Buying a website is something I’ve considered doing for some time. Well, it finally happened. I bought my first website and in this blog post, I’m going to document the process and what I do with it moving forward to make sure it’s profitable.
Keep in mind this is about purchasing a website. That means you get all of the content on the site. There are a lot of articles, videos, etc. about purchasing domains. That is totally different. In that instance you are simply getting the domain and not any content along with it. In this article we are talking about buying an existing website.
Why Would I Buy a Website?
Odds are if you found this article you’re already looking to buy a website. But if not let’s go over some of the reasons someone would want to buy a website.
First, it could be someone who looks to buy them and turn around and flip them. These buyers are looking for opportunities for quick growth and then turn around and flip it for a substantial profit in the next 6-12 months or more.
When buying a website, it gives someone to purchase a business that is already generating revenue. A website general sells for 30x to 40x its monthly revenue. So while you are paying a premium for an established website, it’s a great way to get a solid base of monthly revenue coming in. For instance, you can buy a website making $2,000 a month for $60,000 to $80,000. And $2,000 is just your starting point for revenue. With some work you could get that website to $10,000 a month, which would help you recover your initial investment much quicker.
Why Would Someone Sell a Good Website?
If a website is raking in cash why would someone sell it? If someone found a great niche, why would they sell that website? Here are some reasons for sellign a website:
- Immediate cash flow
- Tired of the niche
- Moving on to bigger and better things
There are many reasons why people sell websites. At a point, it becomes time to move on to the next big thing and that’s when it’s time to sell. Sure, there’s probably a reason they’re selling, but as long as the website checks all the boxes you are looking for, that does not matter.
Where to Buy a Website
So you’re interested in buying a website, so where is a great place to start looking at them? Let’s take a look at the different options:
You’ve probably seen these before. These marketplaces take care of everything you need from listing the websites for the seller all the way to transferring the site to the buyer. However, they do not vet the sites that are listed in their marketplace. Or if they do any vetting, it’s not very thorough. Here are some of the marketplaces:
When you buy or sell a website through a broker, they will be much more involved with the process. For instance, the broker will help the seller and help them uncover ways to make more profit. They can also work with a buyer, helping them find the type of website they are looking for. This is in addition to everything that is provided by the marketplaces. Here are some brokers:
These are just a few of the marketplaces and brokers out there. If you want to do a deep dive you could uncover many, many more of them.
Another option is to reach directly out to a website owner and buy it. This might seem crazy, but this is exactly how I sold the only website I’ve ever sold.
I had a website in the keto diet niche. After a Google update, it was floundering. Traffic to it was down by about 80% and out of nowhere, I got an email from someone looking to purchase it. Obviously, it’s not ideal to sell your site when the valuation is at a low point, but this gentleman refused to take no for an answer. After some emailing back and forth I finally said, “The only way I will let go of this site is if you pay me $XX,XXX. Well, that crazy son of a gun agreed to it and the rest is history.
If you’ve made it this far you’re probably wondering which one of these methods I used to buy my website. Well, this is how I bought mine, through a good old Facebook group.
You might be thinking many negative things about this process, such as: “Weren’t you afraid to get ripped off?” “Did it take you forever to find a website?” “Where do I find these Facebook groups?” And my favorite, “I hate Facebook!” We’ll address those below.
Here are some Facebook Groups to get you started. One of these is where I bought my first website!
Tips for Website Buyers
So now you know why people buy existing websites and where you can get started looking for them. Now let’s move into some tips to help you get what you’re looking for.
Tips to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Buying a Website
First, let’s address getting ripped off. If you are buying directly or buying off of someone on Facebook, this is very important. The site I purchased from someone in a Facebook group was for $600, so there’s a lot less risk involved than if I was purchasing one for $600,000. With that said, no one wants to get ripped off for $650. So there are some things you can do to make sure you aren’t scammed.
- Do some background research on the seller
- How long has he been in the Facebook group
- Does he have any kind of established reputation in the website flipping space
- Make sure his Facebook account wasn’t created in the last few days
- Ask a lot of questions – if someone is selling a website they should have no answer providing you an answer for any question you have.
- Proof of monetization
- Proof of traffic (Google Analytics)
- Screenshots of ad/affiliate revenue
- Use a third party to handle the transfer
- When I sold my website, I used Escrow.com to handle the transfer. They take payments from both parties and then make the transfer of funds after both sides of the agreement are satisfied.
Finding the Right Website
Now let’s talk about what to look for when you’re hoping to purchase a website. That depends on a number of things including what you’re looking for, how specific your budget is and many other things. I can’t talk about every situation of everyone out there buying a website out there but I can talk about my situation.
When I was looking to purchase a website, I wanted a website in a niche with plenty of room for growth. Additional to that I also wanted a site that is already ranking in Google for some keywords. Why does that matter to me? Because if it is already ranking for some keywords, I can find some similar keywords with less competition, resulting in quick growth. Keyword research and SEO is my area of expertise, so this $600 purchase saves me the first 6 to 12 months that it takes to start bringing substantial Google traffic in.
Since this was my first time purchasing a website, I didn’t want to break the bank. I was looking to keep it under $2,000. I ended up getting all of the things I wanted with a technology site that is already getting some Google traffic for just $600.
What is it you’re looking for? Whether it’s a price point, a niche or a certain level of earnings, it’s important to identify what you’re looking for. Maybe you’re a master of Instagram and just want a site with a big-time social presence. No matter what your criteria is, make sure to define it before you go out on the hunt.
Look for Quick Wins
When I’m looking at purchasing a website, I like to identify things that I could quickly improve or take advantage of. For instance, I know that I will be able to find low-hanging fruit (keywords) that I can rank quickly with the site I bought. Other types of quick wins include:
- Taking advantage of a social media presence, such as sharing your site in relevant Facebook groups
- Diversifying the streams of revenue (adding affiliate links, adding ads)
- Improving current streams of revenue (negotiating better affiliate deals, using a better ad network)
I’ve Bought My Website – What’s Next?
Okay, let’s just say, hypothetically, that you purchased a website and are looking for information on what to do next. Or maybe you’re yet to purchase a website, but you are curious what someone does with a website after they buy it.
Well, I have some great news! I’m going to be documenting the entire process of what I do with this website to increase traffic and revenue. All you have to do is put your email address in the form below and you’ll get all my updates on it, which will be 1 to 2 emails a week.