You bought a website, stripped it to the virtual studs and made it the best it could be. Now it’s monetized, traffic is coming in, and you’re fairly pleased with yourself. What next? If this is one of your money making ideas, obviously the next step is to sell this baby–for a good profit. As you enter the final phase of your flip, here are some things to consider:
Are You Really Ready to Sell?
“Why, of course I am!” you say meekly. Because you are thinking… You really do like creating new content–writing those weekly articles on collecting owl figurines. You’ve made some great contacts on that site, even a few you would consider friends. Your ads are profitable, and you’re continuing to climb on Google. Perhaps…you’ll keep this one.
Here’s another scenario: you’ve had it up to here with this website! You can’t get it to look, act, or monetize the way you want it to. You’re ready to let it go and try another one. You type “Flippa” into your browser so hard that the “l” key pops right out of the keyboard.
Neither of these incarnations of you are ready to sell. In the first, you’re enjoying that particular site, and making money from it. You can obviously renovate a website, so keep the one you like, and flip another. In the latter scenario, you’re having a hard time with one site, but want to keep flipping in general. Don’t make the mistake of putting an inferior product on the market while expecting to remain in business; you’ll hurt your reputation and future money making ideas go right out of the gate.
Of course, you may have realized that web-flipping is not for you. If that’s so, it’s all right to throw your fixer-upper online and take what you can get for it–but then you’ve probably already done that, and are not reading this article. Your final answer? When you’ve created a well-designed, effectively monetized site with quality content, that you are not too attached to, you’re ready to sell.
Setting the Price
This can be an emotional decision. After all, you’ve put a lot of work into making the site into what it now is. You’ve taken something that was a substandard mess and made it into something attractive, useful and profitable. Plus, you went into this business to make money–and you intend to do it!
So? How do you determine how much your website is worth?
The short answer is, of course, that it’s worth whatever someone will pay for it. And what someone will pay for it comes from a unique combination of supply and demand, profitability, quality traffic, services offered, attractiveness, effectiveness of the money making ideas you have put in place, a good sales pitch, and an unpredictable amount of desire. Here are some factors to consider when you set your price:
1. Site Statistics
- Page views
- Visitor demographics
- Number and quality of backlinks
- Keyword quality
- Page rank
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rates
- Repeat visitors
- Organic and direct traffic
2. Annual Revenue
Many sellers price their websites at between one to three times their sites’ annual revenues. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it does give you a good starting point.
3. Operating Costs
The lower your site’s maintenance costs, in either time or fees, the more attractive it will be, and the more you will be able to earn from the sale.
4. Equipment and Services
If you include materials, equipment, or technical assistance, you can ask a higher price. This is particularly true when you are selling to someone who is just breaking into the online entrepreneurship and could use some help getting started.
People generally know a well-designed website with good content when they see it; they expect them to pay more for quality money making ides, and you should let them do so.
Are you fortunate enough to have a fantastic domain name? It increases your value, and should increase your price.
Is your site the go-to source in its niche? Has it developed a reputation, or even “brand recognition”? Is the niche itself something that can keep its value in the long run? Up that asking price!
Writing the Headline
Unless you’re an expert salesman, this can be difficult. You have only a short space and a few words to grab a buyer’s interest and explain why she should give your site a second look–and her money. Don’t succumb to the temptation to make false promises, such as “Fully Automated! Make 6K a Month While You Relax on the Beach!” Be honest! Tell the prospective seller how your website can help him realize his money making ideas, and mention, in some fashion, that it’s likely to move quickly, thereby creating a sense of urgency. If you’re willing to provide a service package, mention it; you’ll attract buyers who are eager to get into the business, but are afraid they lack the technical skills to do so. If possible, get knowledgeable colleagues to comment on your listing, to help establish your credibility, particularly if you don’t already have a high seller rating. Finally, say enough to pique a buyer’s interest, but not so much that someone can go right out and duplicate your work on her own site.
Beginning to negotiate with a serious buyer? Here are a few points to remember:
- Don’t be so eager to make the sale that you sell yourself short. Just as real estate agents use “comps,” be ready to explain why your site is priced comparably to others of the same quality.
- Be aware of the realities of supply and demand. There may be a surfeit of Wedgwood china websites for sale; if so, be willing to come down a little in price. If yours is the only one, you’re bargaining from a position of strength; use it to your advantage.
- Be honest. Provide complete and accurate profit/loss statements, Google Analytics reports, and a truthful account of how much time you spend on site maintenance, content production, etc.
- Don’t forget to mention operating costs such as hosting fees, licensing, and other expenses that you pay monthly/anually.
- Sweeten the deal with a technical services package, in which you’ll make yourself available to provide assistance for a predetermined amount of time.
- Include all necessary equipment and materials.
- Answer all questions.
- Check the buyer’s reputation online. If he has a poor one, you should be able to discern this in online forums.
- Get all final details in writing.
Well, you’ve negotiated a sales contract, and now it’s time for the money to change hands! You can do this the traditional way, via cashier’s check or money order (a personal check would not be wise, unless you have dealt with the buyer on a frequent basis, and perhaps not even then), but many buyers would prefer to handle payments online. It’s tempting to use PayPal, and many people do, with success. However, occasionally a buyer will send funds via PayPal, take your product, and then file a dispute which results in a chargeback, leaving you high and dry. If you’re familiar with your buyer, trust her, and this is not a high-dollar transaction you can use PayPal. However, if you need more protection, insist on using an online escrow service, such as Escrow.com. An escrow service will allow the two of you to establish the terms of your transaction, and will then hold the buyer’s money until she receives and accepts your product. Once this is done, the funds will be released to you. If there is a dispute, you will be given time to resolve it, and if this isn’t possible, it will be moved to arbitration. Using an escrow service provides an extra measure of security for both buyer and seller.
Of course, no payment method is fool-proof. You may wish to add some extra protections, such as shipping your site on DVDs, to enable you to trace the package. You might also ask the buyer to agree to a staged process, in which some materials must be accepted (and the money released) before the remainder is sent. In this way, you make it harder for the buyer to claim your website is unacceptable, and also ensure that the payment is good.
Selling your website can be a complex process, but it’s also a bit exhilarating to see what others are willing to pay for your creation! Once you bring one of you own money making ideas to fruition, you’re going to want to experience that satisfaction again, and again, and again, and….