Ideas and Validation June 20, 2020

A newsletter about buying websites for profit

Alex @Dealsflow

Hi there,

I nearly lost $10.000 on a website on Flippa and summarized how I avoided it in my recent newsletter article (hint: fake visitor data).

The bigger idea behind this:
I just started a newsletter dedicated to website investing. The goal is to help readers become website investors themselves - by providing insights around the right due diligence, the best tools, but mostly by spotting promising deals from various marketplaces (e.g., Flippa, Empire Flippers, and so on).

This is the link to the article & newsletter:
https://dealsflow.substack.com/p/1-buying-websites-can-go-wrong

What are your thoughts? Do you think the newsletter is a worthwhile endeavor? If so, what would you be most interested in reading? If not, why not?

I am looking forward to your feedback.

  1. 7

    It’s interesting and I’ll subscribe.

    But, you need some credibility to do this. You don’t mention anything on your substack landing page or the about page. Do you have just this one experience or have you been buying and selling online assets for X years successfully and seen it all? Important to communicate that.

    1. 1

      Thanks, Paul. Starting is never easy so I am twice as thankful for your subscribe and feedback.

      Actually, I am not the biggest fan of making it too much about myself. So I hoped to just convince with my content, but of course see your point. Will think about what to add to work on the credibility element. Have a good Sunday!

      1. 2

        Don't overthink this. Just mention who you are and what your experience is in this area of buying/selling websites. Credibility in newsletters is very critical. Good luck!!

        1. 1

          👌🏼👌🏼 will do!

    1. 2

      Amazing, thank you Falak! 🙏

    2. 1

      @FalakSher I'd love to feature your list/content to my crew. Just did this with Dru at Trends and worked out nicely.

      1. 2

        Thank You so much.

        Huge respect for You. I remember your podcast where you were talking to Mixergy (probably) and I am your silent FAN since then.

        Can you please mention your newsletter I really want to subscribe?

        P.S I double-checked by clicking on a twitter account in your bio that this is the same Nathan Latka or another one.

        1. 1

          Sure. My newsletter is at getlatka.com (when you sign up, just click free account).

          Yeah my twitter is linked. I'm the only Nathan Latka I know :P @nathanlatka

          1. 1

            I would like to give your newsletter a shoutout although I have a very small community 229 subscribers. This shoutout's secret ingredient is love ❤️

            Can you write a one-sentence so I can paste it as it is in my newsletter?

          2. 1

            Signed Up!

            I am looking for great interaction with You.

            Maybe you should have same username on Indiehackers too. (hint: you can do so by clicking on Settings on your profile page)

            1. 1

              Just updated :) Thanks for that tip.

              Nice of you. Try something like this? "I met a new friend on IndieHackers.com, Nathan Latka. Check out his database of saas companies including metrics on how they grew at GetLatka.com"

      2. 1

        @RealNathanLatka I have one on website investing, list of 2400+ and open to being featured / collab (early listener of your podcast back in the day too) http://patey.substack.com/ :)

        1. 1

          lets do it. shoot me an email nathanlatka at google email service ;)

  2. 2

    this is really interesting.

    1. 2

      Thanks for your kind words, John! And good luck with YEN!

      1. 1

        thanks! i'm really excited about our progress! every day, 1%!

  3. 2

    @Alex2004 are you personally buying websites? Friend is selling a $325k top line business ($100k cash flow). You might like to meet him. Feel free to shoot me a DM

    1. 1

      Yes, I do. Will write you now..

      1. 1

        I just saw that you can't be contacted via Twitter & direct message. Feel free to add me back (@dealsflow_com) or write me at [email protected] - thanks!

    2. 1

      This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

  4. 2

    I'd like to see content on how to actually do this, what to watch out for, etc. I'm interested in buying one for the first time.

    1. 1

      Sounds great. That's exactly what I plan to cover. Thanks for the feedback! 👌🏼

  5. 2

    This looks awesome! I'm subscribing!

    1. 2

      Thanks, Yaroslaw! Let me know how to improve, whenever you have feedback!

  6. 2

    Great topic to have a newsletter about, @Alex2004. Timely too for me personally. I was completely interested in a job application related site on sale on Flippa. It has great traffic profile - however, the site saw a terrific drop sometime in 2016 - the owner offered no explanation for that. He gave me access to GA, but although a lot of traffic seems to come from Bing, Yahoo, I don't see the site ranking high on these engines at all.

    After reading your article, I wanted to go back to their GA and check the city-wise traffic list - they seem to have cancelled the listing after the questions I raised to them.

    1. 1

      Oh wow, hubbion. That's what I indeed call great timing! It's also quite interesting that so much traffic seems to come from Bing, Yahoo. Why would such minority search engines (with only a tiny market share) provide so much more traffic than Google? I would expect Google to bring the most traffic.. so in short, yeah, seems like a shady listing. Good luck with your purchasing endeavours. And let me know if you have any feedback you want me to consider for writing the newsletter!

      1. 1

        Hi @Alex2004, I wouldn't say Bing, Yahoo traffic (without Google traffic) is shady by itself. I have one article that ranks #2 on Bing and not in the top 10 on Google. So, I do get a considerable amount of visits from Bing while none from Google.

        The shady aspect is that I had tried all possible keyword combinations for the respective landing pages on Bing, Yahoo, etc. and didn't find the page ranking for any of them.

        It's only possible if you paid someone to hunt down your website from down in the SERPS and click on it. Unfortunately, I cannot verify it anymore because the site is off Flippa and my GA access has been revoked.

        1. 1

          You are right. And I wasn't saying that code from this engine is shady - but rather that the ratio of traffic was very uncommon. But following your description I can see how this would work out.

          And your specific case seems very interesting too. Good that you got cautious early on!

          Do you have any platform you would recommend in addition to Flippa?

          1. 1

            Sorry, Flippa is the only one I frequent

  7. 2

    I read the newsletter - this looks awesome! If you can show these specific steps you take, that would be awesome. I already subscribed.

    Also, as @pauldmet mentioned, it would be nice to get more credibility about you. I think one landing page would be good enough for now.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback! Will do in a more detailed write up soon. In regards to credibility: I wish I could just let the content do it's work, but I will think about which level of detail to add. Let me know if you have any additional feedback!

  8. 2

    Hey Alex! Very interesting. Drop me an email at dmitriy.dobrov@dfgholding. Let's chat.

    1. 1

      Will do! I assume your email ends with .com? Enjoy your Sunday!

      1. 1

        Yes, exactly. Thank you!

  9. 1

    Thanks. One thing more I should consider on these sites.

    One thing so. I guess you are right that there's some traffic scam going on before the auction. But his question "Where's Ashburn" might be a legit one depending on where the seller is from. Thanks to your article I know now it's in Virginia, USA but I couldn't care less as it is not even close to where I live. There are 7 billion people on our planet and only a tiny fraction are living in the US :-)

    Besides, I almost never look at a city level in my analytics. Just don't care.

    1. 1

      Interesting to hear! While I understand your reasoning, I still think the seller could have spend a minute on looking it up himself and sending me a more qualified answer. Especially if there is such a traffic anomaly happening. Don't you think? Do you have other best practices to share with me? 🙏🏼

      1. 1

        Depends on the context of the person. Maybe it is a scam, maybe he works in masses, maybe doesn't care. I am trying to stop wondering why people do certain things and rather move on.

        Personally, I'd look into this issue because I want honest deals and value that over fast mass things. But that's me, not everybody is like that. And in the end, you did the same thing I had done. Moving on :-)

        When you looked in the site code, was it the exact same GA code or different ones?

        1. 1

          Good thoughts! The GA code was exactly the same. So it was not that one code was just event tracking or so, it was that the base GA code was embedded via multiple plugins.

  10. 1

    Congrats, Alex! I've subscribed.

    1. 1

      Thank you very much 👏🏼 Great to see you work on paid newsletters. Will look at your course landing page tonight. Do you have any best practices you can share with me upfront? Have a good start to the week.

      1. 1

        Hey Alex - Unfortunately I don't have any experience with paid newsletters (just newsletters that are supported by sponsorships). If I can help with this area - be sure to let me know!

        1. 1

          Ah, sounds interesting as well. I will reach out as soon as my newsletter reaches a wider audience... would you have a ballpark range of subscribers in mind before actually starting with sponsorships makes sense?

  11. 1

    Great idea! I had a old friend looking to buy an e-commerce store on Flippa and didn’t follow through because of that exact same reason (fake user data)

    Subscribed!

    1. 1

      Hm, sorry to hear - but I guess he is not the exception in current times.

      Do you also buy websites or are just interested in the field? I want to learn as much initially, to really tune the newsletter to all readers. So let me know if you have any additional thoughts or feedback.

  12. 1

    I'd definitely be interested. Your example write up is great. I'd be particularly interest to read examples of successful case studies

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback! 👌🏼 Will keep the case study focus in mind. Have a great week and let me know if you have any additional feedback or thoughts.

    1. 1

      Amazing, thank you! 🙏

  13. 1

    Hey Alex, I just subscribed too.

    Good observation regarding the source of the traffic and the analytics being installed twice.

    I've not yet purchased any content websites, but I do own two (monetized via ads exclusively).

    I don't know that I would have initially thought to look at what you did within the analytics, but I do know I would have done some research first to see if anyone had published some articles related to buying websites (i.e. Dealsflow.com).

    Seems like a "What 10 Things To Look Out For When Buying A Website" series would be a good place to start from a content point of view.

    Also, "5 Ways To Make Money From Your Content Website" would be an interesting read.

    "How To Buy A Website on Flippa" (or Empire, or any other sites).

    "Top 3 Ways on How To Determine A Website's Value (Valuation)"

    Respectfully, I don't 100% agree with @pauldmet regarding needing to prove credibility.

    When I'm doing research and reading articles, I almost never look into the author.

    I simply judge based on the quality of content itself, and my experience while reading it. If the article is good enough, I may only then be interested to learn more about the author.

    I think credibility becomes important as it pertains to ranking in Google's SERPs. And you don't earn credibility by way of a fancy sounding About page.

    You do it by way of generating great and helpful content. The better the content, the more likely you'll get backlinks to your content. More backlinks means more credibility in the eyes of Google.

    Of course you can still rank great content without backlinks, but backlinks definitely help.

    Also, I'm not suggesting you shouldn't have an About page that shares some of your experience and background -- I just don't think it matters as much if you have great content.

    1. 3

      Seriously? He’s not writing some opinion pieces on what makes great marketing. He’s giving advice on buying businesses.

      Credibility matters a lot in this niche. Please don’t follow the advice of someone who just writes great content. Make sure they can demonstrate it comes from experience.

      At the moment his landing and about page do not show he has the experience to talk about this topic (for all I know he’s the greatest deal maker that ever lived - he’ll get more conversions if he writes that down on his landing page).

      1. 2

        It's cool if we disagree. I didn't say you were wrong, I simply said I didn't 100% agree :)

      2. 1

        Honest question as I am wondering how that proof should look like. What would you precisely expect?

        I mean, anybody can write anything in an about page. It's the same as I can claim to be the CEO of Google on LinkedIn. So, where does it help you?

    2. 1

      Oh, the internet is an amazing place. Thank you for the thoughtful feedback.

      To your points:

      • article ideas: great starting points, just added them to my brainstorm list
      • credibility: 100% on your side with this. I feel that people are so easily bragging, while the actual content should stand out.

      Interesting that you already own two successfully monetized websites. Out of curiosity - which ad network do you use to monetize your traffic? Ad sense gave me quite bad results every time I tried it.

      Again, thank you.

      1. 1

        There are a few ad networks that have a pretty good reputation like AdThrive, Mediavine, and Ezoic.

        I've not used Mediavine or Ezoic, so I don't have first-hand knowledge of what working with them is like.

        AdThrive is an impressive group, but you have to have at least 100k pageviews/month to apply your site for consideration.

        You can also monetize via platforms like SOVRN & Primis (Video).

        1. 1

          Thanks, Mike. Very helpful. I would love to test AdThrive at one point. Have a good week!

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