Making money flipping websites is exciting and, thanks to Flippa, quite easy to do.
Humans have been flipping things for profit ever since the Neanderthals started trading nicely shaped rocks for tattered loincloths, then patching up those loincloths and trading them for two nicely shaped rocks. Well, sort of.
Websites are the loincloths of the 21st century.
The barrier for entry is low, as anyone can learn how to build a basic website, and selling that website once its worth its weight in stones and arrows has never been easier thanks to Flippa, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a safe place to transact a large scale sale.
Flippa is the number one marketplace for online businesses for sale. It attracts a huge audience, it’s extremely simple to use, offers great tools to increase your auction’s visibility.
Interestingly, Flippa began as SitePoint’s very own SitePoint Marketplace before spinning off into its own company. Man we’re cool.
If you’re willing to dedicate a little capital, a moderate amount of time and a lot of loincloths, flipping on Flippa can net you some serious coin. The platform has seen more than $140 million in sales since its 2009 launch.
If you want to contribute to that number, heed the following advice.
Target a Niche
Before you invest a single cent into the endeavor, you need to decide what your website is going to be about.
The overwhelming wisdom is to choose a highly-targeted niche, but don’t confuse highly targeted with widely popular. It’s all about creating content for a group of people who are hugely excited about a rather small idea.
If you’re already passionate about, or have significant knowledge of, a niche topic, make that your starting point. If you live a Top 40 kind of life and niches just aren’t your thing, do some research and find a niche with potential.
Carrot peeling techniques, nail clipper reviews, mouse pads made from recycled coffee cups – these are all valid niches to pursue, because they are highly targeted.
Cornering a niche means cutting out a huge swath of competition. The mouse pad market might be crowded, but mouse pads made from recycled coffee cups? Open frontier, baby.
But here’s the tricky part. While the niche should be highly targeted, it should also have a following. Your job isn’t to create an audience out of nothing, it’s to build a lighthouse for them to flock toward.
Build vs. Buy
Now that you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to secure a website. Should you build it, or buy it? Let’s look at what goes into each.
Unless you’re a web developer, building a website is going to cost a few bucks. However, it probably won’t cost as much as buying an existing website.
You can teach yourself of course, but if you need it done fast, you’re going to want to hire a developer.
On either of these platforms, will find a database of freelancers looking for work. Once you post the job, qualified freelancers will click “I’m interested” so you can review their portfolio.
Paying top dollar for a developer isn’t necessary when all you need is for it to function smoothly. You’re still going to have to shell out a few hundred dollars, but it is crucial your site has a solid foundation.
It’s also smart to have your website built in WordPress. Buyers are typically more comfortable with WordPress sites and can better justify buying something they know how to use. You can even install Flippa’s WordPress plugin that will keep you up to date on your business valuation as your site starts to make a bit of money.
Once you have a fully functioning website, you need content. After all, a nail clipper review site needs nail clipper reviews, so you’re going to want a healthy stream of keyword rich reviews with affiliate links.
If you deem it worth your time, you can create some, or all, of the content yourself (there may be a downside to this which we’ll cover later). If not, you can head right back to Upwork or Fiverr to find writers for hire. Since competition is fierce here, you can probably hire someone for $5/500 words. That’s one heck of a deal!
Alternatively, you could (and should) invest in higher quality writers, especially if you think that five buck writers are devaluing the writing profession as a whole. But that’s a topic for another time.
When you have a solid chunk of content, refrain from posting it all at once. Instead, post couple of pieces each day. This improves SEO rankings and builds traffic. Remember, you want fat stats when it comes time to sell.
While buying an existing website may cost more, it does offer significant advantages. For one, it already has an established audience. It’s also already indexed within search engines.
The key to buying a flippable website is to buy it for less than it’s worth.
Neil Patel lays out three qualities you should look for in a website owner who might undersell.
- The owner doesn’t update their site very often.
- The owner doesn’t seem to be making much money from the website.
- The owner doesn’t seem to care about the business.
If you find a website in your niche that exhibits one or more of these qualities, consider making an offer.
But if scavenging the internet for a website that meets your qualifications proves too time consuming, you can always use a website broker or just take your first foray into Flippa’s marketplace.
Most brokers are commission-based and have access to a wide database of websites on the market. If you give them your criteria, they can find you what you’re looking for.
If you would rather search for yourself on a platform that is dedicated to individuals selling their websites, try using Flippa. There are a number of toggles within their search engine that makes it easy to find just what you’re seeking.
Once you’ve purchased the website, use all the tools at your disposal to grow it, increase traffic and earn some money. If this part of the process isn’t in your wheelhouse, check out some of our helpful articles.
- Earning Money From Your Website
- Getting Sites Recrawled
- Promoting On Facebook
- Boost Traffic and Conversions
Or return to Upwork or Fiverr and hire an affordable marketing contractor.
Flipping Your Website On Flippa
When your website is seeing a healthy amount of traffic, engagement and financial potential, it’s time to sell it on Flippa (or resell it if you bought it there in the first place). Here are some tips for a successful auction.
Create A Robust Description
According to one of Flippa’s own blog posts, many unsuccessful auctions on Flippa have very little information in the description.
Wimpy descriptions reflect poorly on you and your website. A buyer might assume that a sparse description means a sparse website. They may think that if you couldn’t put the effort into writing a description, you probably didn’t put much effort into the website.
Instead, create a comprehensive, well-written and professional-looking description to generate interest and inspire confidence.
This may seem obvious, but the first thing a buyer is going to look for is your website’s stats, so make sure to include the most up-to-date metrics on page views, unique visitors, gross revenue, and net profit. Flippa automatically pulls your Google Analytics data during the registration process, making this part a breeze.
Don’t Be Anonymous
Imagine placing thousand dollar bids to a nameless, faceless, social medialess seller. Wouldn’t you prefer to know their name, see their face, read what they ate for breakfast that morning via Facebook?
Okay, you don’t need to get that close with the potential buyers, but they will feel more comfortable dealing with a real person, especially when the dollars start stacking. Maintaining transparency is important. It communicates to buyers that you have nothing to hide and can quell fears of shady dealings and scam artists.
Give yourself the best chance of success by fully verifying your seller profile, providing your email, phone, and ID to Flippa (don’t worry, they don’t share this information). It makes you look like you’re ready to do business.
If your auction is seeing a lot of activity, be sure to stay up to date on the messages and comments. People are looking to make a major purchase and communication is key to success. This costs you nothing (other than time and energy) and can result in a real big win.
Many of the aforementioned tips can help you land more bids, but if you’re seeing less than you’d like, try the following:
Comment on your own listing! This is a simple hack that will draw attention to your listing as it sends an email to any person who is “watching” your listing. There are always people hovering around Flippa, clicking “watch”, but never returning to see what they are supposedly watching. Commenting on your own listing will remind them to check it out.
What would you comment? Let people know if you made a big sale, if the numbers for the current month have been updated, or if you are willing to include anything special for the winner like a month of support or a gift bag of chocolates (hey, couldn’t hurt!).
Placate Buyers By Creating a Sustainable Product
How much maintenance does your website require? How much work will the buyer have to put in to keep it profitable?
Bidding might hit a standstill if buyers conclude that the website will be more work than it’s worth. So don’t give them anything to worry about. Before auctioning your site, ensure that it is easily sustainable.
For example, a common issue that threatens sustainability is content creation.
Say you wrote all those nail clipper reviews yourself. Sure, it initially saved you some money, but think about how that affects the buyer. After purchasing the site, he or she will now have to hire their own freelancers to continue producing content. This is time and effort the buyer doesn’t want to expend.
If you had hired freelancers from the beginning, the buyer would already have an experienced pool of talent to pick from. The transition of ownership would be smooth and efficient.
Reach Out To Potential Buyers
Don’t rely on buyers to just stumble across your auction. You need to play an active role in recruiting them. If promoting through your social media and personal network isn’t enough, try finding and reaching out to new buyers.
One strategy you can take is locating website owners in your niche. Domain Tools’ Domain Search is an excellent resource for such an occasion. Just type in the keywords relevant to your niche and Domain Search will populate a list with related websites.
If your website is called NailClipperReviews.com and you see that someone owns ReviewsNailClippers.com, navigate to their Whois page and try contacting them. Maybe they’re interested in buying your website to generate more traffic. Maybe they want to buy your website to eliminate the competition.
Flipping websites on Flippa isn’t something you can do overnight, but if you invest the time and energy, you could turn a sizable profit. Remember to build or buy a niche website and grow it until it’s either profitable or has profit potential. When auctioning on Flippa, promote the heck out of it using all available channels and earn the buyers’ trust by remaining transparent.