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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- How much time is involved to run the site? Is more time required to make more money?
- Can you automate any of the processes on the site so it will take less time to run?
- 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.
- 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 Archive.org to find out the true age of the website.
- 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.
- How many links does the website have pointing to it? Go to Ahrefs.com 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.
- 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
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