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Doug Cunnington blogs at

Doug Cunnington blogs at

Hey… Josh here, and today I have special guest, Doug Cunnington, on the blog to talk about how he got started with building Niche Sites and how he recently had a great successes in selling a site for $10,000. This goes to show that building a site can be profitable in more ways than the “passive income” that everyone talks about…

I personally have sold several sites in the past through Flippa and through private sales. It’s a great way to cash in on your websites if you don’t want to spend time maintaining them or if you just enjoy having your cold hard cash right away.

So, without further adieu, here’s Doug…

1) What is your name and job profession?

My name is Doug Cunnington. I am a project manager for a software company that specializes in the telecom industry. I’ve been able to use my project management skills on my internet marketing efforts, specifically for creating niche sites.

2) Give a little history on your internet marketing journey.

It was just last year, 2013, when I first got started online. I’m a huge podcast fan. Initially, I found Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast and I was blown away. I found myself completely inspired with the opportunities that are available for passive income online.

Prior to that, I had no idea there was a way for a person to make money on the internet, at least, not regular a person without any special skills. I honestly didn’t know about WordPress and had never set up a hosting account for a website. I was literally starting with no background knowledge…

I started a niche site, monetized using Adsense, after a few weeks of listening and reading the Smart Passive Income Podcast and Blog, respectively. (I did a pretty terrible job of keyword research in the beginning!)

Smart Passive Income led me to find the Niche Pursuits blog and podcast by Spencer Haws. That was just around the same time that Spencer was kicking off his niche site project #1 – which was the survival knife site based on the Amazon Associate program.

I was very excited about the results that Spencer was seeing on his Amazon site. It was awesome how fast the site started earning significant amounts of money. I changed my goals from creating many sites earning $0.50 per day to creating just a few sites making $10+ per day.

So the next goal was to start a site based on the Amazon Associate program. I took my time on the keyword research and even got my wife involved with the brainstorming. It was after several weeks of brainstorming that we discovered a very good niche…Well, really my wife came up with the idea!

That site did well – very well over the next several months. You can check out the Niche Pursuits Podcast to hear all about that site. (Episode 26)

Since things were going well, I created a new site…that I recently sold.

3) You recently sold a site for $10k. How much money was the site making? And how did you sell it for $10k?

I started the site last fall. I actually bought the domain in the late summer but didn’t have the bandwidth to focus until around mid November.

Here are the basic facts:
* The site is monetized by the Amazon Associate program.

  • It is highly targeted for a keyword phrase that attracts buyers. I like to say I’m intercepting potential buyers on the way to Amazon.
  • There is a main keyword with over 3,000 exact match searches.
  • A secondary keyword is driving most of the traffic…with the exact match searches under 1,000.
  • December was the first month of profit at around $100, then $200 in January, then ramped up to $600 per month in February, March, & April.

I decided to go with Empire Flippers as the broker for the sale. I totally respect the team there and have only heard great experiences with them.

They base the price on the last 90 days of earnings minus your expenses. So, we arrive at around $10k based on a 20 x the monthly profits.

4) What are some of the basic things that made your site successful?

A couple things are super important…

Treat the niche site like a project – You should have a plan – a clear plan. In Project Management, we would call this a project plan. It is a list of tasks with due dates and people that are assigned the tasks. Keep in mind that a project has a clear beginning, end, and there are checkpoints along the way. There was a stretch early on in the life of this website where the site is not getting traffic and the search engine rankings are low. That is expected and it is an easy time to quit. You really have to power through that dip even though you are not getting positive feedback in the form of earnings or even rankings.

Be sure you are targeting buyers keywords – As I mentioned, you should try to find people on their way to buying something. So think about keywords that people use when they just want to check their decision about an upcoming purchase. Competition is an important aspect to consider also. Josh covers just about everything on keyword research here.

Make sure you analyze the competition – Look at all the sites in the top 10 in the Google search results. Those are the websites that you have to beat. I usually take a look at the top 20 just to get an even better idea of the competition. Making sure the competition is beatable is just as important as selecting the keywords. If you are competing against high authority websites like Consumer Reports or national news websites, then you may have a long, disappointing road ahead of you.

Private Blog Network Backlinking – PBNs are a popular topic these days and they should be. Backlinks from a high authority PBN made ranking the website a straightforward task. You can skip most of the time consuming tasks associated with outreach to other websites and simply build links. If you are considering getting involved in niche sites, you should have PBNs as part of your link building plan.

5) What are some tips you can give the readers?

  • Focus. Don’t try to do too many things at once or you put all of them at risk. It’s very tempting to go after a lot of different opportunities, and I still do that myself. I have to stop and think about what my priorities are.
  • Check out my worksheet on competition analysis. I’m providing it as a free gift for the Form Your Future readers as a “thank you.” It’s the exact sheet that I use when I select a new niche.
  • Last, start today. Really…Start today!
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