Buying An Established Website (Part 1) – 10 Questions To Ask Before You Buy

Buying An Established Website

The quickest and best way to enter any market online (in my opinion) is to buy an established website in that market. If you have the means, this is a good solution if you can negotiate the right price.

Buy Established Websites – Advantages

Buying an established website can be advantageous for a few reasons.
1. Established websites should already have a good flow of traffic.
2. You can let the original owner go through the learning curve of a website and then you take it over when it is running smoothly.
3. Older sites tend to do better in the search engine rankings all else being equal so you can apply the SEO techniques we teach you and get even more traffic very quickly.
4. An established site should already be making money so you know the business model works.

You will quickly learn that most of the websites out there that are for sale are junk but if you know how and where to look you will find a diamond in the rough.

People often come to me and ask me if they should buy a certain site or if a site for sale they found is at a good price. So that you can answer that question yourself, here is a good checklist to evaluate any website for sale.

IMPORTANT: When you find a website you might want to buy, DO NOT let yourself get emotionally attached to it. You’ll start having visions of grandeur and riches and then someone else will start bidding against you and because you are attached to the website you end up bidding way more than it is worth only to find out you don’t really have a huge interest in making the site better. Plus, if you don’t end up getting the site it’s easier to move to the next one without a lot of heart ache. Sadly, these are things I know from experience.

Checklist – 10 Questions
If you live by this checklist you will have a hard time making a mistake when buying an existing website.

  1. How much money did the site make in the last 12 months? Generally a good purchase price is 12 months of profit. If the site meets all of the Prosperly criteria you should be willing to offer up to 3 times that.
  2. How much in the last 3 months? (This way you see if it is improving or declining) If income is declining take the 3 month average and multiply that by 12 and that should be about where you would be willing to offer.
  3. How many unique visitors does the site average monthly? You don’t want to know how many total visitors or hits the site got, you want unique visitors. You need to ask to see traffic proof.
  4. How much time is involved to run the site? Is more time required to make more money?
  5. Can you automate any of the processes on the site so it will take less time to run?
  6. Does the site already rank on page 1 of Google. Is the site anywhere in the top 30 of Google for any main key phrases? Remember you can make improvements to the rankings but you do want any established website you buy to be showing in the top 30 for some of their main phrases. If they aren’t then you may be better off building your own.
  7. How old is the site? If the site is less than a year old, someone would have to make a very convincing argument as to why I should even look at buying the site. If the site is more than two years old I give it a good long look. You can go to to find out the true age of the website.
  8. Is the site unique? You will see a lot of turn-key websites out there. Never, never, never waste your time on turn-key sites. There are a million other sites exactly like the one for sale. You want a unique website that someone took the time to custom build, period.
  9. How many links does the website have pointing to it? Go to and in the search bar type the web address of the website you want to buy and hit enter. Then click on the backlinks tab and it will give you all of the websites that link to the site. If it is under 25 referring url’s then you know they haven’t done a ton of link building.
  10. Do I have any interest in this industry or product? It makes it hard to dedicate time to something if you don’t have interest in it.

Important: This is important for both buying an established website and buying a domain. It is important to see if a website has been penalized in Google. Just go to Google and search the persons url. If their website shows in the results then they haven’t been deindexed. They could still be penalized but it’s not as likely.

Some people will try to sell you on page rank (Google’s way to rank all sites on a scale of 1-10). Don’t fall for it. Like, “My site is a PR4 so it’s worth $xxxx.” Page rank is a worthless stat that has nothing to do with the value of the site. Moz’s domain authority is actually a more useful tool in my opinion.

Just focus on the 10 questions above and you will be good.

Read Part 2 of Buying An Existing Website – Negotiations and Making The Purchase

Adam White is a 20+ year entrepreneur having built and sold 18 internet businesses. He currently runs JustReachOut and SquidVision, a new type of landing page optimization software for SaaS companies, and does SaaS and SEO consulting at He lives in Tennessee with his wife and kids and in between SaaS businesses he writes and directs feature films.

25 comments On Buying An Established Website (Part 1) – 10 Questions To Ask Before You Buy

  • I think this is a GREAT idea!!!

    It excites me to think that some status is prebuilt into the site (still knowing that it might need to be solidified).

    Its like starting a 20 mile hike half way up the mountian, 10 miles wont be easy but its better than stinking 20.

  • Please advise me as to how use the ” show inlinks” function in Yahoo. I don’t seem to see it. Your article is great, just with I could use this feature of Yahoo. Thanks

  • So sorry.
    Feel like an idiot.
    I found out how to use the Yahoo inlink function.
    So great for a beginner like me.
    many thanks

  • Charlie, you’re no idiot. You’re reading our blog so you are smarter than most people. :-)

  • Are there any good places that list established websites for sale ? I’ve been to some, but they seem to have few offerings. Thanks for any advice.

  • Charlie, there are a few out there but honestly I have had the most luck “cold calling” site owners. I have a specific methodology to this but it seems to work well.

  • First of all, I have to say I’m amazed at the information you are sharing here and am very excited to learn from you. Thank you.

    You say in #3 that you need to ask to see traffic proof.. Does “asking” apply to #1 and #2 as well? That type of info can only be found by the asking the owner? I know step 3 will hit the site soon so if you’re covering this type of info in that then I can wait.

  • Simple WebDesign

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing

  • Many thanks for your information. Exactly, I want to be a online broker too. Could you tell me how I can do that? Many thanks.

  • Hey guy’s, Jeremie here; just wanted to let you know how how thankful I am to have stumbled upon your website. I too am LDS. So hows it going my brothers from different mothers. Listen I have been reading the material on your website for the last two days and I have to say you guy’s are flippin genious. I am stuck on what will work for me since I have a lot of hobbies but none that are relevant to what I have found. I do own an english bulldog named brody; I was thinking of a pet supplies web site??? What do you all think about that? Is there profit in a pet supplies site? One more question, what is inlink on yahoo? couldnt find it??

  • Jeremie, you’re probably right about us being geniuses although I am too humble to admit it. :-) The pet industry is very competitive. You definitely want to buy your way into that one.

  • Great info thanks for the share. You don’t mind if I ask you a rhetorical question about yourself do you?

  • Great infomation! I wish I had known the things you revealed about buying an established website earlier. Unfortunately, I bought several turnkey sites. I wasted a lot of money. I feel badly about it. I’m glad for someone like you.

  • Fantastic stuff this is a great place to read!

  • Thank you SO much for your very informative site! I’ve just spent the last 6 months researching such information. I’ll continue to check back, for any updated info. Cheers ~ R
    Ps- I also found & believed the google post offer, finally glad someone confirmed the scam, before anymore victims could get caught up…

  • Yes, it’s like buying a flat near the beach built many years ago… nowadays internet is collapsed and fighting against competition is easier with established sites, not new ones.

  • Am I able to generate results right away or will it take a bit to show up?

  • computer bbs directory

    Great infomation! I wish I had known the things you revealed about buying an established website earlier. Unfortunately, I bought several turnkey sites. I wasted a lot of money. I feel badly about it. I’m glad for someone like you.

  • when i started reading i thought it was going to be filled with obvious info, but really it came out to be really interesting. im impressed!

  • What happens if I buy an already established website from flippa or another site buying website? Do I then have to run the site myself or does someone else and I merely become the owner? How would I see any of the profits?
    Sorry very new to all of this and just not sure how any of it is done.


  • Hello, thanks for this advice on buying a website. I finally read it. It was real good advice. Once again THANK YOU…

  • Awesome post

  • Linsey Pinkerman

    Wow, 180 websites would be a lot of work. We struggled in the past with 20 that was too many. At one time we realised it wasnt going to work and just let them go. We didn’t sell them or anything but we just didnt work on them anymore and focused solely on one website. That was the turning point for us.

  • We generally use Pages but the only reason we do that is that we use the Flexsqueeze theme and it allows us to remove the sidebar. Removing the sidebar means there are no distractions for the reader and the are more likely to click through to the merchant.

  • advantages of buy a website.some benifits of this site are We specialise in e-commerce and brochure website design, offering you experience and a highly knowledgeable team. Our design and build process has been created to ensure that you get everything you want and more.

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