How to Make Money Buying and Selling Websites


As the Philippines goes more and more digital, the opportunities for making money wherever you may be are expanding rapidly. Requiring nothing more than an internet connection, you can conceivably be working while simultaneously putting your feet up on the beautiful beaches of Palawan or diving in premier locations such as Apo Island.

And while there are many different types of businesses you can run over the internet, there are ways to make money that doesn’t even really require all that much time on your part, leaving you free to enjoy more sun, sand and delicious Filipino seafood.

All you need is a little money saved up to play with and a good idea as to what makes online businesses profitable and you can make some quality cash simply buying and selling websites online.

It’s important to note that when we say websites, we are really referring to digital businesses. The buying and selling of simple websites really aren’t all that profitable, as anyone can set these up no problem. Instead, we are talking about websites that drive revenue through any number of sources, and that can be expected to continue to do so well into the future.

So, let’s get into how you can get involved buying and selling websites so that you can begin enjoying the freedom and flexibility of working wherever there’s internet.

Understanding where websites make money

This is one of the first things you’ll want to wrap your head around when considering getting into the “website flipping” business. How the websites you are considering actually bring in revenue is a critical decision factor when the moment comes to buy.  In general, though, sites make money in one of the following ways:

  • Advertising. This is the original way websites make money. You drive traffic to your site and then sell space on it to advertisers who want access to your target audience. You make money based on how many people click on these ads, and you often make more if clicking results in a purchase. If traffic numbers are high, this can be very lucrative.
  • Affiliate marketing. Making money this way requires you finding an affiliate partner—you can either team up with a specific company or work with the Amazon or Google affiliate programs—and then marketing these products to visitors through reviews and recommendations. You make a small commission every time you make a sale. The best part of this is that order fulfillment is taken care of by someone else, helping you keep overhead costs low and profit margins high.
  • Custom products. While this method tends to have the highest margins, it’s also the most difficult to replicate. If products are digital, such as eBooks, seminars, training courses, etc., you’re in better shape, but make sure you retain those responsible for product development when you take over the site so that you aren’t starting all over again from scratch. If the site is selling physical products, be careful. Stocking and shipping inventory can get expensive and stressful. Only consider this if the site already has a good system in place. Sites that make use of Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) are usually safe, as logistics are taken care of by this internet giant.

As you can see, some revenue methods are better than others for those looking to buy then sell a website. If you can, lean towards affiliate marketing and advertising, as these will be a little less of a hassle to keep going and expand upon once you take over the business.

Become a pro at search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the premier way of making sure your website or online business makes money and continues to do so in the future. By setting up your site and its content so that it shows up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), you are ensuring that you will be able to continuously drive traffic to the site. The more people that land on your page, the more chances you will have at converting people into customers and making money.

You’ll want to make sure your well-versed in two key aspects of SEO: judging backlink profiles and recognizing keyword opportunities.

A site’s backlink profile is the number and type of sites that link to it, and it’s a key way Google and other search engines decide where you should be placed on its SERPs. But remember, quality is just as important as quantity. If a site has thousands of backlinks, but many of them are spammy or unrelated, Google will penalize this. Having fewer links from high-authority sites will prove to be much more valuable.

The next thing you’ll want to get good at is keyword research. The majority of your site’s traffic will come from organic search, so the way to replicate and expand upon the success of a website you buy will be through exploiting untapped keywords. There are usually always search terms a site is not going after, and optimizing content for these is how you’ll be able to make sure traffic numbers, and revenues, keep rising after you take over.

The other aspect of search engines you’ll want to look at is Pay-Per-Click (PPC). These are the search results that turn up at the top of SERPs with the “ad” label. They work by you bidding on certain search terms, agreeing to pay every time someone clicks on one of these ads. It’s a bit more expensive than SEO, but it can be quite profitable. Consider working with a PPC management agency, as these firms are entirely focused on finding quality keywords and ensuring you are getting the best value.

Look for sites that run on their own

When buying and selling websites, remember that you are not really going to be spending much time actually building the site. Instead, you are taking it over, building upon it and then selling it again for a higher price. As a result, you want to try and find sites that are already being run relatively smoothly.

Ask to see records and do a thorough check of the business processes they are using to function. Sites that have teams already in place for things such as content creation and link building are going to be more attractive, as you can retain these individuals and build upon their expertise.

This is another reason why SEO is important. Once you get things set up, it kind of works by itself, so all you need to do is make sure you are still attracting links and that your content is updated. From there, traffic will keep pouring in.

Know where to buy and sell

With so many websites out there, it can be hard to find ones that are really worth your time and money. There are a couple of different ways in which you can locate them, though. For example, when buying a website, one of the best places to look is Flippa. This is essentially a website auction site. You look for sites that people are selling and then bid on them according to what you think they’re worth. It’s a great way to get a bargain.

However, for this very same reason, this might not be the best place to turn around and sell your business. Buyers on Flippa are looking for the same thing you are: a deal. They aren’t usually looking to pay full price for a site based on its value.

Instead, consider working with a website broker. They will help you put an attractive price tag on your site, and then they will use their network and marketing abilities to find you a buyer looking to pay what the site is actually worth.

Understand where a website gets its value

Last but not least, you’ll want to become an expert in business value. There are lots of things that go into determining business value, such as sales, revenues, records, risk factors, businesses processes, and so on. The general rule of thumb is that a business is worth 2.5 times its yearly revenue, but this will fluctuate according to the factors we just mentioned.

This is helpful for both the buying and selling side of this business. It will help you make competitive yet realistic offers, and it will also give you an idea as to how much you should expect when the time finally comes to sell your website and cash in on your investment.

Final thoughts

If you can become familiar with these different aspects of buying and selling websites, then you are well on your way to becoming a professional website flipper. There will certainly be some growing pains. Every niche and every website is a bit different, but keep these core principles in mind and you will be one step closer to making money completely free of geographic location.

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