So you’ve decided to become a flipper, eh? But of websites, not houses – awesome! That’s probably best, seeing that real estate has been going down the drain lately, and sawdust is messy. Still, just as in real estate, there are good buys and bad buys when you buy a website. Here are some factors you should consider when searching for a website for your flipping project.
What Do You Know?
Perhaps one of the most important considerations is you: your knowledge, your abilities, and your resources.
Are you an experienced web developer? Do you know how to code? If you know very little about web design, how much are you willing to learn and how long will it take you to learn it? What software do you already own, and how much can you afford to buy? Are you planning to outsource your content, or will you write your own?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. No matter what your initial ability, you can still pursue your money making ideas. However, your abilities to learn new things should affect which websites you consider. Be careful while assessing the effort involved in order to turn a profit. Be realistic about how much time and money you are willing to invest in the project before you make an offer. Make sure you leave a lot of room for the unknown variables that will invariably pop up. Try to get a contract in which the seller agrees to provide assistance for a specified period of time.
If you already possess the technical skills required and plan to do most of the work yourself, you can consider purchasing a true “fixer-upper,” or buying a more sophisticated site which may require complicated maintenance.
What is Your Goal?
Before you go to Flippa or another web-flipping site, take some time to think about what you really want.
Are you looking for sites you can rehab, monetize, and keep for awhile, enjoying the profits until you see something you like better? Do you live for the satisfaction you get from creating something extraordinary out of something under optimized or badly monetized? Do you love the deal? Do you simply want to buy, fix, and flip as many sites as you can, as quickly as possible, making your money primarily from the sale, and not from any monetization?
There are craftsmen, and there are salesmen–you may be one, the other, or a little bit of both. Again, there is no right or wrong answers to this question, but let your goals determine your purchase, rather than the other way around.
Will It Pay?
How many times have you sat in front of the TV, watching some hapless soul come to the realization that she is never going to recoup the money she’s thrown into her house-flipping venture? Well, web-flipping presents the same danger.
It’s possible a website makes a fair amount of money in a short period of time through some form of joint venture effort based on the site owner’s connections. But this may not be a good buy since the site may not have any ongoing income stream in place. Or there may be licensing issues that may eat into your profit. You could also find that the amount of time you spend maintaining the site (upgrades, new content, etc.) are not adequately compensated by the money it brings in.
Always remember that there is no “fully automated website” that brings in thousands, or even hundreds of dollars of passive income. So when it comes to choosing your site, choose one that you can afford, that matches your ability, and for which the costs (financial or otherwise) don’t exceed the profits, as should be the case of all good money making ideas.
Is it Legit?
Here’s a newsflash: not everyone you meet online is honest. And as you begin web-flipping, you’ll encounter at least one or two people out solely to separate you from your wallet.
Take the time to educate yourself on the scams peculiar to this business. Here’s one: By using “pay-per-view,” a process in which one site owner pays another to have her site “pop-up” when the latter’s site is opened, a seller can inflate her traffic figures. You think these people will flock to your new website, when in reality; all they ever did was groan and close the window. In another scam, you’re promised a profitable automated site, only to find you’ve purchased a couple of static HTML pages that a high school student can put together. Still another has you buying a high revenue site, only to find that the profits were somewhat artificially created by a special offer which has exhausted the market and will likely never bring forth a response of that size again.
Also, do your due diligence to determine the source of traffic for the site. If the seller used black hat techniques, Google may catch up with the site after you have purchased it. If the site gets sand boxed, what you have in your hands is a beautiful car with no engine (or wheels or transmission or… – you get the picture, right?)
Peruse web-flipping blogs and forums to keep up on the latest scams. Remember, in the world of money making ideas, to be well-informed is to be well-armed.
Does it Have Intrinsic Value?
As you learn more about affiliate marketing (which is the way many websites are monetized), you’ll find that a common theme runs through the most profitable blogs and websites: the idea that a good website offers value. If you want to be a success–a real, long-term success–the thinking goes, you’ll create a website with content your visitors need, want, enjoy, and use. In this way, you’ll endear customer loyalty, grow by word-of-mouth, and expand to become the go-to site in your particular niche. If you just throw something up, slap a few ads on it, but offer no unique or useful content you may make a little bit of money, but you’ll never reach your full earning potential.
So as you search for your next website, think about what it has to offer to its visitors, to its niche, and to the web. Can you add value through your own efforts? Do you care about the topic or its traffic? You may pay a little more for this kind of website, either upfront or during the ‘renovation’, but in the end it will be worthwhile.
In the world of money making ideas, flipping websites is relatively new. But if you buy your websites with these criteria in mind, you’ll find it an enjoyable and profitable addition to your entrepreneurial toolbox.