It’s been roughly one year since I bought CopyCatCrafts.com for $4,000 and now $7,788.71 in revenue later it’s time for another case study update.
After one year this site has averaged $649.06 per month in revenue or roughly $500+ per month in income. This site alone has been more than enough money to pay the car payment on my Subaru WRX (that has since been paid off in it’s entirety) and cover my share of the cell phone bill. I think that’s pretty damn sweet for a property that I spend more time talking about on this blog then I do actually working on. If you want to find out how I did it I strongly encourage you read these blog posts first before continuing on:
Introduction – How To Buy A Website
Part 1 – Two strategies to employ after you acquire a website
Part 2 – How I drastically increased the income
Part 3 – Long term income case study results
Part 4 – $4,000 Investment Paid Off
Table Of Contents
How Does This Site Make Money And What Are The Expenses?
CopyCatCrafts is a crafting website that makes money from contextual advertising sources such as Google Adsense. For the past year I’ve paid an awesome writer $25 per hour to write content for this site to the total tune of $100 per month. She makes great money and I get a near auto pilot income source of over $500 per month. Let me share the income breakdown for the past year so that you can see how to apply the strategies I used with this website on your own websites.
Year 1 Revenue Graph By Source
There are a variety of different ways you can make money with websites, but as I explained in case study part 1 Copy Cat Crafts simply wasn’t being monetized to it’s full potential when I bought it and so my first focus was to improve monetization.
Original Income Source
Rivit Media Total: $1,555.13
New Income Sources
Google Adsense Total: $2,779.32
(Google was only being used as a back fill within Rivit Media stats)
Vibrant Media Total: $3,234.49
(Set up in under 5 minutes – $3,000+ for 5 minutes of “work” is nice right?)
Value Click Media Total: $219.77
(Currently testing Value Click Media vs Rivit Media)
By adding several new income sources (many as simple as installing some ad code) I was able to generate thousands of dollars in additional revenue over the past year with this website. When you’re looking at websites to buy (particularly those with high traffic) and you see the website is using ads in poor places i.e. sidebar and above navbar you can be sure that putting ads within the content will result in an increase in earnings.
Year 1 Total Revenue Graph By Month
Here you can see the overall average revenue per month. There are several factors going on here which are fairly typical of most websites reliant on contextual advertising:
1. Spike in revenue for November and December as advertisers spend the rest of their budgets looking for an increase in sales.
2. Post holiday dip in revenue as advertisers have pulled back on spending following the holidays.
3. Revenue generally dips a bit leading into the summer as well.
There Is Still More Money To Be Made
I’ve completely ignored several avenues of additional income streams such as selling how to crafting products and services, email marketing, Kindle books (which I’ll be doing soon thanks to inspiration from this podcast guest earning $35,000+ per month selling Kindle books) and several other methods. The reason why I haven’t spent more time on this site is because I’m making too much money from other projects to be distracted by this one (which isn’t a bad problem to have of course).
Why I Bought This Website
I’ve explained this before but the website was very under monetized and with the traffic it was getting I knew I could increase the income. The site also has a very solid viral component built in which encourages crafters that are featured on the website to put our button onto their website stating that they were “featured on CopyCatCrafts.” It also does really well on Stumble Upon and other social media sources (more recently Pinterest for example) so the traffic isn’t completely reliant on Google which isn’t a must, but certainly is a bonus.
How To Scale And How To Find Websites To Buy
Scaling a business of buying websites is possible, but finding higher quality websites worth buying in the first place is the hardest component. For a long time I’ve ignored Flippa because I found it too difficult to cut through the crap listings which I why I spent 5 months and thousands of dollars working with a development team to help analyze Flippa listings in more detail to identify the winners. This is a huge time saver and I highly recommend you check it out:
Watch a demo of Site Finder Pro here
Overall – I Love This Business Model
My goal is to grow my monthly income from just websites that I’ve purchased up to $10,000 – $20,000 per month. At that point I’ll probably have to hire my first full time employee local employee here in Seattle to help manage those properties (Seattle area recent college grads reach out to me here if you’re interested). I technically already have more than 10 part time contract employees as it is now when I add together the development team I use in India for some projects, local developers, a graphics designer from Mexico, foreign and domestic writers, VA’s etc. but if I really want to pursue the buying websites business model with more intensity I’ll eventually need to hire on someone full time.
Overall just looking at the example I shared above you can see how if done correctly this is yet another scalable internet business model. I’m already up to several thousand dollars per month from just websites that I’ve purchased and with several more smart acquisitions I should be able to crack the $10k per month barrier from just purchased websites.
As always if you have any questions about this process I’ll be hanging out in the comments below…
P.S. I love finding good websites to buy so if you have a website that you’ve taken as far as you care to go and want to take some money off the table feel free to contact me here:
Have a website you want to sell? Contact me here
P.S.S. No, your website with no traffic and no email list doesn’t have “a lot of potential” and it’s not worth $50,000. Please don’t contact me with websites that aren’t making money already.
Well done Chris. This is interesting, and much better payback than real estate!
I am totally interested in buying and improving websites to make money online and definitely plan to do it.
Looks like I am going to have to wait now on the investment capital I need to have a good chance of getting something decent, as hubby just got laid off and my online income is going to be paying the bills! He is going to be helping and learning online stuff too now. It’s exciting.
Keep posting these case studies, it shows what is reasonably possible with no hype. Cheers Claire
Hey Claire, yah website acquisitions can potentially pay off much faster than real estate. I haven’t done any real estate investing so I can’t speak to the risks of that business model (beyond noting that in 2008 everyone got hosed) so I’d like to think buying websites is a better strategy but they are both risky.
Sorry to hear about the job situation with your husband but hopefully you’ll be able to use your online income and his help to grow your business even bigger!
Well done. Really good numbers.
Great graphs and information you have shared here. It always feels good to invest some money in a website and watch the income grow with just a few small tweaks. I have started buying any websites as of yet, but maybe sometime in the future. I see you mentioned you still have plenty of monetization methods open to you, such as kindle books and email marketing ect.
The crafts niche seems like it might be hard to create an actual product to sell. I would assume that people who are doing arts and crafts might be the money saving type of folks, so maybe they wouldn’t want to spend money on a product. Anyway, it will be cool to see future posts about this website when you begin to try other monetization methods.
Good luck. You seem like your well on your way to that Guthrie castle!
Hey Oliver, yah I think the niche isn’t full of buyers but I just spoke with someone who was making 6 figures teaching people how to scrapbook (online classes etc) so I think there is money to be made there though.
RE: Guthrie Castle – lol I need a real big “business” before I can come close to that I think hah hah.
Awesome results Chris! This was a great buy for you and is definitely going to pay for itself many times over as it has already 🙂 You’re right though – the hardest part is finding those high quality sites to buy, especially after all these Google changes and everyone is trying to get rid of their slapped sites using previous months’ data. Takes a lot of research to be able to buy confidently. Glad this worked out for you so well! Can’t wait to see what your results are going to be once you start using the Kindle books!
Hey Thomas, yah I’m still out looking for sites to buy right now so I’m very eager to take on a few more 😀
When I go to CopyCatCrafts.com I cannot for the life of me find any ads.
This is either an accolade to how great you seamlessly insert the ads so people dont even see them OR that I am totally missing the point of how you make money above…
When you say you make my money off contextual ads, I assume those ads are on the site, but where are they?
In each item described on the CopyCatCrafts.com site, all I can find is a link to the original blog that just instructs how to build the item but no ads in there. So, are the original bloggers paying you to list their items?
Could you clear up where the revenue is coming from?
Hey Gregg, there are ads above the navbar, in the sidebar, in the content and also in text ads as well (although depending on your region etc. those might not be visible)
Great Job Chris!
That Vibrant Media has been doing some great things for you!
And that after Adsense was / is such a great “hands off” tool for generating an income.
I just bought an Adsense site and now trying to add some good content to break through the top 10 of Google…
Hey Ralph, thanks yah I love Vibrant Media. They’ve been working really well for me. The hands off income sources are nice for sure.
Hi Chris! Glad to see the investment paid off. Keep up the good work.
That was a great read. Thanks. I think it goes to show that there are always ways to improve a website, one you’be recently bought, or even one you’ve owned for years.
I have some websites which I think have reached their revenue peak but I reckon there’s always a way to squeeze out a little more and take great inspiration from your article.
Hey Adam, thanks – yah I can generally always think of ways to make more money from a website than the owner can. Sometimes it’s not possible, but other times it is.
Nice article Chris! Really inspiring for website owners. Maybe i should hire a writer too (but not $25 per hour) and get traffic to my websites. Monetizing website require a hard work and dedications but it really profitable though, worth to try out your methods. Thanks.
Nevermind on my comment above, I went to it from my phone and see the ads now. It’s my ad blocker working very well from my PC as to why I couldn’t see them.
Amazingly, on my PC with ads blocked, the site doesn’t even show a blank box or anything where the ads are supposed to be, but just makes the site look quite pretty 😉
…That’s a testiment to your website layout/programming as well as my google chrome blocking ads via 1000’s of Ip addresses and domains in my system hosts file 🙂
Great stuff. If I understand this correctly, you are a content curator on your copycraft site? Finding all the best “DIY craft” stuff around the internet and re-posting it with uniqe titles, a little text and a link back to the original source?
Yah it’s content curation that’s in play here for sure.
Hi, i’m an Indian Blogger, i have about 1-2 lakhs visits of Traffic per month but earnings are too low which is about $100 – $250 a month…
I use Google Adsense on my blog, and most of the visitors are from India ..If i get U.S visitors the earnings might be high ???
Generally speaking traffic from the US will pay the most. One thing you need if you do that is a domain extension that isn’t related to India and to preferably have a hosting account with a server that’s based in the US. Those things help Google to determine it’s for a US audience.
Really a fantastic blog post. I can’t really say how much I learned, but I’m glad I came across it and will find ways to implement the information and tips.
I am newbie and I want to have a reputable website that could earn $100.00. I was scammed last 9 days, I did buy from flippa and the seller doesn’t response to my emails. We transact through paypal. What should I do?
Anytime you pay via Paypal you can always open a dispute for the transaction if they haven’t delivered your goods. Flippa support might be better able to assist you though.
Great post Chris and I wish you even more earnings, the site looks nice and has a lot of potential.
Chris, that is very impressive and a lot of potential.
$4000 investment is a lot to many of us. I prefer building new niche sites from ground up, but getting to this kind of traffic level would take months and even years.
I hope I have reserved some budget to buy a few profitable and passive sites like you do. Definitely it would involve skills and experience.
Well the first site I bought I spent only $500 on and that was a little over two years ago now. So you can get your feet wet at any level. That site has made me $7,500 so far.
Thanks for posting this Chris. I really enjoyed the nuts and bolts approach in this article.
I agree that this is a really interesting and potentially lucrative business model. For people starting out, would your recommend that they buy smaller sites (say, $10 – $100 monthly revenue) as a way to learn the tricks of the trade? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Well the problem is that the type of site you buy varies at all price points. Perhaps I’ll write an article about this, but frankly unless the site is making $100 per month I’d probably not bother with it IMO.
Congratulations Chris on your success with the CopyCatCrafts.com site. Buying established sites and developing them is certainly a good business model. I am currently working on building sites from scratch, but in time I hope to be able to emulate this model.
It�s a golden advice you shared here! Very impressive and useful!
This is an interesting read. It is at all times an excellent feeling to invest a little money in a website and observe the income grow with just some petite tweaks. It is a great idea to craft a plan to buy a websites, improve it to make money online. The infograhic that you have offered is indeed awesome and seems more beneficial than any other business. Thanks for the information.
This is my first time to your site and I must say you have some really great tips.
To Make money online is my Dream and i hope i can start this year.
There is so much for us newbies to learn and i thank you so much for your comprehensive post. Great Job.
With best wishes
Have none of your sites been hit by Google Penguin?
Sure some of my sites have been hit by a Google update or two but others haven’t etc. If you’re in this game it’s impossible to never get knocked down by Google at least once.
The higher quality the site the lower risk of getting hit by Google though.
I love this case study. Will you do a 2013 update for the Copycat Crafts case study series?
Hey Phil, I’m actually releasing a Kindle book on the topic hopefully this week. Will be giving it away for free for the first few days.
Only Just Come across your site .. Interesting read. So well thought out too.. Appreciate the content.. Cheers From the U.K.