What is Website Flipping?

Written By Alex

In a way, websites are a form of digital property. You have to buy a domain name, develop it, and then if you choose to, you can flip it like a house. This is a potentially lucrative business model, buying on the low, putting in some work sprucing it up, and then selling to a buyer. Some people are lucky enough to buy a website for as little as a few hundred dollars, put in about a year of hard work, and earn five figures on the sale.

Read more below as we let you in on this little-known money-making opportunity that can be either a side hustle or a full-time gig.

Flipping to Turn a Profit

Flipping property and goods is nothing new, so it is a bit surprising that not many people have heard of doing the same with websites. Thanks to the advent of websites like eBay, it became much more widespread within the digital world. It is a bit of a gamble, but so is everything else in life.

Flipping tangible goods and property is profitable, but comes with a few complicating factors. When it comes to goods, it is purchasing, storing, and shipping. Yes, you can ship things halfway around the world, but it can get expensive or take a while due to customs and other factors. When it comes to property, you will likely have to be dealing with banks, utility bills, operating costs, as well as the expenditures that come with repairs and maintenance.

Owning, operating, and optimizing a website before flipping isn’t necessarily free or easy, but it does a few advantages over physical property and products. One of these benefits is the storage space: there is no physical space a website occupies! Your storage space is determined by the server space that is allotted to the site, so it doesn’t get dusty sitting on a shelf or in a box.

The second upside to flipping websites is the transferring of ownership when selling. Depending on how large the product is that you are selling and shipping, it can be expensive to ship. With properties, it becomes a tedious process that requires banks, paperwork, and other legalities. Also, transferring ownership to a buyer halfway around the world can be done from the comfort of your own home or office without having to deal with customs and lengthy transport times. If you sell your website through a broker, then a lot of the legwork is taken care of with some processing and service fees taken off the top.

Buy or Build?

When it comes to flipping websites, one of the biggest questions people ask is whether to buy or build a site. Fortunately, you can do either one. The real question you should be asking is what you would rather do.

If you have the knowledge, experience, and patience, then building a site isn’t a bad option. Like anything, building on your own can be a nice project and a sense of pride. But for those that aren’t comfortable or confident in their abilities to build a site, you can buy one through several marketplaces or brokers and improve from there.

While there is no right or wrong answer as to buy or build, let us give you some of the pros and cons to either option.

Build It

As we mentioned, starting a website from nothing can be a great project and in some cases very fun. It takes a lot of work, so be prepared for the road ahead.

If you decide to build, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration. The first and most important step to building a site to flip is to ensure that it is profitable. What we mean by this is that it gets traffic and revenue. One of the best ways to get traffic is through SEO with quality links. Your site’s profits can be either from sales of products and services or by hosting ads using Google AdSense.

Buy It

Buying an already operating website has its own benefits and pitfalls as well. Just because it is profitable and built doesn’t mean that you can necessarily just turn around and sell it to another buyer for a profit, you need to optimize it.

When buying a site, you are likely buying one that has proven that it is profitable and that it functions properly. Essentially, the foundation is already laid for you and now you need to build and expand on it. This route can be great because it saves you a lot of time figuring out the logistics upon starting up, and makes growing the website much easier and attainable.

Flipping a Website: How It Works

Flipping a website is a pretty involved process, so don’t expect to wander into the wilds of the internet and be able to find a buyer immediately. If it was that easy, then everyone would be trying to cash in on this amazing opportunity. Let’s go into a bit more detail on how flipping works.

Find a Profitable Website

By using one of the many outlets or marketplaces that list websites that are for sale, you should look for a site that is making money and is scalable. Whether the site is making money from selling products or by hosting pay-per-click ads, it should be generating a steady income with some slight variation. This also means that there should be a good amount of traffic on the website as well.

Potential for Growth

When looking to buy a site to buy and flip, you should make sure that there is room for growth. The material that the site is hosting or featuring is the main thing to look at. Make sure that it isn’t a site that sells products or has published material that is about a fad that will fade away in six months. Think about the staying power and how relevant it will be a few years down the road.

Improve It

Once you’ve settled and have found a site that ticks all your boxes, then comes the fun part: improving it. Improving a site sounds a bit ambiguous, but there are a few easy in which you can get started on this.

Start by increasing the volume of traffic that clicks on your site and monetize it. Ad hosting and paid sponsorships are great ways to bump up your profits, but you are going to need to attract visitors to the site. Take your time and go through line by line and page by page and make sure that you have optimized the site so that it will be found easily by search engines and other keyword searches.

List It For Sale

Finally, after you have taken the time to improve the site, it’s time to sell. Generally speaking, this whole process should take close to a year. When you are ready to post it to the marketplace of your choice, there are some additional steps to take for when the transition occurs.

Be sure to have all information and data regarding the site packaged up and ready for migration. This includes any email and social media accounts that are tied to the website as well. If there are any photos, graphics, or videos that are used, be sure that they are properly credited or you have the licenses and permission to use them. The handoff should also include a detailed plan for operations of the site, such as scheduled maintenance and posting or publishing content.

Flipping websites is a time-consuming process that requires a bit of capital at the beginning to make an initial purchase, but over time you can grow that small investment into a nice chunk of change. Whether you like building websites or just going through and optimizing them, flipping can provide you with a great opportunity to make some really good money!

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