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It’s always interesting to see how online entrepreneurs got started and how they made the jump from traditional jobs into their current ventures. For Will Williams, the story has multiple chapters.
Will’s journey from a teaching career to a full-time website flipper is inspiring yet relatable. Millions of people in traditional jobs would love to make a change, and Will’s story proves it’s possible. He’s adapted and evolved his career by learning new skills and taking advantage of available opportunities.
Many who haven’t yet started with website flipping will be attracted to Will’s approach because it’s low-risk, using relatively small investments. He has achieved remarkable success so far by primarily focusing on improving the monetization of the sites he purchases.
From the Classroom to the Laptop
In 2017, Will Williams, a teacher in Liverpool with a decade of experience, started a side hustle offering in-person group training for teachers. He offered training in the evenings or on days when school wasn’t in session. For about a year, he grew the business while teaching full-time.
After a year, Will left his teaching job to pursue his business full-time. For the next two years, Will continued growing the business by leading training sessions throughout the UK.
Will had a website for his business, and he added a blog to generate more traffic. He didn’t know anything about blogging at the time, but he found that he enjoyed learning about traffic generation, social media, and SEO.
In 2020, Covid hit, and Will’s in-person training sessions were abruptly shut down. Needing to adapt quickly, he created recordings of the training and sold them on his website.
In the meantime, Will continued working on the blog and successfully generated traffic. Eventually, Will’s site was monetized with Mediavine ads in addition to the digital products. Revenue was seasonal because traffic and training sales were low during summer break, but overall, the site averaged about $6,000 per month in revenue.
After running the site for a few years, Will decided to sell it. Speaking about that decision, Will says, “I had been working in education, either as a teacher or as a consultant/site owner, for the best part of 15 years. I was quite keen on having a break. I also had several other businesses up and running at this point, and the education site was the most complex to run.”
In late 2022, Will listed the site on Motion Invest, and it sold for about $160,000 (30x average monthly revenue).
Becoming a Flipper
A few years earlier, while still running his education website, Will purchased another site to apply what he’d learned through his primary business. Although he didn’t realize it immediately, this began Will’s transition from online business owner to website flipper.
As of November 2023, Will has now sold three websites:
- His education site sold for $160,000 in late 2022
- A small pet site sold for $4,500 in late 2022
- An outdoor site sold for $82,000 in March of 2023
All three of these sites were sold at Motion Invest. At the time this article was published, Will also had another site listed for sale.
Motion Invest is one of the best places to buy or sell content-based sites. Most brokers ignore businesses worth less than $100,000, but not Motion Invest. You'll find starter sites and established sites priced in the 4-5 figure range.
- 97% success rate
- Active marketplace with new listings each week
- More than 1,000 sites sold
Although he started the education site from scratch, Will’s typical approach these days involves buying existing websites and blogs. So far, he’s bought five sites, all with sales prices below $20,000.
Will found three of those sites through SEO communities and bought them from the previous owners privately. He’s also purchased one site on Flippa and another through a broker.
Will’s Approach to Website Flipping
You might assume that you need a lot of money to start buying and flipping existing websites, but Will proves that it can be done quite successfully with relatively small acquisitions.
For example, the outdoor site he sold for $82,000 was purchased for just $5,000 two years earlier. Will improved the site, made money from it for two years, and cashed out for a very healthy ROI.
Will purchases sites with the intent of improving them and selling them, rather than holding on to them long-term. He prefers this approach because of the reduced risk compared to holding on to a site, and because it provides him with extra motivation to work towards the end goal.
When asked about the reasoning for his approach, Will says, “I find if I am holding businesses, I tend to drift. If I know I’m trying to sell them in the future, then I am more motivated and prioritize what needs to be done to make the business as profitable as possible in the here and now.
“I also like the problem-solving aspect of buying a new site and working out how to monetize it. I think monetization is the root skill of flipping.”
When buying existing sites, Will prefers to avoid competitive niches. The pet site he sold for $4,500 was somewhat of a disappointment due to the overwhelming competition for search traffic. Now, Will avoids popular niches like pets.
Will has specific details he’s looking for when evaluating sites for a possible acquisition. He likes sites that have existing traffic because his emphasis is on improving monetization. Sites that have existing traffic allow for quick revenue gains with the right changes.
Backlinks are also an important detail for Will. He says, “I’m not really an expert in building backlinks, so if I can buy a site that already has lots of authority, this eases the pressure, and I can focus on content and monetization.”
Will also likes to see sites that are well branded, with an existing email list or another source of traffic aside from organic search. He sees this as more of a bonus, while existing traffic and backlinks are the primary criteria.
Although Will looks for sites with existing traffic, he still works to increase traffic after he purchases the site. He focuses mostly on organic search traffic from Google, but also looks to build a secondary traffic source for each site, usually with a social media platform like Pinterest or Facebook.
One of Will’s most successful tricks is to take advantage of an often-overlooked opportunity. He monetizes sites with Raptive ads, and as an existing Raptive user, he can get secondary sites approved easier than someone who doesn’t already have a Raptive account.
Raptive typically requires sites to have at least 100,000 page views per month to join their network, but existing users can get additional sites approved with as little as 30,000 page views per month.
Will looks for sites that have 30,000 – 60,000 page views per month because they’re currently too small for Raptive or Mediavine on their own, but he can get them approved for Raptive.
He says, “If you can buy a site between about 30,000 and 60,000 page views that is currently running Ezoic ads (or similar), when you put Raptive ads on, this almost always leads to a nice and simple revenue boost. In my experience, Raptive and Mediavine ads normally make anywhere from 2x to 4x what Ezoic or Adsense ads make.”
Aside from ad revenue, Will also uses other monetization methods like affiliate programs and digital products (depending on the site), and he recently started soliciting email sponsorships.
On the topic of digital products, Will says, “If I know a lot about a subject, I will try to create an ebook/course myself. Otherwise, you can pay a specialist to do one. Working with previous site owners can work well for this if they were experts in their niche.”
For now, Will enjoys his work as a website flipper without specific long-term plans. He says, “I used to think long-term with my sites, but with the rate of change with the online space and Google updates, my focus these days is just staying profitable each year, and getting money out of the business and into long-term investments as much as possible.
“Flipping helps you keep plenty of money out, and you are less reliant on algorithms and other things. Being a flipper also means you can pivot quickly if required (and I’ve had to do that a few times already in the last five years).”
In addition to growing a few sites he’s purchased, Will is currently working on a new website, Flipperfy, which will serve as a resource for anyone looking for information on website flipping.
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