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MotionInvest.com 1.5 Month Review – 4 Lessons Learned Buying and Selling Websites

It has been a fun 1.5 months since we launched MotionInvest! In this post I will review some of the changes we have initiated based on feedback received to make the offering even more attractive!

To catch people up Spencer Haws, Kelley and I launched MotionInvest.com where you can sell your content site and buy content sites directly from us in the underserved <~$2000/month/site range.  

Quick Summary of Changes:

  • Reduced Price on Sites – The sites for sale are at or below industry standard, typically at or below 3x the average earnings. We have offered the coaching/support as an optional purchase not required purchase like it was at the start.
  • Free to Sign up for Now – It is now free to sign up and see the money making websites for sale (no monthly fee)
  • Buying Website Guide – We created the largest/best guide to buying websites!
  • Site purchase and transfer speed increased!

I am a big believer in the need to push things out to the world, listen to feedback and iterate. 

Overall things are going in many ways better than expected with it being clear that there is a very underserved part of the market we are helping! 

In this post I am going to go over some of the mistakes made, what we have learned and the changes we have implemented.

What is MotionInvest.com and Why did we Start it?

When you think about someone with some time ~10hrs/week and some capital to deploy <$75k and a desire to build an online business (content site) there isn’t a great spot to send them! 

You never feel good sending someone inexperienced to Flippa and brokers business model pulls them up market to focus on higher price points! 

So MotionInvest was born to address this part of the market and do so with a novel approach where we have REAL skin in the game and are buying/selling the sites directly ourselves. 

This has proven to be the biggest eye opener for most when they realize that we aren’t connecting buyers and sellers together but are the other side of every transaction! If you sell to motion invest you sell to us, if you buy a site at Motion Invest you buy from us.

You can see below how we fit into the ecosystem based on someones time and capital…

https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale (USE THE IMAGE HOSTED AT MI NOT A COPY HOSTED AT AWI)

motioninvest - buying and selling landscape

https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale (USE THE IMAGE HOSTED AT MI NOT A COPY HOSTED AT AWI)

To learn more about MotionInvest here are some earlier articles:

Lessons Learned and Changes Implemented:

Despite Spencer, Kelley and I having over 3 decades of experience between us we knew that the offering we designed would miss the mark in a few ways and are happy to learn from those to improve our overall offering.

Below are the 4 changes we have made since launch and the reason why…

ONE – Reduced Multiples by Making Value Add Offering Optional

MotionInvest now sells at or below industry standard multiple (~3x) for quality vetted content sites!

Mistake: 

We only had one persona in mind when we designed the business and its offerings. That persona was someone new coming to the space and they needed a lot of support to ensure they were successful. We designed what that support would look like (coaching, access to the tools and procedures) and included it into the price of each site. This made, especially the smaller sites, very expensive when measured in terms of a multiple on earnings. 

What we didn’t fully anticipate is the desire of highly successful site buyers who want quality vetted sites they can efficiently buy. It makes sense now that site buyers/operators who are excellent at their job add the most value focusing on growing a site vs searching for a site to buy. Since we are only buying sites we would be happy to hold the experienced buyer can efficiently look at the list available and pick up some additional sites for their portfolio efficiently. However, they don’t need any of the extra value add that was included in every site sale initially.

Since you only get one chance to make a first impression many people even after the change were not aware that our multiples were very much in line/below industry standard.

Change Made: 

Based  on the feedback from experienced buyers and others that wanted to buy the site but didn’t see value in the additional value added offering we changed our pricing to remove the coaching/etc in the standard offering. The support is still available and purchased/appreciated by many but it is now an optional add on to the order and not standard. 

The result is that the effective multiple for sites is now in line (or even a little below) industry standard. 

TWO – Removed the Monthly Subscription – See the URL

Mistake: 

Finding a solution to putting a little back pressure on niche hunters looking to identify a successful niche to start a site in has been a never ending problem for people looking to sell sites. 

There have been many attempts to address this problem:

  • Lengthy NDA
  • Deposit to be paid
  • Buyer interview to validate interest

Our initial solution was to have a small monthly subscription of $25/month that would ensure people on the list were serious buyers. 

However, we quickly realized it wasn’t having the desired effect. I think internet marketers / online entrepreneurs more than most have subscription fatigue! Like many people, I struggle with havings subscriptions to every tool, why do I need SEMRush, ahrefs AND Majestic… everytime I try and kill one I have a reason for keeping it! The feedback was that it wasn’t about the money as much as it was about the mental bandwidth to have ANOTHER recurring subscription. 

Change Made: 

Despite it turning into a very attractive revenue source and significant value add on the business value (everyone loves recurring revenue) we made the decision to make it free to see the full listing details!

We believe this ultimately best serves our market of buyers. We want to be the most efficient place to buy quality content based affiliate/display sites and so removing all obstacles in the way of that is what we are doing. 

You can now sign up for free to see the sites for sale.

We also were happy to make the decision to refund the many people who did pay. 

THREE – Launched the largest and most complete guide to buying websites

Mistake: 

MotionInvests model of buying sites directly and then selling them on a storefront is new, unique and many people had questions on how we fit into the existing industry. Many people were not clear that they were selling and buying from us directly with no middleman. We got a lot of questions along the lines of…

  • So are you a broker? Buy side Sell side?
  • Where do you fit into the industry?
  • Are you an operator?
  • Can we have a call to review my options?
  • Really I don’t need to get on a call?

It was clear that the concept once people “got it” loved it but it took some work for people to understand the significant step change in efficiency of buying and selling a site through motioninvest. 

Change Made: 

To help people find their place on where they should be entering this industry we created the most complete guide for someone looking to buy a website including all the major players in the industry. 

This post is meant to help someone looking to understand all their options in this website buying industry and where they should start based on their unique constraints (time & money) – https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale/

Specifically the industry map shared above is to help guide people to the opportunities that are the best fit for them. 

It is also meant to help explain how the MotionInvest buying process is different in the images below.

steps buying website
motioninvest - buy website

FOUR – Faster transfer

Mistake: 

This mistake is more procedural but it was clear our process of transfer after buying and selling was taking too long. When dealing with assets of others which have significant value every minute/hour/day matters! 

Every transfer has gone smooth with the majority completed same day but some took longer than we wanted.   

Change Made:

For the lean manufacturing geeks we completed a mini SMED of the process and implemented several changes to speed up the process. 

In addition we are testing out a dedicated real time communication channel for each buyer/seller to ensure the transfer process is fully managed in real time.

Summary

Hopefully this post has both shed some light on how we think about iterating on an offering while at the same time helping to communicate some of the changes at MotionInvest. 

If you are looking to buy or sell a content site in the $50-$2,500/month range we have changed that experience and it is worth checking out MotionInvest!

Content Website Buying Due Diligence – FAST 5 Minute 5 Step Checklist

There are a lot of great articles going in depth about how to do due diligence when buying a website. Many of these are more in depth than you want to do for an initial pass. After doing this quick check a lot of these deep dive articles are great to checkout put out by brokers… EmpireFlippers & FEInternational.

There are even great companies like Centurica that for a fee will do a deep dive into a site. I have used them in the past to scale due diligence and they are great.  

In this post I am going to provide the quick initial check that can be done in under 5 minutes (if all the information is available) for you to see if there are any red flags. 

In addition to the checklist and screenshots I will do a review myself on a public listing at flippa so you can watch over my shoulder. 

We use a lot of tools for this process totalling over $1k/month! If you want to save the costs and pick up a content site in the $2.5-$75k range checkout the sites listed at MotionInvest.

Here are the tools we use…

This is the quick 5 minute FAST preliminary due diligence guide. 

  1. Income Verification
    1. Images can be faked – video of earnings is best
    2. Earnings per visitor is reasonable – a joke site earning $0.1 per visitor doesn’t make sense while a high ticket focused amazon associate review site earnings that same amount per visitor does make sense. 
    3. Expenses if any are reasonable
  2. Traffic Verification
    1. 6 months to 1 year of traffic – steady growth or stable is the ideal
    2. GEO Location – Making sure the traffic isn’t all from an area that can’t be monetized or faked
    3. Time on site & Device – If the traffic is faked the time on site and the device used isn’t a normal distribution 
    4. Traffic claimed and traffic shown by 3rd party service like SEMRush are reasonably aligned.
  3. Backlink Analysis and Red Flags
    1. Check all 301 redirect – make sure the site hasn’t been moved from another location and the end result would be you own a domain with no traffic
    2. Are the links “Real” and “Relevant” links? – Simple enough but you want to make sure there are “real” links put by someone to help their audience and are from “relevant” sites. 
    3. No unusual concentration of spammy links or rate of link acquisition – See video for explanation
    4. No overuse of any single strategy (blog comments, scholarships, donations, PBN, paid links, widget links etc) – If all the links are from one strategy it is not ideal (see “real” & “relevant” rule of thumb above) – here is a more in depth backlink analysis tutorial
  4. Content Check
    1. Plagiarism Check – Running a quick plagiarism check to make sure the content is unique is great. 
    2. Quality – is the content answering the searchers queries? Maintaining content has a cost… if the starting point of that content is low then you will need to factor in a lot of updates/re-writes to that content
      1. Pro Tip – You can use MarketMuse to see the quality of the content relative to the competition. 
  5. Archive & WhoIs Check
    1. Has the site had a “colourful” past or different then what the traffic/earnings would suggest? See video for more details.  – Note I find Archive doesn’t work for some sites, here is a wayback machine archive alternative.
    2. Does the history of the domain name transfer make sense

If the site passes this FAST preliminary check it is time to do a deeper dive! The deep dive analysis will be the subject of another article… stay tuned for that.

If you are interested in Content Sites that are earning right now and have passed this preliminary a deeper due diligence process checkout MotionInvest!

What is your favourite red flag when looking at a website to potentially buy? 

The 3 Most Common Website Purchase Mistakes I Make

Over the past 10 years I have purchased hundreds of sites. Often these are smaller sites sometimes with some problems that people are looking to sell quickly. For years I have ranked #1 for sell your website fast and have seen lots of interesting deals come across my plate. 

Some of the deals have turned out to be amazing while others have been complete failures.

When I recently did an analysis on all the purchases that failed I could group them into 3 categories. 

These are now my 3 keys when purchasing sites…

ONE – Simple + Believable Traffic and Monetization Data

This one has always been hard. Often a site that can’t be sold somewhere else will come to me and will have some odd way of monetizing. It could be a unique affiliate arrangement, hard to track earnings, traffic tracked with something other than GoogleAnalytics, weird Google Analytics setup etc. 

This rule is also a catch-all for any time that the numbers are confusing or don’t check out. 

When a site has a clean monetization method that I am familiar with (adsense & amazon are ideal) and traffic sources that can be verified (organic traffic with Google analytics) it makes the purchase much simpler/faster. 

Case Study: Custom Affiliate Arrangement Cancelled In The First Week

I purchased a site in the tech space that had tutorials that were about 2 years old. A couple of those tutorials were ranking very well and the site was generating about $25/day from one relationship for lead generation. It was also making some earnings from adsense but the revenue per user from the lead generation arrangement was 10x better than adsense. 

Lots of things checked out…

  • the site had been around for a couple years
  • traffic was growing steadily
  • the quality of the content was the best for what it was ranking for

But… 1 week after I purchased it I received an email from the business contact for the lead generation company and was informed they no longer saw value in the relationship and were terminating it. I don’t believe any funny business occurred with collusion between the seller and the lead generation company but it certainly hurt! I was able to refocus the site on adsense and bring up the earnings to about 25% of what they were when I purchased the site. 

Overall it was an unfortunate event and one of a few where I purchased a site with a monetization strategy I was not very familiar with and the site struggled.   

TWO – Not Declining and with Decent History

Lots of sites that are declining have sellers that are eager to sell. In terms of the multiple paid to purchase the website they can often look like incredible deals.

So many sites come to me that are declining I have even created a strategy for trying to revive them… Dead Cat Strategy – How to turn around a declining site.

However, what I have often seen is that the inertia of a declining site takes more energy to turn around than it is worth. If the deal is too good to pass up then great but many times I have been lured in from the “cheap” multiple to buy a declining site and been overconfident in the time/energy I will dedicate to turning it around. 

Case Study: First Larger Purchase

Early on around 2010 I put in a lot of effort and the most money I had to date to purchase a site. The site was declining but I had grown a site in that niche already and had unique affiliate arrangements which gained me more per commission than the seller was receiving. I thought despite the fact it was declining I would be able to turn it around and instantly give it a lift with improved monetization. 

The result was that despite way too much effort to turn it around the site continued to slide. The lift in earnings I was able to achieve was great but all of that lift was quickly eaten up by the continued decline.

I certainly overpaid but the bigger failure in this case was sticking with the site for too long. This and others like it helped me evolve my dead cat strategy… 

  • buy cheap
  • give it a kick (quick SEO audit and add more content/links)
  • if it jumps nurse it back to health and if it stays on the decline let it go

THREE – Current Operator Not Doing Unique Activities

This one is my favourite because it often brings me in contact with some “crazy” entrepreneurs! 

I have had a couple experiences where I purchased a site where the deal came to me because they had been turned away from brokers due to being volatile/rude/crazy! Some of these purchases have been great but I often learn the same lesson over and over. 

That lesson is that if the founder is still heavily involved in the business they are often doing something that is generating value you can’t simply plug in an SOP to handle. 

Case Study: Welcome to Crazy Town!

There was an ecommerce site generating 20k/month in revenue and everything about the deal was great!

  • Great price to buy the site as she was too crazy for brokers who she previously spoke with to handle or put her on a call with a buyer
  • Lots of organic traffic verified with significant content marketing growth opportunities
  • Healthy margins for dropshipping and long history with the wholesaler (10years)
  • Sites conversion rates could do with an easy improvement with images/redesign

There was one big variable… the founder. She was working tons of hours with it as her full time job and most of the activities I thought were completely inefficient. She was spending her day doing what seemed like inefficient tasks such as directory submission, social bookmarking, misc conferences, calling every customer (valuable but inefficient), TONS and TONS of “research” and only a little content creation.

But what I didn’t fully appreciate was how much that relentless energy and obsessive focus put into the business yielded sales. 

We improved a lot of things easily… improved the rankings, improved the site and the conversion rate for organic traffic, email automation, abandoned cart and other site tweaks. All these changes improved the metric we were trying to but overall… sales dropped by 40%!! 

How…To a significant extent I didn’t realize how much she was acting as a sales person talking to everyone she could about the site/product wherever she went… grocery store, post office etc. 

For me who likes to see all activities in the business fit neatly into an SOP I need to be on the lookout for the founder doing things that don’t scale and can’t be efficiently replaced.

Overall the purchase of this business was still a great one as even though revenue declined it was operated more efficiently and profits went up but… I had hoped for much more.

What Are Your Hard Earned Website Purchase Due Diligence Rules?

If you have been busy purchasing sites have you discovered any “rules” you follow? If so please share in the comments.

Content Refined Review

This is a review of ContentRefined.com and the process Content Refined uses to create content. Content Refined delivers quality content to enhance your website and improve its rank on search engines. They utilize resources like SEMrush, MarketMuse, ahrefs, grammerly and SECockpit to facilitate and maximize search engine optimization (SEO).

Note – I am a part owner in ContentRefined so definitely biased but ContentRefined was created to service my own websites. Hopefully this post will help show the process Content Refined uses and what to expect.

Whether you have a vast understanding of how SEO works and you need some help with upgrading and optimizing your website, or you have no previous knowledge on the subject but want to bring further traffic to your brand-new company website, Content Refined has content creation packages for all. 

Checkout Content Refined and Book a call

content refined logo

Content Marketing Is Crucial for Business Growth

Improving the content marketing sector of your business is one of the best decisions you can make as a business owner. It drives in customers and viewers fast. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a proven method of accelerating your content marketing, and it substantially increases traffic to your brand. The simple step of integrating a blog on your company website will directly impact the sales of your product or service. However, the quality of content on that blog plays a key role in your success at achieving SEO for your website. 

Once started, stay consistent. Use an SEO content creator like Content Refined to post quality material on your site regularly – this ensures a continuous rise in website traffic and view count. 

Getting Started

Content Refined aids you, as a business, to establish SEO by providing strategic pieces of content that push search engine algorithms in your favor and appeal to your target audience. 

Initializing the process with Content Refined is straightforward. 

They offer three types of content creation packages that determine pricing and the amount of content you receive – article packages, upgrade packages, and keyword packages. There are options available for all SEO needs. 

Article Packages

Content Refined gives you a selection of various article packages based on how many posts you want each month, for one, six, or twelve months at a time. If you purchase a six or twelve-month package as a one-time payment, you will not have to remember to buy a new package every month, and the content will automatically flow in your direction. Constant updates and communication will be maintained. 

Single-month article packages are friendly to smaller monthly marketing budgets, but most of the more advanced packages require that you make a more substantial payment upfront. However, the process that goes behind that price is far beyond extensive. 

Price options under Article Packages are for a full content creation plan including direct communication with a project manager who will oversee the creation of your content and ensure that it is up to par, keyword research for SEO purposes, and publishing content to your site. 

Now, if you do not require keyword research services and would like to personally choose the keywords and titles to use for your content, you have a few alternative options for that as well. You can see them all at Content Refined

Upgrade & Update Packages

With time, site content needs to be improved and upgraded. Content Refined offers content upgrade services where they take your pre-existing articles and revamp them into quality pieces of content. 500 to 1000 words are tacked on in areas of your article to fill in any gaps there may be while providing even more valuable information for your audience.

The experienced full-time editor at Content Refined that works primarily on upgrades optimizes your upgraded content for search engines using MarketMuse before republishing it on the back end of your website. 

Upgrades are vital for success. The initial impact of fresh content is substantial and may be exciting, but it will wear off if you do not keep updating your content and adding new posts at regular intervals. 

Keyword Packages

Content Refined offers pure keyword analysis. Keyword packages are for those who want to know the best keywords for their website and a plan of how to use them. 

A Content Refined team member will run an analysis of your website’s keywords, backlinks, and content, as well as an analysis of the same factors from one of your competitors, using SEMRush. The assessed information is organized and put into a universal spreadsheet for ease of access.

Keep reading to find out more about the process Content Refined teams execute to create your professional content. 

Content Refined Process Overview

Content Refined bases its price value on the immense scale of the content creation process. Their writers and project managers have considerable expertise and talent in the creation of optimized content and understand how to utilize that content to attract viewers from your target audience. 

Content Refined writers know how to build the structure of an entire article based around keyword scores and superlative SEO while balancing a creative writing voice with essential information regarding the topic. 

Immediately succeeding your first interaction with a project manager, the development of your content moves into action. 

Simplification of the Content Refined content creation process takes part in four phases. 

Phase One

In phase one, if you communicate to the project manager a thorough explanation of your desires and provide them with detailed information about the goals of the article(s), more personalized content will come about. 

The project manager applies what you have given them to an effective plan that will establish high-quality content that meets every requirement and maximizes SEO standards. 

During this element of the process, the project manager offers useful suggestions based on what has worked well for former clients, including alternative title choices, ideal article lengths for a particular topic, and affiliation links. The project manager will stay in constant contact with you, and no major changes will take place without prior consultation.

Phase Two

Content Refined writers, editors, and keyword researchers each contribute a valuable aspect to your content as it comes down the line. 

Before the writers commence the development of your high-quality content, keyword research must take place. Keywords are at the heart of SEO and are the driving force behind capturing the attention of search engines. 

Keywords are short descriptive phrases or words that correlate directly to the article topic. Once the user types a search word into Google or another search engine, related keywords are found in articles online that may be useful. 

The search engine uses the keywords and metatags on your webpage to determine the relatability of your article before grabbing it. Without proper keywords, it is doubtful your site will gain rank. 

Extensive knowledge of keywords and their use is not needed from you unless you selected a Content Refined content creation package that does not provide keyword research. However, when you buy the better package, Content Refined keyword researchers utilize keyword analysis tools such as SECockpit to gauge the best keywords. 

After determining the keywords designed for an article, the writers at Content Refined build an all-encompassing draft that integrates those keywords in an SEO-oriented manner. 

Article drafts then go through an extensive editing process that confirms the reiteration of correct grammar and term usage, plus verification of keyword utilization in vital sections of the article that could determine search engine rank, such as the first paragraph, last paragraph, and subheadings. 

In addition, editors further examine the article for a call to action, the use of external and internal links, and universal SEO organization. 

Phase Three

Phase three entails final editing and revisions, total search engine optimization, and publishing. 

Content Refined facilitates content end-to-end, which means they manage operations all the way through to the finalization of publishing. But before they publish an article, a final assessment of the material determines three things: 

  • Does it meet publisher standards? 
  • Is the title effective? 
  • Are the key points of the main topic question answered?

If the solution to any of these questions is not yes, or there is a lack of fulfillment of a special client request, then revisions take place to make them so. 

In publishing, the Content Refined team formats the completed content on the back end of your site and adds high-resolution images to complete the portrayed impression to audiences. 

Keyword Analysis

Keyword research is a complex process and varies for different types of sites. The Content Refined keyword research team uses four key metrics to determine the best keywords. For these key metrics, the keyword researcher looks for a monthly search volume of over 500 searches, a keyword difficulty score under 30%, high cost-per-click values, and a low average for the competitor’s domain rating

A list is put together for you of suggested keywords and article titles that you might consider using for your content or that Content Refined envisions using in the content they provide for you. 

If you decide to use only keyword researching services through Content Refined, rather than content creation, they give you an actionable plan that lays out article topics, the titles for them, related keywords, and a complete analysis of your current site. 

The Writers Use Planned and Purposeful Writing

When you purchase an article package from Content Refined, you pay for the use of experienced writers that consider every aspect of an article on top of keyword usage. 

Along with making an article sound interesting and easy to understand by the age range of the target audience, other aspects reflect upon the writing tone that is most appropriate for the target audience, predictions on related topics or questions that the reader might have after reading about the main topic question, and what search engines seek when ranking search results. 

Anyone can write an article, but only experienced SEO content writers can combine these aspects with keywords and organize it in a way that not only makes sense but is more likely to rank higher with search engines. 

Every segment of the writing process is premeditated and planned out to be as efficient as possible. It is all about maximizing the value of your content. 

Software and Resources

One piece of software the writers and editors use is Grammarly, to confirm they are using proper grammar and sentence structure, which are just as, if not more, important than SEO factors and keywords. 

SEMrush is another resource utilized by Content Refined. In the final stages of content creation, they use SEMrush to track SEO metrics and top-ranking keywords of your website and how it is performing. 

With it, they can obtain information about traffic and analyze it to see how they can change the tone of an article to appeal towards certain areas of traffic that are common. 

For upgrades and refreshing content, MarketMuse is the primary resource, which is an AI Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. 

Contact 

Upon browsing the content creation packages and how the Content Refined process works, you may have become interested in receiving a quote for the content you need created for your website or at least having a conversation with someone that can further explain their service to you.

To email the business manager or owner of Content Refined, visit the Contact Us page on contentrefined.com. You can also schedule an appointment or get started right away by selecting one of the article, upgrade, or keyword packages on the Content Services page. 

For a package that is all-encompassing and provides you with help along every stage of content marketing, stick with the article packages. 

How to Purchase a Website – From $10k Success to Failure in 30 Days

This post is to share my story about purchasing a website privately and the incredible success I initially thought I had followed by a sizable blow!

I will write this post in chronological order and walk you through the stats as I saw them.

If you are interested in learning how to do in depth due diligence to avoid this time of error visit this complete guide to buying websites.

Also I will show you exactly what I did to get an increase in click through rate of 10x resulting in an affiliate click graph looking like this…Continue reading

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