Want to know how to flip a 1-year old website for $50,000?
With minimal effort you can grow a turnkey, branded website that buyers will pay loads for.
Flipping websites is an often overlooked income source that I have used in my arsenal for several years now. Start by taking a look at Flippa you’ll see websites going for huge pricetags – sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. Now, it is very difficult to build a brand that is able to fetch such a large amount, so temper your expectations a bit. But – in 6-12 months you can build a website that fetches $25,000+ on websites like Flippa.
How is this done? It’s all about branding,
Google loves brands. People love purchasing from brands. Brands are trustworthy. Their name means something, and therefore they have something to lose when conducting bad business. Consumer subconsciously factor this in when making a decision about who they would like to purchase from.
This guide won’t work if your building a small keyword-focused website on an exact match domain. Just look at Flippa. Sure, SEO-centric websites still fetch a fair amount, but nowhere near the amount that larger branded websites are able to fetch.
Branded websites sell for more, because people are looking to buy full, turnkey internet businesses. Traffic can dry up quickly for a site that relies on organic traffic. A properly branded and promoted website will see traffic from a wide variety of different sources.
This Guide Will Teach You:
- How to build a high quality, branded online magazine.
- How to promote that website
- How to Sell that website within 6-12 months for insane profits.
Flipping websites is an excellent choice for anyone looking to create a long term passive income online.
Why Flip Websites?
It’s simple. Every website you own carries a certain amount of risk. If you own a website that could potentially fetch $50,000 on the marketplace, and earns $5,000 per month, it will take you approximately 10 months to earn that amount back.
A lot can happen in 10 months.
There could be a Google algorithm update that slices your daily traffic in half, thus requiring 20 months to earn back what the website could have potentially been sold for.
Websites that receive most of their traffic from Google organically, present a much larger risk. You have relatively little control over the traffic source.
Websites that receive traffic from a large number of different platforms (Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Links, etc.) present much less risk. There is less of a chance that all of your traffic sources will dry up simultaneously. This means that your website has a better chance of maintaining its value over the long term.
For those that own a portfolio of websites, flipping a certain number of them is just effective risk mitigation. You are trading the potential for a long-term income source for an immediately payout. Look at it like you are cashing out your stock.
Why Flipping Websites is a Good Long-Term Strategy:
- Drum up funds for immediate investment. If you sell a website for $50,000, that is a good sum of money that you can use to fund the creation for 4-5 other websites, each of which could become a part of your ongoing portfolio of websites, or be flipped themselves later down the line.
- Mitigating risk. Some websites will underperform throughout their lifetime. Selling high, buy low.
- Free up time for new ventures.
Step 1: Niche Research
As with any new website – the journey to flipping a website begins with niche research. Remember – we are building an online magazine, so you want to make sure that the subject that you choose is something that could be written about several times per week, for the foreseeable future.
What Your Niche Should NOT be:
- Overly Competitive. You want to flip this thing fast, so choose something that isn’t insanely competitive. Find smaller sub-niches within your niche. If you want to make a Liquor blog – make a whiskey lovers blog instead. Less competition, easier to acquire targeted traffic. I use Keyword Elite 2.0 and SEO SpyGlass for competitive research.
- Too small. You have to choose a niche that is going to drive enough traffic to make it worth your time. Don’t be afraid to go big.
- Extremely volatile. Some niches are more volatile than others. I use SerpWoo to measure the volatility of certain niches.
What Your Niche SHOULD be:
- Easy to write about. Whether you are writing the content yourself or outsourcing to writers – try to choose something that is easy to write about, and not technically daunting.
- Something people are passionate about. People want to buy websites about subjects that they are passionate about. Remember – most people buying websites want to buy turnkey businesses, and as a result will be looking for something that they can see themselves dedicating their time too. People chase dreams.
- Multiple monetization methods. In the end, the monthly income of a website is what is going to fuel the overall price tag. While building the site, you should be testing multiple monetization methods (Adsense, affiliate sales, eBooks, physical products, etc) to see what yields the best results.
It is very important that you choose a niche that people are passionate about. Examples of good niche choices include websites about popular products, electronics, cigars, fashion, recipes, etc. Examples of bad niche choices might include products that are too specific like baby blankets or outdoor BBQ sets. In both of those cases, you would be better served creating a motherhood blog or general BBQ blog. The goal here is to think broad. No one wants to write about outdoor BBQ sets for the rest of their life, but the might want to write about BBQing in general.
The choice of niche is actually less important than you might think. Yes, it does matter. But, the main thing here is that we choose an attractive subject in a niche that we could reasonably expect to compete within.
Step 2: Finding a Domain
In many ways, the choice of domain is just as important as choosing the niche.
We are selling a brand here – not just a website.
Your Domain SHOULD be:
- Short. Try to limit yourself to 6-8 characters in total. Sometimes it can be more difficult than it looks to find a short, attractive domain.
- Easily memorized. Choose a domain that is easy to memorize. Direct traffic is huge for online magazines. Remember that it is possible to choose a short domain that is difficult to memorize. Who would remember “3xz89.com”?
- Is aged, with PR. Although you can start from scratch, it makes the entire process so much easier when you are able to start with a domain that already has some decent links and PR. I like to use GoDaddy auctions for this purpose.
- Is brandable. It is so important that you choose a brandable domain. People want to buy a long term business – not a short term informational website.
Once you find a domain – then the real work can begin.
Step 3: Setup WordPress on Your Domain
Although there are many different CMS systems, I find that WordPress is the easiest to use, and also the best choice for flipping purposes.
People are familiar with WordPress. A much smaller number of individuals are going to be familiar with Joomla and other alternatives.
If you have never setup WordPress before, I would recommend reading this page; Installing WordPress.
Then, choose a theme. Make sure that the theme is relatively basic, and attractive – with plenty of space to test out various advertising methods. You want to make sure that you have enough room to test out in-content ads, sidebar ads, and popup ads without interupting the user too much. Your website should look professional.
There are a ton of excellent WordPress magazine themes.
Step 4: Outsource Custom Graphics
It is important to remember that when creating a brand – you need to make the brand look unique. The best way to take some simple branding steps is through the outsourcing of custom graphics.
I like to use Fiverr for cheap and effective graphics.
Pick up a logo, some vectors, and other promotional materials that you can use in your initial branding efforts.
If you have the time, pick up some infographics as well. You may not need them initially, but they will be excellent promotional materials later on in the process.
Step 5: Quality Content
The most important aspect of your website is going to be the content. Take some time snooping around some of the larger blogs in your niche to get a good idea of what kind of content is often shared and popular.
It doesn’t really matter if you choose to write the content yourself, or outsource it. When outsourcing, I always tell clients that it is best to give full outlines of the articles you want written, including sub-sections. This helps to keep a consistency to the writing, which helps to further establish a brand.
A Few Rules for Content Creation:
- Publish articles 2-3 times weekly. We are trying to create a readership here. We want to ensure that we publish articles often enough to keep people coming back. Additionally, it is hard to create the quick leverage that we are looking for without regular uploads.
- Write long posts if the subject matter calls for it. Don’t be afraid to write posts that are 1,000-2,000 words long. Not all subjects require long posts – but make sure that you are creating value and giving a full picture of the subject that you claim to be covering.
- Making sure they are share-worthy. Personally, I am not a big fan of websites like UpRoxx, Viral Nova or other clickbait sites, but they are successful for a reason. Examine why it is that these websites have continued to grow, and evaluate how you can incorporate their tactics into your own website.
- Facilitate sharing. Make it easy for your readers to share your content. Create a simple and straightforward button that they can click when attempting to share your content.
A steady stream of high quality content is absolutely required to flip these websites. The goal is to create an ongoing readership that comes back to your website on their own accord. Grow an email marketing list. Grow your social media account. All of the assets will make your website more attractive during the selling process.
Step 6: Create Social Assets
It is important that you grow social assets before attempting to sell the website. Now, a social presence can be valuable, but is definitely over-valued by your average purchaser. Social assets present social acceptance, and presence.
Create a Facebook page, and drive some Likes to it through PPC campaigns. Campaigns like “Like this for instant access to ___” have always been successful for me.
Create a Twitter account and start following people in your industry. Use Hootsuite to setup your social posts for weeks or months in advance, and use a WordPress plugin to ensure that your account auto-posts any new content to your social media profiles.
Create a YouTube account and create niche-related videos. Optimize those videos for search on YouTube.
Create a SoundCloud account and upload some audio related to your niche. Like other audio. Participate in discussion.
Once you have created these assets – promote them all over your website! Make your social following look as legitimate and integrated into your website as possible.
Creating these profiles can be very time consuming, but will pay off handsomely when you attempt to flip the website at a later date.
Step 7: Use a Responsive Theme
Buyers are suckers for mobile sites and responsive themes.
They view it as that much less work that they will need to do themselves.
A lot of WordPress themes will feature responsive features, and this can be a great selling point when you go to list your website.
Use this as another way to drum up interest, even though it’s pretty standard these days.
Step 8: Create a Free Mobile App
Use AppMakr or a similar tool to create a simple, straightforward mobile app that shares your content with those that download it.
It’s a free, efficient way to boost the value of your website and appeal to those that might consider purchasing it.
It doesn’t take too long and gives your listing a more professional look overall.
Step 9: SEO
Then it is time to begin optimizing your website. There are many things that need to be taken into account. You should conduct the typical keyword research, and then begin both the on and off site promotion.
For keyword research, I suggest reading this guide at Backlinko, which is the best that I have come across.
For on-site optmization, I suggest you read our on-site SEO guide we recently published.
For building backlinks, follow the strategies outlined in our guide to building effective first tier backlinks.
Combining these guides should give you an effective SEO strategy that culminates in more of an overall marketing effort. Our guide to first tier backlinks goes over how to effectively and actively promote your website across a wide variety of different platforms, which of course is what we all want.
Step 10: Monetize and Split Test
Throughout the life of the site you should be monetizing, and split testing different monetization methods. Once you find the sweet spot – you can lay back and try to grow your traffic numbers.
Try Everything! Adsense, affiliate ads, selling advertising, etc. There is no reason not to see if a product works for you.
Additionally, you can use the split testing process as a selling point. People like to know that work has been done for them.
By that same token though, make sure that you are selling your website as having potential. Everyone wants to buy a website that they believe could perform better with the right tweaks, so in some cases it may be ideal for you to undersell your split testing efforts.
Step 11: List Your Site on Flippa
I usually try to flip a website 6-12 months after acquiring it.
I usually list them on Flippa, using a premium listing and a 7-day auction. I choose the shorter auctions because it forces bidders to place their bid quickly. If you give them too long, they may be interested in placing a bid but decide to wait a week before doing so – then forget about the listing altogether.
In your listing, include stats. Show your revenue and speculate on ways in which it could be improved. Show that the purchase of your website has the potential to be one of the best decisions they have ever made.
Flipping websites can be highly lucrative, especially for those that have scaled up their passive income operations.
The idea here is not that you are just building a website – you are building a high quality brand that someone could see devoting their life to.
Choose subjects that people are passionate about. Build high quality, useful websites about those subjects. Grow the assets related to that website, and watch as the bids roll in.