Today’s guest on the Niche Pursuits podcast is Ted French.
Ted is a website builder who has reached some significant success using aged domains.
It all started in 2015 when he flipped his first website on Flippa. He made a small profit from the sale which gave him the bug, belief, and confidence that he could build sites for a living.
Today, he walks us through his first big profit sale and shares the strategies and steps he took to build and sell the site for over $200,000 dollars.
As mentioned, Ted likes to use aged domains, and his big sale was no different. He built it from scratch, produced all of the content himself, and sold it roughly 12 months later.
Some of the things Ted highlights in his interview are how and where he acquires the aged domains. He also dives into how he evaluates the sites to see if the aged domain is working and what he does for the first few months with the website.
Some of the other topics Ted French discusses during the chat include:
- Why he loves using aged domains
- Buying the domain name before they get deleted
- The best time to purchase domain names for the best results
- The minimum DA (domain authority) he looks for with a domain
- What makes him go all-in on a website
- How he does his keyword research
- The type of content he produces
- Content word length
- Updating content
- Writing content yourself until you can afford to outsource
- His thoughts on using redirects
- Staying in the broad niche
Ted has a straightforward strategy of buying an aged domain at a specific time and quickly getting the website back up and running to look like the old site. He then waits until one reacts well in the search engines and double downs on it with his system.
And it’s a really awesome strategy that if you follow and execute properly can drastically reduce the time it takes to start profiting from your site.
You do not want to miss this one.
Ted shares the entire process and more, so get your pen and paper ready to take notes.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST INTERVIEW:
This Episode is Sponsored by: Ahrefs & Surfer SEO
Watch the full interview:
Read the full transcription:
Jared: Welcome back to Niche pursuits podcast. Today. I am joined by Ted French, Ted. Thanks for coming in.
Ted: Hey, how’s it going? Yeah. Yeah.
Jared: Thanks for being here. Really good. We are able to connect. This is another one of those interviews we do sometimes where we’re all in different parts of the world.
And so we kind of had to line our time’s up, but here we are. It’s a night-time where you are morning time where we are, and I’m looking forward to a great interview today.
Perfect. Perfect. Well, good. Hey, so you know before we kind of get into the meat and potatoes of today, why don’t you catch us up on your background, especially as it relates to to website building and, and, and what got you here today?
Ted: So I started in 2015, I went back to uni. So before that I was working in this dead end. I went back to university, starts studying marketing at the same time, just started looking into SEO and building, flipping niche sites. I ended up buying one on flipper back in 2015, 2016. I flipped that quickly for like a couple thousand dollars profit.
And then since then I’ve kind of been hooked on it since then. So I was doing a wireless, does it uni the university part-time I left, got a job working in PBC. So I worked there for 18 months or 12 months, 12 to 18 months, whole time. I’m still building and flipping niche sites on the side. Then mid 20, 20, right?
The start of the pandemic. I quit my job then, and just went full-time back on my own portfolio sites.
Jared: So 2015 was, it was kind of your first dip into, into website billionaire. Well, yeah, you took a bit of a different path. I mean, I think most people start their own site and they kind of, you know, flail along and, and that usually that first side, I think, I feel like having interviewed so many people that first site fails by site two or three things changed.
You bought a second flip up, which is already a scary proposition and you actually turned it for profit.
Ted: Yeah, no. So I bought it for three and a half thousand dollars and I sold it for $7,000. I’ve done that. I held it for about three or four weeks. And then in that time I was just practicing. I literally just changed the theme, added some more content, change the layout with a tiny bit.
Then I started panicking. Like I’ve just spent like all this money on this website as I need to sell it. So I put it back and flip up So basically that was it. Wow. Wow. That’s a lot of luck with like a pinch of in reality, looking back now, I didn’t really do anything to the site. So to justify an increase in price, but at the time it was enough to kind of keep me interested.
Jared: Yep. Yeah. Well, you know, a lot of people, again, get the bug, they get bit by this website bug, but it’s you know, you got a little bit of success along with the bug, which is, which is great. And you know, it must have fueled a lot of what you were doing. So 20, 20 pandemic hits and you were working in in, in a PPC agency, how much do you working as an editor agency helped or shaped a bit of what you were doing with websites?
Ted: Nothing. I worked like it was a strictly PPC. I didn’t see it. And the reason I started working there, it was just cause I wanted to learn a little bit more around running paid ads at scale. It’s rare. It’s really easy for a beginner to start a website with no with low funds, so they can buy hosting for $50 and a domain for $10, but you can’t really get that experience with paid ads run in at a higher level.
So I really wanted to get hands-on with accounts that were had thousands or tens of thousands of hundreds, of thousands of dollars in spend. So yeah, I worked there for just between a year and I can’t remember, and I was like 14 or 16 months or something like that, just helping us work with e-commerce and lead generation.
I only got that job because I was effecting sites beforehand. So when I went to the job interview, I showed them why I was doing SEO and building sites. And there was like 500 of applicants as I’m stupid. And I ended up getting that job because of that experience. They’re very related, but at the same time, you don’t need to know that PPC stuff.
If that makes sense, it helps. And it, it kind of shapes you overall knowledge wise, but I wouldn’t say that. I learned a massive amount in that job that helped me since I’ve quit my job.
Jared: It’s funny. I w I, for my day job, I run a marketing agency. And when I first started the agency, I thought, oh yeah, we’re going to be doing SEO, PPC, a couple of other things.
And over time as time has developed, because they’re so different in nature, we just refer out the PPC to other agencies and only do the SEO side of things along with some other things. But PPC, it’s a funny line in the sand. It’s so different. It just it’s, it’s, it’s a bit not worth doing both unless you’re a pretty large
Yeah, for sure. Th there’s a lot of like in London specifically, there’s been more PPC agencies like popping up that specify that specialize in just that, because e-commerce especially eCommerce with PBC when you’re running shopping ads and stuff, it’s really, it can get quite complex. Google, Google has made loads of efforts over the last.
Five years or however long to add loads of documentation to make it easy for anyone to do it. But I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert at it, but from working with experts that have been working on these e-commerce accounts, it can get really complicated that you would need to spend.
Jared: Yeah. Yeah. So 2020 you leave the PPC agency and, and that’s really where I think the story we’re going to dive into today kicks off.
I don’t want to you know, I don’t want to cut to the chase, but maybe so that we can understand where we’re going summarize this website that you were working on and what you ended up executing it for. And then we’ll back track from the tips back to the beginning and kind of walk through how you did this.
Ted: Okay. So I put the website up in April just while I was. So I was in the point of thinking about quitting my job. I put more than one website, so I put four or five websites up at the same time. And it’s, it can be that, that sometimes where you get caught between two things, you don’t know what to do. I put the website up, I put maybe 15 articles on it, 10 to 15 articles on it.
And then by June to July time, one of the articles on the site, it just kind of clicked. So there’s kind of a point where. After you let content age a little bit, you were to see like an uptick. And when I saw the uptick I just kind of went all in on it. So I quit my job. I scaled up the content me from writing myself.
So for Chris, I was working 40 hours a week. I just took it that 40 hours a week and just spend it all right. And instead so July through to October, I added maybe three to 400 articles to the site. All based within the same niche. Didn’t you don’t see anything straight away. So, so nothing at all until November picked up a little bit just in time for black Friday.
So I added the ads and I had a media vine to the site in literally just before black Friday. So December the revenue is at five or $6,000 and then. January, February, March. The site was at around $7,000 between media vine and affiliate income. And then I sold the site in April for around $200,000.
Jared: Congratulations that that’s, there’s so many fun facet to that story. I mean, the fact that you, I, again, I’m just kind of summarizing went all in on this site and really quit your job to get the time back to put into it wrote all the content yourself. That’s a marathon of sprint. So that’s, that’s the second point.
Didn’t even have it monetized until five, six months in and then sold it a couple, basically a couple months later for multiple six figures.
Ted: Yeah. It was a mix of the right niche in just necessity. Really? I think. It’s hard to imagine that in four or 500,000 words of content to a site, if you’re going to outsource that it’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars, right?
So you either have to do that or you have three settle them. There’s not really any in between that if you want to scale up quickly that really the only two options. So
Jared: basically, yeah,
Ted: I’ve spoken to quite a lot of people since then that have literally done this, the same thing, but years, 2, 3, 4 years ago, whatever.
And it’s just trying to get that first bigger flip, and then you can start reinvesting money back into other sites and paying people to write content. But for me, I was paying someone to write from my, my sites more than what I’m earning at my job. And it just didn’t make sense at all.
Jared: So let’s go back to where that site started.
And I know from I think you and I got connected through Twitter and you talk a lot on Twitter about your use of aged domains and to cross sites and that sort of thing. So what talk about how you use an aged domain on this site. And, you know, I guess we’ll start walking into the idea that using age domains.
Cause I know a lot of our listeners will have a lot of questions about that
Ted: I’ve been using Asia remains almost exclusively now since 2017, 18 There’s a massive thing between the people say aged domains, expired domains, expiring domains, deleted domains. And depending on where you read it away, you will look, someone will use a different
They’ll get used interchangeably, even though they’re dramatically different in, in brilliant practice.
Ted: And even though, and even in the time that I’ve started doing it. So when I was looking at it in 2016, 2017, people will call it expiring domains when really they were referring to expired domains, et cetera.
Basically what I’m referring to is domains that haven’t been renewed. So the previous owner doesn’t renew them. They drop, they don’t get deleted. So this is before the deleted stage or the deleted stage, they can be reregistered again. So anyone can be registered them. But at that point, there’s a lot of people that build softwares to pick them up when they’re, when they’re deleted.
So when they become. Know, you really got no chance of getting it because the people are building these softwares to pick them up immediately. But if you’re with GoDaddy or with certain other registrars, they will auction off that domain before it even gets to that stage. So what I do is I buy them in this point that they are expired, but not fully deleted yet.
Jared: basically to, to, to use a very rudimentary example, let’s say, I get an email, Hey, your domain. Is it going to expire in the next 30 days? Which I get those all the time. Right? And so you quickly sometimes frantically pop in and renew it, but let’s say that you didn’t renew it. And 30 days came and went.
There’s basically like a grace period where the site enters this holding tank you’re referring to, which is where you acquire them before they get officially deleted, the website goes down and then they hit the general popular.
Ted: The website will still be done. So at that
Jared: point, it’s
Ted: kind of after that.
Great. So you have that grace period, and then there’s a kind of a extended grace period on another period between them second grade. So there’s another 30 days or another 14 days or however long that I’m not really looking for ones that people have accidentally let go. If that makes sense. I’m more looking for companies that have Bombas companies, especially like software companies, et cetera.
A lot of those will invest a lot of money into digital PR and they’ll try and get the brand out there. And while they’re doing not obtain massive links, then five years down the line, the business goes bust. They don’t need the domain anymore. No one really cares about. The kind of ones I’m looking for
Jared: now, why is that specific time period so valuable?
Or why is that so intriguing for you? You talked about how once they get further, they get kind of gobbled up by software and, and these, these scrapers, are there any other advantages to utilizing domains at that point in time that you are, that you’re getting them
Ted: obvious, but so I’ve used them all stages.
Even the ones that eventually get deleted, they don’t lose the links, they don’t lose their power or anything like that. The only real thing is that there’s like a kind of resets the age. It really doesn’t in terms of it does technically, if that makes sense, but the links are still there and they still count.
So I’ve picked up a load of domains that bomb past that point, just to test it out. And they pick up pretty much the same way. But. If you can get them before they’re deleted, there’s not really any way for Google or anyone to know that you’ve even picked up a lot of the time. It will, it, it might say it’s dropped, but that could happen to anyone that owns a website.
At some point it could easily be a mistake or an accident. So I like to put the site back up as soon as possible in a similar fashion. Leave it for a few months. So it kind of blends together. So it doesn’t really even look like it’s a different website and it could genuinely be someone that’s just changed the whole direction of their website.
Jared: So I want to ask you about those, is that what you did with this site that we’re talking about? She grabbed that site and you sorry if I’m going into too many details, but you basically put the same site back up for Google to re crawl and receipts is that same content. Are you using archives?
Ted: It’s the content it’s, it’s not it.
So this one specifically. I didn’t exactly the same site up. There was some kind of legal issues that I would advise anyone to put those sites exactly as they were before, because technically that’s someone else’s content like technically that is their content, but they don’t own the domain name. So you put the site up with this one.
I just put it up on WordPress, but the style, but you have to recreate the URL. So if say, say you have the main domain name and then you have domain name forward slash whatever about or slash contacted for business. Then in the past, I use HRS look at best buy links. So see which pages have got the most things go to them and rebuild those pages with both similar content.
Those pages. Kind of still indexed in Google. So they have a history in Google already with newer sites that I’m putting up. So I’ve put up a new site in the last year. It can take months and months and months to even get indexed or for Google to even think about ranking your website. But these sites, because it’s been up for years already, they’ve got links.
They’ve got big backlinks from years ago. It’s a lot
Jared: quicker, so why not devil’s advocate. And I hear people doing this. Why not take the domain that you acquired and just build the site that you want? And set up 3 0 1 redirects from the old pages, you know, let’s say for example, it’s a software company that went out of business and they have their old landing page that the homepage, but a landing page where they sold one of their services.
You’re not going to be building that software and selling that service. It had a lot of links. You 3 0 1, it to something that’s applicable. That’s on your new site. Why does that route right away? Yeah,
Ted: I’ll do that. Yeah. I think that it really depends on the site. Like a lot of them, some of them might be older sites.
So I would do that anyway, if it’s dot HTML at the end or anything like that, I’m just going to recreate that in WordPress anyway, with the sites that I put up, it’s mainly because it’s mainly our laziness. So you can use a tool to kind of rebuild the old site within like a few minutes. So you can use a tool called arc of Eric’s.
Jared: Okay. What does that tool? I got to write that down.
Ted: It’s called . And basically what it does is, you know, the way back machine sort of way back machine cash, his old website looked like a year ago or five years ago, whatever you do, you can use that it will download, it will give you an export of what the site looked like a year ago, or two years ago, then we have to do is upload those files to file manager and they just put the old side back up again, and then you can, so I’ll put that up and leave it.
Then I’ll come back to it and change it. Now I’ve definitely done it both ways where I use acrobatics for the onsite backup, or I just built it straight on WordPress. And do, like you said, with the 3 0 1 redirects in my experience, I don’t think there’s a massive difference. Like, I don’t think it makes that much difference, which when you do for me, I do the economics one specifically because I’m quite lazy.
So I just put the sites back up, leave
Jared: them for first off that that’s worth the price of admission right there. If you’re listening second off, I don’t necessarily think I would call that laziness. I mean, like you said, you had started multiple sites back in this time, period. It sounds like that’s something you do.
And you’re kind of waiting until one of them, you know,
Ted: in my mind, I just think of it as a clip.
Jared: Like one of those is going to click and you’re trying to find the lowest barrier to get to the point where one of those sites clicks. And that sounds like a really potentially good strategy to keep the site going without having to put in a lot of time and effort and money into the site.
When you don’t know if that’s gonna be when you’re actually going to work on down the road. Yeah, exactly.
Ted: I would never, I would never buy an expired domain or an agent. And spend 150,000 or $10,000 on content straight away. That’s just not the tactic that would use. I would post content on it. Like I said, 15 posts and see how it reacts to it.
Just because the old site it’s known for what it is in terms of relevancy. So if Google knows the old site is a bar is around gaming controllers and you rebuild the site around gaining patrollers, you should be fine, but if you rebuild it around something else, Google might not see it the same way.
Correct. So I’m trying to think very strictly within the same niche,
Jared: is that what you did with, with this site, you stuck very tightly within the same niche
Ted: it was in, but it was within the broad niche. So I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same, but it would be like, it would be under the umbrella of say. The old ones travel.
This was travel, but it was like holidays in skiing. You know, it’s not really exactly the same or skin and some holidays there was very similar, but that’s exactly what I do is I put up the older 15 articles on the site kind of covering a few different topics. And then I see which ones click.
And then when, so with this, I saw which ones click one of the articles that I just kind of flipped up onto the second or first page. And as soon as I saw that, I think, well, Google must like the site enough to, to put me on the first page. So I just doubled down on, or more than doubled down on that similar content related to that, around this whole topic and flesh that whole area.
Jared: It’s funny because it’s a, I mean, it’s a very similar strategy to what you should do with the new site. You know, that’s not built on an aged domain, right. You kind of just publish content in a couple of different areas. And then you watch which one does while we were I was talking with Spencer about his kind of case study site on the yard.com.
We were talking a couple months back and the big joke with hit with that site, or at least something he used to talk about that is he never thought he’d ended up writing about squirrels and all these squirrel topics in your backyard. But he wrote a squirrel article. It was one of many articles he published and then lo and behold, it’s number one, grabbing the featured snippet, all this traffic.
So he just went down the rabbit hole and wrote about all the different topics on squirrels who would’ve thought. But, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a strategy you use with new sites
Ted: to yeah. A hundred percent. But especially with like, with this style of site, with content sites, If I write 20 articles, I’m not a hundred percent sure that all of them are going to be ranking first.
I’m not sure which how that all going to perform straight away. And I don’t think 99% of people are which is probably the biggest advantage for me of building niche sites. As opposed to like you have clients, you’re working with clients, they come to you and say, I need to rank number one for this keyword.
That’s it, the other hundred
Jared: with a niche site, all kind of my life.
Ted: This is why I’m not really attracted to work from that kind of stuff, because you can be able to say around anything and for a lot of people, but that’s the hardest part is picking the niche when it, when it really is actually the, like, it is super important, obviously, but it’s the biggest advantage that you have is that you can create a site around literally anything and target literally any keyword with display ads, you can monetize anything.
So even if it’s not affiliate. You can monetize literally anything.
Jared: So with this site, you, you wrote about a couple of different topics. You said you put about 15 articles online and how many months until things started clicking, you know, and would you say in your experience, your timeline with this site was typical or maybe atypical.
And again, I’m just trying to ask questions. I think the audience is probably thinking in our heads, Hey, if I start using an aged domain, how long am I realistically looking at how much, how much of that sandbox that we get put into with new sites? Am I potentially going to skip
Ted: with the, so with the new site and my experience, unless you’re building a lot of links to the site, you’re not going to rank for anything for like eight to 12 months like that sick that first six months, you might see nothing.
And it’s so disheartening. If you put up a brand new site and you had a lot of like the content to it and you wait four or five months, nothing, six months, nothing. And you really have to wait eight to 12 months with an agent. It can be as soon as a few weeks, but it depends. It does depend on, so with this, I put it up in April and by the end of June, so it was around 10 weeks, eight to 10 weeks.
That’s why I though there were key words, the way that we’re ranking before that and pages would index it. But that’s where I really saw the uptick in those particular articles that I added. And then, so between June, July, August, September, October time, I did a ton of content then, and then it was another, yeah, it must’ve been eight to 10 weeks after each of the articles are written.
If that makes sense to Sarah, I wrote it. I wrote written it. I wrote it in July. It wasn’t till September that it started ranking and say, if I, if I wrote in September, it wasn’t until November the end of November, that it actually. So he’s like around two months. Okay. That’s my experience. Yeah. In my experience, it’s, it’s a lot to do with the power or the Parkland society and the authority, the less authority it has the longer it’s going to say, the more authority it has, it can be as quick as two months or even less than that.
But you, you’re not going to see the full effects of it, if that makes sense. So even with an age of Maine, if I put up the article, then I might be able to get it on the first page within when it gets indexed, if it’s authoritative enough in that niche, but it’s still not going to rank for all of the different variations of the keyword, if that makes sense.
So it might run for that exact much fewer, but over the next six months, it will still pick up a ton more keywords over time,
Jared: whatever you’re comfortable sharing, like what kind of metrics did this age domain you, you used
Ted: have it’s the metrics are a big one before. The RDA trustworthy, et cetera, they can be so easily manipulated, but it’s not something to follow religiously.
Jared: What you looking for then? What, what costs a good age domain that I guess if it’s not Dr. That’s the
Ted: one. So if I’m searching for the domains, I typically put the DRA at 15 or more, and that doesn’t rule out that there’s still going to be loads that are more than 15, that suck, but anything less than 15, it’s probably not going to be good.
Right. I’m not really looking for a, I see a lot of people talking about like hand registering domains, expired domains and stuff like that. Probably not going to make it have enough parts to make a difference. So I’m looking for big links. Why for. Which is anything you can’t really pay for the feelings that you’re going to get from digital PR business, insider, Huff post, all of those ones, you, I guess you can’t pay for them.
If you want to pay thousands of thousands of dollars to go agencies, but you can’t directly go and buy them. And aside from that definitely niche relevant stuff. So if it’s trouble site and it’s got links from travel bloggers, even if they’re not the most powerful sites I’m still looking for that as well.
Jared: So this site took a little while to get going, but it sounds like it was it. You saw enough in it to and again, I’m just looking back at my notes. You saw nothing it early on to quit your job and go all in. I mean, talk about that. That’s that’s crazy. I guess in many ways we know what you’re doing, so there’s that you have that going for you, but still you’re at this PPC agency and you saw enough in this site, but it was clearly well before it’s monetized that you wanted to go, you know, that that’s amazing.
Ted: It was mainly the thought process that you, you can just get another job to be honest. Like if I just said to myself, I’ll quit, I’ll give myself a year to go. I already had sites. So I have maybe five or six sites that are not doing anything amazing. They just kind of ticking along. And I’ve got, I give myself a year to grow this site.
If in a year’s time, it hasn’t worked out and the site is doing nothing, then that’s fine. I’ll find another job. And it’s it’s if you can stick to that regimen or posting again and again and again and again and again, and you know how to do keyword research. Then it can be, it’s quite difficult not to grow a site.
If you’re stuck in that strict regimen of posted hundreds of articles over a year you will be able to grow it, but you have to do keyword research. The main thing for me, like keyword research and sticking within the same niche into LinkedIn articles together, that the most important parts for me,
Jared: you talked online about how you would write a lot.
You just really spent most of your time, that summer writing content and producing, you know, thousands and thousands of words every single day. I mean, does writing come naturally to you or do you have any tips for people who are kind of struggling with routinely posting content to their site? Because they’re hitting a block, you know,
Ted: Because a lot of the articles become like similar.
And what I typically do is R plus the keywords first. So I’ll find the main, the main keyword. Then I’ll find the subheadings beforehand and break it down like that. So I’ll find the main keyword, find out what my subheadings are going to be beforehand. And that these are not majorly long articles, which is a massive thing as well, is that I usually start at the bare minimum 800 to a thousand word articles.
So we decided I would start with a thousand word article if it was, this is general stuff. And talking about how to do this, check this, what is this? If it’s a review, then it will be a little bit longer, 1500 words maybe, but I’m not going for three or 4,000 word articles just because this is just my perspective on it is that there’s no point doing it.
If you don’t have to, I can always go back to that article later with any article, pretty much you can change. Everything about it. If the URL aside from the URL, you don’t really want it 3 0 1 and changed through our layer. But aside from that, you can change anything on the page. So I’m just trying to get the content I was trying to get up as soon as possible three or four hours was a day, break it down into subheadings, 200 word subheadings, just explaining really simple stuff.
Not like, not like expert stuff, nothing that I’m like majorly experienced then just enough to know more than the average person, I guess. And just breaking it down with short articles or I feel it’s a bit easier to write. Anyway, if you’re trying to write three or 4,000 words, it can be difficult, but because the arc was a shorter then so I’ll go back to it.
So I went back to all the articles later and edit them, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Jared: I think it’s interesting to hear you talk about that because these types of queries can potentially be answered without as much, you know, research and as much thought process and you don’t have to connect.
Concepts together. I mean, a three or 4,000 word article, you’re going to have to be connecting different concepts and almost telling a story. I mean, I’m being a little dramatic, but whereas with 800 word queries, it’s like, Hey, how do you do this? And so here you can sit down and pour yourself a cup of coffee and just crank out exactly how to do this.
And you can kind of move on and be done and you’re making progress, right? Like you kind of give yourself the ability to say, okay, I already wrote one article today. Like sweet, let’s do this. You know,
Ted: what I would do is I would wake up in the morning, try and just blitz through that first article. Well, no, actually.
Yeah. So I write all the intros at the same time. So I will be the intros and I’ll do the conclusion separately which they’re kind of generic kind of stuff anyway. But I would work the bulk of the content and I would try and get that first article done within an hour, two as quickly as I could.
And then that kind of gives you the motivation for the rest of the day that you can actually. There are times, and this is not for me all the time. There are times where I go through writing and I don’t want to write it, but I don’t feel like I can write, or I didn’t feel like I could make 4,000 words a day.
And I think most people go through that, but a lot of it is focused for me. Like I had to get rid of my phone get rid of any distractions, just because it was one of the instant gratification of being social with someone and speaking to someone else. When in reality, either with this project, I just had to grind out with those couple of months, get that done, and then I can look into another stuff.
Jared: Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about keyword research. You mentioned how vital it is. I’m guessing given the type of content you’ve now been talking about that you’re going for kind of longer tail keywords that are a little bit less competitive. Again, I’m not saying that what you’re doing, but I’m just from hearing you talk about, it sounds like you’re not going for the really big competitive terms necessarily.
How are you doing that? Keyword research and, and finding the types of content that, that, that you want to produce?
Ted: Yeah, I’m never really going for anything competitive. Like even with these age domains, if you’re going to something competitive, you’re going to have to build links to it. And it’s going to be sound sleepy, but it’s going to be more competitive.
Like people are going to try it. If you get the snippet, you might be taking thousands of visitors away from someone’s site. So they’re going to try and snatch it back away. If you can find really low competition keywords that haven’t really been answered. And there’s not a lot of people answering them, or there’s not a lot of competition.
There, there should be some competition, but not like I don’t want the whole page for the affiliates or the whole page for the niche sites. Just a couple like a handful. Most of the keyword research that I would do is it sounds really long to explain it. Basically. I just put the, the main term in Atrius.
So I got another site. So for example, I’d say telescope, how would put best telescope it and look at the I don’t really care about the KD or the fewer difficult either. I’m literally actually looking at the subs. So I literally search it in Google and look at the search, the Serbs, if there’s too many big sites in the top three, then I’m not even going to go ahead with it.
So say it’s best telescope for under 500. I’ll put that in the subs. If not that one’s quite competitive in terms of, there’s a lot of affiliates for it, but if I think I can run through it and there’s not like three big magazines there, which like the independent, the guardian, BBC, whatever these big ones are that you really going to have struggle out ranking, then I’ll go have with it.
But it really is like a manual view of it. Like I’m literally going through every key word and saying, is this okay? Is this okay while I’m doing that at the same time, I’m also listing all the competitors competitor, like the competitor sites. So while I do that, I add the competitor site competitor sites to an Excel file.
So say I’ll go through the first hundred keywords. If I can get a hundred keywords while I’m analyzing that I’m adding all the competition to a file. And then I’ll go through those later and look at all the keywords they’re ranking. In HRS, see if I can pick up some more keywords.
Jared: I mean, it makes so much sense in the world.
It sounds like by the time you’re done deep diving, just a single topic, you have a list of competitors. You have a list of topics. You can go look at those competitors, you can go find more topics. You can find more competitors from those topics you can. And just seems like you could just go down this rabbit trail for, until you, until you have more than enough keywords to write for, for a topic.
Ted: Yeah. It really depends on the niche. So I always start out really broad, right? If it’s tech, if it’s travel and you’re staying within anything travel, you’re going to have tens of thousands of articles to write. If it’s traveling Asia, you’re going to have thousands of miles who’s to, right. If it’s traveling Thailand, you’re going to have probably still thousands, but less than Asia all together.
Right. And it really depends on how big you want to grow the site. Most of the sites I’m just building with branded domain names, or I’m looking for branded domain names that could. We evolved or could be grown out eventually past the initial niche. So with this site, I put the articles on there and it was all within one subtopic.
So it would be say it was traveling Thailand. So all I would do is look for keywords, traveling Thailand, build up that there’s not as many that is there is for Asia or there is for the world. If that makes sense. And build up the keywords based on that, then after the compare competitor analysis, I might have a few hundred keywords to go after.
Which is, is it enough for me, it’s enough to build the basis of the site. So with this site, I built a plan to write that I finished up right in, and maybe October. Then when things start ranking, you can use tools like . To analyze your site, analyze what competition are doing. See the keywords you’re ranking for say the keywords they’re ranking for what you’re missing out.
It’s a lot easier to pick holes and fill the holes in the ship. For me, I’m just getting some kind of base, which is usually going to be for a niche site. The smallest that I would do is 30 to 50 articles, but ideally hundreds of articles, especially if it’s around these kinds of topics where it’s 800 words, a thousand words.
Yeah, but if I think I must’ve missed it of maybe 300 to educate Wesco after.
Jared: Wow. Okay. Has that, that kind of got you there the first couple months, right? So we’re kind of nearing you know, just going back to our timeline that we were talking about, that kind of gets you to what probably about the fall, you know, and what kind of, what kind of traffic are you starting to see after this content sprint?
And then I guess the second question is why did you wait to monetize it until I think you said November, why not monetize sooner? You know, out of the gate? Yeah,
Ted: it was. So I had fully on it from the start. So it was affiliate, but those articles won’t really rank in and what else I was also doing. So I say that I wasn’t using anything from the PPC job, but you can set up a DSA campaign.
I don’t know if you know what that is, but essentially it’s like, it’s automated. So all it is, you just get Googled. And you write the meta-description, but they’ll kind of crawl through your content and serve the ad based on what’s there. So I was using these odds and I was kind of just trying to keep it level.
So say the site in October and a couple of hundred pounds or $400, I spend dynamic as well. Just getting people into the site. Oh, okay. Media fine. I think I bought into November. I’ve got sites on it, on his own already. So usually typically I say go to a Zohak until you’re up to 50,000, 50,000, apply for media vine, then you get up to a hundred thousand or past that you have the option to stay with media vine or switched to otherwise.
But it’s so it can be annoying. It can be, it can take a day or two to even get those ads on the site needs to change all the DNS records and stuff like that. But this, I kind of want it to grow as quickly as. I’m put media vine on it straight away. Cause they kind of do every complete once you you’re that it’s like a full service, but the Zoe is a little bit more hands-on so I thought, yeah, I’m just going to try and get it less straightaway.
Jared: Okay. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. Cause it can take some time and I mean, you weren’t, you were in a content production. You were, you were, you were producing content like crazy. So what kind of traffic was the site getting as you led up into kind of this black Friday period where you started really making some
Ted: real money on it?
So I would say October, it was around 10,000 November. We picked up towards end of the month. So that maybe 30 or 40,000, December a hundred thousand, January, February, March 250,200 to 250,000. Wow. It really is like that where it’s like, and this is all from the content that was front loaded before then.
And then during those months, so November, December, January. I went back. I used surfer, so they will kind of send us stuff, a phrase market views, go back to the, the, the content and, and the literally just tweaking. It has the word count, all the competition. It has the whatever entities you want to add in.
So say it’s about around Nintendo and it’ll, it’ll say you should mention Mario, you should mention mushroom kingdom, donkey Kong, or wherever. And adding those in just to try and get into the top three. I’m not always going for that number one spot. But just doing that tweak with the tool, like surfer, that there’s so much you can do with it, it will just analyze all the competition and give you kind of the average of what you should be aiming for.
And like I said, I write the articles quite short anyway. So say if I was ranking fifth for something with 800 words, it might say to me, add another 600. Because everyone else is right. In 1500 words, you are only writing 800 words. But the, the T say the top three of all 5,000 words, my article is a thousand words.
You need to add 500 words basically, and these are the words you should include in there. So I would just go back, work through it at the end where it makes sense and not kind of stuff and stuff in for no reason where it makes sense for the, for the reader
Jared: really smart approach. So basically you, you kind of front load all this content and you did.
I mean, for lack of a better term, I’ll say MVP, minimally viable product. Like you’re, you’re just cranking out 800 to a thousand words, answering the topic, moving on, not worrying about all the other stuff. And then when articles start to rank and when you’re starting to see yourself in the top 10, which we know sitting in a position eight is awesome.
Cause it feels good, but terrible because you’re getting very little traffic, even though you’re at spot eight, that’s when you’re going back and using a tool to actually kind of systematically make updates based on, you know, what is actually ranking at that point. How much of your, how much of your, how much did you shift from writing new content into updating old content?
Like was it a hundred percent? Yeah, a hundred percent. Because
Ted: in January I may have added 10 of 20 articles. Isn’t a lot, but no, no, nothing crazy. It was mainly just going back, optimizing content update in the day. Maybe add in imagery, whatever, what kind of, whatever surface says, basically. So they might say the top three, have five images. You’ve got no images. You should add some images and then with the cortex or the keyword or something similar that can make a massive difference.
Although it doesn’t seem like it’s a massive difference. That’s kind of what took the traffic in December from a hundred K to 200 K 250 K was going back, optimizing stuff, trying to still snippets. Typically by just seeing what is there in the snippet and replicating that, but better to say it’s a typical question, answer snippet.
I will try and provide a better answer with more technical terms that it really explains the keyword or the search term. So say it’s. Whatever, how to clean the garbage, I might say with some kind of specific cleaning product or something that Google, I know they’re looking for books, I’m looking for the rest of the competition, what they’re writing about.
Yeah. And that, that kind of made a bit of a difference as well. I was still in the snippets.
Jared: That’s a, that’s a re I mean, you, you you’re you’re a little bit yeah, I’ll just say like the strategy you brought, whether 100% focused by design or whether you just kind of natively are the strategic. It was it’s really, it’s not striking.
Ted: It is, but it’s not, it was more born out of.
Jared: Do you realize the focus though? And that I think is perhaps I don’t think it’s the whole reason why this project was such a success, but you got an aged domain. You had a really purposeful plan. You got several, you published 10 to 15 articles on each of them. You waited until one spiked or one caught in Google’s eyes.
You went all in on it. You have a very clear strategy about producing 800 to 1000 word articles about a certain type of keyword research. You do, you pump a ton of content out. Once the site starts doing well with traffic, you stop pumping new content out and you turn all your attention for it’s optimizing.
It’s really, really, it’s a really clear, it’s a sync strategy. I just, I haven’t heard someone so clearly have that kind of focus. It’s great. I think I want to call it out because I think people could really benefit from having more focused when it comes to what they’re doing in this site, instead of kind of bumbling around, you know, I’m guilty of that.
Ted: I think that the biggest part of it is actually writing the content. And this is why with the shore articles, it’s a little bit easier to write them, but being brutally honest with people, I get people’s people that I’m speaking to you asking how to write more, how can I write more? You just have to knuckle down and do it.
And it’s so much harder if you have a day job or something like that, but you will if you cannot not write one article a day or two articles a week at the weekend, even if you can do that, it’s just the consistency of getting that part done. And then going back to LA and optimize itself, it’s a little bit more relaxed.
It’s a little bit more enjoyable, but that’s the part of it that I don’t really enjoy is that that three, four months of you’ve got this content now all of a sudden, I’m not planning out the content doing the keyword research, tweaking bits here, and that imagery, anything like that. That’s a little bit more enjoyable.
Especially obviously when you start seeing results, isn’t more motivating to carry on, but especially if you’re building on a new site or even an aged domain, that those initial months of the, that they’re really difficult to get through. And I don’t think most people, most people give up before they get through that period.
Because you don’t see results like that, you don’t really see results within the next week or the day. If you go to work you get your salary at the week or the end of the month with this, you kind of just have to write for months and months and months and keep faith, which is not that easy.
Jared: Well, it’s it’s really encouraging. It’s really encouraging. You know, I think that at the end of the day, no matter whether someone has an hour eight hours of full week, a full month, whatever it is, you know, the consistency and the it’s encouraging to hear the results that came from it, you know How much did did you ever end up doing any, any backlink building on this site?
Ted: I’ve got like 10 tens, 12 links. So while I’m doing this, what I do is like, like I said to you, I’m manually going in and looking at the keywords, which is the big thing that another big advantage that kind of, we have doing building the content sites and niche sites is that we’re only building sites where there may be hundreds of articles on if you work it with clients and stuff.
Some of those they might have. E-commerce stuff that with thousands of pages and URLs and stuff, and you don’t really have time to do that manual research like that, you really need some kind of automated research to build thousands of pages. If you are building a new site with 200 pages, you do have time to go in there and look at each of the keywords manually and judge, whether you command for it or not.
And for me, like I said, it’s kind of like a three and out rule. There’s three. Too big, if it’s Lifewire check tech radar, all of those big kind of sites, then I’m not going to, I’m not even going to target, but like I said, while I’m doing that, I’m adding all the competitors that rank in there to a list.
And then afterwards I use that list to put the, put the competitors in eight reps, and then I’ll look at their back links. So I’ll look at their referring domains and see which ones I want and then outreach manually myself to them. Got it. Which are basically what we do, like what these outreach agencies do anyways.
They’re just manually outreaching to the people. So I just add the websites in there. So I’ve got the, my competitors. I’ve got to look at their, their phone domains. Obviously you’re not going to get a link from tech Raider, but you might be able to get a link from a blog or et cetera. I’m looking at the bank detects that they’re sending.
And the, the context of the are. What they’re writing about, and I’m just trying to get a similar link from their site. And like I said, so with this site is previous site, or maybe I had a list of a hundred competitors. Cause it was quite, the whole niche was broad. So I started out with the subtopic and then I branched out a little bit out of that.
But while I was doing it, everything was within the same niche, all the competitors within, within the same niche. So theoretically I could have carried on building the website. I could have carried on scaling it forever, but not forever, but for another year or two years, whatever. But like I said, like you get to that point of like, I want to work on something else now.
Jared: Well, you’re, you’re reading my mail. I want to talk about, you know, coming to the the last month of owning the site and. One side says, Hey, you’ve kind of got a site that is clearly growing dramatically and why not continue to pour more fuel on that fire. You’ve got another side of the coin that says, this is a great opportunity to, like you talked about at the beginning, take some money and use that to fund new projects, be able to take that big cash hit and now invest in writers and not have to maybe do the same type of grind.
I mean, just talk about why you ended up deciding to sell the site and, you know, again, trying to think about people listening and, and how they can start to process through some of the questions or variables in the table when they, when they’re, when they have a site like yours.
Ted: Yeah. I think it’s two different approaches of again, flipping sites for a living, or I have other friends that want to build and grow the revenue that there’s nothing wrong with either, either way.
I don’t think it’s. That previous update in December in the Google update, loads of sites got smashed, like completely obliterated loads of affiliate sites got smashed and probably made me a little bit jittery the thought of th the size they’ve got that like gear hungry, improv that there’s loads of those sites.
They didn’t just get 40% traffic, less or 30% shopping. They got like 95 or more percent chocolate. So for me, my plan was I I’m kind of building sites for, for money, but also I want to kind of enjoy it. That site, I was kind of done with it. I thought I can take this. This will be my last year’s income.
My next year’s income from work. I can cover the salary And yeah, I w it was really just, I get a little bit tired, but like I said, with this kind of strategy that I use you’ve right. And how, cause you you’re working on it. I just want to work on something else, moving onto something else.
Jared: So what are you working on now?
Obviously that sale closed a while back a little while back. And you know did you did you go out and start, you know, pick up four or five more aged domains and kind of do the same approach where you, you seeded those waited until one car and went all in on that one or you know, has your strategy that all changed since you made that
The thing is, is, is that with SEO, a lot of people worry that if you abandon a site it’s going to die or something like that. So with these sites that go up at the same time, I put five up at the same time. And then I abandoned the other ones to work on this site. When I sold that site, I just came back to the other ones.
They had aged a year, which is a massive benefit. They weren’t ranking amazingly, but had something to work with. So I picked one of those up scared up a little bit you know, two of those up and you scaled them up to they’re making like ones make a couple of hundred dollars a month. Another, one’s making a couple thousand dollars a month.
And I’ll be honest. I’ve been a little bit lazy since after selling it, but I’m working on a new site. So like I said, I put up a new site. The end of last year will be August, September time. And I’ve just been loading content onto that. And it’s starting to pick up now January, February. So that’s my main focus moving forward is trying to do the same thing again and drop everything else and work on this one site.
But like I said, it’s a little bit different now that I have a bit more freedom to work on different projects that I can outsource stuff and pay writers because it gives me more It gives me more time, more than anything else. But my plan is to probably try and stick with the same timeframe moving forward of building one site flip and one site per year stick with the same thing of spend the full four or five months knuckle down, get content up.
If I write my own content and outsource some as well at the same time, I can get even more content, let that age and then flip it the next, the following year.
Jared: Well, as we start to wrap up, I mean, congratulations on this site, success from, so from when you put your first article up on the site to when you sold it, what was that?
You know, just to kind of put a fine point on this, this, this site and our conversation from first publish to sale 12 or 13 months.
Ted: Yeah, 12 months. Yeah, it took like I sort of empire flippers. It took like five or six weeks to go through. From nest in the site it’s sold within I think, three weeks or something like that.
And that was April. So it’s a pretty quick turnaround. And I don’t think it would been possible with the new domain. It might be impossible, but a lot less likely than finding something that had some kind of age to it.
Jared: Amazing. It’s really great. It’s it’s, it’s, you know, it’s harder when you’re, especially when you’re just starting out to hear stories like, oh yeah, I started this site four years ago, five years ago.
And even though that still has a great runway, it can be a little harder to get that motivation on a Tuesday night or a Saturday morning, but 12 months, very strategically focused and obviously putting a ton of time and effort, but you had a wonderful sale and kind of, you know, life changing amounts of money for, for a lot of people.
Ted: The things I have those sites as well, like same as everyone else. Like I started in 2015. It’s not like, it’s not like I’m brand new to it. I have those sites. I’ve built sites before I’ve built failed sites. I’ve had my sites been smashed by algorithm updates of, it’s not like I’ve literally just started last year and kind of hit the ground running.
It’s more learning from past experiences. And putting that all together with the focus more than anything. And really trying to Uncomplicate things is if you have the keyword research is right, you stick within one niche and you’re you, you’re just producing, not even amazing content, not expert content, just good content.
That’s better than what’s already there. Then that’s pretty much all it is for this style of niche site content side. That’s pretty much what it is.
Jared: Well, don’t forget about your first site. You flipped within a month for a profit. I mean, I don’t know. You might be underselling yourself here.
Ted: Yeah, no, that one, I still, I saw it the other day.
A couple months ago. I saw it and it’s still around. It’s still, you know, it’s grown a lot in that time. So I think it’s probably worth a lot more now. And there’s always that thought with, like, when you set aside, are you worried that. The next person’s going to take it and scale it up.
Jared: Yup. The one that got away.
Ted: Yeah. Like for me, that is not even, I just drop it off. Like as long as it’s not mine anymore, if they grow it, then that’s great. I’m happy for them. It’s a different project.
Jared: So how can people follow along with what you’re doing? Where’s the best place for people to, you know, stay up to, up to speed on what
Ted: you have going on.
Yeah. I’m just on Twitter, so I’m not really selling anything on any clients or anything like that. So come speak to me as well. Basically I started a newsletter on the, just talking about expired domains. So I’ve been playing around and testing with these aspire domains for years before getting to this point.
So I just talk about how to find the right expired domain, what you should be looking for, what you should be avoiding stuff. If people want to
Jared: go talk with them, it was pretty easy handled to follow. It’s your name? Ted French on Twitter. I just pop it up to make sure I had it right. And I can vouch. I mean, you might only write 800 to 1000 word articles for your site, but your emails are a lot longer than 800 to a thousand.
They’re really good.
Ted: It’s the, it’s the freedom of not having to think about SEO, like when I’m writing these emails to people, I’m not even thinking about SEO, I’m not thinking about any keywords or anything like that.
It’s quite a nice feeling to write without having to think about what the structural or, or everything else. But yeah, I’m just trying to I have a bit of experience in it now. There are still people that have been doing what I’ve been doing for 15 years, 20 years. They’ve been doing it for a long time.
Ted: yeah, I just want to make sure people know. And make any of those same mistakes I’ve made, to be honest. Yeah. Cause it get to this point before, and there’s been a lot of mistakes and a lot of things I’ve done wrong. I’ve spent, I’ve spent a month on our site, that’s come to nothing. So it is possible to, to do this kind of all in thing that I’ve done and it go wrong or you can invest $5,000 in content for a site that doesn’t really work.
So it’s, it’s important to get the knowledge first, to know how to do it, but. You can gain knowledge forever. You can keep learning and learning and learning. There’s so many different podcasts, et cetera to watch, but it does take the action at some point.
Jared: Well, people should definitely, I mean, if you’re thinking about an age, domain strategy to kind of jumpstart, you know, your website your newsletters.
Great. And I’ve been on it for a little while and it’s been really great. So yeah, definitely encourage you to go sign up for that. So well, Ted, thank you for coming on. Congratulations on this site and success. And but thanks for sharing the details of strategies that you used and, and kind of how you navigated through it.
So it’s been a real treat to have you on it. There’s so many great things. I still have my notes. I don’t even know how to say it is that right? Our combined remarks. Yeah, man, that was a takeaway. I love that one. I’m going to go figure that one out. Pretty good.
Ted: That it can take a little while to get used to it, but literally once you, you just upload the file, you can just enter the code in and it would download the whole site for you.
Yeah. If anyone got any questions, then just comment below and I’ll answer.
Jared: Perfect. Perfect. Well, thank you for joining everybody and Ted, we’ll talk to you again soon. So. Thanks again to H refs today’s show sponsor. And again, if you’re looking for more Google traffic, if you’re struggling to rank, you’re not sure what to do about it.
And the idea of hiring an SEO agency is just outside of your budget. They have a free tool. It’s called the H refs webmaster tools. It’s an amazing resource. It’s going to help you audit your website. It’s going to prioritize the needed changes you need to make to improve. Your search rankings. Imagine what you could achieve as more traffic starts to come in beyond the leads and the sales.
You’re going to have age reps, webmaster tools, helping you analyze your backlinks from other websites. They’re gonna help you find the important people that are referencing your content can help lead to future partnerships, collaborations. You get the head. The idea of getting Google to work for you sounds a bit too confusing.
Age refs also offers a lot of helpful tutorials on search engine optimization. So the time is now it’s a free tool and you can go grab it by visiting dot com slash webmaster dash tools. Again, that’s dot com slash webmaster dash tools. We’ve included a link in the show notes. Thanks again to H refs for sponsoring today’s pod.
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