Increasing Revenue by 124% in 1 Week: Case Study

Wired Investors aims to buy online businesses with unrealized potential, remove their inefficiencies, and maximize their revenue.

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In early October 2016 we closed on a website which was doing around $7,500 in profit on a monthly basis. Our goal was simple - to implement changes within the first 30 days that we knew would drastically increase revenue.

As with any acquisition, preparation is key. Before we even came close to completing the deal we had a detailed action plan that we knew would allow us to increase revenue even if we saw a drop in traffic. It seems like a small and obvious point, that you would have a plan for what you’re going to do after you buy the site, but you’d be surprised how often people lack a structured path towards their goals.

  • Can we change monetization partners for higher revenue?
  • Are there posts where the Call to Actions could be massively improved?
  • Is there room to add extra CTA's across the website ie. popups, sidebar ads?

In the case of this website we were able to find an affiliate program which paid on a per new customer lead basis at a rate of $25. But we weren’t the first to find it, some of the top websites in the niche were also using this new affiliate, so why wasn’t the seller we bought from? Well, this affiliate program was somewhat exclusive and the seller had been rejected before based on his domain name. Fortunately, the Wired Investors team is well connected. We knew one of the board members. It’s not always what you know, it’s very often who you know.

So when we reached out to the affiliate (before even buying the site!) and explained our plan, they were happy to oblige. Then we asked for $30 per lead instead of $25, explaining that our content was better than anyone else's and our site was the prettiest and everyone wants their brand associated with that. Ding! $30 leads. Keep in mind, this was all before we bought the site.

This was part of our due diligence stage, because at the end of the day if we don’t have plans set in stone like the new affiliate program then we are taking a risk with our purchase. But that’s not all! Our in-house content and links teams have been working hard to increase traffic to allow us to make the most of this new affiliate program.

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For this vertical we’re focussing our energy currently on the infographic outreach method, by creating an informative or funny infographic and encouraging bloggers to post it on their site with a link back to us. This method works particularly well in this industry because there’s a sharing mentality whereby bloggers have no problem with sharing things they enjoy.

That isn’t the case with a lot of verticals where people spot marketers a mile away. The key takeaway from this is that you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach to link building, you need to use your brain and think about the people you are marketing to. Those people aren’t the readers. You’re marketing to the blog owners, the 'webmasters' and the marketing departments of companies. What will they think? What do they usually share? How can you put something in front of them and make a proposition that will encourage them to share and link back to your website?

In the first week of November we hit $2,550 just on our new affiliate program. Note: The dip in day 7 is an issue with the dashboards graph, conversions were counted but the graph is currently not showing them.

For the first 7 days of November we earned $680 through Amazon. Note: This is at 7.5%, we always hit 8.5% commission rate by the end of the month. This would mean we earned $770 in the first 7 days.

We generated $476 in earnings from media.net in the first 7 days of November. This is an estimate $2108 per month.

​Looking at the graphs above we can see that in the first 7 days of November we earned what will be roughly $3796, extrapolated out to cover the month we're estimating to hit $16,810.

Remember, we only purchased this site a month ago and we spent 1 week working on it with 0 investment outside of my time. ​It took about 6 hours per day for 5 days for a total of 30 hours. Comparing estimated revenue figures with previous actual revenue figures, we're looking at a 2.24x increase in revenue for 1 weeks work.​

Bare in mind there was no increase in traffic. As you can see from this case study traffic is by no means the only way to increase revenue and that’s where a lot of people go wrong these days. Everyone wants to know how they can increase traffic, when the truth is that they’re really interested in increasing revenue, but they’ve been taught that more customers through the door means more sales, or more visits to your website and you’ll earn more money.

Getting traffic from Google isn't a short-term play and it certainly shouldn't be your only play

Getting traffic from Google isn’t a short-term play and it certainly shouldn’t be your only play. In the current version of Google’s algorithm you can’t just throw links and content at a website and expect to see a huge bump in traffic, it’s not 2007, it’s not even 2012. These days we look at content and links as a 12 month strategy, sometimes even longer because it’s just not the reality we live in anymore. In fact, when we talk about low-hanging fruit and easy-wins these days there’s only a small number of things which could fall under those terms. Monetization changes and conversion rate optimization are the two things which we’ve seen can boost stable long-term earnings in a short period of time, everything else is a much longer wait.

So when we’re looking for sites to buy these days the best thing we can see is a site that is earning through Adsense or Amazon affiliate, because there is often better options. With our new affiliate in place we wanted to ensure that we were getting as many clicks through to the program as possible, so we set about a round of conversion-rate-optimization. Our in-house team has been doing this successfully for a while now and we have a solid idea of what works.

Hint: There’s almost always better things to test than the color of a CTA or the text on the CTA.

The first thing we noticed was that the affiliate pages only had a very basic affiliate table with the product links in, there weren’t any other CTA’s. We are using Thrive Themes for this site so we used their content builder to put large CTA’s in each of the affiliate articles, which drive people to the homepage of the affiliate program not the product pages. Why? Well, I reached out to all the affiliate managers and the head of operations at the new affiliate and they all agreed that the homepage converted considerably better than the product pages because it had a huge offer bar at the top for new customers.

This is a great example of collecting information rather than discovering it yourself. Why would we bother testing it ourselves when you can talk to someone who has more data than we will ever have, across multiple sites who have been in this vertical for years. Our time is better spent doing other things. Your affiliate manager is there to work for you, not the other way round. Make use of them!

The second thing which we wanted to test was using an exit-intent popup to drive clicks through to our new affiliate program. These two simple changes have lead to an increase in conversions from 45 per week to 87 which is a 93% increase in conversions. Look for opportunities to make improvements, content and links are a long-term strategy and probably shouldn’t be the first thing that you focus on for a site you buy.

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If you'd like to continue to follow along with this project and to see exactly what we're doing to make improvements then click the button below to join our case study list!

Over the next few months our priority for this site will be to continue testing our CTA’s and therefore to increase the value of each visitor to a maximum. We’ll still be building content and links as part of our long-term strategy, but this has already become a profitable investment because of the increase we’ve been able to make. Remember, this site isn’t even ranking well for its main keywords. It’s often not even on the first page and if it is then it’s toward the bottom. If we can increase our main keywords to #1 - #3 and continue marginally improving our visitor value then this could be a $40k/mo site within 12 - 18 months.

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Vin - November 18, 2016 Reply

Good read, guys. I usually avoid my AMs like the plague, but this is eye opening.

Did you use a plug-in for the exit-pop or code it in yourself?

Also – are you worried about that newish penalty regarding pop overs and other interstitial ads?

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