Teardown: 3 Easy Wins, Highlights, Valuation

mushfiq sarker

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I analyze a 21-year-old outdoors personalized blog, The site receives 75,000+ pageviews per month (Ahrefs estimate).

The site owner, Alan Dixon, has done an outstanding job of sharing his extensive knowledge of the outdoors with the wider public through his blog, which has now been active for two decades.

I am doing this teardown because it provides a perfect example of how a hobby can be transformed into a lucrative source of income

This is what I cover in this report:

  • Website overview
  • Major highlights
  • Competitor overview
  • Easy wins to increase revenue and/or traffic
  • How much is this website worth (valuation)
  • Actionable takeaways you can apply

Let’s get into it!

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

✅ Website Overview & Highlights

The website has had amazing growth over the last couple of years peaking at 110,000+ pageviews/mo according to Ahrefs (most likely much more).

Ahrefs shows a steady growth traffic curve until a May 2022 Google update with a significant amount of referring domains (2,800+) linking to the site. 200 of those are DR 30+ domains do follow linking this site.

Overview Ahrefs

The website’s domain has been active since 2002, and has undergone various iterations of Alan’s hiking and backpacking blog. These include trip blogs, gear reviews, and other similar outdoor content

In the beginning, the website solely focused on ultralight backpacking, which was considered a novelty concept at the turn of the century.

Over time, both the website design and content have evolved.

Adventure Alans Website


  • 20+ years old site
  • 167 articles created by an expert in the hiking niche
  • Real product reviews where the writers tested the products
  • Backlinks from sites like REI, LifeHacker and Popular Mechanics
  • Active Youtube channel with 7,500 subscribers
  • Engaged Facebook community with 300+ likes per post
  • The site is monetized by many different affiliate networks
  • Unique website design

Top 3 Competitors

Here are similar competitors targeting the majority of the same keywords.

  • 57K+ pageviews/mo, a similar site in shoulder sub-niche, heavy on the affiliate content
  • 1,1M+ pageviews/mo, one of the leading sites when it comes to the outdoors niche
  • 150K+ pageviews/mo, a huge blog with more than 5,000 articles and 35,000 newsletter subscribers. Hit by the most recent update.

Let’s get into the easy wins to grow this specific website.

🔥 3 Easy Wins To Grow This Website

There are opportunities to significantly grow this brand. I break down the following easy wins:

  • Add display ads
  • Improve buying guides for higher clickthrough & earnings
  • Improve content structure

Let’s get into it!

➡️ Win #1: Add Display Ads

Surprisingly, this site is not taking advantage of programmatic display ads via Mediavine or AdThrive. With the current traffic levels, it should easily get into AdThrive.

The majority of the site’s competitors are using display ads.

In the outdoor niche, RPMs can range from $25-$35 so with the traffic levels (according to Ahrefs at 75,000 but most likely more), they can add an additional $2,000 per month in revenues.

Matt Diggity published a video that explains if you should add display ads to your affiliate site. The worry is that the display ads will decrease clicks/earnings from affiliate programs.

The loss you would get in affiliate income gets fully covered and more with the display ad revenues. It’s a win-win.

Takeaway: The owner can enable display ads and test for a 2-3 month period to see what impact the ads have on all revenues.

➡️ Win #2: Improve Buying Guides

The website ranks for lucrative “best of” keywords. For example, “best 2 person tent”, “best backpacking tents”, “best lightweight rain jackets”, and much more…

However, each buying guide has significant room for improvements that can drastically improve earnings. Let’s break it down:

💰 Add Comparison Tables

The owner is using a quick pick list as shown below While this isn’t the worst way to monetize, it does not result in the most clicks.

CleanShot 2023 03 02 at

The alternative is to use a well-designed comparison table that showcases the top 3 products.

The table should have three columns max. Column 1 is the title and image linked to the affiliate. Column 2 is a bullet list of features. Column 3 is a call-to-action button that is distinct in color (red, blue).

A comparison table should be placed right under the introduction. Doing so can result in a 20-25% clickthrough rate to the affiliate program.

💰 Link product images to affiliate

Product images within guides and reviews are not linked to the affiliate program.

Second to comparison tables, images get the most clicks. People like to see images of the products and then click those to get learn more.

Not linking images significantly decreases the revenues of the site.

💰 Improve call-to-action buttons

The owner of the site has placed call-to-action buttons in the right places. However, they can be significantly improved to increase the number of clicks.

Here is an example of a CTA:

CleanShot 2023 03 02 at

The main issues are twofold: (1) the button and text are too small, and (2) the color matches the site’s design thus not catching the attention of the reader.

Here is how I would design the button:

CleanShot 2023 03 02 at

Hard to see the difference in the two images but I increased the font size to 19 pt, changed color to red (#FF0000), added more padding around the text.

Simple changes yield big results when you have existing traffic to your site.

Takeaway: Implementing these easy wins can result in a drastic increase in revenues. The goal is to convert existing traffic better.

➡️ Win #3: Improve Content Structure

The content is extremely well-written but can be difficult to read. Here are suggestions:

  • Increase font size from 14 pt to 18 pt
  • Increase header font size
  • Break up paragraphs (max 2-3 sentences, currently 5-6 sentences)
  • Change font color to black (currently grey and hard to read)
  • Remove publish dates from articles (articles are evergreen so no need)
  • Use H2, H3, H4 in the right order and structure. Currently, H4s are used before H3s, or too many H3s are being used
  • Add a Table of Contents at the top. This will allow for jump links for easier navigation and Google will show these links in search results.
  • Add YouTube videos to existing content; the site has it’s own channel so embedding those videos will increase views.
  • Add author box to each article

All of these changes will ensure a higher time-on-page by visitors and fewer bounces back to Google.

Takeaway: Ranking content in Google isn’t the end game. It’s just the start. You need to ensure your content is readable for people on their Desktops and Mobile phones. Your content must also be well-structured so it’s not hard to find information.

💰 How Much Is this Website Worth?

Here are the assumptions I am making:

  • 75,000 pageviews/mo according to Ahrefs
  • Primarily monetized by affiliate programs (as of today)

The site is monetized primarily via Amazon Associates and REI. Amazon’s average commissions for the full cart would be around 4% and REI is 5% commissions.

Affiliate marketing has significantly higher RPMs than display ads in general. I am anticipating this site has an effective RPM of $75 to $100.

This estimate is based on high-converting affiliate programs being promoted, and a hobby-based audience that buys multiple items (not just a tent, but backpacks, food, etc).

Valuation: The valuation comes out to $225,000 to $315,000.

The site is making anywhere from $5,625 to $7,500 per month. The multiple for this site would be 40X to 42X due to the age, quality of content, traffic trend, and backlinks.

Note: the owner can add a minimum of $2,250/mo adding display ads which would boost valuations by $112,500 more. A truly easy win.

👉 Actionable Takeaways

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

  1. Make sure your content is readable. Share your articles with colleagues, VAs, friends & family and see their reactions. Are they able to read, skim, and scroll around the content without frustration?
  2. Getting new visitors takes time, effort, and money. But monetizing existing traffic better will 10X your site’s revenues.
  3. Display ads DO NOT kill affiliate revenues in most cases. Always add display ads. Your wallet will thank you.

mushfiq 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 218+ website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. He is the founder of The Website Flip. Check out all Mushfiq's articles, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

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