- Rob Boirun has been creating websites and writing content for them as a hobby since 2002.
- Boirun began seriously monetizing its content in 2019 and sold one of its entertainment sites in 2020.
- He now buys and flips websites from platforms like Flippa, bringing in up to $178,000 per flip.
This narrated essay is based on a conversation with Rob Boirun, a 50-year-old website pinball machine and CEO of PopNet Media LLC, of Huntsville, Alabama. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I have a lone wolf personality; I don’t want to manage a team like other business owners. So, in 2019, when my website hosting and VPN business grew to the point that I could no longer manage them on my own, I knew it was time to sell.
I’ve always operated news websites for fun and to give me a place to write about things I find interesting.
Money wasn’t my motivation, but I was monetizing them
Once I sold these businesses, I realized I needed a new source of consistent monthly income. That’s when I focused on running my hobby sites as a business instead of just a side gig.
I’ve maintained a handful of sites over the years at various stages. I’ve owned beginner sites that had 10-20 posts, more established sites that were over a year old with consistent growth, and authority sites with good traffic revenue – which for me means any income over $5,000 per month.
I’ve had sites on cloud storage, lawn care, alcohol distillation, water purification, paintball, pinball machines, and general reviews.
The sites focused on answering questions from the community, as well as content and reviews.
To replace my monthly income, I dove deeper into content marketing by gaining more knowledge on certain topics and creating useful content for people searching the internet. This required more discipline and focus than managing the sites in parallel.
For the most part, I taught myself content marketing. I have also received advice over the years from a variety of sources including Income School, Matt Diggity and the late James Martell.
I decided to list one of my cash sites on the Investors Club marketplace, and a broker contacted to acquire it.
In 2020, I received an offer to sell from one of my leisure sites
The process of selling a digital business and talking to my accountant opened me up to the world of website flipping.
There are thousands of websites for sale at any given time on marketplaces like Flippa and Investors Club.
On Flippa, you can buy starter sites for $100 or businesses worth $1,000,000 or more. Investors Club tends to focus on sites that are established and generating revenue; they usually cost over $20,000.
After selling my first site, I found another that was making $2,000 a month; the seller was asking $52,000.
The website was generating revenue, but it was clear to me that the vendor was leaving money on the table. I knew that with a little work, I could increase the income generated by the site, so it made sense to buy it.
I purchased the site for $52,000 in June 2020 using the profits from my first sale.
Looking for ways to immediately increase website revenue is essential for a website flipper
After buying a site, I do a full SEO audit, using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to see what web pages and keywords are ranking on Google.
Using the keyword reports from these tools, I have 100-200 keywords for my website topic that have a good chance of ranking. I will search the phrases to see other pages being ranked and analyze if the content is outdated or incomplete.
If the top three search results on Google with these keywords could be improved, then I know writing a more comprehensive guide or article is my top priority. I will build an outline of topics to discuss in my posts for each of the terms.
Then I’ll make a to-do list in order of importance, based on the overall monthly searches a keyword gets and the Opportunity Score I gave it in my research.
Once this list is completed, I outsource the writing to a freelancer who can turn the topics into something informational like a blog or guide.
It should be noted that in addition to keywords, Google is moving towards search query-based and intent-based listing results, which means the algorithm is getting smarter in determining intent. of the search query.
I also find ways to monetize sites using ad networks, affiliate marketing and referrals
Using these tactics, I was able to grow this site from $2,000 per month to $13,000 per month. I sold the website on Investors Club in June 2021 for $230,000 which kick-started my full speed website flipping journey.
Using the $178,000 in returns from my first flip, I bought five other sites over the past year which I now work on full time, with a small team of freelancers to help me run and grow each of them.
I still manage all five sites, and they produce different levels of revenue.
Some websites are better for ad revenue, while others will be good for selling e-commerce or affiliate products. I manage each site for at least a year before deciding whether to return it or not.
If I’m exhausted on the subject or feel like I can’t add anything of value to the website, I’ll put it up for sale – at this point the site is better off with someone who can keep developing it.
Since I started flipping websites, the lion’s share of my monthly income has come from what the sites earn
I take between 50% and 60% of my flip profits to acquire new sites in the first few months after the flip occurs. The rest goes to salaries and savings for future acquisitions.