I’ve got many of you asking what website or domain flipping is and how people make money from it. If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck today. This exposé will give you everything (almost everything at least) you need to set you on the path to becoming a successful website flipper. A few years from now you might be sending me “thank you” cheques. Now, let’s get on with it.
In its most basic form, website flipping is the art of building or buying websites, developing them into high-value assets and selling for a profit. If you do this right, it can be some massive profits too. The term “flipping” itself originated from the property industry where investors would buy a property, renovate it to add value and then sell it at a higher price. But the cost of entry into this type of business is sky high (even barring the fact that people seldom buy houses in Nigeria, duh), so, website flipping.
Website flipping is one of the few businesses with a very low barrier to entry which has a high probability of yielding excessive profits. You could buy a website for as low as $10, and if you spend quality time and effort developing it and turning it into a very valuable asset, you could sell it for thousands of dollars! (extreme example though) And no, I’m not kidding. That’s the type of potential in website flipping.
The only downside to this business (which is not actually a downside) is that it requires a lot of research, knowledge, hard work, and dedication to make it work. But tell me, what doesn’t?? Don’t be put off by the knowledge part too, anything you don’t know, there are enough resources online for you to learn, so if anything confuses you here, hit Google.
We’re done here, let’s dive into the heart of website flipping itself.
So Why Flip Websites??
Why not start a blog or …?? Website flipping has a massive potential for entrepreneurs who know what they are doing and are willing to invest the time and effort required to make it successful. Besides, unlike the property market where you don’t make any money on your investment until you sell it, you can start making money with a website from the day you buy/build it up until the day you sell it. This is a distinct advantage of website flipping. If you get it right, you could land in the financial game house. Get it wrong, though, and you’ll waste your money and time.
But you don’t just wake up and start buying or even building websites for flipping (unless you have a lot of money to waste), you have to research your niche, choose keywords, plan monetization strategies and most importantly know how you’ll drive traffic to the website.
This comprehensive, data driven guide to website flipping has shown that the most important metrics influencing the sale price of a website are; revenue, traffic (uniques/page views), profit, pages indexed by Google, the number of inbound links and the type of domain name. Therefore, before buying or building a website for flipping, you have to consider all these factors and devise a strategy to get on top of each of them.
How To Build A Website For Flipping
If you’re dipping your toes into the waters of website flipping for the first time, this is the most reasonable route to follow. While you might have to spend considerable time and effort on turning a brand new site into a profitable venture that can be sold for a good price, you’ll save yourself some heartache (that you might get from buying a dud site) and it costs way less to build your site from scratch. So if you have a very limited budget and you’re thinking of the website flipping game, this is a good place to start. Getting excited yet, this is the game plan:
- Create A Website
- Build A Big Social Following
- Get Views And Traffic
- Earn A Profit
The process may seem difficult, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll get more experienced and be able to create better, more professional sites, which will then lead to more profits.
So let’s examine this process In-depth.
#1 Choosing a Website Niche
This is the most important thing you have to do if you want to have any real hope of success. You want to pick a niche that has been proven to be highly profitable and is easy to monetize. My advice, don’t experiment, just go with time-tested popular niches like:
- Health and fitness
- Video games
You can also get more specific and go with targeted niches inside the popular ones.
Since you’re building your website for sale, you want to know if it’s profitable for reselling, so hit Flippa and see what types of websites are selling. Check their stats and see how much they’re selling for. This gives you valuable insight on which niches are the most profitable when it comes to website flipping.
You can also check out the discussion on social media to know what websites are trending or try to detect the trends that are coming. If you can spot trends before they become mainstream, there is all probability that you have hit a gold mine. Again, my advice, if this is your first time, don’t experiment, go with the tested niches.
Tips: You can also check out sites likes Buysellads to see what niches get the most views and sell ad space at the highest prices.
The lesson to take home from all these is; do your due diligence and pick a niche that can be highly profitable for you. That done, we move on.
#2 Create Your Website
Okay, so after you’ve picked your niche, it’s time to create a quick, but effective website.
Domain: First go to GoDaddy or Namecheap and get yourself a good domain. Your domain is an asset in and of itself so try to make it relevant to your niche, and if it can contain a major keyword in your niche, even better.
Hosting: Head over to HostGator (or do a quick Google search for web hosting) and pick up some good, but affordable hosting.
Theme: Install a WordPress theme or a website template on your host. WordPress is easy to use and makes the sale of your website easier so if you can go with WordPress, great. Now your website is up and ready to make money.
Logo: Well you need a logo for your new website, so hit Fiverr for extra cheap logo design or LogoNerds if you want something nicer (but stay on budget).
You can check out this Guide On Building A Website without writing one line of code.
#3 Add Value To The Website
This is where the real work comes in, and quite frankly, it’s how well you do here that will make or break you. Before you even go any further, this is what you need:
- Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster Tools
- 50+ High Quality Articles
First, you need to have something to draw traffic and views and you need tools to help you keep track of those views and adjust your strategy. Before you even think of selling your site, you need at least 50 high quality articles on there. Try dropping five articles per week over a period of ten weeks. In this regard, more is always better, so the more articles you can add to your site, the better. But please, the keyword here is high quality, because you need something for the search engines to rank you on.
You don’t need to undertake this step all in one go, try churning out five or more articles per week while focusing on the other points like building a social media following, an email list and advertising you blog. By the time you’re done with your content, you have a big social media following, good email list, great traffic and everything comes together nicely.
#4 Building Social Proof
Social proof in this context means Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and as many other social media websites you can incorporate into your website. You need to take some time to build the social media profiles for your website. This is one of the most important parts of the whole process. People at times rate a site by its social media following, so the more followers/likes you have, the better it looks..
Tip: Use the same passwords and email on all accounts, it makes your life easier and also eases the transfer of the accounts to someone else when you sell.
Why is this Important: There’s a few reasons, the main one being that Google uses social signals and accounts as a way to determine the power of a website, so if you’ve got a few thousand followers you become more powerful in the eyes of Google.
Secondly, it’s a great feature to see a website with and it makes people pay more money.
#5 Advertise Your Website
You didn’t think people would start flocking to your website just because it’s yours, did you?? Your website is now one out of the millions out there, so you’ve got to put the word out yourself.
Some two weeks into running your site, building social media profiles and posting content, you’ll need to start advertising. This is where you build your fan base and start getting traffic to your website. My go-to strategy for this; guest posts. Find 5 blogs with good following who’ll allow you to write for them in exchange for a “do-follow” link back to your blog. Start with 5, but the more the merrier.
SEO: This something you don’t want to forget as well. Submit your site to the search engines, and always keep your website optimized. This helps you stay up in the organic search results and helps drives traffic to your website.
Cheap Banner Ads: This is something you can try if you have a more robust budget. Look around forums for cheap banner ads on relevant sites, you can get the banner ad design on Fiverr.
Tip: Don’t buy anything for more than $10. Remember, you’re just starting out and you want to keep your expenses down.
Forums: Forums are a good place to find followers, so join related ones. Create threads and make posts related to your blog. Include a link to your website in your signature and if you can afford it, you can also put up ads on these forums.
Bottom line, get the word out because you need those readers.
Did I mention earlier that the most important factor affecting the sale price of a website is its revenue? If I didn’t, I’m doing so now. You’ve got to include a monetization strategy in your plans even before creating the website. AdSense, affiliates, banner ads, product reviews, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure that your site is making between $30-$60 per month by the time you’re ready to sell it.
But you can also try out these monetization strategies:
High Quality Affiliate Articles: Keep this number between 10 to 15 of the 50+ articles you use on your website.These are articles that earn the most money, so the more quality you can make them, the better.
e.g. You can show people how to use a product, then join the affiliate program and whenever anyone buys through your links, you earn a commission of the sale.
Adsense Ads: You can then enable adsense ads on your website. Adsense is great because it’s a benchmark ad network, meaning people trust them and use them as an industry standard of money making.
Tip: You can add $3000+ to the price of your website if it has an active forum inside a good niche. If you can build a good forum within a short period of time, then you should definitely go for it.
#7 Sell Your Website
Once you’ve got established traffic and a good monthly revenue, it’s time to sell and move on. You can take two routes to sell your website; use a website broker or try to find buyers yourself. I don’t have to tell you which is more effective and will save you time.
After you’ve done that, promote it everywhere. On your social media, banner ads on forums, as many places as possible.
Sell to the highest bidder, transfer ownership and start all over again.
First time you do this, the process will probably take you some six months or so, and that’s no guarantee that you’ll get it right. Stay focused and keep learning. As you get more experienced, you’ll probably be able to do it in three months and create multiple websites for flipping at the same time. Success won’t come overnight, so work hard and be patient.
Flipping Websites Like A Boss
Once you’re a bit more experienced and your budget is more stable, instead of building websites from the ground up, you’ll be buying established websites, adding value to them (through revenue, traffic and content) and reselling them for profit. This is how bosses do it, and once you get a bit more experienced (and a bigger budget), it’s how you’re going to do it too.
The big advantage of buying a website is that you don’t have to establish an audience from ground zero and wait for the website to be indexed in search engines. Taking over a mature site (at least 12 months old) also means you get to avoid the Google sandbox, a significant advantage of buying dated websites for flipping.
Thing is, buying a website is a tricky endeavor and it’s quite easy to get scammed if you don’t know what you’re doing, so before you take this next step, make sure you’re familiar with everything there is to know about a website and how to turn it to profit.
What to consider before buying a website for flipping?
As you may have noticed, website flipping like the stock market, involves a bit of foresight and pure luck, but by taking a few tips to heart you can take a lot of the guesswork out of it.
#1 Evergreen Niches
This one’s a no-brainer, find a website in a niche that has traffic and profit possibilities. If you buy a website focused on something no one cares about, congratulations, you just wasted your money.
#2 Look in the back of the internet
You don’t want the already established, popular sites, those will be too expensive and they’re not your target here. The idea is to find underperforming or mismanaged websites in highly targeted niches which can be turned around to profit with proper management. So do a google search for any niche that you’ve picked and go to the back of the search results. I mean tenth page, twentieth page, fiftieth page, that’s where you’ll find the gold mines covered by charcoal. Just be careful, your gold mine might be a charcoal dump in disguise, so stay woke. Pick a couple of sites, and do a Whois search to find the owners, then start negotiating.
Tip: Never, ever buy a dying website unless you’re totally sure you can turn it around to sell for a profit.
#3 Think Long Term
Will the website be relevant in 10 years?? You’d better get this question answered before buying any website. Think about the subject of the website, and make sure it’s something people will still be interested in years to come.
#4 Ask the important questions
Why is the website being sold?? What type of audience does it have?? What are the traffic sources?? Can the website generate revenue?? How much can it generate fully scaled?? These and more are some of the questions you want to ask yourself, and find answers to, before buying any website. Some websites have a big audience but are incapable of bringing in any income because of their structure. Ask questions, don’t fall into a trap.
#5 Research, Research, Research
This is where you answer your own questions. Once you mark down a website as promising, make it your mission in life to find out everything you can about it. But remember the big three, revenue, traffic and profit. Don’t take the owner’s word for it, do your due diligence and try to find out what these metrics come to. If you don’t research properly, you risk being scammed.
#6 Find the competition
Are there competing websites in the same niche?? Are they making money?? If there are no competing websites doing exactly the same thing, or all the competitors are not making money either, back off immediately.
Last but not the least, can the owner be trusted?? If anything, anything at all about the website or it’s owners seem shady, back off. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a deal, or use the age long methods of scarcity (discount expires in 24 hours) on you. Take your time and research the owners of the website. Can you put a face to the name?? Finally, when buying the website, ensure full transparency.
Where To Buy Websites?
You can always look in the back of the internet, like we discussed above for promising websites to flip, but it will take a lot of your time and effort, and if you don’t get it right, money too. Or you can try out website brokers.
Flippa is the gold standard when it comes to sales and purchase of websites. It is the eBay of websites sales and you can’t do without it as a website flipper. Flippa pulls up most of the stats of the website (which you must supplement with your own research) and also let’s the seller put up a profile so you can see information about them immediately. Use it.
Buying the website
Once you find a website you want to buy and have decided on a price with the seller, don’t forget all the little details that go into the transfer of ownership of the website to you. Especially, take note of these points:
- Transfer of the domain name registration details, the business name, incorporation information, hosting ownership and any third party software or subscriptions to your name. Check that everything, absolutely everything, has your name on it by the time the deal is done.
- Download the email lists. Download the email lists. Download the email lists. There is nothing more important in a web business then the mailing lists so make sure you have these safely in hand with backups.
- Outline how much support, if any, will be provided by the ex-owner for a transition period. Having the owner available for questions for a few months after the sale can make the transfer less stressful.
Now you’ve gone and bought the website, what next?? Sit on it?? The idea is to get it performing in as little time as possible, then sell it for a profit. To do that you need to improve or increase the content, revenue, traffic and profits. Plan how to do this before the actual purchase of the website. Set a benchmark for the website at which point you’ll sell it. Once you hit this benchmark, list it on Flippa and sell away.
It’s the wild west out there when it comes to buying and selling websites, and to be honest no single guide could provide all the information you need to become a successful website flipper. You have to go out on your own and learn, try and fail, make mistakes and gain experience. Most importantly, you cannot give up no matter how tough it gets because it is in the forge of difficulties that champions are made.
Now go out there and be a star!!!
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