Finding, Evaluating and Buying a Site

By | May 25, 2008

In order to successfully make a living from flipping websites, you need to learn where to find the sites which could earn you nice profits, how to objectively assess the price for the sites you’ve targeted, and how to negotiate for the sale and close the deal.

You may find websites suitable for your purpose in two ways: using search engines and directly contacting the owner of the site you’re interested in, or by scanning the ad placements in online marketplaces such as our, SitePoint or in webmaster forums. If you already have a target niche, searching for sites using keywords is the recommended option as you can get better bargains this way. Remember that you need not see a “Site-For-Sale” notice for you to start negotiations – you must contact the site owner and make your offer to buy the site regardless of the site being for sale or not.

After you’ve found the right website, you should now proceed to the valuation of the site’s worth. You need to ask and find answers to the following questions: Is the site and the domain a new one? Are there loyal users and visitors to the site? Is the site earning revenues and in what form? What other possible revenues can I derive from the site? How much work is necessary to turn it into a profitable venture? How can I integrate this site to my niche market? If I build a similar site from the ground, how much will it cost?

You can get answers to some of these questions from the owner if the site you’re buying is advertised for sale. You must not rely on these proofs alone. Do some research using Internet-based assessment tools, particularly if it involves a large investment.

Online tools such as Google Toolbar, Yahoo Site Explorer, Alexa ranking tool and many others give useful data on popularity, traffic, search engine optimization, global reach and links for websites. Another useful tool, Tidgulator asks some questions about the site, including net profits, the size of its member base and other info to give you an estimate on the value of the site. All these listed tools would in some ways provide you with data to aid you in making a realistic valuation. But it is still up to you, the buyer, to come up with the figure which you would use in your negotiations.

When you have set a reasonable value for the site, it’s time to negotiate. Don’t try to bamboozle the owner into submission – you wouldn’t want to offend him and get him to bad-mouth you in his network and ruin your reputation wholesale. If the owner tells you he’s not selling the site or that he needs time to consider your offer, keep the lines open. If he’s amenable to the idea, ask how much would be his asking price and negotiate from there, using the data you’ve gathered to leverage costs that he would put forward. If the asking price is too much and the owner wont budge, you can back-out politely and move-on to your next prospect.

If both parties come to terms, the contract can then be drawn which stipulates the terms of sale and other provisions. The last part in finalizing the sale is payment: the best way for both parties is using escrow services such as, wherein you deposit the agreed amount which will only be released to the seller after you confirm delivery of the goods (website).