August 14th, 2006
Selling or buying websites is a common business practice with webmasters nowadays.
But what are those features that make the website cheaper or more expensive? I have collected some priceless wisdom from experienced webmasters across the Internet. Feel free to add and share your tips.
Website value (focus on the upcoming two lists while developing your own websites or look for it in the websites you are about to buy):
- Opt-in mailing lists
- AdWords lists
- Copyright to content/ design
- Additional domains
- Merchant account/ stock
- Ongoing deals with advertisers
- Length of old stats available
- Free services (SEO tools, for instance)
- Where money comes from (newsletter ads, affiliate programs, AdSense, FastClick, CJ, etc)
- Where money goes to (adv, hosting, salary, other purchases)
- What’s involved into maintaining? How much time, what skills required?
- Technical info: stats, BL, # of PR8/ 7/ 6/ 5 pages, indexed page #
- Any known problems: 301, 302, SPAM blacklisted, SE bans, etc
Below is the list of questions from buyer’s point – what questions to ask if you buy or what questions to expect from a potential buyer if you sell.
Are you truly good at SEO or Search Marketing – otherwise how are you going to run/ improve the website you would like to buy?
- Unique content sold? Check it with www.copyscape.com
- Places to sell/ buy: become a regular visitor
- See what www.archive.org has to say about the website
- Domain name value: short, memorable, hard-to-misspell, related to the industry; marketability, phone test, name length, brand recognition, dot value, natural site traffic, site traffic by SE, SE popularity, linguistic value, revenue generating, comparable sales value.
- Pages indexed and backilnks (+ trend – see www.marketleap.com). Most important backlinks can come from the seller websites, he can remove them shortly. Ask.
- Proof of income/ traffic
- www.alexa.com data (Inaccurate? But better than nothing)
- What’s industry (=profit potential)
- Traffic: where comes from? What’s quality? What do they search?
- Is the website established? If it looks OK, but no traffic – avoid. Impossible to get an idea of the future profits.
- How much time to run?
- Income sources: the more the better
- Is it fun to run it?
- Current rankings. Competition ability to SEO to top 10
- Cross promotion opportunities with other websites from your portfolio
- Are there flaws in their existing PPC advertising? Could you get more ROI?
- Is there a forum or a community of website members
- Value of links. For how much can you sell links at this website (sitewide, home page)
- How long will the old owner stay on board
- How can you improve the website in the future? Optimize AdSense, new affiliate programs, more products? Remember of the Sandbox for established, but heavily SEOed websites.
- Check to avoid link schemes, cloaking, doorway pages, duplicate content, pay for PR (PFPR)
- Ask for the reason the website is sold
Normal website price: 8-12 months of its current revenue. If the owner sells the website much lower: he is a dumb or knows something the buyer does not know of the future earnings.
Buying sites: have a clear idea how they get revenue and how you will support/ update them
When buying a website with some unique idea implemented: where is the guarantee that the seller will not make the same within a few next weeks? Non-competition clause.
Summary: I have listed the tips you should refer to while evaluating a website for buying. There will come two more posts on this topic:
- I will show you best places to buy or sell websites.
- Also I will point you to the person who is really good at this – someone you can learn from.
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