Selling a website can be a lucrative career option, particularly for those who have time to invest in creating content and generating sales online. If you have a website that is already making a profit each month, selling might make the most financial sense for you.
Running a website can take hours each week, and you might be ready to move onto your next project. Alternatively, you might simply feel that you have taken this site as far as your skills will allow. No matter what your reason for selling, you need to know how to go about this endeavor.
If you have been considering listing your website for sale, here is everything you need to know to maximize your profit.
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What Types of Websites Can Be Sold?
If you are thinking of selling a website business, then you might be wondering whether anyone is interested in purchasing your site. Buyers find value in all sorts of niches, so rest assured that your website might be a good candidate for a sale.
You can sell almost any type of website as long as it generates a profit each month. Buyers don’t want to pay for sites that have potential. They want a proven track record of success when it comes to the finances.
As long as your site is making money, then it is a great candidate for a sale. You can generate income through affiliate marketing or subscription-based services. Even ecommerce sites are good contenders for sale.
Here are a few types of websites that can be sold for a decent profit:
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Ecommerce sites, including those using Shopify
- Subscription-based programs
- Job boards
- News, including entertainment information
You can get creative with the types of websites that you can sell. As long as it has a means to generate a decent profit, then your website could be sold.
(Take a look at this case study on the Penny Hoarder to get an idea how valuable a website can truly be.)
How Are Websites Valued?
Before you dive deep into the process of selling a website, you should have an idea of how to value it. Many people think they might be ready to sell, but they may want to hold onto the site for a bit longer. Understanding valuation can help you make the right choice.
The key determining factor in how much your website is worth is how much income it generates each month. Take a look at all of your income streams and note how much you make each month.
In a similar vein, make sure to note where each income stream comes from. Include subscription-based services as well as affiliate marketing. By the time you are finished looking over your numbers, you should have a clear picture of how your website generates income.
Your website value is based on this number. Some experts say that a good rule of thumb is that your website is worth 24 to 36 times your monthly revenue.
This means that if your website makes $2,000 per month, then your website could sell for somewhere between $48,000 and $72,000.
What determines the exact value of your website when you encounter a range this wide? The type of income plays a big role when selling a website business.
Many paying clients are willing to shell out more cash for websites that have subscription-based programs. They depend on the recurring income that comes from this source.
On the other hand, websites that use affiliate marketing as their primary income source are often valued lower. Their income depends on organic traffic and search engine optimization, requiring more work on the buyer’s part to maintain a steady income.
If you’re unsure of your website’s value, it’s best to get a valuation from an expert. You can get a free valuation here.
Steps to Sell a Website
If you are finally ready to move forward with selling a website, you need to know all of the details about how to proceed. Keep in mind that this is a long-range goal. Simply starting a website and then immediately attempting to flip it can be more challenging.
Here are a few steps you can follow if you are ready to take the first steps toward making a lump sum profit from your page.
Optimize Your Website.
The first and perhaps most important thing you need to do is optimize your website. If you have any ways to make forward progress with your site, now is the time to do it. Maximize your profits as much as possible because this number ultimately impacts how much the site is worth.
Selling a website depends heavily on the amount of income it generates each month. This is the time to experiment with a few new sources of revenue that can really boost your bottom line. Here are a few things that you may want to try in an effort to increase income:
- Add advertisements to your page if you don’t already have them
- Sell direct advertising slots to local businesses or online companies
- Research different ad networks to determine which ones will increase revenue the most
- Add paid products to your site
- Find natural ways to integrate affiliate marketing links into your content
Capitalize on the potential your website has at least three months prior to listing it for sale. This gives your revenue streams an opportunity to catch up and to be well-documented for prospective buyers.
In other words, you want to make your website the best that it can be given your current level of skill and the time you are able to invest in it.
Optimizing your website in terms of revenue is important, but so is the overall design of the page. Try to implement good design principles into the overall layout of your website. Keep things simple and professional as much as possible.
You should also be sure that your website is optimized for use across all devices. Many visitors will look at your site on a mobile device. Every website should be mobile-friendly no matter what type of website you are running.
Perform Your Own Due Diligence
Selling a website can mean that you net a serious profit from your hard work. It also means that buyers are going to want proof that your website is all that you promise before they are willing to fork over that cash.
Before you even think about selling your site, you need to perform your own due diligence.
This means rounding up all of the important documents that you will need to prove your traffic and your income. There are a few different ways to go about doing this, but you need to come up with a system that works and proves your point.
First and foremost, you need to provide proof of the traffic your website receives. You can do this through free reports on Google Analytics or by taking screenshots of your website dashboard. This gives buyers a clearer idea of how popular your page is and its potential for growth.
Proof of income is equally important to buyers. Gather up screenshots of your earnings reports from ad revenue and affiliate marketing. If you have paid products, you can use a report directly from your ecommerce platform or a PayPal account.
Another option would be to provide a profit and loss statement. This is also a good way to show how much you pay any freelancers or employees who work on your site for you.
Put Together Your Package
When selling a website, you are selling more than just a homepage. You are probably also selling a number of other assets that go along with this business. Start by making a list of all the bonus items that come along with the page.
If you don’t have anything more than a website, this might be a good time to press pause on selling and focus on growing the site through other channels for a few months.
Items that go hand in hand with the sale of the website include:
- Domain names
- Email subscribers
- Social media accounts
- Paid products that are specific to the site such as t-shirt designs or e-books
- Trademarks or patents that accompany the website
This is also a good time to start putting all of your necessary information together. Create a document with all of your logins and passwords to prepare for the handover.
You might also consider creating a training document that details exactly how you spend your days and the skills that a new buyer will need to maintain your website. Detail how long you spend working on each task and create a set of operating procedures.
Along with this compiled list, you should also consider creating a projection. This would give your buyer insight into the myriad ways they can grow the business and take it to the next level. While you may not have time or the desire to do these things yourself, someone else might want to take a detailed look at the work still to be done.
Where Can I Sell My Website?
There are a number of good places that will help you to sell your website. Below is list of options to consider that will help you exit profitably.
Consider Selling Your Website Directly
Many people think that there is just one simple way to go about selling a website, but this could not be further from the truth. There are a number of ways to go about cashing in on your latest website business, so decide which one is right for you.
First, you can always opt to sell your website directly to a buyer. You might be selling it to a friend or someone you meet locally. This is the most cost-effective way to sell a site.
Consider it this way: when you’re selling a website directly to a buyer, you have far fewer fees. There are no listing fees and no commissions. Even the handover can happen far faster, and you know that time is money too.
If you don’t know anyone in real life who is interested, consider contacting some of your competitors. They might have a keen interest in purchasing your site to grow their own empire. Whether they want to run multiple sites within the same niche or whether they simply want to stamp out the competition, this is one way to go about finding an interested buyer.
Of course, if you choose to sell your website directly, you will have to handle all of the legal aspects on your own. This means drawing up a contract to transfer ownership, escrowing the funds, and making sure that the transfer goes smoothly.
This can be quite a headache, so many prospective sellers will opt for the next step.
Contact a Website Broker
Most people who are selling a website do not opt to go for the direct sale. Instead, they choose to list on popular marketplaces and brokerages.
These websites are designed to connect buyers and sellers, but they come with a cost. You should be warned that they can eat up hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of your profit from the sale. Most charge a percentage of the sale as their success fee or commission for the listing.
If you don’t have any leads for someone who wants to purchase your site, this is probably the best option for you. People who are already in the market for a website congregate on these brokerage pages.
The brokerages help to facilitate communication between you and the buyer. They also help to handle the contract, the handover, and the payment. It becomes a very hands-off way for you to go about selling a website on your own.
If you worry about how to sell a website on your own legally, then contacting a broker might be for you. It keeps you from having to draft a contract, deal with the funds, and more. They even help you to negotiate various offers and submit your own counteroffers.
Keep in mind that there are several different brokers available to you. Once you know how much your website is worth, it can help to inform which brokerage is right for the sale. Some specialize in more expensive websites with higher annual revenues. Others are designed specifically for the sale of smaller sites.
Make sure that you know upfront just what the fees will cost you before you sign on with one of these services. Inquire about their listing fees, their commissions, and any other hidden costs that can accompany the sale of a website.
Selling a Website with Popular Brokerages
Once you know how to sell a website, it is important to understand the differences between the various brokerages. Each one has a unique advantage and is designed for a certain type of sale. Make sure you know the ins and outs of each brokerage, including the fees that they charge.
With this information handy, it can help you to get top dollar when selling a website.
Flippa is a great user-friendly way to get started with selling a website. They have thousands of sites listed for sale and are always acquiring new ones.
One of the many benefits you may want to take advantage of is their free valuation tool. Based on the type of website you are selling and the historical performance, Flippa generates an estimated amount that your website could potentially be worth.
Of course, you don’t have to follow their guidelines but it gives you a good starting place.
They charge a one-time listing fee for those who are selling a website through this marketplace. The benefit here is that their listing fees are fixed price, meaning that they do not fluctuate based on what the website is worth. The listing fees are:
- $49 for established websites and online businesses
- $15 for starter or template websites
- $10 for domains
- $15 for established or starter apps
However, you can opt to pay more if you want increased visibility while selling a website. Boosts via their marketing tools are available at rates ranging from $65 to $545.
If you do sell a website through Flippa, there is a “success fee” calculated based on the price of the sale. Websites up to $50,000 will require a 10 percent success fee while larger sales require less. Sales between $50,001 and $100,000 require a 7.5 percent success fee and those greater than $100,000 require just a 5 percent success fee.
They also offer a unique feature for buyers known as Flippa’s Due Diligence. For a small fee, they can identify risks and opportunities associated with the site. The upgraded Due Diligence packages also help to prove income streams and specific cost-related transactions.
Empire Flippers is another marketplace where you can sell a website to an audience of hungry buyers. The platform itself is known for doing its homework in terms of looking at a seller’s earnings history as well as their overall traffic.
They currently boast a 76 percent sales success rate with more than $200 million in completed sales.
Much like Flippa, Empire Flippers also helps you to place a value on your page by examining your main monetization method, your traffic, all revenue channels, and even your social media followers.
Remember that buyers can also submit offers that are beneath your full list price. It is completely your choice whether you accept these offers or issue a counteroffer to meet somewhere in between. Empire Flippers can also help you to create a financing plan with a buyer.
Be aware that selling a website through Empire Flippers has a few requirements that you must meet:
- Must generate $1,000 per month or more in average net profit
- Google Analytics for at least three months
- Twelve months of revenue
- Affiliate marketing and similar features must be on the same domain for at least a year
- More than 50 percent of the income must come from multiple clients
Once you sell a website through Empire Flippers, you will be expected to pay their success fee. They take a commission based on the list price of the asset with percentages ranging from 2 percent for sales over $10 million to 15 percent for sales under $1 million.
If you want to sell a website through Empire Flippers, they ask that you give them the exclusive rights to sell the page for at least two months. After this time period, you may take down the listing and post it elsewhere if no buyers are found.
Selling a website with a smaller price tag means that you need to find a prospective buyer and a marketplace that is geared toward your sale. Motion Invest is a great option if you site is valued at $15,000 or less.
While you should be familiar with how to value your own website, Motion Invest also offers a free valuation tool to see where you fall.
Motion Invest is a unique marketplace. Unlike Flippa and Empire Flippers, Motion Invest may make an offer on your website without the need for you to negotiate with potential buyers. They pay a fair market price with benefits like a free listing fee and no success fees for the transaction when you sell to them.
When selling a website to Motion Invest, you could have the entire transaction completed in less than 48 hours.
Not every site will be a good candidate for this type of sale though. If you want to hold onto your site or if they are unable to purchase it, you can still list it on their marketplace. They do charge a 20 percent success fee for sales made through this platform. If your site is valued at $20,000 or more, you will encounter a reduced 15 percent success fee.
In order to sell, you will first complete the valuation tool and then submit your information for their due diligence process.
If you are selling a website through their marketplace, you should bear in mind that you will be on the hook to offer support for twenty days after the closing of the sale. Selling to Motion Invest does not have this same requirement.
If you are selling a website with a value over $25,000, then you may want to consider going with a full-service broker like Website Properties. They boast an 85 percent closure rate with more than 30,000 potential buyers and over twenty years of experience.
Much like the traditional marketplace options, you start with a free website business evaluation. They take a look at the domain, financial history, website traffic, and other aspects of your business to provide you with a realistic market value.
Once you make it through their valuation process, they create an ad that gets sent to their list of eager buyers. It gets posted to their social media, business for sale portals, partner websites, and through their email newsletter.
Interested buyers can submit a non-disclosure agreement and receive the prospectus for your site. Website Properties handles as many questions as they can, and then directs the buyer to you to review any of the minute details of the business or the sale.
A buyer can submit an offer for you to review. After it is accepted, then the due diligence process begins to ensure that the financials are what you promised.
One of the many benefits of selling a website business through Website Properties is that they do not charge for valuation or listing. They are paid a commission based on the sale price of the website with commissions as low as six percent.
Another full-service broker, Quiet Light is an excellent asset for selling a website. They specialize in larger businesses valued over $25,000 and provide a personalized experience for sellers.
The first step is to book a consultation and valuation with one of their experienced team members.
It should be noted that all of their staff has personal experience with this process. They have either built, bought, or sold an online business of their own, giving them first-hand experience of what this process is like for you. This team of entrepreneurs can give you real-world advice about how to best go about selling a website.
Quiet Light tends to specialize in sites like:
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Amazon affiliate marketing
- Content-based websites (such as blogs)
If you decide selling a website through Quiet Light is right for you, they will list your site with a detailed business summary. Your experienced broker will handle all of the transaction details from placing money in escrow all the way through the final sale of the site.
Finalized transactions can take anywhere from one to five months.
Quiet Light does charge a fee for the successful sale of your business. For sites valued under $1 million, you can expect to pay 10 percent of the sale price. The structure is tiered with each subsequent million resulting in a one percent commission fee decrease. Anything above seven million will cost three percent in commission.
Like many other marketplaces and brokerages, Quiet Place does require you to sign an exclusive contract. They have plenty of buyers who might be interested in purchasing your website, but you can’t expand that pool of buyers by posting to other marketplaces.
Navigating the Sale of Your Website
Once you spend time optimizing your website and getting organized, the rest of the sales process can run smoothly. Whether you decide to sell direct or through a broker, you can rest assured that you are getting top dollar for your business. After all, you invested a lot of time and hard work into your site.
There is no one right way to sell your website, so be sure to take these guidelines into consideration before you begin the process.
What To Do Next?
If you’re ready to sell your website, we recommend getting a free business valuation from our preferred website broker Website Properties. We have used Website Properties to help us sell six businesses. For each sale, we received more than we anticipated. They truly made the process very easy. Get your free valuation here.