In the dynamic world of online business, hiring a proficient website operator can be a game-changer, allowing you to scale your operations and free up your time for strategic investments. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into how to hire a website operator, explore the reasons to hire one and outline a strategic approach to optimizing your online business through effective management.
Table of Contents
1. What is a Website Operator?
In the intricate world of online business, a website operator is not just a manager but a strategic architect, capable of navigating the complexities of content websites. This individual or entity possesses a multifaceted skill set, encompassing on-page and off-page SEO, conversion rate optimization (CRO), revenue diversification, negotiation, content planning, formatting, editing, publishing, and even basic hosting and server maintenance. Their primary role revolves around orchestrating these elements to fuel the growth of a website, both in terms of traffic and revenue.
A proficient website operator acts as the driving force behind the success of a content website, understanding the nuanced “levers” that can be manipulated to achieve optimal results. Their holistic approach involves not only managing day-to-day operations but strategically positioning the website for sustained growth throughout its lifecycle.
2. Who Should Hire a Website Operator?
The decision to hire a website operator hinges on the type of investor involved in the website realm. There are two primary archetypes:
Investor-Operator: This individual acquires a website and takes on the role of self-operation initially. This hands-on approach allows the investor to delve into the intricacies of content sites, understand the mechanisms of growth, and perform essential day-to-day tasks. Once a profound understanding is achieved, the investor can seamlessly transition to outsourcing to a website operator, either for full management or specific tasks.
Hands-off Investors: For investors who prefer a more hands-off approach from the outset, the expertise of a website operator is paramount. These investors need to have a comprehensive understanding of their investment criteria, the risk profile of content sites, and the potential impact of Google updates on a site’s performance. They rely on a quality operator to efficiently manage their investments.
3. When to Outsource Website Operations?
Strategic outsourcing of website operations is not a one-size-fits-all decision; it involves a nuanced understanding of the asset’s lifecycle. There are four key situations when outsourcing becomes imperative:
- Day-to-Day Management Becomes Less Interesting: As an investor, if the routine management tasks lose their appeal, it’s an indication that outsourcing is timely.
- Expertise Saturation: Once an investor has applied all their expertise to the site and reached a point of diminishing returns, it’s an opportune time to consider outsourcing to a dedicated operator.
- Lack of Time: For investors juggling multiple ventures or constrained by time, outsourcing becomes a strategic move to ensure the continued growth of the website.
- Desire to be Completely Hands-off: Investors aiming for a hands-off approach and seeking to distance themselves from day-to-day operations should proactively plan to outsource website management.
The key takeaway is to plan for outsourcing when it’s not an urgent necessity, ensuring a smooth transition and sustained growth.
4. Red Flags with Website Operators
Identifying reliable website operators requires a discerning eye for potential red flags. Three critical indicators that demand attention include:
No Track Record: A credible operator should provide verifiable proof of their track record. This includes showcasing earnings from various sources, sharing specific sites they personally own or manage, and establishing their distinction from virtual assistants.
No Industry References: In the relatively small content investing industry, a reputable operator should be able to provide industry references, including current and past clients or endorsements from industry experts.
No Public Case Studies: Transparency is key, and a trustworthy operator should have publicly available case studies. These case studies should outline raw numbers, improvement strategies, timelines, and the expertise they brought to the table.
5. Incentive Structures for Website Operators
Compensating website operators involves navigating various incentive structures, each with its unique advantages. The main incentive structures include:
Fixed Fee Only: A straightforward arrangement where the operator receives a fixed fee for day-to-day operations, irrespective of revenue.
Fixed Fee Plus Equity: Operators may agree to a reduced fixed fee in exchange for growth equity. This aligns the operator’s success with the site’s performance, providing a shared interest in growth.
Equity Only: In this scenario, the operator relies solely on equity as compensation, emphasizing shared profits rather than revenue. It ensures the operator’s commitment to the business’s profitability.
“Volunteer”: While not recommended for serious website operators, some individuals may offer their services for free or at a nominal fee. However, this model is not sustainable for top-notch operators who recognize the value they bring to the table.
6. Best Fully-Managed Website Operators: Recommendations
When it comes to fully-managed website operators, choosing the right partner is crucial for the success of your online business. Here are detailed recommendations for some of the best operators:
1. WebOperators.com – Headed by Mushfiq Sarker
WebOperators stands as a culmination of decades of experience, offering an agency where the team manages and grows websites with the same standards applied to their own sites over the last 15 years. With over 250+ websites managed to date, the team, led by Mushfiq Sarker, brings 50+ years of combined experience in SEO, growth hacking, CRO, and more. Each team member is a real practitioner with their own portfolio of sites, ensuring a bespoke strategy for each website.
2. BuzzLogic.com (Defunct)
Update (2023): BuzzLogic has undergone a change of ownership and is not headed by the same original founder. It seems they have discontinued all operator services as of Q4 2022.
BuzzLogic, under its previous ownership, was known for its adaptive strategies catering to client goals. The agency streamlined its processes to ensure growth, accommodating clients aiming for long-term improvements or quick flips. Monthly retainers ranged from $2,500 to $10,000, customizable based on individual client goals. While no longer operational, its past structure showcased flexibility and adaptability.
3. Domain Magnate (Defunct)
Update (2023): Domain Magnate is not operational, having shut down its website operation services.
Domain Magnate, a well-established player in the website investing arena since 2004, offered a full-service website investing experience. Operating on a fee structure of 12% deal fee, they sourced deals for investors and managed them, taking 50% of net profits every month and 50% of profits after resale. The incentive structure aligned with investor interests, ensuring profitability before operator compensation.
Investors should be cautious and conduct thorough research, especially when agencies undergo changes or cease operations.
7. Quasi-Website Operators: A Personal Strategy
For hands-on investors who prefer a more personalized approach to website management, the quasi-operator model offers a unique solution. This model involves dividing website operations into two prongs:
Daily Operations – Website Operator:
Quasi-website operators take charge of daily, repetitive tasks essential for website management. These tasks include article editing, formatting, publishing, conversion improvements, on-page SEO enhancements, and basic social media management. The quasi-operator, akin to a top-notch virtual assistant, should possess a deep understanding of niche sites and be vetted for their SEO and CRO expertise.
Growth Operations – Investor-Operator:
Investor-operators focus on strategic growth tasks, including finding new monetization opportunities, testing CRO techniques, performing keyword research, managing writers, and overseeing hosting. These tasks are pivotal in driving exponential growth and maintaining the upward trajectory of the business.
Compensation for Quasi-Operators:
The compensation for quasi-operators varies, typically ranging from $500 to $1,000 per month, depending on the workload. By setting maximum thresholds on tasks, investors can manage costs effectively. The hiring decision is often timed during the tail-end of the “Easy Wins Phase,” ensuring a seamless transition to sustained growth.
8. Job Description for a Website Operator: 10 Major Tasks
When hiring a website operator, a comprehensive job description is essential. The following outlines major tasks that a website operator should handle:
- Monthly stipend of $500/mo: A fixed monthly stipend for the operator’s services.
- Monthly growth budget of $500: Allocating a budget for growth initiatives.
- Content: Coordinating with writers, sourcing new writers, and overseeing content planning.
- Off-page SEO: Conducting white-hat outreach, obtaining backlinks, and focusing on building site authority.
- On-Page SEO: Optimizing existing pages, interlinking articles, and utilizing SEO tools for improvements.
- Full Technical Site Audit: Ensuring site speed, web core vitals, and technical aspects are optimized.
- CRO: Tracking and implementing conversion rate optimization strategies.
- Full Content Audit & Analysis: Auditing existing content for improvements, merging, or deletion.
- New Revenue Streams: Exploring and implementing additional revenue streams.
- Bi-Monthly P&L Maintenance: Updating revenue in a shared P&L spreadsheet, providing regular updates to owners.
Incorporating incentive bonuses based on revenue milestones further motivates operators.
9. Evaluating the Need for a Website Operator
Determining the need for a website operator involves a thorough evaluation of the website’s potential and the investor’s circumstances. Considerations include:
- Cash Flow: Assess whether the asset generates enough cash flow to sustain an operator’s salary.
- Growth Opportunities: Evaluate if all potential growth opportunities have been tapped into.
- Interest Level: Gauge personal interest in day-to-day management.
- Other Business Opportunities: Consider if time could be better utilized in other business ventures.
A strategic evaluation ensures that hiring a website operator aligns with the investor’s overall objectives.
Conclusion: A Strategic Investment Move
In conclusion, hiring a website operator is a strategic move that can propel your online business to new heights. Whether opting for a fully-managed service or implementing a quasi-operator model, aligning the operator’s incentives with business goals is key. Regular evaluations and adaptability ensure a seamless integration of website operations, fostering sustained growth and success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.