Why You Should Buy Your Next Website

Building a start-up from scratch is an amazing feeling. Not just the sense of accomplishment, but the fact that you are able to tailor the company’s image and culture to what you want it to be.

Of course there is the main drawback; the fact that in their first year, a quarter of all start-ups will fail, and by year five the rate of failure jumps up to 55 percent.

For people who are in business with one goal in mind, to make money, buying an established business is often the route they prefer to take; after all, if you do your research you will only be buying a business that is proven to be successful. But beating the odds of failure isn’t the only advantage.

Consider this, “If you’re buying an established venture, then not only do you have the readymade brand and off-the-shelf-systems, but the whole business is up and running, ready to go. You don’t have to wait around,” says Adam Bannister, of BusinessesForSale.com.

If you don’t see the value in that, then maybe you need to reconsider going into business for yourself because time is money and one of the biggest hurdles any start-up venture faces is the problem of bringing in money when getting things started.

Likewise, buying an established website can be a smart move for someone who isn’t afraid of doing some research. Similar to their brick and mortar counterparts, an established web based business can provide you with instant customers, traffic and revenues.

Buying a website

Websites are like any other business; you have to enjoy the niche your business is in, or it won’t stand a chance at being successful. This is something you need to consider when looking for a website to buy.

Finding a seller is easier than ever. With sites like Flippa.com and WebsiteBroker.com, you can find websites for sale that match the exact criteria that you want. Even if you don’t find anything you like in one of the marketplaces that deal in websites, you might have a chance at finding something that interests you using Google to find abandoned sites.

Using search terms like Copyright 2009 + a keyword could turn up some sites that are established but have been abandoned. You might get lucky and find someone willing to sell.

Once you have a few websites in mind, it’s time to start comparing them. You should expect to pay between 12 to 24 months’ worth of current revenue for an established website. Using a marketplace makes it easier to verify claims like revenue and traffic as these sites offer tools to help with this. Buying sites on your own requires you to verify this information in person. Arrange a time where you and the seller can get together to share their screen. This way you can view things like their Google Analytics data, sales numbers and other numbers that might be important to know. In fact, this is a good practice for people buying high valued sites from a marketplace as well.

Just like anyone who would be buying a brick and mortar business, those buying websites need to protect themselves legally. Not only through a contract or sales agreement, but you should include some language about support and/or consulting for a period of time after the sale is final.

Additionally, you should consider adding a non-compete clause in the sales agreement. The last thing you want is for that person to turn around and use all the knowledge they gained building that business and using it against you.

Finally, see if you can’t get the owner to finance the sale. If the seller is willing to accept payments over a period of time you know that he or she is confident that the website they are selling has the potential to pay the bills and support you. This is a common practice in traditional business transfers so see if you can work this into your negotiations as well.


17 thoughts on “Why You Should Buy Your Next Website”

  1. Tuan says:

    Is this a sponsored post?
    This must be the most boring article on johnchow.

    1. John Chow says:

      Nope. Anna is one of my writers.

    2. John Gibb says:

      It’s not boring at all!

      Or, if you’re already a master at buying and selling websites, could you share with us something not boring from your experience? 🙂

      1. Paul B says:

        Yes, don’t even consider buying a website in the current environment. Just changing the registration details is enough to bring about some unexpected negative consequences.

        It isn’t a boring article, but its is some of the worst advice I’ve ever read, even on John’s blog.

  2. I think you should have explained more on buying a website.

  3. Edson Hale says:

    Buying a well-established website is a smart move. Instead of investing your time, hard labor and money to take a website to an advance level it is better to buy the one that is already full grown. But the need is to check its potential. In this post you should have mentioned the tips and tricks to judge the real earning potential of a website before buying it.

  4. Mi Muba says:

    After monumental growth in blogging naturally the number of successful blogs also rose in recent years. As a result pro bloggers instead keep working hard on one blog now just establishing a blog and then selling it on huge prices. Before buying a fully optimized blog one should first evaluate his own strengths and weakness to check if he will manage it or lower down its worth.
    A nice post with lot of new information for me

  5. faisal says:

    Buy if you find value in the website.

  6. William says:

    Buying an established website can be a good move if you have the funds available. It is much easier than starting from scratch and can potentially start making you money right away. As mentioned above you just have to be careful in your investment. Don’t get sold on sales hype or tricked into purchasing a bad investment.

  7. I. C. Daniel says:

    The thing is way much over some people head in my opinion, buying websites is for thse who knows a lot of traffic website source and type of monetization.

  8. The question I have is if the website is already profitable why would someone be willing to sell it? Even if i pay 12-24 months worth of current revenue, how would it benefit the seller?
    Lets say my website is making 1000 per month which is 12000 per year. I dont see the logic behind selling a website that is providing steady revenue stream

    1. Paul B says:

      Exactly, people only sell their sites once they have either crashed or are just going over the “Google penalty to oblivion” cliff. Anybody taking this article seriously or as anything more than content filler for John’s blog needs their head read.

  9. Muhammad says:

    There are several ways to know the earning potential of a website; PR checker and traffic examiner are there to know how a website is. One can also get a review from a professional SEO firm before buying a website. The real need is to judge your managerial potential to retain the purchased website at the same level and then take it to the next level.
    Useful info I found in this post and it will help me a lot whenever I make up my mind to buy a website

  10. Dwayne says:

    I have never purchased a website but I’m not opposed to the idea. I can see the benefit in saving time. I was looking around Flippa a few days ago just to see what is available.

  11. Crystal says:

    Gotta love the options – buy a great domain and flip for quick profit, or buy a great domain and develop a more valuable content concept over time for maximum profit. The bottom line being that all you need is a decent idea, the time and dedication to pull it off – and the guts to actually do it.

  12. well, i have to buy another website tomorrow . . .

    thanks john.

  13. Paul B says:

    Worst advice ever.

    In today’s market where there are so many hidden Google issues buying a website is at best a crap shoot, at worst it is plainly ridiculous. Here’s a tip, people don’t sell “successful” websites/domains.

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