Evaluating Websites For Your Investment Porfolio | Emilia Gardner | Skillshare

Evaluating Websites For Your Investment Porfolio

Emilia Gardner, Learning every day!

Evaluating Websites For Your Investment Porfolio

Emilia Gardner, Learning every day!

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9 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Valuation Discussion

    • 3. Passive vs Active Investment

    • 4. Negatives are Opportunities

    • 5. Go Look At The Site

    • 6. Confirm Traffic Stability and Sources

    • 7. Confirm Income Stability and Sources

    • 8. Backlinks

    • 9. Content is King

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About This Class

This class is an introductory course about evaluating passive income websites for an investment portfolio. Purchasing an online business can be really risky, but if you know what to look for during the due diligence period, you can end up with some really valuable investments for your retirement portfolio. In this class, I'm sharing some of the most important areas that you need to review when you are considering whether to purchase an passive earning website. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Emilia Gardner

Learning every day!



My name is Emilia.

I'm not an expert. I'm learning every day, just like you. I'm here because I am passionate about: "Learn, Do, Teach." I truly believe that teaching is the best way to master a skill or concept. I create content around the topics that I am implementing for myself.



I am obsessed with building passive income streams. When my children arrived, my dreams of the corner office with the view changed. Now I dream of having complete control over my days so that I can be where I am needed, when I am needed. No more trading time for money. My classes focus heavily upon helping others build the same skills that I have learned (and earned) since making my career pivot. 

One of my goals here at Ski... See full profile

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1. Introduction: hello and welcome in this course, we are going to be talking about what you need to look for when you are considering purchasing a website for a passive income investment. For me, this is something that I have been living and breathing for about the last 6 to 12 months because I've been actively evaluating lots of different websites through Flip A and Empire Flippers, Quiet Light and Effie International. Because I want to ADM or passive income websites to my investment portfolio. And what I have learned is I have gone through this is there there's a lot of risk, but also a lot of opportunities if you know what to look for. And so, in this course, I'm just gonna talk about some of the basics for when you are engaging in the due diligence about whether or not a website, something that you want to add to your portfolio that you really need to look for, because you can't always trust that even though these air reputable websites where these sites are being listed for sale, that the broker is really looking out for you because ultimately the broker gets paid. When the sale happens, they don't necessarily want to go out there to protect you. They want to make a sale even though they want to protect the reputation of their website. So when you go into this, you can't go in blind. You have to at least know some of the basics of what makes a website a good investment for a passive income investment. So if you are interested in this course, we'll see you in the next videos. 2. Valuation Discussion: Alright, Awesome. Let's do it. In this first video, we're going to talk about valuation of websites and online businesses. Now you can actually purchase online businesses income producing websites that exist on Lee online for a reasonable amount. Money. Uh, you know, you might have to spend 10 20 times Mawr if you wanted to buy a business that produced even a couple $1000 a month in profit if you were to buy that same business offline, But you can invest quite a bit less on an online business, but you have to accept some risk. So, you know, right now it's 2019. What can you expect to pay if you wanted to buy a solid passive investment? That was, ah, least risky. Now you're not always going to be able to make purchasing a business no risk, because there is so much that we can't control. And there's so much happening online that we cannot control. But ultimately, if you want to buy a very passive but stable and conservative site, you're going to be looking at paying potentially 30 to 40 times the revenue that the site earns in a given month. Now different brokerages and different sites will calculate the sale price and differently . They may look at gross revenue versus profit. If I were you, I would be looking at the profit that the website and makes in a given month. Teoh understand whether or not this is a new investment that you're interested in because it makes no sense to have a website that pulls revenue of $40,000 a month but on Lee produces profit to you and your investment to you of maybe 1000 or $2000. There's just so much happening. There is so much going on to make that $40,000 happen, and and I can't possibly imagine that $38,000 of expenses in a given month could be hands off. But if you look at smaller websites that produce a profit of $500 a month or $1000 a month $2000 a month, you're going to be looking at paying between 30 and 40 times that for the ultimate sale price. So, for example, a website that is currently earning about $1000 a month in profit depending upon where you are purchasing the site, You could probably expect to be seeing that website for sale between 32 $45,000. Does that sound like a lot? Maybe. But if you're looking for something that can produce $1000 a month with an investment of Onley 30 to $40,000 I mean, take that and compare that to owning around property. For example, you might invest $200,000 in that and maybe only earn a profit of a couple $100 a month. Because you have a mortgage, you have taxes and insurance. You have monthly expenses, you know, in the form of maintenance or or government licenses. I mean, there's just a lot of expenses I have Reynolds and then I have with with Web income producing properties. And it's just amazing to me how some of these website businesses can just They just need so little as's faras maintenance as faras monthly investments to make them work. So you could finance, I suppose, 30 or $40,000. But still the amount of money that you're going to be making as faras the payments. You know, for the length of time you'll be making them and then the mount is drastically smaller from a rental property. Now, you know the the upside of a rental property is generally real. Estate is going to be more stable, so you're more likely to get your money back out of it if you were to sell it. And also there's just less happening that would hammer the value of it released. Right now, we don't know if a recession is going to happen or massive inflation bubble bursting on real estate. But again, you know what you be looking for in a in a sale price that's probably in line with what is going on out there in the world is between 30 and 40 X. Now, if you come across a website that is for sale, that is, um, is there selling it for we know 10 X, um, or 15 X? I would have some questions about what's going on there, and I would be really hesitant to get just thrown on money on something that looks like a good deal. You know what they say. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You'll find websites out there not on reputable, broken grew brokerages, but you'll see them for sale directly between website owners or even on Flipper, where they claim to be making two or three grand a month profit. But they're only, you know, selling the site for $10,000. I really avoid those types of sites. Usually they are too good to be true, and they're faking something along the lines. If you are interested in exploring that site, do a lot of really extensive due diligence and get access to the accounts directly so that you can make sure that they are not manipulating something to get you to give them your money. 3. Passive vs Active Investment: So when you're looking at income producing websites to invest in, you have to make a decision early on. If you are looking for passive vs active investments and when you're doing your due diligence, you have to look at what it actually requires to operate the website Teoh confirm that it is one or the other of them. If you're looking for passive income sites, meaning sites that you don't have to do anything with, like you could not log into it for a month and have this site earn you income, you need to establish this during the due diligence. A lot of times in the initial packages, when you begin to look at a site, they will say, Oh, this site requires a minimal, minimal involvement by owner, you know, But you got to really look at what the site does. Does it? Selanne Info product. If it sells an infant product, you know that there is going to be stuff you're going to have to do because when you sell products, there are returns. There are questions. If you have a nympho product and they say, Oh, you don't have to do anything that is a bunch of baloney. The same is true for drop shipping. Um, if you, the site you're looking at is a passive income site based upon drop shipping or doing anything with a physical product, this is going to require time now, if not your time. Maybe you can hire that out. You can hire people to do the customer service and answer the questions and handle returns and update the products or order the products or do whatever. But you have to look at that as a potential expense against your prophet in a given month. And if the package that you're looking at tells you that it's super passive for a physical product site and they don't give you any sort of run down on expenses for that help, you know, then you just know that that is going to reduce the amount of profit that you have in a given month. If you convert it to something that is totally passive for you, or you may just find yourself having to actively operate a business so that you don't lose your investment, something that is super passive is something that can run without you being involved at all So one of the things I would look at is how often the site is updated or requires updates. You can ask the seller to provide a schedule of what they do or how they do. You can check out the site map and look at, um, confirmation of when posts are updated. You know, if you look at the site map and you see that there are post being made regularly like Day to Day or the old post are are continually being updated and edited, and you don't see that there are a lot of posts that are just old that are are continually there and getting traffic but aren't aren't having anything done with them. Then you have to question how passive this site is. So don't accept what the broker says as faras. You know how much time is involved in it and just know if there's any sort of service or product involved that you are probably going to have to spend time regularly on this to operate the site 4. Negatives are Opportunities: as you are evaluating the due diligence that you come across as you are looking at sites. Now, keep in mind that you're going to see things that you don't like and you're going to see things that you like. Now, if a website is for sale for a certain amount, let's just say it's for sale. For $20,000 you're going to go through the due diligence and see things in the information about the site that make you think. Yes, this site is worth $20,000 or maybe the site is not worth $20,000. Maybe I wouldn't want to spend that much money because I think it makes the site riskier. Now there are things that you'll see in a site that make you think this isn't the site for me. It's not passive enough. It's not safe enough. It's it's not something I'm interested in doing. You can choose when you see that stuff to pass, or you can look at that stuff as an opportunity to make changes to the site, to convert it to your ideal investment. So maybe it's not passive now, but you see that it can be made passive. Or you can look at those things as things that you can improve so that you can improve the value of the site to may be, sell it off later to someone else who has a similar profile as you. So you see an active site that or you know or even is just a spammy site or something that has a lot of great qualities but also a lot of things that make it less attractive. You can acquire that site and use your knowledge to make it better and then sell it to someone else who is looking for a high quality passive site. So just remember, as you're looking through the information, you may see it and go, Uh, I don't like that, but you can look at every, uh, as an opportunity to improve the sight. And it may be something that you may decide to say. OK, I I don't like this about it, but I am confident that I can improve it and maintain the value of the site or even improve the value of the site to sell it later. Now, there are gonna be a lot of things in due diligence where you're just going to say that's not flexible. I'm totally unwilling to spend $20,000 on this site. I just won't do it. Uh, but another thing you could do, rather than just disengaging from from your due diligence and from reviewing the site, is talk to the seller about your concerns and then offer them a price that you would be willing to pay. Sometimes people come into this process of buying and selling websites. You know, they're very unsophisticated and one year and just getting started. You're one of those people. But if you get into this, you'll find that when the seller is unsophisticated, you can actually educate them on why it is that the sale price they're looking for is just unrealistic, and maybe they'll laugh it off until you to go away or whatever. But sometimes when you do that, you can actually check back in with them, you know, in a month or two or even six, and find that this. The site still hasn't sold and used that as an opportunity to get a good deal on a site that has a lot of potential but just needs more work. So again. Look at everything you see as reasons to buy reasons to pass and opportunities for where you could make something of the site as faras your monthly revenue profit or in just turning around and selling it like a piece of real estate. 5. Go Look At The Site: I know this goes without saying, but when you are evaluating the site, make sure you go and look at it. It seems like this would be obvious, but you should go and look at it and make sure you cruise around the site, get ahold of the site map and go to the various pages. Does the site look spammy? Now? This could be a reason to not purchase the site. If it does, looks family. If it just looks bad, or it could be a reason to maybe make a new offer that is less than what they're asking for . That could be a reason. Say, this site is not quite as valuable, but it's also, you know, a site that's getting good traffic. That looks bad. Say this is an opportunity. I could improve the quality of this site and and keep people here. You know, if it's driving a ton of traffic, but people are bouncing away from it. You know, you have great keywords and great research and great s e o. But just a bad look. And so that is a potential opportunity, along with potential reason to pass on the site. You're gonna want to click on the links and make sure you can see what is working and what is not potentially. If you can get the seller to agree to this, see if they will let you have access to the dashboard if they're using WordPress or whatever it is that they are using to see what sort of plug ins that they're running. Sometimes you can get a look at the broken link checker, or you can get an idea of how maney posts they have or when they were posted or even what the work count is of the sites. But just get in there and see how well the website is working. You know, if you have a site that has lots of four fours or redirects or broken links or bad content , you know, you couldn't say, Well, maybe the site isn't worth as much as they want. Maybe this is something I know how to do. I could get in here and improve this stuff for you could say, this just looks like too much work. But don't just go to the home page, you know, Go in and look at the content. Um, you know is it's high quality content. Is the content really short and brief, Which is not good for the Google, you know, Does it have media? Does it have videos and doesn't have images? And you know, how does it low? Does it load slowly? Because when you see that, say, Oh, well, I could improve that with some simple plug ins, but, you know, really get in there and dig around. And I just cannot tell you how many people I think probably failed to really go in depth and really figure out whether or not this site is good. And what I would think is not so much, um, you know, saying, Oh, I'm gonna find something in here that's going to turn me off and say, I don't want to buy it But when you do an extensive review of the site, you're going to see all the places where you could make the site better, and lots of projects that you could either hire someone to go and and do or have a V a do. Um, and just identify. You know whether or not this is truly something that will be a passive income investment 6. Confirm Traffic Stability and Sources: all right. One of the most key and important parts of doing due diligence on buying an online business that's based on a website is the traffic profile. How do you get visitors or customers, and what should you be looking for? You might see if you've been gone through, Ah, the Shopify marketplace. I think it's called the exchange. Or if you go to empire flippers or flipper or anything, you're going to see potentially A. They're Google Analytics dashboard right there in the the listing for the website and what is really common to see our websites that fluctuate dramatically so websites that have big ramps up and then down and then up and then down. In general, if you're looking at a drop shipping website or any other site that is doing physical products, I mean they're manipulating that and not necessarily in a bad way. You can drive traffic with paid advertising with influence or marketing with YouTube. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad thing, but for a passive site that means effort. It means investment of time and effort and probably your money. So if what you're looking for something incredibly passive, you want to see a traffic profile that is a flat line. And worst of all, you know, you want to look at the traffic, make sure that it isn't just going down like straight dive. Because if you see that and say, uh, especially for a site that is older, you know, 234 years or more, that is older. I'm really rapid decline could mean that something is going on with the website that you don't necessarily know where understand what's going on. Maybe it's something that the seller did. Or maybe it's an update with the algorithm. It could be an opportunity, but it could also just be a really bad investment. I am really, really suspicious of any site that has traffic that has really massive but short spikes. I'm also really suspicious of any site that is not more is not at least two years old. Okay, if the site is less than two years old and you're looking for a stable and passive income site, then you need at least two years to get an idea of where the content will rank and what it is going to do to know if it's stable If someone punches out a massive about content in the 1st 6 months, it will take 6 to 12 months from the date of the last content being posted. Before you have any idea what sort of traffic that you can expect from that content, it can take Google sometimes a year or more, to decide what to do with your content and where it should rank. So if the the the content on the site or the traffic to the site is mostly search engine traffic, that's organic and you see a ramp up going up, up, up. I mean, that's certainly better than seeing the opposite of it. Going down, down, down and you can look at the length of time that it is increasing. Has it been continually driving up over time? You know, 12 months, 18 months, steady increase. I mean, that's a better sign than a short spike that is a month long or two months long and again. Spikes don't always mean that somebody is doing something bad to the site. It just means that something is happening that you as the buyer, may not necessarily be able to control. I have a website that is on a technical technical niche, and it gets massive spikes whenever a an update to a particular product is released. Like an IOS update just sends massive, massive traffic to the site, but only for a period of about a week or two. I don't do anything to make that happen, and it dramatically increases the income through the site through paid advertising, but for a short amount of time. So if you do see instability in the traffic profile, you can ask the buyer about that. You could say You know what's going on to cause this and see if you can get an idea of what's happening. If they can't give you an answer to why there are traffic spikes or if the answer is really vague or general, then this is something that you would either pay less for or pass on. Divers. Traffic is another thing that you want to look at Ah website that has only one ah flow of traffic. It's only coming from Pinterest or from Facebook or from Google or being that website is vulnerable. It's vulnerable to something changing with that traffic source, so it's vulnerable to something changing with the Google algorithm and something that is earning you $1000 a month or thousands of dollars in a month could go from tons of traffic and tons of money to zero, you know, in the period of the day. And this is something that happens frequently. So, you know, does that mean that you shouldn't purchase a website that only has one method of traffic and answer is no. But you just understand that when there's only one type of traffic that there's a vulnerability there. And as you are doing your due diligence, what I would make sure to do is request access, not admin access, but just user access to Google Analytics. And anybody who is a serious seller is going to give you access to their analytics. Um, profile is so that you can look at that property in analytics and know where everything is coming from. Know what? Which of the content is getting a traffic where the traffic is coming from? So is it tier one traffic? Is it coming from the US, or is it coming from Canada, or is it coming from Pakistan and Iran or China? Because the most of the money honestly is to be made through tier one traffic. If you are looking to add, um you know, uh, info, links or media dot in a or as OIC or some of these other paid advertising platforms, they're gonna want to see primarily tier one traffic. And so you know, if most like 99% of the traffic that you're getting to the site is coming from China. It may not prevent you from getting approved for these platforms, but you just may not see the advertising dollars that you might see if you had primarily U S and U. K and Australia and Canadian traffic. Uh, but in general, you know, look at the traffic profile and just understand what it is that you will have to do to maintain that. If you are looking at a passive site and you see that most of the traffic is coming from Pinterest, that's not passive. If to make ah website continue to generate traffic through Pinterest requires a lot of effort people who are doing amazing jobs with interests. I mean, they can really blow up a website and really make a lot of money doing that but it requires effort or requires investment of money to make someone else do that. So in summary, look it the stability of the profile. We don't want to see big jumps or big dives. We want it to be as close to flat as possible. We want to see a diverse platform of of traffic, and it doesn't mean that you wouldn't necessarily by a side that had only one type of traffic. You would just understand that there is some risk there and just incorporate that into your offer for sale. 7. Confirm Income Stability and Sources: all right, We're gonna touch on the income profile briefly because I think a lot of what we covered in the traffic profile module applies to income as well. For income, you want to get access directly to the portals where the income is being generated. So if it's an Amazon affiliate site or a Google AdSense site, don't just take Screenshots because those convey be doctored. Try to get user access to those to those portals to see whether or not that income is true and verifiable. Take a look at how stable it is. Are there big, um, big increases or big decreases? And and for ah, like affiliate sides like Amazon on the rest, that doesn't necessarily mean that something bad is happening to the site. You just know that maybe the site is seasonal. Or maybe there's something to do with the traffic that is causing those jumps. I don't think necessarily that it means that you shouldn't invest in a site that has, ah, income fluctuations. You just need to be able to connect that to either the traffic or to something that that you can't control, such as the time of year or holidays. or you know something that is is external to the site. If possible, you want to look at sites that have different monetization methods. Now, if it's on Leah Google AdSense site, you may look at that as a negative thing because it's vulnerable. But you could also look at it as an opportunity to add some other monetization method to it . You could look at adding affiliate products to it, or you could look at doing an info product or something else that allows you to continue to make money on the site in a different way so that it's just less vulnerable to changes that are external to you. But again, I think my ideal site would have a really stable income profile, regardless of whether or not it was diverse. I wanted to be fairly flat so that I would know that I could rely upon that income going forward, and I would want to see a longer period of time where that income was flat. So if it's you know, a site that is less than a year old, I mean it's not going to be stable and flat. The site is not been around enough to mature to a point where anything is going to be stabilized. So if what you're looking for is a risk adverse or ah, I won't say risk list because there's no riskless website, but you're looking for something that you can count on. You want to look back as far as you can to see how long it has been that this website has been making this amount of income so that you can hopefully rely upon that to go forward. 8. Backlinks: There are a lot of different areas that you could not take a look at in your due diligence evaluation and probably okay. But I think the back link profile is something that you really do need to take a look at. And this is not information that is generally provided by the seller or by a broker. As you are evaluating the site, you can use maws or most high, said M O Z, the free version of Moss or Mo's. Or you can get access to the Google search console and check out the links section, asked for a report from there or print out. I like to use MAS just because it gives me the estimated Domain authority and page authority for the websites that link to the site that I'm looking at. And it also gives me a list. Ah, the sights. And they're spam unionists evaluation or the likelihood that these are sites that are primarily spent. Are these good, valuable back links or are these spammy back wings? You are also going to want to ask your cellar or ask the broker about what we call PV ends or private blogged network back links Oftentimes these are paid links. And if you take over the site and you no longer pay for, those links might come away. There is an ongoing discussion about whether or not PB ends are dangerous or not, whether or not Google and the future is going to come through and be able to identify what RP Bien links or not, Um, I tend to stay away from them just because I'm very risk adverse. I don't really want to get into anything that this is something that Google could spank later on, so I tend to avoid PB ends. But, you know, if you have a good site and it's making good money and you're interested in it, you may just want to ask for more information about the PB ends and take a look at those back links to see if they are okay for you or not. The other thing I look at in the back link profile and MAS gives you this is tells you when the links were discovered or lost. So you be able to see the ebb and flow Ah, lynxes their established with the site and how they come and go now if you're seeing that your site that you're looking at has a lot of links lost over time, that doesn't necessarily mean that something is wrong or it's bad. I mean, that stuff just happens with every site, but you just want to see that over time there are more links being gained than lost, or at least even, and you also want to make sure that there aren't any big giant jumps up or down. And if there are, you want to find out what's going on and why? Because that may give you some clues about what has been going on historically with site or just highlights some potential problems in the future because you won't necessarily know what your seller has been doing to gain the back links that he or she has, you know, and and the best thing you could do is look at the data and and see if it looks like something that is stable or not. So I like to see a fairly a stable line or one that is continually going up rather than one that is bouncing up and down, up and down, or even is just on a downward spiral and doesn't seem to be popping up at all. 9. Content is King: all right content When you are evaluating passive income websites, the content is probably one of the most important things for you to look at. The actual content on the site is so much more important than the the images or the videos or the headlines or the famine ist of the site or the back legs. Anything else? Because the content is what brings users to the site of the S. E O. And you know all the other technical aspects the plug ins, the rest like that can all be improved. You can massively work on the site on those little things. But if what you are buying, really when you're getting a passive income website is the content, and so the content is the most important part of the site and also what makes it valuable. When you're looking at the content, you you're on the site and you're cruising through it. The thing that I would look for is, is the content helpful? Is there a reason for people to go to the site if the content is a blogger, where it's someone just riffing on what's going on in their life like they might get some traffic. But if the content doesn't help people like they don't go there and get something out of it , then I don't think that site is as valuable. Even if the site has a 1,000,000 posts about this person talking about their life, the content is not helpful in any way. Then people are gonna have a reason to go searching for it. The this person who posted a tongue, you know, maybe a flash in a pan, and you may not have consistent content and to in the future, and especially if this person leaves the site and is no longer there posting about their life and about the things that drew people there to the first place than you know. That's not a side that I'm looking for to add to my passive income properties for online business. So specifically, I'm looking for content that helps people helps people do something or find something or get somewhere or be something content that is not helpful in any way. If it's just there to look pretty, I mean, that could be awesome, but I don't think it is as valuable as content that is helpful. The next thing I look at in the content as I'm evaluating the site is how trendy is the content. Is it something that in a year from now or two years from now, or five years from now are people still going to be searching for this? If you you're looking at a website that focuses on, um IOS updates to iPhones, you know, that is a website that is not stable. It is not evergreen. People are going to stop searching for information about the iPhone nine here in the near future if they haven't already. So if its content that is based upon a trend, you know that that content is not as valuable as content. That is going to be worth someone coming to it. Uh, two years, five years, 10 years from now, I really avoid any sites that focus on reviews of products that are new or different or exciting. That may bring a lot of traffic, but that just means that this site is going to require more active participation. And I am all about passive income. Okay? I don't want to be going and updating my websites. I don't want to be researching new products and having to either purchase or right blogged articles about it. I want to set it and forget it. And if that is your goal than having evergreen content on your sites, that is helpful is going to help you do that. Finally, I would be looking for content on a topic or a niche that I can actually manage. It may not be that I have to know a lot about speedboats or lizards or how to fix the deck , but I need to know enough about the content to be able to read it and manage it. And in the future, I'm gonna order new content. I am going to invest in my passive income sites, even though I don't want to do anything with them on a daily basis. Because in general, if I have a site that is producing money, I would like it to produce more money. And I'm willing to invest some of the profits from the website back into the site to continue to improve the amount of money and I make in a given month. But if it's on a topic that I hate or that I don't understand, then I'm gonna have a really tough time writing content for the site or ordering content from the site from places like you know, uh, any sort of freelance blogger or text un or or whatever. When the site the articles come back, I need to be able to read them and decide whether or not they are good articles for the site. And if I can't understand them because I don't know the lingo or the language or just really hate the topic, then I'm not going to be able to manage that content. So you may come across sites that are really excellent earners. But if they're on a topic that you can't write about or you can't order arkels for and review and approve, then that may not be a good passive income investment for you simply because you can't manage it and you're not gonna like it. I can almost guarantee that if you buy a site on a niche that you don't like or you don't understand that you'll be selling that site, Um, you know, within 12 to 24 months, because you just don't like touching it. You don't want to do anything with it and you don't like it. So, um, you know, we talk about content on the site, Review it carefully. I know I said that earlier, but really Do take a look at it and decide if it's something that you could get excited about. If you cannot get excited about writing articles for it, even as you are doing the due diligence on it, I just can't recommend that you buy it.