When I started flipping over 15 years ago, it was right after the dot come bubble of the 2000s. Back then everyone thought that there were simply too many useless websites out there and that the net has become saturated. Fast forward to now and we all know that the net is even MORE saturated with useless websites. But the good thing is from the million upon millions of useless websites we did get some good ones.
Facebook (arguable), Wikipedia, Etsy, are a few off the top of my head and apparently there was one started in 2009 that I’ve missed. Its called Flippa and it is a website made to help people buy and sell websites for profit. Now I’ve personally never flipped websites before but after doing some research it appears that flipping websites can be a very profitable thing. So I put together this post for you guys to ponder upon.
Introduction to website’s value
For most people this is going to be like rocket science. How the heck do you know if a website is valuable or not? To sum it up, you want to know how much natural traffic is coming to the site. There are many ways to simulate fake traffic but Google is too smart for it and you should be too. Once you find a good site that meets your criteria start monitoring and researching it. There are three things to look for.
Google PageRank (no longer being used). Google PageRank is one of the methods Google uses to determine a page’s relevance or importance. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. Google PageRank is a measure from 0 – 10. This was the gold standard in determining how valuable a webpage was. But in 2014, Google said they will stop updating PageRanks. So all 2015+ websites will not have a page rank but anything before 2015 will.
Domain Authority. DA is a website metric developed by Moz. It is one of the most important numbers known to SEO. The greater your DA, the more likely you are to have strong traffic and high rank. Moz started as a SEO company and since Google stopped updating PR, Domain Authority is now the standard for determining website value.
Alexa Ranking. The algorithm the company Alexa (owned by Amazon) uses to ranks websites based on traffic. It is based on the amount of traffic recorded from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed over a period of three months. This traffic is based on such parameters as reach and page views.
Basically the higher the PR, DA and Alexa is, the more valuable the website will be. I did want to mention real quick that when your doing researching on PR or DA your going to hear the word backlinks a lot. Let me explain it further in detail and why you want backlinks.
Backlinks. Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage. When a web page links to any other page, it’s called a backlink. A page with a lot of backlinks tends to rank higher with PR and DA. The advantages of backlinks are:
- Improves organic ranking. Backlinks help in getting better search engine rankings.
- Faster indexing of site. Backlinks help search engine bots to discover links to your site and to crawl your site effectively.
- Referral traffic. Backlinks help to get referral traffic that is targeted and has a low bounce rate.
So how do you make money?
There are short term plays and long term plays on how you can buy and sell websites for profit. You’ll have to determine which ways play works best for you.
Short Term Plays
- Buy a site specifically to flip it quickly. This is extremely risky so you most know exactly what your doing. Basically you buy a site that you feel is underperforming because the previous owner didn’t know what they were doing. The site might be selling a product or doing affiliate marketing or simply blogging yet the owners really sucked at SEO or marketing or selling. The idea is for you to buy the website, spend a little time fixing whatever that needs to be done and then selling it quickly when it’s doing better. Typically people who do quick flips like these do not keep the websites for more than a few months.
- Buy a site only for the domain name. Have you ever tried looking for a .com name? If so you know how frustrating it is to find almost every single good and short URL name bought and you now have to resort to buying something ridiculously long. Sometimes the best flip is to buy a failed website with a great URL. Buy the site and sell the name. Destroy the rest.
Long Term Plays
- Buy a site to generate a steady income. There are a lot of people out there that simply make a living collecting commission from advertising. They collect a solid $500 dollars to $5000 per site they own. If you add it all up, they are making a ton of money. You can do this too.
- First option is to buy a site that is underperforming. For the same reasons I listed in buy a site specifically to flip it quickly, you can buy a site you feel is underperforming with SEO, marketing, product/content, etc… So you improve all those things little at a time and you watch the website grow organically with users and income month by month. This is a longer term play because you might have to wait months or years before it starts paying off.
- Second option is to buy a community or forum site. Community or forum sites are often created by hobbyist fans, not aimed to profit in any way. The website might have grew in such a way that the bandwidth or hosting is cost more than the owners can afford. This is due to the owners not monetizing or not effectively monetizing. These kinds of sites are awesome since you have a loyal base of users that are coming back each month. Be careful though, there are certain category sites where Google Adsense and others will not allow their ads to be placed on. For example if your community sites is about guns, Google associates your gun website within the category violence. And they do not allow ads on violence sites. So just make sure you do your homework first to see what is allowed and what’s not.
- Buy a site for a future niche play. I’m sure you heard of people or ideas that are too advanced for it’s time? Well it’s kind of like that with websites too. Some websites simply were created when that idea or product wasn’t popular. You can buy websites that you think will become a good niche play in the future and then sell. Some of these websites are already well indexed by Google and have a great PR/DA already. So as soon as the niche becomes popular, you’ll be able to flip them easily. This considered a longer term play because you might be waiting for a long time.
There you have it, everything you need to know about how to buy and sell websites for profit. Without a doubt there needs to be a lot of research, preparation, execution and planning. Flipping websites probably isn’t for everyone but it does sound website flips can be very profitable if done right. Good Luck!