41 episodes

Insights to make you a more profitable website investor.

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Website Investing from Investing.io Investing.io

    • Business

Insights to make you a more profitable website investor.

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    Ep 39: Mohit Tater - Website Operations with EF Capital Fund

    Ep 39: Mohit Tater - Website Operations with EF Capital Fund

    In this episode, Avi talks to Mohit Tater, one of the operators for the Empire Flippers (EF) Capital Fund. They discuss his investing background and the various sites he has acquired. They also dive into the operations of EF Capital, and how Mohit works with his team to run a bunch of sites.

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    Approach by EF Capital

    Mohit has had a relationship with the team at EF Capital for some years. This led to EF Capital approaching him to see if he’d like to join them as an operator. That's no surprise, considering Mohit’s extensive experience in the website investing field.

    At the time, EF Capital were looking for 5 operators for their first batch of sites. Two operators would run FBA businesses and the other 3 would handle content businesses. Mohit was among those running content businesses.

    The Deals

    At the start, each operator had around $1-2 million, and they set out to raise an amount equal to that.

    EF Capital (EFC) would then tap into their investment network and raise money for the 5 deals based on what the 5 investors set out to achieve. EFC determined how much money they would raise based on what each investor was doing, and their goals. 

    Currently, Mohit's fund is complete, and he is now looking to acquire around 5 different content sites.

    Operations & Profit Splits

    The content operators may only acquire sites from Empire Flippers. This means they are searching for viable sites in the Empire Flippers Marketplace. 

    Mohit will then operate these websites and online businesses with his existing team.

    The net profit is apportioned 3 ways: 60% goes to investors, 30% to the operator, and the last 10% to Empire Flippers. This distribution ratio also applies to any capital gains when a site is sold. 

    Empire Flippers handles all communication with the investors. The operators don’t necessarily need to contact the investors, and Mohit may not know them. This allows the operators to run their businesses and websites freely and easily without having to worry about establishing and maintaining investor relations. 

    Empire Flippers essentially takes care of all investor relations and management, and raises the necessary capital for the operators. The operators then handle all business operations.

    Mohit put down 7% of the $1 million capital raised, which is $70,000.

    Mohit’s Plan

    The plan for the future is to have bigger raises, with the next step at $2 million. This will allow the operators to be involved in larger deals and to acquire more businesses. 

    What’s important now, however, is to initiate the whole process and get a foot in the door. 

    Dividends will be paid quarterly to investors, starting in Q3 or Q4 of 2021.

    Mohit has a team of 18 people to help him run the different content sites. Most of the team is remote, with an office in New Delhi. There are 2 tech people, 5 site managers (with great SEO experience), 5 junior SEOs, 4 writers, 1 HR, and 1 SEO project manager. The team also has a few interns. 

    Mohit prefers his site managers to have prior experience handling a site. He leans towards people who run and manage their own sites. However, Mohit admits that it is difficult to find people like this. 

    He often looks for people with good experience, but who have hit a plateau and are looking to grow further. Mohit provides them with the avenues for learning and sharpening their skills. 

    In terms of acquiring sites, Mohit says that he isn’t looking for any niche in particular. 

    The businesses will be sold in around 2 to 3 years on the Empire Flippers marketplace, with EF taking a commission from those sales.

    Resources

    Website: blackbookinvestments.com

    Guest Info

    Mohit’s email: mohit@blackbookinvestments.com

    What did you think?

    Did you enj

    • 46 min
    Ep 38: Freddy Lansky on SBA vs Investment Funds for Business

    Ep 38: Freddy Lansky on SBA vs Investment Funds for Business

    In this episode, Avi talks to Freddy Lansky, owner of Points Panda, about the pros and cons of SBA loans, and why he’s currently thinking of starting a fund instead of taking out an SBA loan. 

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    Starting Out

    In 2010, Freddy started a business called iChess with his business partner. The business focused on selling chess courses and videos online.

    Together, they scaled the business to just over 7 figures. In 2019, Freddy's business partner bought him out.

    After taking a few months off, Freddy started a new business called Points Panda, which began as a product tie service. 

    At the same time, Freddy used his funds for an affiliate blog in the credit card and travel hacking space. Due to travel restrictions resulting from COVID, the business model tanked.

    Later, Freddy thought about buying a business. He ended up thinking about putting up a fund of his own, after getting offers for SBA loans.

    SBA Loans

    SBA loans are usually between $300,000 to $5 million. Typically they are provided by  banks, and supported and backed by the government through the Small Business Administration. Their terms are usually very good, considering that they are government-backed. These days, the interest rate is generally at 6%-7% over terms of 10 years. 

    These days, it's easier than ever to get a loan for an online business through these SBA loans. The market is at an all time high, but Freddy says that there are pros and cons. Around 95% of businesses on the major brokerages are either not SBA eligible, or the sellers don’t want to deal with SBA. This is often due to the huge amount of paperwork and due diligence required from banks. It can take months to close. 

    Banks also don’t like extending loans for Amazon FBA businesses because they regard them as too risky. Also, despite having low interest rates, you can have high multiples and debt service payments. 

    You usually sign a personal guarantee, which means that banks can go after your property if you default on your loan.

    Freddy says that good SBA loans are hard to find unless it's an off-market deal.

    Fund Thoughts

    To address these issues, and after talking to investors, Freddy is thinking of putting up a fund for online businesses as an alternative to SBA loans. 

    With funds, you might have less risk and you can source deals faster when compared to SBAs. However, Freddy says that the cons of going this investor route is that you may not keep the majority of equity. There would be a need to ensure that more passive investors won’t gang up on you and remove you as the operator. 

    Right now, Freddy is stuck choosing between whether he wants to go majority debt and a little equity to investors, or the other way around. He is more in favor of setting up as a fund or as an operator for someone else's fund. 

    Sourcing good investors who understand the business and have your back is very important. Finding them can be tricky. Interestingly, Freddy usually finds good investors in online forums and Facebook groups. These people are generally realistic investors who are looking to diversify.

    EF Capital is a good model for a fund. In terms of payments, it gives 30% to the operator, with the brokerage taking 10%.

    Freddy is currently preparing and figuring out the best way to go about this. If it fails, he can always go the SBA loan route.

    Guest Info

    Find Freddy inside the investing.io community

    Freddy's email: frederick.lansky@gmail.com and freddy@pointspanda.com

    What did you think?

    Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?

    Please leave a comment to let us know.

    Cheers,

    Juliet

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investin

    • 54 min
    Ep 37: Stacy Caprio. Buying & Optimizing Websites - 400% ROI

    Ep 37: Stacy Caprio. Buying & Optimizing Websites - 400% ROI

    In this episode, Avi talks to Stacy Caprio, owner of Her.CEO. They discuss Stacy's previous website purchases, and her case study on acquiring an expired website listing on Flippa. Stacy grew this site’s ad revenue 4 times in 2 years, despite not creating any content and being fairly hands-off in its operation.

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    Buying Expired Listings

    Stacy’s 3rd website purchase was a pair of sister sites. These became the first sites that made a profit for her. She purchased them on Flippa, after searching for expired listings that no one had bought. 

    Stacy searched for expired listings because she doesn’t believe in artificial increases in listing prices. You can definitely find a diamond in the rough by looking for distressed sites.

    Stacy was confident in her purchase, thanks to her previous experience with online marketing and SEO. A big motivator to search for expired listings is that she likes finding sites in which not everyone sees potential, and which are undervalued.  

    Growing A Niche Site

    Stacy bought a site for $6,400. At the time, it was making around $240 a month in profit. 

    Over two years, Stacy increased the ad revenue by 4 or 5 times. She added another ad network, as well as placing a static ad on the site. 

    Stacy did not add any content or links. She was very much hands-off on the site, since it was a forum dedicated to a particular niche. Here, users were the ones generating the content.

    The downside to owning a forum is that you can’t control what people post, and this may lead to various copyright issues where you could face liability.

    Prior to the above purchase, her first 2 sites were making little profit, and weren’t breaking even. 

    Stacy eventually dropped these sites because she became discouraged by how little they made.

    Purchase Criteria

    Stacy’s criteria when purchasing a site is the purchase price. The price must be good,  relative to your plans for the site. Another thing she considers is the plan for the site. This includes an SEO plan with keyword research, and how to restructure it to get the most traffic to the site. 

    She also likes to buy smaller sites with little traction and with good RPM. Once purchased, she does the SEO work to improve the site and generate more traffic and profit. 

    Stacy prefers buying sites that are in the same niche, or are relevant or connected to one another, thereby creating verticals. This allows her to easily support them, and give the sites a quick link or a boost in keywords. 

    However, Stacy admits that this could be considered borderline gray hat SEO. 

    She also warns against creating double content for your sites in the same vertical, or linking to your other site because Google could recognize these moves.

    Stacy places prime importance on RPM, because this means more meaningful interactions and engagement with site users. 

    When it comes to e-commerce, Stacy recommends optimizing your site for sales first, including getting a good conversion rate.

    Guest Info

    Her.CEO: https://www.her.ceo/

    Stacy’s email: stacy@her.ceo

    What did you think?

    Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?

    Please leave a comment to let us know.

    Cheers,

    Juliet

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ep 36: Jen Anderson: Growing a 50k Site Purchase to a $225k Sale

    Ep 36: Jen Anderson: Growing a 50k Site Purchase to a $225k Sale

    In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks to Jen Anderson about how she became involved with online businesses after her time in the financial services world. We also hear how Jen has grown her businesses and the techniques and tools she’s honed to achieve results. 

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    The Beginning

    Before getting involved in the online world, Jen worked in the financial services world. She worked at Citigroup and also linked up with multiple startups. She was reasonably active in the financial markets and was big on investing. 

    Jen eventually bought real estate and a few websites. These assets did really well, especially the websites, considering that she didn’t come from an online business background when she purchased them around 2013. 

    The Learning Curve

    Through self-learning and networking, Jen learned the ropes of website development and online business. Information wasn’t as readily available back then so it was a struggle.

    One of the 3 websites she bought was in the sports niche, and she is still growing and developing it today. When she bought it, it wasn’t making any money, and she used it to test and learn everything about website development. 

    Further Acquisitions

    Jen then started to look for other websites to acquire. Being an entrepreneur at heart, she committed to buy small websites at first. These were under $100,000 and generated at least $1,000 per month in profit. 

    Jen eventually bought an FBA website on Flippa for $50,000. She took on the business full time and hired a VA to help it grow substantially. 

    Growing Sites

    Jen ran a lot of Facebook ads and affiliates, as well doing a ton of SEO work. She also put up a Facebook community which grew exponentially. 

    In 2018, this site initially made $2,000-$3,000 a month in 2018. At the time it was sold in 2020 it was making $8,000-$10,000 a month. It was purchased at $50,000 and sold 2 years later for $225,000.

    The paid advertising world wasn’t an easy one to learn. But, with the help of free resources, Jen got the hang of it for her websites. 

    Admittedly, Jen made a lot of mistakes at first, especially with Google, pay-per-click, and unnecessary SEO.

    Jen bought another website; this time through Empire Flippers. The site is a 'mommy' blog, and Jen still owns the website today. She’s used the site to learn and practice her SEO skills, and it continues to grow. 

    She is not afraid to make mistakes because she learns along the way. 

    Other Activity

    Jen has a channel on Clubhouse called Buying Businesses Club. Here, she chats with people who are interested in buying businesses in general, not just online businesses. 

    Funds are on the rise now, and Jen says that if she were a newbie, she would definitely invest in a fund. 

    Resources

    Facebook Group: Women Buying Businesses

    Guest Info

    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/anderjen/

    What did you think?

    Did you enjoy this episode or do you have a question?

    Please leave a comment to let us know.

    Cheers,

    Juliet

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit investing.substack.com

    • 48 min
    Ep 35: Adam Smith, Building on Expired Domains

    Ep 35: Adam Smith, Building on Expired Domains

    In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks about expired domains with Adam Smith of Niche Website Builders. They cover how to acquire expired domains, how to efficiently build websites with them, and why to use expired domains. They also discuss the different steps and principles used by Niche Website Builders to build these websites and make them successful. 

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    Expired Domain “Sniff Test”

    They use several tools for a five-minute sniff test to gauge domains. One of these is SpamZilla, which finds many sources to buy expired domains. It also filters them using different metrics such as UR, DR, trust flow, organic traffic, and many more. 

    The metrics used depend on the purpose of the domain. Looking at the metrics, you need to determine whether the domain looks good, and is a good fit for its purpose. SemRush is a valuable site for doing quick sniff tests using their categorization of backlinks.

    Adam mentions that once the sniff test is passed, you can use the Wayback Machine for the domain. You can see multiple snapshots of each year to determine whether a site or domain is really good. There are cases when outbound links to unwanted sites exist. 

    Adam says that you shouldn’t worry about whether or not a website is in the index or if it’s been 301 redirected to another site. What matters is that the link profile is checked and the links are still alive. It's usually still better than having a fresh domain.

    First Steps

    The first thing to do - sometimes even before buying a domain - is to think about the keyword plan or the content plan for the domain. Some niches are more competitive than others so you want to consider if the domain is powerful enough to compete in that specific niche. 

    The keyword research done by Adam and his team is proprietary. However, he mentions that it involves looking at competitors in the same space or niche, figuring out who the weaker competitors are, and analyzing how the outliers with good organic traffic are doing this. 

    Content plans are built around uncovering and reverse engineering the content from outliers who are performing really well in their niche. 

    There are things you can do to increase the chance of success for your domain. In terms of site structure, you want to ensure that your homepage passes as much link juice through to the rest of the site as possible.

    Starting out, try to cover only a small sub-niche, keeping the click depth of a website really low, i.e., everything only two clicks away from the homepage.
    You can check the best pages-by-links report using Ahrefs. 
    You want to keep these links for two reasons. One is that they’re good links and you want to keep them active. Two is, there’s a chance that these links might 401 if you leave them.

    Handling Links

    There are two options for tidying up the links. The first option is to take the existing content and keep it on the website. This is the riskiest, but may be mitigated by hiding these pieces of content from the website navigation so you can’t get to them. The second option is rewriting the content in your own words or repurposing the content.

    As a rule of thumb, Adam says that any old page with more than five links pointing to it should be recreated, and anything with less than two links is redirected back to the homepage.

    One thing that differentiates an expired domain is how all the old redirects are handled. Apart from this, the steps are the same as for setting up a new site.

    Adam’s Approach

    Adam has been building out sites on expired domains for his own personal portfolio, but still builds domains or sites on fresh domains for clients.

    Adam compares his website building approach to a horse race; he doubles down on th

    • 48 min
    Ep 34: Kevin Jourdan, Website Marketplaces in Europe

    Ep 34: Kevin Jourdan, Website Marketplaces in Europe

    In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Avi talks with Kevin Jourdan about how he built DotMarket.eu to buy and sell businesses online in the French market. They discuss the similarities and differences between the French and English markets, and how the French market lags behind the US by 1-2 years. 

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    📝 Show Summary & Insights

    Starting Out

    Kevin built his first website in 2012. He learned from NichePursuits.com and watched a bunch of courses, gaining valuable tips and insights along the way. He went on to build and buy various niche websites.

    After buying and selling a few websites on Empire Flippers, he noticed that there was a big opportunity to create a similar platform in France. This led to the birth of DotMarket.eu for the French market.

    The French Market

    Kevin says that it’s easier to rank websites in France because there is less competition there.

    Though the English and French markets are very similar, the French market is often late in terms of content resources. Some English articles are only translated to French a few years after they were originally published. 

    In terms of monetization, the English and French markets are pretty much the same, but options in the French market are limited. For example, it is difficult to find recurring affiliate programs in many niches. 

    Only a few niches allow for recurring affiliate programs, such as casinos and dating. 

    There is little competition if you want to sell online. Amazon is the only way to sell in France, as they have the best conversion rates and reach. 

    When choosing a niche in France, one effective strategy is to look to the US market. France is usually slower to adopt, and many business ideas from the US pop up a year or two later in the French market.

    DotMarket Strategy

    DotMarket.eu was created to make it easier and safer for buyers and sellers to meet up. It boasts vetting and valuation processes, contracting, and migration processes. 

    DotMarket.eu is tailored to buying and selling businesses online; including websites, e-commerce, and SaaS marketplaces. 

    To set it up, they had to find the right balance of both buyers and sellers. This was quite difficult, as they needed to convince and educate French sellers that selling online is possible. Many owners didn’t even know that they could sell their websites. They continue to educate many French website owners about selling as a viable exit option.

    DotMarket.eu just reached the 7-figure mark in valuation of websites sold.

    Valuation and Sale

    To list a website on DotMarket, the website must be valued at a minimum of €10,000 for affiliate and content sites, and €25,000 for drop shipping and e-commerce sites. They do not accept starter sites, sites that have been hit with a penalty or sites that generate profit mostly from ads. 

    It takes an average of 45 days to sell a business on DotMarket, although SaaS and e-commerce businesses can take 3-4 months to sell. 

    Content sites are popular and sell quickly, sometimes within 48 hours. 

    A Growing Market

    A lot of sites in the French market are made by people who did not consider selling them (or even know that they could). These sites don’t have the same optimization strategies in place when compared to a site owned by someone who was looking to sell it from the get-go. 

    DotMarket's business model charges the buyer 10%, and the seller 3%.

    DotMarket has partnerships with Flippa, MicroAcquire, and other platforms. Other marketplaces help supply buyers for businesses listed on DotMarket that are more difficult to sell. In return, DotMarket provides listings for French and European buyers on their platforms. 

    The goal for DotMarket in 2021 is to expand in the French market, and possibly open in the Spa

    • 54 min

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