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Case Study: How Lifed.com Earned $205,000 From 2 Blog Posts

By Nate | Case Studies

Dec 17

Lifed.com recently sold for $205,000 on Flippa.

On the surface, it just looks like a typical branded, authority site auction. Nothing unusual right? What’s so surprising about a six figure site sale when the site is a brandable domain, earning $9,000 a month and attracting 40k daily uniques consistently?

Well I’ll tell you:

First, here’s a screenshot of their Google Analytics:

lifed analytics

Some interesting things to note:

  • The site was only started in Aug 2011 – it sold less than 1.5 years later for $205,000 in December 2012.
  • The site went from doing about 1k uniques per day to 60k uniques overnight in mid April, 2012.
  • The last 2 blog posts before the massive April traffic spike have a combined 30 Facebook likes, 11 tweets, 5 G+, and 25 Stumbles.
  • The next 2 blog posts had a combined 9780 Facebook likes, 1156 tweets, 208 G+, and a mind-blowing 738,000 stumbles.
  • It only had when 64 published articles when it first hit 60k uniques in one day in April 2012.
  • It only had 125 published articles when it sold for $205,000
  • The most recent 20 posts (as of today) have a total of 18 comments combined. The last blog post on April 11, 2012 before the massive traffic spike has 57 comments.

How Did They Do It?

So what happened in Mid April that created such a massive traffic boost? What caused this massive growth that led the site from barely eeking out maybe 1k uniques daily, to nearly 60k uniques in a day?

If you guessed that its the 2 blog posts with 3/4 of a million stumbles and nearly 10k Facebook likes, then I’d say you’re probably right.

Let’s take a look at those 2 blog posts, posted back to back:

lifed bucket list

On the flip side, the blog post on April 09 has a total of 23 Facebook likes, 3 tweets, 1 G+, and 24 Stumbles.

It’s safe to say that these 2 blog posts are almost solely responsible for Lifed.com’s eventual sale for $205,000, 8 months after their publication. That’s about $100,000 per blog post – not bad at all.

How Can You Make 6 Figures Off A Blog Post?

In the interest of full disclosure, I can’t say I’ve ever personally made 6 figures off a single blog post (how many of us can?). However, here are a few interesting facts about Lifed.com’s content quoted straight from the auction:

  • “I pay writers between $5 and $10 per 100 words
  • “Includes large pillar articles that take weeks, and hundreds, even thousands of dollars to create.”
  • “I’ve chosen writers based on their ability to write as well as their ability to come up with topics and titles. Therefore, writers are allowed to choose their own topics.”

The internet is full of generic articles offering mediocre advice because its easy to produce. But as you can see here, creating exceptional content that people are eager to share is not easy. It’s time consuming, extremely expensive, and it requires access to not just writers, but actual creative talent.

But They Obviously Got Lucky

Yeah, I can hear the nay-sayers already – “what a lousy case study, those guys just got lucky! I create “quality” content all the time and I never get any shares or likes”.

Yes, in a sense they did get lucky – you can have a great content ideas, but most of them will never go truly viral on this scale, even with solid promotional efforts and careful planning.

But here’s something to think about: earlier in this post, I said that Lifed.com “only” published 64 articles before they hit 60k uniques in a day. But maybe from the site creator’s point of view, it took 64 attempts before they managed to gain major traction. Maybe it took 64 attempts of pouring “weeks, and hundreds, even thousands of dollars to create” just to produce a single article that “goes viral”.

And let me ask you this:

    • How much time do you actually spend crafting article ideas for your blogs (other than blogs with your personal brand)?
    • How much time do you spend honing your copywriting skills so you can create headlines and content that forces the reader down the page?
    • Do you actively think about these elements of crafting contagious content when you assign article topics?


  • Did you research your niche before jumping in? Is this an area where people actually share content? (Hint: No one shares content about “blue ski boots” – shoutout to AdsenseFlippers for the reference)


  • How often do you split test your blog layout to minimize bounce rate?
  • When you’re taking a break to read stupid news stories, watch random youtube clips, or check people’s twitter updates, how much attention do you pay to the items that draw your attention?  Do you study your own browsing habits?
  • When you recruit writers, do you look at their past works and whether they have “gone viral” in the past?
  • Do you hire passionate writers that live and breath their niche, or do you hire generic article writers that spend an hour doing research and spit out “original” content?
  • Do you find great writers, pay them what they’re worth, and give them autonomy to give you incredible ideas? When was the last time you invested a full week’s time into writing a single post, or spent $1000s of dollars into creating a single article?

Just to be clear – I’m not taking any kind of moral high ground on cranking out mediocre content, because lord knows I’ve commissioned my share of mediocre content.  I realize that in many cases, there may be a higher ROI in cranking out mediocre, run-of-the mill content (although much less so since Penguin) than investing in real quality.

However – if you’re tired of crapping your pants every time Matt Cutts sends out a tweet, then simply raising the bar from “crappy/mediocre” to “mediocre/sorta good” isn’t going to cut it.

I’m not going to repeat tripe BS like “content is king”, because really, what does that mean? There’s a lot of fantastic content from world-class minds that get very little exposure, and lots of mediocre, brain rotting junk that gets millions of pageviews (don’t believe me? Go find a picture of pregnant Snooki on Huffington Post and see how many people comment and share).

Instead, I’ll say this – if you make niche Adsense websites and you’re tired of depending on Google for all of your traffic, you need to go beyond the bare minimum to avoid getting Google Slapped. You need to treat your content like a product. If you wanted to create something a buzzworthy product, would you be happy with a mediocre, me-too creation?   Or would you invest time in knowing your market inside and out, talking with potential customers, baking in a USP, and teaming up with great people to make your vision a reality?

If you want to create buzzworthy content that gets shared and liked across social networks, you need to approach your content sites like you’re creating a buzzworthy product, not a run-of-the-mill, mediocre knock-off.

As always, feel free to throw questions and criticisms at me in the comments, twitter, or via email. If you enjoyed this case study, be sure to Add Seoflipper.com To Your RSS Feed and don’t forget to follow along on twitter as well.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur, SEO, nap enthusiast, twitter lurker.