Rent-A-Site Hybrid - anyone doing this?

29 replies
I just started doing the rent a site model and landed my first client last week. I was waiting for my site to rank and got antsy and wanted to rent it out. The site was sitting near the bottom of the first page and was getting a little bit of traffic.
Then I thought I should run a PPC campaign for my keywords and increase traffic that way (I had just gotten 2 coupons in the mail). So in case I rent it out, the client would get some decent results right away.
The thought was then that I would continue to build their organic rankings after they start paying.
My goal is to rent out 3 sites a week. I just don't have the funds at the moment to do all the SEO on all of them and then wait for top rankings. This way the client pays while I build the rankings and they are getting results while the organic rankings are being built.

In my research I keep running into ReachLocal.
What Online Marketing Costs | ReachLocal

Their prices are very high and they only do PPC for the most part. I heard that they only put about 50% of that into PPC. Once in a while I see a reachlocal site where it looks like they attempt some organic rankings, but they are usually very poor.

So with this hybrid model the client can have instant results and I have instant cash flow for myself and to build their organic. I just need to find the right price point that I can rent these out at. It will probably be cheaper than ReachLocal with a ton more value.

Once I have enough sites with a decent income I think I will go back to organic only. Then I can afford SEO and waiting for rankings before I rent. Who knows by then I may get a bunch of referrals, too. I am just trying to jump start the process and make some quick money.

What are your thoughts?
#hybrid #rentasite
  • Profile picture of the author EmmaPowell
    Hiya!

    I am a BIG fan of renting websites to local businesses and have done this successfully myself =)

    I have never used PPC only organic SEO, however, if you can do it an make it viable eg: Get customers for the business then DO IT!!

    It may require some tweaking and testing and measuring but PPC defiantly has its place in IM, it just the numbers have to crunch so you and the "tenant" are making $$$

    Good luck =)

    Emma
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    • Profile picture of the author EmmaPowell
      Originally Posted by Alton Trezza View Post

      This is an old method!!!

      Renting doesn't work same as what it does before.
      Oh dear, I am in trouble then ....... lol

      Originally Posted by EmmaPowell View Post

      Hiya!

      I am a BIG fan of renting websites to local businesses and have done this successfully myself =)

      I have never used PPC only organic SEO, however, if you can do it an make it viable eg: Get customers for the business then DO IT!!

      It may require some tweaking and testing and measuring but PPC defiantly has its place in IM, it just the numbers have to crunch so you and the "tenant" are making $$$

      Good luck =)

      Emma
      I actually started using PPC its not as awesome as ranking organically in the top positions for your Keywords but its a great way to get leads before the organic rankings kick in
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  • Profile picture of the author link82
    Falkonator -- very interesting. I have never tried it. In fact, I'm in the same position as you. I purchased a few EMDs mid January. They are ranking page 2-4, so I'm pretty antsy waiting for the rankings to update.

    So, with this PPC strategy, you rented the site out or you got the client first and now are thinking of running a ppc campaign?

    Did the client not object to it being on the bottom of page 1?
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    • Profile picture of the author Falkonator
      Originally Posted by link82 View Post

      Falkonator -- very interesting. I have never tried it. In fact, I'm in the same position as you. I purchased a few EMDs mid January. They are ranking page 2-4, so I'm pretty antsy waiting for the rankings to update.

      So, with this PPC strategy, you rented the site out or you got the client first and now are thinking of running a ppc campaign?

      Did the client not object to it being on the bottom of page 1?
      This particular client was very interested, so I forwarded the virtual number on the site to his phone. The next morning he got 2 phone calls through that number. After I told him that, he immediately paid.
      I ran the PPC before I got the client and I was able to tell him that this site gets visitors every day and a few calls a week.
      Many people around here say that ranking position does not really matter, as long as the business owner gets business. That's what they care about.
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Originally Posted by Falkonator View Post

    So with this hybrid model the client can have instant results and I have instant cash flow for myself and to build their organic. I just need to find the right price point that I can rent these out at. It will probably be cheaper than ReachLocal with a ton more value.

    Once I have enough sites with a decent income I think I will go back to organic only. Then I can afford SEO and waiting for rankings before I rent. Who knows by then I may get a bunch of referrals, too. I am just trying to jump start the process and make some quick money.

    What are your thoughts?
    Well I do do rental sites or hybrid as a term / and i think it is not just a easy as that, it does require a lot of investment in testing / (dependent on what your doing) so do not go in thinking i have $1XYZ and I will produce xyz leads out of the gate, even more so do not go in promising or even relying on adwords to fill holes or you will be well left short of expectations.

    Just like seo in many ways it takes time and money to develop the cpc side of the business as well and if your low on cash, do not expect it to be a miracle as it will not be.

    That said yes use ppc and it does not need just be a start up but a long term strategy, to do this set a budget you can afford to loose at the start with no expectations and this can be a small budget, but spend that each week then start to tweak your campaign while building your seo.

    Over time your ppc will steady and you would have sorted most of the negative keys and you would have eliminated your keys not returning a positive Roi for you.

    At this point why would you stop your ppc it is making you money and the seo should be starting to roll in as well, when they both start to fine tune then all is well.

    So in short yes do it but do not think it is a short term solution because it is not, but as a smart long term solution yes it works well.
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    • Profile picture of the author Falkonator
      Originally Posted by tryinhere View Post

      Well I do do rental sites or hybrid as a term / and i think it is not just a easy as that, it does require a lot of investment in testing / (dependent on what your doing) so do not go in thinking i have $1XYZ and I will produce xyz leads out of the gate, even more so do not go in promising or even relying on adwords to fill holes or you will be well left short of expectations.

      Just like seo in many ways it takes time and money to develop the cpc side of the business as well and if your low on cash, do not expect it to be a miracle as it will not be.

      That said yes use ppc and it does not need just be a start up but a long term strategy, to do this set a budget you can afford to loose at the start with no expectations and this can be a small budget, but spend that each week then start to tweak your campaign while building your seo.

      Over time your ppc will steady and you would have sorted most of the negative keys and you would have eliminated your keys not returning a positive Roi for you.

      At this point why would you stop your ppc it is making you money and the seo should be starting to roll in as well, when they both start to fine tune then all is well.

      So in short yes do it but do not think it is a short term solution because it is not, but as a smart long term solution yes it works well.
      Thanks for your input. I understand about tweaking PPC campaigns and that it is necessary. I am not loosing money with PPC, though. The client is paying for it all. My plan is to continue the PPC for all the clients that started this way. I just have to charge these clients more to include PPC.

      In the future I will go after new clients after I have top organic rankings for their keywords, and I can charge these clients less because I don't have the added monthly expense of a PPC budget. The lower price point may sell easier and maybe not.

      I am trying to combine the rental site model with what ReachLocal is doing, PPC and organic. They are not really great at either one. But I know I can do both and offer a lot more value.

      If the first batch of clients works out great with this model, I may continue it.
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      • Profile picture of the author MRomeo09
        Absofreakinglutely.

        Yes I definitely do PPC for most of my clients. In fact most people completely limit themselves when it comes to renting sites, as if the rental were of the utmost importance, in fact the renting can just be a small portion of the income you can derive from a client.

        We typically will try to take over the Google Places account for the site rental. I.e. they never want to leave us.

        As well we offer PPC services and offer usually 3 pricing structures. Those might run $400, $800, $1,500(per month). And we have a strict budget where we only will pay 50% of what we collect in PPC costs. So if the budget is $400 we will do $200/mo in ad spend. Much like Reach Local. We do a really good job of identifying the most profitable keywords to bid on. For instance if we only have a $400/mo budget we will probably go after the keywords that are farther along in the buying cycle with less traffic but should convert better, etc.

        So yeah, this can be very profitable, IF and that's a very big IF, you know what you're doing with PPC.

        Marcos
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        • Profile picture of the author link82
          Originally Posted by MRomeo09 View Post

          Absofreakinglutely.

          Yes I definitely do PPC for most of my clients. ....

          We typically will try to take over the Google Places account for the site rental. I.e. they never want to leave us.

          ......

          So yeah, this can be very profitable, IF and that's a very big IF, you know what you're doing with PPC.

          Marcos
          Hey Marcos, I've seen this brought up a couple of times. Do you mean you already claim a Google Places account before someone has rented the site or once it is rented, then you do so?

          If the first one, then don't you need an address and phone #? How do you go about doing this?

          I have never done this before but it sounds interesting. Thanks.
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          • Profile picture of the author Falkonator
            Originally Posted by link82 View Post

            Hey Marcos, I've seen this brought up a couple of times. Do you mean you already claim a Google Places account before someone has rented the site or once it is rented, then you do so?

            If the first one, then don't you need an address and phone #? How do you go about doing this?

            I have never done this before but it sounds interesting. Thanks.
            I claimed my client's GP and added my rental site as their URL and had instant rankings in the F spot. What I noticed though and other people had mentioned is that you should not use the home page for the GP URL, otherwise your other organic listing may disappear. So instead I put one of the inner pages in its place. Now my client has 3 spots on the front page between PPC, GP, and organic.
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            • Profile picture of the author sitefurnace
              Originally Posted by Falkonator View Post

              What I noticed though and other people had mentioned is that you should not use the home page for the GP URL, otherwise your other organic listing may disappear. So instead I put one of the inner pages in its place. Now my client has 3 spots on the front page between PPC, GP, and organic.
              Falkonator, what do you mean by this. What is the other organic listing and why does it suffer?
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              • Profile picture of the author Falkonator
                Originally Posted by sitefurnace View Post

                Falkonator, what do you mean by this. What is the other organic listing and why does it suffer?
                In my particular case this is what happened. My site mysite.com ranked just below Google Places.
                When I claimed the client's Google Places listing I used mysite.com as the link to the website.
                When my client's GP listing showed up, my other site disappeared. So I changed the listing URL to mysite.com/showroom and my main site reappeared where it was before.
                It seems that Google only wants to show each webpage once in the search results.
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                • Profile picture of the author sitefurnace
                  Ah OK I see. Interesting..
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                • Profile picture of the author PeckhamPirate
                  Originally Posted by Falkonator View Post

                  In my particular case this is what happened. My site mysite.com ranked just below Google Places.
                  When I claimed the client's Google Places listing I used mysite.com as the link to the website.
                  When my client's GP listing showed up, my other site disappeared. So I changed the listing URL to mysite.com/showroom and my main site reappeared where it was before.
                  It seems that Google only wants to show each webpage once in the search results.
                  @Falkonator
                  How about getting multiple GP listings ranked in the 7 box, all with links back to my directory site rather than their own sites, and still getting the site on p1 too.

                  Many of my clients don't have a site of their own, and making one for them is a little way down the road in my plan.
                  First I do their GP listing and a page on my directory site as an introduction deal, then sell then a site of thier own when they see results.

                  So far I have a few first phase clients, and I'm using individual pages on my directory site as their url for GP.

                  I can't see a problem with getting them all into the top 7 for local searches, unless Google objects to them all sharing a root domain.

                  Any advice or thoughts anyone.
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        • Profile picture of the author EmmaPowell
          Originally Posted by MRomeo09 View Post

          Absofreakinglutely.

          Yes I definitely do PPC for most of my clients. In fact most people completely limit themselves when it comes to renting sites, as if the rental were of the utmost importance, in fact the renting can just be a small portion of the income you can derive from a client.

          We typically will try to take over the Google Places account for the site rental. I.e. they never want to leave us.

          As well we offer PPC services and offer usually 3 pricing structures. Those might run $400, $800, $1,500(per month). And we have a strict budget where we only will pay 50% of what we collect in PPC costs. So if the budget is $400 we will do $200/mo in ad spend. Much like Reach Local. We do a really good job of identifying the most profitable keywords to bid on. For instance if we only have a $400/mo budget we will probably go after the keywords that are farther along in the buying cycle with less traffic but should convert better, etc.

          So yeah, this can be very profitable, IF and that's a very big IF, you know what you're doing with PPC.

          Marcos
          Sounds Wicked
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      • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
        Thanks for your input. I understand about tweaking PPC campaigns and that it is necessary. I am not loosing money with PPC, though. The client is paying for it all. My plan is to continue the PPC for all the clients that started this way. I just have to charge these clients more to include PPC.
        Sure I understand you will charge the client and spend a % on PPC regardless starting out new even if not your money the client will be loosing money during this test or start up phase in some cases so expect less results up front.

        In the future I will go after new clients after I have top organic rankings for their keywords, and I can charge these clients less because I don't have the added monthly expense of a PPC budget. The lower price point may sell easier and maybe not.
        you do not have to drop adwords it can be a take it or leave it once your adwords campaign is set up, it can be a booster at anytime the client wants to flick the switch and get more miles from the lead gen site, as most suggest a 50% spend or so, so do not rule it out.

        I am trying to combine the rental site model with what ReachLocal is doing, PPC and organic. They are not really great at either one. But I know I can do both and offer a lot more value.
        yes as above

        If the first batch of clients works out great with this model, I may continue it
        wish you the best with it buddy and hope it goes well for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author dsprank
    If the client is paying for the PPC, then there is no reason not to do it. They will see even better results than SEO alone. Business owners are really only interested in leads and sales, and you will be doing them a great service to do that for them.
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    • Profile picture of the author MRomeo09
      Also don't forget PPC on Yahoo and MSN, they can be extremely profitable. You can get clicks for .02-.15 sometimes when the equivalent in adwords is $2-3. Not as much traffic but a heck of a lot more profitable.

      Marcos
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    I think Marcos meant to include rental website as a destination homepage for the Google Places listing... but I might be wrong :-)

    If the customer decides to leave, they will be forced with replacing that website with their own site and that might cause them to drop in rankings...

    In other words, when Marcos adds his rental site (very well optimized) to his clients GP listing (removes client's old site), it pushes the listing up to top spots.

    Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author TyErickson
    All in all I like to drive about 8 sources of traffic to my client's pages although I mostly do lead gen and not rentals.

    in addition to the above, don't forget Facebook, CL (it can work in some niches), the customers own email database (this is an easy goldmine to tap in many niches) and even the customers own advertising.

    The key is NOT getting rankings...the key is building something that converts traffic into buyers and then driving targeted traffic from all angles.

    What you have to think is..

    If I owned this [plumbing, dental, water damage restoration] company, how would I promote it? And then do that where it will be profitable.

    I've even done direct mail (on the client's dime) and just got paid on the leads it brings in.

    Imagine how much 'rent' you can charge when you add some of these strategies in.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rockrz
    Originally Posted by Falkonator View Post

    Rent-A-Site Hybrid - anyone doing this?
    Naw, but I heard of some guys doing LOWbird... the sites they rent were lower in the rankins so they sold those at a discount to merchants lookin to save some cash. :rolleyes:

    Their sales pitch was, "what's word LOWbird"...and the cheapskates pay small amounts for ads.
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  • Profile picture of the author Green Diamond
    This is an old method!!!

    Renting doesn't work same as what it does before.
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    • Profile picture of the author ayesha14
      Thanks for information
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    • Profile picture of the author link82
      Originally Posted by Alton Trezza View Post

      This is an old method!!!

      Renting doesn't work same as what it does before.
      You can't make such claims without backing them up. Please explain why it is 'an old method' (???) and why it doesn't work same as before.
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  • Profile picture of the author iInvent
    Originally Posted by Falkonator View Post


    In my research I keep running into ReachLocal.
    What Online Marketing Costs | ReachLocal
    Wow...amazingly expensive!!! Can't believe a business would pay so much per month for so little...
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  • Profile picture of the author winsoar
    That's interesting - I've not really considered renting. I've sold some in the past. Nice idea!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jgregory
      To the OP... congratulation on taking some proper action and showing good initiative to find ReachLocal as a comparison to use if needed. Thanks for reminding me of RL. Service Magic prices can be a cold water bath too... so comparisons to what you offer should be dramatic. Actually, you won't need to compare yourself too often, just deliver proven results as you have done with PPC.

      Emma and Romeo have been in this game for a long time doing very well... me too.

      Isn't it interesting how Funeral Announcements get around while the subject is not only alive and well... but thriving.

      After 26 successful years in direct mail, I'm still amazed to see so many forum comments about this great new marketing tool someone has discovered... direct mail. And 9 months ago many were saying direct mail was a dead concept for lead generation. Go figure. Dead? A 3 billion dollar industry in 2010-11.

      For the OP and others... I'd suggest switching the concept in your mind... the bottom line is always bringing value to the table. Why say Rent or Rental? Why say anything?

      Getting outside the box with your business model means reminding ourselves... for your prospects and customers... It's always about the bottom line.

      Marketer pitching an owner: "I can yada yada. I can blah blah. You can rent yada blah from me."

      The Business Owner's Cartoon Thought Bubble: "Yeah, yeah, yeah... why don't you just prove to me you can bring me a steady supply of new customers ringing my phone and I'm yours."

      And for most small business owners the bottom line for promotion is New Customers. This is vocabulary they understand.

      This is not so hard to do... ringing that phone. Why not just start out this way, as the OP did, by showing them the goods early in the game. Get them on the front end of your project with PPC, of course. Start low with owner's payments and increase the phone calls over time... then increase your payments. You own the spigot, after all.

      Phone Traffic > Customers > New customers > Paying Customers you can prove are YOURS from your effort.

      How we get them on the phone... this never seems to matter one itty-bitty whit to the business owners.

      Why limit yourself to renting a site... or limit it to a single website... or a any single traffic source. Consider all of these as business resources at your disposal. And why not use any traffic source that has a positive ROI. Track your metrics. Drop some, keep some, expand some.

      Also for OP, as others have said... PPC... Heck, Yeah! Local clicks can be very cheap too. Just don't go crazy with Adwords. Prime the pump, get a deal going sending those to the owner/prospect you've chosen. Then manage your campaigns to find proven moneyball keywords. Keep those going and keep adding negatives. Simple.

      And Make sure you have a genuine lead funnel built into your site. A real deal lead-gen funnel offering a genuine reason for landing page visitors pick up the phone... these will convert twice to three times as many visitors as the average "rental site" you see out there. And don't forget, every page is a landing page on a lead-gen site.

      And like Romeo told us... keep your eye on the ball for the other opportunities to bring in more revenue from same customers. They want proven results... that's the bottom line.

      Best Regards,

      Jan Gregory

      P.S. Local lead-gen is not a quick-fix... make a quick buck solution... this is said for those newbies trolling here. It takes time, effort, and dollars invested. But sitting outside the box, you realize you are building a long-term asset with a service you control and can sell to whomever you wish. And as of last 6 months a bit more work too... better and more specific content for G to keep ranking.
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  • Profile picture of the author redcell1
    Realize you are building a long-term asset with a service you control and can sell to whomever you wish.

    Jgregory I could not have said this better myself. The Rent A Site model does not just have to be organic SEO,PPC or even online. You can go past online and even do some direct mail. As long as you can drive quality phone calls that convert for your client that a price that makes sense, do what ever type of advertising.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jgregory
      Originally Posted by redcell1 View Post

      Realize you are building a long-term asset with a service you control and can sell to whomever you wish.

      Jgregory I could not have said this better myself. The Rent A Site model does not just have to be organic SEO,PPC or even online. You can go past online and even do some direct mail. As long as you can drive quality phone calls that convert for your client that a price that makes sense, do what ever type of advertising.
      You are so right... you sure can. Direct mail is that orphan child most marketers ignore. It's cost effective and typically reaches an audience other media ( like search) does not.

      And I know there are some real "lead gen pros" in here working the mortgage industry with website captures, but for regular small business owners looking to grow customers/revenue... what we charge for phone traffic is a bargain. And for these small owners... It's simply about phone and foot traffic we can prove is due to our efforts... whatever those are.

      Best Regards,

      Jan Gregory
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