I spend a lot of time lurking in SEO groups and forums, and I regularly see people who post that they’re looking someone to partner with or JV (joint venture) with on a site. Sometimes these people already have a site, other times they’re looking to start one up fresh.
It’s kinda weird, but I even get people emailing me or sending me private messages asking to partner up with them as a newbie. Though those offers usually seem to really be about me training them for free on a site we both “work” on.
I don’t blame them for asking though, cause you never know when someone will say ‘yes’ to something like this…
I’d say I get these sorts of offers every few months, and my very first partnership with someone resulted from one of these offers in 2014. (See, that’s why I say it doesn’t hurt to ask – but not me, cause I’ve learned my lesson.)
Why Do A Website Partnership?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could clone yourself and then get twice as much done? Being able to get more done on a site is great reason to consider doing a partnership.
That’s actually why I’ve partnered with most of the people that I have thus far.
Theoretically, if you have more people working on site, then you get more done. And if you get more done, then your earnings ceiling is higher.
And we all like the idea of more money, right?
Partnerships can also be attractive if you lack certain skills and you find someone else that fills that gap. For instance, if you’re a non-native English speaker but an awesome link builder, then you may look for a good content writer to partner up with.
Are there other reasons to do a partnership? Probably, but these are the main reasons that I’ve been in them.
You may also just wanna partner up with some friends or family to do a site. I’ve done this as well with success.
Types of Website Partnerships You Can Do
There’s a few different setups that you can do when agreeing to partner up with someone on a site. You can even partner up with more than one person, which I’ve done as well.
I think the most common agreements are:
- even split of all the work
- split work based on what each partner specializes in (content, links, outreach, etc)
One of the more recent posts I saw in an SEO group was a writer offering to do 100% of the content on the site if someone else would just do all the other things that needed to be done. So, that would be the second option I listed above.
I’ve done both of the types of site partnerships listed above. And, as I already mentioned, I also once did the ‘I’ll teach you and you do it all’ sort of partnership.
My Experience With Website Partnerships
I’d love to tell you that all of my partnerships were absolutely amazing…but that would be a lie. In fact, most of them are regrettable.
That may be due to the fact that I’ve never met any of the people I’ve partnered with in person.
Madness, eh? I met most of them either in an SEO forum or a group that we were active in.
That very first partnership I told you about – well, I had the fortunate foresight to insist that I buy and host the domain for that little venture. Good thing, because after two months the dude just completely disappeared.
I’d met him on a forum. He completely stopped posting there and didn’t reply to emails at all.
That left me with a site in a niche that I had zero interest in and I needed to recoup the money I’d spent getting the site up + the time I’d spent training him. So, I outsourced some content to get the site up to 30 posts and was able to sell it for a small sum a year later.
Two years later, the dude reappears out of nowhere and wants to know why he can’t log into the site. Our relationship did not end on good terms.
One of the more interesting partnerships I’ve had came about when a guy messaged me about a site he’d found in the SERPs competing against his site, and asking if it was mine. It just so happened that the site WAS mine and it was a lucrative one for me.
So, I offered to buy the guy’s site off him. He countered with, ‘how about we partner on it instead?’ and that’s how that partnership came to be.
For another partnership I did, we ended up picking one of my neglected sites that was showing promise with the intent to grow and flip it. It was a ‘split all the work’ scenario, and we were able to add more content to that site than I ever could have accomplished on my own.
And though we didn’t meet the original income goal we set, we ended up flipping the site. With all the crazy algo updates and Amazon commission rate changes that followed, this was clearly a wise decision.
I’d say that only 50% of the site partnerships that I’ve had ended in a decent site sale, with the other half kind of fizzling into nothing. But I’ve also had site partnerships that I was just no longer into and asked to be bought out.
With one of those, I thought the dude was a decent guy and things went well enough throughout our time working on the site. Then a few months after he bought out my share, I learned that he’d made some advertising deals that I didn’t know about prior to me asking to get out.
This means that when we came to the agreement of the value of my share, he screwed me out of six figures. And there was nothing that I could do about it because we never made up a formal legal partnership agreement.
I had another partnership that I asked to be let out of because my partner had plans for the site that just was not something that I was into. And, even if I was, I knew that I didn’t have time for it.
What I’ve Learned
Probably the most valuable thing that I’ve learned through all of my partnerships is that you need to get everything down in writing. But not just in writing – a formal legal agreement that spells out everything.
If I’d had one of those in place with the asshat who screwed me out of six figures, then I would have been able to go after that money. (You should also think about the laws where your partner lives – will be you able to seek legal action, if you need to?)
And even though I say that, my two most recent partnerships did not have such an agreement. So, this is definitely a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ moment.
You should also have a clear list of tasks, or deliverables, for each partner. And, you should have regular check-ins with your partner to ensure that everyone is pulling their weight.
I think it’s probably ideal if each partner is on the same level, in terms of skill and what they bring to the table. I refer you to my very first partnership again, which did not end well.
Otherwise, it can end up like those group projects in school where people would slack off and one person would end up doing most of the work on it.
Out of all the partnerships that I done, I’d say that only one of them really resulted in an outcome that I could not have achieved on my own in the same time span.
Do I recommend doing a partnership or JV with someone on a site? Honestly, I don’t think that I’ll do another one unless there’s a really compelling reason to do so.
For me, partnerships have primarily been due to me not having enough hours in the day. But partnerships also mean that you have to split that income with someone else.
Instead, consider building and paying a team to do all the things that you cannot accomplish on your own. Then, you don’t have to split the money when you flip a site.
So, that’s where I’m at with partnerships at this stage.
That being said, there are plenty of people out there crushing it with partnerships. So, if you’re considering it, then I hope you take the time to really think about what you hope to get it from and what you and your partners each bring to the table.
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