Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Martin, co-founder and project manager at Dropshipping.com. I’m building this all-in-one medium to share knowledge, and build directories, software reviews, winning product tools, and suppliers with future online sellers. I think the domain says it all - how invested we are to become the front page of E-commerce.
We've built this free resource center to help online enthusiasts learn, start and grow their dropshipping businesses. On this site, we share everything we’ve learned along the way.
Some of the things we are offering to our readers, day in - day out:
- 2000+ vetted suppliers with contact info in one directory
- 300K+ Product ideas with profit margins and detailed product info
- Hand-picked Winning product ideas every day (automated tool)
- 140+ downloadable premium guides, checklists, and cheatsheets (mini marketplace)
- 80+ Ecom founders Interviews and success stories
- 12K+ Dropshipping Stores for inspiration and spying
- 6 mini Ecom tools (calculators, store reviews, product evaluators, etc)
- A huge Start guide and general APPs list for beginners
- Detailed (up-to-date) trends explanation for major dropship niches
- Community of 2000+ like-minded people in one place
Currently, the website is making $10k on average just from brand and affiliate deals, and a small portion coming from premium community subscriptions.
We’ve managed to go from 0 to 40,000 organic traffic in just one year.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
After we started working to build the MVP, we received a million-dollar offer to sell the website.
After graduation, immediately I continued working for a consulting firm that helped me enter the startup world.
Being part of the team that organized Startup Weekend several times, working with big companies on product launches, I accidentally fell in love with the whole science and art of launching and growing a business from scratch.
While building a few side projects in the Ecom world, I landed a job that changed everything.
They offered me to build a simple directory for dropshipping products and suppliers - on a premium domain dropshipping.com. For those wondering how we got such an opportunity to build something on such a domain - the answer is not that exciting. We are basically “renting” the domain and partnering with the owner to bring our 10+ experience into helpful web content.
After we started working to build the MVP, we received a million-dollar offer to sell the website. That was insane if we take into consideration that we only had a few blog posts and a scraped directory with a few hundred (non-vetted) suppliers. This is when we knew this should be something bigger than a simple blog that can send traffic and referrals to our parent business and its subsidies.
We started working and building in public. That’s how you collect customer feedback, and ideas and solve real paint points. In this case, we had an audience and experts to discuss upfront, which gave us an “unfair” advantage to accelerate the production process of our content, directories, and tools.
Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.
As I mentioned above, we had some kind of an initial boost because of our experience in the field for many years, and our different skillset. What we needed to do is to combine all those insights and build content and resources that will benefit the users immediately. Everything started with a simple landing page and free pages to direct people to the more helpful resources. We started building in public with our users and partners.
All the insights, data, and stories were compiled into readable content and listings to have just an MVP that provides a glance at what we aim to do on top of this domain. I always go for the simple premise - better start with what you have, instead of waiting for the perfect moment. We are still adding different sessions, data points, content, and resources and building on the go. The feedback from our premium community directs what we should build next.
Since the beginning, we are a bootstrapped project working with a small dedicated budget. The project is a part of a larger company and that gives us an advantage in terms of using/sharing technology, servers, and tech stuff.
The only cost that we invest during this journey is the people. The creators. Since everything we do is based on organic marketing tactics, the advertising costs are close to 0 too. So, to be more precise we are building the platform with an average monthly spend of $7-8K.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I touched base with this question in my previous answer, but let’s break down the costs and the process of launching dropshipping.com in more detail. In just 3 days after agreeing to take over the domain with our partner, we launched a simple landing page and a few general articles from one of our previous websites. We redirected some SEO juice to this completely new webpage. And probably this is where dropshipping.com was born.
The official launch came 3 months after. We’ve spent the first three months building the first product and supplier directory, and more content on the blog while interviewing all the stakeholders to get insights on what we should focus on first and how we can monetize the knowledge center.
The content helped us grow 30% every month generating SEO traffic
Since we are still bootstrapped business, the company behind us financed us in all their core business areas: people, technology, and experience.
We can all agree, everything is already invented - we should just focus on finding better combinations (better ways) to present that content in a highly helpful and ethical manner. That’s why we tried basically to build many things at once (the bare minimum of any tool, piece of content, resource, and directory).
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
After the launch, we went all down to producing content and resources for our readers. The user acquisition, as I mentioned, is all organically generated. Inbound marketing at its finest.
The content helped us grow 30% every month generating SEO traffic. And with the support of partner collaboration and social media content boost, all the new people were coming with this hybrid content machine.
We learned that links are a major part of the success of your site. But, you shouldn't start with them at the beginning or do it in the “gray” zone.
We learned that regular content expansion helped us accelerate traffic growth.
We learned that you need to make your content unique (not just o rewrite the top 10 SERPs). Especially if your site isn't a huge authority in your field)
We learned that improvement in 3 particular trust signals is where "real growth" came from. In this case, we learned about topical authority and the key signals that tell you you've done it.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As I mentioned before, the biggest challenge we are facing right now is building and expanding our academy. We are building a “mini Udemy” for dropshipping, where mentors and companies are teaching their craft, along with all our resources and tools.
Combining everything into an all-in-one platform that’s accessible to everyone is the biggest project our team is working on, and the goal is to create the best experience possible for thousands of drop shippers by the end of this year.
We have huge plans and milestones to reach in the next year (or 6 months). Our goal is to create and expand Dropshipping.com as the biggest and single resource of knowledge for everyone who wants to start or improve his online business.
We are focused on creating more content in any format – in any section on our platform. But the biggest challenge is scaling our academy and dropshipping learning community.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Running a business, especially a startup is like on a rollercoaster – every day. But working with enthusiastic people, engaging with smart online sellers, and collaborating with some of the biggest companies in the space – have brought me knowledge and experience that cannot be found anywhere else.
I’ve learned a lot about leadership, marketing, building big directories, data science, and much more in just one year.
We learned that sometimes it’s best to focus on the core things such as:
- Focus on providing value to online sellers
- Create unique content worth reading
- Identify how we can scale the content production process with fewer inputs
There are so many things that we want to do, but we need to make sure that what we do matches up to our high standard of quality and value first.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We are building the whole website and content on WordPress. Old but gold. We follow a lot of traditional dev. tactics, using PHP, TailwindCSS, and BuddyWorks to streamline the whole process that gives us full flexibility and a space for creative solutions.
Marketing in general: All social media platforms and their advertising managers (even though we are just testing PPC, not investing in it);
Community: Heartbeat, FB groups, GravityForms;
Email: MailPoet and OptinMonster;
Analytics: Plausible, Google Analytics, SMartlook;
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Podcasts I truly enjoy: Passive Income by Patt Flin, My First Milion, Tim Ferriss Show, The Side Hustle Podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire, How the Fxck;
And some books that are hard not to mention (recommended for marketers): Lost & Founder by Rand Fishkin; Measure What Matters by John Doerr; 10x Marketing Formula by Garrett Moon; The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib;
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Right now we are online looking for new employees.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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