When it comes to selling sites online, there are 3 main types of websites that you can sell:
E-commerce is pretty straightforward to explain but the most complicated and annoying platform to actually run. You have your own product that you’re selling independently on your website.
This model works well for small businesses that have a very specialized product that they create or a distinct and reputable brand. Think of how many independent sites that you shop at? It’s either because they’re selling something that no one else has or they’re doing something better than anyone else. What comes immediately to mind are businesses like hand-jewelery makers or inventors.
Dropshipping is an e-commerce store that acts as a middle man between the factory and the consumer.
Basically the function of dropshipping websites is to create a pretty front to sell items directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. Usually, these profit margin on these websites is very small so you need to sell A LOT of items to make any real money.
Also, you have to be selling a product that’s 1) in demand and 2) unique. If someone can buy something from amazon and get it delivered to their house in 2 days, they’re not going to wait weeks to get it shipped from the factory in China.
Adsense or other websites that make money by posting ads on their pages are the easiest to sell because they require basically no upkeep. Of course, they’re only going to make any real profit if the website gets a LOT of organic traffic.
For this reason, these sites have to be extremely well built, have a lot of amazing content and be well optimized for search engines. Once a website reaches over 25k sessions per month, it’s got the necessary traffic to have good potential as an advertising website.
Amazon websites (or any other affilaite websites) are almost as easy as Adsense websites. In the same way, these websites are very easy to manage once they are setup and getting a good amount of traffic. They require little work to upkeep.
They’re slightly trickier to transfer because you have to change all the affiliate links so that they own to the person taking over the website. If you use an affiliate link manager, this becomes much easier.
If you’re website isn’t monetized yet, it’s too early to sell it online. First, you need to monetize it successfully with one of the methods above and then, you can think about selling it.
Selling Sites Online Usually Comes Down to Finding a Good Platform
In the first section, I’ll share with you the pros and cons of the major platofrms that will sell your website for you. I’ll also share some general platforms where you can try to sell directly to the buyer.
Then if you want to stick around, in about 10 minutes or so – I’m going to share how to turn selling (or flipping) websites full time business idea. It’s actually much easier and surprisingly cheaper than it might sound if you know THREE major tips. These 3 tips will keep you from pulling your hair out in frustration and also keep you from investing insane amounts of money that you might never get back.
List of Resources | Where to Sell your Website Online?
As I mentioned above, selling a website online for the highest price usually comes down to finding the best platform to sell it on. You’re going to have to balance ease of use with how much money you can get. Sometimes these two things line up and sometimes they don’t. I
n my experience, the way to make the MOST money is to sell your website independently through a site like E-Bay, Craigslist, Kijiji or through your own personal network. The reason is because your site isn’t being compared on a fixed set of metrics (specifically profitability) next to a bunch of other webistes. You can market your website excatly the way you want to.
The downside of this is that it takes significantly more work and it’s going to take a lot longer to sell. Also, whoever buys the website might realize that they paid more for a website that makes them less money then thy could have gotten on another platform, which doesn’t do well for your reputation.
My advice is to use one of the following platforms and if you aren’t satisfied with the worth of your website, it’s time to make it more profitable first before you consider selling it.
- 1.5 Million+ Websites: Flippa is hands down the biggest marketplace for websites. The upside to this is that there’s a very good chance your website will sell if it’s profitable ($500+ per month or more is a good place to be). The downside is that the competition is high because there are so many websites.
- Valuation Tool: Flippa will help you valuate your website fairly so you don’t have to worry about trying to set a price
- Fees: Flippa has listing and selling fees. If your website isn’t going to sell for more than a few hundred dollars, you should really ask yourself if its worthwhile selling it
- Competition: Comparing Faveable and DCTribune, one is almost half the price and their net profit is almost the same. Which website do you think will sell a LOT faster?
Overall, Flippa is very easy to use but it’s expensive.
#2: Empire Flippers
- Valuation Tool: Again, Empire Flippers has their own valuation tool
- Customer Service: You don’t need to worry about transfering data, domains, hosting, etc. “You don’t need to buy software. You don’t need to contact your web host. [Empire Flippers] do it all on your behalf.”
- Only Serious Buyers: They vet buyers before you deal with the
- Wide Range of Profits: This platform is only for businesses that are making a very high profit or at least revenue with their website. Revenue ranges from $700 per month to $70k per month:
- Fees: Empire Flippers has very high fees. “First-time listers pay a $297 listing fee and repeat sellers pay $97. The fee is 100% refundable if we reject or can’t list your online business.”
#3: Exchange Marketplace
- Valuation Tool: Exchange Marketplace has their own valuation tool
- Streamlined Exchange: They walk you through step-by-step how to hand over your entire Shopify Operation
- Shopify Only: This platform is ONLY for Shopify stores
#4: We Sell your Site
I would avoid this website. It’s interface is currently broken and there’s 0 websites for sale on it right now – just 2 that have sold and 2 with sales pending that are on the very high side price-wise:
I’ll check back in on this in a while and see if they’ve cleaned things up…
#4: FE International
- Simple Valuation Tool: You just enter your URL and your e-mail address to get a valuation
- Customer Service: With high end websites comes high end customer service
- Confidentiality: You can remain completely anonymous throughout the whole process
- Ultra high-end ONLY: The cheapest website on available on this platform right now is $30,000 with ~$12,000 yearly profit
Turning Selling Websites Online into a Full Time Business with these 3 Tips
In order to turn selling websites into a full-time online business, you have to be able to build profitable websites quickly. So let’s start by learning how to build your first profitable online website with a method that can be “rinse and repeated” so to speak.
Keep in mind that you’re going to be in this business for the long haul as websites generally have to age a bit for Google to really start paying a good amount of attention to them. If you start out building like 10 websites every 6 months within 1-2 years you’ll have a great business.
What I like about this method of building websites (content based) as opposed to e-commerce is that the cost of starting up is very low and you literally only need a laptop.
I find e-commerce gets so tricky and unless you’re dropshipping, you have to worry about selling inventory in addition to the site itself and there’s usually a lot of middle men in the process. Also the revenue of the website becomes deceiving and can give you a bad reputation because you’re not actually talking about the pure profit of the site.
There’s a lot of money that needs to be put in every month in order to make anything.
Content-based websites that can be monetized using 1) advertising and/or 2) affiliate links are much cleaner, easier and cheaper.
Step 1 – Build Website #1
It will make your life a hell of a lot simpler if you start off with an area that you love and that you know a lot about. It is absolutely possible to start a business online in an area that you’re not very good at by doing research as you go along but it takes a lot longer and is a lot more frustrating. For your first business, especially, choose something that you’re an expert at.
At the end of the day, you should have fun with this! This is going to be your project and in order to build out the website over time, you’re going to be writing posts and articles on it. It should be something that you’re interested in and wouldn’t mind doing research on.
- Sports: golf, tennis, ping pong, soccer, basketball, etc.
- Art: graphic design, crafts, quilting, crochet, art supplies, oil painting, etc.
- Gaming: gaming setups, gaming chairs, gaming computers
- House & Home: wall art, color schemes, living room decor, kitchens, minimalism, space saving, etc.
- Beauty: lashes, hair extensions, eye makeup, foundations, nail art, tatoos, etc.
- And the list is endless…
Now that you have a name for your website and an idea what you’re going to write about, go ahead and build your website. Using Site Rubix, it’s possible to do this in less than 5 minutes for free.
If you’re willing to pay $49 per month or $359 per year, you can host 25 domains with 24/7 technical support included. In addition you’ll get access to a ton of free training on how to create content. Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more…
Step 2 – Do Research
Once you’ve got your new website, the next step is to do a little bit of research. Don’t worry this is much easier than it sounds.
Basically you’re going to try and figure out what people search for in Google that relates to your website.
You want to come up with a list of 100 or so keywords to start with and this is going to serve as the first 100 articles on your website. When you’re looking for keywords, you want a good chunk of them to focus on PRODUCTS. I’ll give you examples of how to do this below. Not all of them have to relate to products, of course. but it’s good to find at least 25-30% that do.
a. Alphabet Soup Technique
In this technique, you’re basically going into the Google search bar and typing in different things and seeing what pops up below. Google tries to finish your phrases for you – these are actually commonly searched terms. A good strategy to find ones that relate to your niche is to start with something relevant. For instance, lets pretend your niche is tennis, you might want to search:
“what are the best tennis [insert letter here]”
In the [insert letter here] part, you start with “a” and then “b” and then continue down the alphabet and see what Google fills in for you. Eventually you’ll come up with a keyword list that is relevant to your chosen niche and that you know a little bit about.
Here’s some of the good quality results (a lot of which have to do with tennis-related products) I got using this method:
Voila! Research Complete.
b. Jaaxy Technique.
Another good way to do research is to find out exactly how competitive certain keywords are. When you’re first starting out a website, you want to aim for keywords that aren’t too high competition. This means that there aren’t a lot of other websites trying to get ranked in Google for that same keyword. When you type in a phrase in Google, it will tell you how many results there are. That number of results is proportional to the competition for that keyword. For instance, “tennis shoes” is going to have a LOT more competition than “what are the best tennis shoes for knee pain”.
Jaaxy is a tool that allows you to find out how competitive keywords are.
You can test it out for free for your first 30 searches which should leave you with at least 10-15 good quality keywords to start with. This is MORE than enough to get your started.
You want the following criteria to be met to ensure that you are targeting keywords that are not too competitive:
– KQI/QSR: “Great”
– Traffic: The more the better
– SEO: 85+
Also you want keywords that make sense. Sometimes there is phrases that people accidentally entered into Google for some reason multiple times. Eventually people will stop searching these so you definitely want to avoid anything that doesn’t make grammatical sense.
Okay! We’re almost done. Now you’ve got your website and you’ve got a list of ~100 keywords to start writing articles about. Next is the part that takes time time and dedication; you need to write the content.
Step 3 – Create Content
Writing enough quality content is the hardest part. This is where most businesses fail when they first start out. This is the difference between the people who are selling websites online for $50,000+ and the people who are selling for a few hundred or a few thousand.
If you have a lot of traffic, your website is worth something because you can just add an advertising network to start making money off of it with barely any work. 100 is your target number of posts and you need to hit it as fast as possible. Write like you’re writing to a friend – forget formalities – and remember that it doesn’t need to be perfect.
Step 4 – Add Affiliate Links OR Add an Advertising Network
This is the part where you add links that will make you money! Go to Amazon and sign up to be an affilaite. It only takes a minute. Now you have links to every single product that Amazon sells.
Voila! You’re done.
There are a LOT of different websites other than Amazon that have affiliate programs. At the end of this article, I’ll tell you an easy database where you can access all of them. For now, Amazon is more than enough as you’re getting started.
The next trick is now to scale your business and get more traffic to your website. The more traffic you get to your website, the more people will click on those links and the more money you’ll make. So next, you have to scale your traffic:
Step 5 – Scaling your New Online Business
Scaling traffic comes down to 2 methods. Either you keep ranking more and more articles into Google and getting those articles ranked higher or you use “PPC” which is paid advertising. Writing more content is self explanitory but monitoring your Google results is a little bit out of the scope of this article. Same with using PPC advertising.
These are more advanced online marketing methods.
- Keep Writing Content + Monitor Google Results
- Use “Pay-per-click” Advertising
Learning How to Build Profitable Websites Quickly
Building a profitable online business from the ground up takes a lot of TIME. It takes time to create enough high quality content. It takes time to age the site appropriately. It takes time to optimize the website. You’re looking at several years of hard work before a website is going to be ready to sell for a large amount of money. Clearly, it’s not going to be feasible unless you find out how to cut down the portion of time needed and you’re able to grow many websites all at the same time. This is where the final Tip comes in handy:
The last tip for not pulling your hair out is actually 2-in-1. The absolute hardest part of growing a content-based website is to create enough high quality authentic content. There’s 2 ways to get around this:
#1: Flip websites
As you’ve probably learned by this point, it’s very difficult to sell a website for barely any money if it’s not monetized yet.
This means that websites that aren’t monetized properly are cheap even if they have some good content and are in a profitable niche. You could get a huge jump start on building up a website (and also on the aging process) if you buy a website with 50k words already written. Just make sure that the content is good quality.
It doesn’t matter if the website has 200k words if none of the articles make sense and clearly weren’t written well because you’ll just have to re-write them. You can pretty much buy websites exactly where we just talked about selling them.
#2: Hire content writers
Another option is to hire content writers. I would ONLY suggest this if you’ve successfully built and monetized a content-based online business yourself already.
You have to understand what kind of content it takes to successfully generate traffic and how much it takes. This is not something that you’re going to learn overnight. Once you understand that, only then should you consider getting content writers. This is because at that stage you’ll have a good idea of exactly how expensive it’s going to be for you to get the writing done so you’ll be able to factor that cost into the overall cost of doing business and decide if it’s worth it.
You’ll also understand the level of writing and the type of writing that converts. Overly salesy writing (which a lot of outsourced writers do) DOES NOT convert well and you should avoid it at all costs.
Analyzing the Competition | Proof that you Can Do It!
In the last part of this post, I’m going to talk about a guy I met on Wealthy Affiliate who started his own business selling content websites. He does not use any other platform but rather has built an independent website just for the purpose of selling content sites.
He basically does what I’ve just walked you through – he builds websites, gets other people to fill them with content, monetizes them with affiliate links, ages them and then sells them. I’m not sure if he still uses the Wealthy Affiliate Platform for hosting but with 25 domains included at any given time he might as well.
They’re easy to transfer to other hosting platforms with the help of the 24/7 support and it’s easy to manage.
This is the numbers that Human Proof Designs has put out so far:
This is some of their websites for sale as I’m writing this article:
This is proof that you can absolutely do the SAME thing. As you can tell, these websites are selling for much higher prices than what you can find on Flippa or the other platforms based on their total profits. This is because, Human Proof Designs has made their own brand therefore they set the prices and market themselves accordingly on their own website.
This is exactly what I mentioned earlier.
This also means that you could probably get website with a lot of content for cheaper on Flippa and then optimize it and grow it yourself by following my instructions in this post.
Wealthy Affiliate has everything you need to flip websites. It has what you need to:
- Learn with step-by-step videos how to build a profitable online business based on content creation
- Hosting for 25 domains at any given time
- 24/7 website technical support
- Community of internet marketers many of which will happily help you out of you get stuck
I’d love to hear about your experience buying or selling websites online! Please share below 🙂