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  1. #1
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    Top Tips for Selling Your Site (including escrow information)

    1. Read the appropriate site guidelines. There's no point in spending your hard earned and then discovering that you do have to disclose the URL. And that you can't have your sale also listed elsewhere like eBay.

    2. Prepare properly for the listing, get all your ducks in a row. Collect the information that buyers typically ask for e.g., traffic and earning stats and have that all to hand. Create some graphs and images that demonstrate the key selling points, people like pictures. Store these, and any spreadsheets you create, on your own site if you wish for control over them or allow for future deletion. Do the type of due diligence checks your buyers are going to be doing so you can uncover any adverse signals and explain them or compensate for them.

    3. Think carefully about your title. This is very, very important. The title is your bait to draw bidders in. Don't be tempted to use it to boast about your achievements. Draw up a shortlist of the top reasons someone would want to buy your site. Then trim it to just one or two. And draft and redraft those to convey the message in the most succinct and inviting way. Don't lie, don't exaggerate, don't use all caps.

    Some recent examples of bad text in titles:
    Made $75 in 2 days (draws people's attention to your lack of history and gives them an excuse not to click)
    mywebsitename.com is for sale (unless you're a well known name this is likely to be meaningless to the average buyer)
    BARGAIN - DO NOT MISS (comes across as immature. Don't use all caps and don't beg for buyers to read your auction.)
    abcdmysite.com: A site dedicated to the World Reknowned Game (this isn't a speech at the Oscars, no dedications are necessary. The title is not the place for extended explanations of what the site is about)

    4. In the auction listing itself, provide as much information as necessary without overwhelming buyers. Explain clearly what your site does and how it makes money, don't assume everybody will figure it out. Talk about your traffic and where it comes from. Be honest. Don't boast about fake PR as someone will catch you out. Don't claim that all traffic was free if you've been running paid ad campaigns (as even that can be uncovered in due diligence).

    5. This isn't a stage for your own talents. Boasting about how many Digg frontpages you get or how clever you are at SEO may be counter productive as that suggests to the buyer that you are key to the site's success.

    6. Manage your comments. Yes, your auction comments need to be managed. Show good faith by amending your auction listing if something comes to light that you didn't disclose earlier - or add a comment. Delete comments that add no value .e.g, "fantastic site, good luck with the sale". Answer questions publicly where possible as it will be of use to buyers watching from the shadows.

    7. Don't change WHOIS once your auction has started - leave that to the winning bidder to do on completion of sale. Don't make any major site changes in the interim either or you'll spook some buyers.

    9. Appreciate that sometimes buyers pull out post-sale so keep non-winning bidders on-side, don't burn your bridges. You may need to get back to them with a second chance offer.

    10. For goodness sake, use an escrow service if the value is high enough to lose you some sleep should you get conned.

    There are some more tips I've written about elsewhere but please feel free to add your own below.
    Last edited by HAWK; Apr 5, 2010 at 18:36. Reason: Edited to remove old references to the SitePoint Marketplace

  2. #2
    winter is around the corner Tomer's Avatar
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    Excellent advice.

    I disagree with the point you made not to overwhelm. As much information should be posted. I tend to give a overview of the sale in the thread, and then post a link to a PDF of all the information I have [10-20 pages] with screenshots, traffic...etc

    - Tom

  3. #3
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    If you do feel compelled to list a lot of information, my suggestion would be to organise it in an easy to skim fashion with appropriate headings and sub-headings.

    The amount of information provided is best done proportionate to the size of the sale. Buyers looking to spend $100K are more likely to read 30 pages than someone with a sub $500 budget.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict Green Moon's Avatar
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    In the information disclosure, I would suggest that if the seller has created a lot of backlinks within his or her network of sites, that they disclose that fact upfront and specify whether and for how long they will retain those links.

  5. #5
    winter is around the corner Tomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FruitMedley Post View Post
    If you do feel compelled to list a lot of information, my suggestion would be to organise it in an easy to skim fashion with appropriate headings and sub-headings.

    The amount of information provided is best done proportionate to the size of the sale. Buyers looking to spend $100K are more likely to read 30 pages than someone with a sub $500 budget.
    Of course. Most the sites I've sold were over $5k so I like to be detailed.

    - Tom

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Do you think it is possible to get a lot of money for a 3 word domain? I have one that is a daily phrase consisting of 12 letters. Just curious...
    Cybernac,

    That's a question for the Domain Names Forum - but DON'T ask for an appraisal as that's against SP rules!

    DK
    Hosting Team Leader
    Last edited by dklynn; Jul 11, 2008 at 17:56. Reason: Wrong Forum for such a post

  7. #7
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    cybernac, welcome to Sitepoint. You may want to start a different thread with that question as it may not get the right attention here.

    Green moon, that's a noteworthy point. Any action/inaction that's within the seller's control - and that can have a detrimental effect on site value subsequent to sale - is best disclosed at the start.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the information FruitMedley on how to sell a website. It helped me out a lot. Now to do more reading.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict goodmast3r's Avatar
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    You have created "How to sell your site in Sitepoint - top tips " thread. Do you have thread about protecting seller from getting conned. How can sitepoint protect us? Maybe they should make some mechanism to protect seller for a fee.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Member radoo1's Avatar
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    I am not really in with the computers but that is a great advice.If one day i start creating my own site that would help me a lot.Thank you! Great job.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member antaramedia-com's Avatar
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    Nice tips. Thanks for sharing.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Member 1maverick's Avatar
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    yes very nice tips - i currently have many sites i want to sell as i have had so many ideas and not enough time to execute on all of them -- so these tips help
    1MAVERICK:
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast Rblakney's Avatar
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    Great tips. Thanks.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the tips.

  15. #15
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    Only a woman can read between the lines of a one word answer.....

  16. #16
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    Thanks, SpikeZ

    If I may add something about pricing. There is a tendency in some quarters to quote 10x or 12x of earnings as a standard. My advice to sellers: Don't fall for that.

    I have plenty of examples of sites that have sold for 60x. And countless examples of well established, quality, content sites that have sold for 24x and more.

    Maybe the 12x that gets quoted is an average. Or the median. I don't believe it is but let's say that it's an accurate median/average - that doesn't mean anything for your individual site. If the range of multiples starts at 2x and extends to 100x your site could fall anywhere in-between. Say you value your $1000 a month site at 12x when it's more likely to achieve close to 100x ... you are losing $88,000.

    The only people who benefit from sticking to this fake "industry standard" are 1) Sellers with close to worthless sites who know they won't get 12x in open auction and 2) Buyers who know the price will far exceed 12x at open auction and want to do a quick deal with you to snap your site up at a bargain.

    If you're not in a hurry to close the auction, my advice would be to let the market decide the price.

  17. #17
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    May I just add... by "let the market decide the price" FMP does NOT mean setting the minimum bid to 24x multiple of 2006 earnings on your downwards trending site that would just take "a bit of work and it would be back to earning what it used to".

    Here are "businesses" that don't qualify for 24x monthly multiple:

    1. Its been around for 3 weeks. It doesn't matter how much it earns. Its not gonna go for 24x. A site can be earning serious money only for a few days, but it has to be established.

    2. You put a lot of work into it and you "don't really count that as an expense". Once you start subtracting a McDonald's level salary from your "profit" your "business" soon becomes not such a good deal after all.

    3. A crappy clickbank product that you hyped to all your friends, got a few sales, and now are trying to unload

    4. A software product that doesn't get regular sales

    5. Any website/product/service where the new owner would have to find new means of advertising or in fact, just do any significant amount of work to sustain the current level of profit. Nobody is interested in buying into a job.

    6. Ecommerce sites that are not dropship and the sales process is not outsourced. It doesn't matter how many good contracts or whatever you have. Unless you've got 7 figures overturn, chances of finding someone ready to pay you 24x profit to take over gluing address labels to packages are damn slim indeed.

    7. Your unreleased website/software that will change the world and took you five years of sacrificing your social life to build, but now you can't be bothered to release it to public.

    8. You're making a lot of money from very little crappy traffic with one company/ad program. Like a video site with Zango ads. Or a proxy site that by mistake got accepted into TribalFusion and is now doing very high CPMs. This is just too risky, your chances of getting a good price are so low you're just better off keeping quiet and silently making a good living.

    9. You're "lying" about your profit figures. The multiple is not a multiple of your best month which occurred in year 2006 when you put up images alongside YPN ads to trick people into clicking finance ads on your arcade site. It usually is the average of last 3-6 months profit, but can be simply last month's profit.


    Another "very unlikely to" category is sites with any downwards trends. Sites that sell for high multiples are usually perceived as low risk assets. If your site is trending downwards, that is risky, as you can never know how low that trend will take you.

    In the end, there are 4 reasons buyers are ready to pay huge multiples for websites:

    1. It is extremely stable. It is old. There is no work required. Just sit back and watch the money roll in without ever worrying about anything.

    2. You missed an easy way to monetize the site. The buyer knows this, so he pays a huge multiple because he knows he can double revenue in a day.

    3. It fits in really well with the buyer's current assets to the point where owning your website would increase his profit by so much to justify a much higher price tag. Chances of finding a buyer like this are close to zero.

    4. The buyer is a dumbass. This is a not as uncommon as you might think.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the tips. Very helpful.

    Pete

  19. #19
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    Absolutely, Edman, sorry if that wasn't clear. By "let the market decide" I meant let buyers bid against each other to the max level they feel is a fair price. Even then the max figure reached may not be a fair price if there was a rogue bidder in there playing shill.

    You've done an excellent job of detailing the primary flotsam and jetsam in the listings . I wouldn't pay 24x for any of those cases you described. Many of them wouldn't attract 12x in open auction. My lower limit of 2x is still too high for some sites and they end up without a single bid. There are plenty of examples of these too.

    My advice to anyone with a site like that is to NOT set a high BIN if you genuinely want to sell. Though it's a BIN and not a reserve, buyers somehow seem to read that as your price expectation and shy away.

    If I may point out that your #2 is a pet peeve of mine. It's not even a Macjob salary I expect them to deduct but a fair salary for the level of expertise required to run the site. I've often paid in excess of $50 p/h to replace an owner/webmaster. If you're selling a site you need to appreciate that your time has value. If you don't acknowledge it in your listings you may end up looking silly when someone recalculates your "profits" and shows that your site is worthless.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Enthusiast SkyNet's Avatar
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    Great tips Edman and FMP. Bookmarked the thread
    Blog :: noblog.com

  21. #21
    Jewish Juggernaut mkoenig's Avatar
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    I've got to agree on letting the market set the price.

    Maybe someone really wants the site. People get attached to things emotionally, and can bid up items.

    Then again... maybe no one will bid.

  22. #22
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    it will help me a lot while selling my sites.....thanks

  23. #23
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    Thanks for tips.

  24. #24
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    These are all great tips. Do you have any tips on what's an ideal length of time for an auction? A week, a few days, 30 days?

  25. #25
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    I don't believe it makes a big difference to the final price. Note: SP now allow you to both increase and decrease the length of the auction after you've started it.


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