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5 Things You Need to Think About Before Buying an Established Website

5 Things You Need to Think About Before Buying an Established Website

If you’re thinking about starting a business or a blog, you might want to consider purchasing an established website that already has a great design and following. If you make a careful purchasing decision, it can be a great investment. However, it’s important to make smart decision as you browse for the right website. For instance, if you want to purchase a site that will do well long-term, sort your results by websites that are at least two years old. Here are five other tips for purchasing an existing website:

Buying the Website

There are two primary ways of purchasing a website. Many people start their research process by using sites like Flippa, a website marketplace where domains and existing websites are auctioned and sold. All websites require the lister to show statistics about the website, such as monthly page views and bounce rates. This gives you an idea of the website’s worth. Flippa also has a great active community that will comment if they discover any issues with the website.

Alternatively, you can choose to purchase a website privately. With this method, you would approach the owner of a website that you think has potential and request to buy them out. You would then go through an independent discovery process to see if their numbers and details coincide with the offer being made.

Think About Income Stream

When you purchase a website, most often it’s because you intend to make money from it. Therefore, you need to think about how you can generate revenue with a specific website. If the website in question is already turning a profit, this is great news. But before you make any final decisions, you should think about how you can increase those profits. Often, websites on sale on marketplaces like Flippa have done well, but the owner simply doesn’t have time for it.

Do You Know About the Niche?

Just because a potential website you’re considering has great numbers and a pretty design doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Like all businesses, you should be passionate about the subject matter and have experience or knowledge in that area. It takes much more to run a website than simply writing blog posts. If you don’t want to live and breathe the niche enough to grow the business, then you’ll fall quickly behind and the investment becomes a lost cause.

You Need to Think About Marketing

As previously mentioned, one of the best things about buying a pre-established website is that the audience is already there. This eliminates a chunk of the work for you. However, as with any business, you need to be continuously thinking about marketing and crafting creative campaigns. A great marketer doesn’t just look at one channel or one campaign. You wouldn’t post a Facebook ad and then consider the job done. It’s important to be constantly evolving.

Depending on the business, for example, you may be able to tie a great direct mail strategy with an online marketing campaign. You could use personalized envelope printing to send out mailers announcing your new business, complete with a QR code that offers potential customers a discount.

Do Some Digging

Although a webmaster provides details to Flippa, or offers you further information about their website privately, you should still do your own research. As with any normal transaction, especially between an “investor” and a business owner, you wouldn’t just take the business owner’s word for everything they say and hand over your money.

You can use the Wayback Machine as a starting point. This tool allows you to check out snapshots of a website’s past, which can ultimately affect its SEO. For example, if you purchased a nice parenting blog and discovered that it was originally built on the host as a gambling website, that wouldn’t be good.

You should also check out their SEO and traffic signals. Search engine optimization is very important and it can be difficult to spearhead a new SEO strategy for an existing site if there’s no foundation for you to build off. Using tools like SEMRush, you can uncover statistics about a website. For instance, analyzing a site’s backlinks offers plenty of insight into which sites are finding that particular site valuable. You’ll also see where all of the website’s traffic is coming from.


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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.