The internet is full of discarded blogs, the forgotten pet projects of regular people who created a website in a fit of creative energy. After all, anyone with an idea and an internet connection can start a website. It begins with a passion that grows into a small business. And it works for a while. But eventually, the glow fades, and what was once a fun project becomes a burden taking up your time.
If you are a website owner thinking of giving up, we urge you to take a step back. After all, it would be such a shame to let all that hard work go to waste. Did you know there’s a chance your site may be worth money? Why dispose of your website when you could turn a profit?
Welcome to the world of website trading, where people flip online businesses like houses. By selling your site to an interested buyer, you can not only preserve it but also make a lot of money. So, how do you start?
Table of Contents
- Before you start: get my valuation worksheets
- The BIG mistake
- What makes a website valuable?
- Download the Valuation Overview worksheet
- Key points
Before you start: get my valuation worksheets
To help website owners value their sites, we have developed a series of valuation worksheets. Using data on hundreds of current websites for sale across brokers, these worksheets provide valuation quantiles based on empirical data.
Below you can fill out the form to download the Valuation Overview worksheet for free. This worksheet takes into account income from ads, affiliates, and e-commerce, expenses, and the valuation affecting criteria above to give you a statistical distribution of the valuation of any website.
In the sections below, I explain the factors that go into your site’s valuation. These factors are included in the worksheet, so you can follow along with them if you choose.
The BIG mistake
If you’ve never sold a website before, chances are you’ll be confused about how to start. As a beginner, you need to learn what your site is worth and why. But, before we explain what makes a site valuable, we need to discuss one big mistake most newbies make. Avoiding this common trap is the cheat code for selling your site and turning a huge profit.
What is the bane of website owners everywhere? Emotional investment. As a site creator, you’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into your business. Months spent adding each name to the email list, responding to every Facebook comment, and fighting with delivery agents to make sure your products reach on time. That isn’t easy. We know. But, now, it’s time to let go.
The big mistake most creators make is overvaluing their websites. Not because of profit margins or customer engagement, but emotion. If you want to figure out why your website is worth money, you need to start by evaluating it critically.
What makes a website valuable?
The value of your website depends on a few key factors. Keep in mind that you don’t need to fulfill all of these points. Instead, think of each element as a plus one on a scale where there is no negative marking. You have the base value of your business determined by the profits you make over 12 months. Then you add more money to the pot with every benchmark you hit.
The basic rule of the internet is that traffic has value. But, it isn’t enough to have a swarm of people reading your content. When it comes to what buyers look for in a website, the first checkpoint is an audience. So what is the difference between getting online traffic and having an audience?
An audience is a group of people who buy into your brand. These are people who consider you an authority on the subject and return to your page repeatedly. If you have a product or service on offer, these are the people who are buying it. When you have a niche business, you automatically have a target audience, whether it’s women, college students, or teenagers. And the more successful you are in reaching this audience, the better your business model is.
As a website owner, you need to prove the strength of your audience using metrics. When you’re getting started selling a website, it helps to have tools like Google Analytics to break this down for you. If you have a strong audience that engages with your content, buys your product, and comes back for more, your website will sell for a lot of money. Overall, the stronger your audience, the more money your website is worth.
Sellable products, services, or users
The internet is full of savvy buyers who would rather invest in someone else’s working business model than build their own. That means they’re looking for a website that has a reliable source of revenue. And if your website has even one popular product, one high traffic page, or one high converting affiliate page, it is worth money. This is where the ability to evaluate your site critically becomes vital.
As a site owner, you need to be able to analyze both the strengths and weaknesses of your business model. Perhaps you have a great idea and product but haven’t marketed it the right way. Or maybe your content isn’t properly SEO optimized. You may not even know how to do these things. But you identified a hole in the market, and you filled it with a service or product that your customers appreciate.
This is worth a lot of money. In fact, if you can prove that your business is making considerable profits without these technical mechanisms that increases your site’s value. Why? Well, all your sales are organic. That means a savvy buyer can implement new marketing policies and boost your sales many times over.
Alternatively, you can take the time to maximize your site’s value by hiring outside professionals to help you handle specific tasks. Overall, the more sellable products you have, the more your business is worth.
Working marketing systems
Having a quality marketing system already in place increases your site’s market value, especially if that’s in addition to multiple sellable products. Then, you’ve hit the jackpot. Remember, potential buyers aren’t just looking at numbers. Yes, your traffic reports and cost analysis data matters, but an experienced buyer is also looking for something else. What is this magical quality? Growth potential.
If you can provide a solid marketing base that a savvy business person can grow, you have the opportunity to price your site pretty high. Again, you need systems in place that gather data for how many people visit your website using a specific app. Platforms like Facebook have built-in features that help creators do this. There are two aspects to this part of the website trading business, social media and email marketing.
Social media presence
Many new sellers highlight their website’s social media success as a positive asset without realizing the actual value of what they’re offering. If you want fair compensation, you need to know exactly what you’re putting on sale. And that’s solid branding. An established brand is a good reason your website may be worth money.
Social media presence isn’t something that only adds to your website’s value if you have high profits and multiple sellable products. It also has independent value. Even if your site’s content isn’t ranking continually, or your yearly profit margins are low, a strong social media presence is worth its weight in gold.
Because it means you’ve done something that’s worth a lot in today’s climate. You’ve created an online community around your brand. Whether you have a forum where people discuss their common niche interest or your customers have developed a personal attachment to your brand. All these factors mean your audience ranks high when it comes to customer loyalty.
You may not need massive traffic because the viewers you do have are buying what you’re selling. If you can identify this growth potential aspect in your business, your website is definitely worth money.
Active email list
No matter how big or small your website is, you’ve likely spent a significant amount of time building an email list. It is the barebones of marketing. Just having a quality email list means your site is worth money. But how much money depends on other factors. Here you can have two cases.
The first case is when you have a long, detailed, active mailing list, but your site isn’t making massive profits. Perhaps you don’t have a quality product or the right systems in place. In this case, your email list is your main asset and there are buyers who will want it. Generally, these are experienced buyers who already have a website in your niche and want to use your mailing list to add value to that site.
However, the second case is when you have an active email list in addition to a quality product. Then you have a system of content distribution in place that helps take your website to the next level. When used correctly, an active mailing list is the best resource to contact customers and convert leads into sales. If your website ranks in this category you’re in the top tier of sellers.
As a content creator, quality is everything. Most website owners spend hours researching and creating exciting original content that caters to their audience’s interests. If your site is successful, it’s because you have a deep understanding of what your reader base wants. And if people are returning to consume content that shows an influx of potential leads. What does it mean when you have analytics showing that this is the case, but your sales reports don’t match?
Often this simply shows that the site owner is unable to convert potential leads into sales. Usually, because they’re either not focused on the commercial aspect or don’t know how to market correctly. This is why it’s essential to look at every factor for growth potential and not stick to just traffic and income metrics.
Additionally, if you’ve been using quality SEO strategies over a few years, your articles may be ranking higher up in the search engine. A website that has top-ranking content is worth money, and that value doubles if you’ve done it without expensive marketing tools like ads.
With the proper tools and know-how, a new buyer can transform your site into an extremely profitable venture. And you deserve to be paid well for the years of hard work and effort you put into creating that content. Additionally, the investment of your audience is also something you can and should monetize.
Low running costs
In the world of website trading, it isn’t enough for your site to be making money. You also have to show how you’re making that money. Overall, your site is worth more if your running costs are low. So, a website that provides an online service is worth more than a business that involves manufacturing and shipping products.
Similarly, if you’re outsourcing work like content creation, SEO optimization, or other technical aspects like site design, those count as running costs. You’re in a better position to sell your site for more money if your CMS system and hosting service are user-friendly and have design templates.
Ease of transferability
Another factor that influences your site’s value is the ease with which it can be transferred to a new owner. Your site is worth money if the brand doesn’t center on you. What does that mean?
Well, if you’ve created a community where you play an active role directly, whether that’s by talking to your customers on IGTV or introducing new products through TikTok, the value of your site is attached to your individual brand. Even if it’s making money and meets all the other points on this list, this isn’t a company that an outsider would want to buy.
However, if you can hand over the reins to a new owner without upsetting the business model, your website may be worth money, depending on its other assets.
Download the Valuation Overview worksheet
Want to use the Valuation Overview worksheet to determine the value of your site? You can get the Valuation Overview worksheet, along with several other useful tools by requesting a free Website Investing Beginner’s Kit below.
Overall, there are multiple reasons why your website may be worth money. And not all of them depend on huge traffic, high profits, or top rankings. If you think your site may meet any of these conditions, it’s worth your while checking out how to get started selling a website.
Once you figure out what buyers look for in a website, you can compare it to the assets you have and start the selling process. By selling your site through a reliable platform, you cut out the chances of being scammed. After all, our primary goal is to minimize the risks involved in website trading and leave both parties satisfied.
When you’ve put so much time and effort into growing your website you deserve to be fairly compensated. And with a few simple steps you can be.