Updated 19 October 2017
Re-updated 14 November 2017
Re-updated 18 January 2018
When I originally published this post, probably not many people saw it…
The site is now 3.5 months old. It’s not an anniversary… (19 October 2017)
But the reason I am updating it now is because 4-5 days ago something happened.
To tell you the truth, I gave up. I didn’t log into my account for two weeks and I didn’t write any posts. Basically the site was just boiling in the “Google soup”.
I suddenly started to get email notifications of 4-5 blog subscribers a day! Not to my mailing list, but to get notified for new posts. My interest came back.
8 people signed up in the last 24 hours, bringing the the number from 2 to 57 in just five days. In fact I got 11 more sign-ups just in the last three hours since I started to update this post… I looked in my Google Analytics and all these sign-ups come in through long tail organic search. At the same time my organic search visitors (not social media or referrals) suddenly increased from 1 per day to 4-5 a day.
Update 10 Nov 2017: Ha-ha. After 200 sign-ups I became suspicious. I eventually figured out that these were bots signing up with fake identities that had very real-looking e-mail addresses. I added a Captcha plugin and the “sign-ups” stopped. Not sure about the purpose… See below screenshot. Captcha is annoying, but it’s needed.
Additionally, when I looked into my Google Search Console, it now registers 332 keywords the site is ranking for and 20 of those keywords are on the first 3 pages of Google, which shows that more traffic potential in the near future. Something is happening… Some link building could start the site off pretty nicely.
My First Affiliate Earnings!
But this is what got me really excited – I happened to log into one of my affiliate accounts and this completely brought me back to life:
Update 1 Nov 2017: There is now a second affiliate sale from the same product, bringing my total blog earnings to $258.
New SEO Strategy
About 4 weeks ago I implemented my new SEO strategy, long tail keywords, and this is now bringing its fruits.
Therefore I wanted to share everything I did with new website owners as a case study.
There are two main problems the owners of a new site face:
- They don’t know what works
- It takes too long (months) to figure out if their actions actually result in something
With this update I want to help them to see what they need to do, what kind of domains are worth picking, etc. Had I figured this out earlier, I would have seen results much sooner. Unfortunately most SEO stuff you read is for website owners that already have an established website, therefore case studies like this are valuable.
Note: If you are not interested in the next portion on my domain,
just skip it, there is more stuff at the end…
Why Did I Build My Blog On A Deleted Domain?
Expired domains, deleted domains, or even just domain auctions present an opportunity where you could buy a domain name with existing links, traffic, social media presence.
This could save you time and money and your business could start making money faster, as someone already did part of the work when they owned the domain.
However the subject also has pitfalls you need to be aware of and avoid. Not doing so can result in you spending valuable time and money on something that is not going to make you profits, or could even backfire.
Here are some of the questions that I faced when I started this site:
- Is the domain name DomainNameService.co really worth a gigantic $15,000 as auctioned on GoDaddy?
- Can you find profitable domains in closeout auctions?
- How do you tell if the domain name has value or it was used for spam and hit by Panda/Penguin?
You need to be able to answer these questions before you buy any old domain, regardless if you want to build a site on it or you just want to flip domains.
Recommended reading: The Best Domain Name Ideas For Your Website
How YourExpiredDomains.com came about
As I mentioned before, this very site was built on an expired domain, or more exactly speaking, on a deleted domain. Its history goes back to 2006. I actually found the post that launched the site for the first time.
It was functioning for years as a domain sales and domain buy/sell news website, and it expired in December 2016. The deletion process usually takes a couple of months. I re-registered the site in June 2017.
I spent about 3 days researching the perfect domain name for a site like this. I knew from the very beginning that something was wrong. I went through several auction sites and this is what I found (just a handful of all the domains listed on this subject):
GreatExpiredDomains.com: $578, 1 backlink, DA:1/PA: 1
BuyExpiredDomains.com: $15,000, 4 backlinks, DA:4/PA: 19
ExpiredDomainsSearch.com: $1729, 0 backlinks, DA:1/PA: 1
ExpiredDomainsStore.com: $229, 0 backlinks, DA:1/PA: 1
ExpiredDomainName.com: $2500, 0 backlinks, DA:1/PA: 1
ExpiredDomainSniper.com: $479, 0 backlinks, DA:1/PA: 1
ExpiredDomain.net: $4999, 0 backlinks, DA:1/PA: 1
These prices are highly inflated, and most people who start an online business simply do not have that much money for a domain (I certainly didn’t).
I also looked at the quality of the premium domains. Some of them had a very spammy backlink profile and would have killed my new site, having paid thousands of dollars. Although I didn’t see anything wrong with most of the premium domains, they didn’t have any plus either – they were just keyword domains with zero backlinks.
The next thing I noticed – all these domains were being sold just based on their age, without metrics like backlinks, referring domains, DA. You basically have no idea what you are buying, it’s just a nice label for hundreds or thousands of dollars!
The Domain When I Bought It
I cannot say that this domain, YourExpiredDomains.com was the greatest domain ever. This was the best one available at that time in the expired domains niche. How much did I pay for it? It cost me $8.99 with FREE Whois protection, which is quite a savings compared to the prices listed above. It is also somewhat better in terms of link count.
It is a nice brandable phrase match domain. I used SEO SpyGlass to select it and it had over 50 backlinks. Most links targeted the home page and 6 links targeted the page “buy-expired-domains“. This is not very diverse, but could easily be improved by adding more backlinks. The anchor text diversity was good and the backlinks were not spammy.
Per Majestic fresh index, it had 74 backlinks, per the historic index, 4,000. Not sure what this last number means. Per MOZ OpeSiteExplorer, it had 2 backlinks, and this difference also shows that the DA was false. See the reason why backlink counts are so different.
In terms of metrics, it had a DA of 6, Majestic Trust Flow 0, Citation Flow 10.
(Recommended metrics are usually DA over 20, TF/CF ratio below 1, TF and CF over 15.)
It was still indexed by Google when I registered it, I filled it up with content and now it has 55 posts and 11 pages indexed.
The fact that you are reading this shows that it is alive, and even with such inferior quality it’s better than a never registered blank domain.
Update 14 Nov 2017:
I only did a little bit of blog commenting, some answering on Quora and a guest post.
Per Google Search Console the site has 166 backlinks.
Per Moz, DA = 15, 7 total links. (Moz metrics are BS)
Majestic shows TF=0, CF=6, Fresh backlinks= 180, Historic links: 4576. (These metrics are also useless)
SEO SpyGlass now says I have 75 backlinks.
What is YourExpiredDomains.com About?
I decided that I would turn YourExpiredDomains.com into an authority site, where people can find deep, useful, actionable information.
Originally I planned YourExpiredDomains.com to provide a means to buy quality domains at an affordable price, similarly to JustDropped.com. Dan Rubin mails out weekly lists of handpicked domains and sells them for $69 and over.
Then I changed my mind. First of all, I wanted something that is more on autopilot, and second, the planned $20 price is not going to bring a high volume of income. Third, you need an e-mail list to run such a business.
Therefore I changed the theme to include two things:
This second point makes it possible to offer higher-ticket items.
Why I Picked This Niche
It was a decision of a few moments.
I purchased a couple of expired domains before and they were a huge failure. There is a lot of misinformation on the subject and domain auctioneers just want money… and people don’t know how to buy a quality expired domain. I did some niche research, and I saw the hundred thousand domains that expire every day and get registered every day. And of course people who register a domain also need a web host and most need to learn internet marketing. It’s a huge market. There is also a huge interest in buying domains from PBN owners.
The more research I did, the better it looked.
I had no idea. I was well trained in spam-marketing from 2008, but I skipped a few years and I didn’t even know about Panda or Penguin. Therefore I can say that I started from zero.
I spent a week to research the niche. While I picked my own domain, I figured out how to research domain names and pretty much mapped the whole niche.
I spent an entire week writing articles for the launch. I wrote 15 articles, 3-500 words each. Purchased the domain and slapped up the website. Spent a lot of time figuring out the theme.
This was my first mistake: While banging out 15 articles was a good idea and my site didn’t look bare, I used high-search keywords to write my articles. Impossible to rank. Wasted a lot of time. Also, 3-500 words are too few to rank.
My suggestion, start your site by banging out 15-20 articles, but pick keywords that show up of the Google Keyword Planner with 10-100 searches per month. Write deep content articles of over 2,000 words. Follow my article on how to rank in Google. This is all I did to get the commission you see on the screenshot above. This is key to your success.
Get a good expired/deleted domain to avoid the sandbox. If you can’t write a long article, publish the short one anyways. Return later and upgrade it. Go to your Search Console account and see the keywords and posts that show up and extend those to over 2,000 words. Actually do a Google search for the keyword phrases and find your site’s listings for each keyword. Google very often lies to you. If it says that your post ranks 14 but you can’t find it anywhere, that’s the sandbox… Keep posting more quality content.
I created a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Pinterest and Google+ account.
I built up my Twitter followers. Otherwise I didn’t do any promotion.
I suggest you do promotion by participating in relevant Facebook groups, forums, tweet all your posts.
But mainly, make sure your site is ready for the traffic. This site is not ready for monetization, I need to work on that more.
I got some paid traffic from a site, 5,000 visitors. I wanted to test it. I don’t recommend it. There was no tangible result, except for the fact that I realized that my host, Asura Hosting, had extremely low CPU limits I changed hosts to Scala Hosting. It is still not perfect, unfortunately my site goes down daily for 4-10 minutes, and it destroys average session duration at those times, but I only paid $6 for the first six months.
Improving Site Metrics
To improve my rankings, I switched the site to SSL and added a CDN. (Unfortunately the implementation of CDN resulted in my site e-mail not working, but I don’t have time to figure this out right now. People can contact me through the contact form.)
I also started to decrease the size of my images with RIOT.
All these decreased site loading time and improved my rankings.
As a sidenote, I did almost no link building. I did about 20 blog or forum comments in the past 3 months, which are no-follow anyways, I did a few answers on Quora and one guest post on a blog. I am not planning to do any more link building.
Now I have a DA of 15, Majestic Trust Flow of 2, Citation Flow 12. 200 Majestic links in the fresh database, apparently 4,000 in the historic, which I still don’t know the meaning of.
About a month ago I started this new strategy of writing posts over 2,000 words based on long tail keywords of 10-100 searches per month.
Now I started to feature sites that are successful and actually make at least $5K per month. Obviously, the products/courses that are sold by such sites will benefit the readers and these are higher ticket items.
I hope the above was helpful for new site owners. Please share and leave any comments.
- Write 20 more posts based on the above pattern.
- Do social media promotion
- Add monetization to my existing pages that get traffic
- Figure out how to get people to sign up for my MailChimp mailing list
Site Update 14 November 2017
It’s been a busy few weeks!
I wrote several more posts with long-tail keywords, several of them with monetization, using affiliate programs.
I had a simple strategy for finding affiliate programs: I looked in my in-box to see what was being promoted to me. And I also searched out successful sites featured by other marketers and signed up for them as affiliates.
I improved my content strategy even further by writing even deeper content and I signed up for more high ticket affiliate programs.
Take a look at this monster affiliate post on ClickFunnels.
I am ranking on first page for terms like “ClicFunnels competitors”, “Expireddomains.net alternative”, “expireddomains.com”, “best domain backorder service” and I am getting organic traffic from those.
With all these new pages in place I am now getting a consistent 10 visitors per day, 674 keywords registered in Search Console, with 67 keywords ranking below position #30.
I have a total of 61 posts and 11 pages. I have 270 Twitter followers.
I have been playing with the idea of paying someone to write a bunch of posts for me for long-tail keywords.
A Really Crazy Idea
I had a really crazy idea. I wrote a guest post previously on Mostly Blogging and I just suddenly came up with the crazy idea of writing a guest post and ranking it on the first page of Google for a keyword:
As a lot of the visitors of Mostly Blogging are female bloggers, I put a link inside the post to my Pinfinite Growth affiliate page. The post ranking on the first page of Google for that keyword may result in regular traffic to that money page, I am experimenting with this strategy.
To my greatest surprise, it ranked on the top within hours. It got 200 shares on social media with several people bookmarking it.
This really helps to get myself known to other bloggers, which will eventually result in more traffic.
Sales Funnel And List Building
I was recently studying product sales funnels for my monster affiliate post on the subject and I was thinking about upgrading my own e-mail sign-up funnel.
Since I am now getting regular visitors and I also got two new e-mail subscribers to my MailMunch list last week, bringing the total on my list to 8, this idea came to the top of my mental to-do list. Also, the several hundred views and positive comments on my guest post show that my content is high quality and people like it, therefore I am ready for stepping up my promotion.
Interestingly, last week I got an e-mail promotion and I watched a few webinars about 6-figure sales funnels and it gave me a few tips.
Sales funnels are key to your profits and I will write a post about it very soon.
But anyways, I re-did my opt-in freebies (lead magnets), I updated my Welcome e-mail series, and I added a tripwire on my sign-up thank-you page. It is two $7 mini video courses on link building and simple keyword research.
Updating Site Structure
All these changes and additions now require an update in site structure.
I made a “Start Here” page for my $5K email course that kind of sets the tone. It is called Building A $5K Authority Niche Site.
I noticed in my Google Analytics that after visiting a page, several people click on the home page and click on menu links that they find there. Therefore I needeed to re-think where they should be sent and updated my menus.
Many times even I have a problem finding my different posts, so I definitely know that my visitors are not finding them. Published posts tend to get buried if they are not in the navigation.
I also need to set up that my content pages send visitors to my mailing list, as money comes from your list and what you do with it. Right now all the sign-ups came from the exit pop-ups.
I made an important sitewide SEO change: I changed the blog title that gets displayed in the search results. It was like this:
Build A $5K Site | YourExpiredDomains
This was bad on two counts – First, it took up a lot of space and didn’t leave enough for the title of the post. Second, it’s a repetition of the keyword that decreases the effect of SEO. I changed it to an abbreviation, YExpD. We’ll see how it goes.
I am now ready to scale up the traffic and monetization aspect of the site.
I have another blog project that is going on the backburner, which gave me a lot of experience with traffic from Facebook groups. I will be utilizing this knowledge and also the knowledge I got in social media promotion as an eBay seller.
I also want to add the Pinterest strategy to increase e-mail list sign-ups.
Additionally I need to do some link building – there are a lot of keywords that could drive more traffic if my DA was higher.
As an interesting side note, I spoke to Janice at MostlyBlogging, and she told me that she never did any link building, people just started sharing her content, and now her site is DA 48.
Update 18 January 2018
Everything changed since I updated last time…
I moved my main operation over to FunnelXpert.com and I left this site for expired domains mainly.
I added a few more posts and I also posted a few articles from other sites, plus I updated some old ones… overall not much work.
The site definitely came out of the sandbox, and the reason I am posting now is this:
This is without doing any promotion.
It’s all long-tail keywords and a few visitors from Quora.
I didn’t do any list building, I even changed my Twitter account to my new domain.
Per Google Search Console the site has 680 backlinks. This is a bit false, because somehow the one blog comment I made on TLDInvestors turned into 249 backlinks, and also I have 195 from FunnelXpert.
Per Moz, DA = 13, down from 15, 7 total links. (Moz metrics are BS)
Majestic shows TF=2 from 0, CF=8 from 6, Fresh backlinks= 911, Historic links: 4576.
SEO SpyGlass now says I have 43 backlinks from 75.
Organic traffic from Google: 269 in last 30 days
Despite the metrics looking worse, the site is getting more traffic.
However only a $3 affiliate commission.
Got approved for the GoDaddy and the DynaDot affiliate programs though.