How I Became a Website Investor

My first exploration into website investing didn't go so well, but my second buy was successful. I made some money and made a few mistakes along the way. There's one thing I definitely would have done differently.

Breaking into website investment was not an automatic success for me. I was looking for an opportunity online to have some additional income. I discovered Flippa, a website for buying and selling online businesses.

Failure

I invested $1,000 into an affiliate website that worked out to be a complete failure.

The person who sold it to me said that the traffic came with paid advertising. He gave me the campaign information. I tried to execute on it but it didn’t work. It made me think that he wasn’t using that same campaign data.

Why were things going so poorly?

I believe I hadn’t done my due diligence.

I didn’t do some basic things. I didn’t screen share with him to see what data was in his accounts. I didn’t know the performance of his campaigns or how they tied back to traffic numbers. I didn’t know how to do some of these things, and I didn’t think of other ones.

It was not a successful moment.

Google News

I was on a webinar one day listening to someone sell a course. They were teaching people how to get a website approved in Google News and make a profit from advertising.

“Man, do I spend the $500 for this course?”

I thought there must be a smarter way to do it. I didn’t want to assume all the risk. I wanted a website that somebody had already built that was working, not to start from scratch.

I found a website on Flippa that was approved by Google News and already generating income. I spent between $3,000 and $3,500 on it. The seller helped coach me on how to run the business.

There were some writers on staff, but at first, I still wrote a lot of articles myself. As time went on, I started assigning more and more to the writers. I got a sense of what made money, how frequently we could publish, and other details that helped generate more income.

Within 2 or 3 months, I recouped my investment. It was a huge success. This was at a time when Google News sites were still quite profitable. It is harder to make money with this model now.

Trouble

About nine months after I purchased the website, Google kicked us out. We were publishing a lot of articles that they didn’t like because they gave us traffic.

This setback wasn’t much of a problem for me because by that time I had a very positive ROI on the investment. More importantly than that, I learned something. I learned how the Google news business works.

Expanding

I bought more news websites. I knew the model well enough that I could actually start from scratch quickly and reliably. I got my business going and invested in other business models: e-commerce sites, lead generation websites, other kinds of informational content websites, and some software.

There were different websites and different business models that I was investing in. I was learning a lot, but my focus was way too distributed to make anything grow to be very big.

My biggest mistake?

If I were to go back in time, I wouldn’t spread my resources and knowledge so thinly. I would focus on a smaller set of businesses, develop expertise in single niches and business models then grow from there.

I learned a lot over the years and share my knowledge on how to buy websites and how to find a business model that can grow into something big.

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Jeff Hunt

Website Investor and Operator

Jeff Hunt is an internet investor, website owner and Internet marketer. Over the last 10 years, Jeff has bought and sold over 300 income producing websites.

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