This is my first post on the forum, but I am an active member on a number of IM forums and was referred here by one of the moderators.
Here's one of my Site Flipping 101 posts from another forum. I thought it would be useful here for a number of you.
Firstly, why I think it is a good way to start out for noobs (please note, you need to be able to afford at least a domain and hosting, approx $20) is because it’s a fantastic way to learn a little bit about every area of IM: web design, programming, servers, content creation, marketing, finding the right products, SEO etc. If you can build and sell a site for profit, chances are you can do most methods on the forum.
Depending on your budget there are a few ways you can start.
- Noob/poor man - $20, buy domain and hosting, use free software to build site, use PLR content
- Mid-level - $150, buy domain with some PR and hosting, outsource everything
- High roller - $any, buy an established site, spruce it up and sell it
For a start, with every site you build and expect to sell, install Google Analytics and make sure you can track your specific income for this site – whether it be channels in adsense or whatever.
Now personally, I like to buy established sites cheap from places like DP (Digital Point), but I’ll start with how to do it from scratch. I’m not going to explain the technicalities of building a site, that’s what Google is for :P
There are loads of different types of sites that sell but here are a few ideas for noob/mid-level:
- Do some keyword research, find a good niche, get a domain, throw up some articles (tons of tutorials in the adsense section)
- Buy a tool, learn to use it, offer as a service on your website. When you get bored of service sell the business
- Write an ebook, write a sales page, buy domain, sell some ebooks, flip the site when sales start to drop
- Buy a domain with page rank, add some content and sell (people love PR)
As a rule of thumb, don’t expect much for a new site – DP you won’t get much more than $50 whereas Flippa you might get $200 but have to pay the fees.
I would recommend starting out on somewhere like DP where there is no listing fee and learn how the business works with a few small transactions etc. If you can use escrow for all transactions, it is a lot safer than Paypal and at some stage you will get stung using Paypal (plenty of threads complaining about them)
Now for most of you that will be nothing new or anything earth-shattering so let’s move on to bigger fish.
For bigger sites (anything over $200) I would always recommend selling on Flippa. It has the most traffic of standalone marketplaces and a large number of qualified buyers with cash on hand. There is still a lot of crap listed on there, but that’s not a problem as you are selling a site not buying one.
What I tend to do, is browse DP for sites selling cheap (look for 2-3 months revenue as price), do all my checks against their stats (chances are if their stats don’t add up, they are lying so move on to something else no matter how good the deal sounds)
Once you’ve chosen your site and paid for it, got the domain etc time to get to work. I tend to buy sites that I feel I can add most value to. So if you’re specialisation is monetisation and you feel you can double the revenue, you’ve got a perfect site. If you can make kick ass designs, pick up an ugly site, spruce it up, happy days. If you’re a good writer, buy a site with no content, add content. You get the drift.
It’s not rocket science but I would recommend starting out small as it does take a while to get used to, and ultimately it comes down to judgement and experience not clever tools or checklists.
I would recommend doing some good SEO on the site once you have it. I tend to have a blast with scrapebox although SEO is by no means my speciality. Sites that sell well on Flippa tend to have organic traffic and earnings through adsense.
This is important: if you have bought your site on DP chances are the site/auction has got indexed for the site name. So if anyone looks up your site they will see the auction, and where you bought it. This isn’t good
Make sure BEFORE you list on Flippa you can’t be found in search engines, or you’ll have problems selling.
Now a few tips for Flippa:
- 100s of sites get listed, so you need to stand out. You have to SELL the site to them, so use catchy titles with good selling points such as “meathead1234’s site, 5 years old – NO RESERVE” – you get the picture.
- Buy auction upgrades. Don’t be tight, get a front page listing! You will get 10x more traffic and 10x more likely to sell. Not to say you can’t sell without it, but if you think about it in monetary terms: with 10x more people viewing your listing, will you get $30 (cost of featuring) extra back? The answer 9/10 is yes
- Write a good description. Put as much [good] detail in your listing as possible. Make sure you are transparent with stats – Google Analytics (or at least awstats) and as much historic revenue as you can.
- If you can, avoid telling people you bought the site 3 days ago! People like to see a consistent history with a site so no need to ruin that for them :P
- If you have a unique traffic/revenue source – DO NOT tell people in the auction/by PM how it works. You lose your unique selling point and premium you can charge.
- Flippa buyers like page rank and alexa rank – don’t ask me why, but they do.
- Unique is good – unique content, unique design etc, adds a lot of value to buyers.
- There is lots of traffic in the “most active” section of Flippa – so if you can get the bidding started (hint: low starting price)
- Offer free hosting/free transfer with the site – either let them take over your hosting account or buy a reseller package with Hostgator and charge them 10 bucks a month to host with you (most won’t bother moving to their own server, especially at lower end).
- Incentivise the BIN price – offer some free articles, SEO services, hosting, support, other crappy domains etc if the BIN price is reached.
- Don’t worry if you’re site doesn’t get bids early – the number of watchers is the important part (over 20 is very good). People like to see the auction run, and don’t like to make the first bid, so get a friend to bid early on to get it moving :P. Most sites on Flippa tend to sell for BIN (in my experience anyway) so be patient. If bidding is made towards the end of the auction, it is extended by 4 hours to prevent “sniping”.
- Don’t auto-accept bids. Especially if it is a BIN. If the buyer doesn’t pay then it takes time and effort to relist. Check the buyer out (join date, feedback etc) and if in doubt PM them to confirm their bid is genuine.
- Selling price: general rule of thumb – sites with search engine traffic, age and adsense earnings will go for anything between 10-24 months revenue. Newer sites: 2-3 months revenue. Brand new sites: depends on design, content etc – aim for around $200 on Flippa or $50 on DP.
- Answer questions honestly and promptly. Whether in the listing or by PM answer them today not in 5 days time, you never know who is serious or not.
Most of my flips are relisted in a couple of days, and will be up on Flippa in no time. Work fast, and you should be able to make a good profit and all you need to do is answer questions and see the money come rolling in.
I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Flipping makes up the majority of my income so I should be able to help