Website Rentals: The Simple Local Websites That Earn $1000/mo

Website Rentals: The Simple Local Websites That Earn 00/mo

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Website Rentals: The Simple Local Websites That Earn 00/moThree months into her new side hustle, Miao Rios got an unexpected call.

It was from the Ministry of Education in New Zealand, inviting her to bid on a large demolition project for a local school.

Now it wasn’t completely out of the blue — she had built a website targeting local demolition projects — but she definitely didn’t own a demolition business.

The intent was to follow a “rank and rent” model:

  • Build local websites
  • Rank them in Google
  • Rent them out to qualified service providers 

In this case, Miao acted fast to find a local contractor, got help polishing up the bidding documents, and ended up earning a $5000 finder’s fee for the job.

In this episode, you’ll learn how Miao builds and ranks her sites to earn $1000-$1500 per month passively. More importantly, you’ll get a blueprint to find profitable niches and service providers to create your own side income stream.

Tune in to Episode 597 of the Side Hustle Show to learn how to:

  • Find profitable niches and locations
  • Build out niche sites to rank locally
  • Get high-quality leads
  • Partner with reliable service contractors

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Website Rentals Niche and Location Selection

The foundation of a successful rank and rent site is picking the right niche and location. But how do you select one?

For niche, Miao likes service-based businesses with high-ticket offerings. Something like concrete contractors, roofers, landscapers – not super glamorous but in demand.

The key is to find an underserved specialty niche. One where no competitor focuses solely on that service.

For example, while general landscaping was competitive in Wellington, New Zealand, no company specialized in just concrete driveways. So Miao built a site specifically around that offering instead.

Photo Credit: Blackbird SEO website

This “backdoor niche” allowed the landscaping company she rented to also upsell paving and retaining wall services.

As for locations, Miao targets cities with 400K in population. The sweet spot where competition isn’t too high but search volume is strong.

To check ideas, she uses SEMrush to analyze metrics like:

  • Keyword difficulty (under 20)
  • Combined monthly search volume (150 searches)

With those filters, it’s surprisingly easy to find available domains matching the city + niche keywords.

Setting Up The Website

Once a niche and location with potential are identified, the next step is setting up a relevant domain name. Miao always includes both location and niche keywords, like [city name + service].com. 

You can do this by plugging your top 5–10 competitors into Semrush or your SEO tool of your choice. See what service pages of theirs already rank well organically.

Then try to match or improve upon that content to build authority and become that “one-stop shop” for your niche.

After securing the best domain possible, her VA (virtual assistant) sets up a WordPress site. Then they build out pages targeting the highest volume relevant keywords, as determined during the research phase.

Photo Credit: Blackbird SEO website

The focus is really on showcasing popular services that potential customers are searching for. So the content is kept rather generic at this point, more like an online directory.

Miao also sets up basic social profiles, local citations, and listings to strengthen the site’s authority and local relevance. Miao shared that she uses Twilio to create a virtual phone number forwarded to her.

One thing that has gotten harder recently is verifying a Google My Business profile without an actual business address. But for this business model, ranking organically for enough local keywords is still viable without GMB.

Effective Local SEO Strategies

If you want your local service business to show up on the first page of Google search results, you need a solid local SEO strategy. Miao shared some effective tactics she uses to rank her lead generation websites:

Build Local Relevance

Creating social media profiles like Facebook pages and citations on directories like Yelp signals to Google that your business has an established local presence. This helps build trust and authority for ranking purposes.

Getting quality backlinks from relevant websites still remains critical for ranking high in competitive niches.

Surprisingly, Miao finds blog comments to be an easy free option – as long as they provide genuine value to the discussion and include a link back to your site.

The key is to provide thoughtful commentary related to the article. Share unique insights and perspectives.

And don’t spam your links. Vary the anchor text across brands, URLs, service area, etc. This looks more natural.

While harder than it used to be, blog commenting is still an effective part of any local SEO strategy.

Get Service Providers On Board

Identifying profitable niche and location combinations is one thing. Finding eager and qualified service providers to rent your sites is another.

This step can make or break your success. After all, these are the “tenants” in a website rental business. They’re what turn your website into an income producing asset.

There can be inconsistencies between the website branding and the provider’s actual branding.

But as Johnny Robinson discussed regarding his window cleaning business, service quality and professionalism are what really matter most to customers.

Screen Contractors Carefully

As Miao’s tree removal call story illustrates, the hard part is finding available contractors who also do quality work.

Established firms already have lots of customers, while unreliable operators can seriously damage your brand reputation.

However, hungry contractors looking to grow are out there.

Miao effectively convinces them to partner by first providing some free lead trials. This allows both sides to evaluate fit – including service quality, response times, professionalism etc.

Avoid desperate contractors willing to take any job or overpromise. Remember – their reputation is tied to the site and yours!

Make Pricing Simple

In terms of pricing models, Miao keeps it simple by charging a fixed monthly fee, typically $1000-$1500 per site. Stripe subscriptions make getting automatically paid easy and hands-off.

Managing dozens of these geo-targeted sites now earning income, Miao focuses mostly on customer service.

She also helps contractors improve their online presence and conversion rates upon request.

Her end goal is establishing “win-win” partnerships that last for the long run.

Help Small Businesses Grow

While passive income is great, Miao’s favorite part of this business is helping niche contractors expand.

Many providers are solo entrepreneurs or small teams just getting started, often immigrants unfamiliar with marketing.

By slingshotting them to the top of Google for overlooked services, Miao helps these modest businesses professionalize and thrive. They can raise prices and still get more customers than ever.

And after weathering early struggles firsthand, she finds joy and purpose in easing the path for other entrepreneurs.

A Day in the Life

Once you have a portfolio of high-performing lead generation sites, what does your day-to-day work look like managing them? For Miao, it allows for a lot of flexibility and travel.

Focus on Existing Assets

With over 45 successful sites already generating leads, Miao now works primarily on finishing the ranking process for newer websites that haven’t hit page 1 rankings yet.

This allows her to maximize revenue from assets she has already built before scaling further.

Strategic Growth

She is selective about adding new websites, focusing only on niches and locations where she can successfully rent them out based on experience. Rapid expansion isn’t the goal – strategic growth of a sustainable portfolio is.

While still involved operationally, Miao now enjoys freedoms like extended vacations most 9-5 jobs would never concede, thanks to systems and teams built over time. Her journey reflects the scalable income potential of a savvy rank and rent business.

Unexpected Lessons

When Miao first started her lead generation sites, she expected to mainly gain technical SEO and marketing knowledge. But looking back over the last few years, she highlights some surprising lessons.

As her portfolio grew, Miao had to level up skills like sales, communication, hiring, problem-solving, and resourcefulness. The breadth of capabilities needed to scale a business was an unexpected realization.

While we focus extensively on traction strategies, Miao realized that creating client demand is far harder than finding people to fulfill the work. Generating and keeping customers should be the priority before locking in suppliers.

Overall, by taking action on the rank and rent model, Miao rapidly developed a wider business acumen way beyond just marketing tactics.

She also recognized focusing relentlessly on providing value to customers as the top priority for growth. For any entrepreneur, the lessons often go deeper than we anticipate when we dive into a new endeavor.

What’s Next for Miao?

As Miao looks at what’s next for Blackbird SEO, she is focused on controlled growth and giving back.

Scaling the Business

Having built a successful portfolio of lead generation sites, Miao is looking to grow her rank and rent business to the next level. She wants to cement her authority in the space while achieving her bigger vision.

Helping Small Businesses Thrive

For Miao, future success blends ambitions of establishing a flourishing company with the heart of empowering other humble founders with the tools to realize their dreams as well. Her multifaceted motivations reflect the personal development she has achieved on her journey as a solopreneur so far.

Miao’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

“Just get it started.”

Episode Links

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