Do you want to jump-start your online side hustle in a big way?
Starting a brand new website from scratch is tough. I know because my first site took over two years till I was earning a small income from it, and by small I mean $100 a month.
But nonetheless, I was amazed that I was even earning that much because it was $100 I didn’t have before. However what if there was a way you could bypass all the upfront work and jump straight into the fun stuff? Buy fun stuff I mean instant traffic and income.
Enter Flippa.com. (And no this is not an ad, haha. I just really like the site.)
If you’ve never heard of Flippa it’s an online auction site people go to sell and buy websites, and recently I’ve been watching Flippa to buy a few specific sites as well.
Along the way I’ve learned a lot of great stuff on what to look for and what to avoid, so in this article, I’m going to show you how to evaluate and buy a website on Flippa.com.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Start
Before we jump into the process there are some basic questions you need to define that will help make the process go a bit smoother for you. So take a moment and define these things up front and you will likely have more success.
Do You Want To Buy A Starter Site Or An Established Site?
Flippa sells two types of sites, starter sites, and established sites.
Starter sites are brand new and likely have no traffic going to them. Flippa defines them as a site that is less than 3 months old with no traffic or revenue.
Established sites are sites that are 3 months or older and likely have traffic and are possibly earning an income.
How Much Do You Want To Pay?
Starter sites are typically cheaper starting out at around $60 to $100. Established sites can cost far more depending on the amount of traffic and how much it’s earning. Just to give you an idea ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com recently sold for $85,000.
What Payment Method Do You Want To Use?
Next you need to determine which payment methods you are will to accept. Flippa offers 3 basic choices Flippa Escrow, Escrow.com, and PayPal.com. If you’re not familiar with escrow it basically allows you to place your funds in a holding account before you make the final payment.
If your planning to spend a large amount of money you will likely want to go the escrow route.
What Kind Of Site Do You Want To Buy?
The next question you need to determine is the type of site you want to buy. For example do you want to buy a site that sells a specific service, or a site that offers a specific product, or are you looking for a site that is strictly content based such as forum or a blog.
Their are tons of ideas to choose from. However, keep in mind that just because an idea looks great on the outside doesn’t mean it will be great once you own it.
If you are having a tough time deciding I recommend that you spend some time surfing Flippa and looking at all the different types of site idea available.
Side Note: I prefer using the Flippa App on my smartphone to do this because it allows you to sort through your results faster.
A few months ago I was looking at buying a site that helped create logos for their websites call Logovations.com. I ended up turning it down for some specific reasons, I’ll share more on that in a little bit.
What Platform And Hosting Do You Need?
Next you need to decide what platform and hosting you need. For starters I personally recommend WordPress because it’s one of the simplest platforms to work with and update.
However you also need to determine the type of hosting you need. If you are looking for something cheap I recommend a shared hosting account to get started but realize that some sites may require an entire dedicated server to run and this could cost you a $100 or better a month.
If you are looking for shared hosting I recommend Bluehost, you can learn more by clicking here.
How Much Does Flippa.com Cost?
Finally, you need to consider the Flippa cost involved, and for every site sold you much pay a 10% success fee.
One last thing I want to cover before I jump into the process of buying a site on Flippa is you need to be aware of a few pitfalls.
If you spend any time on Flippa one thing you will notice is that their are a ton of duplicate sites. One of the most common I see are sites that sell Facebook likes, and Twitter followers.
I personally recommend staying away from these sites and looking for sites that are more original. I’m not saying these sites don’t work, they do, but just know that if you do buy you will want to incorporate your own unique twist to make your site stand out.
This is one of the reasons I never bought Logovations.com.
Plan Of Action
The second thing you need to beware of is the marketing plan behind the site you plan to buy. Some sites will promise some great marketing plan that will have people buying from you in no time.
If that were true why wouldn’t the people who created the site sell the service they are offering. The truth is if you are going to buy any site on Flippa you need to have a marketing plan in place.
Whether it’s a content marketing plan or marketing with Facebook ads you need to have some sort of plan in place.
This is probably the main reason I didn’t buy Logovations because I didn’t have the time to spend marketing this particular site.
Talk To The Seller
Finally, the last thing isn’t something you need to be aware of but rather something I suggest you do and that is to ask the seller questions. If you are buying a site that is more established you will want the seller to confirm his earnings and traffic numbers.
In my case when I was looking at buying Logovations I asked the seller who would be creating the logos and the seller confirmed that they have a graphics team that provides the service.
However this doesn’t mean you have to use whoever they provide, I could have provided the service myself or found my own logo designer.
How To Buy A Website On Flippa.com
Now that I’ve covered the up front stuff it’s time to get started looking for your first site to buy.
Step 1: Start Searching
The first step is to just start searching. As I mentioned earlier I like to use the Flippa mobile app. From here I also like to add sites to sites to my watch list so I can go back and review them later.
Step 2: Do Your Research
The next step is to research each individual site on your watch list. Here are a few basic things I like to do.
- Review The Current Traffic. First I like to look at how much traffic the site is getting. One thing to pay attention to is where the traffic is coming from. Some sellers like to inflate the site with paid traffic from foreign countries like India, and Pakistan. If this is the case you may want to avoid this listing. Also stay away from sites that have had sharp drops in traffic. This could be a clear sign the site was hit by a Google update and may have been penalized.
- Review The Current Income. Next you’ll want to look at the income the site is earning. Again you’ll want to stay away from sites that have inflated sales as well. Some people will make it look as if they are getting a lot of sales but once buy the site you’ll likely be left holding the hot potato.
- Do A Basic Backlink Audit. From here I like to do a basic backlink audit to see what kind of links are pointing to the site. You can do this by going to Open Site Explorer and just typing in the URL. If the site has a bunch of spammy backlinks this could spell trouble later and cause you to get hit by a Google penalty later.
- Do A Search In Alexa. The next step I like to take if the site has passed the first three steps is to do a search on Alexa.com to see what I get back. Alexa will show you all kinds of info however it will also show you an Alexa score, the lower this score the better.
- Ask The Seller Questions. Finally, if everything is looking good at this point my next step is to ask the seller questions. If the site is going for a lot of money I usually like to request a walk through on the analytic’s and earnings just to make sure. In the end for me it comes down to a gut decision, if I’m just not feeling it I move on to the next site.
Step 3: Place An Offer
If a site makes it through the research phase the next step is to place a bid. Most sites require a minimum bid to be hit before the site can be sold. Their are all kinds of strategies you can use to place your bid but I prefer to know how much I’m willing to go up to and if it goes over that amount I stop bidding.
Side Note: Don’t worry if someone places a bid at the last minute as this will add an extra hour to the auction. This way the auction will never end due to time but rather to highest bidder.
Step 4: Buy The Website
If you didn’t end up getting in a bidding war with someone else and you’ve bought the site it’s time to pay up. Once you’ve bought the site you are bound to the terms and much pay up. If you don’t pay up you could face legal action.
Step 5: Move Your Site
Finally, the last step is to move the site. I know some people like to promise you free hosting but I prefer to move the site to my own hosting account. This will require you to have your own hosting account.
I recommend Bluehost as one of the most dependable shared hosting companies out there. You can learn more by checking them out here.
You will also need to move the domain name to your own domain account as well.
Have You Ever Bought A Website On Flippa.com
Buying a website on Flippa can fast track your business but if you don’t do the research it could end up costing you big.
Now that I’ve shared my process for finding, evaluating, and buying sites on Flippa.com have you bought a site on Flippa?
Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and ideas below.