May 02, 2023
How to Sell a Website for Maximum Profit in 2023
Selling websites is a profitable way to make money online. In fact, a site can be worth 20 to 50 times its monthly net profit.
However, without careful planning and timing, you might miss out on getting maximum profit. Thus, before you sell your website and start a new online business, learning how to optimize it and what makes it valuable is essential.
In this article, we’ll walk you through five steps on how to sell a website. We’ll also go over the factors that make a website valuable and answer commonly asked questions about the right time to sell a website.
How to Sell a Website in 5 Steps
If you have decided to sell your website, following a plan will help you do it efficiently and make a profit. Here are the five steps on how to sell a website.
Step 1. Evaluate the Website
Understanding the website’s value is necessary to avoid selling it below its market price. Likewise, a price set too high risks discouraging interested buyers.
Net profit refers to the total revenue minus operating expenses such as hosting plan, domain name, marketing costs, and employee wages.
In addition to the average monthly profit, consider the multiple of your online businesses. A site’s multiple includes valuable assets like traffic sources, revenue streams, domain authority, business age, quality backlinks, and social media following.
These factors are important, as they inform interested buyers about the website’s potential in the long term.
Important! Building low-quality backlinks and using a Private Blog Network (PBN) can lower the multiple, as the site risks getting penalized by search engines.
On website listings, you’ll see that the average multiple ranges from 20 to 50. The higher the multiple value is, the higher the selling price.
Browsing listings on marketplaces can provide insights into how much various types of websites are worth.
To help you get a better idea of how much the website will be worth, find listings similar to it to get a realistic expectation of its value. Also, consider talking to a website broker, as they are experienced in the field.
Alternatively, take advantage of free website value calculators like Empire Flippers’ valuation tool.
If you’re looking to reduce running costs and increase profit, consider getting our Premium Web Hosting plan, which includes a free email, SSL certificate, and free domain registration for one year.
Step 2. Increase the Website Value
If the site’s current worth is lower than expected, you can still take several steps to increase its value before putting it up for sale.
Optimize Site Performance
As a site that loads slowly will drive visitors away, optimizing site performance is crucial to increase its value. Some of the best strategies are:
- Use a fast host provider, as it plays a vital role in website performance.
- Set up a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver content faster.
- Select a fast-loading theme.
- Remove outdated and unnecessary plugins, as they can drag down the site’s speed and threaten its security.
Prepare a Content Strategy
High-quality content will help build audience engagement and attract organic traffic, eventually improving the site’s ranking on search engines and increasing its value.
Additionally, when transferring the site to its new owner, a content strategy will further guide them in maintaining consistent branding and traffic.
To generate quality content consistently, here are several questions to consider:
- Who is your target audience? What are their pain points?
- What type of content will you create?
- What content format will you be using?
- Which channels will you publish it on?
- How often will you publish it?
Expand the Traffic Sources
When it comes to increasing site value, relying on a single traffic source is not ideal. For example, focusing solely on PPC campaigns.
While it’s faster to gain traffic using paid advertising, solely depending on it signals to buyers that they might need to spend a lot on marketing. This is because the more customers you attract from paid advertising, the more money you’ll spend.
Likewise, traffic volume will likely decrease once you stop spending on ads. Hence, you should also invest time in growing other sources, including organic and referral traffic.
Referral traffic refers to users who come from other websites. One of the ways to build it up is by writing guest posts for other sites related to its niche.
A steady flow of diverse traffic coming into the site will increase its value, as it offers a higher profit margin, better scalability, and long-term stability.
Experiment with Various Monetization Strategies
A site with diverse income sources will be more valuable as it is more financially secure. To diversify your income sources, consider employing these monetization strategies:
- Share affiliate links. Join affiliate marketing programs and earn a commission whenever visitors click on the affiliate links and purchase a product or service.
- Use PPC advertising. Gain revenue each time a visitor clicks on an ad. Google AdSense is the most popular tool for placing ads on a website.
- Accept guest posts. Allow other users to publish their content on your site by paying a fee.
- Sell digital products. Create and offer subscription-based content such as online courses or eBooks.
- Add an online shop. Sell merchandise or offer other products on the site.
Promote the Website on Social Media
An existing following indicates the site has a strong brand and the potential to generate leads. Thus, it’s considered a valuable asset, allowing you to increase the selling price by bundling the website and its social media profiles.
To calculate how much the profiles are worth, visit websites like Social Tradia, which offers selling and buying services focused on Instagram accounts. Take a look at the profiles of website creators in your niche and use that information to determine the best price.
If the accounts are not worth as much as expected, promote the site on social media by posting relevant content and sharing links that direct the audience to the website. Use trending hashtags to increase the post’s visibility and broaden audience reach.
Moreover, build up engagement by responding to followers’ questions and comments. If your budget allows, consider investing in paid advertising as well. However, keep in mind it will increase the site’s operating costs.
Expand Your Email List
Email marketing is one of the most important sales funnels, with 64% of small businesses using it to engage with customers. It helps foster a connection with people interested in your online business and nurtures them in the customer journey.
Having a list of subscribers shows interested buyers the site has an engaged audience and a channel without third-party interference that can be used for monetization.
To collect the contact details of new visitors, add pop-ups and forms to the website. For WordPress users, use contact form tools like OptinMonster or WPForms.
Then, send weekly newsletters, offer promo codes, and provide helpful content. When doing so, include links that lead them to your website.
Also, add a call to action (CTA) to pop-ups and emails, using action verbs like “Learn More”, “Download Now”, and “Subscribe to Our Newsletter”. Furthermore, choose a contrasting color to make it stand out from the rest of the content.
Step 3. Find the Right Marketplace or Broker
Finding buyers might be a challenge for those new at selling websites, especially if you want to sell them online and independently.
Using a website marketplace or hiring a broker can expose your online business to a larger pool of potential buyers, speeding up the whole process.
With many marketplaces and brokers available, choosing a reputable one that fits your website type and conditions is important. Some popular marketplaces include Flippa, Empire Flippers, and Motion Invest.
While some only accept eCommerce and content sites, others also list SaaS businesses and mobile services. Thus, conduct prior research on each marketplace and carefully analyze their terms of service.
Some of the key factors to consider when looking for the right marketplace are:
- Commission structure. Some websites charge a higher listing fee for sites with lower value and vice versa. Also, check whether they charge only a listing fee or if there are post-sale commissions.
- Listing information. Usually, the website seller needs to provide traffic data, revenue, and operating costs. Interestingly, Empire Flippers hides the site’s URL, whereas Flippa doesn’t.
- Communication methods. Consider how the marketplace facilitates communication with buyers, whether through public comments, private messaging, or scheduled calls.
- Escrow service. Find out if the marketplace provides its own escrow service or requires you to hire a third-party service for secure online transactions.
- Website migration. Check whether it facilitates the website transfer and if it charges an extra fee for it. For instance, Empire Flippers offers a free website migration service, whereas Flippa delegates the task to the respective sellers and buyers.
- Due diligence. Check if you’ll need to do due diligence or if the marketplace will assist you. This entails reviewing legal documents to ensure both sellers and buyers are legitimate.
Step 4. Prepare Financial and Traffic Reports
When convincing potential buyers, merely claiming the site has significant profit growth potential is ineffective. As buyers will want evidence, backing up such claims with data is a must.
A well-structured financial and traffic report helps to establish credibility and efficiently communicate the site’s value.
Moreover, marketplaces and website brokers typically require sellers to submit a profit and loss statement and a traffic report for the listing. Verified buyers will then get read-only access to the statistics.
To obtain traffic statistics, link the website to a web analytics or search engine optimization tool like Google Analytics, Semrush, or Ahrefs.
Google Analytics, for example, provides data on monthly page views, traffic sources, and traffic data according to channels or segments. Additionally, it shows unique visitors, the growth rate, and which countries bring in the most visitors.
Using this data, buyers can identify opportunities to grow the site and determine if its target market corresponds to their needs.
On the other hand, a profit and loss statement details your business’s revenue and expenses for a specific period. Generally, most marketplaces and website brokers require six to 12 months of reports.
If the site has multiple sources of income – for example, it is making money from Google Ads and direct advertising – make sure to break down how much each source generates.
Additionally, list the monthly gross revenue and profit. Remember to add your net margin, calculated by subtracting the total expenses from the revenue generated. Ideally, the monthly profit should be higher than the outgoing expenses.
Remember that a small mistake can create a bad impression and jeopardize your credibility. So, be very thorough when making a profit and loss statement.
For larger websites, handing over the task to a professional bookkeeper can be a better option.
Step 5. Optimize Your Profits Before Making a Listing
Before listing an eCommerce site, for example, it’s best to reduce your involvement in the online business. When doing so, look out for cost-saving options to maximize profit.
For day-to-day business operations, consider hiring a virtual assistant, as they charge online businesses according to their working hours.
Delegate content production by hiring reliable content writers and designers on freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr.
To keep branding consistent, create a style guide document outlining the content’s current tone and voice.
Moreover, if you’re running an eCommerce store, seek third-party services to manage order fulfillment and automate the business process.
Some reputable eCommerce fulfillment services include Amazon FBA, ShipNetwork, and ShipBob.
Also, ensure all necessary data related to the site is transferrable.
For example, if you handle emails on a personal account, get a professional email address, so you don’t get caught up in the new owner’s business. Furthermore, a professional email hosting service streamlines communication and establishes credibility.
How a Website’s Value Is Determined?
Whether you want to sell your own website or start a website-flipping business, it’s important to understand how a website is valued.
For website owners, determining the site’s worth can help you decide whether to sell it or continue to rely on its monthly revenue.
Here are some factors that influence it.
A site’s niche is an important factor, as the market demand will help determine how much revenue it can generate.
If the site is operating within a popular niche, then it will likely receive more traffic, and you can sell your website at a higher price.
Some of the most profitable blog niches include food, personal finance, lifestyle, and travel. Food blogs alone generate a median income of $9,169/month. Comparatively, personal finance blogs earn $9,100/month, whereas travel blogs bring in $5,000/month on average.
These evergreen niches have a stable demand year-round, so they are likely to continue generating traffic despite changing trends.
The number of visitors a website receives is another factor in determining its worth. No matter if it has high-quality content and design, a site that doesn’t attract visitors will not attract buyers.
Driving traffic to your site will create more opportunities to generate leads and grow conversion rates. Therefore, leveraging its position in the market.
Analyzing its traffic sources is a great way to find out what is working and what’s not. In addition to quantity, traffic quality matters.
The site should attract visitors who can benefit and engage with it. To determine visitor engagement, evaluate metrics like average time on page, average pages per session, and bounce rates.
To calculate a site’s traffic value, use tracking tools like Ahrefs and Google Analytics.
A site that has implemented an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy will have a higher value, as it signals organic traffic growth potential to buyers.
This entails having high-quality content, building quality backlinks, and maintaining website performance.
Moreover, the site should be optimized for any type of device, as 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices.
While growing and maintaining organic search traffic takes more time and effort, websites with good SEO have further value for potential buyers.
Check out our complete guide on WordPress SEO best practices to improve your site’s rankings.
Sources of Income
Another factor that determines a site’s value is the monetization methods it uses.
A website that generates revenue from multiple sources will likely have a higher selling point than those that rely on a single income source.
For example, let’s say you have a food blog. Instead of only sharing Amazon affiliate links to cooking utensils, generate revenue by running ads for a restaurant or starting a subscription-based cooking course.
That way, if Amazon lowers its affiliate commission rates, you can still display advertising on the website and sell digital products to generate revenue.
Thus, a website with diverse income streams has financial stability and better growth potential than those with one source of income.
If you find the website valuation process confusing, hiring a website broker to do the job is an option.
Website brokers are individuals or companies that sell sites. In addition to evaluating the website’s worth, they are responsible for marketing it, negotiating prices with a potential buyer, and securing deals.
In exchange for their services, brokers typically charge their clients a 6 to 15% commission fee for each website sale. Thus, consider that amount when calculating how much to sell your website for.
Compared to independently selling your website, working with a broker speeds up the sales process as they have access to a list of credible buyers. This minimizes the risk of falling into scams and making mistakes in legal documents.
Moreover, as they know the site’s potential, brokers can help prevent selling your website for less than what it is valued.
Some website marketplaces partner with brokers but also provide the option to independently list the site for sale. Others operate similarly to online auction sites like eBay.
Like website brokers, marketplaces typically charge either a listing fee or a success fee. Generally, they are somewhere between 5 to 15% of the sale.
Usually, websites sell for a fixed price or follow an auction model. For auction listings, sellers place a minimum price, and buyers who bid the highest price within 30 days will be able to buy the website.
In this case, while your site’s value will also depend on the bidders, it’s important to set a price that isn’t much lower or higher than its market value.
It takes careful planning and work to sell websites for maximum profit. Before diving into this online business, knowing what influences a site’s market value will help you set the right price and attracts buyers.
Keep in mind that investing time and effort in increasing site value is necessary for a successful selling process. This includes expanding traffic sources, preparing a content strategy, and establishing a strong social media presence.
To find buyers quickly, consider finding a marketplace or broker. Make sure to conduct prior research on their terms and services, especially their commission structure.
Then, prepare financial and traffic reports as evidence of the site’s performance and growth potential.
Finally, test out different strategies to optimize profits and ensure the site is ready to be transferred to a new owner. The less involvement you have with the site as the transfer approaches, the better.
Now that you know how to sell a site, it’s time to evaluate how much your websites are worth and plan the steps to increase their value before listing them on the market. Good luck.
How to Sell a Website FAQ
In this section, we’ll answer some common questions about how to sell a website.
How Long Does It Take to Sell a Website?
Generally, it takes between 30 to 120 days to sell a website on a marketplace or through a broker. The vetting and listing process itself typically takes five to seven days. Then, the selling period varies depending on negotiation with buyers, competition with other online businesses, and each website’s conditions. A well-optimized website is likely to sell faster. So, invest in the site before selling it.
What Is the Most Expensive Website Ever Sold?
Business.com is the most expensive website sold – it was valued at $345 million in 2007. A business news and resource content site, its value is mostly attributed to having a premium domain name that influences its SEO success. Currently, the site receives more than 10 million visitors every month.
What Is the Best Time to Sell a Website?
The best time to sell your website is during its peak value – when it generates steady net profit, has healthy traffic statistics, and performs well. Avoid selling too early, as relatively new websites have less track record. A general rule is to run your site for at least a year before selling it.