Rasel Shehwar joins us for a blog interview about how he built and recently sold one of his niche sites.
He was able to sell the site for a very impressive 42x multiple on Motion Invest – an amazing result! He shares his strategies for starting an affiliate site, keyword research, and how to have the right mindset.
Rasel sold his site when it was making $1059 avg in the last 4 months when he listed the site. The actual sale price was $44,660. (42x).
Besides all the good niche website advice, he shares a bit about his background and how he got into the niche website game. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Hello! Please introduce yourself
Hello Fellow Marketers, this is Rasel Shehwar from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and I recently completed an MBA in Marketing.
Getting started in online business can be tough given the type of middle-income family that I come from. But, I will tell more about my journey later in this interview. To give a sneak peek, I have half a dozen affiliate-focused websites, and most of them are doing really well.
Currently, after selling my most successful website through Motion Invest, I’m grossing US$3000+ per month from these websites. Money is important, but the thing I enjoy most nowadays is the pride of winning the hard-fought battles of the last 4 years!
How did you start making money online?
My journey is similar to many marketers in Bangladesh, with lots of pitfalls in the learning process.
To summarize, I found it difficult to spend money on experienced mentors to help me solve problems. I would try to find the solution from free sources and then do a lot of trial-and-error with my sites. This very rarely panned out in my favor, and most of the solutions didn’t work. Finally, I decided to try flipping a niche site.
Join the torn threads; you will see the future.
That’s my motto for learning and implementing things on a niche project.
Now, you may ask, how did you find the niche site you just flipped?
To be honest, it wasn’t in a niche I was passionate about. I saw opportunities in the niche, and I was confident that I could beat my competitors and rank my site higher in Google.
Good opportunities are hard to define. Sometimes you just know it when you see one. Most importantly, you need to be smart enough to judge the site from a neutral standpoint, which isn’t always easy.
Once I learned some successful tactics, I focused on replicating these ideas on different sites. I’m not an expert on niche sites, but, I know how to build an affiliate website that can generate $1000-$1500/month.
There is no secret sauce that will work every time, and I continue to learn. The desire to know more has kept me from being distracted by all the other things around me.
Besides Niche Pursuits, I’m a huge fan and close follower of:
- Income School
- Passive Income Geek (Morten Storgaard)
- Niche Safari (Chris)
- and Matt Diggity
To be frank, these free resources are nothing less than a gold mine!
Why did you choose to start an online business?
Let me continue from the introductory paragraph. As I said, I have a typical Bangladeshi family. They are very cautious about everything, and the job market in Bangladesh is really tough for a fresher. Also, my family did not want to invest their money in an affiliate website.
To get around these issues, I first tried working in various online marketplaces. I served different clients, solving their marketing problems with Pinterest. Then I supported some clients to troubleshoot technical SEO and on-page issues. That’s how I came up with the money for my first site.
Did I start Immediately? No!
That’s something every newbie should be aware of: don’t start a site before doing a lot of research and planning it out.
To plan the site that I flipped, I invested 1 year. It took a long time because I was very cautious about every step. I didn’t have much of a budget and I knew had one shot at success.
Finally, I found a niche that was worth investing in. It was a winner because of the strategy I followed.
The strategy was simple: find a small, competitive niche, and keep things simple.
I followed the basic SEO strategies, installed a simple, user-friendly theme, and published good content. I aimed to rank my site well in the SERPs, and I knew if I kept it simple, the bot would love it and so would my users.
What was the process of selling your website?
Motion Invest was at the top of my list from the beginning of my journey.
I followed Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits from the start of my affiliate career. I followed everything he shared on the website, YouTube channel, podcast, and Newsletters. I heard about Motion Invest from him.
I had complete faith in Motion Invest that they would serve me with the best deal possible, and I believe they did that. They were fast, reliable and really good at their job.
The evaluation and listing process was super quick. Eric Dance of Motion Invest helped me a lot in this journey.
The fun fact is that within one day of listing the site it was sold!
The goal was set from when I started the website. I would sell it when the website was making an average of $1000+ per month. Ultimately, it reached this goal within 11 months, and I sold it on Motion Invest. Simple!
How did you begin the website selling journey?
I built the site from scratch and planned everything from the very beginning. This included the first decision of which niche I would work on, all the way through to which website I would list the site for sale on.
If I talk about my strategy, most of the Gurus will be disappointed. I didn’t follow any top-secret method from SpaceX. As I said earlier, my process was simple.
Firstly, I chose a niche where there was competition but opportunities to rank good content. Then I registered a new domain and began regularly publishing well-researched, high-quality articles.
I tracked the site’s rankings and published more articles based on Google Trends.
Earning started after a few months of launching the site and gradually increased. I monitored my site growth and solved technical issues as they arose. Then I waited for the site to hit that goal of $1000 per month average earnings in order to sell it on Motion Invest.
Were there any surprises selling your website?
I was surprised by the amount I was able to sell my website for on Motion Invest.
I thought I would get 30 to 32x, but I ended up getting around 42x of my last three months’ income. It was the best thing that has happened to me in my life.
I think I know why I got such a great multiple.
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My only monetization method was through Amazon affiliates. When I listed my site, the monthly traffic was 30,000 unique visitors. The buyer likely thought it would be easy to increase earnings by adding display ads. It looks like he is now doing great!
Next time, I will monetize my sites with display ads before flipping.
What has worked for you to grow your site?
Keep it simple. Stick to the basics. That’s all I am trying to say in this interview.
Apply the affiliate marketing tactics that you know work, and keep researching and learning for others on how to improve. And then, when the time comes, there are a lot of free resources that will help you to flip a site easily.
Let me share a few of the simple strategies that helped me to gain more traffic from search.
My keyword research process is Ahrefs based:
- First, I find one of the competitors in my niche
- Then from the competing domain option, I find more competitors
- After that, I analyze the top pages of each of the competitors
- I look for weak sites that are ranked for important keywords
- I prepare a rough list of keywords from these sites
- Then I do an in-depth analysis for each keyword and make a final list
Another keyword source of mine is social media, and Q&A sites like Reddit, Quora, etc.
The process to find keywords is pretty simple here as well:
- I run my target social site in the Site Explorer option of Ahrefs
- Then I filter the results with my target seed keyword
- I check the intent, position, profitability, and difficulties of these keywords to make a primary list
- Then, with a rigorous manual check, I finalize a keyword list for my site
Publish Well-Researched Content
The content I published was full of good information aimed to engage the traffic. Also, I tried to increase my returning visitor ratio by including some lines that would encourage traffic to come back.
To be the top-ranked site in your niche, you need to cover your topic properly. Haphazard content won’t help you in the long run. Track if your content is closely related. This is the most important factor to rank higher in search, in my opinion.
A catchy title is the most important thing when creating content, but it is very basic. I won’t talk more about it. As you know, people will only click your post title shown on the SERP if it promises to solve their search query.
Share all your content on social media like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Social traffic can play a crucial role in a new site.
When traffic comes from social sites, search engines usually tend to rank your post higher on SERP. When the posts gets traffic from organic search, then the position improves a lot. So, it’s a must. After investing so much time in content writing, you should invest time on social sites also.
What have you learned in online business?
Making an affiliate site can be tricky if you don’t follow a plan.
There were a few occasions where I made mistakes due to my emotions. Fortunately, the mistakes were only minor, and I recovered from them easily.
The major mistake of this site was not monetizing it with display ads. But, there was a logic behind it. I thought it would slow down my site. Because the income from Amazon was satisfactory, I completely ignored it.
What examples of success can you provide?
I follow a really simple procedure. I’m replicating the same things on all my other sites as well.
I am not a fan of experimenting a lot, but, it’s not true that I don’t experiment at all. I do experiments systematically. Those of you familiar with systematic review & meta-analysis (terms used in Scientific Paper Writing) use this technique to implement any new idea.
For example, I don’t change X, Y, and Z all at once. I change X and wait to see the impact (you need to have a clear idea of how much time it might take), then I’ll change Y, and wait to see the results.
How long did it take you to begin seeing success?
The site I sold recently started blossoming 5 months after publishing the first article.
But really it took 22 months because I started researching and planning the whole thing back then. I had only theoretical knowledge when I started learning about it 2 years back. Afterward, it was all about patience and smart work!
What platform and tools do you use?
For Keyword Research, I mainly depend on Google itself. Then, I do secondary scrutiny through Ahrefs.
I built my site using the GeneratePress theme.
But, I must mention the game changer tool of my affiliate career here: it’s Link Whisper. I use it for building internal links and it’s highly effective for boosting the rankings of my targeted keywords.
What is your website growth strategy?
The principle is pretty straightforward. Keep things simple and analyze your competitors.
For most marketers, building links is the most crucial part of dominating the SERP. I found it risky; that’s why I didn’t build any links to my site. I flooded the site with enough content that it got natural backlinks. I believe in growing with on-page SEO – all my sites are growing organically, with no paid ad campaigns.
I do everything on my sites myself except writing the articles. I believe in taking professional guidance where necessary.
What keeps you going when things are tough?
Frankly, the Dream! A never-ending quest to become successful kept me going for the goal.
There were few times in this journey that were highly intense. Specifically, I broke up with the dearest one in my life, not more than a year ago. I was broke mentally. But, the spark inside me was not dead. One day, I got up from bed and happily married my work. From then on, life has been really beautiful, and my head is clear like the autumn sky.
I don’t have a lot of friends because I’m an introverted person. However, the support I get from my parents is tremendous. They don’t understand my work much, but the support they give is priceless. Parents are such a blessing in life!
Advice for other online entrepreneurs?
Look, success will come today or tomorrow.
There is no example in our industry of those who are failing if they continuously put the effort in.
No one will fail if he or she is regular and serious about their business. The rate of failure is much higher in this industry because most people quit before they find traction. If you work smartly for a year or so, then success will come.
Remember, there is no secret recipe in this field: it’s all about learning and doing. It’s your game plan that will keep you ahead of your competitors. Nothing else matters.