People have turned the concept of flipping items for cash into an art form. You buy cheap yard sale items and fix them up, only to sell them and make a quick profit. Some people even choose to take on the big risks of flipping houses or properties. If you're a whiz with WordPress or have some HTML skills, you can use that knowledge to do some flipping of your own. But this time it’s in the form of a website. By purchasing websites that are struggling, you can “fix them up” and sell them for a profit. Here's how the pros do it:
Research Before You Buy
You'll want to conduct your due diligence on any website before you purchase it. When a website goes up for sale, you'll be given a lot of numbers and statistics related to it. Analyze things like the amount of traffic the site is getting, keyword usage, search engine optimization and its target niche. Think about whether the site can be improved and in what ways you can improve it. For example, you could spruce up a website so it looks like the latest technological wonder in Web 2.0, but if it's selling a product that has too much established competition, it might not be worth.
Look at the sites you're considering and analyze it from a user standpoint. Are there ways you could improve it to make it more user-friendly? Is the color scheme or graphic design wrong based on the product the site is trying to sell? Above all else, be honest about your own skills and whether or not you'll be able to improve a site.
Where to Buy Websites
Some people sell their websites because they've put a lot of work into them but just don't have the time to take it to the next level. Others burn out and decide to throw in the towel. Whatever the reason, you need to find those sites before you can purchase them. Flippa is a site that works similarly to eBay, but it deals exclusively in websites and domain names. It provides lots of metrics about the sites that will help you to decide whether to purchase them or not. SitePaw and WebsiteBroker.com are two more examples. SitePaw and Flippa both work on a bid system, so you'll be competing with other buyers. With WebsiteBroker.com, the sellers put up an asking price and you can make them an offer.
Tips for Improving a Site
Once you purchase a website and you have all the login information, you can get to work on improving it. Here are some of the top things to look at when sprucing up a site:
- New Graphics: When people build their own websites, they're often using stock photos and graphics to keep their costs down. If you know how to use Photoshop or how to design your own graphics, start with improving the overall site presentation.
- Proofread: This gets into the presentation aspect as well. Most websites will have typos on them, and some will have a lot of errors. This takes away credibility as far as the readers are concerned, and it's an easy fix if you're good with grammar and spelling. (Pasting the content into your word processing program can help you spot errors if needed.)
- Social Media Update: Most businesses cross promote their sites on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. It's an effective way to bring new traffic to a business, and if the website you've purchased doesn't have these integrated, do it. Set up the alternate pages, post updates to them and assign widgets and graphics to the site to direct users to those accounts.
- Content Flow: Is it easy for the reader to get from Point A to Point B and make a purchase on the site? If using it is frustrating to you, it will be frustrating to other readers as well. Work on improving the content flow and usability of the site.
- SEO Update: There are still people out there who fail to do any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work with their sites. When you were researching the site to purchase it, and it didn't have good keyword usage or if it could be improved, this is another important area to update.
- Sell Advertising: Once you have the site traffic improved, think about ways to set up affiliate programs or sell advertising space on it. If you can get the website to a point where it's generating revenue from sponsors, you can ask for a higher price on it when it comes time to sell.
Time to Flip the Website
When it's time to sell, calculate how much you want to set for an asking price. One way to do it is to figure out how much revenue the site is making, and multiply that by 12 or 24 months. You might also want to add an hourly wage to the price, based on how much time you spent improving it.
You may want to avoid using a bidding site to sell. Maybe you'd get a high purchase price there, but you never know. Try to sell it on a site where you can ask a fixed price for it (note that these businesses usually take a commission on the sale). You can also send out a notice to the mailing list for the site you've improved. A customer or fan of the site may want to purchase it.
Provide all of the metrics for the site that you can when trying to sell it, such as revenues generated, traffic, click-throughs and so on. Another tip that the pros recommend is that you make yourself available to the new owner for a few months after the sale. If they have any questions about using the site the way you've set it up, and you can answer those questions, it will help set their mind at ease.
Flipping websites for extra cash can be a great way to make some money from home if you have the right skills. Some sites can be purchased for as low as $150, or sometimes even less. If you put the work in to turn it around, you can flip the site for a profit of several thousand dollars in some cases.