Selling a website is a great way to generate cash, free up your time for other projects and reward yourself for your hard work. It can also be a difficult, stressful process in frustration that can result in you selling a website for less than you think it’s worth.
I’ve sold several sites on Flippa, ranging from entertainment blogs to unique service websites with massive amounts of press coverage. The last website I sold on Flippa became the most active website auction in Flippa’s history.
Over the course of my successful Flippa sales, and from observing other successful auctions, I’ve discovered that the elements that make an auction successful aren’t the same as what many people expect.
From the length of your auction to press coverage of your website, a huge range of factors can affect your Flippa sale price. Below are the eight factors that I think are most influential for maximizing your website’s sale price on Flippa.
Focus on high quality content instead of high quantity content
Having hundreds of indexed pages, each with unique content, is no longer a selling point. It’s far better for your website to have three or four massively popular pages than hundreds of pages that attract very little attention and minimal traffic.
The content-based websites that attract the highest bids on Flippa usually have a few pages that have excellent content, rank highly in Google and attract a steady flow of traffic month after month.
Lifed.com, which sold for $205,000 before Penguin 2.0 killed off a lot of its traffic, was a variety content website built around a few high-traffic posts:
- Bucket List: 225 Things to Do Before You Die
- Top 100: Best Movies (of All-Time)
- 22 Things Happy People Do Differently
It’s almost always better to have a few high quality, high-traffic posts than hundreds of forgettable articles. If you’re developing a content-based website to sell, focus on quality above quantity to maximize your sale price.
Give buyers as much information as possible on your website
Every transaction depends on trust. When you’re selling a website, especially for a five-figure price or better, a huge part of establishing trust with potential buyers is being extremely transparent with information about your website.
Offer Google Analytics data so that potential buyers can see where your website’s traffic comes from and how steady it is. If you earn revenue from affiliate sales or leads, let serious prospects see your reports so that they know it’s legitimate.
If your website is established and difficult to replicate, people are unlikely to try to copy it based on its Analytics reports. Be as transparent as possible so that buyers have all the information they need to trust you when considering your website.
It’s often better for your website to earn nothing than to earn very little
A lot of sellers make the mistake of assuming that any website revenue is a better selling point than no revenue. The reality is that buyers interested in a website’s potential will often prefer no revenue to minimal revenue.
For example, a website that receives tens of thousands of views per month while earning $50 in Google AdSense revenue is likely to be viewed with more scrutiny than a website with the same traffic statistics and no effort to monetize.
People rarely buy low-earning websites for the income – instead, they buy them for their potential. If you’re selling a low-earning website with high growth potential, it could attract a higher price earning nothing at all than earning very little.
Simple, hands-off monetization usually attracts the highest sale price
One of the interesting realities of Flippa – and even of selling website via a private deal – is that higher earnings don’t always mean a higher sale price, particularly if the higher earnings involve a greater amount of work.
Websites monetized via CPC and CPM ad networks like Google AdSense typically attract the highest sale prices on Flippa, at least when compared to their monthly earnings.
This is because most buyers prefer simple, hands-off monetization to something that’s involved and challenging. Ad network monetization is reliable, easy to run with little experience and far less fragile than an affiliate relationship.
While you might be able to maximize your website’s earnings through a private affiliate relationship or lead brokering deal, doing so could hurt its sale price if it means additional work for the buyer. Keep it simple to maximize your sale price.
“Small” things like press coverage mean a lot and attract a premium
As a website owner interested primarily in monthly earnings, you might not care all that much about press coverage. People interested in buying your website, however, probably do care about it.
Press coverage, like transparency with Google Analytics data, plays a serious role in the process of building trust with your target audience. Coverage from popular blogs and magazines shows that your website is well known and trusted by the public.
There are also obvious SEO benefits of press coverage, which you can use as a major selling point if your website depends on search traffic. If your website could achieve coverage in the mainstream press, aim for some level of publicity before you list it.
Let potential buyers know exactly why you’re selling your website
Another aspect of building trust with potential buyers is explaining why you want, or need, to sell your website. After all, if your website is such a valuable asset, why wouldn’t you hold onto it yourself?
The best strategy here, just like with traffic and earnings data, is to be transparent and honest. Tell people why you’re selling so that they don’t go into your auction in a defensive state wondering why your website is for sale in the first place.
Over hundreds of auctions, the reason for selling that I’ve seen attract the highest sale prices is a lack of time to grow the website to its full potential. Be honest and explain why you’re selling so that people’s aversion to bidding is neutralized.
Set up everything, from Facebook to a responsive design, before you list
It takes almost no time to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for your website, making them an obvious no-brainer for any auction. Even if your accounts reach a few hundred people, it’s worth more to have them than to not have them.
Other essentials for a successful auction are a responsive design that looks great at full resolution and on a mobile and a mobile app (even if it just showcases a mobile version of your website), both of which are additional selling points.
The principle here is to make sure that everything that can be done to make your website as valuable as possible has been done. Give buyers a complete package to bid on and they’ll view your website, quite rightly, as being worth a premium.
Set your reserve price low and auction short to attract lots of activity
I’ve experimented with various auction lengths and found that seven days usually achieves the best results. A seven-day listing gives your auction enough exposure that most Flippa users will see it without the lower activity level of a long auction.
Extend the auction duration to 30 days and more people will see your listing, albeit at the cost of activity. Your goal should be to attract activity, since activity attracts people to your listing and encourages potential bidders to discuss and share it.
As well as keeping the auction length short, set your reserve price low so that it’s easy for people to bid. A lower reserve price, like a shorter auction period, creates buzz and keeps your auction in the spotlight, attracting more bidders.
Is your website ready for Flippa?
It’s easy to rush into a listing with a website that isn’t yet ready for sale. A far better strategy is to invest a reasonable amount of time into your website before list it and make sure it has everything that’s required to achieve a high sale price.
A few hours of optimization and work can often result in a significant increase in the price your website attracts at auction. Use the eight factors above to make sure your site is ready for sale – with a good site, you’ll notice the difference in your results.