Website flipping may sound like a new concept, but it has been a lucrative practice for decades now. The process is similar to buying a house, renovating it, and then selling it for a profit.
Flipping websites (also referred to as “restoring websites”) requires some foundational knowledge before you get started. If you’re eager to explore the nuanced art of website flipping, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we explore what it means to flip websites, offer helpful tips and considerations, and cover the best online marketplaces for selling flipped websites.
What Is Website Flipping?
Website flipping involves buying a pre-existing website, improving it, and then selling it for a profit. Such websites are usually dormant, and the buyer’s job is to optimize and improve them to bring more traffic to the website.
Flipping websites can be profitable whether you’re dealing with huge websites or smaller ones. As a general rule, larger websites require less effort and can generate sizable profits.
Furthermore, it’s capable of generating huge profits, as you can buy a website for $100 and sell it for 10 times as much. With the right niche and focused techniques, website flipping can be an ideal source of regular, monthly income.
The 3 Types of Website Flipping
Restoring or flipping websites can take the following three forms:
Flipping for Beginners
For starters, this viable business concept entails creating a website from the ground up, marketing it, and then selling it after it has gained traction.
While this approach takes longer, it gives you significant control over the website's course, configuration, and interest areas. It’s a valuable way to learn the ins and outs of website flipping without the pressures and frustrations of taking on someone else’s muddled site.
This is the most popular business model for flipping websites. First, you buy a website that has some potential, then improve it as quickly as possible using optimization tools like Google Analytics.
Finally, you simply sell it for a higher price than you bought it for, taking into account the time and resources you invested, as well as your desired profit margin.
This is a common practice wherein you purchase a website for the established monthly recurring income it generates, then grow it as a long-term investment.
Investors who do this often keep the platform for years, profiting from its revenue potential. Then they sell it at a higher price once it hits a market threshold. This is comparable to holding a real estate property for its revenue gains before selling it for capital profits.
How to Flip Websites: 4 Simple Steps
Now that you have a better grasp on website flipping, you might be interested in trying it out. However, before getting started, it’s important to learn these basic rules designed to help any novice succeed.
Here are a few essential steps to follow if you want to flip websites successfully:
Choose a Lucrative Niche
The value of your website will ultimately be determined by how popular it is and how much traffic it brings in. Therefore, if the niche that you choose is well established, it will likely be easier for you to generate more profits.
There are a few important things to consider before picking a niche:
- Choose a niche that falls under the umbrella of a steady market. As of now, digital marketing, eCommerce sites, online businesses, affiliate products, physical products, and stocks can generate decent traffic and create consistent revenue streams. Once established, your domains can be leveraged to generate advertising revenue.
- If you’re going to be flipping websites, it’s important to make them mobile-friendly. With the online world frequently accommodating smartphone usage, a website that’s optimized for mobile users will see more successful traffic and conversions.
- When it comes to flipping websites, it's best to avoid attracting a new audience altogether. Instead, consider focusing on a niche or sector that already has a sizable audience to tap into. Also, entering a niche that you’re already familiar with will save both time and effort.
Evaluate the Website
Avoid purchasing websites that look like blank canvases. These will essentially require you to start from scratch. Evaluate all the websites for sale in your chosen niche before making a hasty decision.
When evaluating a website, the traffic, type of content available, the authority of the domain, email list, and keyword rankings are a few things you should consider.
Additionally, research the market, niche, and website to confirm that they have a viable future. A thorough SEO audit will reveal any content gaps, and you can easily start improving specific issues of the website.
Start Improving It
Once you have selected the best website, it’s time to start the improvement process.
Every flipping process will be unique. Each endeavor will involve improving different aspects, but the main goal will always be the same: to increase traffic and make more money from that traffic than before.
There are many strategic ways to increase your traffic. You can:
- Research and capitalize on targeted keywords
- Add affiliate links
- Redirect your social media audience to your website
- Utilize various SEO techniques, such as adding external and internal links
- Generate quality backlinks
- Produce quality content
- Use a content management system to improve the domain
- Optimize the mobile user experience
You can also multiply your streams of revenue by appealing to the same traffic you already have by introducing products like subscription services, podcasts, and much more. The more expertise and knowledge you have about the improvement strategies you choose, the more revenue you will be able to generate.
Put Your Website Up for Sale
Once you’ve improved your website and start enjoying the results, you can shift your focus to selling your website. Conveniently, you can sell your websites on the same websites you bought them from.
When you are listing your website for sale on any online directory, be as descriptive as possible. You don’t have to go overboard about how good your website is, as this may make potential buyers skeptical.
Some sellers also include a small footnote or pop-up message on their websites saying “for sale.” This makes it possible to sell the website directly, without any intermediaries.
While selling, make sure to be responsive to your potential buyers. Always be clear and concise as to what you want and what they would receive.
Additional Tips for Website Flipping
Here are a few more tips that could come in handy if you are just starting on your journey of website flipping:
- Don’t try to sell your website impulsively. To get the best price for a domain name, you might need to hold onto it for weeks, months, or even years, especially if the domain name has high potential value for your niche. A long-term, big-picture approach can yield much larger profits than the short game.
- You can purchase a website with a popular domain, regardless of what it’s about. The domain's considerable valuation will continue to rise in the future.
- Buy a website that will require the least amount of effort to flip. The more effort you invest, the more you’ll want to sell it for, which will reduce the number of potential customers.
- Ask an expert to evaluate the price of your flipped website instead of making estimates yourself. A professional’s unbiased opinion will help you arrive at an appropriate price.
Buying Versus Building Websites
Building a website can feel like building a home from square one. You’ll probably spend a lot of time building it, you’ll encounter some unanticipated obstacles, and it may take a while to gain traction.
Keep in mind that a new website will rarely rank highly or even show up on search engines. Begin by picking a niche, and from there, develop strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. Improved rankings will follow later.
When it comes to buying an up-and-running website, the groundwork will already be done for you. The previous website owner would have laid a foundation and probably established some amount of traffic.
This convenient foundation, even if it’s messy, allows you to expand the site more quickly than if you were starting from scratch with a brand new or parked domain. Thanks to that infrastructure, you can skip to the fun part: improving the website to increase sales.
To do so, your top priority must be optimizing the website using Search Engine Optimization tools, link building (including external links), and developing a decent backlink profile.
The 6 Best Marketplaces for Website Flipping
There are various online marketplaces where you can register and sell your website. It is essential to choose a good, reputable platform for receiving competitive bids or offers for your intended sale at a reasonable price.
Here is a list of some of the best marketplaces for marketing the website(s) you’ve flipped:
Founded in 2013 by Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti, Empire Flippers boast of an impressive 88% success rate when it comes to buying and selling established businesses. As a seller, it will take you anywhere from just a few days to a few weeks to sell your website.
Empire Flippers focuses more on quality than quantity. At a time, you might not find more than 100 listings, but rest assured, all of those are legitimate and highly profitable.
As a seller, you can get your business evaluated and/or vetted (there's a $297 fee for vetting). Commission rates depend on the final selling price and range between 8-15%.
If you are looking to buy/sell websites that earn around $20-$7000 per month, then Motion Invest should be your go-to marketplace.
Motion Invest has adopted a unique approach wherein they buy the websites themselves. These sites are listed under their 'Our Portfolio' option. This significantly reduces the waiting time for a seller and instills confidence in a buyer because the vetting process is foolproof. They also have a regular marketplace where sellers put their sites up for sale.
If you opt for a Direct Sale, you will not be charged with a success fee or listing fee. If you choose the Marketplace option, you will only have to pay a success fee of 15% or 20% depending on whether your site is listed above or below $20,000.
Flippa was the first website to provide a domain selling and buying platform, as well as offering assistance to entrepreneurs who wanted it. It lists tens of thousands of websites and domain names.
The auction mechanism is used to sell the sites and domains. This domain auction is conducted by bidding, in which interested buyers offer a price for the platform. The seller must accept or reject offers from buyers.
There is also an absolute fee, and if the customer pays it, the site is immediately sold to him or her, and all subsequent bids are refused. For safe payments and to prevent any fraud or scams, the platform uses escrow services.
Another common platform for selling and buying domains is Afternic. There is a range of sites that have partnered with Afternic, and once your website is listed on their platform, it will be available to all of the other buy-sell website platforms with which they have partnered.
They also have parking facilities for the domains that they have listed. The platform boasts great customer support and a committed buyer base. Luckily, this means you won’t face situations of buyers backing out of sale agreements.
However, the platform holds on to your funds for almost a week before crediting them to your account. This can prove to be a downside when comparing Afternic to its contemporaries, which facilitate same-day transfers.
Website Broker is a domain marketplace where you can sell and buy domains online. Since this site receives a lot of traffic, you should expect a decent price for your domain.
There are auctions for domains and websites, and if you wish to sell your website there, you will receive a large number of bidders.
However, the platform needs to work on its authentication process. Users have often complained about unsupportive service and dummy buyers.
Freemarket is a new website created by the same team that created freelancers.com. It is an excellent forum for users to list their websites or purchase valuable domain names.
They only charge a 5% commission per sale, ensuring that you receive a fair amount of money in your hands, as opposed to other marketplaces. Many other sites tend to charge a sizable fee when it comes to your sale proceeds in the form of commission charges.
However, the platform could benefit from some improvements in its payment and transaction systems to make it more secure for both buyers and sellers.
Final Thoughts on Flipping Websites
Website flipping can help you reap considerable profits if you do it correctly. This buy-sell approach is a tried-and-true business model that can lead to great online success.
However, the tempting profit possibilities do not make this endeavor the best fit for everyone. If you want to experience success with flipping websites, you need to have expertise in this field, a sustained desire to learn more, and a commitment to work hard for the long haul.
Be sure to reference back to this resource as you follow our helpful steps, tips, and considerations when it comes to website flipping!