How to Start Flipping Websites
Have you ever contemplated investing in a website, in the same manner as you would investing in real estate?
The fact is, that like real estate, there is a lot of prime Internet real estate out there today, which has not been properly maintained by its previous owners. Much like a run-down home, you can purchase good websites, that just need a little tender loving care in order to turn them into great websites.
Flipping websites has been a very lucrative form of income for several decades. All too often, people will buy domains and build websites based on a grand plan. But, those plans just don’t always work out the way they were expected and as a result, those websites are then sold to people who want a more established foundation to build from.
Anyone with enough know-how can flip websites profitably. You just need to know and understand the steps that are involved in the process.
Find a Website to Flip
The hardest part about website flipping is finding a good website to flip in the first place. Determining whether a website has any future potential, takes a little bit of skill and a lot of contemplation. Most newcomers to the industry, rush in and simply just start purchasing websites randomly. Determining what to buy, and how to improve it requires a little bit of forethought.
Buying vs. Building
There are two major ways in which one can make a profit from domain flipping. The first way is to buy a pre-existing domain, and just fix it up in order to resell it. This can be more expensive because larger established domains require more expensive web hosting. The other option is to simply purchase a domain name that has value but has not been turned into a functioning website yet. This option can be more affordable, but also requires more effort in order to build a website from scratch.
Choose a Profitable Niche
At the same time, you cannot just flip a website in any niche. Just because you may enjoy the particular site or domain name in question, does not mean it actually holds any value to someone else. If you want to make a profit from reselling the domain later on, then you have to choose a niche that is in demand.
When it comes time to buy a website, there are a number of important factors that you need to take into consideration when making your decision. Just like purchasing a home to flip, you should also research the website or domain that you plan on purchasing before making a final decision.
Domain History – We are not talking about how many owners a particular domain has had, but rather what the site had been used for in the past. It is important to make sure that the website you are thinking about purchasing has not been involved in “black hat” techniques.
Quality Content – While not as important when purchasing an undeveloped website, when you choose to purchase something that is established, you want to make sure that it is full of quality content. You need to be sure that there is no duplicate content on the website or that there aren’t any copyright issues that may affect the value of that content.
Website Traffic – If you want to make the most amount of profit possible, then you need to make sure that the website you are purchasing already has a sufficient amount of traffic. Even the best-designed sites, can take years to develop enough traffic to make them valuable to other investors.
Content Management System – Without a question, it is important to determine what CMS is used to power the website. The most commonly used content management system is WordPress. WordPress is a very well-established system that is easy to use as well as maintain.
Site Revenue – when you are purchasing an established website, not only is traffic important but so too is the amount of revenue generated by the site itself. It is crucial to determine not only how much the site may be making now through advertisements and other sources, but how much the site could make in the future.
Purchasing a Website
Once you have found a website, if you are like many newcomers to the industry, you may assume that purchasing that site is a straightforward process. However, the actual purchase of a website is one of the most difficult tasks. The fact is, that most of the best websites are often too expensive to purchase, and in many cases, they are not for sale. Likewise, you may be competing with a number of other investors, who have deeper pockets.
Choose A Marketplace
When you are new to website flipping and are wondering how to get started website flipping, then the easiest way to find a good site to start with is through a marketplace. Specially designed website marketplaces are created in order to make it easier for webmasters to sell, or auction off their site to the highest bidder. Because of their design, a lot of the research has already been done for you.
Although it may be tempting to invite your friends to help you out in this venture, it is important to remember that the fewer people involved, the more affordable it is to flip a website. More advanced websites, often require a large team of professionals to maintain. Each one of these professionals has to be paid, and as a result, quickly eat into any profits that you could have made from the sale.
So, unless you have deep pockets, it is always best to start off with smaller websites that have been managed by single owners or hobbyists for years. Because these solopreneurs generally do not invest a lot of time, energy, or money into the site, there is generally a lot more profit potential.
Whether you are buying prime real estate or making your first purchase, you always need to be willing to negotiate in order to get the best deal possible. Although some prices are firm, many owners are selling their domains in order to get rid of them and as a result, there is always room for negotiations.
After you have picked the perfect website, negotiated with the seller, and made your purchase, then it is time to start the process of transferring ownership. Just like buying a car, you never really own a website until you have possession of it.
Full or Partial Site
When you choose to purchase a website, you need to make sure that you understand everything that comes with it. That is, are you purchasing the entire site which means that you take possession of the domain name, the images, any content, the databases, as well as any mailing lists and other important parts of the site. There are times when only part of a website is for sale.
Put it in writing
Because you are making a big purchase, it is important to make sure that you also have a contract. A written contract is necessary to ensure that you’re able to enforce the agreement. So it is important to have one drawn up and present it to the seller as part of the purchase process.
The transfer of ownership of a domain is a fairly easy process, in most instances. While complications can arise from time to time, most transfers occur smoothly. The transfer process includes the previous owner giving you access to their web host in order to access the content. They may also need to push the domain to you so that you can set up your new name servers. Some web-hosting providers, also offer a transition service that will help you if needed.
Although it would be nice to just buy a domain one day, and then sell it a couple of days later for a massive profit, this is not reality. Just like flipping a house, you need to make some improvements in order to increase the value. It’s these improvements that determine just how profitable your new business can be.
You will need to start by performing an audit of the weaknesses and strengths of the website itself. An audit will ensure that you’re able to determine the biggest attractors and detractors of a website. In other words, you need to determine what is bringing visitors in and what may be driving them away.
Sure, you just bought a website that is filled with content. But, that content is old and it is out of date. As a website begins to age, a lot of the older pages start ranking lower in the search engine results. The best way to increase the amount of traffic to your website, as well as your ranks in the search engines, is to update the most popular pages on that website first.
The true value of any domain comes down to how much income it can generate for the owner. Many websites rely solely on advertisements, and affiliate marketing in order to generate an income. But these aren’t always the most efficient methods of creating profits for a website. In order to increase the value of any domain, you will ultimately need to increase its revenue sources.
Traffic is also very important to any website. Simply put, the more traffic that you have, the more potential revenue you can generate from the domain. But getting more traffic is not always an easy task. Older, more established domains can be a bit easier, but when you are first starting out in the domain flipping industry, you most likely will be working with younger, smaller sites. The more traffic you can generate, the more value the domain will have when you go to sell it.
Selling the Website
In the end, it all comes down to your ability to sell the domain for a profit. This is not something that will happen overnight, or even in a couple of months. In fact, it is very routine for a domain flipper to work on a website for six months to a year before attempting to resell it.
List Your Website
When it is time to finally sell your site, it is highly recommended that you use a marketplace. The marketplace allows you to post your domain for sale, and list all of its greatest features to those who are more likely to purchase it. After all, you wouldn’t try to sell a house in a car buyer magazine, would you? Choosing a good place to list your online real estate for sale, is any place where the buyers can be found.
Price Your Website
There are many important factors that go into the final price of the website. However, there is a general consensus that the value of most websites is the equivalent of 2 to 3 years’ worth of revenue. As a result, in order to make a profit, you will need to increase the average monthly income generated by the site over the course of your ownership.
Getting involved in domain flipping can be a very lucrative business for anyone. Just like purchasing your first home, with the intention of fixing it up and reselling it for a profit later, all it takes is a little bit of know-how, ingenuity, and effort. While you may make mistakes on the first few flips, these will be learning experiences that will help develop you into a better investor.
With the help of the right tools and information, anyone can turn a profit by flipping domains.