When I started flipping over 15 years ago, it was right after the dot come bubble of the 2000s. Back then if you wanted a nice looking website, you had to either learn HTML code or pay someone to develop a nice looking page for you. So the entry barrier was much higher. Fast forward to today, there are a ton of tools and themes and builders out there that make it super simple to deploy a good looking website within a hours time. Because the entry barrier is low and the invention of ad-based advertising and affiliate marketing, there is now a large market for buying and selling websites. The most well-known site for flipping websites is called Flippa. Let’s take a look at how to buy and sell websites for profit.
Determining a website’s value
So how the heck do you know if a website is valuable or not? To sum it up, you want to know how much organic 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 you’re doing researching on PR or DA you’re 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 you’re 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 yet the previous owner was really bad 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 once revenue picks up. Typically people who do quick flips like these do not keep the websites for more than 6-12 months. But sometimes the income is so good that they held on to for the steady income flow.
- 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 good and short URL name has been bought. 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, affiliate sales and/or courses. There are plenty of Amazon affiliate sites making five figures a month and blogs that make over 6 figures a month! The idea is to buy a site, optimze it and generate a steady flow of income. There are a few ways to do this.
- 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. Sometime it’ll take a year before you see significant change but plenty have done it in less time.
- 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. These kinds of websites might have grown such a way that the bandwidth or hosting is cost more than the owners can afford. This is usually due to the owners not monetizing or not effectively monetizing. Community or forum sites are awesome since you have a loyal base of users that are coming back each month. With a few modifications, these high monthly volume sites can be making a lot of money within a short amount of time.
- 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. You can apply the strategy with just domain names too.
Build Your Own
Another option I just want to throw out there is creating your own website to flip. If you are great at selecting domain names and creating content, you can easily spin up websites that others would love to utilize. There are so many cheap hosting options (as low as $3.95 per month) and builders/themes available that literally, anyone can learn how to build a great looking website within a few hours. You can create “template” websites that might be based around a niche someone is trying to get into. For example maybe creating a site dedicated to selling Drones. Or you can build a website that is meant to rack in money from affiliate marketing. For example a hair dryer review site with affiliate links pointing back to Amazon. The possibilities are endless.
Again just like the short term and long term plays, you can always build a website yourself and keep it as a site to generate a steady income. I’ve heard of people create a 5 figure generating website within 9 months of time through very effective social marketing and having great content.
For those who are interested in learning more about how to build a website, this is a great article to look at How To Start A Blog in 2017.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to profit with a short term play or a long-term play, both provide a solid income if done properly. However, both will fail without a lot of research, preparation, execution and planning. Flipping websites probably isn’t for everyone but it is another niche that anyone can get into. If you’re interested in flipping digital items, make sure to check out How to Profit From Bitcoin.