A Guide to Buying Websites and Selling For a Profit
Just like other investments, such as real estate, you can make big money from buying websites and flipping them. Learn the basics right here!
You may have heard of house flipping. But do you know there’s such a thing as website flipping?
Yep. While the details may look different, it essentially works the same way: Buy a website. Boost that website. And sell it, with the goal of receiving a positive return on investment (ROI).
Unlike house flipping though, website flipping is still relatively new. Which means the market isn’t nearly as saturated with website flippers as it most likely will be in the future.
That being said, here’s what you need to know about buying websites and selling them.
Identify your process
Ok, making a profit off of flipping a website is your overall goal. But how are you going to get that done?
Because the route you take will determine how quickly you make the flip as well as how much time you’ll spend enhancing the website.
To help you identify your process, here are some questions to ask yourself.
What timeframe are you looking at? Do you want to flip within a couple months? A year? Few years?
How much time and energy do you have to invest into the website?
And, how much time and energy do you want to dedicate to this project?
(These last two questions may look identical, but they’re not. Because you may be overworked and not have that much time and energy to put towards it. Yet you may want to dedicate a lot more than you physically can.)
Know what the routes are
In a nutshell, it boils down to building websites from scratch and flipping them. Or buying websites that someone else built and flipping those.
However, no matter what choice you decide on, there are several different routes you can take. Here they are:
The domain path
In case you don’t know, the domain is the website address. A good domain will help with your search engine optimization (SEO) and boost your brand.
Perhaps you want a domain that better fits your niche. Or a domain name that is lucrative because it pertains to an industry that’s trending.
Either way, you’re buying websites (or a website) strictly because you need to have that domain name.
The website could have poor backlinks, ineffective keywords, and an unattractive layout. It doesn’t matter.
The marketing road
Perhaps this website has an established audience. It is easy to navigate. The design is sound. And there’s quality content in the form of consistent blog posts, 2-3 e-books, and a newsletter.
But it could use some marketing tweaks to take the site from good to great. An email campaign here. A pay-per-click advertisement there.
You then will flip the site after gaining more of an audience via Internet marketing. (A bigger audience means a better chance of making a bigger profit.)
The forum highway
This website will have not only an established audience but a very dedicated one. This is because of the online niche forum it has.
In most cases, the original owner didn’t try to monetize the site. Which means, depending on the website, you might have to change the layout a bit and insert some call-to-actions.
What it comes down to is leveraging the dedicated audience, and converting them into dedicated customers.
Day flipping route
Day flipping involves buying websites that already have a significant audience, strong ranking, quality content, extensive backlinks, everything a solid website would need to have.
In this situation, the original owner is done with this project and wants to move on to something new.
You aren’t looking to leverage the audience as you would with a forum-based website. Nor would you marketize it like other websites which could greatly benefit from that.
No tweaks. No changes. Buy the website. And put it back out on the market for a higher price. It’s that simple.
Where do you look? You can use search engines and/or “flipping websites.”
Using search engines
Search for niche-based keywords that relate to the type of website you want to buy.
So, if you’re looking for a mobile technology website, conduct a general search; enter “mobile technology.”
From there, you can look at the list of long-tail and short-tail keywords Google has on the bottom of the page. And use those to become more specific.
Nowadays, there are websites similar to eBay that list websites for you to buy.
Flippa, for instance, is one of these sites. Buyers bid against one another for the website—again, like eBay.
Other websites, such as BuySellWebsite, merely list the website and the owner’s contact information. In which case, you can contact the owner and negotiate the price for the website.
How to buy
Once you’ve identified what website you want to buy, contact the owner.
Use a common sense approach when doing this. If the website is on one of the “flipping websites,” you know the owner wants to sell the website. So, you can directly ask him or her about the price the website is going for. And negotiate from there.
If you found the site while searching the Internet, you’ll need to start a conversation with the owner first. (Please note this is normally over several emails.)
After contacting the owner, negotiate.
Know that, when you are negotiating, the website itself isn’t the only piece on the table. There’s the content that’s already uploaded on the website, e-books, owner’s time to help you with the transition, and so forth.
Once done negotiating, put the terms—all of them—into writing. In other words, a formal contract, outlining EVERYTHING. The contract should be signed by you, the original owner, and any third parties that are involved.
How to sell
Website flipping works like the stock exchange. When you intuit you can’t get more out of the website (i.e. traffic, higher ranking, better layout…), flip it.
However, similar to real estate investment, this normally doesn’t happen overnight. Know it’s a marathon, not a race.
For more information about buying websites and selling them, feel free to check out our blog.