Buying a website that makes money passively is a dream business scenario. However, finding and purchasing a quality website isn’t easy. In this feature, I will share the full details about buying a website on Flippa for bloggers.
While there are many website marketplaces, Flippa is one of the most common and easiest places to buy a website. Personally, I have purchased 5 websites on Flippa in multiple several thousand-dollar transactions over the years.
In order to help you avoid mistakes when buying a website on Flippa, I will share how to find, vet and buy a website that makes money. Join me in earning a passive income online!
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Table of Contents
- Marketplaces for Buying a Website
- Buying a Website vs Starting Your Own
- Buying a Website that Makes Money – What to Look For?
- How Much Should a Website Cost?
- Using Filters to Search for Websites on Flippa
- Questions to Ask When Buying a Website on Flippa
- How to Purchase a Website on Flippa?
- Completing the Site Transfer
- Monetizing your Blog Purchase
- Summary of Buying a Website on Flippa
Marketplaces for Buying a Website
As you begin your search for buying a website, you may not know where to begin. Fortunately, there are a few digital marketplaces that make buying and selling a website easy. Think of these digital marketplaces as places where you can buy + sell digital real estate similar to how you would do the same for physical real estate property. Below are the most popular marketplaces for buying a website.
Flippa – Buying a website on Flippa is the easiest and most affordable place for a beginner. At Flippa, they offer a wide range of blogs for sale but it’s more important to do your due diligence here. Flippa’s vetting process is not as thorough as the others below.
MotionInvest – MotionInvest lists quality, well vetted sites for sale with a focus on sites generating revenue from affiliates and display advertising. With MotionInvest, they have fewer sites available for sale than Flippa so they tend to sell quickly after being listed.
Empire Flippers – Empire has by far the most thorough vetting process of the three. EF is for the experienced buyer that is looking for a well-established business. Buyers need to be approved and most sites for sale are in the six-figure range.
In summary, those are the three most common places for buying a website. The rest of this feature will focus primarily on buying a website on Flippa.
Buying a Website vs Starting Your Own
Before we dive in on buying a website on Flippa, new bloggers should be aware in the differences of buying a website vs starting your own website from scratch. Personally, I have done both. While one isn’t necessarily better than the other; there are pros and cons of each.
The table below summarizes the main differences between buying a website and starting a new website:
|Money||Requires initial upfront investment to purchase a site already generating traffic ($1,000 +)||Almost zero financial investment other than domain name ($10-$20/yr) and hosting fees|
|Time||Low time investment to maintain an already established site||Will require a heavy time investment to build your site and grow your audience until making money (several hours/wk)|
|Knowledge ||An established site does not need much knowledge to maintain. Anyone can do it.||Will need to learn about creating a site, SEO and growing your audience but you'll be an expert after doing this|
In summary, it’s much easier to buy a website than it is to start a website. However, buying a website that makes money requires you have some money in the bank to invest. The size of site (traffic wise) you will be able to buy depends on how much you are able to spend. Alternatively, starting a website from scratch is a fun project that is cheaper and you will learn a lot.
Ultimately, you need to consider your preferences before making a decision. The rest of this article will cover buying a website that makes money. Check here for more information on starting your own website.
Buying a Website that Makes Money – What to Look For?
Now that we know we are interested in buying a website, the next step is ensuring we are buying a website that makes money. In this section, I am going to share a few common characteristics I look for to help ensure I am buying a website that makes money. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you are buying a website on Flippa or not. Be sure to vet your purchase first.
Types of Websites Available to Buy
Firstly, let’s talk about the different types of websites available for purchase.
E-commerce sites: These sites specialize in selling a product.
Forums: Community based sites where users interact
Affiliate Sites: Review sites which are typically monetized with links to Amazon
Content Sites: Content rich sites which typically include blogs and are monetized with display ads.
In this post, I am focused on Content Sites and Affiliate Sites. These types of sites are normally content rich and I am most familiar with how to monetize them.
Characteristics of a Website that Will Make Money
When you begin your search for buying a website on Flippa, look for the following:
High quality, original content: This should go without saying – it’s important to buy a website that is high quality content. This means not to buy a website that is poorly written, stuffed with keywords, or lacks quality sentence structure. More importantly perhaps, is to ensure the content is original. An easy way to check this is through copying a paragraph of text and pasting into Google search. As long as it comes up as the first ranking result, that means it is original. If you are operating a website with ads that doesn’t have original content, you run the risk of getting a Policy Violation. A violation from Google is a quick way to make buying a website go south quickly.
Evergreen Content: In additional to high quality and original content, I also want to be buying a website with evergreen content. Evergreen content is the type of content that you don’t need to do much to maintain because people will always be searching for that information. Good examples of this include how-to’s, product reviews, or general information about a hobby such as cooking or camping. What you don’t want is a site you have to consistently update all the time like a News site. Personally, that’s what I prefer. I prefer to be buying a site that is as low maintenance and passive as possible. This is preferable rather than a site that requires lots of work to update new content in order to stay relevant.
Site Framework: This category is all about what platform or framework the site is built on. For example, a CMS or Content Management System such as WordPress. Personally, I prefer WordPress because it’s easy and by far the most popular CMS.
Bottomline, you want to be buying a site using technology you are familiar with. As a beginner, don’t buy a site built on PHP if you know nothing about it. Stick with what you are familiar with. If you are new to this, stick with sites built on WordPress.
Under Monetized: The final characteristic I look at before buying a website is how well is it currently monetized? I prefer finding sites running only AdSense for display ads or no ads at all. Sites like these, I know I can more easily get a return for my investment especially when using monetization platforms like Ezoic.
In summary, whether you are buying a website on Flippa or another marketplace – be sure to look at for these things. They include vetting the site for quality, identifying a site using a platform you are familiar with and finding a low maintenance website with potential to grow and return your ROI quickly.
How Much Should a Website Cost?
Okay, you are beginning your search for a perfect blog for generating passive income. Next, you need to figure out how much should the website cost. Of course, the price will be listed on Flippa or you will get into an auction style bidding war – more on that later. However, first you need to figure out how much you are willing to pay. In order to do this, I will share with you my formula to understand how much a website should cost.
Firstly, you need to know how much monthly traffic the site receives. Good news is that this figure should already be listed when buying a website on Flippa. If it’s not, this is a question to ask before buying. Later on, I will also share with you a complete list for all the questions to ask when buying a website on Flippa.
Once you know the monthly sessions to the site, use this formula:
Monthly Traffic x .17 = Annual Estimated Website Revenue
In this example, let’s use a site that gets 100,000 monthly visitors on average.
100,000 x .17 = $17,000
Based on this formula, the site has potential to earn $17,000/year or about $1,416/month. Caveat – This number applies to a site that has high quality, organic traffic mainly from the United States. If the majority of visitors are from India, then you should half this number.
Now that you know annual estimated revenue, how much should the website cost? Personally, I don’t like to buy websites on Flippa that take me more than two years to get an ROI. As such, I wouldn’t pay more than $34,000 for this site. Based on my estimates for yearly and monthly ad revenue potential on this site, I should see an ROI within two years. This is especially true if you are upgrading a site using AdSense only to a monetization partner like Ezoic. For other ad partners, it may take longer to recoup your ROI.
In summary, I’ve used this formula multiple times when buying a website on Flippa. It hasn’t failed me yet and should serve as a good barometer as you look into buying a website on Flippa.
Using Filters to Search for Websites on Flippa
Okay, let’s get to it and help you find that website to buy on Flippa!
From here, you’ll have access to a bunch of filters to help you narrow down your search to find and buy a website that makes money. The filters will be running down the side of the page in a left- hand column. To simplify things, I am going to share the basic filters that I use when starting my search.
Asset Type: Since we are focusing on content websites, select Websites & Online Businesses. For this search, we don’t care about apps or Amazon stores.
Website Types: Remember, we are looking for a content site; not an e-commerce store or marketplace. As such, all of the subcategories found under Content will do just fine. Personally, I’m not looking for Forums so I normally leave that excluded as well. Forum communities require more time to oversee community discussions which is why I zero on Blogs or Review sites.
Price Range: The next filter is self-explanatory and depends on your budget. Use the slider to zero in on the price range you are willing to pay. If you are starting small, you should still set a minimum price range above $0. This will help you filter out the starter sites or sites with very little content. In my opinion, $250 is a good minimum price range to set in order to keep your costs low and filter out unestablished websites.
Time Left: Finally, the last filter I like to use is Time Left. This filter is often overlooked but if you don’t use it, you will end up with sites that are either already sold or the auction isn’t set to end for weeks. As such, I set a minimum of 1 hour left and typically a maximum of 17 days.
In summary, there a quite a few filters to choose from. However, focusing on these four will help you zero in on your search to find and buy a website on Flippa that has a good chance of making you money.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Website on Flippa
Before buying a website on Flippa, it’s important to do your due diligence. Most information about the site is in the actual listing. However, there are a series of questions to ask when buying a website to learn more. The following questions are common questions that I ask before buying a website on Flippa – in order of importance.
Can you grant read only access to Google Analytics?
This is an absolute must. Before buying any site on Flippa, I always ask for GA access in order to cross reference the information in the listing. This will help you identify the quality of the traffic (eg. Traffic source, geo location, device) and also any trends. For example, has the traffic been trending down over the last year? If so, that’s a follow up question to ask the owner. This will help you identify if the site was hit by an algorithm update, the owner stopped updating content, or something else.
Most sites have Google Analytics running. If they don’t, ask them for access or screenshots from whatever 3rd party reporting they are using.
How is the site being monetized?
Next, I want to fully understand how the site is monetized. Sometimes, the seller only lists one source of revenue in the listing so being clear on this is a must. This will help you when monetizing your blog after you are the owner.
By asking this question before buying a website on Flippa, you will gain a better understanding of the time you need to invest. Ideally, the seller is spending minimal time on the site outside of managing updates and the occasional new blog post.
What platform is the site built on?
This is usually in the listing but if not, ask. Be aware of what kind of site you are getting into and if you have the skillset to grow it.
In summary, the questions to ask when buying a website on Flippa will reveal any potential issues. If there are no major flags, you are on your way to buying a website that makes money.
How to Purchase a Website on Flippa?
In this section, I will cover the basics on how to purchase a website on Flippa. When ready to buy a website, there are two main ways to purchase a website on Flippa.
Buy it Now (BIN) – The first option and preferred in my opinion is the Buy it Now option. Not all listings have a BIN. However, if they do no not – you should ask the seller what their BIN is during negotiations. If they agree to one, you will be able to simply click the BIN button to submit your offer. In my opinion, this is best way to buy a website on Flippa because it avoids the sale price being driven up through an auction.
Auction – The second option to purchase a website on Flippa is through the general auction. All listings will also have a ‘Place Bid’ button. This allows you to enter a maximum price you are willing to pay to purchase the website. Since it’s an open auction, anyone can place bids until the bidding period ends. The bidding period is usually set to about two weeks. As a result, other bidders will likely outbid you driving up the price you are willing to pay.
In conclusion, the BIN option is best for a clean sale and allows you to purchase a website on Flippa at a price closer to your expectations.
Completing the Site Transfer
Now that you have submitted your offer, it is time to complete the sale and transfer. Firstly, there are generally two payment options when buying a website on Flippa.
- Paypal – I prefer PayPal. It’s easy and quick to send/receive money. However, it does involve more risk unless you sign a Sales Agreement. Risk equals you sending the money and the seller not upholding their end of the deal eg. Transferring the site to you.
- Escrow – This option is slower than PayPal. It takes up to a week for the transaction to go through and be approved by both parties. However, I recommend it for high value transactions as it greatly reduces your risk of coming up empty handed.
Once you have successfully purchased the website on Flippa, you need to get the control and ownership transferred to you. The items I like to check off my list when I complete buying a website on Flippa include the following:
Domain Transfer: Firstly, you’ll need ownership of the domain transferred to your site registrar. If you don’t have one, I recommend GoDaddy.
Site Files/Database: Be sure to get the site files and database. Normally, the seller can send it to you in file or share a Google drive. This is necessary when you move the site to your own website hosting.
Hosting: To keep things neat, I try to use the same hosting as my registrar. In this case, I use GoDaddy.
Site Login Credentials: This includes the credentials needed to log into any admin areas to the site where content is updated/added. For sites built on WordPress, simply ask for the WP login credentials.
In summary, transferring a new Flippa website purchase to your name should be able to be completed within 48 hours after the point of sale. If you go into Escrow, it may be longer.
Fortunately, once the site is in your control, you can begin your plans for monetizing your blog purchase!
Monetizing your Blog Purchase
Now that you successfully own a new website, it’s time to ensure you maximize your ROI. Buying a website on Flippa is half the battle. Now, you have to be an expert at monetizing your blog. An in-depth post on monetizing your blog to its fullest potential is this post. For now, enjoy this short summary of easy wins to increase your site’s monthly earnings.
Display Ads: Programmatic ads are my favorite form of passive income and I think it’s the easiest option for monetizing your blog. AdSense is a great starting point. However, if you are looking for the most bang for your buck – consider Ezoic. Ezoic Is easily the best option for ad monetization and overall website improvement.
Affiliate Links: There are numerous affiliate programs out there where you are able to earn a commission when someone clicks on your link and buys a product. Amazon Affiliates is another easy option to begin monetizing your blog. If you have purchased a site already using Amazon links, simply sign up for SiteBuddy. This tool will allow you to easily swap out Amazon affiliate links with your tracking tag.
Sell a Product: Create a product or service that your audience can purchase even if it’s as simple as a T-shirt! The margins for anything you sell directly are way higher than any affiliate program.
In conclusion, there are several ways to begin monetizing your blog. The ones listed above are the easiest options to begin.
Summary of Buying a Website on Flippa
In summary, getting started in the digital space of real estate is really not that hard with a little direction. Now that you have been informed on buying a website on Flippa and buying a website that makes money, you’ll be on your way to monetizing your blog. Whether your blog is a side hustle or a full-time job, welcome to the world of blogging and earning a passive income online!
If you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also start getting ideas by viewing the websites I have purchased on Flippa. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe below for more expert blogging tips like these.