Replacing Rental Properties With Websites: How Forrest Webber Grew to $40k Per Month

Last updated: Jun 30, 2023

This video is about Forrest Webber's journey of replacing rental properties with websites and how he grew his portfolio of websites to generate $40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.

This video by Niche Pursuits was published on Feb 1, 2023.
Video length: 01:01:21.

This video is an interview with Forrest Weber, who runs a portfolio of about 20 websites and an SEO agency.

Forrest shares his journey of transitioning from real estate to investing in websites, despite having limited knowledge of SEO. He discusses how he applied his operational and leadership expertise to grow his websites, which now generate $40,000 per month through display ads and affiliate sales.

The interview provides insights on team management, operational strategies, and scaling websites.

  • Forrest Weber runs a portfolio of about 20 websites and an SEO agency.
  • His websites now generate $20k-$40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.
  • Forrest emphasizes the importance of operations and team management in growing a website portfolio.
  • Forrest's websites have gone through ups and downs, but have reached a point where they generate significant revenue.
  • His websites receive millions of words published and generate income through display ads and affiliate sales from Amazon.
  • Forrest shares insights on how to scale a niche site portfolio and build successful websites.
  • Forrest's background in real estate and finance has provided him with valuable knowledge and perspectives.
  • He discusses the challenges and rewards of building and managing a team in the website business.
  • Forrest discusses the importance of link building and PR campaigns for website growth.

Replacing Rental Properties With Websites: How Forrest Webber Grew to $40k Per Month - YouTube

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Forrest Weber's Background and Approach

  • Forrest Weber runs a portfolio of about 20 websites and an SEO agency.
  • He started buying websites without much SEO knowledge, but focused on applying his operational and leadership expertise.
  • His websites now generate $20k-$40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.
  • Forrest emphasizes the importance of operations and team management in growing a website portfolio.
  • He shares insights on bringing on and leading a team, as well as removing oneself from day-to-day processes.
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Growing a Portfolio of Websites

  • Forrest's websites have gone through ups and downs, but have reached a point where they generate significant revenue.
  • His websites receive millions of words published and generate income through display ads and affiliate sales from Amazon.
  • Forrest shares insights on how to scale a niche site portfolio and build successful websites.
  • He emphasizes the importance of keyword research, link building, and content writing.
  • Forrest's websites now generate $20k-$40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.
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Leadership and Operational Insights

  • Forrest's background in real estate and finance has provided him with valuable knowledge and perspectives.
  • He shares insights on how to lead people and grow teams effectively.
  • Forrest emphasizes the importance of operational efficiency and removing oneself from day-to-day processes.
  • He discusses the challenges and rewards of building and managing a team in the website business.
  • Forrest's websites now generate $20k-$40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.
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Replacing Rental Properties With Websites: How Forrest Webber Grew to $40k Per Month - YouTube

Sponsorships and Link Building Strategies

  • The podcast episode is sponsored by nichesites.com, a platform that offers services to help scale niche site portfolios.
  • Forrest discusses the importance of link building and PR campaigns for website growth.
  • He shares a case study of how his agency built digital PR links for a client's website.
  • Forrest emphasizes the value of using freely available data from official sources for link building campaigns.
  • His websites now generate $20k-$40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.
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Background and Starting in Real Estate

  • Forrest started his website about five years ago, but his journey began in college when he learned about making money through blogging.
  • He initially started a website called oneminutemoney.com, but it didn't take off and he eventually abandoned it.
  • He then moved into finance and real estate, with his undergraduate degree in finance and graduate school focused on real estate.
  • While his classmates went to work in big cities, Forrest stayed in College Station, Texas, which Forbes considered the most undervalued real estate in the nation.
  • He partnered with a local broker to get into student housing development, which aligned with his interests.
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Transitioning to Websites

  • Forrest realized early on that he loved to learn but didn't love to work, so he set a goal to retire by the age of 30.
  • He wanted to find the quickest way to own the most rental properties, so he raised $3.5 million of private equity capital and invested in student housing apartments.
  • This experience taught him how to create a business with segmented operations, which he wanted to replicate in the website space.
  • When the market in College Station took off, Forrest sold the apartments and cashed out close to a million dollars.
  • He used this capital to accelerate his entry into the website space and skip some of the early technical stages.
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Personal Challenges and Perspective

  • In 2015, Forrest closed out most of his real estate investments and his first daughter was born prematurely while he was displaced in Seattle.
  • Working from a hospital for 108 days made him realize the privilege of being able to work in the digital nomad community.
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Investigating Website Assets

  • Forrest took his capital and entered the website space, realizing that online assets could be treated like rental properties.
  • He discovered that website assets could be purchased based on historical documented earnings and priced earnings ratios.
  • Unlike commercial real estate, where pro forma income statements are often not truthful, the website space requires more transparency due to publicly available data.
  • Forrest initially had plans to work with private equity groups, but he found success as a solopreneur and preferred that approach.
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Similarity between website building and real estate

  • Website building is often compared to real estate in terms of investment and growth.
  • Link building in website building is compared to building infrastructure in real estate.
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Snapshot of Forrest Webber's websites and SEO agency

  • Forrest Webber has a portfolio of about 20 websites.
  • These websites have published a total of 13,298,000 words across 8,000 articles.
  • The average monthly word count on these websites ranges from 9,000 to 30,000 words.
  • Most of the websites were acquired, but some were built from scratch.
  • Forrest Webber started his SEO agency in the last year or two.
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Operational challenges and hiring a director

  • Managing a portfolio of 20 websites with a high word count is a significant operational challenge.
  • Forrest Webber's biggest victory has been hiring a great director to handle operations.
  • The director is responsible for directing the operations of all 20 websites.
  • Forrest Webber's role now is more like an investor in the business.
  • He focuses on the business side rather than technical SEO.
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Revenue and profit numbers

  • The portfolio of 20 websites generates an average of $30,000 per month in display ad revenue.
  • Display ad revenue has reached as high as $40,000 per month.
  • The websites also make $5,000 to $12,000 per month from Amazon affiliate sales.
  • There are a few other affiliate programs, but not much time is invested in managing them.
  • Forrest Webber recently signed up for affiliate with Monica Lentz and is excited to explore her platform.
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When did the SEO agency come into play and why?

  • Forrest wanted to retire early and have a slow-paced life.
  • He was inspired by books like "Work Less, Live More" and "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free."
  • He wanted to build something that could serve other bloggers.
  • The SEO agency came about a little over a year ago.
  • Forrest wanted to build an operational team first before focusing on his personal happiness.
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Similarities between Forrest's agency and the interviewer's agency

  • Both agencies started as service providers before building their own websites.
  • Forrest's agency is called "Rent My Team" and it uses the same resources that built his portfolio of websites.
  • The interviewer's agency also does SEO work and website building.
  • Both agencies have experienced the benefits of using their operational strengths to serve clients while building their own websites.
  • Forrest's partner has incredible service leadership, which they wanted to open up to more people.
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Building websites vs. property management

  • Forrest compares building websites to property management in the real estate world.
  • He started with third-party management in real estate and eventually moved to self-serving.
  • Forrest believes in the strategy of "never lift a hammer" and always being in control of the process.
  • He wanted to build something that could serve other bloggers and provide them with the same operational strengths.
  • Forrest appreciates the interviewer's model of bringing in assets while serving clients.
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Inspiration for others

  • Forrest's journey of building websites while serving clients can inspire others to consider similar approaches.
  • It gives people ideas and thoughts to think about when deciding whether to start building their own websites or work for an agency first.
  • Forrest's strategy of "never lift a hammer" can be applied to various industries and situations.
  • His story shows that it's possible to build a successful portfolio of websites while also serving clients.
  • Forrest's approach aligns with his desire for a slow-paced and meaningful life.
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Forrest's initial approach to website building

  • Forrest's first acquisition was a $17,000 website from Empire Flippers in September 2017.
  • He initially thought website management would be comparable to real estate management, but it turned out to be more active and intensive.
  • He partnered with a friend to manage the website, but his friend eventually realized it wasn't feasible due to his full-time job.
  • Forrest then made two more acquisitions, totaling over $200,000, which brought his monthly revenue to over $10,000.
  • He started hiring and outsourcing content and links to scale his website portfolio.
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Challenges and learning lessons in scaling websites

  • Forrest admits to making mistakes and learning lessons along the way.
  • He had to quickly outsource content and links to scale his websites.
  • Managing websites was different from managing rental properties, and Forrest had to learn on-page SEO.
  • He hired Content Refined and was inspired by John Gillen, founder of Authority Website Income.
  • Forrest acknowledges the challenges of managing websites, especially when dealing with algorithm changes.
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Forrest's approach to operations and management

  • Forrest believes in empowering his team and making it clear who is responsible for each task.
  • He tries to delegate operations to others but steps in to analyze and solve problems when necessary.
  • Forrest emphasizes the importance of clear communication and accountability in managing a team.
  • He has built an internal team by hiring freelancers from platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.
  • Forrest also mentions the slow learning curve of basic SEO and his use of Content Refined to scale content production.
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Forrest's rapid revenue growth and scaling strategy

  • Forrest experienced rapid revenue growth, going from $0 to $12,500 per month in just two months.
  • He focused on outsourcing content and link building to quickly scale his website portfolio.
  • Forrest admits to not knowing much about SEO initially but learned on the job.
  • He mentions the challenges of managing websites compared to real estate properties.
  • Forrest shares his interest in new SEO tools like Originality.ai and mentions the importance of staying updated in the industry.
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Transitioning from Real Estate to Websites

  • Forrest initially bought an e-commerce boutique website without much knowledge about content production.
  • He hired a marketing agency to handle the website's marketing and sales.
  • However, the website's sales dropped significantly, causing Forrest to doubt his decision.
  • He sold one of his real estate properties to cover the losses and fired the first marketing agency.
  • Forrest then hired another agency, but they suspected that he had been scammed.
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Learning from Losses and Transitioning to Content Sites

  • After experiencing losses with the e-commerce site, Forrest focused on his other blogs that were still growing and generating consistent rankings.
  • He realized that content site portfolios were a better fit for him.
  • The e-commerce site became a capital loss on his taxes.
  • Forrest acknowledges the differences between managing real estate properties and websites.
  • He had to learn the hard way that websites require a different approach to management.
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Turning the Corner and Making Operations Profitable

  • After the e-commerce flop, Forrest decided not to buy more e-commerce sites.
  • He spent a year regrouping and reforming his business plan.
  • Forrest parted ways with his manager and found a new director with marketing experience.
  • They focused on high editorial standards and producing high-quality content.
  • Forrest took a break from pursuing scalable products but eventually returned to it.
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Building a Team

  • Forrest Webber built a team of 10 administrative VAs and outsourced writing to contract writers or agencies.
  • They would edit and publish the content themselves, focusing on interlinking.
  • This team structure worked well for them and is typical for someone with multiple websites.
  • After a couple of years, his partner decided to pursue something else, but Forrest acquired a website from Muhammad Kaiser, who had a background in link building and SEO.
  • Impressed by Kaiser's professionalism and communication, Forrest offered him a part-time contract, which eventually turned into a full-time position.
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Running 20 Sites

  • Forrest currently runs 20 websites and publishes a lot of content.
  • He recommends two books for managing and scaling with a team: "Managing Yourself" from Harvard Business Review and "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael Gerber.
  • In "The E-Myth Revisited," Gerber discusses the three business personalities: the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.
  • Forrest focused on the managerial aspects of his business and implemented two major reports: a KPI report and a start-stop-continue report.
  • The KPI report tracks key performance indicators, such as article performance and rankings, while the start-stop-continue report helps prioritize new ideas and initiatives.
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Challenges and Lessons Learned

  • Forrest initially believed that the website space had unlimited potential, but he realized that there is always more to learn and others may be more knowledgeable.
  • He had to develop a system to contain his own shiny object syndrome and focus on what truly matters.
  • Hiring a director doesn't mean delegating every idea and task; it requires strategic planning and prioritization.
  • Forrest's KPI report and start-stop-continue report helped him stay organized and focused on measurable results.
  • He learned the importance of setting realistic goals and expectations, as well as the value of continuous learning and improvement.
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Website Process and Content Strategy

  • Perform a full-scale audit on the SEO side, including a link profile and content audit.
  • Set goals for the website based on key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Interview and hire in-house resources, such as writers, if needed.
  • Consolidate writers into a branch office for better oversight and performance.
  • Collaborate with a creative team, including a senior designer and ghostwriter, for creative projects.
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Website Targets and Model

  • Aim to grow websites indefinitely, although most websites will eventually be sold.
  • Typically sell websites after three years, except for seedling sites in the personal portfolio.
  • Some client websites have specific time periods for selling, while others are used as lead generation models for their businesses.
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Operational Insights

  • Use software systems like Basecamp, ClickUp, Asana, and Trello for organization and management.
  • If not good at organization, consider finding someone who is and let them manage the process.
  • Focus on operational efficiencies, hiring, scaling, and managing to achieve scale.
  • Have a director and manager to handle organization and oversight.
  • Operate websites for clients and manage their websites as well.
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Operational Mistakes in Website Building

  • Most website builders are following the right advice and doing the right things.
  • However, some may lack confidence and worry about the success of their site.
  • Algorithm updates and other factors can potentially impact the success of a website.
  • Diversification and spreading across multiple sites is recommended.
  • Joining a team or forming a small network can provide the benefits of the network effect.
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Value of Multiple Websites

  • Having multiple websites can provide operational efficiencies and value.
  • Consider mimicking operational efficiencies even if you don't have them yet.
  • Mapping out the hierarchy and roles of your organizational system can help in the early stages.
  • Treat the technician, manager, and entrepreneur roles as already existing from day one.
  • Think and work as though you're already in the future state you want to be in.
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Assigning Time and Prioritizing Websites

  • Decisions on assigning time and prioritizing websites have shifted over time.
  • These decisions are initiated by the director.
  • Assigning teams and prioritizing content is complex, especially with 20 websites.
  • Micro-level decisions are made based on factors such as revenue potential and project complexity.
  • Regular evaluation and adjustment of priorities is necessary.
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Shifting the Model for Managing Websites

  • Treated the portfolio as though it was a client.
  • Each website needed content and link building.
  • Needed someone to oversee and manage the SEO.
  • Realized that some websites needed higher quality links.
  • Formed small teams for each blog.
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Training Directors for Each Blog

  • Each director of a blog is trained in multiple departments.
  • Directors are trained in how to do link building and outreach.
  • Results have improved and costs have decreased.
  • Wishes there was a video explaining the technical details.
  • Entrepreneur analyzes reports and has conversations with the director.
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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Looks at number of words and articles published.
  • Reviews revenue from different categories.
  • Invests in building links to important articles or silos.
  • Creates special reports for new processes or experiments.
  • Looks at RPMs for each site over time.
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Building Value per Visit

  • Discusses an interview about Facebook ads for bloggers.
  • Building high-value pages can increase revenue.
  • Shares an experiment with a DIY gardening blog and Facebook ads.
  • Looks for opportunities to scale and increase value per visit.
  • Industry tends to focus on technical aspects, but it's important to step back and hire help.
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Staying Out of Other People's Business

  • Advantage of being lazy and not wanting to do technical work.
  • Respecting the learning process of others and their slower pace.
  • Avoiding jumping back into technical components during insecure moments.
  • Recognizing when insecurity is causing the desire to take over.
  • Noticing and addressing feelings of insecurity and evaluating if they are justified.
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Future Plans for the Portfolio

  • Desire to have a passion interest website that is built from scratch.
  • Goal to create product ladders that offer value to a specific community.
  • Current focus on growing the agency side of the business.
  • Experience with side gigs and not enjoying them.
  • Interest in building a business with clients and creating valuable relationships.
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Forrest's Plans for the Future

  • Grow the agencies to the point where they're larger than his portfolio.
  • Diversify the mediums of content production, such as more YouTube videos and higher quality pages.
  • Implement the product ladder on some of his personal blogs.
  • Develop a WordPress plugin for portfolio owners that shows key performance indicators (KPIs) and writer performance.
  • Eventually, explore software sales or tech development.
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Forrest's Focus on Leadership and Operations

  • Forrest's angle in this interview is focused on operations and leadership.
  • He shares insights on best practices for managing, scaling, and leading a portfolio of websites.
  • He emphasizes the importance of having a dashboard or plugin for portfolio owners to track KPIs and writer performance.
  • Forrest appreciates the opportunity to share his insights and hopes it is helpful to others.
  • Forrest's agency, Digital.com, is set up to help bloggers and offers a page for affiliate marketing.
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Forrest's Website and Email List

  • Forrest launched forestweber.com to help new bloggers and those who want to become portfolio owners.
  • He encourages people to sign up for his email list to stay updated.
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Conclusion and Sponsorship

  • The host thanks Forrest for his insights and looks forward to catching up in the future.
  • The episode is sponsored by nichesites.com, which offers services to help scale and build websites.
  • Search Intelligence is also a sponsor, offering digital PR services for link building.
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Replacing Rental Properties With Websites: How Forrest Webber Grew to $40k Per Month

  • Forrest Webber replaced his rental properties with websites and grew his portfolio to generate $40k per month through display ads and affiliate sales.
  • He started by building niche websites and monetizing them through display ads and affiliate marketing.
  • Forrest focused on creating high-quality content and optimizing his websites for search engines.
  • He used keyword research and SEO strategies to drive organic traffic to his websites.
  • Forrest also diversified his income by creating multiple websites in different niches.
  • He scaled his business by outsourcing content creation and website management tasks.

Watch the video on YouTube:
Replacing Rental Properties With Websites: How Forrest Webber Grew to $40k Per Month - YouTube

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