What Is Website flipping?
You may have developed an idea about website flipping by now since the two words on their own seem quite self-explanatory.
Truth is: it’s almost as direct as it sounds aside from the fact that the flipping isn’t a real action similar to that of a pancake.
Flipping websites is very comparable to flipping properties in real estate whereby you buy distressed properties, fix them, and then sell them at a profitable price. And just like the real estate business, flipping websites does comprise a business marketing scheme as well.
What do you need to be successful? An eye for a good bargain, some internet marketing skills, some basic website development skills, and a drive for making money.
If you flip the website correctly, the benefits can be enormous without much risk throughout the process. The market for buying websites is constant and immediate. Unlike realty markets, you don’t need to spend months looking for a buyer for your site; you can sell it in a matter of days.
There is the other end to the story where you could do things wrong but lucky for you, that’s why this eBook is aimed in helping you do it right.
So, first thing is first. There are 3 main types of website flipping:
1. Beginner’s Flipping
This means starting from scratch. Although the idea of the word “beginner” suggests an easier route to website flipping, it is misleading. Beginner’s website flipping starts from building a website from scratch, buying the domain name from sites such as GoDaddy, getting the hosting popularly from Hostgator (here’s a coupon for a $0.01 One Month Free Trial: FLIPWEBSITESBLOG), promoting the website, monetize it, and then selling the site once it has hit a certain level of traffic and interest.
This type of website flipping can be considered very time consuming; however, it gives you complete control over what happens to the website from the very beginning. This means you decide where to start up, which hosting site to use, what domain to select, how to promote your traffic campaign, and where to sell it off finally.
2. Standard Flipping
Essentially this is the most common type of website flipping. You buy a website which has some potential for success and improvement, improve it as quickly as possible and sell it at a profitable price. The eye for a good deal is the most crucial element here. You have to always remember you aren’t buying the website to keep it; you’re buying it to sell it at a higher rate so the buying price of the website is important to bear in mind.
3. Long Term Investment Flipping
This type of website flipping is when you hold onto a website, develop it over a long-term period, enhance the monthly recurring income, and then sell it once it has reached a good market threshold. The benefit of long term investment flipping is more with higher amounts of return on investment (ROI) however the capital required for it is higher than the other two methods as well as the need for patience is required.
Buying Websites To Flip
Buying websites to flip requires a lot more knowledge than you may think. First of all you have to look at the potential a website has to increase in monthly profits. And remember: NEVER go over your pre-determined maximum bid!
Websites generally generate revenue using one or a combination of these methods:
- Advertising – either by selling links directly to advertisers or by using Google Adsense.
- Affiliate Marketing – acting as an affiliate by selling products to receive commissions from sites such as Clickbank, CommissionJunction, or LinkShare.
- Product Selling – through the creation of their products, revenue is generated each time the product is sold.
As a website flipper, you are responsible to analyze every site to deem whether it has the potential in generating revenue. You have to look into both the analytics of the website and the market trend of the content on the website to see whether there will be an increase or decrease in its popularity.
From there you will be in the position to determine whether this website can be improved in monetization (mostly aimed at monthly profit increase) either by using an unused method on the site or even by improving the already existing method to gain more revenue.
The challenge: How do you identify sites with good monetization potential?
To evaluate whether a site has good monetization potential, you have to ask yourself these 6 Questions:
1. What type of method is used in monetizing the site? Does it focus only on one type of monetization method? For example, does the site generate its main revenue from Adsense advertisements or affiliate links? This should be easy to find by looking at the website on sale or the descriptive information placed on the auction site.
2. Do you think the website can benefit by narrowing down the monetization methods? For example, if the website makes money by directly selling products, can you also include Adsense links on the main page? Or could the site benefit by getting rid of these links because they draw visitors away from the site and instead solely focus on increasing the conversion rate of the landing page itself?
3. At first glance, when you looked at the website, did it look aesthetically pleasing? For example, did it hurt your eyes, make you cringe when you saw the layout, or did you think to yourself what a nice design?
4. Is the content badly written? If this is the case, you have no issue here in doubling or even tripling the revenue of the site by easily hiring an experienced copywriter (with proof of a good conversion rate) to do the job for you whether it’s for the sales page or even the website content. You can find them on sites such as GetaFreelancer, Elance, DigitalPoint Forums, Wickedfire Forum, RentaCoder, or my favorite: Odesk.com.
5. Does the site have a squeeze page? If not, would it benefit better from one? This is important to consider as squeeze pages lead to creating a list of targeted potential customers through the collection of their names and email addresses. As a result, you hold the chance of pitching multiple products to them over the long term rather than just performing a one-off sale.
6. Will the site benefit better from Adsense or other advertisement links? This can be true for websites that focus on product reviewing or provide a more blog-like approach. This could also be applicable if the website has a low conversion rate when selling products, even though the website’s unique visitor count is high (traffic is high).
Once you have asked yourself these 6 questions and if any of the sites you are looking to buy fulfill the criteria, the next thing you should look at is:
1. The permanence of the traffic source
You have to know where the source of traffic comes from. Often when sellers try to sell a site, they show the statistics of website traffic without saying much about the sources of traffic.
This is crucial as traffic can be bought from Pay Per Click campaigns or even temporary links from high PR websites. If this were the case, once the deal has been closed and you’ve bought the site, the traffic will stop.
It is the safest bet to focus your attention on sites that have a strong and permanent source of traffic (mostly organic traffic derived from search engines and back linking).
You can find your information using Google’s search command: “link:http://thesiteURLyouwanttobuy.com” which will show a list of sites linking directly to the URL in question.
Another way to find out this information is by using Alexa which gives detailed records about a website’s traffic history.
2. Product Quality
Assessing the product quality of a site (if it sells products whether through affiliate marketing or direct marketing) may prove difficult if you do not know the product niche well. Nonetheless, you will have to do your research to determine the quality and whether it has potential as a website altogether.
If the website sells a book or software, compare the quality or website to its competitors. Consider the quality of the information as well as the features offered. Do you think the product would be helpful if you found interest in the niche?
Perform a SWOT analysis that evaluates the Strengths, Weaknesses/Limitations, Opportunities, and Threats. This will help you get an idea of how good the monetization potential of the site is.
Here are 3 useful places to look around for potential websites to buy: WebsiteBroker, BuySellWebsite, and Flippa.com
Remember: Always be inquisitive, if you intend to buy the website. If something looks fishy, ask for an explanation, and last but not least; bid safe!
Adding Value To Your Site
The main challenge of website flipping lies in the ability to add value to the site; to help monetize it. Here is where all the tricks take place.
The first thing to decipher is what “value” actually is. The ability to earn revenue from a website means that the website holds value; however, it does not determine why the site is full of value.
You have to look at the core reason why the website can generate revenue.
To add value to a website you will have to consider Search Engine Optimizing your website. This is what Search Engines such as Google are looking for to rank your page on the search engine.
According to Google’s SEO guide, you have to create “unique and accurate” pages. This includes using identifiers in your HTML code to identify to Google, the structure of your content. This includes using title tags and header tags.
When writing your page title, you have to consider the main keywords you want your site to attract search engines. Page title contents are displayed in the search engine results! Make it brief, descriptive, and contain the main keyword you are looking to promote.
Each page of yours should have a unique title tag that not only makes life easier for your read (being user-friendly) but also adds to the SEO of your website! Also, make sure your content carries the main keyword at approximately a 3% keyword density, for help in monitoring this, check out: LiveKeywordAnalysis
Structure your URL
Short, concise URLs will convey the message easily and immediately. The ideal length of a URL is three words maximum. The more concise it is the better it will be for the users in terms of understanding the purpose of the website as well as remembering it! Think about facebook.com, it comprises of 2 words: “Face” and “Book”.
Your URL will be displayed in the search engine results so the shorter it conveys your content, the better. Think about using a directory structure to help organize your content making your management life easier as well as making your website user-friendly!
Navigation is Crucial!
You want to ensure that your site is extremely user-friendly. You do not want a high bounce rate so navigation is important. The easier, the better as it not only improves the aesthetics of your website layout, it also improves your SEO.
Always plan your navigation based around your homepage (a.k.a. the “root” page). This is the start and end to your entire website. Plan every other additional page around it!
A great way to increase convenience for users both visually and interactivity is to use the concept of a “breadcrumb list”. This will allow users to quickly navigate back to a previous page or even the home page.
Here is a further list of things to consider on how to add value to a website:
1. Adding an opt-in list. As mentioned before, this will help form an email marketing list which will give you the names and email addresses of individuals who are interested in the product or service your website has to offer. Having an opt-in list will allow you to sell a variety of products or services to your email list on a long-term basis thus generating more than just one sale.
2. User Activity. If your website involves user interaction such as chat rooms or forums, ensure that users are active in participation. The more active your forum is, the more popular it would become thus attracting more potential customers to sign up.
3. Reliable Outsourcers. Always ensure that you have reliable outsourcers working on your website if you do not do so yourself. The best way to do so is by working through an ESCROW system where payment is not made until verification of completion at your discretion. If the work is not as expected, make the outsourcer change it to your liking. If they fail to do so, don’t pay them. Nonetheless, it is in the best interest that you show some consideration with a percentage of upfront payment, however, be sure to make a background check on the potential contractor before plunging into a percentile upfront payment scheme.
4. Site Management. This is extremely important, especially when offering a service to your customers. Think about using tools to help you manage your websites such as an auto responder (a good one is Aweber) or a specialized management platform such as RavenTools which holds SEO Tools, Social Media Tools, Advertising Tools, and Management Tools.
5. Live Chat. Consider having a live chat feature that will initiate inquisitive customers to ask questions rather than having to fill up a contact form which many are not as keen on doing rather than staying anonymous in a live chat.
6. Active Affiliates. If your website offers the potential for affiliates to gain commission through referring, ensure that the affiliates are active. Offer great incentives to encourage affiliates to help promote your product through exclusive deals or other benefits in affiliate networks.
Driving Traffic To Your Site
If you are looking to succeed in website flipping, the key is to drive traffic to the website. The more traffic you get, the higher the potential for conversions to sales. Although this may not necessarily be the case as some websites do face a high traffic flow, but are unable to convert that high traffic into a profitable income. So long as you followed the steps above in adding value to your website through enhancing the overall page content, layout, and SEO, you should have no issue with conversion rates.
1. Search Engines
This method is one of the best ways to help drive consistent traffic to your website is search engine results. This can be done in two manners: you can pay to place an advertisement on these search engines using the main keyword or you can enhance the SEO on your website to aim for a high page rank.
2. Article Directories
By submitting articles that are relevant to your website, you can use them to link back to your website hence generating higher amounts of traffic. One good article directory to get your content out there is Ezine. Not to mention, if your content is good, people may refer the article to others.
3. Be the News Breaker
If something new in your niche market hits the public, try to be the news breaker! Although this is probably one of the most difficult methods to achieve, the results can prove to be phenomenal. Yes, you will be fighting against other major websites that have been in the business for years but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it!
4. Forum and Comment Posting
Looking at forums and blogs discussing your niche topic and contributing to them with helpful and intriguing comments will increase your popularity. A simple signature link to your website will often lead to a huge traffic response the more popular you are in the blog or forum. This is a form of link building for which the more you post your link on higher PR sites, the better your networking becomes.
5. Podcasting and Video
Think about viral marketing to help promote your website using sites such as Youtube, Metacafe, VideoJug, and Dailymotion. Podcasting can also help boost traffic to your website.
Do people love getting things for free who doesn’t? One way to tremendously boost your traffic is by having giveaways, for example, Australian Pepsi management gave free t-shirts away. The first quota was 50,000 t-shirts which were claimed within a month. Their second quota was 50,000 extra t-shirts which were taken within 2 weeks. Notably, your budget would not be as high as Pepsi for these giveaways however this can be a great way to boost your traffic fast. Just get the news out there through forum and blog commenting and you have yourself a good flow of traffic.
Most importantly, the news gets around the internet faster than any other method known to man. So if you’re saying you are going to give away something, you better do it or your business will see an absolute fall within no time.
These are very similar to giveaways however with contests; users have to participate by doing a certain something to win the final prize. These are a bit more challenging to get a huge bump in traffic since these contests normally require effort hence will eliminate all the lazy people, unlike free giveaway goodies. The only bonus would be those contest goodies will most probably be better than free giveaways so that could be a perk for people to participate.
With contests, you may have to abide by certain state legislation so be sure to check with your local authorities before holding a contest to abide by the law.
Here are some faster methods that have proven to be successful in generating organic and targeted traffic (the best of their kind). If you don’t believe me, well, Google the reviews for yourself!
Traffic Travis is an amazing piece of software that will help rank your website. It gives you an overview of your SEO performance in the dashboard by showing you your Alexa traffic rank, and the number of pages indexed from your site in Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. On top of that, it will assess your on-page SEO, perform competition research, create keyword lists for your campaign, discover links from your competitors, track your search rankings, and spy on PPC competitors. It saves you both time and money and does a flawless job of eliminating human error.
Niche Profit Classroom (NPC) has been one of the most discussed niche marketing classrooms available on the internet for good reason. Adam Short has offered any potential internet marketer everything you need to know about building a website and profiting from it through niche targeting. You can either buy another website and work the niche from there or even build your website. Not only are members given one on one coaching by niche marketing experts, a 7 step by step method for creating profit-producing websites through video lessons, and a platform to communicate and discuss with other NPC members, but members are also given extremely lucrative software tools that will help create a business within a matter of minutes.
These software tools include a “Niche Profit Press Website Builder” which helps create a website within seconds, a “Market Profiler” which helps analyze the market trend by finding the hot niches available online, a “Money Word Matrix Keyword Tool” which helps analyze 100s of keywords and finds which one is most suitable and effective, a “15 Minute Sales Letter Wizard” which will develop full quality sales letters in minutes, and a “15 Minute Newsletter Creator”, all of which can be customized for any niche market.
If you’re reluctant to spend too much on something you are unfamiliar with, needless to say, there is a money-back guarantee as well as the privilege for you to try out NPC at $1 for a 14-day trial.
This website shows you how the power of Facebook Social Marketing and will help you boost your visitors by the thousands. According to Simon Adams, Facebook will be hitting the 1 Billion mark in no time so imagine tapping into just 0.001% of the users on Facebook, the traffic flow would be enormous.
To save 10%, click the “Close” button and a page will prompt you saying that you will save an extra 10% if you buy it immediately.
Monetizing the Website
Monetizing your website is the next most important step from driving organic targeted traffic to your site. If you don’t know how to monetize your site correctly, it doesn’t matter if you are driving 5,000 unique visitors per day if you can’t convert that statistic into cold hard cash.
If you bought a website to flip, your methods of monetization will be based on what methods already exist on the website as discussed in Chapter 2; what to think about when buying a website. If the website is selling a product via affiliate marketing or direct sales, other forms of monetization may not be wise as this will draw away attention from the main purpose of the website – the sale of the product or service. For example, if the website is selling a piece of software to help Search Engine Optimization, but the website also contains advertisement links from Google Adsense; that might direct some of your visitors away from the website and into other related competitor websites, thus hurting the sales of the website.
If you are new to the idea of monetizing a website, one of the safest ways to monetize a website would be through selling advertising space on the site. This can be done in 3 ways:
- At a fixed rate over a fixed period. An example of this would be $20 for a head banner placed on your site for 1 week
- A Cost per View basis. For example, you will charge $5 for every 1,000 non-unique visitors to their website
- A Cost per Click basis. This usually involves third-party advertisers such as Google Adsense, MSN AdCenter, Bidvertiser, Infolinks, Adbrite, Clicksor, Adclickmedia, and many more.
The success of monetizing your website through advertising space lies in the quality of the content on your website, so you have to ensure that it’s worthwhile.
Either that or think about something innovative such as “The Million Dollar Homepage”:
This form of monetization has increased over the past decade. Internet marketers who are not as innovative in creating their very own product to sell or aren’t as business savvy as others will find that retail marketing might do the trick for them on the internet. This boils down to affiliate marketing.
You can be an affiliate of several different websites at the same time with no ties to any single network. One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that you do not even need a website of your own; however, it has been proven that having a website to boost affiliate marketing does open up your opportunities further. All you need is an “affiliate link” for example on Clickbank it’s something like “cb?hop=01394” where the numbers (or sometimes letters) hold your affiliate ID to identify you as the salesperson thus giving you commission in return for your efforts.
One of the ways you can monetize your website to suit the purpose of affiliate marketing is by carefully choosing which product or service you wish to promote. This is crucial as you need to know the quality of the product or service you are trying to sell. The better the product, the easier it will be to sell.
A good way to tell the quality of a product is by judging how good the sales page is for the actual product itself. How convincing is the landing page? Does it make readers want to buy it now? Does it have a “call to action?” How about the reviews? Are there many reliable internet marketers out there willing to vouch for this product? Better yet, shoot an email to the owner of the product or service. Ask them if they are willing to give you any perks for being an affiliate with them or if they could give you some bonuses to giveaway to your customers that will benefit the owner in return.
In all honesty, you don’t have to know the niche you’re getting into to make money. All you have to know is whether the product or service sells! Besides, your intention to monetize the website is to flip it and get a bigger return on investment (ROI). Never forget that!
Also, when looking at combining monetization methods with affiliate marketing, be sure to choose wisely as affiliate marketing often tends to be one of the types of monetization methods that will not fit well with others. If you constantly stray your visitors away from the main purpose of selling a product or service, they will not be as persuaded to buy it as they would be if there were no distractions.
Affiliate marketing not only restricts itself to typical products from Clickbank or CommissionJunction, there are alternative affiliate programs that sell more consumer goods such as Amazon.com, Buy.com, and TigerDirect.
This form of website monetization often requires more innovation if you decide to come up with a product on your own. You will have to come up with a product yourself, either that or find a wholesale or drop-shipper (Merchants who send items directly to the buyer without invoices between you and the seller, in a way you act as the middle man) to work with.
There are many trend-spotting websites such as Trendsspotting.com and even Google has its very own Google Trends.
However, if you wish to start with a product from scratch, it can be quite easy if you can find cheap and good outsourcers. As mentioned previously, many websites connect employers and contractors such as GetaFreelancer where many high-quality contractors can be found. Be sure to set out a well-detailed list of the things you want in the product. Be sure to request updates of the work to review it as it is being done to assure that the result is exactly what you’re looking for. If you want a piece of software to be created, you’ll have to learn some basic knowledge of software to help you get the best out of the end product. If it’s an eBook, be sure to ensure that the quality is never compromised.
Monetizing your site is crucial to set up the stages of the selling phase. This can be done through a mailing list generation, a pre-launch phase, the launch phase, and the post-launch phase. The pre-launch phase will add the hype to the product or service but not give away too much detail! The launch phase will often add in bonuses and giveaways for the early birds and the post-launch phase often offers follow-up sales potential for similar products your targeted mailing list is already interested in (according to your niche).
Selling the Website
As a website flipper, you have to know the basics of selling your websites. You want the most you can make out of a website you’re selling so you’d have to know the tricks on how to sell.
Reputation is Everything
When selling websites, you will likely start in a forum or website that requires interaction using a communication-based platform. If you’re a first-time seller, you need to start your reputation from scratch. If it’s a forum, contribute with some helpful posts and comments to build your reputation. It has to be useful to the readers and members of the forum to boost your reputation. The higher your reputation becomes, the easier people will find in trusting you during sales dealings. If you’re an already established seller in a forum or a website, you will have to do everything possible to maintain a good reputation. Never cheat, lie, or deceive anyone even if they are not customers. Professionalism is everything.
Why is reputation important?
If your potential buyers of the website you intend to sell are smart, they will probably do a small background check on you via the website or forum. They will look at your posts, your sales, your feedback, and blogs, and from there they will determine if you are someone they can trust or should be skeptical about. This is especially true if they are considering buying a site from you worth hundreds of dollars. Do your due diligence!
Summary: Before you start selling any websites at all, start by creating an account on the website or forum you plan to engage in and build a reputation there. Here are some good selling sites to start with: WebsitesForSales, BuySellWebsite, DigitalPoint, and WebsiteBroker. They’re fast and easy to manage.
If you add a poorly written sales paragraph in hopes to sell information about your site, you could result in selling at a price worth 20% to 60% lower than the actual value of your site.
Here is a list of ways to divide your sales listing:
1. Vital Information
This should be placed right at the top of your listing to get straight to the point. This section will tell potential buyers everything they need to know about your website. This includes the URL of the website, the business name, the monthly revenue, what they get during the sale (e.g. domain, hosting, contacts, etc), monthly expenses, etc.
2. Top Selling Points
This section should focus on the best aspects of your website, the design, the earning potential, how much revenue has increased over the past couple of weeks or months, or talk about the design or product. These are things to consider when trying to sell your website.
Show evidence of your sales and traffic gained from the website. The more proof you have the more your potential buyers will trust you. Include screenshots of your sales, refunds, traffic, and any possible information collected from the site that would be of interest to the buyers. Always remember to black out any vital information about your accounts or the private information of your clients during these screenshots.
4. A Guarantee
Although a guarantee is not necessary, it offers confidence in your sale. This could be a 30-day guarantee if the website did not meet the buyers’ standards as described in your auction or sales listing then the buyer can get a refund and your website returned to you. Never give an unconditional return policy as people may purchase a site, steal the information, and then return it to duplicate it elsewhere. So make sure that you have them sign a non-compete contract before you refund your buyers’ money.
Online Auction Sites
When looking at online auction sites, you need to be smart about your auction listing.
One of the most challenging parts about flipping websites is placing a price on them. There are two relevant pricing arrangements:
- The Minimum Selling Price (which is the lowest price you are willing to sell the website for) is also called the “reserve.”
- The Asking Price (the highest price you would expect a person to pay for your website) is also called a “buy it now” or “BIN” price.
The asking price is posted on your auction “Buy It Now”. Avoid picking a low asking price as this will be the price your buyers will assume you would automatically accept. The minimum price often is set using a total of 4 to 6 months of profit from the website. This is normally the lowest price for a website that contains good documentation of its sources of revenue and traffic. Although you may want to sell your site by playing it safe, it is suggested that you hold out for a higher bid if possible.
Negotiating with Buyers
Try not to set a time limit for your website sales listing as holding out for a good deal will be the best option. If you want to get rid of your website fast and get money as soon as possible then it may be an option you would consider. However, by setting an indefinite time length and waiting for a good offer to come your way, you may gain a higher return on investment than if you jump on the first offer you receive.
The initial bid a buyer submits is often not the final price they are willing to pay. They often will submit an approximate 15-30% less than what they are willing to pay for the website. This is where the negotiation part comes into play. The first thing you would have to do is to try and push the buyer up to their maximum bid. To do so you could tell the buyer that you already have an offer at $X and will not accept anything lower. If the buyer is unhappy to budge with a higher bid, pull out more additional information to enhance your website overall. Point out the site revenue increase as well as the potential of the website, the amount of inbound and outbound links it holds, the projected success of the website as well as traffic figures whether they are targeted or organic sources. Stand strong on your offer and try not to cave in.
Once you have worked out the offer of the potential buyer’s maximum bid, attempt to close the deal. If the highest bid is an individual who walked away from the negotiation process, contact him and tell him that you thought about it and are happy to make a deal with him at the price he offered.
When dealing with buyers, always protect yourself. Ensure that the money will come in by using Escrow payment services which will hold the money in place for you until the transfer of the website is made. You can use sites such as Escrow.com to help you settle payments. Another way to do so is if you already have a high reputation on the website or forum you wish to sell your site, ask for a 50% upfront payment to ensure that your buyer will at least pay a certain amount before the deal has been made. Before doing such dealings, ensure that the buyer is reliable by looking at the amount of feedback and dealings they have engaged in the past. If they are new to the website or forum or have no feedback and information, the best way to deal with them is through the Escrow service. Never transfer the ownership of your website until you receive a good portion of the money to trust a buyer!
Good Luck with your sales!
Here Are Some Freebies For You!
Here are some good freebies for your website enhancement, mostly based on WordPress. You do so by uploading them into www.domainname.com/wp-content/plugins then activating them into the blog’s admin area and clicking on ‘Plugins’.
Auto Blogging Plug-ins that you can use:
- Multipress Content Lite
Free WordPress themes:
- Free WordPress Themes
A Contact Form for your website:
- Contact Form 7
Easy Social Media Site Submission:
- ShareThis (This plug-in will help you to create a button under every post to enable your readers to submit to major social media sites easily)
Here are 3 places you can get some good free images you can use:
Add a Forum:
SEO and LSI Keyword Tools to Use:
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Create membership sites:
Paypal Payment Option:
Good HTML editor: