How to Sell Your Website Successfully in 2024

How to Sell Your Website for Maximum Profit

No doubt selling your website can be similar to playing a slot machine where you know you will win the jackpot. A sudden infusion of cash can be a winning proposition; however, before you list your site online, there are a few things you want to examine to ensure a maximum payout.



Pre-Sale Preparation

Once you’ve decided to place your website up for sale, you want to prepare your website, so you’re able to get top dollar. After all, you’ve probably put plenty of energy into building your website, and it makes sense that you want to be able to get the possible amount for it. Below are a few suggestions before announcing to the public that your established website is for sale.


- Internal Evaluation. The first step is to conduct an internal evaluation of your website. Although it can be challenging, you want to view the site from a buyer’s perspective. Reviewing the previous chapter provides plenty of valuable tips you may want to consider before placing your website on the marketplace.


- Get your website evaluated by others. One of the most significant benefits of being a part of a forum community is the ability to ask fellow members to assess your website. Just don’t expect to drop into a forum and ask. Rightfully so, most forums require you to evaluate other websites for their strengths and weaknesses before asking for an evaluation of your website. It works both ways; if you want someone to give you a severe assessment, expect to do the same for others.


- Inventory what you expect to sell. Okay, most may think a domain and the site’s content are apparent, but what about other elements which may help increase your asking price? Some of these elements may include an opt-in email list, an affiliate list, a license to a classified ad database, a membership list, and possibly much more. To get the maximum, you want to inventory all the assets you will include in the sale of your website.


- Website metrics. Anytime you place your site up for sale, there will be two obvious questions that a severe bidder or prospect is going to request: (1) your traffic metrics and (2) proof of income. It’s best to prepare this data if not already included in your marketplace ad or post.


- WHOIS database. If you use a proxy service to mask your identity, be sure to remove that service, so your contact information is displayed in the public database. This also may be an excellent time to ensure that all your contact data is current and up-to-date.


- Anticipate 3rd-party resource scrutiny. If you read the last chapter showing sellers how to use third-party resources to verify a seller’s claims, you may want to do your investigations to ensure no “surprises” are brought up about you or your website.


- Quick improvements. No doubt every seller wants to get top dollar for their website. In my special report Flipping Established Websites, I discuss ten ways to improve the value quickly. Some suggested improvements include search engine optimization, upsell opportunities and AdSense click-through rates. After this eBook portion, I explain these and other ideas in the special report.


- Timing of your sale. They say that in some businesses, timing is essential. It’s no different when selling your website. If you live in the northern hemisphere, summer tends to be slower because families are taking vacations or enjoying other leisure activities. December is also considered a challenging month due to the holiday shopping season. The ideal time is to sell your website at the beginning of the year, early spring and in September when kids return to school.


- Using a broker. Unless your site is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions, there is no reason to hire a broker to do what you can for yourself. There is much more involved when discussing those types of figures. In that situation, a broker is (hopefully) far more skilled at developing six figures plus transactions and the negotiating process. Ensure you get references for other past transactions before signing up with a website broker.


- Post-sale financial plan. It may seem premature, but I always recommend you have a “plan” to use the money you make from the sale constructively. I cannot tell you how many webmasters I know to go “hog wild” and spend their money foolishly; that is why having a plan and sticking to it will help you avoid any potential problems. You’ll also need to discuss your sudden income with your tax consultant.


How Much Is Your Site Worth

I’ve been asked this question more than any other, but the answer is simple: it’s only worth what another person is willing to pay. I’m sure that response does not specifically answer your question, but it’s an accurate statement.


The most popular method to value an established website is the 12x revenue model. To use this valuation method, you calculate the average monthly revenue using the average of the past three to four months of income and multiply it by 12 months. Using the past few months is more balanced for you because if a website grows, the revenue generated in the past few months will be more significant than the previous 12 months.


Of course, the 12x model is not set in stone. Your website could have no income but plenty of traffic, or you could have a website with a killer domain but little content. Regardless, this is at least a model you can start with. Below are two interesting articles published by Sitepoint.com regarding website valuation:

The Ultimate Website Valuation Guide


Regardless of your valuation model, it’s important not to focus on future improvements. As a seller, it’s only natural that you want to point out areas where a website can increase traffic/income, but including this aspect in your appraisal will only hurt you. Savvy buyers will quickly respond that if you’re too sophisticated to recognize how to improve revenue, why are you selling the site under your current business model?


Determining your website's asking price can be challenging because it depends on your needs and wants and what you feel comfortable listing on the site. Naturally, you want to get the most for your efforts, but you also don’t want to over or under-sell something that has been part of you.


If you didn’t read the last chapter, I would repeat it: Automated website appraisals are a joke. Don’t be fooled into thinking that placing a few numbers into a website form will be capable of giving you an accurate appraisal of a website. Not only are these types of sites unreliable but quoting them to help justify your asking price could hurt your credibility.


Auction or Classified

Billed as the world’s largest marketplace, eBay has turned online auctions into a multi-billion dollar business. Auctions tend to be more exciting because prospects can actively participate by bidding. There is also a sense of urgency since auctions have a defined time limit.


On the other hand, classified ads or posting in a forum could be another method of announcing that you wish to sell your website. Classifieds are more passive than the interactivity of auctions. I suggest visiting some top marketplaces to determine which format you’re most comfortable with.


This is one area I wish sellers would read and re-read because this is where most of them screw up big time. It makes no sense to prepare a website for sale only to write a crappy marketplace ad or post an ad that devalues your website—but I see it happen all the time. To avoid making mistakes with a poorly written announcement/post or advertisement, here are a few points I want to stress when you decide to sell.


- ALWAYS list a selling price if you’re using a marketplace. Any legitimate prospect will always be interested in the traffic, and income is solid, but it's an instant turn-off if you don’t have an asking price. I am aware that in the world of negotiations, there’s a saying: “the person who mentions a number always loses,” but when you place an ad in a marketplace, it’s expected that you list an asking price. A potential buyer will consider this before bidding or contacting you about buying your website.


- The title of your ad or post must capture attention. Your marketplace ad/ post title is one of the most critical aspects of your ad, yet very few sellers give it little if any, thought. If a prospective buyer is scanning a list of titles, your ad is competing with other ads/posts, so you want it to stick out.


Here are a few good examples...

- Proxy site, 5K daily unique visitors, $48K profit last year, PR6, three years old - Adsense content site, baseball-related, $40 per day, PR 3


- iPod site, DMOZ listing, six years old, PR5, low BIN


- Never tell a prospect in an ad or forum post that you’re only trying to see if there is any interest and that you may not sell. Don’t waste your time or prospects. If you’re not serious, no one will take you seriously either.


- Anticipate what prospective buyers want to know. It doesn’t matter in which marketplace you sell your website, the best way to demonstrate your seriousness is to disclose specific and logical data that any buyer would be interested in. This would include website traffic statistics, income screenshots, website age, source of income, why you’re selling, PageRank, expenses, and any supporting documentation to support your claims.


- Maximize your opportunities with HTML. On some marketplaces, you can use HTML, including stylized text such as bold and italics, to get your communication across with a bit of pizzazz. You could also use HTML to alter the reader's color to make the heading and some aspects of your post/ad stick out from the others.


- Do NOT list your website on two marketplaces at the same time. I cannot tell you how often I’ve seen this scenario occur. A seller thinks they can place their website in various auctions or marketplaces, but this is typically a violation of a website’s terms of service. I know that most recognize the word but how many of you have read what those terms state? In one example, I witnessed a seller try to auction their website concurrently on both Sitepoint and eBay. The seller tried to get the highest bid from either auction, but it violated both sites’ terms of service. Not only does this display the seller as a rank amateur, but the seller loses credibility with prospects.


- Be transparent as possible. As you already know, there are certain elements or questions that any savvy prospect is going to ask. Anticipating what they ask could help you save time and show that you’re serious about selling your website and that you are a prepared seller.


What happens if I get no bids?

As I’ve stated, a prospect is only willing to buy a website for what they think it’s worth. If you discover little activity on your auction, the fastest way to stimulate bids is to either lower or remove your minimum bid altogether. Remember, as a seller; you get to call the shots. If you’re unhappy with an offer or it comes with conditions, you reserve the right not to sell.


Before considering placing your website for sale, you need to ask: Are you prepared to part with a website that has generated income or considerable traffic? Sometimes this answer is easy because you’re ready to “move on” due to being burned out or having another much more exciting project. Nonetheless, it’s a question you need to answer honestly. Rest assured, if you place your website up for sale, it will be a question that any severe bidder/prospect will ask.


How to Investigate a Buyer

In the world of buying and selling, it’s a two-way street, so make sure you know where you are going. A buyer may want to check you out to ensure you’re credible, but it’s the same for sellers. Believe me, when I say there is nothing more disheartening than when you think you have a deal to buy, only to discover that the buyer was not as “open and honest” about the deal as the information you’ve disclosed. This may suck, but it’s part of the reality of buying and selling websites.


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