Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After

Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After

I’ve spent most of my journey as an entrepreneur building profitable websites, wether it’s websites that are simply monetised by Amazon affiliate links, or by selling digital products like eBooks and video courses. However, there is another way to create passive income from profitable websites: instead of building sites yourself, you can actually buy websites on online marketplaces.

I discovered the Empire Flippers marketplace some years ago, but so far I didn’t have the capital to buy a website on their marketplace. However, last year I sold a piece of real estate that I owned in Germany, and decided to reinvest all the money in digital assets, so I really wanted to buy a website with at least a part of that capital.

So at the beginning of the year, I decided to make the jump. I bought a website on the Empire Flippers marketplace in March 2016, and three months later, it’s now time for a complete report about the whole process. I’ll tell you how I selected the website, how I purchased it on Empire Flippers, and what I did during the past 3 months to improve it. Let’s dive in!

Selecting a Profitable Website to Buy

The first step, once I had the money available on my bank account, was to know how much I wanted to invest. I set myself a limit of $30,000, as I wanted to invest the rest of the money in my other favourite investments, like dividend paying stocks and crowdfunded real estate.

Then, I went to look for a good website to buy. As I knew the Empire Flippers brand for a long time via their excellent podcast, I was basically only looking on their marketplace for a website to purchase. The marketplace itself is very well done, and it’s really easy to look for offers:

Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After

As I already had Amazon affiliate sites, I was mainly focused on buying another one to boost my Amazon earnings, as in the Amazon affiliate program you get a better commission the more items you sell.

I considered several websites, but I quickly stopped on the one I was about to purchase. It is a website called Snorkeling Vacation Guide, which is an Amazon affiliate site dedicated to giving advice about snorkeling vacation destinations and of course snorkeling equipment. The site was created in October 2014, which is ok as I wanted a site that was at least one year old. The price was at $20,581, with an average profit of $895 over the past 3 months.

What I also really liked about this website is that it has been growing nearly constantly since its creation:

Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After

When considering buying a website, I am also always looking at what I can improve, just like you would with a real estate investment. Here, there were three main points that could definitely be improved quickly: there were no social media presence, the design of the site could definitely be improved, and also all the links were redirecting on Amazon.com, even for a visitor based in Canada for example. But more on that later.

Buying Process on Empire Flippers

With all of this in mind, I took the decision to purchase the website. The first step when you purchase a website on Empire Flippers is to make a deposit of 5% of the total price, in order to get the URL of the website, get additional data & be able to talk to the seller.

After making this deposit via Paypal, I had a deeper look into the site, and with all the points I mentioned before I decided to move forward with my buying decision. As the website was sold at 23 times the monthly earnings, I made an offer at 21 times the earnings. The seller then countered at 22 times, which at the end was the price we agreed on.

After that, the buying process was excellent on the Empire Flippers side. The only problem I had during the whole purchase process was due to my bank. Indeed, they had a limit of about $5,000 a day for transfers, which I didn’t know beforehand. As I was using TransferWise to send the money to Empire Flippers (which I really recommend to avoid paying huge fees from your bank if like me you don’t have your money in USD), it took a whole 2 weeks to transfer the money.

When the full amount was received on their side, the transfer process started, and a member of their team took care of moving the site to my SiteGround account. It all happened very fast after the money was received, and the whole process was flawless, so I’d really recommend Empire Flippers if you have any website you want to buy or to sell.

How I Improved the Website During the Past 3 Months

As I mentioned before, I didn’t plan to just keep the site as it was, as I identified ways to improve it. The first thing I did, and which was also the fastest to implement, was to ‘internationalise’ the Amazon affiliate links on the website. Let me explain. When I bought the site, all links were pointing to the Amazon US website, as most of the visitors are coming from the US. But I noticed that only 68% of the visitors were coming from the US, so basically 30% of the revenue was potentially left on the table!

The solution to this problem is simple: there are a lot of Amazon affiliate localisation plugins available for WordPress, that will automatically redirect the visitors to the ‘right’ Amazon website. For example, a visitor from the UK will now be redirect to the Amazon UK store, whereas before he was redirected to the US site, and I would basically loose this commission. For that, I am currently using a plugin called Amazon Link Engine for WordPress, which is really easy to install. This change alone resulted in a 15% earnings boost.

As I noted before, the website also didn’t have any social media presence. I immediately created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube accounts for the site to share content on those channels. I think Instagram and Youtube have the most potential in the future. I haven’t yet posted any videos on Youtube, but I am in talks with freelancers on Fiverr that could produce product reviews for the site.

Finally, I also installed the Facebook Pixel on the site. This basically tracks all the visitors coming on the site that have a Facebook account. It is not very useful for now, but in the future it can become very useful as I plan to sell digital products as well on the site, and at that time it will be very useful to know what kind of people are coming on the site.

What’s In Store for the Next Months

During those 3 months, the earnings from the Amazon US store have basically been constant, which makes sense as I didn’t add any new content on the site. There is of course the overall 15% income boost I mentioned before, coming from the other Amazon stores. However, there are still many ways to improve the site in the coming months, which will result in a better experience for the visitors and increased earnings for me.

The first thing I want to add is more content. I hired a freelancer on UpWork to write articles, and the quality of those new articles is very good, but I haven’t had the time to put those articles on the site yet. I will definitely work on having more content created in the next months.

The second thing is that the site definitely needs a redesign. The current theme is ok, but looks dated and is especially very hard to use as it uses its own layer on top of WordPress to edit posts and pages. This makes it really hard for me and my team to add new content, which is actually why I didn’t add new content so far. Therefore, I’ll be changing the theme to the one I use on all my WordPress websites, Enfold. Just like real estate investors paint all their properties with the same paint, I want to have the same theme on all my sites for easy maintenance.

I also want to continue developing the social media part of the site to have more traffic sources, as for now it’s mainly organic search. I really think I can do a great work by using Youtube to promote snorkeling gear & destinations.

Finally, I want to change the plugin that I use to redirect visitors to the right Amazon stores. For now the plugin I use does a decent job, but sometimes it redirects the users to the wrong item or it doesn’t find the right item at all. The goal here is to use A-FWD, which is a tool where you can set manually the right products on each store. It will be a long process, but once it’s in place it will be much more pleasant for visitors outside of the US.

That’s all for this report three months after buying my first profitable website on the Empire Flippers site! I am really looking forward for your comments and/or questions about the process, so don’t hesitate to use the comments below!

Start Investing in Profitable Websites Today!
Buying an existing profitable website is a great way to invest money with great returns on investment. To help you out selecting the best profitable websites deals, I created a free checklist that I also use to select the websites that I purchase. Simply click on the button below to get it!

Leave a Comment

RCB 3 months ago
Excellent article. We are in the process of purchasing a site from EF, so your article was indeed a welcome relief.
Reply
Marco Schwartz RCB 2 months ago
Thanks so much for your comment! And if you need any help to choose a site in the future let me know :)
Tyler 6 months ago
Would be nice to get an update on the site. When I look at how it has been ranking using ahrefs you have taken a big hit on rankings in google. My guess is the site would do $250-$500 a month right now max. Is that about right?
Reply
Marco Schwartz Tyler 4 months ago

Hi Tyler, you are completely right, however as I mentioned in another comment the major hit on the revenue came from the Amazon Affiliate program fees changes, and unfortunately there is nothing we could do about that. We are currently working on completely redesigning the site and adding new articles to put it back up on the Google rankings :)

Catalina Magee 9 months ago
This is some great advice, Marco! Thank you! I was actually looking at selling my magazine company and ran into Empire Flippers, so your article was very helpful.
Reply
bob Catalina Magee 7 months ago
I liked this article. But it seems odd that more than 18 months later theres no real update or facts except an Amazon driven rev drop of 30% and a big fall off in traffic.. was wondering whether the new improvements were made.. their impact.. esp in light of the comment about a big traffic drop.. any lessons learned post purchase?
Marco Schwartz Catalina Magee 4 months ago
Hi Bob, that is true indeed, however the major hit on the revenue came from the Amazon Affiliate program fees changes, and unfortunately there is nothing we could do about that or even try to predict it. We are currently working on completely redesigning the site and adding new articles to put it back up on the Google rankings :)
Bessy John 10 months ago
Looks like it didn't work out well for you, right?
Reply
Marco Schwartz Bessy John 10 months ago
Hi, why do you think that? I've been hit by an Amazon update that slashed the revenue by about 30%, but nothing I could do about that :)
mcg1103 a year ago
HI Marco. Thanks for doing this post as it is helpful for us looking to purchase a site on Empire Flippers. It has been over a year now, are you still happy with your purchase? SEMRUSH.COM shows the traffic/authority for the site to be down to very little traffic from its peak in December of 2016, is that accurate? I am very reluctant to pull the trigger on a site purchase because I am concerned I will not be able to keep the traffic numbers up.Thanks for any info you can give us novices.
Reply
mcg1103 mcg1103 a year ago
I am discussing a purchase on EF currently. It is a Amazon Associates site like the one you purchased. I would really like an update on how things went with your purchased after a year. Is the traffic steady? Have you done an new things to improve traffic and revenue?Thanks!
Marco Schwartz mcg1103 a year ago
Hello, you're welcome :) Sure I am, the site is not growing anymore but I am still seeing solid income from the purchase. If it's a slight decline just before the purchase it can be good to wait for a month to have more stats, and confirm that it was just a temporary decline (it happens on all my sites) or a real trend.
mcg1103 a year ago
The site you purchased is now down? [EDIT]No, just the link in this article. Seems the www version is down. You can put a redirect in for www to redirect to the non-www version.
Reply
Marco Schwartz mcg1103 a year ago
Thanks for noticing that - I'll put that right away!
Carissa a year ago
you can outsource job using fiverr to save time and money, check out my gigs here https://goo.gl/1SkwQ4
Reply
Markus Goetz 2 years ago
Hi Marco, just wanted to let you know that A-FWD now has link-shortening built in. Maybe that's interesting for you.
Reply
TradeMySite 2 years ago
hello,I love the points that u have mentioned, through simple words .Buying and selling of websites can be very tedious and confusing if you don’t have much experience .I remember the first time I wanted to sell my website.I was a complete mess and eventually it did take me a long time to understand the working of the internet market world dimensions . Here in this comment I have given some guidance, as what I have learnt while working in this industry.First and foremost , understand the fact that when you intend to buy a website you should earn a profit buying the asset and not on eventually selling it .The owner doesn’t update his website regularly, he doesn’t care about the business or he isn’t able to generate much revenue out of itBuild your own ad campaign .While doing so make sure you are targeting the right section of audience be it men, women, youngsters, business men, which ever kind of segregation or categorization suits you.There are a number of market place sites which offer you great deals .Sites such as trademysite can be a great platform to sell the website when the need arises.For more visit our blog http://trademysite.com/blog...Trademysite
Reply
Shares
Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After Buying a Website on Empire Flippers: 3 Months After
Someone from Korea, Republic Of
Recently signed up
3 days ago
Someone from Malaysia
Recently signed up
23 days ago
Someone from the United States
Recently signed up
a month ago
Someone from Trinidad And Tobago
Recently signed up
a month ago
Someone from Canada
Recently signed up
a month ago
Someone from Spain
Recently signed up
2 months ago
Someone from the United States
Recently signed up
2 months ago
Someone from the United States
Recently signed up
2 months ago
Someone from the United States
Recently signed up
2 months ago
Someone from the United States
Recently signed up
2 months ago
21 people recently viewed this page