Website Investing Case Study 1 (The Final Update)

Website Investing Case Study 1 (The Final Update)

The website was sold for $54370 via a broker.

Pak Melepak
Escrow screenshot of the final sale. Price in USD.

To start off this MELEPAK session, I am just going to put it up there and reveal what all of you are waiting for – the website has been sold for SGD54370. In this final update, I will be sharing:

  • What happened to the site?
  • The process of selling
  • My takeaway from this case study

If you are new to this case study and wants to read from the start, here are the links to all the post:

Website Investing Case Study 1 The Acquisition
Website Investing Case Study 1 The 3 Months Update
Website Investing 6 months Update
Website Investing 9 months Update

I am sorry that it took me 1 year later to have the time to sit and type all this out. It has been an interesting year. With that, let’s begin with the MELEPAK session…

So What Happened?

A little recap from my last update, the website was doing very well and earning about SGD3200 in December 2020. I hold off from selling it as I saw potential to grow it even more. In December 2020, the site would have been valued at around SGD100,000.

Adding Display Ads

In January 2021, I decided to add display ads via Ezoic. January was busy with setting up and optimization of the ads placement. If you have experience with Ezoic, it does take 1 month (or sometimes even longer) to setup the whole thing. So the website started earning via display ads in February 2021 and the first month, it made about SGD500. ISN’T THAT EXCITING??!! Well I was at that time. This made up for the lower affiliate earnings that we normally experience in 1st quarter of the year.

Cruise Control Mode

By January, the website was already in cruise control mode. What this means is that I no longer have to focus too much time on the site as systems were already in place and the site was growing very well. For the 1st quarter of 2021, I was adding about 5-8 articles and 1-3 solid links per month.

All I had to do was to tweak and optimized the conversion so that the site earns more with the same amount of traffic. As planned in my earlier update, I thought of selling it in June 2021 and everything was going according to plan.

The earnings for 1st Quarter 2021:

AmazonEzoicTotal Earning
January 2021336803368
February 202130305003530
March 202132026603862

Everything was great or it seems…

Selling The Website

Early April 2021, I was approached via email by a broker company, FE International. I’ve sold a couple of websites with them and was always satisfied with their service even if they charge 15% brokerage fees. As I was also planning to sell the site in June 2021, I replied and requested for a valuation. Below is a screenshot of our initial email conversation:

My initial conversation with FE International for the site.

My Website Valuation

To value the site, they need a lot of information and proof of earnings. It took a couple of days back and forth emailing the guys from FE International before they are comfortable to give a valuation to the site. Finally after about a week, FE International valued the website at:

Final valuation by FE International

Above was what FE International thought about the website and gave a valuation of USD92350 or about SGD124,000. That is more than 10x from my original purchase price of USD8500 if you recalled earlier in my acquisition post.

Valuation $124000 vs Sold $54370??

If you are confused right now then you should. So what happened? Well…

Negotiating for higher valuation

As my initial plan was to sell it after June 2021, I took my time and requested for a higher valuation. I wanted them to list the site for $110,000. The final price that they could list it was for USD97,500.

At that time, I felt that the site still has room to grow as display ads was up for only 2 months and if everything goes smoothly in the next 2 months, my earnings and valuation would be higher. So I decided to hold off the sale and wait till end May before deciding. (On hindsight, I should have just sold it off then)

What happened in May 2021?

In May 2021, there was a Google update and unfortunately, my website got hit. I believed the update was targeting sites with too many product review post (affiliate sites) and something about Web Core Vitals. Due to the update, quite a number of the keywords that was ranking highly got moved down causing a drop in traffic, subsequently earnings.

In May 2021, my total earning was USD1648 – a huge drop from March earning of USD2800. Due to the drop in earnings, FE International would not be able to list it and told me to wait a couple of months till the earning stabilized.

To cut story short, the earnings continue to drop from May 2021 to July 2021. July earning was USD1420.

What did I do?

To be honest, I have no idea what needs to be done to stop the drop and get it back up. All I could do was monitor and hope for the best and by then as it was in cruising mode, I have lost interest and was already working on a new site. So I decided to go with another broker and sold it off. The final price sold was SGD54370.

Final numbers for this whole case study

Overall Earnings

Monthly ReportMonthly ExpenditureMonthly Earnings
As of December 2020$18583$18089
Full month of January 2021$500$3368
Full month of February 2021$500$3530
Full month of March 2021$500$3862
Full month of April 2021$500$3790
Full month of May 2021$500$2224
Full month of June 2021$500$2103
Full month of July 2021$500$1917
Sale price of Website$5437$54370

From the table above, you can see the total earnings from day 1 up till I sold the site is $93253 and total expenditure which includes the brokerage fee (10% of sale price) is $27520. My final profit for this case study is $65733. (Alhamdulillah) Not bad for 15 months worth of work which equates to about $4300/month of income. It would have been $70k more if I had sold it in April. Oh wells…just have to count my blessings and look at the bright side of things.

My Takeaway from this Casestudy

As this is the end of the case study, let me share some of my learning and takeaway from it.

Takeaway #1

It is faster to grow an established website than starting from scratch. If I were to start a new site for this case study, I bet in month 15, the site probably just started to see some earnings. But because I decided to spend money and buy an established site, the growth trajectory was faster and I am able to cash out earlier. So I will be in the lookout for more sites that are on sale.

Takeaway #2

Traffic and earnings from website is unpredictable and at the mercy of factors that might not be in your control such as Google. As such, we should always be prepared for the worse. For me personally, I am never good with dealing with a dropping site so I decided to cut my loss and sold it. Of course I am sad that I missed out on $70k but I am at ease and have let it go.

If it is meant for me then I would have sold it earlier. I guess it is not my rez’ki.

Pak Melepak

Future Case Study?

I have lots of idea for future case study but sometimes just do not have the time to type them down and turn it into a post. As it is, currently I have a few projects that would make an interesting case study but let’s see if I decide to turn it into a case study.

If you have an interesting case study that you want me to do, type it in the comment section below. With that, I will end this MELEPAK session and hope this case study is useful for everyone.

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