In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 45 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.
Part 1 Show Notes
Tiny House and GoDownsize.com
Running the Site
Morten and his wife, Maria, own a niche website and YouTube channel called 'Go Downsize,' with their channel having over 100,000 subscribers. Maria came up with the whole idea, thanks to her background in architecture and a fondness for small spaces.
Starting Out in Business
Their First Downsize
Thirteen years ago, Morten started out in e-commerce, but he accumulated quite a lot of debt. Wanting to reduce this debt to become entrepreneurs, they decided to rent half of the space they lived in - effectively reducing the rent they paid. As a result, their expenses went down too, and this started their love for downsizing.
Trying Out a Print Business
They were also involved in a print business, which they started with the help of an investor. For the first year or two, they saw the business grow quite a lot. Later on, really cheap printers popped up in the market and became widely available to the public, causing them to exit the business. Though they lost the money they put into that business, it was a great learning experience for them, especially with SEO and online marketing.
As a result of the downsize, they were left with just their 2 living rooms, which had a total area of around 30 to 40 square meters. This was their first foray into downsizing, and, since then, they’ve continued this tiny living and resided in caravans which are like apartments on wheels.
GoDownsize.com and Other Sites
GoDownsize.com is currently Morten and Maria’s main business. Over the years, he’s also been building sites which Morten says should reach the same potential.
Sharing and Listing Other Sites
Morten also has additional websites, some of which are currently listed on his other websites (and with others he’d rather not share and would like to keep to himself). The practice of listing or sharing your other websites on one website is rare, and definitely makes you more legitimate. Morten says that since he’s going down the YouTube route, he’d rather become transparent. The only thing he’d rather not share is his monthly income, as that is something very personal.
Having started the website 8 or 9 years ago, and only getting it to full speed around 3 or 4 years ago, the website now has around 600 to 700 articles. This is Morten’s main focus, and has been so for 3 years. Though he started out writing articles for the website, he decided to hire a team of writers to do this for him as, back then, he thought that his English wasn’t good enough.
Morten has sold many small Danish-language sites in the past, but his most recent exit, AnimalHow.com, was the biggest one yet. It is also the first site in English that he has sold. He says that the reason he sold the Danish sites was because he wanted to shift to American and English-language sites.
He actually sold AnimalHow.com to someone who’d been watching his videos on YouTube. Morten started this website with a clean slate and a completely new domain name. He then grew the site, and even put in a link to GoDownsize.com. He didn’t ask or beg for any links. He had used the site as a testing ground for content strategies in the past - as seen on his YouTube channel. Overall, the website turned out really well, and Morten was able to make a good exit.
Morten also owns SewingMachineTalk.com - admittedly a smaller website. However, since the COVID pandemic started - with quarantines and travel restrictions being imposed around the world - the site has picked up a lot of traffic. This is probably due to the number of people bored and stuck at home. As time passed, the traffic steadily decreased, which may be due to people going back to work and the easing of lockdowns. It has around 30,000 pageviews at the moment, with the site having about 60 pages.
Additional Niche Websites
Morten would rather acquire and build additional niche websites, instead of doubling-down on GoDownsize.com. He says that he’d rather spread the risk over different niches, and would rather not put all his eggs in one basket. Morten also loves building new websites and watching them grow exponentially. To him, it is very exciting, and is an opportunity to experiment with strategies and content. Lastly, Morten says that he would like to get into the business of selling websites, which is the major reason he sold AnimalHow.com. His plan is to sell one website a year, starting with AnimalHow.com this year. On top of that, he would like to make every sale bigger than last year’s, while also adding new sites to his portfolio in the process.
Selling Go Downsize?
Morten does not think he could sell Go Downsize, as the site is very personal to him and Maria. It’s a YouTube channel as well, and he's put his and Maria’s names on the website. However, he is not 100% sure on this, and could change his mind in the future. For now, he is leaning more by keeping it.
A Trend That Won’t Fade?
Go Downsize has the potential to reach 10x from mostly organic search - a truly amazing feat in itself, and something that’s very possible. Morten says that this is due in large part to it becoming a trend. People will continue to move into cities, and smaller living spaces become increasingly attractive because of high rent costs. Housing and land are definitely rising in cost, and when combined with starting your own business, it becomes more practical to live in a small living space. It's a trend that won’t go away anytime soon.
Right now, organic search comprises 80% to 90% of the site’s traffic. Other sources are YouTube and Pinterest, but Morten really wants to focus on and grow organic traffic. Moreover, they’ve had to put the YouTube channel on hold for a while due to the birth of their son, Max. So these days, the focus has been on the Go Downsize website instead of the channel. Interestingly, the channel is still growing. They’ve had an additional 19,000 subscribers, and their older videos are still getting plenty of views. Richard thinks that this is an exciting asset to own, with many ways to leverage it.
Episode 23 Part 2
In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:
Buying and listing Youtube channels
Morten’s strategy for focusing on topics rather than individual keywords
Why Morten thinks it’s better to focus almost exclusively on content, rather than build links yourself
How to grow your website past 100,000 monthly views
Why beginners should focus on ads rather than affiliate links
Part 2 is for paying subscribers, you can access by hitting the button below.
Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.
Avi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host)