There are a lot of opinions on whether it makes more sense to build niche sites from scratch or to buy sites whether through hiring freelancers to build out a site you did the niche research for or purchasing a pre-existing site.
There are good arguments to be made for both points of view. A lot will depend on the experience, skill, and budget of the individual involved.
Breaking down this argument starts with looking at the pros and cons of each and then using that information to figure out where you are in the process.
The Case for Building Niche Sites
Many people argue that everyone should build their first site, and I think there’s merit to this argument. The experience of building a site from scratch, seeing what content works and what doesn’t, and going through the first-time struggles will make you better able to write training documents so your freelancers give better results.
Many first-time site builders are surprised to find out there are well over 100 little things that need to be covered to make a successful site even before diving into content production and SEO.
This was the major reason why I created the EasyWins.io database from over 12 years of experience building successful websites.
Because these 120+ steps all mattered to make a niche site as profitable as possible. This knowledge only came from first-hand experience building sites.
Building sites yourself is also budget-friendly compared to buying, which is why it is going to be such an appealing solution to beginners compared to buying. For beginners who don’t have thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to invest, this is an important benefit.
The trade-off is time. It will take longer to build out the site, and if you aren’t using an expired domain name to start, it will take time for Google to index and rank the content.
Once the site is ranking and earning decent revenue, then the decision of whether to write your own content or begin outsourcing to freelancers can be revisited.
Learn So You Can Train
Anyone who outsources successfully to freelancers has the same story. At first, they did it themselves. Then over time after making many mistakes and learning from them, they learned what worked and what didn’t.
After enough learning, they became good at building and improving websites. That’s when they outsourced because they knew first-hand the issues new writers would run into. Better instructions mean better content and less editing.
Even if a beginner has the money to buy a site, it’s worth thinking about at least starting it on a budget to learn the process and test their keyword research abilities.
Direct Quality Control
When you are in charge of every part of content creation, editing, and posting, you have direct quality control over everything. That is a definite benefit of building your own sites from scratch.
- Good for beginners
- Learn the ropes (SEO, monetization, etc)
- Saves money (budget-friendly)
- Takes much longer to see results
- Takes longer and is harder to scale up
- Need to test out niche versus knowing there’s already traffic/potential there
The Case for Buying Niche Sites
Another route is buying niche sites. This can take a couple of different forms depending on how you go about it.
Two “Buying Sites” Options:
- Paying an agency to build the site and do the content (i.e., DFY niche site agencies)
- Buying a pre-existing website
Both of these methods have some major potential pros and cons, and both are viable ways to buy time by using money to help improve niche sites and create new content to increase revenue.
Makes Mass Content Production Possible
The benefits of buying vs building heavily involve scaling. No matter how good a writer you are, there are only so many hours in a day. Research, writing, formatting, editing, it all takes a lot of time.
A team of 10 trained writers, or even 5, will be able to write far more per day than you ever could. Adding minor edits to well-written articles and adding in easy wins to optimize that content’s potential to monetize still takes way less time than doing everything from scratch.
Buying content means adding much more content to a site much faster than would otherwise be possible. On a good niche site with some authority, this can lead to a huge boost in traffic and revenue that wouldn’t be possible if you were doing everything solo.
Can Effectively Work on Multiple Sites at Once
When a website owner moves from building to buying, one of the lessons is to be content with being an editor.
Especially if you come from a niche you’re passionate about. This can be challenging because many times you could do 5% better, but you could never mass produce great content at the rate that a team of quality writers can.
Being able to shift into the editor mindset and focusing on easy wins on the site and optimizing content without worrying about “how well I could write” is crucial to success.
That also means instead of putting all the energy and focus into one site, you can effectively work on multiple sites or niches at once.
If you have the budget to keep paying for content, you can buy content for as many sites as you want. As long as the systems are good, you will be able to keep scaling.
- Can get sites that already have established links, traffic, revenue
- Cash flow from day one
- Obvious easy wins can make huge profits from month one
- Need money to pay upfront
- Need to have strong due diligence skills
Should Everyone Start with Building Niche Sites?
Ideally, you should go in and get your hands dirty to learn the skills at some point. If you start with a big enough budget this could start with buying a site, then learning while adding content, and going through the EasyWins.io database to increase revenues.
After increasing revenues, you can choose to keep the site or sell it. That is a viable option and is a way to still get that experience that comes from working with building and improving a site first-hand.
Using a good enough DFY site-building service can work, and I do build some niche sites out this way while scaling my website portfolio, but there’s something to be said about the consistent success that many find from the sites they work on directly.
I find the knowledge that comes from building niche sites and going through the process has been invaluable with building and improving each of the niche sites that follow.
When to Switch to Buying Niche Websites…
There are a few important considerations to make to know when to make that shift from building to buying. To be clear, there are some people who never make this shift and still do well, but if you want to scale then moving to buying will be necessary at some point.
Consideration 1: When You Have the Budget
Purchasing content for a site or buying a site to improve starts with having the budget to do so. This is not something to toss on a credit card or grab a loan for.
Having the funds is a crucial part of taking the next step. This isn’t the time to try to shoestring budget things so make sure you know your budget before buying.
It’s never a good idea to stretch to try to find a deal.
Consideration 2: After You Have Successfully Built a Site
Are you confident in understanding good content writing, SEO, and how to monetize a site? If you have successfully built one or more sites from scratch, that’s a good sign you understand how things work well enough to move to the buy stage.
At this point you should know what content tends to work, what good content looks like, and how you want your site set up to be SEO-friendly and revenue optimized.
This knowledge makes it easier to train freelance writers being hired or to accurately judge how good a DFY site is likely to be based on your own experience.
Your own work on optimizing a purchased existing state is also going to be more effective once you have a proven track record behind you.
Consideration 3: When You’re Ready to Scale
Learning how to scale up effectively takes some work in the beginning. Time spent perfecting your training and your systems early in the process makes scaling much smoother and more effective in the long run.
When these three considerations all meet, that’s a very good time to look at getting into buying and improving sites whether to keep or to flip.
There are good reasons for building niche sites from scratch, and there are good reasons for buying content or buying pre-existing sites entirely. In fact, I still do both to increase my website portfolio.
Understanding where you are in the process, learning how to grow sites effectively, and learning to monetize fully to get the most out of every flip will help you know where in this evolution you are for website building and flipping.