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.

Potential Pitfalls When Buying Affiliate Sites

As a follow up post on our topic several weeks ago regarding “The Recycled Stats Website Seller Scam”, I wanted to share a few more thoughts on due diligence when buying affiliate sites.

The most commonly overlooked aspect of websites that generate their revenue via affiliate programs, is the affiliate program’s terms and conditions. Most of the time when a website changes ownership, the seller will include the affiliate account that is connected with the site to make things easier during the transfer for the buyer.

The problem comes when the buyer attempts to change the payment info from the seller’s details to their own. It’s not uncommon to be met with a few nasty surprises from the product vendor when they find out you’ve purchased a site connected with sales they receive via that affiliate account.

Let me give you two examples of how this has affected my own purchases, as well as those of my close mastermind partners.

Example #1: The Coupon Code

Last year I purchased a site that was generating decent revenue for a high ticket piece of software as an affiliate. The affiliate program tracks it’s sales by giving each of the affiliates a unique coupon code their visitors can use during checkout. If the visitor uses their coupon code, they get credited with the sale.

The seller had worked out a special arrangement with the vendor to use the coupon code “WSO”, which was cheaper than any other coupon available for other affiliates to use by $5. The vendor agreed to let this affiliate run a Warrior Special Offer at the Warrior Forum and receive credit for all the sales made with the WSO coupon code.

To boot, the thread at Warrior Forum ranks #1 in Google for “Product Coupon Code”. So this seller had a pretty sweet deal negotiated with the vendor. Every time someone would hit the checkout page and see the coupon box, they would go to Google and look for the cheapest coupon. Since it was $5 cheaper than the rest, and it ranked #1, the majority of sales made funneled through this affiliate account….Which is why I purchased it!

3 months or so go by without a hitch. I was even able to increase the number of sales this site generated using the WSO coupon code by nearly 2x. Things were looking great, and I was just about to break even on my purchase (after only 90 days), when the vendor decides to revoke my right to use the coupon code.

Turns out, it was a special arrangement between him and my seller, (who was buddy buddy with the vendor), and when the vendor discovered I was now receiving credit for the sales,…ZAP! Coupon Code revoked, income destroyed. I was in “violation of the affiliate terms and conditions” (which were conveniently updated), that say coupon codes cannot be transferred. Long story short: I got burned. Hard. And it was because I didn’t perform due diligence in respects to how the affiliate sales were being generated, and the arrangements between the vendor and my seller. I assumed all affiliates were treated equally. Lesson learned. They’re not.


Example #2: Cookie Stuffing

Another site purchased by members of our mastermind group here at FlipWebsites.com in the past year was a site in the learn guitar niche. The site had solid track record, great rankings, good traffic, tons of content and millions of views on the Youtube Channel.

We performed all the due diligence you normally would expect educated buyers to perform, except in regards to how the affiliate tracking was being manipulated by the seller that wasn’t disclosed originally.

The seller was cookie stuffing. For those of you who don’t know what that is, basically it’s placing your affiliate tracking pixel in the visitor’s browsers each time they come to your site, and if they purchase the product at some point down the road, you still get credit for the sale.

This isn’t such a horrible thing, especially if you’re doing pre sell work for that product and can legitimately make a case for having helped close those sales. Most people consider it grey hat at worst. However, most vendors don’t allow it. A few months after the sale, the buyers in our group that purchased the site were contacted by the vendors with a warning to cease stuffing cookies or risk losing the affiliate account altogether!

Imagine the surprise when they didn’t even know they were cooking stuffing in the first place. As a result, revenue has decreased for that site. The seller in this instance probably didn’t even know they were doing anything wrong either to be honest. But that proves the point of this post all the more. The devil is in the details we don’t check up on.

So next time you are looking to purchase a site with affiliate driven income, make sure to ask the seller if they have special deals worked out with the vendor on commission structure, coupon codes, payment dates and methods, etc.. etc.. Then make sure to ask the seller if their site adheres to all of the affiliate program’s terms and conditions (such as rules regarding cookie stuffing). Go to the vendor’s site and read the affiliate agreement yourself too! Leave no stone unturned.

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!

Buying Sites With Great Products

The longer I work online, the simpler everything becomes. All the “shiny things” lose their appeal over time, and at the end of the day you find that making money online all boils down to adhering to a few key principles that always work.

One of the most basic things you need to start a good business is a high quality product. While market research, keyword research, copy writing, traffic generation, sales funnels, and the like are all very important components of any online business, I’ve found that they all become a little easier when you’re building off of a solid product you have faith in. It just makes it easier to do all that other stuff when you’ve got confidence in your ability to deliver on the promises you make when selling to your market.

One of the big draws for affiliate marketing is that without doing any product development, or customer support, you can create a website to pre-sell someone else’s product. So rather than creating value, countless thousands of internet marketers have chosen to go for the quick cash as an affiliate, only to fizzle out for lack of having their own audience, customer list, brand, and the like to build off of when major traffic giants like Google decide to slap them.

Which leads me to today’s post topic: Buying sites with great products! Remember those basic principles I spoke of earlier? One of them is that it’s usually better to buy than to build. (not ALWAYS of course). A huge hindrance to becoming a product vendor is its sheer difficulty for most people. In reality, creating products (especially info products) is pretty easy…but creating GREAT products can be very difficult, no matter what format you create them in.

One solution is to buy them! When browsing online marketplaces, I am of the opinion that most website investors think too narrowly…They look at the numbers, and if the site has great traffic and revenue, they’ll look into it further. If not, the site gets passed up. But buying websites is a great solution for more than ROI. It’s also a great solution for acquiring business building blocks, like a great product.

So, what makes a great product? Here’s a few of my own thoughts…

1.) Great products over deliver on any promises their sales messages convey. Which means the product should make writing your sales letter EASIER! You should be able to confidently look your prospects in the eye and tell them your product will fix their problem or they don’t pay.

2.) Great products come with everything the customer needs. In other words, all inclusive…nothing else needed to buy to achieve the desired end result.

3.) Great products are easy to use (or follow if it’s an info product). When buying a website for it’s original product, sometimes this is where the fix needs to happen. The product could be amazing, but if it’s a 500 page PDF file, think about converting it to video.

4.) Great products create traffic. The product should cause the customer to tell their friends and family how awesome their experience was, and create viral traffic from satisfaction. If a site you’re looking to buy has the above characteristics, but little viral traffic, perhaps you just need to build in mechanisms that make it easier to share via facebook and twitter that aren’t already there.

5.) Great products are mostly evergreen. They are tried and tested, and aren’t going to be obsolete in 3 months. You’ll be able to sell it for a long time to come.

A lot of things go into making a product great, these are just a few I had off the top of my head. Perhaps being a vendor is the missing piece in your online business? If so, I’d encourage you to look for sites with high quality original content you can use as your own.

What do you think? Tell us what makes a great product…

*closing tip*

One place a lot of people look to is CBengine.com. Look for clickbank products that have expired due to lack of sales. Contact the owners and make them an offer. Ask to see the products. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Beware of The Recycled Stats Website Seller Scam

A few months ago, I purchased toprankedhosting.net from Flippa.com for $1300. ($1250 + $50 for paypal fees) from a user that has since had their account suspended.

At first glance the site looked like a great buy. $350/month in net revenue, 2,000 unique visitors, pretty good domain name, with room for improvements in the SERPS…So I bit! After all, he had revenue proof in the form of screen shots from his Paypal account from Hostgator’s affiliate program, and traffic stats from his server.

My first mistake: Rushing the deal in order to win the auction

Normally (especially for larger transactions) I’d spend some more time doing my due diligence on the site before buying. But there’s something about the public auction format that causes us to act hastily some times. The level of competition can drive you to place a bid faster than you should in order to snag the deal, especially when it’s a smaller amount of money like the one in this example.

Take a look at the auction for yourself: Auction for TopRankedHosting.net.

I broke so many of my own rules on this one, it’s no wonder I got scammed! Thankfully, justice has since been served, and I did get all my money back after about 3 months of detective work and legal action. So instead of highlighting the obvious red flags I ignored, like his lack of feedback, not checking copy scape, etc, etc…I wanted to show you how he initially got away with it.

The Re-used Stats Scam

After purchasing the site and installing my own analytics, I began to get a little worried after 3-4 days because the site got zero visitors. Not a single one…And the seller claimed 2,000 per month.

I tried to contact the seller, and had no response for several days. Egg on my face! Did he Photoshop the screen shots?  How could this have happened to me? How could I have been so careless and not seen this before buying the site?

While digging through the various pages in wordpress, I stumbled across an internal link to another site I believe was owned by the seller. He forgot to change it out. The page wasn’t published inside wordpress so it was impossible for me to have seen it prior to purchasing the site.

I clicked through to check it out, and low and behold, another hosting affiliate site with the exact same content and page structure!

I WAS HOT!!!!

I attempted to contact the seller dozens of times with no luck. After reporting him to Flippa, and contacting my bank (because Paypal doesn’t insure digital goods), I was able to get it taken to court, and got my money back.

But how did he pass it off as a legit project?

My personal belief is that he took screen shots of earnings and traffic from his other affiliate site that actually was making the money and attempted to pass off the copy cat site as the real thing.

I’ve seen several other scam artists attempting the same thing lately. Be wise and learn from my mistake! NEVER buy a site in haste to beat out other bidders. If it goes before you have a chance to perform all the normal due diligence you would regularly do, let it go! And double check all screen shot “proof”. Make sure you verify it’s for the site you’re purchasing before placing a bid.

– Lesson learned….Justice served….And I live to buy another day.


The Piece by Piece Website Flip

Have you ever seen the movie “Pretty Woman?” It’s the one with Julia Roberts and Richard Gear. My wife was watching it the other night and it got me thinking about website flipping.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember that Richard Gear plays a billionaire business takeover guy that preys upon struggling businesses, buys them out, and sells them off piece by piece to other companies.

In today’s post, I want to talk about doing the exact same thing when it comes to websites and group auctions. Let’s call this a Piece by Piece Website Flip.

One type of auction I see passed over by so many people in online marketplaces is the “group of 250 adsense sites” type auctions. Usually, there’s 1 or 2 sites in the bunch that make up the majority of the claimed income, and the owner is throwing in his collection to inflate the perceived value.

If you’re like most people, you don’t even give these auctions a serious look. I mean, who wants to pay to renew 250+ domains every year?! Who wants to go through with the hassle of transfering 250 sites to a different hosting account?

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can get the owner to sell you just one of the sites in the bunch, but more often than not they aren’t willing to separate the wheat from the chaff for fear of not being able to sell the chaff.

So, what’s a website flipper to do? Become Richard Gear!

When I see these types of auctions, I like to take a look at each site to sniff out ANY potential value in them. Even if the sites have zero traffic or revenue, the domains, content, and designs may be worth something. Even if only $25-$50 each.

Lets use the above example. You go to Flippa.com, and come across a listing that says “Network of 250 Adsense Sites for Sale”. The network of sites collectively earn about $350 per month, and over $300 of that is from less than 5 sites that are the real winners in the group.

The BIN is $3,000.

Also, the seller is absolutely UNWILLING to sell you the 5 money makers by themselves. They want you to take the whole bunch of them, or nothing at all.

After browsing through the 245 duds, you see that most of them have 5-10 quality original articles on them. They each have a decent looking design with a unique header graphic. In fact, the only reason they don’t make any money, is lack of traffic and ad placements.

So, with the domain names, site designs, and original content, you figure each site is worth about $30 to you.

You quickly place the BIN for $3,000, (primarily for the $350/month in adsense income from the main 5 producing sites), and you devise a plan for extracting that $30 per site from the rest of them.

Instead of being blindly optimistic, we’ll assume that  we can only successfully extract that $30 per site from about 40% of them. So 40% of 245 sites = 98.

The plan is twofold:

1.) List the sites at eBay, digital point, and other cheap marketplaces where these types of sites will sell for $30 without much cost to you.

2.) Create a special offer at Warrior Forum or to your own marketing list to create “unique, high quality adsense sites with 5 + articles, graphics, & domains for $30 each”.

Between these two strategies, you successfully sell 98 sites times $30 for a cool profit of $2,940.

Your new income stream has paid for itself, and you still have 147 sites you can use for link building or whatever you want.

Perhaps this will give you a new perspective on monetizing auctions you normally wouldn’t give a second thought to.

Have you ever done a “piece by piece” flip? Have you ever broken down the assets of a larger site and sold them off piece by piece to other people? Better yet, have you ever bought a business and sold off chunks of ownership to 2 or more parties to recoup the initial spend?

Comment below with your thoughts on Richard Gear, piece by piece website flipping. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

How To Flip A Website

Before discussing the specifics on how to flip a website, let’s first define…

What It Really Means to Flip a Website

So many things have been lumped into the topic of “website flipping” that actually don’t belong there. Much of it has polluted the marketplaces, and that is largely due to the amount of guru products on the subject leading people astray.

Website flipping is not:

  • Creating sites from scratch to sell…Even if it’s down the road
  • Creating turnkey sites to sell with zero traffic or revenue

These activities are more accurately placed under the banner of “site selling”. And there’s nothing wrong with it. Lots of people add tremendous value to the marketplace by creating valuable sites to sell. It’s what they do for a living.

However, it’s not what I consider “website flipping”.

The phrase “website flipping” is borrowed from the concept of flipping houses. Consider the buy and renovate concept of flipping houses. When people invest in a house to flip, it’s usually because they recognize some things (like new paint and carpet) they can add or fix to immediately increase the value of that home for resale.

So, what about people who build houses to sell them? Are they considered “flippers”? I’d call them builders or contractors.

So, what is website flipping and how do you do it?

Flipping involves buying low, and selling high. Not buying and keeping. Not building to sell.

Buying low and selling high…FAST.

Now, you may buy a website and sell it several years down the road. That can be considered flipping, but REAL “flipping” involves turning properties over a little faster in my opinion.

This skill is more of an art than a science. It’s truly a beautiful art! Why?

For the very reason you’re reading this blog, and the reason our marketplace of buying low and selling high has become so popular:

BIG – MONEY – FAST

It’s not for everyone though. I’m seeing a trend amongst the savvy long term investors in our marketplace towards buying to hold.

That’s partly because many people struggle to find anything worth buying in online marketplaces anymore. When they do, they aren’t very keen on letting it go.

Honestly, buying to hold is a very wise model. If you’re looking for information about how to do this the smart way, I’d invite you to check out BuyingAndSellingWebsites.com.

For the sake of this conversation, let’s assume we’re defining flipping as buying with the intention to sell quickly. It’s what we teach in our course Killer Flipping Secrets and is where you have potential to make big money fast.

How to Flip a Website

To flip a website, you need a special set of skills. You’ve got to be able to do at least 1 of 2 things very well. They are:

1.) Spotting areas of underdeveloped monetization opportunities, or traffic generation.

Ask questions like, “Can I add an up-sell to this site’s sales process?”, or “Can I raise the price of this product?”, or “Could I increase the targeted traffic to this site by creating a PPC campaign, or doing some SEO?”

In other words, look for areas that require little work to achieve huge potential results on the bottom line of that business you’re about to buy.

Know what you’re good at or what you’re able to outsource, and try spotting opportunities to apply those skill sets.

2.) Arbitrage.

Buy low, sell high, immediately. That’s what arbitrage is all about.

Here’s the money question when it comes to selling an online business…

“Who stands to make the most money from owning this site?”

Answer that question and you’ll know who is also most likely willing to pay a lot more money to own it than what you can acquire it for.

This can also be done between marketplaces. Sometimes a site you find over at ebay.com can be sold for a lot more at Flippa.com.

Get familiar with the types of sites that sell well on the various marketplaces so when you find one listed lower than you’re used to seeing it listed for on another, you can scoop it up and sell it on the other site for a quick profit.

Fast Profits With Website Flipping

There’s so much stuff out there that people are teaching in forums and in ebooks that isn’t really geared towards the fast profits that can be generated using the above 2 concepts.

The entire appeal of flipping websites is fast profits. Don’t get me wrong, please. There’s nothing bad about buying to hold, or starting sites to sell. Those are good business models when done right, but they are not the same thing as flipping.

When I buy a site to flip, my goal is to get it renovated and sold inside 6 months. The time frame will depend on how much value I believe can be added fairly quickly and what’s involved in that process.

It’s only something I’d do if the potential upside of the flip is a large enough amount of money to justify the amount of time and work I’m going to put into the project.

If it takes longer than 6 months, or the potential margin of increase isn’t large enough to justify selling it again that fast, I wouldn’t take it on as a flip project.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy it to hold. That’s just a different conversation.

For those who are new to FlipWebsites.com, this should serve as a clear definition and brief introduction to answering the question “how to flip a website.”

For the faithful readers, and seasoned website flippers, perhaps this will serve as a reminder to get back to the basics of pure “flipping”.

Remember what flipping is about…

BIG – MONEY – FAST

Perhaps it’ll get you back on track if you’ve strayed the course or lost focus.

What do you think? Am I being too rigid with my definition of website flipping? Comment below and let me know.

What “American Pickers” Teaches Us About Buying Websites

In the past several years, there have been a ton of television shows launched around the idea of selling old stuff for big money — many of them are geared towards the auction scene, but others focus on people who do their buying and selling off the beaten path.  “American Pickers,” a show that follows Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they drive across the country in search of stuff-filled barns, out buildings, and basements, looking for items that they’ll be able to resell for considerable profit.

While I enjoy the show because it is entertaining, there are lessons to be learned from these antique hunters for website flippers.  Here are the 6 lessons that “American Pickers” teaches us about buying and selling websites.

Pickers Pay Less

Mike and Frank don’t spend their time at auctions or in antique dealerships, hoping against hope that they’ll find a good deal there.  The deals aren’t where everyone else is, and they certainly aren’t at places that expect you to pay retail.

While you can occasionally find an undervalued gem at auction, it’s a lot easier to get a good deal pulling a forgotten item out of someone’s overfilled garage.  So it is with websites — if you can track down the owners of forgotten websites or sites that could use a bit of rehabbing, you’ll pay significantly less than if you had purchased the same site at auction or through a broker.

You Have to Dig Through a Lot of Garbage to Find Something Great

Picking isn’t easy.  Sometimes the guys have to dig through TONS of garbage to find the one item that makes a day of picking worthwhile.  If you’ve ever tried to find a good site for sale at a forum like Digital Point, you know this feeling all too well.  It’s easy to feel like giving up when the first hundred sites you like at are completely worthless, but that next property could be a pennies on the dollar type of win for you.  It pays to get your hands dirty.

Sometimes, the Best Finds Come In the Places You Least Expect

In an episode I remember, Mike was able to buy a great antique sign that was literally half-buried in the ground, face down, covered by a bunch of garbage.  I’m not sure what caught his eye enough to dig the thing up, but it turned out to be a great buy.

For website flippers, this might mean visiting forums that are related to certain niches we’re targeting.  It’s possible to find people there who are passionate about the topic, own long-established websites but lack the know-how to make their site profitable.  That’s a great opportunity to offer them a small sum to cash in on their efforts while leaving lots of room to profit for you.

When You Find a Good Source, Go Back To It

Mike and Frank aren’t afraid to go back to a good source once they find one.  They frequently revisit people they’ve bought from in the past and make notes to contact people in the future who have good items but aren’t ready to sell yet.

If you can keep a file on hand of website owners to contact every 3 to 6 months about their sites, you increase the odds that when they decide to sell, they’ll remember you.  Don’t be pushy about it — just let them know you’re still interested and that if they decide to sell, you’d love to hear from them.

Always Keep the End-Game in Mind

The guys don’t get too wrapped up in how cool something is that they forget the reason they’re there in the first place — to make money.  Mike and Frank rarely overpay for something, because they know that they need to be able to sell the things they buy if they want to make money.

It’s a little different with websites in that the sites we buy should throw off cashflow while we hold them, but the fact remains that we don’t want to overpay on the front end.  Know if you want to hold or flip it from the outset, then pay a price that makes sense based on those plans.  You can’t be altruistic in your negotiations — this is when you make your money.

Sometimes It Helps to Have Someone to Confirm Your Hunches

There’s a reason Mike and Frank pick as a pair (besides the fact that it makes for better television).  There are times when the two will consult each other about whether or not to go after a specific item or if they can make money paying a certain price for that must-have antique they’ve just uncovered.

It’s helpful to have a confidant who you can bounce ideas off of when you’re not 100% sure that your own intuition and experience are enough to ensure a great deal.