How to buy websites – Do you want to buy a well-known website but don’t know how? If you want to buy a website or blog that already exists, we have some important tips for you in this article.
Before you start a new blog, you may want to think about buying one that is already making money. Buying websites is now a serious business, and if you know what you’re doing, it can be a very smart financial move.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about some really important things you need to know before you think about buying an existing website.
If you knew these things, you could save a lot of money and time, and you might even be able to avoid getting scammed.
Let’s get started.
How to Buy Websites
This post isn’t meant to give you legal advice. Instead, it’s a place to start your research. Before making these kinds of financial decisions, you should always talk to your lawyer, accountant, and other business experts.
Most importantly, don’t rush. Take your time doing your research and get information from a number of sources you can trust. You might want to “start at the top,” but you still need to make sure it’s a good idea.
Should I buy a website that’s already up?
If you’re thinking about buying an already-popular website, you should know what you’re getting into. So, you should check at least one or two of these off your list:
Does the website generate revenue?
People first buy websites or blogs because they want to make money or add to an income stream they already have. If a website is already making money, that’s a good sign, and you can often find something that is doing well but could do even better.
People who have built up a successful blog but no longer have the drive or time to keep it up is something that happens pretty often. They might have a job that takes up too much of their time, or they might have lost interest. From what we’ve seen, these can be good chances. We’ll talk more about what you need to look for down below.
Do you know about the site’s niche?
You shouldn’t buy a blog in a niche you don’t know much about. It can be very stressful, and you won’t really enjoy the process. There are, of course, some exceptions. For example, if you know enough about running an online business, you might be able to buy the website and then hire someone to run it. You could also take care of it yourself and hire writers to make the content. When it comes to the niche, though, it’s best to know how it works and how it makes money. There is a lot more to running a website than just making content.
Is the site one of your competitors?
If you already have a website, you might want to buy something that is in the same business as you. This is something that most businesses do. It happens all the time with big companies, like when Facebook bought Instagram, but it can also happen with smaller businesses. You would have to make sure that the competitor was big enough to be a real threat and that your own sales were high enough to make such a move worthwhile.
Could the site be a sister site to the one you already have?
Buying a website can be a good idea if it fits in with the rest of your plan. For example, if you have a blog about gardening, you might want to buy a website that reviews gardening gloves or tools. Again, this goes back to having a good strategy for blogging and is not something you should do lightly. Cross-promoting websites and blogs can be good if the branding is clear, but it can be confusing if the branding isn’t clear.
Does buying the site help with SEO in any way?
People also buy websites because it can be a way to get new backlinks, which is another big reason. This is a bit of a gray area in SEO, and it’s not always right to do this. The idea is that you should look for a site with good SEO value so that you can either take advantage of their good organic rankings or use the new site to link back to your own. Still, it’s important to look at the rankings. Even if they aren’t making money, you may find that they rank for some good keywords that you could use to make money if you know how.
Have they got a fun mailing list?
People also buy websites so they can get on the mailing list for that website. As we’ve seen before, you make the most money from your email marketing list. It is also a good way to protect yourself from changes to Google’s algorithm. But growing one isn’t easy and can take a long time. If you know that a website has a large and active mailing list, it can be helpful to buy that mailing list along with the website, even if the website itself isn’t that interesting.
When people want to buy a well-known website, these are the main things they will look for. As was already said, it’s important to know why you want to do this before you start to look into it. You’ll need a very well-thought-out plan.
Where can I purchase a website?
Once you’ve done your research (more on that below), you really only have two places to buy and sell business website:
Use a site like Flippa
Sites like Flippa are made to sell or auction off domain names and already-built websites. You can look through blogs, eCommerce, apps, SaaS, and services websites that are for sale.
These sites are a good choice because the community often weighs in on “issues,” and when you create a listing, you have to include certain statistics.
In each listing, you can see important information like the age of the site, how it makes money, the profit margin, the number of pageviews, and more.
You can buy websites on marketplaces like Empire Flippers, BuySellEmpire, Motion Invest, and FE International, in addition to Flippa.
Privately buy a website.
This is when you basically go to a website you think has potential and ask if the owner is willing to sell. Then, you’d go through a process called “discovery” to find out all the details and numbers and make an offer.
There are probably other ways, but these are the two most common ones we’ve seen.
Before you buy a website, you should think about these 5 important things.
You need to learn a lot about a website before you buy it. And we’re important.
This is especially important if you are spending a lot of money on the item. But even if it’s just a $1,000 website, there’s no point in rushing into it and wasting $1,000 that could have been used for other marketing or content creation.
This is by no means a full list, but here are some of the most important things to think about before you buy.
Check to see who owns the website.
In the past, there have been stories of people using bad methods to take control of a website and then selling it while they are in control. So, the new owner doesn’t really own the new site, and the money they paid for it is probably gone.
Make sure you know who owns the website to stop something like that from happening to you.
You can use a free WHOIS lookup tool like Domain.com to find out who owns a domain, when it was registered, when it is set to expire, any available contact information, and more.
Sometimes, the name and contact information of the domain owner will be hidden to protect their privacy. But you will still be able to see the domain name registrar.
In this case, you can send an email to the domain name registrar saying that you want to buy the website, and they will tell the owner about your interest.
You can look at a site’s history using the Wayback Machine.
You don’t want to buy a family-friendly site only to find out that it was an adult site or some horrible spam thing two months ago.
Thanks to free tools like the Wayback Machine, you can see what a website looked like in the past. Check it out and make sure it’s always been legit and has never been used as a link farm or something similar.
If you look up Blog Tyrant on the Wayback Machine, you’ll see that it’s always been a site that shows people how to start a blog. It just looked very different in the past than it does now.
Pay attention to SEO and traffic signals.
Before you get too attached to a possible purchase, you should make sure SEO is in good shape. Do a good search on Google by hand to see where the website ranks, and then dig deeper.
For instance, you can use a site like SEMRush to check for missing backlinks and other SEO details.
Again, it’s not meant to be a foolproof method, but rather a way to find out more about something you might want to buy.
Here, you should look for some red flags that stand out. For instance, if a site is on the first page of Google for a good keyword but only has two back links, that’s a red flag. They could be faked in some way, or you could lose your rankings if those links disappear.
If you don’t know much about SEO, you can learn more by reading our ultimate SEO guide for beginners.
Carefully look at the numbers given.
There are always a lot of stats to look at when someone posts a listing on Flippa or when you start private negotiations.
Now, they should give you screenshots of all the important things, like traffic numbers, bounce rate, pageviews, content, etc., but if you want to be sure, you should ask for logins to their stats accounts. This isn’t hard at all. All they have to do is add your email address to Google Analytics and let you view-only. It doesn’t hurt them.
Now, you want to start comparing the most important numbers to those from earlier times to see if there are any clear trends. For example, you might see a huge jump in traffic from six months ago, followed by a big drop. This is a red flag because it could mean that they spent a lot of money on advertising or got a lucky backlink that brought in a lot of money.
You should also check to see if there are any posts or pages that get the most traffic. Again, this is a risk because the traffic could drop suddenly or not be very useful to your plan for making money.
Information about income and expenses
The report on income and costs is one of the most important things you need to look at.
Sometimes these will be very detailed and hard to understand, and sometimes they will be very easy to understand. Again, there’s no harm in asking your accountant or business advisor to look over the numbers to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
The most important things to find out are:
How does it bring in money?
How do you get money, and are you happy with the levels? It’s important to know how the website makes money, because if most of its money comes from affiliate marketing, for example, you should have experience with affiliate marketing so you can keep making money that way.
How stable and steady is it?
Does the money come in regularly, and will it keep coming in over the next few months and years? You don’t want to buy a website only to find out that it doesn’t consistently bring in money.
Is it diversified?
Check to see if the income comes from many different sources. There is less risk if the money comes from more than one place. This is because if one source of income goes away for any reason, the other can keep your business going.
Is that true?
The hardest thing to figure out is whether or not the income information is true. Photoshop makes it pretty easy to make fake images and reports. So, see if you can get different sources or reports and even ask if you can confirm the details with your own login again.
Is the income steady?
Making money is fine, but if you make $20,000 a month but only have $19,000 to spend on advertising, that’s a big risk and takes a lot of work and advertising know-how. Make sure you understand where everything is coming from. On the other hand, if you think you can do these things better, you might be able to make more money.
Even though money is not everything for a website, it is still important. It’s a big risk to buy a site that doesn’t make any money and try to make it make money. Beginners should always look at something that has been around for a while.
Getting ready for the process of buying
You might decide to buy a website once you’ve done your research, asked for advice, talked to the owner, etc. At that point, there are a few things you’ll need to do:
Make sure to have as much information as you can.
Make sure the seller is willing to give you information like their name, phone number, address, business number, tax number, etc., and then check these details against any government databases that may be available in your country. You want to be 100% sure that this person owns the website’s content and domain name and has the right to sell it.
Know what you’re getting.
Make sure you know what you’re getting before you buy it. Is it just the domain name, or does it also include the website’s content, servers, databases, images, mailing list, etc.? Don’t be vague.
Think about making a contract.
Contracts are hard to understand, expensive, and sometimes not even that important (international stuff is hard). Still, a contract can be helpful for laying out how a sale will go and for solving problems quickly if they come up in the future. Please don’t use things you found on the Internet. Instead, talk to a local IP lawyer.
Add a clause that says you can’t work for a competitor.
When you buy a website from someone, keep in mind that they have a lot of experience and connections in the field. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a website, only to have someone else make a new one and steal your customers.
Ask for a time of help.
If the original website owner is willing to stay on for a few months to help you get the hang of it or even keep making content until you know how to run it, you’re on to a winner. That can be a great chance for you and your business to learn something.
Use Escrow.com or Similar
When you use a site like Escrow, you can protect both the buyer and the seller. For instance, they won’t give you the domain name until you’ve paid, and vice versa. They act as a go-between for both parties and won’t let the deal go through until everyone is happy with it.
Purchase in Stages
Buying in stages is often a good idea. For example, before you send the money, they might send you the databases and give you access to the hosting. Once the money is in their account (or Escrow), they sign over the domain name or give you access to it. The domain name is the last thing you need to buy something. You haven’t bought anything until you own it and have control over it.
Find out how you can get your money back.
Last but not least, we wanted to point out that sites like Escrow and PayPal usually let you get your money back if something goes wrong or if you are scammed. Before you buy something online, whether it’s a website, a car, a business, or anything else, you should do some research to find out how that works for each service and in each country.
By now, we may have scared most people away from the idea of buying an established blog or website. We didn’t mean to do that, but we do want you to know about some of the risks so that your research and transaction go as smoothly as possible.
Remember that buying a website that is already popular might help you get to the top, but you still have to run it and make it work.