While most people won’t buy high ticket item online, one particular product is an exception – websites. The internet is a huge marketplace for website trading and Flippa is one of those sites that offer this service. If you are thinking of buying websites from Flippa, this article will highlight some of the things that you need to consider.
What Is Flippa?
Created way back in 2005, Flippa is an online company that buys and sells websites, domains and apps. According to their stats, more than 1000 new businesses are listed every day and they claim to sell more than $2 million worth of sales each month. Looks like a very profitable industry, if you ask me.
Why Would You Buy a Website?
(1) “I Don’t Know How to Build One”
That’s the most common answer that I get from new business owners. A ready-made website sounds less complicated to manage as you can avoid all the preliminary technical set-up. Hmm…is that really so?
I had a look at the Starter Sites on Flippa. Basically, most of the websites listed here are newly built (probably less than 6 months old) and are unlikely to have any traffic or ranking. To promote the site, the seller would usually describe the advantages and make a few offers that come with the purchase.
While browsing, one particular website caught my attention. At a glance;
It’s a new WordPress site that doesn’t have any unique content or design and right at the end, it says that this website is a duplicate (I wondered why) but I read on anyway. In its ‘sales pitch’, here is what it says;
Apparently, it runs on autopilot and you can start earning passive income by adding various affiliate programs. That sounds pretty easy, so I thought I check out the website itself.
All the content consists of (only) YouTube videos which are probably shared by other websites as well. Hence the duplication, maybe? Obviously, the site is already installed with Google Adsense and Amazon’s affiliate links to speed up monetizing. So, what else is the seller offering?
There are a few things that I want to point out here;
- Now, bear in mind that this ‘complete website’ doesn’t come with complete hosting service. Therefore, you still have to pay for your own hosting with GoDaddy or other service providers to keep the website online.
- As far as optimization is concerned, I couldn’t see how having a tonne of videos without any text content or reader comments can make the website ‘fully SEO optimized’. It takes a lot of effort to get traffic to a website. Plus, if it is truly optimized, this site should already have some traffic coming in in the first place.
- I don’t agree with the video automation here because it’s not really good for the user experience and doesn’t reflect any form of good quality content. Probably that’s what makes the website ‘autopilot’, but I am very sure that readers visiting this site, especially yogis, would prefer a more personal interaction with the website owner.
- Considering that the site is built on WordPress, I can testify that the control panel is fairly easy to use. In fact, I would personally recommend WordPress for online business sites because it has so many advantages in terms tools and functions.
- The seller does offer some form of assistance, but after the website is smooth and running, who else can you turn to for additional help such as marketing and building web traffic?
Overall, from this ready-made website, I am basically getting;
- A top level domain name.
- A WordPress site.
- Tonnes of videos for content (which I can easily get from YouTube).
- Some help in hosting transfer.
So, how much did this website get sold for? $147 (other Starter sites actually sell for more)
This might not sound very much, but as a webpreneur starting her own online business on a shoestring budget, I consider this amount slightly overpriced. Here’s why;
- I can get a lot more top level domains at NameCheap between $5 to $20 dollars.
- WordPress is a free software and it comes with tons of free and attractive themes to build websites.
- Embedding YouTube videos is totally free.
- Hosting transfer isn’t really that difficult; you can get free tutorials on how to do this on YouTube.
For less than a fraction of the price, I actually know of a platform that can do much more. Wealthy Affiliate University is an online program that offers website building, WordPress hosting and online entrepreneurship training through these following features.
With these tools and support, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to build a website even without any experience.
(2) “I Want to Sell Websites for Profit”
Flipping websites, as they call it, is another reason why people want to buy websites. Basically, a website is bought at a lower price, reconstructed and sold for profit at a higher price. Buyers are usually web savvy people and have some form of knowledge in a particular niche to make the website more valuable than it was before.
They usually look for a more established site to begin with, in other words, sites that have traffic, ranking and preferably generating some form of revenue. Here are other criteria that you need to consider before making a purchase.
- When was the site built? The older the site, the more established it becomes.
- How does the site build traffic? Ask the seller for genuine traffic proof if it’s not readily available.
- How does the site make money? Can you leverage that for your own marketing strategy?
- How’s the feedback like for that particular seller? Ideally, you want to be dealing with creditable seller, not someone with a poor rating.
Be very inquisitive when acquiring this information from the seller because the last thing you want is to end up with a website that has inflated and false data. Whether you like it or not, the Flippa marketplace has sellers who will try to scam you for your money. Read about a real case scenario on this blog.
Should you decide to buy a legitimate and moderate-performing website anyway, the next step is to plan how to continue to make the website thrive online. How much time and skills will you be investing to grow this site before you can sell it at a higher value?
One of the best ways to do this is to create good quality content for the site by using relevant keywords for search ranking. In fact, one seller even mentioned this on his note;
Website growth and SEO go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one and ignore the other. So, how good are you with your keyword research? Has any of your previous content get good rankings before? If you are not getting much result from your current keyword tool, check out Jaaxy, my favorite keyword tool which reveals some of the most powerful long tail keywords out there.
Once you have done your due diligence, go back to Flippa to list your established website for sale. You could list as classified for free or pay $19 for auction listings. Whenever a sale is made, Flippa will take 10% success fee for the transaction.
The next question you are likely to ask is how much to sell a website for. As a general rule of thumb, a good website should sell at about 10x its monthly revenue. But its actual value will depend on a spectrum of factors that are best calculated by a website broker through Flippa.
Buying Websites From Flippa – Is It Worth Your Time?
After spending a few days in the marketplace, I must say that Flippa offers some very interesting business opportunities for both buyers and sellers. If you want to buy a website, make sure you know what you are really getting for your purchase. Otherwise, you are better off creating your own WordPress website from scratch by using a powerful platform like SiteRubix.
If you think you have what it takes to flip websites, then make sure you do it the right way through content marketing and proper keyword research – the two main factors that contributes to a website’s value (and success).
At the end of the day, keep in mind that a website is more than just a commodity. It provides you with a foundation to launch a long term online business as well as providing a reliable tool for your client to achieve their business goals.
”It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
Do you have any thoughts or questions about buying or selling websites on Flippa? Please leave your comments below and I’ll get back to you.
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