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  • Purchased Portfolio Case Study #2: $7,041.02 : juststart

     Deborah updated 1 year, 9 months ago 1 Member · 1 Post
  • Deborah

    December 8, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    This is a case study that looks at six Amazon affiliate websites that I purchased throughout 2020.

    Case Study #1 is here.

    In update #2, I’ll talk about the work that was done on the sites in the last month or so, and throw in any sprinkle of other relevant information I can think of along the way.

    I don’t share the sites or the niches and if you have any questions then please put them in the comments below. I’m happy to help, but I won’t be answering direct messages to avoid repeating answers multiple times.

    For those that watch on YouTube, I realised I messed up my figures in this month’s income report video and that’s why there’s a discrepancy of around $600 between the video update and this post (I accidentally included an additional site in my Amazon affiliate dashboard when adding things up).

    My Background

    I’ve worked in SEO in various roles for just over 10 years. In-house, freelance, agency and I’ve been running my own sites full-time for around 4-and-a-half years.

    I sold my biggest site (99% of my business’s income) at the start of this year – right before the pandemic – for £1xx,xxx.

    I reinvested 25-30% of the money into acquiring existing affiliate sites, with the aim to grow them to be as big as my previous asset as soon as possible. The rest of the money is being used to further invest into our acquired assets, and to give us a safety blanket if anything else goes wrong in the world or the business.

    The Sites, Work & Progress

    Site 1: UK

    I purchased this site in March 2020 for £3,200. I have a deal with a writer who has a 50% profit share in return for publishing a load of content on the site.

    Traffic was 25,062 in October, but grew to 29,709 in November. Probably seasonal in all honesty.

    Revenue was £2,738.47, up from £1,751.77 in October, and total revenue for the site is now over £11k.

    6 new Best X lists went live onto the site at the start of the month and we’ve published nothing since then. I tried some A/B tests on the site but didn’t implement anything major.

    I worked with a writer on this project on a 50/50 profit share basis. They decided this month that they’d like to sell and they gave me a good price to buy them out as they were leaving the project early. Approximately 90 minutes after I sent the money, Google announced their latest Core update and the site has dropped in traffic quite a bit. Starting to enjoy the pain.

    Lesson learned on this agreement, Core Update aside: make sure you’ve got predefined exit points in mind before taking on partnerships like this. It doesn’t matter if they’re a friend or if you can trust them, things happen in people’s lives to make all plans go out the window. You need defined rules in place to cover all eventualities.

    I had some big plans for the site for the new year but I need to wait and see how the site levels out after the update before working out what I can afford to invest into it. For now, I’m gonna get a few new posts written and work on improving the trustworthiness of as many reviews as I can.

    Site 2: Niche Tech

    This site was bought in May 2020 for roughly $16,000, as part of a package of 3 sites.

    Traffic had been dropping steadily on this site since acquisition, mainly because it is based in a niche that benefited greatly from the pandemic. However, we managed to turn that around with a new record traffic month in October. Well, we smashed through that record in November, going from 11,407 users up to 16,794 users with a day less in the month. Again, there’s a bit of seasonality here, but I expect it to hold up for quite a while.

    Unfortunately, lots of the new traffic wasn’t the biggest sales-driver in the world.

    Revenue was at $1,314.08 – way down from the October figure of $1,800.02. However, I was in Amazon’s Prime Day commission boost throughout all of October which was hugely beneficial for revenue across all of my US sites. Revenue in September was $1,019 and in August it was $1,217, so things are heading in the right direction here, but honestly the revenue is a little lower than I was expecting it to be with traffic so high and with the craziness of Black Friday.

    The site did make a further £183.46 in UK revenue.

    I haven’t published any new content on this site since August. On my December agenda is to get at least 2-3 info posts published here. This is a small, specific niche, and there isn’t a whole load of stuff left for the site to cover without moving into a slightly different niche – I am considering doing that, though the EMD is a bit of a blocker here.

    Site 3: Ad Site

    This site was bought in May 2020 for roughly $9,000, as part of a package of 3 sites. My long-term plans are to turn it from a tiny Amazon affiliate site into a full media company, starting with ad-monetised content and an initial goal to get to 1 million users per month.

    I’m continuing to invest lots of money into this project to drive it towards my target of getting 1 million users per month. I don’t do much hands-on work on the ad content side of this site; I’ve trained my writers to a point where they find their own keywords and publish their own posts without me needing to upload, format, etc.

    This month I managed to surpass my first ever target for the team of taking it from ~100 users per day to over 5,000 per day. My target all along was to hit 5k and then put ads live, which is what I did.

    Traffic went from 85,651 sessions up to 149,646, hitting the 5k sessions target every day between 14th November (the first day we hit it after a nice traffic spike) and the end of the month…until the Google update. My next target was going to be 20k per day traffic, but now I need to work on getting back to the 5k target again (it’ll be another big task).

    RPMs in my niche aren’t massive, but I didn’t really know what to expect with my site as no two sites are the same. I’d made all of my forecasts for monthly breakeven/profitability based on hitting 20k sessions per day at a $5 RPM (to prevent the need for quick maffs, this means I’m investing just under $3,000 per month into this project currently).

    My ads went live on the 20th, and the day 1 RPM was $2.37. However, I could see it wasn’t tracked quite right (the full day’s sessions were tracked but ads only went live halfway through the day). Day 2 we were at $6.21, then $5.71, and we’ve been above my $5 target every day since that first day – peaking at $13.51 on Black Friday. I know that Q4 RPMs are a delight, but I’m hopeful with these results that we’ll be maintaining our $5 RPM when the ad rates drop when Q1 comes.

    The team published 79 posts in November, 5 less than the month before.

    Revenue from ads totalled $582.29, not bad considering the site only had ads on it for 10 out of 30 days.

    I’m also tracking the success of our Amazon affiliate posts on this site, even though most of the work goes into the ad content. I have no idea if our work on ad content will help or hinder our affiliate articles, but I’m hoping the rankings improve as a result of the site being higher quality overall.

    Affiliate revenue was $656.54 in November, up from $515.77 in October, which I’m delighted with considering we were getting the boosted commission rates last month. Black Friday definitely played a big part here, though our affiliate traffic went up significantly from 4,501 sessions to 7,532 (these numbers are included in the total figures above). Some A/B tests on the content also led to an increased Amazon CTR, up 13.82%.

    Total revenue for the site in November was $1,238.83.

    Site 4: Niche Gaming

    I bought this site in May 2020 for approximately $2,000, as part of a package of 3 sites.

    I decided this site is straight garbage and I didn’t do any work on it in November. I don’t have any plans to work on it further for the time being as my other projects are more deserving of my time, though if I get really bored one day I might improve a load of stuff.

    Traffic was at 2,881 sessions in November, up 45.36% vs the previous month and by far the best since acquisition. Revenue was $222.68, down from the $312.91 it earned during the super boosted Prime Day month commission promo.

    Despite the fact I hate this site with every fibre in my body, it still looks like it might have been a profitable long-term purchase (I did invest some money into improving the content after acquisition).

    Site 5: Niche Outdoor

    I bought this site in August 2020 for $5,000.

    Here’s another site which is absolutely awful in its current form, though I’m not giving up on this one yet. I think it could go somewhere good, but we’ll see.

    Only one post was published in November.

    Results were an absolute disaster with only $46.37 earned in October, but things picked up in November with $170.62 generated.

    Traffic was 4,962 sessions, an increase of 92.1% vs the month previous, and an increase of 120.44% YOY.

    My plan for this site in December is to hire someone to take ownership of the content on the site, hopefully put their name and face on it too, and to trust them with turning it into something high quality. I already have a writer publishing here, so I just need to talk to them and see if they’d be interested – it basically just means they’d have the authority to publish without me proofreading.

    I’m definitely the bottleneck on this site so removing myself from that would definitely help the site fulfil some of its probably low potential.

    Site 6: Pets (UK)

    I purchased this site in August 2020, costing £3,750.

    I’ve not added a single piece of content to this site since acquiring it, I’ve not really changed much except for slight adjustments and updating everything to say 2020.

    Traffic was at 5,398 sessions, up 14.85% vs October and 41.46% YOY.

    Revenue was £205.56, up from £136.72 in October.


    Here were my total earnings for the above sites in November 2020:

    US – $2,371.92

    UK – £3,330.85 – slightly higher than what this post adds up to due to each of the sites earning small amounts that I’ve mostly not listed above.

    CA – $282.83

    At current exchange rates at the time of writing, this works out to approximately $7,041.02 USD. Inching closer to my first portfolio target of $10k-per-month.

    The portfolio cost me a total of $40,976.62 (x/r from when I started this case study).

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