This week we have two guests on the podcast. Jake Cain is standing in for Spencer and interviewing Stacy Caprio of her.ceo!
Out of college, Stacy Caprio had a comfortable job at an online ad agency. While there was nothing particularly bad about the job, she felt like her freedom and opportunities were capped.
Stacy wanted to direct her own day, choosing her own hours and work location. She also wanted to be the financial beneficiary of her work. Rather than working to build someone else’s business, she wanted to build her own. This will resonate with most people, but Stacy actually did something about it!
Watch the Interview Here
She was attracted to the online business space and eventually got into website investing – in particular, buying sites off Flippa.
Stacy first heard about website investing and Flippa through the Niche Pusuits blog. She was inspired by what she read and scrolled through hundreds of listings on Flippa before buying her first site for $1300.
The first site she bought was a dud, the seller having falsified details. While she eventually gave up on that site, she saw that online business could work, as the site was making at least $50 per month.
She bought her next site for $10,000 and was able to quickly double the revenue. Unfortunately, however, traffic later tanked on this site as it was built around a fad niche.
Next, she bought a forum site for $6400. This was making $240 per month and by simply changing ad networks she was able to significantly increase revenue.
By this stage, she saw that there were many opportunities in the online business world and wanted to go all in. Although her sites were only bringing in about $1000 per month, she moved in with Grandma and quit her job!
At this time she also bought her fourth site for $18,000, which has gone on to do very well. After only a year, she was able to move out of Grandma’s and into her dream apartment in Chicago.
Stacy shares how she later went on to sell the forum site due to copyright concerns. Like Facebook and other social platforms, forums are made up of user-generated content. It can be hard to monitor and control what gets shared in these situations.
That’s a very brief overview of Stacy’s online business story, and we get into much more detail in the podcast. She even tells the story of how the first buyer of the forum site pulled out of the deal once the money was in Escrow!
Other topics we get into:
- The encouragement of online business/marketing conferences
- Diversifying investments outside of websites
- Making wise business/personal decisions when buying websites
- Ad networks
- When to quit your job
- How to explain online business to Grandmothers
Stacey has always used Flippa to buy her sites (besides one through a private deal), but she mentions other places to buy an online business as well.
On the podcast, Stacey shares:
- her internal link-building strategy using Ahrefs and Google Analytics
- her keyword research process using the Moz browser extension and Google keyword planner
- what she does when she takes over a site
Her advice for somebody who’s never bought a site before:
Never buy a site based on its potential. Buy it on what it’s making now and have a plan on how to improve it quickly.
She wouldn’t buy a site unless she could make the revenue back in a year.
Her advice for those who haven’t started yet:
Go right now and register a domain and build out a site. Start experimenting and keep on learning.
Jake also has some great advice: Get traffic first, then worry about making money!
You can follow Stacy’s journey, find out about site deals, sign up to her mailing list, and visit her blog over at Her CEO.
Read the full transcript
Spencer Haws: Spencer here with nichepursuits.com. And today I’m excited to share with you an interview with Stacy Caprio and her website is her.ceo. That’s where you can go to check out what she’s doing. Join her email newsletter and get her strategies as well. But before I introduce the interview itself, I want to give you a heads up that I did not conduct this interview.
It’s actually conducted by Jake Cain. And you’ll quickly find that out as soon as you hear his voice here in a second. But why Jake? Well, you may remember Jake, he’s been. A co-host on the niche pursuits podcast several times. He’s actually been a guest where we talk about his story a couple of different times, I think with successful, successful websites that he has.
And he was one of the coaches for niche site, project three where he coached a student, Ryan spat a fora along the way where he, I believe we posted all of those episodes. As podcast episodes as well, in addition to videos on YouTube. And so Jake is well known in the niche pursuits community. He is.
He’s a super smart guy. He does really, really well with his websites. Even though it’s not about Jake here, I just want to let you know that the host of this particular episode the interview that he does, he’s very knowledgeable. He’s built very successful websites and maybe even more importantly, he’s just a great guy.
And I hate to admit it, but maybe even more lovable than me if that’s possible. Right? No, Jake’s, Jake’s a great guy. We have a great relationship, but he is kind of stepping in for me here on this episode and maybe a couple of more episodes here in the near future. And I can dive into that more.
Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere. I’m I’m still part of the niche pursuits, but Jake’s just helping me out here for a little bit. But I think you’re going to enjoy this interview with Stacy. She talks about her journey of buying and selling websites and she really actually loves Flippa a lot.
And I’ll let her explain that here in the interview, but that’s where she’s found her deals where she went from working a full-time job to quitting her job. To building and scaling your website. She talks about the strategies that she uses to not only find the deals, but how to scale those websites.
So there’s a lot of great takeaway tips and, and it really is a great interview with Jake and Stacy. So I’ll let them take it away. And I hope that you really enjoy this episode. Again,
To Follow along with Stacy and what she is doing, go to her.ceo again, that’s her.ceo. Thanks again for listening.
Jake Cain: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jake Cain, and I am filling in for the irreplaceable Spencer Has. And for some of you who may remember if you’ve been listening to the show for a long time, I used to work for Spencer full-time for several years. And so I co-hosted several podcasts with Spencer had been a guest on the show.
And now I’m doing a little bit of a pinch hitting for Spencer here and running the niche pursuits podcast for today. And so I’m really excited about that. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for listening. We’ve got Stacy Caprio. Hopefully I’m saying that correctly as our guest. Okay, Stacy, how are you doing? Hi.
Stacy Caprio: I’m doing well, Jake. Thanks for hosting me today.
Jake Cain: Absolutely. We’re excited to do this. So Stacey has a pretty interesting story that I think a lot of folks listening to the show today will relate with. So I’m really excited to get into that, but Stacy, if you would just starting out and give everybody a little bit of background on you and sort of where you’re from and kind of the things, the businesses that you’re into today and sort of what you got going on.
And then we’ll kind of dive into the beginning of the story.
Stacy Caprio: Sounds great. So I actually, I went to college at Boston college and I got my first job at an e-commerce paid ad online marketing agency. So I was always on the paid ad side of things and that’s where I got my start. And then I moved to. An agency that did Pinterest and Facebook ads for venture funded companies.
And then finally I moved to like a financial services company running their paid ads. And I think I always knew that I didn’t want to work for someone else for my entire life. Like I’ve always had more of an entrepreneurial spirit. I think I really enjoy having autonomy in my day and just freedom to do to direct my day as I want it to be directed.
And are there things about the nine to five is you’re so kept in terms of your salary and in terms of, even if you completely double the revenue of a business, your salary wouldn’t double or anything. So it’s very different from us. Yeah. Owning the online businesses and being able to get out what you put into it.
So I think that was something that really attracted me to the online business space. Initially.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Yeah. Cool. So what kind of business are you in or like, what are you doing? Like, how are you, what’s your business do today? Like how are you making a living right now?
Stacy Caprio: I make my main income from two of my sites that kind of work together.
And that’s my main focus. I bought one of the sites on Flippa and created one of the sites myself. And then I’m also currently working actually on an e-commerce site project and growing that it’s currently at a few hundred a month, but I really like that it has a really strong brand and that people are really connected to the product and that I can be connected to the customer.
And it’s just really different than. The ad based sites that I’ve done before. So I’m hoping I can also grow that to a point just because it’s not as reliant on Google either. And so I like having something with a stronger brand and customer base in that way.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Yeah. So your other sites that are not e-commerce, they’re making money through just like digital ads.
Are you doing like affiliate stuff too? Or is that sort of the model that you’re following?
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, they mostly make money off of. Ads and different ad platforms. I’m not as drawn to affiliate sites just because you make such a small commission. I almost think why not just make it into an e-commerce site at that point.
Okay. I’ve never, and also with all the recent penalties and then the, the Amazon affiliate cut too. I think I’m glad that I’ve never been as drawn to
Jake Cain: them. Yeah. Okay. That’s interesting. I was having this conversation via email yesterday with somebody on this similar thing and I sort of said the opposite as far as, like you said, one thing I love about affiliates is that you don’t have any customers.
And so, because they were sort of having this debate, I was like, you know, no returns, cause I’ve done. I had an Amazon business as well, where I had products and things and it wasn’t terrible by any means, but at the same time it’s, to me, it’s kind of nice that like, I can just refer you to somebody else and then you sign up and you don’t like the product, like.
I don’t have to hear from those folks again, but that’s, that’s sort of interesting, but very cool. So tell me a little bit, I read your story a little bit on your site. And it sounds like to me it sounded like me, first of all, the way you described being in a cubicle and just feeling kind of kinda trapped, you know, and you ran a.
What sounds like a comfortable job. So, you know, relative to a lot of people, it’s not like this will sound horrible situation, but at the same time, just like you said, you’re sort of capped on where you can go with that. And it’s just all those things. And I remember feeling those emotions myself and you know, I would listen to shows like this, the nature pursuits podcasts at lunch, and just like.
What am I doing? You know, I got to figure out a way out of this. And so I just have a feeling that a lot of people listening to this show right now are in a similar boat. So tell us a little bit of the background on that and kind of where you were at and then sort of, you can get into, like, what took you from there to.
Like, how did you get started even thinking about doing online stuff? Like, was it a certain book you were following? Like how did you get down the rabbit hole and, and get the whole thing started?
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, I felt exactly the same way that you feel. And probably a lot of these listeners feel where you just feel like there’s so much more in that you can have.
More control over your day and over your business. And even just something as simple as being able to feel like the sun on your face in the middle of the day. Like you don’t have that luxury when you have a nine to five. And it’s actually a really funny story. I, part of the reason I was so excited to be on this podcast is.
I first heard about website investing and Flippa on the niche pursuits blog. So that was actually the only reason I even knew that website investing and Flippa existed. And I remember reading about it. Yeah. Like probably on my lunch break at work or something like scrolling on my computer. I loved reading the blog at that point.
I never listened to podcasts because I thought they were a waste of time. Clearly my views have changed. I, yeah. I remember reading that and it inspired me so much that weekend. I actually went home and I scrolled through hundreds of listings on Flippa. And I actually ended up finding the first site that I bought.
It was. Wow. Yeah. And that was what got me started on this whole path. So I’m grateful for this podcast and the niche pursuits blog. I actually, in every other podcast I’ve been on and every blog post I write, I pretty much rent mentioned niche pursuits and the blog just because that’s what inspired me.
But once I read that, I bought a site. It was for sale for $1,300. The owner said it was making $350 profit a month. And at this point, I didn’t know how to verify that. I didn’t know how sites really made money. I didn’t know what the industry standards were for page views and all of that. So it was actually an Amazon associates site.
And I mean, I looked at analytics, I looked at screenshots, but the seller. He was falsifying everything. Like he showed me his whole account instead of just the one site. And I didn’t realize that until after I had bought it, cause I just didn’t have experience with it. And we just blindly trusted him.
So I ended up buying it and it was only making like 20 to $50 a month, which I recently realized is actually it’s technically like a. 30 to 65 times multiple. So like people in today’s market would have bought it. If you’d been honest about it back, that was like five years ago. So the average was the 20 times.
Monthly profit multiple. Yeah, but for me, it was just really disheartening to see that he had been lying about it. And so I pretty much ended up giving up on that site and moving on from there. But other, other than that, I would never have even tried investing in websites. So it was a good lesson to learn, not to trust people and take things at face value
Jake Cain: had.
You started learning about it. It sounds like very quickly decided, Hey, I’m going to buy this site. It turns out to be a lemon. Like, you know, this guy basically lied about what I was making and then you, at some point decided to give up on it. And then what’d you do like go out and buy another site? Or like, what was the next.
Step, obviously you didn’t quit right there, which is good. A lot of people would have been like, this is a scam, you know, I’m going to figure something else out, but you sounds like you went on and, and what’d you do after that?
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, I think I took the responsibility on myself as opposed to saying, Oh, the whole site’s a scam because I knew that it could still make money because I got like the 20 to 50 a month and I was like, Oh, this is cool.
It actually works. So I think it inspired me in that way. But I was still dejected and it took me months to actually work up the nerve to buy a different site. But I had been learning and reading case studies like the niche pursuits blog, and the other types of things. And I ended up buying another site.
It was a lot more expensive than my first site, but I had a good handle on things. And I really knew how to verify the revenue. And I knew I could quickly double the revenue of this site. Like I knew different ad networks that would really. Provided by better return. So I bought it and I was able to do all of that quickly, double the revenue.
It was making 500 a month when I bought it. And then I put it in a different ad network and was able to take it to a thousand a month. But. It actually, this one ended up, it was like a fad site. So it ended up the traffic ended up tanking shortly after. So I made back the majority of it, but not even all of it, but at that point I was a little bit hooked.
Cause I knew it definitely worked. I’d seen it by making a thousand. At this point, after that I went on to buy another site. This one. I ended up doing really well in less than two years, I was able to make back 400% of the money I’d put in. Okay. So at this point I saw my site’s doing really well. And I had bought my first three while I was still at my nine to five.
And then the fourth set I bought, I actually. When I left my nine to five and I was able to live with my grandma. She’s now 95. She was like nine 91. Yeah. She’s, she’s so healthy and strong and she’s the most loving person, but she let me live with her. Well, I was growing my business because when I left my job, I was only making a thousand a month from yeah.
My the third site purchase at this point. And I was able to live with her and because I saved money on rent, I was able to make my foresight purchase, which is where it made more money than all the other sites. And that was what really enabled me to leave my, to well, to move out of my grandma’s a year later.
And. Live like in my dream apartment Chicago, you can see the beautiful background. You’re going to say like
Jake Cain: your background here. Like, I don’t know. I’m not a big zoom expert, unless it’s like fake. I was like, you look like, you’re just like, you don’t like the penthouse apartment now. Like where is this story headed?
Oh, it’s not a penthouse, but it’s
Stacy Caprio: It’s you can actually, the bean is like right back there. I don’t know if you can see it though, in this. To view, but it’s like a beautiful view. And I like the floor to ceiling windows and everything. It’s like a studio. So my bed’s like right over there thing, but I, yeah, I love this apartment and I love just the fact that I get to work on my own schedule each day and work on growing my own business and websites.
So it’s really been such a blessing. It’s awesome to be able to do what we do each day.
Jake Cain: Yeah, that’s cool. I just thought I was like, you started talking about your apartment. I was like, if we turn this into like a tour of your apartment H spin on this, like I’m definitely Spencer, here’s this recording. He was like, what in the world happened here?
I’m talking about Chicago real estate, but anyway. No, that’s very cool. So when you were buying the. Second site, third site, fourth site, like you don’t have to reveal, reveal the sites or whatever, but like how much were you spending? Like obviously the first site you bought that was kind of a scam was very cheap.
Like what, how did you scale up from there? Like either the exact dollar amounts or maybe just a range of like, What were you buying these sites for? How much did they cost and was it just cash you’d saved up or were you like borrowing money? Like how did you make all that happen?
Stacy Caprio: Great questions. So I can give you exact dollar amounts.
I don’t mind sharing that. The, yeah, the first one was the 1300. I bought them all just with money. I’d saved in cash to me. I don’t like the idea of taking out a loan or making a risk that could. Dig me into a hole for my future, because I’m doing all of this for my future self. So if I did something and then it put me in a worse position where I was even more obligated to a nine to five, I think I would feel horrible about myself.
So I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking out a loan for that type of thing. But the second say I had bought for 10,000 and it was making the 500 a month when I bought it. And then I was able to quickly increase it to a thousand a month. But then the traffic had dropped off of that a few months later. And then the third one, which was the first one that I got, the 400% return on.
I had purchased for 6,400, but started off making like 240 a month. And then I added it in a different ad network and was able to take it to like 600 a month and it kind of increased from there. And then I also had. Someone reached out to me cause they wanted to put a banner ad on the site. Okay. So I did that and that was an extra 500 a month.
So I brought it up to like over a thousand a month, which is pretty cool. And that was the one when I left my nine to five, I still had bringing in income. And then the fourth site I purchased while I was at my grandma’s and I think it’s funny, cause I probably wouldn’t have had the cash to buy it. If I’d been.
Renting an apartment at that time. Yeah. I’d been living with her, so that’s kind of cool. It’s like maybe her gift to me was the fourth site, pretty much, which I paid 18,000 for. So that was the most expensive site and it was making 1800 a month when I bought it. So I actually got it at like a really great multiple, but I think it had had a penalty in the past.
And so I had reached out to the owner. It actually hadn’t sold on Flippa. And I reached out to him years later and made the offer and he accepted. And so that was the site that I ended up really scaling. And that enabled me to really get to financial independence.
Jake Cain: Wow. Very cool. So now how much did grandma understand about what you were doing while you’re living with grandma?
Like, cause I have these conversations a lot and I’m not even talking about grandparents, I’m talking with thousands. What, what is it like, what, how are we making money? That sort of thing. Like, I’m just curious to grandma, like she sorta get what you’re doing or is she like, honey, you need to go find a job, you know, you forever, like, what was she sort of being encouraging or just bewildered by the whole thing?
Like, how did that work?
Stacy Caprio: I know exactly what you’re talking about. Anytime I tell people what I do, they’re like what? Like they just get this look in their eyes. Like you can tell it’s not fully translating. So it’s always refreshing to talk to people who like fully grasp or have the experience of it.
And one thing I really love about having lived with my grandma was she actually grew up singing in a band with her sisters and her whole family was so musical. And then she actually toured. In her early twenties, like singing on the road and doing all of that. So she knew what it was like to do something that you loved.
And she taught all of her children, she had eight children and one of them is my mom to like, do what they love. And like, my mom was an artist in Chicago actually. And she also taught like fitness classes. So, and like all of my grandma’s kids do stuff that they really love. So I think she. She loved. And she understood that I was doing something that I really enjoyed and loved and got joy from.
And she understood that. So she was always really happy that I was pursuing my dream in that way, but, and she is actually funny. She gives really good business advice. Like every night at 9:00 PM, we would have a business discussion and I would share my results with her. She didn’t. She would always say she didn’t fully understand like how it worked or how it was monetized.
Pretty similar to like, most of our experience talking to people who aren’t in this world, they just don’t have a grasp on it, but she, yeah, she business-wise, she would give me advice and tips and we would talk about results. So she grasped it probably more than most people.
Jake Cain: Well, that’s good. Yeah. It’s always good to have somebody that’s you know, he’s supporting what you’re trying to do around, you know, cause it can be, it can be a lonely road if you’re, you know, just a solo, whoever that’s doing this and nobody in your day to day sort of gets what you’re doing.
And everybody’s like, Oh, that sounds weird. You know, or whatever we’ll have deflating because a lot of times it takes a while to see any results. You know, I did that for years where it was like, You’re staying up late doing this stuff and not making any money. And it’s like, you know, it can, it can be a little disheartening.
So that’s pretty cool that you have somebody in your family. That’s done some creative stuff. That’s like, Hey, you know, good with it. That’s very cool. I will also say too, for me, have you, have you ever been to any conferences at all, like blogger conferences or digital marketing conferences or anything since you’ve been sort of.
Doing this stuff, like, have you been to any live events like that?
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, just a handful.
Jake Cain: Okay. I don’t know about you, but for me, we went when I was working for Spencer, we went a couple of times to an event called traffic and conversion summit by the digital marketer guys in California. And it was that moment for me, where it was like, you realize how many things, cause just like you said, like was just the language that you use and the things you talk about.
Like nobody in my life talks about that stuff, you know? And so just to be like in. Live events and like circles of people that you’re kind of having lunch with and stuff. And you’re sort of talking about the same things like on page SEO and all these little things. Like it was like, it was the craziest thing.
So I just throw that out there to say, not necessarily to plug that conference, which was great. Somebody who’s listening, who’s kind of teetering like. And you have the opportunity as live events are sort of coming back a little bit to go to something like that. To me, it was super energizing. If anything, just to be in a room full of people that are all kind of in that world.
Obviously you learn a lot, but it’s a great place to network and just feel like you’re a part of a community. I, I thought it was pretty cool, but Anyway, I just wanted to throw that in there. So, so when you were doing these sites, then you bought a few sites and you’re working, working out of grandma’s house for a little bit.
Were you doing all the work yourself? I mean, so far I’ve heard, would you say that you were upgrading advertising network? I don’t know. Wanna mention which network you prefer or what you’re using for that? If so, please go ahead. But besides that, yeah. Are you doing anything else? Like where are you adding content?
And if so, were you, were you writing the content like. W what was going on there? Like how were you getting stuff done?
Stacy Caprio: I did pretty much everything myself, other than development type work, because I’m not a developer. And I like doing it myself simply because I found that anytime I’ve paid or outsourced the work The SEO or the content, or just the normal day to day work, the keyword research.
I don’t think people care as much as you do. And I think you get what you maybe pay for and you pretty much pay for the bare minimum unless you pay a lot more. And even then, I don’t think the people really care as much. So I’ve never seen as good of results or as good of content just from hired hiring people, which is part of why I like to do it myself.
But. And another reason that I like to do it myself as simply because then you get to keep all the profits. And I like to take that. I actually don’t reinvest it into my website. I don’t know what you usually do, but I know a lot of people like to pour it back in, but I found that websites are riskier.
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Just due to my own experience and seeing the landscape over the years. So I like to just reinvest it in other types of investments, like stocks. And I actually recently bought a duplex in like near Austin, Texas. So I like to put it into different types of things, because I feel like that way you’re diversifying and you can set up for your future self, just knowing that.
You’ll have income in different ways, even if your websites don’t work out.
Jake Cain: Sure. Yeah. No, that’s cool. Good for you. That’s probably a smart move. Yeah, I I’m I’m to the point now, I mean, I own close to 10 websites probably that are, you know, producing some level of income with a big difference between the best and the worst.
And you know, I, I definitely reinvest. I pretty much outsource everything at this point, as far as content and stuff, but you’re exactly right. That that was a struggle, you know, to get that early on, like figuring out you go through a lot of like bad writers and then just figuring out like how to get back the content that you’re expecting and all this things.
There’s a bit of a, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but if you’re somebody that’s going to be writing or running multiple sites, You get to a point to where you’re your own bottleneck, you know, if you’re really trying to grow and add content, it’s like, especially if you’re working too, and this is like what you’re moonlighting at, it’s, it’s hardly possible to keep moving it forward.
So it’s one of those things that eventually, I think you, you kind of make the leap, but but yeah, like you, I’ve sort of taken some of the money and diversified into some things, real estate and things like that. And I think, I think it’s a smart move, but Yeah, very cool. Very cool. So how did you know one thing I was going to ask you, so it sounds like you, you had a great situation where you had moved in with your grandma and that sort of thing, and you had that flexibility, but for somebody who’s out there now, that’s kind of like making a little bit of money at this.
And they really want to quit their job because they’re tired of it and that sort of thing. What advice would you give them on, when do you think is the right time to step away from your job? Or how did you know? Cause that’s a pretty big leap. Like there’s a lot of. You know, whether it’s real or imagined security, that a lot of people feel about having a real job and their benefits and things like that.
So there’s a lot that goes into it. How did you know it was the right time when it, what do you tell other people that may be sort of feeling like, Hey, I’m getting close, but I don’t know when I should make the leap
Stacy Caprio: for me. I just knew that it was time that I had to give myself the chance to do it.
And it was. Counter-intuitive in the sense, I was only making a thousand a month when I decided to leave. And what I would tell people is you’ll know when it’s time, but also don’t go into debt doing this. So if your living expenses are higher than what you’re bringing in, don’t do it like wait until you’re making more than your living expenses.
I was lucky in the sense I had my grandma. To live with who was letting me live with her. So my living expenses were slashed, almost nothing, just right. Even my dinners, like I would have with her and everything. So in that sense, I would say if all of a sudden you’re quitting your job and now you have a family to support or you still have your rent and it’s more than you’re making.
I would say don’t dip into your savings even. As long as your cashflow cash outflow is like an equivalent of zero. I think you’re fine. But if you start getting negative, I would say you’re not setting it up for the best version of your future self. So I think you should always think about your future self and how you can set up your life the best for them.
And so in that case, you might want to keep working at your job until you can raise the income. Yeah.
Jake Cain: Very good. Yeah. I You know, just sharing my story on that briefly. I, I had a site that I sold for a pretty good amount of money at the time, and I was working for Spencer. So it wasn’t like, you know, working in cubicle, like it was a pretty good thing.
Right. And he was very supportive and I was able to kind of phase out of that job, which was great. But for me, selling off an asset, like a website, and then being able to put away like a decent chunk of money in the bank, Made me feel really confident that like, Hey, I’ve still got some other sites that were making money.
And so I’m covering my bills, like you said, but I’ve also got a little bit of an essay here to where if it goes to zero tomorrow and Google just the index is my site. Right? Like I’ve got. A year or two or whatever that is to where I can, we’re going to be okay while I find another job and go back into it.
So I think having, at least for me, that was a big peace of mind thing. Like even if I had my bills covered by what I was averaging every month from my sites, if I didn’t have a big runway where I could like. Yeah, I’m always thinking worst case scenario. If this thing goes to zero and I’m scrambling to pay my mortgage next month, like that’s a real problem.
So I think that’s maybe something to think about too, if you’re, if you’re on the edge, like you said, you know, reducing expenses, I mean, these are kind of basic, right. But there’s things to be thinking about, you know, reducing like your fixed expenses that you have. And then also. Building up that savings I think is, is really important.
So you’re not sweating bullets every month, you know, hoping that you make enough from your website to pay your to pay your basic necessity. So so I think I saw in your, in your notes that you’ve sold. So you mentioned buying a few sites and you’ve also sold at least one site, or have you sold multiple sites?
Stacy Caprio: I sold one site. The, the third site that I purchased for the 6,400, and then I grew it over like a two year, two year period, and I ended up wanting to sell it. It was actually a super hands-off site. I didn’t have to touch it. And it just hummed along with traffic and revenue. Wow. So it’s may seem, you might be wondering, well then why would you want to even sell something like that?
Because it was a forum based site, so I didn’t have to supply content and it had a really dedicated user base. So people would come to it and they would visit it on their own every day, which insulated it from Google a bit, but it also had a lot of Google traffic. And it just hummed along on its own, there were admins that loved it and they handled everything themselves, like the moderation and all of that.
But I ended up wanting to sell it because at the end of the day, you can’t control what people post on your site and you can’t control if it’s copyrighted content or if it’s inappropriate or what other movie. So, yeah, I didn’t want that responsibility anymore. And I thought it was just too much of a risk for me to take on.
So I really wanted to sell it and I ended up selling it through. Have you heard of dot com? I have not. It’s a, yeah, it’s a broker. They have a bunch of sites they sell and they also have an audience and they email things out to them. So this was before I had the, her CEO site, so I couldn’t sell it to my own list, which I’m sure people would have bought it today, but I ended up selling it.
The first person who got in a call with me, he wanted to buy it and he made an offer. I actually ended up transferring him the entire site, the domain and everything. And then he sent us an email. Oh. And he had the money in escrow and he sent an email saying, I actually don’t want to buy it anymore. And his excuses.
That it didn’t fit all the GDPR requirements. Like it needed a controller or something like a full-time employee running GDPR. I don’t even know, but I think it was just an excuse. Like sometimes people maybe get cold feet about buying a website after they’ve put the money in escrow. So that was interesting.
So he ended up just giving it back to me and he got the money back from escrow, even though he’d signed all his contracts and everything. So I sold it to a second person who made an offer and that ended up going through and everything. So that was an interesting process.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Wow. So it was through the second person though.
It was a pretty, pretty smooth process. Like no big like moments where you’re like, crap. I didn’t think about this. Or was it like, like how hard was it to finish the transaction?
Stacy Caprio: That’s an interesting question. It was actually, it was a very smooth process, but the whole time I had a bad gut feeling about this person because he wasn’t really on top of it and it didn’t seem like he could handle the site, but I thought, well, it doesn’t matter because.
I’m selling it to him. It’s not like when you’re buying a site and you have to be sure they’re telling the truth. Right. But a year later I get an email from him and he hadn’t logged in once to check if the revenue was going into his bank account and it turns out it wasn’t. So the site was humming along and just depositing money into his account.
Like it always had for me. And. Apparently the money had still been going into my account. And I didn’t really think about it cause I had another site with the advertiser. So I just thought that my other site was doing well. I mean, I didn’t really look closely at it cause it wasn’t my biggest revenue site anyway.
And so it ended up being a whole thing that was like a year later. And I had to give like over $4,000 back to the ad network so they could give it to him. But. It just goes to show that I probably should have listened to my gut and that instance and sold it to someone who is more on top of things, but it ended up being fine.
It’s just interesting that he wouldn’t even have logged in to check that once in a year, time period.
Jake Cain: Right. Wow. That’s pretty crazy. So did, did you if you don’t care to share, like, what is your preferred ad network or do you use multiple ad networks? Like who have you had good experiences with?
Stacy Caprio: The main two that I have actually used are just ad sense and Manu metric.
And then I’ve worked with some private networks, like people who’ve reached out to put banner ads and that type of thing. And I’ve had a few smaller networks, but I don’t really recommend or use them that much. Okay.
Jake Cain: Yeah. So you’d take over a site that was maybe using AdSense and then move it to Manju metric and it would just instantly increase like your RPMs and stuff like that.
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, I did that on two of the sites that I was able to like quickly double the revenue, one of the sites, I actually just added Manu metrics. So I still had ad sets running and the other, other one, I just switched it out. So that was there’s a lot you can do with different ad networks in that
Jake Cain: sense. Yeah.
And then what else? I mean, the forum site is interesting because I would’ve never thought even really about buying a forum site. But that’s pretty cool. I mean, I could see how that would just. Like you said, like if it has an active participating network of folks, like it just sort of like they’re creating the content for you, which is kinda cool.
For your other sites that were not forum sites, besides switching out the ads. I mean, what strategies were you using relative to keyword research or just whatever? Like, what’s your plan? Like if you take over a site, let’s just say you bought a site today. That was making $500 a month. Like, do you kind of have a list of things that you’re going through?
That here’s what I’m looking to do. Like what’s what do you do when you take over a site?
Stacy Caprio: I usually have short-term and a long-term SEO plan. And I’ve really found that, just changing some of the structure of the site and then also doing like internal linking, such as like Spencer’s linguists for, or I usually do it manually actually, cause I’ll go through the keywords and see which ones need help.
But. I found that just those types of changes. So basically the structure and internal linking can give you a huge boost relatively quickly with SEO. And then also just making a longterm plan where you do the keyword research and you have a list of all the keywords that you want to target, and then you just start writing content for that, or if you outsource it, which I usually don’t do, you can outsource that type of thing and then publishing that over time.
I’ve found. Has actually been. The best way I’ve found in the most effective way to actually grow the sites. Like that’s what I did with the foresight I purchased that really enabled it to grow in terms of traffic and revenue. So I think a lot of people want those quick wins, like the doubling the ad net ad revenue from changing ad networks or the quick SEO wins, because those are more fun and instant, but I think you really need to take a long-term approach and think about.
Creating content in what you’re going to do over time to increase the traffic and the revenue.
Jake Cain: Yeah. Okay. So just diving into the weeds a little bit, because a lot of, I mean, I would imagine most people listening to this podcast are people that are building a site or have a site or whatever they’re in this world.
So like for your short term stuff, like you mentioned link whisper, or you do some of it manually, like, can you talk about just briefly get into the weeds, I guess on like how you go about attacking that, like. Where do you start? Like, what are you looking for? Like as far as content to build internal links to, and how do you do it?
Like, do you have any like little shortcuts or anything that somebody else maybe could use and implement on their site to do a better job with it?
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, that’s a great question. I, I tend to side pull up the Google analytics and also like eight drafts. And then just look at the pages that are already getting the most traffic on.
If you go to like the acquisition report in Google analytics and you can look at landing pages, that’s one of my favorite reports and you can kind of see which pages are already getting traffic. And then you can also go to the search console and make sure you see which pages are on which keywords on which pages are ranking like page one, but maybe lower.
And then also page two to five and then. Also just pull up a traps to check what they’re measuring is what your keywords are ranking for. So then once you have all of that data, also pull up a keyword tool. Like I use the Google AdWords keyword tool to get cured volume and throw in like all your top pages and all the keywords.
Into that, and then see, which have the most volume. Then you kind of have an idea of what the potential is. So keywords with a lot of volume that are page two to five, and maybe they have some traction already. I would isolate those and then figure out if you can put them in your menu or. Link to them internally and keep track of it on a spreadsheet.
So you can tell how much link power you’re giving to each of them, and then put the date that you do it. And then a few weeks later you can check in and see if it shifted their rankings at all. So that’s what I found to be most helpful. And it’s really great because you can push keywords from. That Google is already giving some rankings too, but there may be page two to five or lower on page one, and then you can push it all the way to page one.
So that’s one of the most actually effective things that I’ve found in terms of like internal linking.
Jake Cain: Interesting. Okay. Yeah. So it sounds like you’ve got a pretty. I don’t know, complicates the right word, but at least like an in depth way that you go about it.
Stacy Caprio: I do it more and that’s just so I can get a full picture, but I think if you want to do it more quickly, you can just pull up the search console and then just look pages two to five with the keywords, and then just see how much volume those keywords are getting.
And then just link internally to the ones with the higher volume that are page two to five. So that’s a very simplified version, but I like to just. Pull up more data sources just to be sure, but I think you can do it more simply in that way. Right.
Jake Cain: Okay. Interesting. Okay. So if you see, like let’s just say something on page four, four, do you ever come in, you look at like, sometimes I’ll find that I’m accidentally ranking for keywords.
In other words, like I’m on page four. For an article that’s kind of about that. And we can make up an example here. Right. But really, I haven’t even like talked about that specific. A lot of times it’ll be like a really specific phrase or question or something like that will be the keyword and I’ve not really addressed that thing.
So do you ever find yourself in addition to adding internal links also going back and updating the content? Like when you’re. Doing the same process or is it just, you know, you’re finding that, Hey, if I just add some internal links, maybe with the right anchor tax or something like that, that’s enough to move the needle without going back and actually editing or making the content better.
Stacy Caprio: That’s a great point. Actually, I’ve had the same experience where you see on page five, it’s ranking for a specific keyword. And you’re like, well, I wasn’t even targeting that in the post, which is actually kind of fun because for me, I find that as an opportunity to create a new piece of content around that keyword specifically I would never try to boost or internally link a page.
Four, that was ranking for a specific keyword. If it wasn’t optimized for that keyword, just because I would feel that would be not giving it its full potential. So in that case I would make a new piece of content with that keyword and like the URL and the title and just make sure it’s throughout the content a little bit.
And then. You could even internally link from the page that’s ranking from that keyword to this, to the new one. That’s probably what I would do, but I would never try to push the ranking on a page if it wasn’t optimized for a keyword, just because I think you’re leaving a lot of the potential. On the table.
So that was a good thing to
Jake Cain: look at. Yeah. Okay. And then on the keyword research front, which you mentioned, like when you’re deciding on new content to do, I mean, do you have anything that you can share there as far as just little tips and tricks, you mentioned some of the tools that you’re using. But outside of maybe just the basics that people are familiar with, like, do you have any little.
I hate the word hacks, but like anything, you know, like that, that you’ve just sort of discovered that really helps you find some good keywords that maybe other people could use or take a look at.
Stacy Caprio: Yes, actually I have a process that’s pretty easy that I tend to use this for my keyword research. I use the.
First I’ll draft a list of keywords and then put them into the Google keyword planner, just to get the volume, to see what even has potential in an all pull up Chrome and I’ll use the MAs Chrome extension. And that shows you like the da and the PA of all the sites on page one. But then I’ll put each keyword that I think has volume potential.
Into the Google search bar, and then you’ll be able to see the domain authority and the page authority for the pages already ranking on page one for that keyword. And then I’ll use the extension, define the domain authority and the page authority of the site. I’m doing the research for. And then you can see, compare and say, Oh, does my site has potential to rank on that page?
Or is it completely overshadowed by huge players in the game? And I think one thing to be cognizant of when you’re doing that is. If huge players like Forbes or other big sites are ranking for it, you should look if they’re targeting your specific keyword, because if they’re targeting a general keyword, you might still be able to outrank them.
Jake Cain: Yeah. No. That’s really good. Yeah. I like doing that too. And that’s you’re exactly right. You find that sometimes, like if there, if you really can laser focus on the query that you can, you can beat some of the big guys, which is always fun. It was kind
Stacy Caprio: of funny to see her a little page ranking.
Jake Cain: That’s the best.
So you bought several sites, I guess. Just a couple more questions as we get ready to wrap up, but what would you say for somebody that’s never bought a site before? I mean, did you do you like flip a, like, where else are you looking? And then just, I guess in general, for somebody that’s thinking about maybe going down that road, like what, what, what are some of your key things that you’ve learned that you would advise somebody who’s.
Out there. Just kind of looking like, Hey, I may want to buy a site. I’ve never done it before. You know what I’m saying? Like, what’s just some of the, the big pieces of advice. You’d give people as far as finding deals and knowing whether or not it’s a site worth buying.
Stacy Caprio: Yes. So I usually look on Flippa I’ve actually bought every site that I’ve ever bought through Flippa.
Other than one I did through a private deal, but I, so I really would recommend Flippa. I love the fact that it is a user marketplace where anyone can post in, anyone can buy. That does open it up to a lot of the scam and the fraud that we talked about. But I think a buyer should always take it upon themselves to be filtering those things out.
So I just like it because you can find the best deals. And personally, this is actually something I would recommend to people never buy a site based on its potential. So only buy it based on what it’s currently making. If you wouldn’t be okay with it, just making that you should probably shouldn’t buy it.
The exception to that. And something that I also recommend is you do need a plan and you need to see something in the site that you can greatly improve. Whether that is switching the ad network, SEO, quick wins or long wins. Like we talked about, there should be something that you see in it that the current owner.
Doesn’t see where you can quickly double revenue and also increase the revenue over time. So personally, I would never buy a site unless I thought I could make the revenue back in a year or less. And I think that’s important for you, for everyone to establish their own criteria for that. Like how long are they willing to wait and also what their plan for the site is?
So I think. That’s the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re buying a site? I would say you can also look on Latinas. You can look on sites like empire flippers, although they tend to have higher multiples and motion and vast has some good sites. Also don’t discount private like Facebook groups, where people post things and just building relationships with people.
Who’ve bought sites within the past. Sometimes. They’ll reach out to you saying I have a new site to style. That type of thing, I think can be really beneficial. Oh. And the, her CEO email list you can sign up for, I’ll send out some deals to you.
Jake Cain: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll we’ll wrap up in just a second and you can, you can kind of, people can get on that list and sort of what you’re doing there.
I was going to say you brought up a great point about staying connected with people you bought from before. There’s a lot of times, you know, I’ve, I’ve probably bought. I don’t know, at least half a dozen sites at this point, and I really enjoy doing it. I’ve got the same guy who I bought two sites from now who I connected with via Spencer.
Somehow. Now he just Facebook messenger. He’s probably listening to this and I’m like, Hey man, you interested in you know, something like that. And before I know it, I’m in this conversation, you just
Stacy Caprio: send me a site next time, not Jake.
Jake Cain: And aside in whatever niche, you know, that I knew nothing about, but I would add one thing to what you said.
And I thought you brought up some great points, but something that I like to do. When I’m looking at a site, sometimes I get, I always get really excited about ideas. I start seeing what I would do with it and all that. And before I know it, I can be too far gone and, you know, sometimes don’t make decisions based on the numbers, but I like using tools like a traps or a refs, or however you say it to see what the ceiling is.
And that’s how I always advise people because it’s like, even if I see that I could, okay, I can switch out to our ad network. And let’s say double revenue, maybe that’s good enough for me, but is there room to grow or is the topic so narrow that they’ve done? Kind of just about all the content there is to do.
And for me, it’s very simple. I can look in that tool, see who the competing domains are and who are the big guys, right? Like it’ll, you know, the traffic estimates. Aren’t aren’t hugely accurate, but it’s not really important. Like, am I able to see somebody that’s getting approximately twice as much traffic, three times, four times, 10 times, and you, at least you kind of know going in, like, what’s my content opportunity, you know, and you can dig and do a little keyword research before you ever buy it.
To know, is this kind of tapped out or do I still have, you know, a lot of content that I can add to it? That’s, that’s how I’m going into it. Planning on investing in content. I just want to know that that opportunity is there before, before I buy it, but that’s some really good advice. So thank you.
Anything else? That you’d like to share, I guess before before we wrap up, you know, again, I sort of mentioned at the beginning of your story, you know, sitting in a cubicle and again, I was in the same boat, like kind of, you know, a job that’s just fine and doing okay, but it’s like, Hmm, this isn’t it.
I mean, anything else that you would want to share in closing with somebody that maybe is listening to us today, that’s in that boat? I dunno, what advice would you give them? What inspirational type things, what would you leave them with?
Stacy Caprio: I would tell them that they should go right now and register a domain and just buy some hosting, create a website, put one together themselves and start experimenting with it.
So read things like the niche pursuits blog, or the podcast. And. Things like I love Nick Loper side hustle nation or yeah, John Dix does like fat stacks too. These are all blogs where people are actually in the weeds doing the case studies. And I found those types of things to be the most valuable. So I would say, keep listening and reading and then have your own site and just experimented.
So anytime you hear something interesting, just do it on your own site. And this is a great risk-free way to just learn. And who knows? You might get some really good results at some point. And. Be able to sell it or leave your job that way. But once you have enough experience, you can also buy a site at that point and grow it from there too.
Jake Cain: No, I love that advice. You got to get, you got to get doing something, right? Cause you can just learn. Forever. And that’s a lot of people get stuck in that mode where you’re always just consuming. And it’s like, well, once I figured this out, I’ll, I’ll go ahead and get started. But it’s like, I love what you said, just get started today.
And then you can figure it out as you go. You know, I always tell people that are just starting a site. Like nobody’s reading it anyway, you know, do your mom try it, right? Like, nobody’s like, Try and get them designed just perfect and things. And it’s like, what are you, what are we doing here? You know, like this is, you can figure that out when there’s like a couple hundred people a day coming to the site, you know?
So yeah. I love it.
Stacy Caprio: Caught up in the design or making it look perfect. But at the end of the day, it’s more of the functionality and the traffic like,
Jake Cain: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Oh a hundred percent. Yeah, no, I, I say that to folks all the time that anybody that ever asks or whatever, it’s like the hard part is getting traffic to the site.
You know, like you can always later on, like, once you’re making money, like you can hire a designer and all that stuff, like worry about everything later, like traffic first and then. Then figuring out how to make money, you know, like, but no, I think that’s, that’s fantastic. So as we’re wrapping up, tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now.
I know you mentioned earlier, you’ve got an email list where you send out some people that are looking to sell their site, but what, what else you got going on over her CEO and kind of what you’re doing and how can people you know, stay up to date with what you’re doing and keep in touch with you and things like that.
Stacy Caprio: Yeah, I’m they can find me [email protected], www.her.com. And I post my own journey and updates and you can sign up for the email list and get periodic updates. And I also sometimes send out site deals and that type of thing. Also, you can email me S T a C [email protected] And I love talking to you guys there. I currently update people, send the email list occasionally and write new blog posts.
I also recently started advertising on the email list. So anyone who’s interested in getting a spot can reach out to me. And I suppose I’m also doing some. White hat, white hat link outreach for a few select people. I don’t know how many clients, more clients I want to take on because I actually have like, probably a handful right now.
But if anyone is interested, you can email me and I’ll see if it’s a fit for that. But those are the main projects that I’m publicly doing with the her CEO site.
Jake Cain: Oh, very cool. Well, that’s awesome. Well, congratulations on your success. Thank you for coming on the niche proceeds podcast. Thank you for being my first guest as the pinch hitter, keeping the chair warm here for Spencer for a little bit.
So I appreciate that, but I really enjoyed our time. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate you being on the show.
Stacy Caprio: Thank you so much, Jake. Pleasure’s all mine.