In this week’s teardown we analyze a 13-year-old beer brewing niche site, HomebrewAcademy.com. The site receives about 172,000 traffic per month (Ahrefs estimate).
The owners of this brand have done an excellent job of covering the niche of homebrewing with many useful guides and expanding into related topics with good search volume.
Homebrewing is a growing hobby that requires special equipment and education. This creates opportunities to earn a strong income by serving this audience.
In this teardown, we review what this site is doing really well and identify areas of improvement that could increase traffic and revenue in the future.
This is what I cover in this report:
- Website overview
- Major highlights
- Competitor overview
- Easy wins to increase revenue and/or traffic
- Actionable takeaways you can apply
Let’s get into it!
✅ Website Overview & Highlights
The website has had strong organic traffic growth over the past 3 years and is at an all-time high of 172k traffic according to Ahrefs.
Despite several SEO-first articles like “Does Rootbeer Have Caffeine” and “Does Beer Expire”, the site looks like it avoided an impact from the September HCU. This may be due to factors like links from many high authority media sites and demonstrating first-hand experience in the niche.
The Ahrefs chart shows nice and steady organic traffic growth over the past few years without any major traffic drops.
The site was created by Billy Broas, an expert homebrewer who provided free and paid homebrewing training. The team has grown to multiple authors with 7 team members listed on the About page.
Archive.org shows that the site has been active since 2010, although the logo says that the brand started in 2001.
Originally, the site was focused on the homebrewing training program that cost $47 but they later added hundreds of informational articles about homebrewing different types of beer as well as general alcoholic beverage topics.
The site’s articles feature screenshots and videos from popular homebrewing YouTubers like The Homebrew Challenge rather than their own YouTube channel. It appears that they partnered with these YouTubers to use their content on the site. This is a clever way to demonstrate first-hand experience in the niche that is covered (without having to do as much work).
Instead of creating its own course, the site now promotes external courses from Brew Cabin, BeerAndBrewing.com, and SkillShare. The site features its recommended courses on the Online Homebrewing Courses page and its email newsletter.
The website design is pretty basic, however, they use a lot of custom images to add visual appeal and personality to the site.
- 2,500 referring domains
- About 700 well-written guides and articles
- 30k email list with a newsletter sent about once per week
- Facebook Group with 4.8k members
Why is this site winning?
- Lots of high authority links like USA Today, Fox Business, and Seattle Times
- Lots of relevant links from food related sites like Eater.com, Food and Wine
- Good topical relevance from covering a lot of homebrewing topics from beginner to advanced
- Demonstrates good subject matter expertise with tutorials showing first hand experience
Top 3 Competitors
Here are similar competitors targeting many of the same keywords:
- BeerAdvocate.com – A large forum site with mostly user-generated content (775k organic traffic Ahrefs)
- BeerAndBrewing.com – A comprehensive homebrewing site with a magazine and a large library of homebrewing courses (138k organic traffic Ahrefs)
- UnknownBrewing.com – An informational site focused on general beer topics (44k organic traffic Ahrefs)
Let’s get into the easy wins to grow this specific website.
🔥 5 Easy Wins To Grow This Website
There are opportunities to significantly grow this brand. I break down the following easy wins:
- Add popup CTAs for email collection
- Promote food and beverage related content on Pinterest
- Update existing content to improve content quality
- Add more text affiliate links to articles
- Remove prices from product boxes
Let’s get into it!
➡️ Win #1: Add Popup CTAs for Email Collection
The site does a nice job collecting emails with an in-line call to action and a large attention-grabbing sidebar banner.
They also use their 4.8k member Facebook Group to collect emails when someone fills out the survey to join the group.
One tactic that could increase email signups is to add a popup that offers an attractive giveaway. Popups get higher conversion rates than on-page CTAs so this should help the email list grow.
With about 30k email subscribers, they can continue to build on their existing audience which will help them sell sponsorships to brands in the homebrewing industry.
Growing the email list will also help hedge against the risk of future Google algorithm updates.
➡️ Win #2: Promote Food and Beverage Related Content on Pinterest
This site has a small Pinterest following of 500 people and there is a good opportunity to increase traffic by leveraging the Pinterest platform.
Food related sites tend to do very well on Pinterest as the users like to share content related to food and recipes.
There are a lot of beverage articles on this site that would appeal to Pinterest users looking for drink recipe ideas like “Homemade Apple Wine Recipe” and ” Refreshing Radler Paloma Cocktail Recipe”. Food and beverage listicles could also do well on Pinterest such as “Best Japanese Beers” and “7 Beer Cake Recipe Ideas”.
Their competitor, BeerAndBrewing.com, was able to grow a Pinterest account with 22k followers and 449k monthly views, and they do not even have content on more female-friendly topics like winemaking, cocktail recipes, and food recipes.
One tactic that would help encourage the sharing of interesting beverage-related content on Pinterest is to add a Pin It button on top of images with a WordPress plugin like Tasty Pins.
➡️ Win #3: Update Existing Content to Improve Content Quality
It is a good practice to find outdated content or content that could be improved and make updates to improve sitewide content quality.
For pages that have dropped in the rankings or are in position 4-9 on Google for valuable keywords, a content update can provide an SEO boost to push it up to a top 3 position where it can get more clicks.
Query Hunter is a useful WordPress plugin that shows page-level data on keywords that are generating clicks without being mentioned on the page. Content can be added to pages that directly address these keywords that are already driving traffic.
We noticed that some articles repurpose YouTube videos with text transcripts added to the page. Since most people do not like reading transcripts, the content can be improved with a rewrite.
Transcript content may not be good to include on pages because it can look like unhelpful content that Google is trying to fight against through algorithm updates like the Helpful Content Update.
➡️ Win #4: Add More Text Affiliate Links to Articles
We noticed that some pages mention a lot of products but don’t always link the product name to the affiliate product page.
It is easy to miss adding text links to mentions of products that people want to buy or learn more about.
A good practice is to comb through the site and look for mentions of products that could be linked to a product page.
One way to increase click through rate on text affiliate links is to use a text color that stands out, underline the links, and change the background color when the mouse hovers over it.
➡️ Win #5: Remove Prices from Product Boxes
Many of the site’s product boxes show the current Amazon price of the product.
Showing the price is not usually the optimal way to encourage readers to click on the affiliate links because it lowers curiosity. It is usually better to use a call to action like “Check Today’s Price” to increase the click through rate.
If the reader already knows the price of a product, they may lose motivation to click and may just make a mental note to buy the product on Amazon at a later time.
👉 Actionable Takeaways
Here are actionable takeaways that you can apply to your niche website today:
- Find product mentions in articles that are missing affiliate links.
- Promote food related content on Pinterest to grow traffic from this popular platform.
- Review your site for pages with unhelpful content and update the content to improve content quality.
- Don’t display the price of affiliate products because it lowers the motivation for people to click on the CTA.