Who says you need to own a house to make money from flipping? Heck, you don’t even need to own anything “physical” to earn a profit. These days you can just buy an affordable website, make it better, and re-sell it for a profit. Rinse and repeat. And voilà, you have a profitable website flipping business that makes you additional or even a full-time income.
“Um, Adeel – I’ve never flipped websites before, so I’m not sure of the ROI…” Don’t worry; this is a business with big potential. Countless people have successfully flipped websites for huge returns.
As long as you’re prepared to put in the work, website flipping can be a lucrative business to pursue.
In this post, I’ll discuss everything you need to know to start a website flipping business. Whether you’re brand new to the world of flipping or you’re ready to hit the ground running, this guide has more than enough info to get you started.
What Is Website Flipping?
Website flipping is the practice of buying an existing website, improving it to increase its value, and then selling it at a higher price.
The concept comes from the real estate market where people will buy a home and renovate it to sell it for a profit.
Unlike house flipping, however, website flipping has a low barrier to entry and can be pursued by just about anybody. All you need are basic website management skills. Plus, this is something you can do from home in your spare time (in house flipping, you’d have to visit the property, keep tabs on realtors, and whatnot).
It’s worth mentioning that website flipping involves buying a website rather than building one from scratch. While you’ll need to invest some money upfront, the work required is way less than what’s involved in creating websites.
How Much Money Do I Need to Start Flipping Websites?
Honestly, you can launch a website flipping business with as little as $100. The investment would get you a pre-made site or online store that’s generating between $5 to $15 per month.
Of course, higher-earning websites cost more and often sell with the benefit of having a large customer base. Website owners regularly optimize these sites for design, content, SEO, etc. so you’ll just need to focus on what’s already working without worrying about the structure. The price of high-income websites varies but is usually in thousands.
You can also choose to buy an aged website – these sites are typically 1-10 years old and have decent earnings. The cost of such websites is around a couple thousand dollars.
Getting Started with Website Flipping
Now that you understand how website flipping works let’s look at the steps involved in its execution.
To make the learning process easier, let’s break it down into three parts:
1. Buying a Website
Back when website flipping was still new, you only had people selling Google AdSense and affiliate marketing sites in private groups. Today, you can choose from many different site types, and you can purchase through a marketplace.
Start by exploring the big marketplaces and platforms out there, like here on Exchange Marketplace.
The key benefit of buying a site through a marketplace is security. Unlike private groups and forums, they have processes in place to prevent fraudulent listings – for example, Exchange reviews listings for accurate and thorough information.
There are hundreds of websites to choose from, so you should do your research before buying one for your business. Below are some factors to consider when browsing a marketplace for a website purchase:
Your website niche is your business category or site topic. That can be anything from technology to frugal living to clothing, and everything in between.
While it’s always best to go with a niche that aligns with your interests, you may also want to check out profitable niches. These make it easy to run a website flipping business because they have a sizeable demand.
Some high-demand niches to consider are:
- Women’s fashion
- Personal finance
- Pet products
- Beauty items
- Home improvement
- Smart accessories
You can also buy a micro-niche website if you have knowledge and experience in a particular sub-category.
For example, if women’s fashion is your preference, an online store that sells female sports clothing might interest you.
When you find a website that’s specific to your interests, spend some time evaluating its domain.
Sometimes the domain itself will be worth thousands of dollars. Factors that increase the value a domain include:
- Search friendliness
Website traffic is perhaps the most crucial aspect of website flipping due diligence.
Check the traffic of the site to see if there are any periods where traffic was down.
A significant dip in traffic may indicate a Google penalty, though periods of economic downturns may also lead to a decline.
You can ask the seller for Google Search Console access and analyze this under the “manual actions” section.
If the site hasn’t been penalized, the cause of low traffic could be a lack of high-quality content or poorly run marketing campaigns. Issues like these are easily solvable, so you may be able to flip the website for a hefty profit.
Website age is an indication of how long the person behind it has been in business.
Older websites are generally considered to be a safe investment as they tend to have greater visibility in search engines and an established customer base.
You can find out the age of a website through a domain age checker. Most marketplaces will also provide you with this information.
It’s also important to look at a revenue graph of the website before making a purchase decision.
A consistent decline in revenue over the past 6-12 months may indicate that the site is around a fad or an outdated niche.
In contrast, a steady increase in revenue may indicate a growing demand for the website’s products or services.
You’ll also want to see what other assets you’re getting in addition to the website.
For example, some website owners will provide you with the original .psd file for the website’s logo as well as other branded items.
Others may give you their email list (remember, the money is in the list!), product inventory, and supplier contact information.
Make sure that you have a good idea of what you are and are not getting. After all, some assets could be a goldmine for your website flipping business. An email list, for instance, provides an existing audience that you can convert with new offers and promotional campaigns.
All of these things play an essential role in determining the potential of a website. So, once you’re satisfied that you have identified a business of high potential, go ahead and make that purchase!
2. Improving a Website to Increase Its Value
Okay, you’ve just bought a new website. Now it’s time to improve it so you can sell it for a profit. Here are some strategies:
Work on your SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) improves your site’s chances of ranking higher in search engines. The higher your rank, the more likely somebody will purchase your website for a high price.
An easy way to improve your SEO is to include relevant keywords in your content. For example, an online store about jewelry can consist of keywords like “best women’s jewelry” and “latest dazzling earrings” in their product descriptions. As your site slowly gains authority in search engines, you can gradually improve your website flipping profit potential.
Another way to enhance your site’s SEO is by guest posting on other websites. To make the most of this strategy, make sure the site you post on is authoritative, and include a link back to your site so you can increase your search visibility.
Publish high-quality content
One of the best ways to increase the revenue potential of your website flipping business is to create high-quality content.
Nearly every type of website can improve with better content. If you’ve purchased a product review website, for instance, you can publish better-quality reviews that cover all the aspects of a particular item. You can also add new sections to existing reviews, cite use cases, and publish FAQs on the site.
If you don’t have the talent or time to write, search for quality and affordable writers on sites like:
However, content doesn’t always need to be in the form of words. Great visual content, like product images and videos, also drive visitor engagement. Ecommerce site owners can use their smartphones to shoot product photos and then edit them using tools like Photoshop or Canva. You may also be able to find professional photos of your products on Burst.
Improve existing revenue
It’s also crucial to improve the income of your site before you list it on a website flipping marketplace.
You can do this with the help of marketing activities that encourage visitors to take action.
For example, you can offer some incentives to people who’ve never bought anything from your website. It can be something like free shipping, a free gift with purchase, or a discount.
Those who’ve acquired an email list along with the site can use tactics like email segmentation and cross-selling to improve their website flipping business revenue further.
Besides marketing, consider adding new monetization channels to create new revenue streams. For example, you can monetize a blog by placing affiliate links, through sponsored content, by selling coaching services, and more.
It’s even possible to create additional revenue streams for an ecommerce store that just makes money through direct sales. For example, you can run pay-per-click ads in your sidebar and offer paid after-sales services for whatever products you’re selling.
3. Selling or Flipping Website for a Profit
Selling is the most exciting part of owning a website flipping business.
Selling a website requires you to go through the same process you would follow for selling any other online business – it needs to be marketed to a targeted audience.
Fortunately, targeted buyers are present on the same website flipping platforms you used to purchase a website.
For instance, Exchange allows you to list Shopify stores in its marketplace, and it also promotes listed stores to a 400k+ mailing list.
Of course, you’ll still need to make your website listing attractive. Here are some ways to do just that:
Build trust with buyers
Most buyers just want to get a transparent picture of your business. You can paint one through a description of what your business does, why you’re selling it, and how much the buyer can expect to earn after the acquisition.
I also recommend including screenshots that show your site’s revenue, listing all of the secondary assets, and sharing a brief story of yourself when listing the website. In essence, this will help inform buyers about your website’s standing, and will help them decide if they want to make a purchase.
Demand a fair price
Unless you’re doing something innovative, it’s best to go with the “sweet spot” where both you and the buyer feel the price is justified.
Websites usually sell for a value that’s equal to their 10-24 months’ monthly profit. If you make $2000 a month after all expenses, it’s fair to demand $20,000 to $48,000 from the buyer.
If you’re unsure, research what similar websites have sold for on website flipping marketplaces.
Note: If you come across a website valuation tool, take the selling price they generate with a pinch of salt because they’re missing several essential parts that determine a site’s value.
Spread the word
After your website goes up on a marketplace, promote the heck out of the listing.
Blog about it and tell your audience to share it with their friends and family. Participate in Facebook groups and mention the listing. Tell your email list that you’re selling the site they’ve come to know and love so well.
You can even appear on a podcast and guest post on another blog. Go nuts.
Website Flipping Is the Business for You
Okay, that’s it – now you know everything there is to know to get started with website flipping.
While the business model can take a good amount of work to execute well, it is not that difficult, and the profits can be extremely enticing.
Also, you can always take a website flipping course to get some practical experience under your belt before you take the leap. There are many courses on website flipping.
But even without taking a course, you’ll find it easy to learn the process.
Did you find this website flipping guide helpful? Let us know in the comments section below.