Website Flipping Market Snapshot Week Ending 10/26/2011

This week we added some additional analysis to the weekly snapshot. Enjoy!

Market Overview

This week 664 websites sold for a combined $1,074,606 making this a seven figure week for Flippa. The highest priced website sold for $110,000 with a majority of sites selling in the $150 range. 21 sites sold in excess of $10,000. Several of the sites selling in the $10,000+ range can be considered internet marketing related (SEO, Make Money Online, Web Design, etc.)

FlipWebsites.com Reader’s Sites for Sale

The sites below are sites submitted on our sell your website page that we didn’t buy ourselves.

www.womensdanceshoes.org
What is the average monthly unique visitors?:  200
What is the average monthly profit?:    $20.00
How many months has the site been profitable?: 15
How many hours per week do you spend maintaining the site?: 1
How is the site Monetized?: Advertising (CPM, CPC)
What are the primary sources of traffic?: Organic Search
How Much Would You Like to Sell For?:  $75.00
Additional Comments: (I removed the adsense code for now)  This site is ranked page one #1 on Google for main keyword.

www.collegiateliving.com
What is the average monthly unique visitors?:  3598
What is the average monthly profit?:    $4333
How many months has the site been profitable?: 24
How many hours per week do you spend maintaining the site?: 5
How is the site Monetized?: Selling a Product
What are the primary sources of traffic?: Organic Search, Email Marketing, Referring Sites
How Much Would You Like to Sell For?:  $55,500
Additional Comments: The site is deep rooted in best practice organic Google placement on many keyterms.  Proper SEO practices have been administered from day 1. Site traffic spikes dramatically in Q4 and most of the sales occur in Q4. I also have another domain name for sale that will make a nice package which is www.collegiatebuzz.com, a premium domain name as part of the package.

www.wsoworth.com
What is the average monthly unique visitors?:  238 in 18 days
What is the average monthly profit?:    $0
How many months has the site been profitable?: 0
How many hours per week do you spend maintaining the site?: 5
How is the site Monetized?: Advertising (CPM, CPC), Affiliate (CPA), Selling a Product, Selling a Service
What are the primary sources of traffic?: Organic Search, Referring Sites
How Much Would You Like to Sell For?:  $150
Additional Comments: I am in need of funds and want to sell this site. The site is new but has received 238 visitors in just 18 days with not much promotion.

Please contact us if you are interested in any of these sites. If you’d like to see your site listed here, please visit the sell your website page and submit your site to us.

Notable Sellers

Most Active Seller
Seller: Sun Shine
Total Revenue: $4,928
Sites Sold: 18
Avg. Sales Price: $274
Notes: This seller primarily uses a “template” style format where he or she sells aged blogs with only 7 days of revenue and calculates the monthy revenue from the 7 days.

High Activity & High Avg. Sales Price Seller
Seller: mycompanyname
Total Revenue: $3,806
Sites Sold: 7
Avg. Sales Price: $544
Notes: This seller sells brand new “turnkey” membership style websites with no traffic or revenue.

Notable Website Sales

Highest Priced
Site: mywibes.com
Price: $110,000
Bids: 1
Seller: mywibes
Notes: This site was profiting about $1000/month by placing advertising on mobile sites generated with their system. The site ended sold with only one bidder. With a claimed 1.3 million unique visits per month, this was likely a good deal for the right kind of buyer.

Most Active
Site: BookmarkingJuice.com
Price: $952
Bids: 74
Seller: WebKing7
Notes: This site was essentially a business-in-a-box by providing an outsourced social bookmarking service. The seller used a $1 no-reserve strategy, bonuses, and created curiosity by not revealing several “secrets” such as their traffic sources or outsourced provider’s name.

Our Watchlist

These are the sites that we were close to bidding on or buying but didn’t. At the time of posting this, they were still actively for sale.

  • librarium-online.com
  • psd-tutorial.com

10 Things You May Not Have Known About Flippa

Flippa is constantly changing the way sellers and buyers interact on their system. The optimist in me always believes they are making these changes to make their system a safer and better place to do business, but the pessimist (conspiracy theorist) in me wonders if some of the changes are to improve their bottom line.

In this post, I’ll analyze 10 changes Flippa has made from an exaggerated perspective of the optimist and the pessimist. It’s a bit of a (joking) rant, but perhaps can help us get a better sense of where the true motivations of Flippa lie.

#1 – No More Buyers Success Fees

Click here for details about the buyer success fee changes.

The Optimist – Wow, great news for buyers! Now buyers know exactly how much money they need to buy a site and no longer need to consider a success fee in their buy/no-buy decision. This sure makes things clear and transparent for buyers.

The Pessimist – Bad news for sellers! Shouldn’t sellers have the option to choose who can pay for the privilege of buying their site? Sellers are about to get a bunch of money for their site and buyers are about to spend a bunch of money. Hmm…I wonder who will have the most cash and is most likely to pay Flippa their success fee?

#2 – Minimum Auction Duration of 3 days

This used to be a one day minimum auction duration, but they changed to a minimum of 3 days. I never saw a big announcement on this, but maybe I missed it.

The Optimist – Why would anyone run an auction for less than 3 days? You need time for people to see it, right? The only people using 1 day auctions were probably selling junk sites anyway.

The Pessimist – Everyone knows most of the bidding on a site happens in the last 24 hours. Why do we need to wait for 2 extra days to actually get some action on our auction. If I want to run a 1 or 2 day auction, shouldn’t that be my choice? Wait…Flippa has all those upgrades right? I bet people  are more likely to pay for that “Featured” upgrade multiple times with a longer auction.

#3 – Amounts of Pending Bids Are Viewable By Everyone

Unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t it only the seller who could see the amounts of the pending bids? Now anyone can see the dollar amounts of pending bids. I also don’t remember seeing any announcements from Flippa about this one.

The Optimist – This is great for Buyers! Now I know exactly how much my next bid will need to be if that bid gets accepted.

The Pessimist – This sucks for Sellers! If I don’t accept a high bid from a bad bidder, I probably scared off other bidders because they saw an overpriced bid pending. It also limits my ability to rack up a bunch of small bids at the start of the auction. I can’t figure out where Flippa profits from this, but I bet it’s there somewhere.

#4 – Confidential Listings

Click here for details about confidential listings.

The Optimist – This is great for buyers and sellers. If my auction doesn’t sell, I get to keep my “secret sauce” secret. If I buy a confidential listing site, there are going to be far fewer copycats trying to reverse engineer it.

The Pessimist – It’s a lot like their “Hide from search engines and non-logged in users” paid upgrade. If privacy is important to me, why should Flippa profit from that? If I had to pay my credit card companies to keep my social security number private, I don’t think the government would like that very much!

#5 – No More Trust Score

Click here for details about the trust score changes.

The Optimist – Trust scores were meaningless anyway. At least this way I know if the person I’m doing business with has a positive history on Flippa.

The Pessimist – Man those folks at Flippa are so smart. To not be labeled as “New” on their system, you have to have bought or sold a site on Flippa. Think of all the listing and success fees they’re getting just from people trying to get their trust up!

#6 – Sites Less Than 2 Months Old Can’t Claim Any Revenue

I never saw any announcements about this one, but is kind of a big one for people who are into the quick build and flip model.

The Optimist – How is it even possible for a site to be making sustainable revenue in 2 months time? Anyone claiming they are making revenue with a 1 or 2 month old site are probably lying anyway. This will sure keep buyers safe from those people claiming potential revenue as actual revenue.

The Pessimist – So, if I’m an expert at product launches and generate $10,000 in two months, I can’t claim that? I made the money and I can prove it, but Flippa won’t let me claim it. Wow, some potential buyers are going to be missing out on some amazing deals. Maybe Flippa got burned by a bunch of “turnkey” site sellers and decided to treat all sellers with new sites as liars.

#7 – Twitter Upgrade

Click here for details about Flippa’s twitter upgrade.

The Optimist – Great job Flippa! You gave me another way to get exposure for my listing and increase the final price.

The Pessimist – Here’s yet another paid upgrade. I’d like to see a twitter stream that provides value, not one that is cluttered with auction notifications from people who paid to be there.

#8 – The Flippa A-List

Click here for details about The Flippa A-List.

The Optimist – Justin at FlipFilter provides a very balanced analysis and in some cases can be quite frank about the negative aspects of the sites. There’s a lot you can learn about how to analyze potential acquisitions even if you never plan to buy one of the sites.

The Pessimist – Flippa labels these as a trial valued at $100/month. Is it just a matter of time until they start charging people to subscribe? This also could be setting up a new paid “Upgrade” to have your auction considered for the A-List.

#9 – No More Buyer Guarantees

If you’ve never read them, here’s Flippa’s terms and rules and an update on the changes.

The Optimist – Seller guarantees are difficult to enforce legally anyway. This is a safe move to protect newbie buyers.

The Pessimist – I want to provide peace of mind to my buyers and I’m willing to stand behind my guarantees. I think I should have that right. Flippa was probably losing time and money from buyers who were disputing sales so this was a move to reduce the amount of work they have to do.

#10 – All Auction Links Are No Follow

Putting an auction on Flippa used to have SEO value because the links in the auction were do follow type links. Not any more!

The Optimist – Anyone putting up an auction just for a do follow link isn’t serious about selling anyway.

The Pessimist – Maybe Flippa plans to start charging for an upgrade for the option to remove the “No Follow” tag.

Conclusion

All joking aside, the fact that Flippa exists is a good thing for those of us who buy and sell websites as a hobby or as a business. Their positives far exceed any negatives in my view. They are the largest so they have the ability to set their prices as they see fit. If we don’t like it, we can choose not to use them.

However, based on some of the policy changes we’ve been seeing, I notice a few trends.

Trend #1 – Flippa seems to favor changes that benefit buyers even if it’s at the expense of sellers.

Trend #2 – Flippa is heavily favoring established rather than startup type websites, but still seems to tolerate brand new sites with no traffic or revenue.

Trend #3 – Flippa is not solely focused on making their marketplace a better place to do business. Generating revenue seems to be high on their priority list and they will continue looking for new ways to make money from buyers and sellers.

I invite you to share your views (optimistic and pessimistic) in the comments below.

Website Flipping Market Snapshot Week Ending 10/18/2011

The weekly website flipping market snapshot is back! Here you’ll get a quick snapshot of what’s happening in the website flipping marketplaces and, in some cases, exclusive opportunities to buy sites from other FlipWebsites.com readers.

Market Overview

This week 650 websites sold for a combined $548,866. The highest priced website sold for $75,000 with a majority of sites selling in the $150 range. Nine sites sold in excess of $10,000. A majority of sites for sale continue to be sites less than one month old with little to no monthly revenue.

FlipWebsites.com Reader’s Sites for Sale

The sites below are sites submitted on our sell your website page that we didn’t buy ourselves.

www.how-to-last-longer-in-bed-for-men.com
What is the average monthly unique visitors?:  9.274
What is the average monthly profit?:    $400
How many months has the site been profitable?: 2
How many hours per week do you spend maintaining the site?: 10
How is the site Monetized?: Selling a Product
What are the primary sources of traffic?: Organic Search
How Much Would You Like to Sell For?:  $600
Additional Comments: I want to sell the website because i have to spend to many hours to get profit with my system.

www.noticesboard.com
What is the average monthly unique visitors?:  not active site
What is the average monthly profit?:    $not active site
How many months has the site been profitable?: not active
How many hours per week do you spend maintaining the site?: not active
How is the site Monetized?: Advertising (CPM, CPC), Selling a Service
What are the primary sources of traffic?: Organic Search
How Much Would You Like to Sell For?:  $9000.00
Additional Comments: i created this classifieds website as i think most classifieds website are merely text links and looks boring. Hence a noticesboard look a like site is born. Listings or classifieds are post like post-it notes or pin up notes which looks beautiful asthetically. I had also developed a CMS, user sign in, my watch list, social media sharing, payment structure, SEM, advertisement structure for the whole site. Unfortunately due to my very busy working schedules, i am not able to continue the project (this is my hobby site, merely to build something for my own fun). It is a very well developed site. I am really looking for somebody who can bring this site to a next level that it truly deserves. The price is the cost i had spend developing this site. However it is negotiable especially if you can demonstrate how you can developed this site further. Price include everything (domain, photos, files, admin panel etc). Current webhost cames with security back up purchase which will be up till July 2012.

Please contact us if you are interested in any of these sites. If you’d like to see your site listed here, please visit the sell your website page and submit your site to us.

Notable Sellers

Most Active Seller
Seller: Sun Shine
Total Revenue: $4,740
Sites Sold: 32
Avg. Sales Price: $149

High Activity & High Avg. Sales Price Seller
Seller: warbar78
Total Revenue: $2,055
Sites Sold: 7
Avg. Sales Price: $294

Notable Website Sales

Highest Priced
Site: globetrooper.com
Price: $75,000
Bids: 8
Seller: todsul

Most Active
Site: StrongTestimonials.com
Price: $4,000
Bids: 95
Seller: FreeTheNoob

Our Watchlist

These are the sites that we were close to bidding on or buying but didn’t. At the time of posting this, they were still active auctions.

  • proforums.org
  • funnycorner.net
  • beyondbeautybasics.com
  • thetechaddicts.com
  • sportsnub.com

Let Us Know What You Think

We’re still tweaking the content and format of this weekly update, so any feedback you have would be appreciated. Would you like to see more analysis or something else here? Please comment below if you have any ideas of what you’d like to see here.

The Most Important Due Diligence Task to Perform Before Buying a Website

Would you like to know the secret to being more thorough and efficient with your due diligence when buying websites? It’s to drill down on the most important assets of a website. In order to explain this better, let’s first define what “assets” and “drill down” mean.

The assets of a website are generally closely tied to the reason you’re buying the site. Most assets of a site fall into one of the following categories:

  • Automation – e.g. Outsourced relationships, software
  • Scaling – e.g. SEO potential, systems
  • Diversity – e.g. Multiple sources of traffic, revenue
  • Monetization – e.g. Adsense income, member sales
  • Relationships – e.g. Email lists, rss readers, followers
  • Traffic – e.g. Organic traffic, referrals
  • Buzz – e.g. Links, Press
  • Intellectual Property – e.g. Products, content

I’ll talk more about these in a future post, but once you’ve identified which assets of a site are most important to you in your buying decision, then it’s time to drill down.

Here’s an example. Let’s assume you’re buying a website for its Adsense income. In order to drill down, we need to ask ourselves the question, “What causes this?”. Here’s how it would go with this example.

Question: What causes the Adsense Income?
Answer: The organic traffic the site gets.

Question: What causes the organic traffic?
Answer: The SEO of the site.

Question: What causes the SEO?
Answer: The backlinks and content.

Question: What causes the backlinks and content?
Answer: Hiring content writers and link builders.

Can you see how we drilled down to find the real source or cause of the Adsense revenue? In this case, it’s the content writers and link builders. At first glance, you might have assumed just looking at screenshots of the Adsense revenue would be all the due diligence you’d need to do. In reality, you also need to perform due diligence on the organic traffic, the SEO, the backlinks, the content, the content writers and the link builders. If you want to really take a shortcut, you could simply perform due diligence on the content writers and link builders because they caused everything else.

Can you see how important this concept is? Can you see how it can save you time and reduce your risk of being scammed when buying a site?

I know it works for me. I have a checklist of about 500 different due diligence items I can potentially check before buying a site, but I might not check 250 of them because they aren’t relevant to the assets that are important to me.

If you’d be interested in hearing more about those 500 due diligence items, let me know by commenting below. If there is enough interest, I’ll share some of them with you.

What’s Coming Up for FlipWebsites.com

Things have been a little quiet around FlipWebsites.com lately, but that’s about to change. David and I have been working hard behind the scenes to come up with a new editorial plan for FlipWebsites.com. Here’s the scoop on what’s coming.

  1. Weekly Websites For Sale. The new sell your website section is live. When you have an established website to sell, we want to help. We’ve added a feature to the site that allows you to send us details on sites you’re selling. If we don’t buy them from you then and there, we’ll list it on the FlipWebsites.com blog in our new Weekly Websites For Sale post. This new weekly post will include sites submitted to us through the sell your site page as well as other deals we’ve looked at around the web on sites like Flippa.
  2. Monthly “Website Flipping How To” Post. This monthly post will be geared around quality how to information on topics related specifically to profiting from building or buying and selling websites. We’ll focus on things like how to get more money when you sell, where to buy sites for a bargain, and other principles related to flipping websites.
  3. Monthly “Ways to Make More Money On Your Website” Post. This monthly post will be focused on topics such as increasing traffic and conversions as well as improving monetization on your websites.
  4. Monthly “Interviews and Product Reviews” Post. This monthly post will focus on interviews with people who are successful at flipping websites and reviews of tools and products that make our lives as site flippers easier. If you have a person you’d like to see interviewed or tools you find extremely useful, please contact us or comment below and let us know.
  5. Monthly “Due Diligence and Scams” Post. We hope to educate you as much as we can on ways to prevent getting scammed, especially when it comes to buying sites. We look at a lot of sites and we do a lot of due diligence and we’re constantly seeing new ways sellers hide facts and twist the truth as well as blatantly try to scam you. We want to make the community of website buyers aware of this and that’s what this monthly post is all about.
  6. Monthly “Market Update” Post. We’ll gather together interesting links from around the web and review interesting Flippa sellers, auctions, etc. We hope this post gives you a quick way each month to stay up to date on the latest news, trends, and what’s hot in website flipping.

There’s more in the works that I can’t quite reveal yet so please stay tuned and keep reading!

*Important note: If you’d like to get the latest blog posts in your email, you must opt-in to our new Feedburner system. Click Here to Subscribe to Flip Websites by Email

Let us know what you think of our road map by commenting below.

Flipping Domains to Related Domain Owners

Are You a Domainaholic?

Are you sitting on a bunch of domains that you know you’ll never get around to building a site on or marketing properly? If you’re anything like me, I’d bet you are. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought up some random, half-baked idea for a website and registered a domain for it only to let it sit for years or expire. Not only that, I’ve also picked up domains from auction, dropped domains, domains bundled with other sites I’ve bought, and exact match domains for Search Engine Optimization purposes. There should be a support group for “domainaholics” like me. Wait, I just checked and domainaholic.com is available for sale. I better go buy it!

The point here is that you’re probably sitting on a few decent domains that you could flip to other people who could actually do something with them. In fact, a few spammers have given me the solution to how to flip domains.

Here’s How to Flip Your Domains

Here are a couple emails I’ve received from people trying to sell me their domains. Names and urls have been removed to protect the innocent.

I would like to know if you would have an interest in purchasing this domain name (I found your contact information online and see that you own [domain name] correct?).

[domain name] can provide a SEO boost in this market, which includes leads that pay for themselves saving you advertising money (advertisers are paying $17.95 per click for these exact keywords). It is also very simple to type in/remember; and can help improve, secure, and protect your web branding identity.

The price for this domain is just $475. I am reaching out to other related businesses in the next few days, and this domain will go to the first company who replies.

Here’s another example:

How are you today? I see that you own the domain name: [domain name]

I am writing to let you know that the domain name [domain name] is for sale. I am contacting you to see if there is a possible interest in this exceptional domain name.

Based on your site [domain name], it seems you can acquire customers over time at a lower cost than advertising. A domain name like [domain name] can become an online presence for your business that customers will remember.

I am commited to offer you an easy and secure way to purchase and take control of [domain name]

Thank you for your time & I look forward to discussing this further.

Here’s how they do it:

  1. Search Google for sites related to the domain.
  2. Get the contact information for the owner of sites that might buy the domain by visiting the contact us page or looking at the whois record.
  3. Send out an email telling the domain owners your domain is for sale.

Pretty simple system right? Well, how could we improve on what these sellers are doing?

How to Supercharge Your Domain Flipping

Here are some ways I can find to improve what these domain sellers (or domain brokers) are doing:

  • Develop a relationship with the most likely buyers BEFORE you try to sell them your domain. That might mean calling them on the phone or offering to do them a favor without expecting anything in exchange. This is especially true if you’d like to get four figures or more for your domain.
  • Tailor each email to the specific website. Explain why your domain would enhance their specific website instead of sending the same canned email to everyone.
  • Send a follow up email after 48 hours. Again, make it personalized and maybe ask if they got your first email and why they haven’t responded.
  • If you don’t get any bites the first time around, put the domain up for auction and notify your potential buyer list of the ending time. This will play up the scarcity factor if anyone was slightly interested from your first go-around.
  • Outsource the work. You’d have to crunch some numbers to make sure it would be worth it, but with enough volume, it could be profitable.
  • This would perhaps be considered black-hat, but could you use the system above combined with “domain tasting” to register new domains and attempt to sell them during the grace period?

What are some other ways you’ve found successful when using this domain flipping system? How could this system be used for website flipping? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Selling Your Website – How Much Does Your Business Rely On You?

Your Website Isn’t Sell-able Because of YOU!

This can be the case more than you might think. I’ve recently been consulting with a large online retailer website that’s had fantastic success running a drop ship operation as a family business.

In the midst of a bad economy, he has 8 years of solid growth, and is projected to break $2 Million in sales this year!

The business is amazing, and I’ve been able to become intimately familiar with all the day to day operations. It’s a great business, in an evergreen market, and it’s growing at a rate of about 50% a year.

But, this website and business isn’t ready to sell, yet. Why? Because if the current owner left town tomorrow, it would crumble.

Is that what your business is like?

One of the most difficult things to overcome in a website you’re ready to sell, is the business’ dependence upon you. And oddly enough, when you actually achieve building a business that grows and thrives whether or not you’re around, you end up not wanting to sell it!

It’s important to build your business, doing everything through the lens of this question: “Does this make my business more sell-able?” Because should the day come that you DO want to sell it, you’ll only be able to do so if YOU are able to leave.

So, here’s a few things you can do to make your business less centered around your own personal efforts to keep it running.

1.) Apply the 80/20 rule. A lot of great books talk about the 80/20 rule, but in a nutshell, it basically means that 80% of your success, is derived from 20% of your effort. Which means the other 80% of the time you spend in your business, is likely the stuff you’re wasting time on, and it doesn’t make you more money. Find out what that one most important thing is, and immediately find alternative ways to get the other stuff done by other people, software, or systems.

2.) Create process maps. Boil it down to a science. “My business includes doing X, Y, and Z.” Color by numbers. As you’re working each day, take detailed notes on what it is you’re doing so that someone else could easily pick it up and follow the instructions, regardless of their level of experience.

3.) Hire people! This isn’t always the answer, but it’s less scary than most people make it out to be. You probably CAN afford to do it. You just don’t think you can because you don’t know the value of your own time. Imagine if you weren’t spending 8 hours a day doing something that could be done by an employee? Are there more profitable tasks you could be focusing on in that time?

4.) Don’t be an expert on everything. It’s a great way to become a bottleneck. The guy I told you about above is a victim of this very thing. He’s SO knowledgeable in his field, that everyone asks him for answers to Google-able questions. Force people to know stuff. Make it a point to let others be experts about things you don’t need to be.

What are some other things you can do to make your website and business less dependent upon you? leave your thoughts in the comments below!

10 Fast Ways to Double a Site’s Earnings

As you probably are well aware of, one of the most important things to consider when investing in a site you’re planning to flip (or keep), is how you will increase the bottom line. So in today’s post, my hope is to get your creative juices flowing by throwing a few ideas your way.

Things That Could Potentially Double Your Site’s Revenue

1.) Create your own product. If it’s an affiliate site getting generic market traffic (traffic other than the organic searches for the product name of the vendor it promotes), create your own product and keep 100% of the sale. If the commission is less than 50%, you immediately double your revenue assuming conversions maintain constant. If commission is already at 75% or higher, create your own product anyway. Make it better and raise the price.

2.) Raise your prices. If the site sells it’s own product or service, repackage it, and raise the prices. 15% – 50% is an easy range to get away with for info products without much difference in conversions. For the heck of it, DOUBLE the price, or more, and see what happens.

3.) Add similar traffic sources. Does the site rank #1 in Google? Why doesn’t it rank in Yahoo and Bing as well? Together, you MIGHT double the traffic depending on the market, and from my experience, Bing and Yahoo visitors convert better. Find out what it’ll take to rank in those search engines as well and do it. Is it paid traffic the site makes its money from? Great, your job is easier. The internet has an unending supply of paid traffic available. Scale it.

4.) Sell more stuff to your existing customers. The hardest sale you’ll ever make is the first one. Everything after that is EASY in comparison. They already have had a good experience with your brand. The trust factor is already there. They probably WANT you to sell them more stuff if you delivered on your first product. So do it!

5.) Split test till the cows come home. Look, if there’s one fault we have as work-at-home internet marketers…it’s being lazy. Most of us just don’t feel like doing the things we already know work. One of them is split testing. If the site already has traffic, and is already making sales, it only takes a few minutes to tweak a headline, a background color, an add to cart button, a price, an offer, etc… Pick one thing to split test per week. If it beats the old way, make it your new control and test it again. You could legitimately DOUBLE your income doing this.

6.) Reach out and make friends in your market! Landing the right JV, ongoing promotion from super affiliates, or high PR links from authority sites in your market can make huge differences in your business. Be friendly. Give before taking….Scratch that…Give before asking. You’ll make friends fast, and they’ll become your best sales team. How many super affiliates/JV partners have you seen carry entire launches on their backs? It happens a lot. I could list product after product that is now a house hold name simply because they had the right people promote for them. But it only happens by helping others first. Do that, expecting nothing in return, and before you know it, you’ll likely get plenty in return.

7.) Create a “light version” of your product. You know the #1 reason your target market doesn’t buy your product? It’s not always your copy, or some ninja marketing tactic you haven’t figured out. If you have a good product, people probably just can’t afford it, or don’t want to pay that much.

Overcome this by making a “light” version. a.k.a, a “down sell”. This isn’t contradictory to the above “raise your price” advice. Do that. But for everyone else, have a basic, front end product to sell. You’ll not only get more customers on your list, you’ll likely sell more copies of your high end product if you show them something good with the first smaller purchase.

8.) Do a survey! Nobody said you couldn’t ask people what they’d like to buy. Get that information, create it, and start selling it from your site.

9.) Do regular giveaways. Giveaways are HUGE. Make it a contest. Ask for a facebook like, Google plus 1, or a tweet to enter the contest. Make the giveaway something great! That’s the real trick to running good contests and building bigger audiences. The giveaway has to be something unique…not another ipad. It’s “free” traffic (minus the cost of the giveaway), and if you do it right, it could dramatically increase not only your following, but your sales.

10.) Add bonuses. The key to making this work is much the same as the giveaway. The bonus should be perceived as MORE valuable than the actual product the site sells itself. People will buy your product to get the bonus even if they don’t want the product sometimes. It’s like the old Sports Illustrated commercials. They advertise free gear WITH your subscription to SI. But the whole commercial is about the bonus.

Those are the first 10 things that came to mind after sitting down to type this post. What ways would you typically approach growing a business, or even doubling it? Let us know in the comments below.

The Danger of Sloppy Transactions When Flipping Websites

Whether or not we’d like to admit it, our world of buying and selling websites can be pretty sloppy at times. And as it pertains to arbitration and things just going bad in general with deals, nearly ALL of it stems from plain old sloppiness.

I’ll be the first one to raise my hand in guilt to admit that I’ve been too lazy, too trusting, too unorganized, and too uninformed in the past. Every deal I’ve lost money on, (even the ones that were “other people’s fault”), is a direct result of my own informal approach to the deal. Which I GUESS means it was my fault after all.

When you approach a transaction with all your ducks in a row, all your boxes checked, and all the stones overturned, the margin for error becomes very slim and all potential instances of arbitration over the deal vanish. So here’s a few things you should always make sure to do in any deal…

Due Diligence

This one is common sense, but goes at the top of the list. Approach the website (and it’s owner) as though you were conducting a criminal background check. That means you check out everything!

– The domain. I use domaintools.com to check for age, drops, registration matching the owner, etc. Then I use Market Samurai, Open Site Explorer, SEMRush, and SEO Spy Glass, to verify the incoming backlinks, the PR, the rankings, etc…

– The Seller. If you’re buying from Flippa or other online marketplaces, check feedback. Check their previous listings. Check their trust scores. GOOGLE THEM. Ask them LOTS of questions. Get to know them a bit. Is this the first site they’ve sold? Why are they selling it?

– The content. This one has bitten me in the rear before. Check Copyscape for duplicate content. Make sure it’s original. Make sure you have the right to use it. Make SURE it’s included in the sale!

– The Income. More and more, screen shots just aren’t doing it for me. I’m a serious buyer. Could you please take 60 seconds to make a screen recording of your affiliate dashboard, or your merchant account? I’d feel much better seeing it live…Especially if the account doesn’t come with the sale.

– The traffic. Same as income. Login, and show me. But I’m also gonna check sites like compete.com, alexa.com, quantcast.com, etc…I know they aren’t always the most accurate, but they should give me a general consensus as to whether or not the seller is telling the truth.

– The terms. Especially if it’s monetized with affiliate programs. Check out the affiliate programs terms. Check out any special payment arrangements the seller has with the vendor. Make sure those benefits transfer to you. Make sure the site isn’t in violation of those terms, etc…

– Everything you see posted in our Due Diligence category.

Contracts

I’m willing to bet that over 70% of website transactions, especially ones that originate in most marketplaces, don’t even utilize contracts. I suppose I understand why. Who knows how to write a contract? Who want’s to pay a lawyer? Can’t you get in trouble for ‘practicing law without a license?’

Getting a contract in place is one of the most important aspects of any deal. All of your protection (buyers and sellers) hinges upon the contents of this agreement, and it’s ability to be enforced. Having a lawyer that can draw up the contract for a few $100 is well worth it for larger deals. But even deals that are less than $10k need to have some sort of formal agreement.

At a minimum, I recommend you grab a templated contract from somewhere like Legalzoom.com, or Sitepoint.com. I’ve used these templated contracts many times. They’re written by professionals who know legal jargon, and cover most of the basics. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than going commando with nothing at all.

Record Conversations with Other Parties

This may seem a little anal, but having a skype chat, or a recording of a voice chat can come in handy when disagreements arise. When you begin working on a new deal, I recommend you create a file in your inbox to save all email correspondence as well. This little bit of extra work will settle any issues about what has been promised, and what hasn’t.

Third Party Verification of Stats

This falls under due diligence, but is really only necessary for large transactions. An accurate recasting of financial records, tax statements, etc, by a professional tax expert gives an added piece of security and peace of mind to everyone involved.

Listing Agreements with Brokers

If you’re dealing with a website broker, you’ll want to have their services clearly defined in a listing agreement. How long will you give them to sell your site? What commission do you agree to pay them if they are successful? Do they have sole and exclusive rights to sell your site during the term of the listing agreement, or are there exclusions depending on where the buyer comes from during that time frame?

Most website brokers shoot from the hip, and don’t even use listing agreements. However, most states require that a pre-approved one be used by any and all business brokers that deal in their states. (That means web based business brokers as well). It protects you and them…So if they don’t sign one with you, don’t work with them.

Payment Terms & Financial Checks

This falls under contracts, but is important enough to separate out by itself. Most large transactions need some sort of verification to be done on the buyer to prove they actually have the funds available to make the purchase. Even if they’re only making a down payment on the business, if it’s a substantial amount of money you should make a stipulation for payment in that amount to be made in full within a certain time frame after the signing of the deal.

This is just protecting the deal. You don’t want them to flake out on you half way through the transaction because they didn’t really have the money to back up the offer they made you. Or, worse yet, they were counting on a third party investor to pay for the site and that person wasn’t involved in negotiations. So at closing, they go to their “investor” friend, and to their surprise and yours, there’s no money available.

Ask them to send proof of their ability to pay you before signing the contract. And make sure to put a “payment due by” date in the deal. Not doing so is just leaving the door open for potential problems…aka, being sloppy to the point of hurting yourself.

Introduction to Business Employees & Content Providers

This can’t be done pre-sale often times because of confidentiality, and fear of employees leaving once they find out the business is for sale. However, having some plans to get to know them, or atl east ABOUT them, is only smart.

I purchased a large blog that had it’s content generated by a team of writers in the past. The writers had no clue the seller was selling the site, and when I stepped in, I had to re-staff the entire team because I was left short handed when several of the key contributors jumped ship. They were loyal to the original owner, and I was the new guy on the block. None of them were held by a contract to continue providing the great content they were providing, and because I didn’t have a plan for retaining their services when I became the owner, the business became a burden for me quickly.

GET TO KNOW THE TEAM BEHIND THE PROJECT. I can’t stress this enough. At a minimum, you need to have the selling owner feel out the employees for you to ensure the business’ stability post sale. Are they planning to stay? Will their compensation change? Will their responsibility increase or decrease? If you don’t have a plan, it can blow up in your face.

To wrap things up, a lot of what goes wrong in online business transactions is a result of sloppiness. Plan for the worst case scenario and many times by simply making that plan, you’ll avoid issues down the road. This list is by no means exhaustive, so there my be a part 2 of this article coming in the near future.

What are your thoughts? What do you do before a transaction to make sure the deal goes smoothly? Anything you would add to this article? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

How Google’s +1 Could Increase Your Price When Selling Your Site

It seems as though the entire web has gone social. There are a ton of thoughts on this subject, and the purpose of this post isn’t to do an expose’ on the effects of Google +1 or facebook likes. However, one undeniable result of Google’s shift towards the social side of things is a crucial element for every marketer worth their weight in gold: Social PROOF.

There’s just something about our nature that is attracted to follow the crowd. Not only when it comes to making decisions, but when it comes to measuring the success of others. When it comes to making decisions (especially about a purchase), few selling tactics have as powerful of an effect as a long list of satisfied customer testimonials. But when it comes to measuring success and getting others to jump on your bandwagon, the tool of choice is social response in the form of a vote.

Take a look at some of the web’s top social bookmarking sites like Digg.com, or StumbleUpon.com. When something get’s voted for enough times, it gets picked up and syndicated all across the web. A post that experiences what some have called the “Digg effect” (server crushing traffic from reaching Digg’s first page), goes through a snow ball effect. The more people who Digg, the more people that see the story, which in turn leads to more Diggs…You get the point.

Then came the Facebook “Like”. The same snow ball principle is at play, it’s just a much steeper hill with more force pushing the ball. The viral effect of the Facebook “like” has made many people overnight internet celebrities, given YouTube videos millions of views, and increased online businesses overall fan bases (and value) by untold amounts.

The question everyone is asking, is how will the Google +1 button effect business owners and websites? Well, in an attempt to keep good on my promise to not discuss all the stuff you’ve probably read 1,000 blog posts about already (SERP changes, etc…), I’d like to point out the one change that could make you more money as a flipper: Social proof.

If success is measured by following the crowd, then having a high Google +1 count on your website’s content automatically infuses more perceived value into it. It tells potential buyers “people like my website.” Which gives them more confidence to make you an offer because the crowd is telling them it’s a good property to invest in.

#1 rankings are great…But being #5 with 10X as many +1’s as the guy who’s #1 in the SERPS tells potential buyers (and searchers) that your site is the site everyone likes the most.

So, the moral of the story is if you aren’t currently utilizing Google’s +1 button to add perceived value to your content, perhaps you should. You may even start seeing it in our posts here at FlipWebsites.com!