I recently bought a website for $250, and I know it was a great deal. In this article I will step through my thought process and how I knew I could make my money back within 3 months just from the money made with the website. Hope this will be a help to some of you.
When you are looking at websites to buy online, whether it’s at Flippa.com or the Warrior Forum, you need to be very careful. There are many fraudsters that like to buy domains, fill them with duplicate content or terribly spun content, crank out some backlinks to the website, and then try to sell them to the first gullible buyer. I would say that 80% of the websites I see for sale are complete junk and a waste of money. Then 15% are great websites but are priced way too high so it would make it harder to make your money back in a timely manner. That leaves 5% left for good websites to buy, but those are usually taken very quickly. So if you are serious about wanting to buy a complete website that you can make money on, you need to be looking at these auctions and forums on a regular basis and know what to look for.
Look for older websites
One of the first things I look at is the age of the website. Scammers always try to flip websites that are literally only a few days old. They buy a domain that’s hot and then try to make it look like it’s old with post-dated pages. Use the Way Back Machine to see how old the site really is or do a lookup on the domain. I like buying older websites that still rank well in the search engines because I know I can get some backlinks going to the site without too much harm being done.
Look for stale rankings
I also look for sites that have mediocre rankings in the SERPs. I don’t want a website that already ranks #1 for a great keyword because all the work has already been done and it probably means the price of that website will be higher. But if the site ranks for a keyword at the top of page 2 or 3, I know I can get it to page 1 without too much effort. Even if the website has a great keyword that it’s ranking #5 for, I know I can make some money on it, because the difference between position #5 and #1 is HUGE in terms of the profits you can rake in from it. And if the site is already ranking in the first 20 results, I know Google has a fair amount of trust for it.
Watch out for sandboxed sites
The last thing I want is a site that has some penalty on it so that I can’t boost up the traffic in the SERPs no matter what I do. This is pretty simple to find usually. Just look at the Title Tags to see what keyword the site owner was going after and see where it ranks with Rank Checker or some other tool. If it’s buried on page 5 and beyond I would stay away from it. It might be a risk worth taking, but only if you can get it for dirt cheap.
Look for poor monetization
The site I just bought for $250 was making about $40 a month with Adsense. The problem is it was one of those made for Adsense sites that offered little value and looked so cookie cutter that I knew I could do better. Since the domain was all about a particular product I knew I could find some products on CJ.com or EPN to make a better profit. I know from experience that I can double what Adsense pays me with affiliate products that offer exactly what the searcher is looking for. And when you couple this with the fact that there were several keywords that were just on the brink of hitting some top spots in Google, I knew I could get my money back in 6 months or less. And in terms of investing, that is a great investment because anything made after that is pure profit. I like finding sites that aren’t monetized very well because then the asking price will not be as high either, which makes more room for profit.
Look for Golden Keywords
A site could rank #1 for a keyword that gets 1,000 hits a day, but that means nothing if that is not a buyers keyword that can translate into sales. Rather than just looking at the volume that a keyword gets with your keyword tool, you really want to focus on intent. The site I just bought ranks #2 for a keyword that is pure buyer. Only a buyer searches for terms that are specifically product related, and this increases your chances of turning any traffic into extra money for you. Find websites that are targeting keywords that are “buyer keywords” but aren’t ranking too well for them. Then all you have to do is get some quality backlinks, monetize the page better than the other person did, and reap the rewards.
Stay away from brand names in the domain
With so many copyright laws out there you don’t even want to dabble with keywords that have company names in them. Those iPad, iPhone domains are everywhere, but they are worthless once Apple comes after you with a cease and desist letter. I use to have a domain like this and I was making great money with it, but then I decided it was not worth the risk so I junked it.
There are a lot of great domains to be had out there. Many people start internet marketing thinking it’s going to be a piece of cake, and then they see how hard it is and want to sell all of their sites. These are great times to buy up these websites and find some golden nuggets. The site I just bought is in a niche I never even thought of before, but it allows me to diversify another area of my website portfolio, and now my goal is just to get my money back, which shouldn’t be a problem. I will keep you updated on that one.