I haven’t posted since April. Damn it feels good to be back! I have a lot to share with you. The summer was fairly busy with family holidays and four different weddings, in the UK and abroad.
Websites are growing steadily. I’ve made some big changes to the team. I’ve also spent a good amount of time on a new real estate project, my biggest one to date. More of that at the end of this post. Let’s dive in.
My coin collection website is picking up steam: 2,000 visits in July
Organic traffic from Google continues to grow for my coin site. In April, Google sent us 140 visitors. In July, more than 2,000 visitors. We haven’t done anything revolutionary, just continued to steadily publish new articles, about 2-3 a week, and optimize the existing ones. As you can see below, from mid-July onwards, the traffic suddenly increased to ~100 visits a day.
It’s exciting to see the traffic pick up like that. Over the past 7 days, our content has been ranking in position 12 on average on Google. But we also rank in position 1 for a handful of keywords like “castle rushen clock 20p”. How glorious.
Our writer also published one very long (3,000 words) post on the 2012 London Olympic 50p collection. Like the previous one on the Beatrix Potter 50p collection, the purpose of this long article is to establish our authority on the topic and to act as a hub that links out to all the dedicated coin pages.
We have traffic, so is it time to make some money?
Earlier this summer we decided it was time to start monetizing the traffic we were generating. Our strategy until now was to focus on getting the site to rank on Google and drive organic traffic. When we reached 100 visitors per day, it was time to actually sell the products we promote on the site.
It was also encouraging and motivating to receive several customer emails asking why we were out of stock all the time. Buyers were literally knocking at the door.
We agreed the easiest way to start monetizing the traffic was to redirect customers directly to Amazon and receive the 5-6% affiliate commission on each sale. We added Amazon affiliate links to our top 30 pages. When the customer clicks on the “Buy Product” button on our site, he is redirected to amazon.co.uk.
Sadly, that didn’t work out for us.
In 6 weeks, we made a whopping £7.21. The conversion rate on our traffic was only 1.66%, very low. That’s less than half the conversion rate my other site gets through Amazon. I find it hard to explain. Maybe Amazon doesn’t have a great coin selection. Maybe customers were expecting a real shopping cart experience and were thrown off by the redirection to Amazon.
Since the Amazon Affiliate program wasn’t a good fit for this site, we went out to find a supplier for all the coins listed on the site.
Luckily, after several conversations, we found a coin dealer with a large coin collection who agreed to drop ship for us.
This is how it works: a customer selects a coin and transacts on the site. The site then pays the supplier. The supplier then sends the coin to the customer. The obvious advantage is that we don’t have to hold any inventory. The downside is that our margin is lower. We are currently negotiating the terms with this supplier. I will let you know how it works out next month.
New team structure
A few months ago, in May, I committed to double down on this site. My plan was to wake up every day at 5 am so I could work on the site 1-2 hours every morning, before going to work. After 2 weeks, I realized this clearly wasn’t sustainable! I was tired and frustrated by the slow progress. The writers I hired were not delivering as expected. I was spending a lot of time proof-reading content I wasn’t particularly interested in. It didn’t feel like it was a good use of my time. I had stopped enjoying working on the site.
Instead of continuing to knock my head against the wall, I opted for a radical change.
Rather than managing the site myself, I decided to partner with someone to run the site. One of my friends, a talented online marketer, recently quit his full-time job to work for himself. He was the perfect match. He accepted to run the site and take on the position of General Manager. Since he is also busy with other projects, we agreed his focus would be on hiring and training a high performing team and creating processes that would allow the site to scale. We settled on a profit-sharing agreement and off he went.
Looking back, I realize how obvious this decision was. Actively managing a website like this one, on top of a demanding day job and several other side projects … was definitely not the ideal configuration. It was not scalable either. Partnering with other specialists (ideally much better than me) and nurturing a team is how I will be able to launch many more projects, without killing myself in the process.
On the performance side, the site is doing well. Since acquiring the site in March 2019, the affiliate revenue from Amazon has been stable at around $2,000 per month.
Bitcoin oracle, or what?
In April, I shared I was buying bitcoin again. I made crazy bold statements about upside potential. Bitcoin was trading at $5,500 then and is now trading above $10,000. Look at that growth. I guess it’s time for me to stop making price predictions so I don’t ruin my perfect track record.
A new real estate project in Toulouse
This blog is all about online businesses, and specifically my plan to make $10k monthly income online. But I know many of you are also interested in real estate, so allow me to go off-piste and tell you about another project I’m working on.
I’ve put in an offer on a 100m2 apartment in the center of Toulouse, in the south of France.
Why France? Simply because French banks happily offer 20-year fixed-rate mortgages with 90%+ loan-to-value. You can’t do this in the UK. The bank I’m speaking with is offering me a 600k€ mortgage with a 20 year fixed-rate 1.3% interest. That covers both the acquisition and renovation costs. Looks like I won’t need to put down more than a 5% deposit.
Feels slightly mad that banks would lend so much money to someone living abroad, but I guess that’s the world we live in. Might as well take advantage of it before the party ends.
Why Toulouse? Because it is a lovely and vibrant city, with several large universities totaling 100,000+ students. This ensures plenty of rental demand. Toulouse is also the home of Airbus, the aeronautics giant. Rental yields are higher than in Paris and prices more affordable. It’s my second project in Toulouse, and I know the city and rental market well. I feel really good about this.
The project is to turn the 100m2 surface into 3 independent studios. As you can see from the pictures, the flat is in a beautiful old building that needs a lot of renovation. I estimate that getting all the paperwork and building permissions, then doing the renovation work, could take up to 12 months. It’s a long term project. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.