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How to make money flipping websites

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 2 5

Many people are familiar with the concept of flipping real estate for a profit - buying an undervalued property in poor condition, spending some money fixing the property and then attempting to sell it for a quick profit. The internet is still fairly new but buying and selling websites is often likened to flipping real property and real estate.

Google loves older sites and tends to rank them higher in the search engines. Many websites were created as hobbies, using simple design programs like Microsoft Front page. There is no problem with the content, but the designs often look very outdated.

Often these older sites have thousands of incoming links, built up slowly over time. Along with the age of a domain, Google uses these factors in deciding which website should appear first, especially the incoming links.

These hobby websites aren't updated by the owner and contain little advertising. These type of websites are the best type of sites to look for - they rank well in Google, have lots of incoming links and don't have much advertising. The owners could potentially be sitting on a gold mine without even realizing it.

Admittedly, these sites are difficult to find nowadays, but they are still out there. How can you find these websites, I hear you ask. One of the best ways is probably to pick a niche and just do searches on keywords related to that niche. Look in the top ten sites and see what sites appear in the top results.

If you do find a gem, use a free email address like Yahoo or Hotmail, rather than your company address and email the owner to see if they might be interested in selling. If you can't find an email address or contact number, you might need to check the whois data for the domain. If you can find a contact number, you could even try calling the owner.

If the owner doesn't have a price in mind, you will need to make an offer. You don't want to obviously offer too much, but you want to make a reasonable enough offer to make them interested in selling. This is not really a beginners way of making money. You need to have some idea as to how much you might be able to make from the website. You could use the Google Adwords keyword tool to get an estimate of how much people are paying to advertise with those keywords.

If you successfully agree to a price, make sure you use a service like escrow, that doesn't release the funds to the seller until the transaction is complete. Once you have the site in your control, you can then carry out your own website makeover. Your first step should be to get some website data from the website, so you can see what keywords are being used to find the website and where the traffic is coming from.

Create a new modern design and start implementing strategies to monetize the website. If the site is static html it is important to make changes slowly to the website. Although it might be tempting to install a content management system to help manage the site, it is important not to change the URL structure, until you have a solid understanding of how the website is put together.

Once you have updated the website, you can then sit back and collect your cash or try to sell it for a profit.

The next way to make money flipping websites, is building a website from scratch, producing the content, doing some promotion and then trying to selling it. You have to be a little bit creative with this method of making money online. You need to research potentially profitable niches. There are a large number of free templates available which you can use to build your website and then you need content for the site, either written by yourself or articles that you have outsourced.

No-one is going to buy a website without any traffic, so you need to spend time building links and promoting the website. "How much traffic does the website get?" will be one of the first questions a potential buyer will ask.

You have to continually ask what value you are adding to the site, to make someone want to buy it. Since anyone can just use your idea to create their own website, you have to get the site to a point where it will difficult for someone to copy without a lot of work.

The other problem you have is that if you spend a lot of time starting a website, getting it off the ground and start monetizing it, you might then be tempted to keep the site yourself. You have to expect this to happen. If you think you can eventually make more money by keeping the site and developing it long-term, why not just keep it.

Many people try to start blogs and then sell the blog with just a few posts. Unless a blog is well established and has a large following, I don't think blogs are good websites to try and flip. One good type of website to start is where users submit content to the website. This could be a forum, classified website, job site or a dating site. If you make the site free to join and spend some time promoting it, you will get people to start using the website and it will look like an active and prosprrous website.

You can then use the membership numbers as a way to market the website. A buyer of the website then will have the opportunity to monetize the website by selling featured listings or premium accounts.

Fan websites about television programs can also be good candidates for the flipping approach. You can sell the site, when the television program is at the peak of its popularity. No matter how great a television show is, it will eventually run out of steam and the best time to sell when it is most popular.

One of the best places to buy and sell websites is sitepoint.com and its new website flippa.com. They have several categories for selling websites, including 'established sites, 'premium websites' and 'start up websites'. Your goal with trying to start and then sell a website for a quick profit is to do your best to get it into the established site category rather than the startup category to maximize your earnings. An established website needs to have between 500 and 100,000 unique visitors per month.

Flipping website is not a beginners way to make money online. For people who are creative and can come up with interesting and new ideas for a website, flipping websites can be a good way to turn a quick profit.



Sep 7, 2009 10:18am
Nice post again, Mike, as expected....there's no question that any road to money in the internet is paved with hard work and alot of competition....it certainly is possible to do it though :)
Sep 7, 2009 10:37am
Thanks for the comment. Yes you are right. Like anything in life I think you need to carve out your own little niche.
Sep 7, 2009 2:44pm
This is a great article. I am putting it in my list of favorites since I am not quite to the point of flipping websites but hope to be in the future.
Sep 7, 2009 9:17pm
Thanks for this Mike - I am seriously looking at flipping for the first time - I have learned so much the last few years - the technical stuff is easy its the sales copy I still struggle with!
Sep 7, 2009 9:38pm
Lis, I think it was your blog post that gave me the idea for this article. I hope it can provide some useful tips.
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