Do you own a website with stable traffic and revenue, but have grown tired of maintaining it, don’t know how to take it to the next level, or you could simply use some extra cash? If you answered yes, you might want to consider selling your website.
Website flipping, as it is affectionately termed, is a quickly growing industry that allows owners of websites and web businesses to easily liquidate their online assets. With over 600,000 users and upwards of $140,000,000 in transactions processed to date, Flippa is universally regarded as the premiere destination for selling websites. Sellers on Flippa list their websites up for sale in eBay style auctions where buyers looking to make acquisitions have the opportunity to place a bid.
Sites sold on Flippa include the massively popular ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com sold for $85,000 in January 2015, the viral news publisher The Inquisitr for $330,000 in May 2011, and even FaceMash, which was originally launched by Mark Zuckerberg and sold on Flippa for $30,000 in 2010.
So, it’s clear that Flippa is the premiere destination for web entrepreneurs, but how does one actually go about selling a website on the platform? Check out the following tips and tricks that can help you successfully sell your website.
Preparing your site for sale is a key step in the process of selling a website. The reason being that when it comes time to list your site for sale, the more information you provide the more confidence buyer will have in the listing. In order to provide the right information, it is crucial that you have several things in place before you. Of course, the two most important things you will want to keep track of are traffic and revenue. Keeping detailed records of both of these metrics is essential to a successful sale.
When it comes to monitoring and analyzing your traffic, Google Analytics is the industry standard. One of the great things about Google Analytics is that the platform easily allows for website owners to provide access to traffic data to interested buyers. Quite frankly, you should have Google Analytics installed on all of your websites from the moment you launch them. Before selling a website you should aim to have at least 12 months of Google Analytics data.
As far as revenue goes, it is vital that you keep accurate records of all revenue and expenses month by month. By far, the number one thing buyers consider when valuing a website is profit, and without accurate financial records you are simply not going to be able to accurately convey the value of the site. In addition to keeping accurate records, make sure that your records are provable. To do this keep separate accounts for your web businesses, take advantage of backend sales reports, and avoid migrating platforms without saving all financial data beforehand.
Before selling your site, you will want to get a general idea of what it can potentially sell for at auction. Typically, websites sell at a multiple of between 1x to 3x yearly profit. Of course, there are countless websites that sell below this range, there are wild fluctuations within the range, and there are even websites that sell for above this range. The more stable, sustainable, and unique the business the higher it should sell for. All of that said, the only way to get a true valuation is to list your site for sale and let the market decide.
Setting Up Your Auction
Flippa makes it easy to set up an auction for your website. You’ll be prompted to provide historical information about your site as well as detailed traffic and financial information. The more transparent and open you can be the better, as buyers are unlikely to place a bid on an auction in which the seller is withholding pertinent information about the site.
This is your opportunity to sell. Remember the person who will read this listing description is evaluating this as a business, so instead of attempting to sell them with superfluous and unnecessary language, try to sell them on the facts. Make sure to discuss factors about your website such as the business model, monetization method(s), marketing efforts, challenges, future opportunities, and the reason why you are selling.
Regardless of how the auction starts out, avoid jumping the gun and getting discouraged. Most bids typically come in the final 24 hours of an auction. If you list your site for sale, be prepared to stick it out to the end. The most important thing to remember is to stay active. Sellers that fail to respond in a timely manner to questions, or sellers that are clearly evasive almost always get called out on it and this leaves a bad taste in the mouth of potential buyers. Remember, you want to leave a good impression, because buyers are not only evaluating the business, they’re evaluating whether or not they would be comfortable doing business with you. In short, always put your best foot forward.
So, your site just sold to the high bidder, what comes next? You’re not quite done yet. It’s just as crucial that you remain involved and active in the post-sale process, as this will significantly reduce the chances of your sale falling through. The first thing you will want to determine is how the buyer will pay for the asset. It is ALWAYS recommended that you accept payment via escrow, as this is the safest option for both parties. Flippa offers a free escrow service, so it’s really the only option you should be using.
Once the money has been placed securely into escrow, you should be notified via email. At that point you can begin transferring the assets of the business over to the buyer. After the transfer of assets is complete, escrow should release the funds to you, and it may take 3 to 5 business days for the funds to clear into your account.
An auction for an online business is a bit like a marathon. It’s a long and arduous process that will require significant involvement on your end. You should make sure that you have enough time to participate fully or you risk selling your site for less than it is worth. However, if you have legitimate money making web business, and you follow some of the tips and tricks above, you should have no issues in achieving a successful sale and putting cash in your pocket.