Sick of your job? Time to do something YOU WANT to do in your life? Thinking about getting there through investing in websites? Don’t know where to begin? You’ve come to the right place. Behold – everything you need to know about your starting your website investing journey.
Don’t skim this one! Take it slow, and read through each section. By the end, hopefully, you’ll have a better grip on which step to take next, what’s required from yourself along the way, and how to be certain of your success.
Cement Your Why
Why do you want to start investing in websites? Not a rhetorical question, get out a bloody pen and paper and answer it. If you can’t, at least think about it.
And don’t just write – “cuz money” – if you do, and you truly believe it’s your only reason to invest in websites, you won’t make it. Sure, money may help you get to where you want to go, but it’s not really what you want.
Ask yourself what you really want from life. What MUST you achieve? Think about it deeply.
Now consider this – will website investing help you reach these goals? If not – THAT’S PERFECTLY FINE! No one’s forcing you do to this. Move on and see if you can discover other activities which will move you towards the direction you desire.
If you answered yes, welcome to the most exciting journey of your life. It’s not going to be easy, but with perseverance, discipline, and adaptability, you will make it.
Remember those three:
Those three qualities will not only help you succeed in website investing but all other areas of your life as well.
Your whys and your reasons to start investing in websites will push you through the tough times. Cement them in your conscious mind and imprint them in your subconscious.
Interested further into harness the power of your subconscious mind? Check out this book by Joseph Murphy. Your mind will be blown after you read about the captain and his sailors analogy.
Lastly, keep your end goals in mind, but don’t focus on them too heavily. If you don’t learn to love the process and journey of reaching them, you’ll get frustrated and give up easily.
I highly recommend you give The Practicing Mind – Thomas M. Sterner a read if you’re keen on discovering to love the process instead of continuously focusing on the end goal.
Bit of philosophy for you! Hopefully, you were able to understand further why you want to invest in websites, and if you’re ready to make the commitment. Now…on to the specifics.
How much capital do you have to invest? Better yet, as a beginner, ask yourself this – How much money am I willing to lose if the investment goes bad? As you gain experience, you’ll find yourself asking the second question less and less over time.
But as you’re just starting out, only invest as much as you’re willing to lose. Say you’ve got $10,000 of cash sitting in the bank – how would you feel if you invested $5,000 of it into a website – and lost it all? What about the whole $10,000? Would you curl up and roll back to your day job?
Set out a specific amount you’re comfortable investing and don’t go over. Unless you’re one lucky bugger, you’ll regret it.
Start small, and continue to work your way up. Be patient and enjoy the process. It takes time, experience, and knowledge to build up a decent monthly income from website investing. If you aren’t in it for the long haul, you aren’t in it at all.
Write down the number on the same piece of paper you used earlier. Better yet, rip it off and stick it on your monitor.
Now you know your number, you need to decide what kind of websites you’re looking to buy.
Types of Websites
By what kind of websites, you should consider the following:
Would you be willing to purchase a site focused on training future nurses? What about the hunting seasons in Alaska?
If you are – great! If you aren’t, it’s no problem either. There are hundreds of different niches out there you don’t even know about yet, it’s redundant to pick a single niche you know of, and disregard all others.
Keep an open mind, and consider all the niches you come across seriously.
Some of you probably aren’t fully-fledged coders, web developers, content writers, server technicians, or social media managers, and some of you just may well be.
All you need to do is be aware of your current skills, how you can apply them to a potential website purchase, and the skills you’re lacking in.
For example, don’t buy a Software as a Service (Saas) business that receives 15 customer inquiries per day and requires consistent coding updates if you don’t know customer service or the slightest bit of coding. Sure, you can easily outsource the two, but you’ll have no idea if they’re being done correctly or not.
Take advantage of the current skills you have by investing in the appropriate website. Along the way, you’ll continuously build up more skills that will expand your horizons and future purchases.
Last question to ask yourself – How much time am I willing to spend on this website investment? Answering this question will determine the level of passivity you’ll be comfortable with.
Highly passive sites sell for a higher multiple (selling price divided by monthly profit). Why? Because they’re desirable. Everyone wants to simply throw money at something and watch the dividends flow in.
AINT NOBODY WANNA DO NO GOD DAMN WORK! (I swear that was out of a movie…but I couldn’t find the clip anywhere.)
How much time per day/week/month would you be willing to work on, or at least maintain, your website investment? All websites eventually decline without maintenance – don’t believe anyone saying otherwise.
You don’t have to have an exact number of hours, but a general figure should suffice. This will help you choose the right investment for you.
On a side note – EmpireFlippers have an awesome post helping you decide which type of buyer you are.
Just like traders’ paper trade before the real thing, you can simulate website investing before the real thing.
How? Simple. Follow along on Flippa or another marketplace as websites are sold.
Analyze the site, conduct your due diligence, ask the seller questions, follow through with a video walkthrough if possible, but don’t make a bid (unless it’s too good to pass up, of course). Wait until the site is sold to someone else, then keep track of it following the sale.
Monitor the site, notice if they’re any design changes, ad changes, monetization methods switched, social media accounts added/updated, or an email list implemented.
If you managed to access the Google Analytics account, don’t remove yourself instantly. Most of the time, buyers forgot to remove users with read-only access to the account. Perfect for tracking the traffic after the sale.
Also, hit up SEMrush to track keyword rankings and backlinks. It’ll be hard without a paid subscription, but it can be done.
Lastly, and this one is a hit and miss, but try and contact the buyer. The cheeky way to do this is to check out the bidding history of the auction, find the winner, and reverse search on Google their total transaction figure.
If you can find them using a Google search, don’t contact them immediately following the sale – wait a few weeks/months to allow them to get settled into their new investment. Then you can hit them up and ask how the website’s coming along, and for any tips, they may have for you.
It’s a long shot, but it’ll be extremely beneficial if it pays off.
Finally, practice with some small bids. Bid on sites with a bid, that if you won, you could turn around and instantly sell for a profit the next day. I like to do this at real estate auctions every now and then.
The auctioneer would start bidding off at a ridiculously low number, far below market value, yet you can still hear the crickets chirping. That’s when I like to jump in and help out. YES, I know there are reserves in place, but it gets me comfortable with the process and removes the uncertainty/fear.
Buy Your First Site
You’ve made it to the final stage. Or is it the beginning? Either way, great work.
- You know why you’re investing in websites, and the reasons behind them are cemented in your daily life
- You know what types of websites you’re interested in buying, your experience/skills which may be required, and the time your willing to commit to your new purchase, and
- You’ve practiced your due diligence, contacting sellers, and placing bids on listings
It’s time to take the next step. Investing in your first website.
Even after you’ve done all of the above, you may still be unbelievably nervous placing your first serious bid or hitting that Buy It Now button. I certainly was.
Embrace it! You’re expanding your comfort zone, testing your boundaries, and growing as a person. Even if your first purchase doesn’t work out, remember the three qualities – Perseverance, Discipline, and Adaptability.
Where to Buy Websites?
Alright, now we’ve gone through two of the most important points of investing in websites; why we’re choosing to buy established sites instead of building our own, and how much we’re willing to invest.
Next step…where can we actually find these established websites for sale? Are there trading platforms like shares? Do people list them on classifieds such as Craigslist? Are there brick-and-mortar stores which stocks websites on their shelves?
Unfortunately not. You can’t walk into a place like Walmart and expect to see an aisle dedicated to selling websites.
Typically, the vast majority of websites sales are completed online. Direct, forums, marketplaces, and brokers, are the four main avenues in which webmasters choose to sell their websites.
Website marketplaces allow sellers to list their own site (usually for a listing fee) on the marketplace. Buyers can browse and compare listing, and then either bid on the auction, or buy it now (BIN) if it’s available. Owners of the marketplace usually renounce all liability for any claimed earnings and traffic by a seller, meaning it’s all on you to verify the stats and revenue.
Quite easily the largest marketplace on the web. Hundreds of websites are listed every week, many of them straight up scams. Flippa’s marketplace requires you to know your due diligence before you can confidently bid. Remember – always look for reasons not to buy the site, instead of those to buy.
They’ve made efforts to reduce false claims through verification of analytics and Adsense. Take these verified stats with a grain of salt, however, it’s quite easy to dupe the verification process (as its all automatic).
Deal Flow is their premium website brokerage service. Unless you’re already investing >$150,000 in sites, you don’t need to worry about it just yet.
Those numbers are insane. If your patient, you’ll find some absolute gems in the $5k-$20k range.
SideProjectors focus on selling, buying, and discovering side projects. There is a range of project types you can choose from including websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, hardware, and others.
If we filter the results by Website and For Sale, we can see over 1,645 current listing. Head to the last page, however, and we see a site listed over 3 years ago, still available to be purchased.
Similar to Flippa, with far fewer filters to be able to search with. Price ($0-$20k+), Revenue ($0-$20k+), Visits (0-2k+), are the only variables you can change. And like Flippa, anyone can list their website without verification. There is also no option to directly contact the owner (or even view their profile!).
Just browsing over their most recent listing shows us the quality of sites they are allowing to be listed. Buyer beware.
Despite their name, these guys function more as a marketplace than a broker. As of writing, their listings totaled 16 websites. More than 50% of those claimed 0$ in revenue/month.
Again, buyer beware. If you head to their “List your site” page, you’ll see it states Listing your site takes 5 minutes. Which correlates to WebsiteBroker.com not verifying any information.
Check their Terms and Conditions and you’ll find the following:
(a) WebsiteBroker does not verify the content of the websites for sale at www.websitebroker.com (websites). WebsiteBroker does not control the content available on the websites. Any views, representations or opinions, and all other content present on the websites, are solely those of the website owner, or website owner’s designated agent.
Think of website brokers as those similar to real estate agents. Broker’s act as the middleman between sellers and buyers. Most of them do their best to ensure both parties of the transaction are legit, and the asset in question (website) is what the seller says it is.
As such, the middleman, of course, expects to get paid for his service. So selling your website through a broker may sometimes be a bit more expensive. As we’re buying, though, have no fear! The seller will likely bear the costs.
Good catch if you noticed the most a couple of sentences back. Not all brokers are the same. Some place a far higher value on verifying the seller and their website than others, and it shows in the quality of their listings.
FE International are one of the leading broker’s. Their team claims a 95% sales success rate of their listings, which range from $20k to over $1 million.
Only a brief amount of information is available on the public listing, so you’ll have to submit your name and email to get further details.
They have a great buyer’s resource which you can find here.
I believe Latona’s currently has the largest number of website listings for a broker. As of writing, there are 101 web properties listed ranging from $7k to a whopping $11.5 million Amazon store.
Their higher end websites are likely vetted far more in-depth than the ones on the other end. I’ve personally never purchased from them, but have received a few information packs, and they were iffy, to say the least.
Many people do swear by them, however, as you can see on their review page.
One of the newest, and fastest growing brokers in the scene. EmpireFlipper has strategically developed the reputation of only listing quality sites. Their Buyer FAQ states – While we put all of the sites we list through a rigorous vetting process that includes both automated and manual checks by several of our staff, ultimately each buyer is responsible for their own due diligence on every website purchased.
Listings range from $15k to over $1 million. New sites are listed every Monday and sent out in a weekly newsletter. Some do sell fast, so make sure to sign up if you’re in the market for another property.
You’ll find a lot of the new amazon affiliate websites for sale here, as well as other established websites for sale.
During the second half of 2021, the content managers have greatly focused on improving their blog and providing valuable information to both sellers and buyers. You can find it here.
WebsiteProperties provide one of the longest standing brokerage services for buying and selling websites. The principal and partner have been in the business for the past 15 years. Safe to say it’s likely they know what they’re doing.
Their listings are on the higher end with their lowest currently at an asking price of $75,000, and the highest quite a bit more at $3.95 million.
Similar to EmpireFlippers, they have quite a handy blog with some great information.
AcquisitionsDirect generally focuses more on online businesses with a real life presence. As in eCommerce and others, that require a presence in the physical world.
If you take a look at their listings, 13 out of the 15 available are all eCommerce. So if you’re not looking go get into the physical product world, these guys probably aren’t for you.
A premium broker feature sites mostly over the $100k mark. Although, they have a single sale pending of a site for $30k.
Just like a few other brokers listed, they have a great blog full of free valuable information. Get reading!
Forums used to be the go-to place to find profitable websites for sale. Of course, those days were before marketplaces and brokers jumped on the scene.
More recently, forums have become less and less attractive for buyers, as most public forums are spammed to high hell with nonsense sites.
What was once the pinnacle of buying and sell websites, has fallen greatly. Taking a look at the first page of the marketplace and 17 of the 20 websites for sales are advertised with $0 in monthly revenue.
Only 5 of the over 1,000 websites listed for sale have bidders. Take a look the understand the type of nonsense sites I’m talking about, but I wouldn’t recommend purchasing any.
These include Reddit, WarriorForum, TheMillionaireFastlane, and other general internet/online business related sites. You won’t find areas on them dedicated to the provision of selling websites, but if you participate regularly, and build up relationships with other members, you may be presented with some huge opportunities.
Business is built on relationships people! Get out there and start participating in the community.
None of the places above have anything you’re looking for? No worries! Just about every website owner has a number they’d be willing to sell at, you just have to find them.
How can you find them? One of my favorite ways is plain old Google. Search for a specific industry you’re looking for, head into the abyss (past page 2), and look for sites that you can see opportunities in.
Positives using this method include:
- Sellers may be willing to settle for a lower price as they aren’t aware of current valuation multiples
- Sellers may not even have known their site was worth anything and would be glad to get anything for it
- You can find specific sites in the industry you’re looking for (possibly for strategic acquisitions)
- No fees for the seller! Make sure to mention this to them if they start to consider listing it on Flippa or somewhere else
Negatives may include:
- Process can take much longer (finding suitable websites, finding webmaster emails, waiting for them to reply etc.)
- Verification may be difficult, if the website owner isn’t technologically up-to-date, they may have trouble with a video walkthrough
Buying a website directly from owners is one of the most satisfying ways of investing in websites. As it does take a bit more effort, you’ll find that most people simply stick with the marketplaces and brokers.
Amazing bargains to be found past the first page of Google!
Next Step: Improve the Website
Now that you’ve acquired the property and it’s been transferred to your name, it’s time to begin improving it.
You want to grow your monthly profit as high as possible. This may involve doing things like:
- Improving the content strategy and SEO to rank for more keywords and improve the traffic
- Exploring affiliate opportunities, or negotiating better deals
- Increasing your investment in things like social media and paid advertising to further grow revenue
- Creating and nurturing an active email list
Overall, you should try to optimize the traffic and income as much as possible, while removing yourself from the equation. A site that takes less time to run and maintain will go for more than a site that requires a lot of work to keep profitable.
Finally: How To Sell Your Website
When should you sell? One of the most frustrating, yet exciting questions you can ask yourself in website investing. Thankfully, this guide has all you need to know about selling your website!
If you’re already set on selling your site, feel free to head straight to the selling process. Otherwise, I’d recommend you start from the top and work your way down. Even if you aren’t thinking about selling yet, it’s good to know your options.
Reasons to sell your website
The old age “I need the cash” still stands tall as one of the most used reasons to sell a website. And even if it wasn’t the real reason, many sellers will opt for this as it removes any suspicions of defects in the site.
Would you buy a website from a seller who stated their reason for selling is – “I don’t believe the site can be made any better, the market it completely tapped out, and there is a cultural shift away from the site’s content”. A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
As a seller, it’s your duty to ensure the true reason of the sale (if it’s negative) doesn’t make it to the buyer’s mind, at least from your directly. I’m not saying hide information such as the sole supplier of your product is going out of business, but don’t say your selling because a new competitor entered the market and is stealing your market share.
There’s a fine line between withholding material information and letting the buyer simply do their own due diligence.
So, what are some of the reasons that you may want to sell your website?
You need the cash
As mentioned, webmasters in need of cash is the most used reason for a sale, whether it’s true or not. You either need the cash to invest in another project, or you need the cash for another part of your life.
It’s a perfectly acceptable reason to sell the site and one in which buyers generally understand.
You’ve taken it as far as you can
You’re at a point in the timeline of the website, where you’re simply unable to increase the traffic or revenue further. Whether it’s beyond your technical knowledge, or you simply don’t want to invest in furthering your skills, it may be time to sell.
Again, buyers won’t get spooked if you let them know this is the reason for the sale. Those with the technical knowledge required, may see your site as a huge opportunity and be willing to pay top dollar to take it off your hands. Win-win!
There’s a new competitor on the market
Traffic starting to slow? Revenues decreasing week after week? You may have a new competitor. Do a bit of research to find out you do, in fact, have a new competitor. If so, it may be time to sell.
It’ll especially be time to sell if you check them out, and are sure there’s no way you can take them on. You’re best bet would be to sell as quick as possible, before they encroach on your market share even more.
Market is at its peak or in decline
As with shares in a company, if you believe the market has reached it’s highest peak, consider selling. Selling at the peak will grant you the highest price for your site. Of course, figuring out when the industry has peaked is the golden question.
You can use tools such as Google Trends to help you out here. Simply enter a search term, and it’ll produce a graph of its popularity since 2004.
Check out Angry Birds for example. Peaked around the start of 2012, and has been dropping ever since.
Had enough of the niche you’re in? No worries! Get out and challenge yourself in another market. There’s no harm in selling off a site when it simply doesn’t interest you anymore, even if it’s profitable.
Remember, you’ll only continue to grow as a person if you continue to learn new things and expand your horizons. Hopefully, you aren’t in the business of website investing solely for making money.
Times when you should sell
This section is somewhat similar to above, with the difference of these beings times when you should definitely sell your website.
I’ll get it out of the way and repeat myself – when you believe the market is at its peak or a new competitor has arrived, you should take a serious look at selling.
Basically, if you foresee an irreversible downwards trend in the near future, consider offloading the site and focusing on others. Again, you don’t have to disclose your knowledge of the potential future if the information is publicly available.
If it’s not publicly available, you need to tell them. For example, Amazon has told you personally you’re site will be blocked from affiliate income starting from a certain date. You should tell them from an ethical standpoint, but you have to tell them from a legal standpoint.
You may be open to lawsuits if you fail to disclose material facts.
Times when you shouldn’t sell
A few of these may come as obvious to you, but I thought I’d just recap over them quickly. Times when you should re-consider selling your website:
- A steady upwards trend in both traffic and revenue which you believe is going to continue
- You haven’t made any attempts to optimize the monetization methods
- There are opportunities to improve the user experience through design and other tools
- Untapped avenues of traffic generation which can be easily utilized
See a common theme in all of the above? Yep. You should reconsider selling if you believe you can further improve on the traffic and revenue of the site.
What you need for a good sale
Awesome! You’ve determined not is a good time to sell your website. So where do you go from here? Before you jump in and list it on the marketplace, you’ll want to have some key pieces of information ready.
You may wish to throw all the reports on the public listing, or strategically withhold some to weed out the serious buyers from the tire-kickers.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of items you may wish to have available:
- Revenue – PDFs of the reports from all the services you use.
- Traffic – Attach the PDFs, but they won’t be enough for this one. Expect to grant read-only access to those who request. Have no fear! They’re unable to harm your account in any way.
- Expenses – If they’re available, PDFs should be fine. However, they may request more information such as invoices. Feel free to send them copies with the supplier details removed, unless you’re certain they’re serious buyers.
- Excel documents – Tracking the Profit & Loss for the site? Great work! If they’re easy to understand, you’ll attract many more buyers with a profitable P&L.
- Mic/Webcam/Screen sharing – Genuine buyers may request a live video walk-through or a conference call to confirm some more details and get to know you. Be aware that if you deny this, they may consider it suspicious on your end and you’ll likely scare away many buyers.
Keep in mind specific industries/niches will require different types of information. The list above is simply a general guide as to what serious buyers may request.
Where to sell your site
Now that you’ve gathered all the information regarding your site, where can you actually sell it? The same places where you can buy websites of course!
The one you end up choosing will depend on the size of your website, what industry it’s in, what kind of buyer you’re looking for, how quickly you want to sell your site and a few other factors.
I’d recommend getting in contact with a few brokers to get a feel for their process and the different valuations they come up with.
Be well aware of their fees before you choose to list with them. Nothing is worse than getting a sale and being hit with an unexpected 20% success fee.
“What is my website worth?”
ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!! Ok, maybe not. It is, however, a question we’d all like to know the answer to every now and again – “How much is my website worth?”. Unfortunately, it’s no easy question to answer. There is a wide range of factors that you’ll need to take into consideration when determining a site’s value.
It’s important to remember that your emotional attachment to the site does not increase the value in any way. As an extreme example, think of a family heirloom. A pocket watch passed down through generations may be priceless to you, but on the market, it’s only valued at a few hundred. Same concept for your website.
Just because it was your first site you’ve ever built or bought, the hundreds of man-hours you’ve spent building it up, and the emotional value you’ve attached to it, isn’t going to increase the end selling price.
There isn’t a single factor which universally determines the value of your website, it’s a combination of many. As well, different buyers will place a higher value on the individual factors below, some may be willing to pay more for steady revenue whilst others are looking for sites in decline to turn them around for quick flip.
Type of monetization
The various forms of monetization methods do have an impact on the end valuation. What would you pay more for?
- A site earning $950/month monetized through the selling of physical products to customers, or
- A site earning $950/month monetized through affiliate and advertising income
I’d say most of you promptly nodded your head at the second on the list. The majority of people just seem to prefer the fully online business model (at least those new to online business).
More experienced buyers will likely pay less attention to the specific method used, and place more weight on how it will fit into their current requirements.
How random is the traffic? What about the revenue? If you can’t find a pattern or trend in your graphs, it’s a volatile website.
You’ll be hard pressed to find many buyers who prefer volatile sites, so always aim to keep things steady. There are some adventurous risk takers out there, so if you’re selling off a volatile website, try and market to them for a maximum selling price.
Which way are your graphs pointing? North or south? If it’s North, wicked! Upwards trends are what dreams are made of. Buyers absolutely love seeing websites growing with the opportunity to further grow, and they’d be willing to pay top dollar for it as well.
If your graph is, unfortunately, heading the other way, expect to be low balled on the valuation. Even if the buyer specifically seeks out sites in a downwards trend as they know how to turn them around, they’ll do everything they can to not make it apparent.
Remember, always try and sell in an upwards trend of your site, you’ll end up with far more cash in your pocket.
Sites requiring copious hours to maintain will likely end up fetching a lower valuation. Let’s bring it back quickly to the classic – “How much do you make per hour?”.
Say your website is earning $1,000/month and requires around 10 hours/month. You end up with an $100/hour wage.
In contrast, you own another website doing $1,000/month but requires a bit more time at 25 hours/month. Your wage drops down to a mere $40/hour.
Now put yourself in the buyer’s position, which website would you rather invest in? And which website would you be willing to pay more for? I know my answer.
Even with all of the above taken into consideration, something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
If you have a fantastic piece of artwork that you paid $2.5 million for but no one’s willing to buy it off you? It’s worth nothing.
If you have a buggered old comic book which you think is worth nothing but someone’s willing to pay $900 for, it’s worth $900.
Each buyer is unique, and each will have their preferences on valuing a website investment. Luckily, there is a tool you can use to influence the final selling price. Marketing.
The seller’s description is there for a reason! Use your words to highlight the future opportunities and play on their emotions. As long as you aren’t deceiving them, it’s the best tool you can use to increase how much your website is worth.
Online website value checkers
A number of tools exist online where you can simply plug in your domain and it will spit out a number based on some assumed figures. I’d be wary of relying on any of these calculators as they do just that, assume.
There’s just simply no way they can think like a real person and effectively evaluate a site’s potential selling price.
As a website buyer, be cautious of any sellers listing their site with a valuation based on one of these calculators. Don’t be too scared, though, you may find a great bargain amongst the junk.
Process of selling your website
You know why you’re selling, you know where to sell it, and you approximately know a number you’re willing to accept to part with it.
Let’s move on to the juicy part of the article – the process of actually selling your website.
Keep in mind if you’ve chosen to sell through a broker, they’ll likely have a specific process which may be a bit different to the one below.
1. Presenting the data
Neat, concise, easy to understand reports, will grab the attention of far more buyers. Make sure the filenames are organized as well! And compress them if possible. The world isn’t blessed with the same high-speed internet you have!
If you have a bit of time, throw in some Excel reports and graphs as well. Everyone loves to see upwards pointing graphs. Gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts (and wallets).
2. Listing the website
Before listing, make sure you’re fully aware of any listing, and success fees you may be liable for if the website is sold. Check each time as well as the fees may have increased, as with Flippa.
If you sell a site for $20k with them now, they’ll take out $2k for providing the “service”. Definitely going to reduce your ROI by a big amount.
Anyone up for starting a competing marketplace with rational fees?
3. Weeding out the tire-kickers and scammers
Differentiate the serious buyers from the “I’m just browsing but I still want to know all the information, please send me everything”.
The easiest way to find out is by the questions they ask. Over time you’ll be able to quickly know if you’re talking to an experienced buyer or a newbie to the industry simply by how they speak to you.
Otherwise, check out their profile if you can and see if they have a presence on any other sites.
4. Providing requested information
If they are serious buyers, they may ask you for some more information before committing to the purchase. Be prepared to grant them read-only access to Google Analytics.
Google Webmasters is another story, as this tool can reveal more sensitive information which they may use to copy your website.
Finally, some may want to schedule a video walk-through or a video call to see you in person/make sure you’re a real person. If you have nothing to hide, it’s smooth sailing.
5. Negotiating with potential buyers
Great! You’ve found an interested buyer. What now? If they’ve gone for the Buy It Now option, even better! You got the price you were after.
If it’s still on the market, and they’ve presented you with an offer, it’s time to start negotiating. The best negotiating advice I can give you in one sentence is – Never accept the first offer they give.
Know your minimum selling price, then counter with an offer above your minimum. Don’t ever go below your minimum unless you’re extremely desperate.
During the whole negotiating process, be as friendly as possible. Get to know them, ask them questions about their life, show them that you care. Be genuine and they’ll return the favor with a generous price.
6. Determining payment method
Escrow. Escrow. Escrow.
Don’t even think about using
Paypal or Credit Cards. I only wrote them to get the point across, cross them out of your minds immediately!
The fees may be a bit higher with Escrow, but the peace of mind is definitely worth it. Normally, the escrow fee will be split 50/50 between the buyer and yourself.
7. Accepting an offer
Heartbeat increasing? It should be! You’re just about to sell your website!
Once you and the buyer are happy with all the terms above, it’s time to accept the offer and proceed with the completion of the sale.
Remember, though, the sale isn’t done until the money’s in your bank account.
8. Transferring the files and domain
Before you send over the files and push the domain to their account, make sure to verify the funds are in fact, in escrow.
If the full amount is there, you’re all set to transfer the website’s assets.
See here on how to transfer a domain to another account.
See here on how to transfer website files. Specifically the part under “Download your backup files”.
9. After sale support
This part is solely at your discretion and should be discussed prior to accepting an offer. Some buyers may be completely new and require assistance in setting it up the site on their hosting, whilst others may know exactly what they’re doing.
On the odd occasion, you may wish to provide 30 days or more of support, with phone calls every now and then as well.
10. Cutting the cord
The sites up and running with the new buyer, they’ve got it all under control, and there are no more hiccups. It’s time to cut the cord.
There’s no physical cord to cut (unless you wish to symbolize the website’s sale by cutting some ribbon you hung), but it’s time to accept the fact the website is no longer under your control.
Hopefully, you have other projects lined up ready to go to keep building your empire.
11. Checking back in
It’s not over! One of the most valuable steps in the process is checking back in on the website to see if the owner has made any changes.
This is a critical step which I believe many people miss out on. It allows you to learn from what you could’ve done, and apply it to your future websites. If possible, reach out and get in contact with the buyer once more.
Ask them how they are handling it all, how the website is doing, and maybe if they’re thinking about selling. You may want to even buy it back!
**ONE LAST THING** – Read. Read. Read. Read. Read blogs, read books, read forums, read newspapers, read podcasts. Most of it’s been done before and already documented somewhere.
Money scarcity doesn’t exist. There is an abundance of money all around you – think of the block of shops down the street – it’s worth millions. Think of the block you live on – it’s worth millions.
Embrace the fact that there is an abundance of money available to anyone in the world who wishes it, and you will soon be granted it. Let me know if you have any questions about investing in websites by leaving a comment below.
If you wanted more ways to make money online investing in websites, here’s my list of the best ways to make money online:
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