Purchasing an Established Website vs. Starting From Scratch

The following is an excerpt from Flip This Web Site, a new eBook by Zac Johnson on how to make big money buying and selling websites. The book is on sale at 50% off right now. But you have until midnight Thursday to take advantage of it.

Before jumping into the process of buying and selling on Flippa, and what you should look for in a winning auction, you will first need to decide for yourself whether you want to build your own website from scratch or purchase an established website?

Let’s say you have $10,000 to spend on a new business venture. You are deciding on whether you would like to build a brand new site or simply takeover an existing website. I will list a few different methods below and you can weigh your options to see which path is right for you.

What is Your Time Worth?

When starting any business or new venture, you have to measure what your time is worth and what you can actually accomplish in the free time that you have. When starting a new website, you will have a lot of work ahead of you. From simple things like buying a domain, setting up hosting and designing a web site to more complex areas like search engine optimization, getting traffic to your web site and building a revenue model, you will need to decide on what this is worth to you.

What is Your Website Plan?

If you are planning on purchasing an established website, everything is laid out right in front of you and you know what you are getting at the time of purchase. When starting a website from scratch, you will have a long road ahead of you. The difference between the two is that you are putting a lot of money up for what is there and established, versus putting in a lot of time and effort toward something that may not be where you would like it to be a few months down the road.

Buying an Established Web Site, Then Outsourcing

When looking at all of the complications involved in starting a new website, it can seem quite overwhelming. Purchasing an established website, then outsourcing the management, link building and content creation for the site is a great option. Later on in the guide I will cover different methods for web site monetization and outsourcing. If you have the funds necessary to purchase a website and hire an outsourced team, you can still do very well just overseeing your website projects and making sure they continually grow.

If You Have Little Money to Invest, But Lots of Time

On the flip side of many of the points above, there are also many of us who have little investment money, but a lot of time on our hands. This is when it might be a good time to learn how to create a website from scratch, but you can still use Flippa as a learning tool to see how others are successfully building sites and understand how they are making money. Should your website grow into a part-time or even full-time revenue source, you could always list your site on Flippa and potentially earn 10-30x your monthly earnings.

Grab Your Copy of Flip This Web Site

66 thoughts on “Purchasing an Established Website vs. Starting From Scratch”

  1. Graham Lutz says:

    How about no money and no time?

    1. Zac Johnson says:

      haha, no money and no time… no luck!

      1. Whats happening Zac…?

        1. Zac Johnson says:

          if you have no money and no time… then you need to get working on something. Otherwise you are stuck in a never ending cycle πŸ™

    2. John Chow says:

      No money and no time means you’re an employee. πŸ˜›

      1. Bogati says:

        Thats true! :-

        1. fas says:

          Well said John!

          1. That’s right John

        2. aman says:

          how can you be so sure ? , my blog works much better……

          1. Kevin Kimes says:

            If you had no money and no time, you’d have no blog. You’re at least paying hosting and spending time building the blog. Therefore, you have money and time invested.

      2. Virtual Tour says:

        So very true, anyone can find time.

      3. Erwin Miradi says:

        LOL yeah true. Kinda funny to see most people went to school for only one target: to become someone with no money and no time one day.

    3. If you have no money and no time, then you have problems. One should spend time on what gives money.

      No money = Much time
      No time = Money


      1. In dot come life style we have money + time and I love it..

      2. d3so says:

        you put it in perspective πŸ˜‰

    4. Yeah, that’s sounds about right for me too….. lol

    5. No money..no time ..no output…

  2. definitely something to look into.

    1. aman says:

      yeah you are right

  3. Hando says:

    I have looked on Flippa many time what websites they got on offer but it was more like for fun that anything else and all the sites I would have been interested in where well out of my price range even if I got them for half price. But that is not really a problem as I do have hundreds of ideas myself and lot of domain names waiting to be developed so I suppose I love the creative process more than just the business side of it. It is certainly a good Ego boost if your creation becomes a big success.

    1. Kevin Kimes says:

      I suspect you didn’t look through all 1000+ listings. Do a search for what is in your price range. Look through the results for something that can be leveraged.

  4. Are the seller websites stats trustworthy? Does your ebook into how to verify if the stats are tru.e

    1. John Chow says:

      Yes it does. There’s an entire section on how to figure out if the seller is trustworthy.

    2. aman says:

      you should analyse it that is a good way……..

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing a free excerpt from Zac’s flipping book. Really excited about this πŸ˜€

    1. Its really helpful and provide good insight of the ebook.

  6. Good one indeed…worth appreciated post.

    1. Yes thats a nice post…

  7. I have said this before about Zac; Sounds like I need to invest in Zac’s new book, maybe I can find a few highlights.

    1. And thats what the post is all about.

    2. Thats a good choice…

  8. I prefer to build a site on my own and then sell it most of the times.

    1. Virtual Tour says:

      I’m the same way. Love doing that. Helps me to feel accomplished.

  9. flash game says:

    hi john i thkink u might be right but i’m not quite sure about it.

  10. Virtual Tour says:

    I agree with this. I do love to build sites and sell them. but buying an established website is easier to do for some people.

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I have built most of my sites, only bought a few. I tend to agree. Building is more rewarding for the perfectionist. When building, at least I know everything is being done right. That said, I have also done well buying.

      1. Zac Johnson says:

        I much prefer to buy sites then sell… it’s much easier to keep building it up and waiting for a big payout then keep building multiples sites to continually sell for small amounts. But… but ways are working fine, just depends what you prefer.

  11. Sam says:

    Money and time are both important, but I think patience is the best. You don’t need to build a blog and start earning money tomorrow. If your writing schedule is on the slower side, then instead of 2 years, it might take you 3 years to see higher search engine ranking and profits.

  12. PPC Ian says:

    Question for those doing deals on Flippa: are the prices still reasonable? I worry (from the buyer’s perspective) that competition drives up prices to a point where it makes more sense to build vs. buy.

    1. Virtual Tour says:

      Competition really does drive up the competition. I’m selling one right now that is being bid up by random people. At the same time, you can find some killer websites on there for good prices.

    2. Kevin Kimes says:

      Flippa does both sides of the deal, so more people using it will likely just mean more volume. More buyers, but also more sellers.

      In just a few minutes of searching I found a great niche site for netbooks. It’s got content and a Genesis theme installed, and it’s buy now price is only $129 (no bids, 2 days left, could go for a lot less than that).

      A new logo and color scheme could make it into a much more attractive site, and a great jumping point for somebody getting started.

    3. Zac Johnson says:

      It’s all about what the buyer is willing to sell for. I was bidding on an auction the other day. It was about to end and close at $3000, then another bidder came in and it became a bidding war. The auction was extended another 18 hours or so and also ended up at $13,000!

      So to answer your question… you really never know what might happen with a site auction on Flippa. Just make sure you create the best and most detailed auction listing as possible.

  13. Apple Drunk says:

    Interesting and something I will look into.

  14. Techsute says:

    If my starting earning goal for a website is $10000/month in 6 month, what would you suggest, is it worthy to buy a new website or i have to start from scratch, my niche is nature photography

    1. Its quite difficult to do it with new site..

    2. Zac Johnson says:

      Study how other photography sites are becoming successful and profitable. Check out http://www.digital-photography-school.com, it’s a great success story from Darren Rowse.

  15. TheUKTrader says:

    I’ve been working online pretty much full-time since 1998 and have only recently started to look at buying existing businesses rather than starting from scratch.

    A few hours spent on Flippa is time well spent as far as I can see – most weeks I have come across a bargain or two and after 13 years of building business from the bottom up, the idea of taking over an existing one is, quite frankly, refreshing!

    1. Zac Johnson says:

      Agreed. The concept of starting a site from scratch versus paying for one really does get you thinking about your options. Unfortunately the really great sites go for $25k+, but I’ve gotten some great deals in the $10k range.

  16. Depends upon the type of niche as well. Sometimes you start an established site but there is no potential in it. Otherwise, some niches show remarkable potential when you explore these.

    1. Yeah.. It is highly depended upon the type of niche. For each niche there is different strategy to be successful.

      1. @Kashif I agree, niches difer

    2. Zac Johnson says:

      It’s all about monetization and what the buyer has in mind for the site after they take it over.

  17. fazal mayar says:

    starting from scratch with working full time and blogging partime is the best schedule and the most productive. Since it takes a lot of time to become successful, blogging is powerful part time. A multi author blog is even better.

    1. True enough. If you buy a site, you have to make sure that you have enough time to keep it going. With working full time, my blogging time is rather limited at the moment.

  18. Will says:

    Problem is that it is hard to find quality websites for sale. Often the content is crap and you have to throw everything away and start a new with the domain the site used to be on. Thats why I think it i usually better to start from scratch.

  19. Steve Hall says:

    Up until now I have always worked with new websites from the ground up. If you could pick up an established site for a good price I guess you couldn’t go too far wrong

    1. I wonder why would somebody sell an established web site if it is already making money. I think the idea would be to find one which is started, not totally developed, but has potentials.

  20. Forex News says:

    hi john i thkink u might be right but i’m not quite sure about it.

  21. Forex News says:

    Depends upon the type of niche as well. Sometimes you start an established site but there is no potential in it. Otherwise, some niches show remarkable potential when you explore these.

  22. Better to buy an website by spending some money to it

  23. if you find an good site better you can buy them

    1. Yeah…But a site that can pay you…

  24. A well established site can pay more….in less time …but Establishing a site from scratch take time…to get the desired result…but on the other hand established site requires money…

  25. I wonder what kind of information you get when you purchase a web site. It may have great results in the past, but do you get any confirmation if these results are sustainable?

  26. Technary says:

    Creating website from scratch is a pure skill. Then improving it always makes it more awesome!

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