FourMinuteBooks.com Teardown: 5 Easy Wins, Highlights, Takeaways

Mushfiqur Sarker
Last updated: August 10, 2023

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We analyze a 7-year-old book summary website, FourMinuteBooks.com. The site receives over 550,000+ visits per month (Ahrefs estimate).

This is an interesting site because it ranks highly for many book summary keywords for popular books. It averages about 390 visitors per page across 1,400 pages.

The book summary niche is interesting because there are thousands of books that people are searching for summaries of. Many of these searchers are professionals who are looking for a solution to help them save time and be more productive or successful.

The owner has done an excellent job with publishing a large library of over 1,200 book summaries that helps visitors save time and learn valuable information.

Additionally, they offer a membership program to access the audio and PDF version of all 1,200 summaries for a one-time fee of $79.99. This is an inexpensive alternative to Blinkist which costs $99.99 per year.

Despite, the strong traffic numbers we believe there are several opportunities to increase traffic and revenue by implementing some easy wins.

This is what we 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!

Disclaimer: Only public tools such as Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, and my experiences are used in these teardowns. I do not know the owners nor have access to Google Analytics and earnings.




✅ Website Overview & Highlights

The Four Minute Books site has had tremendous growth since January 2021, growing from 100k to 500k in 2023 (400% growth). It is currently near its all-time high in traffic with no significant traffic drops since it started.

It ranks very high for some popular and competitive keywords like “best self help books” and “best finance books”, even outranking Amazon in many cases.

The branding of the domain name is strong because it’s memorable and describes the main value proposition of the site: learning key takeaways from a book in just four minutes.

The site has a strong backlink profile with over 7,500 referring link domains, mostly from organic citations.

4 minute books ahrefs

The site was started in 2016 by Niklas Göke, an author from Germany who self-published the personal finance book The Four Minute Millionaire.

Niklas wrote many of the articles for the site himself including 365 book summaries in the first year. According to Nik.art, his personal website, Four Minute Books is “basically a one-person business”.

His site does a good job of displaying trust signals by showing that they have readers from several well-known companies. It might be better if they changed this to “Customers” or “Subscribers” instead of “Readers”.

4 minute books trust brands

However, the website design is so basic that it reduces trust and creates doubt about whether this is a reputable publication. It is currently using the Sparkling WordPress theme which is a free theme released in 2014.

The site’s logo could also be improved:

four minute books logo

Additionally, a better favicon could encourage more clicks in search results:

4 minute books favicon

It is rare to find a site with 550k monthly visitors with a more basic design than this one (it doesn’t even have a logo on the homepage). A redesign is needed to help this site look more credible, especially for professionals considering the purchase of the $79.99 membership.

4 minute books homepage 1

Highlights

  • About 550k monthly visits
  • 95,000 email subscriber list
  • 7,500 referring domains
  • A lifetime membership product for $79.99
  • YouTube channel with 27k subscribers

Why is this site winning?

  1. Providing valuable book summaries for free that competitors like Shortform and Blinkist charge money for.
  2. Good internal linking from their top X books listicle articles.

Top 3 Competitors

Here are similar competitors targeting many of the same keywords.

  • Blinkist.com – The largest brand in the book summary industry and the competitor with the most shared keywords with FourMinuteBooks.com.
  • Readingraphics.com – A similar site with more of a focus on visual book summaries with 41k traffic.
  • LifeClub.org – Another site with many book summary articles and 25k traffic.

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 affiliate links to product images and H2s
  • Add more “best books” listicle articles on different topics
  • Add a timed popup with a CTA to buy a discounted membership
  • Link to the Blinkist affiliate program on book listicles
  • Identify new keywords to target

Let’s get into it!

➡️ Win #1: Add affiliate links to product images and H2s

There are many images of books throughout the site, including on the popular “best X books” articles that get thousands of visitors per month.

The conversion rate optimization can be improved by implementing some easy wins like adding an affiliate link to Amazon for each book image.

four minute book images

Additionally, we think it makes sense to change the H2 link for each book to an affiliate link instead of an internal link. This would increase clicks to Amazon and grow the monthly revenue.

Currently, the H2 links to the book summary on the page, but an internal link could be added to the content instead and have the same SEO benefit.

Takeaway: Link product images to Amazon Associates for an incremental increase in revenue.

➡️ Win #2: Add more “Best Books” listicles about different topics

The “best books” lists are ranking very well and generating as much as 69k traffic from a single list article (“Best Self Help Books of All Time to Read at Any Age”).

Listicles appear to be the most successful content format on the site however we found only about 18 of these “best books” list articles. There are potentially hundreds more topics that can be covered with a similar format.

These articles also have a good buying intent because the visitor is looking for books to read and are more likely to click on affiliate links to Amazon or Blinkist.

Additionally, the articles are based on a repeatable template so putting these lists together is fairly easy and can even be outsourced.

Takeaway: Check Google Analytics to determine which content types receive the highest average visitors per page and create more of that content type.

➡️ Win #3: Add a timed popup with a CTA to buy a discounted membership with a countdown timer

After visitors have spent some time on the site learning about the time-saving and valuable free book summaries, the site could display a popup window with a discounted offer for the membership program and a countdown timer.

A popup with a countdown timer can be added using a plugin like Optin Monster and can be very effective in converting visitors if the offer is compelling.

They are doing a good job of converting visitors to sign up for the email newsletter with CTAs like a bar that sticks to the top of the page as the visitor scrolls.

4 minute books email cta header

There is also a short quiz that slides up from the bottom of the page and then offers a relevant PDF download at the end of the quiz.

4 minute books email quiz

These email CTAs have been effective as the site has built a large email list of 95,000 subscribers.

Another option that could be tested is to add an exit-intent popup to ask visitors to sign up for the email newsletter.

Takeaway: A timed popup window that displays a compelling offer with a countdown timer is an effective way to increase conversions for a product.

➡️ Win #4: Link to Blinkist Affiliate Program on Book Listicles

In addition to CTA buttons for Amazon, we think it would also make sense to add a CTA button for Blinkist.

Blinkist is a well-known provider of audio summaries of books with just under 1 million paying users. Blinkist offers a 20% revenue share through their affiliate program with an annual plan costing $99.99. The affiliate earnings are higher than if the visitor buys a book from Amazon (about $20 versus $1 per conversion).

Since many visitors are seeking book summaries, many would be willing to pay for high-quality audio summaries from the leading brand in book summaries.

Another alternative affiliate program is ShortForm, a similar service to Blinkist that costs almost twice as much at $197.04 per year.

4 minute books cta amazon

Takeaway: Adding additional affiliate programs besides Amazon can help you increase and diversify revenue.

➡️ Win #5: Identify New Keywords to Target

To expand the number of keywords this site ranks for, they could use Ahref’s Content Gap to find keywords that their top competitors rank for in the top 10 that they do not.

4 minute books content gap

Additionally, they could identify trending keywords such as new books that are rising on the best seller lists like Amazon Best Sellers. Summaries could be added for recently published books, which will often have low competition.

Exploding Topics and Google Trends are also good sources to find topics that are growing in popularity. For example, AI-related keywords have increased in popularity recently so a list of “Best Books About AI” has good potential.

exploding topics trends 1

Maintaining a list in Google Sheets of competitors and similar sites can help with finding attractive keyword opportunities that competitors already rank for.

Takeaway: An often overlooked easy win is to identify keywords that competitors already rank for that you haven’t covered yet.



👉 Actionable Takeaways

Here are actionable takeaways that you can apply to your niche website today:

  1. Link all product images to Amazon or another affiliate program for an incremental earnings increase.
  2. Test whether linking to alternative affiliate programs earns more than links to Amazon Associates.
  3. Test a popup window offer with a countdown timer for your own product or a relevant affiliate product.
  4. Look for content templates that can be repeated easily to target many related keywords.
  5. Identify keywords with growing popularity with tools like Exploding Topics and Google Trends.



Mushfiqur Sarker

Analyzed by Mushfiq Sarker

Mushfiq has been buying, growing, and selling website assets since 2008. His first exit was in 2010. Since then, he has done 215+ website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. Learn more about Mushfiq.


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