Maybe you’ve been working on a website for a while and realize you’re no longer passionate about the topic. You’ve done well for yourself and even created a nice monthly side income. Or, maybe you’ve built a site with the intent to sell, and now you’re looking to exit. Whatever the reason, you want to sell your site, but don’t know where to start.
Go Mobile Before Your Sell Your Website
It’s particularly important that your website appeal to mobile users, since they make up the majority of website visitors. 65% of all time spent on digital media is now spent by people using some type of mobile device.
A video from Google Small Business explains exactly what your mobile website needs to appeal to mobile users. A good rule to follow is “KISS,” or “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
Although some images are good, skip the flashy graphics (and Flash). Put the most important information right at people’s fingertips to keep them from clicking away.
Show Me the Money Before You Sell a Website Online
Having active, regular visitors is just one piece of the website puzzle. You also need to find the best way to monetize those visitors. You can’t sell your website if it’s not pulling in a profit. At least, you can’t sell your website for much money if it’s not bringing in any money.
Let’s look at a few ways you can monetize your website before you put it up for sale.
One of the first things people do to monetize their sites is to put up ads. Some advertising options are more lucrative than others. For example, Google Adsense is probably the biggest name in web advertising. It’s easy to setup and use.
A better way to optimize your site’s profits might be to sell ad space directly to companies. The companies who advertise your site are likely to be connected to the site’s message. Plus, they are paying upfront for the ad space, so you don’t have to hope and pray for clicks.
Selling ads directly takes a bit more effort than setting up your Adsense account. You need to prove to the companies you’re targeting that your website is a worthwhile partner for them.
Affiliate marketing is another common way to make money from your site. Some people set up review websites that let them earn a commission any sales made from products they’ve reviewed.
Amazon has one of the biggest affiliate marketing programs out there. It offers commissions starting at 4% of the value of any sales made. The commission value increases the more you sell.
Testing, Testing Before Selling Websites Online
No matter how you monetize your site, testing it to make sure those methods are bringing in the most possible profit is essential. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to get a higher offer from a buyer.
Split testing is one of the most popular ways to test a website’s performance and profitability. When you run a split test, half of your audience gets one version of your website; the other half gets the other version.
At the end of the test, you can see which option brought in the most revenue and run with that option. For example, you might test one version of your site with a particular call to action to purchase a product. The second version might have a different, more direct call to action.
If the second version has a higher conversion rate, you’ve just found a way to easily increase your site’s profits.
What Not to Do When Selling Websites Online
Now that you know the basic things that make a website more valuable and worth purchasing to buyers, it’s time to look at what not to do before or when you’re trying to sell your website.
First, you want to avoid any over-the-top, unrealistic information. Is your website really the “best?” Are you really the next Facebook or Twitter? If so, you need to be ready to back that up with facts and figures.
Most importantly, those facts and figures need to be real and to have some actual meaning. Although your site’s content and quality do matter to potential buyers, those can all be changed easily. What they are looking for is the how much revenue the site brings in.
Most website sells for anywhere from six to 10 times their profit each month. If your site brings in a monthly profit of $1,000, you can expect to sell it for $6,000 to $10,000.
Below we walk you through the process of selling your website. Remember, the more prep work you do the smoother the sales process will be and you’ll also improve the chances of selling your site for a larger payment.
1. Prep Your Website
Running a profitable website takes a lot more than just throwing up a few ads, or dropping a few affiliate links throughout your content. It’s important to optimize your site both for profit, and overall user experience.
A site that’s maxing out its profit potential and has a very clean and beautiful design will sell at a much higher price. So, how exactly do you optimize your site?
- Improve user engagementby testing headlines, layouts, colours, CTA-buttons, and more. It’s important to test various aspects of your site to improve user engagement numbers.
- Optimize your profits. To get the most value from your site you’ll want to optimize the ways you’re currently driving revenue. For example, if you’re using Google AdSense, then test different layout to improve your profits. If you’re making money via affiliate links, then test different CTA’s and link placementsto see if you can improve conversions.
Even spending time optimizing your site’s speed and performance will have an effect. Basically, you’ll want to make your site as perfect as possible. The higher quality site you have to sell, the more money you’re going to get.
2. Improve Your Site’s Value
It’s important that you sell your site when revenues are actually increasing. If they’ve been declining or stagnating for quite some time, then you’ll want to spend time getting those revenue numbers back up before you decide to sell.
If the majority of your site’s traffic comes from a single source, it’s also a good idea to start diversifying your traffic sources. For example, if most of your traffic comes from paid traffic sources, then you could start experimenting with social media or SEO. That way, if one source of traffic dies down, it doesn’t kill your site.
3. Remove Yourself from the Process
If the success of your website depends 100% on you being there, then it’s going to be difficult to sell. You need to have systems in place that completely remove you from the process and allow another person to step in.
You may be able to draft up a contract that includes you continuing to work on the site in some capacity, but this needs to be clearly defined. Typically, you may continue to assist on a consulting basis, but your role will slowly be phased out over time.
4. Gather Revenue and Traffic Data
Now, it’s time to gather historical revenue and traffic data. Be completely honest with these figures. It can be helpful to take screenshots from your Google Analytics and Google Adsense accounts, or however else you’re measuring profits and traffic.
Without having accurate revenue and traffic figures you won’t be able to accurately convey the value of your site. If necessary, you can even consider hiring a CPA to help compile your revenue reports. The more detail you can cover the higher chances there will be a buyer interested in your site.
5. Determine Your Website’s Worth
The value of your site is based upon the buyer’s ROI. Most sites will be valued at a multiple of their yearly earnings. For example, a website that makes $100,000 per year might be valued at a 1x multiple, which will sell for $100,000. Or, it could be valued at a 2x multiple, which would drive up the sale price to $200,000.
This multiple will be calculated based upon the overall risk involved from the buyer’s side. If your site has solid consistent earnings, multiple traffic sources, systems in place, and multiple revenue sources, then it will sell for a higher multiple.
6. Choose the Right Selling Platform
Once you’ve prepped your site for sale, maximized its value, put a system in place, gathered revenue and traffic data, and have a baseline price in mind, it’s time to list your site.
There are multiple places online where you can sell your site. The two most common website marketplaces are Flippa and Empire Flippers. Both of these sites allow you to upload your site listings and monitor the auction. Remember, that most of your offers will come in towards the end of your auction.
Once you have some offers its important that you remain involved in the selling process. This will decrease the chances that the sale will fall through.
Finally, payment is typically done in the form of escrow. This will help to mitigate payment risk for both parties.
Some Places to Sell Your Web Site
Well, it’s time for you to look into selling it off — but then comes the question of where to do that. We’ve collected some best options for you.
Flippa.com: has the most websites for sale, over 8,700 at time of writing and also has the largest number of buyers, over 800,000 are registered to buy websites and domain names on Flippa. They’ve done $165 million in transactions since launch in 2009. Flippa comes with a simple interface, a super powerful search feature, the option to upgrade your auction; they charge a small listing fee $9-$19, with a 10% success fee. What makes Flippa stand out from the pack is their trust and verification features, like phone number verification and verified Google Analytics traffic stats, which helps boost average selling prices. Flippa also attracts serious buyers who are prepared to pay good money for high quality sites through Deal Flow, website broker.
SiteIndeed.com: SiteIndeed provides basic listing ads for free for up to 90 days, but if you want to extend your listing past that they will charge you a fee based upon the number of days you choose. The site also provides featured listings that will give your site more prominent display for a fee, based on the number of days you wish to list it.
BuySellWebsite.com: BuySellWebsite specializes in established and start-up web sites. Established web sites cost $59 for a 2-week listing, or $99 for a two-month long listing (with a free one-month extension, for a total of three months) that includes being featured on the front page.
WebsiteBroker.com: Website Broker allows you to sell both domain names and complete web sites. Web sites can be listed for 90-days for $9.95, or $29.95 for a premium listing that gains you extra exposure. Domain names have similar auctions priced at $9.95 for standard listing and $14.95 for premium. There are no commissions charged on completed listings.
InternetCompanyForSale.com: This site charges no commissions on the sales through their company, but they do have one time listing fees depending on the type of site you want to sell. Established sites pay $59.95 for list-til-you-sell. Start-up sites will cost you $39.95, and a Permanently Featured Listing, either for a established site or start-up, it will cost you $99 and will get you featured in their bi-weekly newsletter.
A Few More Features of a Great Website
Your website’s got a clear message. It’s not bland. People don’t skip town the second the page loads.
What else can you do to boost its value before selling your website? As it turns out, a lot. The best, most valuable websites often have the following features.
- Responsive Design. Not everyone is going to look at your website on a desktop monitor or laptop screen. In fact, more and more people look at sites on mobile devices. A responsive design, which automatically adjusts to the size of the screen, is a must-have.
- Clutter-Free Layout. The rise in mobile users also means a minimal, clutter-free design is even more important these days. A website that is clean and easy to navigate is going to keep visitors for longer than a visually crowded and messy site.
- User-Friendly Design. The best websites keep the needs of the user in mind. No one is going to want to visit your site, let alone buy it for a good price if it’s hard to navigate.
- Videos. Video is expected to make nearly 70% of web trafficby 2018. A website that includes some form of video content is more appealing to users and buyers.
- Visuals. Video aside, high quality images (skip the stock photos) brings people in and makes a website more usable.
- Calls to Action. Just as you need to tell people why your site exists, you also need to clearly tell them what to do on the site, and why.
What to Give Buyers When You Sell a Website Online
One way to get a buyer to pay top dollar for your website is to give them plenty of documentation and proof of its value. Show reports from your affiliate networks, revenue from advertising and details of any other source of income.
Buyers are also going to want to see details of your website’s traffic. Provide information on the number of unique visitors your site gets, the monthly page views, and where your traffic comes from. Google Analytics is a useful tool for compiling that data.
Selling to Your Network
Another option if you want to sell a website it to contact people you already know. Someone who works in the industry your website targets or who advertises on your site already might be interested in purchasing it.
If you’re not getting much traction on auction sites, it can help to shop your site around to professional and personal contacts instead. Selling directly to someone in your network can help you avoid the fees and hassles of using forums or auction sites entirely.