Selling your first website can be a daunting but partly fun experience. Most of that stems from the unknown of the process along with price expectancy and the risk/worry of coming up against a non-paying buyer. However, the thought of profiting from something you’ve built and the feeling of cold hard cash in your hand should usually be enough to offset some of those worries. Especially once you understand the process fully – after which you’ll be looking forward to your first sale even more so.
So that is what we’re going to discuss today, the ins and outs of selling your first website. I’ll cover the preparation, the actual sales process and finish with concluding the deal so you have the whole entire picture. So let’s begin.
This might seem like an odd thing to start with when it comes to selling your site but it’s the first thing potential buyers see. An ugly looking site for a huge percentage of prospective buyers is a huge turn off and the chances are if it’s that bad they won’t even stick around to hear about your income and traffic figures.
So if you are planning on selling, consider a design refresh. Obviously how much time and effort you spend on this will be relative to your expected sales price. There is obviously no point spending thousands or countless man hours on a design when your site is going to fetch £50. But if we’re talking thousands it might be worth a few tweaks here and there to make it that little bit prettier.
Earnings play a huge part in determining the monetary worth of a site. It has to be a pretty clued up buyer who buys something purely because it has potential. It rarely happens. And full on turn key sales don’t tend to attract more than £50 at best.
So in this case my advice is simple, don’t bother even attempting to sell your site if it’s not turning any revenue. You may as well keep it and try and get it making money yourself. That is unless you want shut of it completely and £50 seems like an attractive offer.
Most people either sell when their site is performing at its peak income wise or when they’ve noticed or anticipated a slip. Buyers know this so don’t think you can pull a fast one and sell just after a month of earnings or based any price expectancy on income from the last year, when the last month it has fell off a cliff.
Like with design, you should try and improve the entire build as much as possible. Selling a flat site for example with no content management system is a huge turn off for more than 50% of buyers. They just don’t want the hassle and would rather move onto the next opportunity. So in this case, you could spend a bit of time creating a CMS and potentially double the interest in your sale. That is time/money well spent.
Obviously this is an extreme example but any little improvements you can make around the site to make it seem like more of an attract prospect should be done.
Determining Price Point
As noted above, excluding £50/£100 site sales for turnkeys and “clones” - pretty much every site sale is based on current review. Typically, if you own and operate a regular site that relies on search/social traffic and generates its income via AdSense or affiliate sales – you can expect to yield 10 – 12 months profit. This will usually be based on an average monthly income minus expenses for the past year. Unless it’s painfully obvious that you hit a traffic peak several months ago with no additional peaks or troughs. Then it may be based on the last months profit solely.
Alternatively, if you run a website that is expected to have more longevity such as an ecommerce store with a lot of repeat customers or a paid subscription service of sorts with lots of existing members then you can expect to sell for much more. Usually between 3 – 5 years profit.
Approaching Competitors / Possible Buyers
There typically is no better buyer for your website than competitors, would be competitors or those simply in a similar niche. Before listing publicly to regular web investors, you should make a conscious effort to approach these people.
A quick Google search should yield most of them then it’s simply a case of getting in touch and revealing that you’d like to sell.
Don’t be over zealous with the information you provide potential buyers though as competitors could use that to their advantage. Knowing how much money you make and how you make it is great information to have and competitors will often pose as potential buyers just to yield it.
Listing the Site
Once your site is ready to be sold and assuming none of your competition were interested – you need to list it publicly. The best place to do this is flippa.com – that is the go to resource of the moment for site buying/sales and there is little point bothering with any others. If people are in the market for site buys, they’ll check Flippa.
The process is simply, you’ll verify that you own the site in question (usually by uploading a file) and then you’ll be able to sell your site on auction with a fixed/BIN price, regular auction or auction with a reserve set – just like eBay!
You’ll also be able to outline what your site is about, how you make your money, details of your income source and also proof of income and traffic. All this is valuable information to would be buyers so if you want to encourage a sale you’d do well to list as much as possible.
Concluding the Transaction
Using services like Flippa makes the whole process of concluding the transaction simple as they provide an in house Escrow service in which they’d hold the buyers funds whilst you transfer the site and then on completion they’d be released. This protects both buyer and seller from non-payment or non-delivery of the site in question.
If dealing privately then you’re going to need a service like Escrow.com (unless you’re really trusted or know your buyer). Be prepared however there is a fee for this service.
Whilst the process in itself remains the same, with each website you sell you’ll encounter something different. This is where experience plays a big part in the entire process. You’ll come across non-paying bidders, shill bidders, people low balling you or telling you that your price expectation is ridiculous. You’ll also have people approach you offering you deals such as 50% ownership or even wanting to pay you to keep running the site. The bottom line is you need to prepare for the unknown and unfortunately that only comes with experience.
But in terms of the basics of selling your first website, the above run down should pretty much cover things.