The internet is ripe with quick and easy opportunities, a few of which are even more valuable than website flipping. Just like you’d flip real estate, you can do the same with websites; it’s all a matter of finding the right niche and having money to invest.
Having said that, buying and selling websites for profit is not for people who have little to no experience with SEO or web in general. Rather, it’s tech-savvy entrepreneurs who stand to gain the most from flipping websites.
We’ll explain some basics you need to know about buying and selling websites in this article. After all, it’s definitely not something you should try without all the information at hand.
Where to go: a few marketplaces you should know
In the world of website trading, you need marketplaces to act as middlemen. Even with marketplaces, there are still some inherent risks to buying and selling websites. Without them, flipping websites is too risky as there are too many scams running loose.
Since it’s highly inadvisable to just wing it without a marketplace at your side, we’ll provide you with a list of several trustworthy website trading destinations:
Whether it’s dropshipping, e-commerce, or anything in between, Empire Flippers has you covered. If you’re looking to avoid a scam, this is the marketplace to be. They have one of the most elaborate vetting processes that any dedicated website flipper can appreciate. Suffice it to say it’s the best option if you’re planning on making exceptionally large and expensive purchases or sales.
However, Empire Flippers is somewhat exclusive, and you won’t be able to use it to buy or sell sites that make little to no money on a monthly basis.
One of the largest marketplaces on the internet, Flippa is a reliable enough source for buying and selling websites. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as reliable as Empire Flippers, so you’ll have to do quite a bit of research on your own.
Since it’s one of the most popular website marketplaces, rampant scams come as no surprise. Without a foolproof vetting process, it’s up to you to verify the integrity of potential buyers or sellers. If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Similar to Empire Flippers, FE International focuses on high-end expensive website trades; it’s more exclusive than most other marketplaces of its kind.
In case you have a great deal of money to invest and need a marketplace whose vetting process you can trust, go with FE International. It’s arguably one of the safest marketplaces for high investments and end-game website flipping.
Things to know when you’re a buyer
The first thing that a prospective buyer should ask for is read-only access to the seller’s Google Analytics. Without all of the data, you can’t make an informed decision about the site’s metrics and whether it’s a real deal or not.
Once you have the analytics, look into website traffic and traffic sources. Scammers will have their websites look as if they were abuzz with activity, but only until they sell you the website. Analytics will help you separate the wheat from the chaff, as they can reveal whether the site is receiving real organic traffic.
If analytics lists traffic sources as “other” or “direct”, it’s highly likely you’re dealing with bought social media traffic or other forms of malversation.
Besides knowing where the traffic is coming from, it’s crucial to understand revenue sources and the history of revenue. Avoid sketchy affiliate websites, track seasonal data, and ask for all the information that you need. After all, it’s the revenue of the website that will determine the price it’s sold for.
On top of all that, make sure you’re not buying a website that’s been banned from ad networks for nefarious reasons. The same goes for checking whether the site has been penalized or if there’s a pending lawsuit.
Things to know when you’re a seller
As a seller, the most important thing is to know you’re dealing with a real person. You know how your website is doing, how much it’s worth, and what a reasonable profit margin would be. However, you don’t know who the buyer is and what their intentions are.
In fact, you can almost never tell who your online buyer is and what to expect of them. That’s why you should almost always rely on a third-party service to handle agreements, transactions, and terms of the deal. Typically, there are many services like Escrow at your disposal.
Despite that, you should still ask your buyer for proof that they are who they say they are. Verify their identity and have all the terms of the deal in writing.
Website flipping as a business model
Unlike most other business models that require a substantial initial investment, website flipping is relatively cheap and the entry bar is quite low. Starting a new website requires a domain name and hosting, both of which are easily affordable. How much you’ll pay for web developers, designers, and copywriters depends on how much of the work you can (and want to) do yourself.
In case you need a full team of people to help you grow the website, your running costs will go up, so make sure to factor that into your website flipping strategy.
Last but not least, you will always have an extensive array of available formats and niches to choose from as you grow your website. Website flipping isn’t limited to just one type of website. It’s a broad term that encompasses all of the websites that someone would be willing to trade. Look for web projects that attract audiences right now or have this potential, supply the demand, and you’ll find website flipping to be a truly valuable endeavor.
How to increase the value of a website
We’ll leave you with a couple of actionable tips that you can use to increase the value of a website once it’s in your possession:
- Provide more quality content using new keywords.
- Optimize existing content
- Implement an email marketing strategy
- Add another source of revenue
- Expand your social media presence.
These are some of the basic steps you can make to start turning a profit. The rest is up to you.
To sum up, website flipping is a lucrative business model and a sound investment. However, it would be unwise to ignore the risks associated with buying websites, so it’s best to be careful and do research before coming to a decision.