When buying a website, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Instead of boring you with the basics of buying low and selling high, we are going to dive straight into ten tips on how to purchase a website that is actually worth something.
Tip #1 – Ask yourself if you have the technical knowledge to manage the site
Tip #2 – How much traffic does the website get?
You should be skeptical if the owner of the website refuses to install Google Analytics on the website and provide you with a user account. Remember that screenshot can be faked, so you should never rely on just screenshots alone.
Tip #3 – Is this an established, solid website?
Remember that revenue might dry up in a couple of months if the website that you are buying does not have solid roots. Make sure that you check at least six months of data on the following metrics: the traffic and revenue history, the number of backlinks pointing to the website, the number of pages indexed by Google, and the age of the domain name.
Tip #4 – Make sure that you look for downsides
Check to see if there are Panda, Penguin, or bad link concerns in the website. The problem is that these issues are very tough to get out, and the best thing that you can find online is non-specific, generalized advice that tells you what you should be looking for. Having one of these issues could mean that your website is more trouble to fix than it is worth.
Tip #5 – Make sure that you know how much to pay
The primary method of establishing the value of a website is how much it generates in revenue. Sure, you could look at “potential,” but that is just that – there are no real guarantees with potential. Keep in mind that the owner would probably not sell the website if it had limitless potential to grow.
Tip #6 – Pay attention to paid traffic
Many websites get traffic by paying for banners and ads. This is often more predictable than organic traffic, so it should be considered less risky when it comes to fluctuations. Make sure that a potential sale includes the details of the ad campaigns. You want to make sure that you get information on the daily ad budget, cost-per-click, keyword list, creative, and ad copy.
Tip #7 – How often is this website updated?
Say that a website updates a few times every day, is that more work than you are willing to put into it? Is this going to be the sole website that you run or are you also managing many other websites at the same time? This might mean that a website becomes more trouble than it is worth. In that case, you might need to hire someone else to write content for you – which would cut down on the amount of money that you make.
Tip #8 – Pay attention to sharp spikes and drops
If there are sharp spikes and drops in traffic, these are caused by something. Could this be because of Black Hat SEO marketing strategies or did the owner just invest in a great deal of paid advertising? Whatever the reason might be, you should always consider these factors.
Tip #9 – Is the target audience likely to buy
This really depends on your marketing strategy. Do you plan to monetize the website by running ads or do you want to make sure that you are able to sell your product to this specific web audience? If the latter is your primary method of making money off a website, make sure that this audience is actually willing to buy.
Tip #10 – Do not rely solely on organic traffic
Even though organic (unpaid) traffic is great to have, it is also beyond your control. Whereas paid advertising has a number of different benefits with consistency, you are at Google’s whim if they decide to change how they display and prioritize organic search results. This is why organic traffic should never be your sole consideration when buying a website.
Bonus tip #11 – Closing the deal
Do not transfer money and close the deal until you have the passwords to the FTP, control panel, and hosting, your name shows in the whois query and the domain is in your name. This is more about common sense than anything else, but it is important that you make sure everything is in order before you finalize your purchase.