. Then you can take the lowest-paid tasks, and delegate them to your VA. This approach will also mean that you are sure to see an ROI for your new hire, because you know the exact value of the work they are doing.
Hiring a VA: The Five Steps To Success
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, there are five steps to making sure you hire the best VA possible.
1. Document The Tasks You Want to Outsource
Once you’ve completed your audit of the tasks you do, you should have a really good idea of which tasks you are going to pass on to your new VA. This list of tasks forms the basis for the hiring process, so make sure that you spend the time to make it comprehensive.
From this list, you can then produce training materials to show your new VA how to complete their tasks, and create a handbook of Standard Operating Procedures (SOIs) for these tasks. To learn how to write effective Standard Operating Procedures, check out this guide.
2. Create a Detailed Job Description
From your task list, you’ll be able to get a good idea of the level of education you are looking for in a VA, and the specific skills they will require. Of particular importance is that they already know how to use all of the systems you use in your business.
You can then work up a Job Description for the VA role. This should include:
- Background information about your business (your industry, what you sell, and who your clients/customers are)
- Level of education, experience, and/or skills required
- List of duties and responsibilities
- List of any apps, tools, or software they will be using
The more detailed you can be in the job description, the better. Not only does this help you find the right VA for the job, but it also crystallizes your thinking – forcing you to ask, “Who or what, exactly, will this position require??
The next step is to advertise your role. Though some entrepreneurs like to post jobs on Craigslist, in reality it pays to advertise your position as widely as possible. That way, you can be assured that the best qualified candidates will see it.
There are some sites that are used specifically to hire VAs, and they are a great place to start:
4. Schedule Interviews
Now we get to the most difficult part of any hiring process: finding the best candidate. After you’ve reviewed the applications you receive, you should immediately have a good idea of the 5 – 10 most qualified candidates for the role.
Schedule interviews with these candidates. Video calls are great for this, because you can quickly find out how easy it is to communicate with your candidates, and what it will be like to work with them.
You should definitely ask about their work experience and skills, but don’t stop there. It’s also important to ask candidates about their hobbies, how they like to work, and their values.
Conflicting values can quickly become a source of friction in a relationship, particularly when it comes to the value of security and privacy. As Will Ellis, Director of Research at security advocacy group Privacy Australia points out, “you need to ensure that all of your staff take your business as seriously as you do.”
With growing concerns over cybersecurity and data privacy, every VA you hire is a potential point of attack for would-be hackers through social engineering attacks. When conducting interviews, it’s important to filter out any candidates that have a cavalier attitude towards their own privacy, because they would carry that behavior into your business as well.
5. Trial Periods
Once you’ve identified the top candidate, you should hire them on a trial basis to begin with. Even if you are hiring them with the expectation that they will work with you for years, regular goal setting and performance management is the key to any successful business relationship.
This trial period can last for anything from one month to six months, and provides a chance for you to work out any issues with your new VA before you commit to a longer relationship. You should formalize this trial period in the contract you sign with your new VA, but also make the way that you will assess them open and transparent.
If you’ve followed these steps, you should be well on your way to having a great VA by your side. However, if the selection of real-life humans seems like simply too much for you right now, you should also have a look at AI Virtual Assistants: whilst AI solutions are not (yet) quite as good as humans, it might be that in a few years everyone has an AI assistant as well.
For now, though, hiring a VA is one of the most cost-effective decisions any entrepreneur can make. As long, that is, as they hire the right person.