If you are ready to sell your online business it probably means you have spent blood and toil and years in fostering it and now it is worth a decent amount of money. Since your website is such a shining example of your perseverance and hard work, you want to sell it for the highest possible bid and also into responsible hands. Below are some tips and tricks on getting a good deal and moving on from this major project in your life to new possible adventures.
We caught up with David Fairley of WebsiteProperties.com. His company is a very reputable brokerage of domains, online businesses, and even Amazon facing ventures. In an hour phone interview, he gave us several takeaways that we put to pen and paper (rather – blog!) and they are outlined below.
When people approach you to buy a website they will try to downplay the price. Remember that popular or even semi-popular websites can be worth a lot of money since they go through domain name changes and hosting charges have been paid on them. Furthermore, they earn money through the placement of ads so anything that earns revenue deserves the best possible price.
Running the website requires technical expertise and labor so when you are trying to decide on a selling price you will ideally need to include costs and multiply by more than twice. Some online brokers swear by the method of calculating the gross profit of an e-business and then evaluating whether it is worth three or five times that amount. This is how most online assets or virtual assets are calculated.
Overtime you may have developed a special affinity with the website which is why you will not want to sell it to a large corporation which is not going to respect product quality or niches. You want to find someone who is just as passionate about the topic as you are and who will fill your shoes in a responsible way.
- Remember giving a detailed report to potential buyers will not only build trust it might increase the selling price as different web owners value different features. Start with website traffic stats such as the number of visitors your website receives including unique ones from a variety of countries, page ranks on search engines, frequently visited or most popular content and so on. Most web hosts actually provide a statistics package such as Webalizer and Awstats.
- Now since you will have been running the website for some time you either used accounting software yourself or opted for an accounting package from your web server. Either way you should make the details known to potential buyers so they can see estimated revenue per quarter provided the website is managed well. It is also good to have official bills for hosting and other services so an estimate of expenses can be put forward.
- An email letter can also help you find a sensible buyer because it makes your website into a human like entity with its own history of earnings and achievements and can go a long way in depicting how much you have put into it.
The Dynamics Of Getting A Buyer
Now this part is not as simple as it looks because unlike real estate or tangible property, people aren’t always running to buy an online enterprise because they are less likely to trust it unless it is insanely popular. Now most of us can make a decent earning out of small product sites or blogs but few of us are outrageously popular all over the world so one must bear that in mind. This is another reason why you probably cannot buy video blogs from an eminent blogger since they are the product themselves.
Finding a buyer in your home country should be your first prerogative since they will be people who at least operate in the same time zone as you and will be easier to communicate with as well as to receive payment from. If you are running an online business you may want to drop an email to overseas online stores since they might be interested in selling in your area and your website could facilitate them in doing so.
Selling to similar small businessmen is also brilliant since they understand the dynamics of your marketplace and can run the website efficiently once you have handed it over to them. They might add all kinds of new touches which can expand the base you have built.
It is not always possible to find a suitable buyer in your local marketplace so you can narrow down your search to people that have advertised their desire to buy a website. There are a lot of potential web owners out there that can appreciate the hard work you have put into the site and they would rather carry on your work then start a website from nothing and build it all the way up to being popular. A well-known and established domain name can be very valuable to some people.
Ebay has a special section where you can buy and sell websites and domain names so definitely drop your details there in case some potential buyers stumbles across it and finds your work interesting. If you are locally known then this can be a very effective means of advertising. Site Point Site Sell is a forum where website information is exchanged and it is routinely stalked by web entrepreneurs. Some other forums which are equally useful are BuySellWebsite, WebmastersMarketplace.com, and eBizBrokers.
- You may still need to provide some technical know-how every now and then especially if you have sold to web owners who are less than professionals. As a gesture you can mark out a specific period of time during which you will be available for this since you do not want them to latch on to you.
- Be honest and straightforward about the means of money transfer that you are comfortable with and do not hand over any passwords etc till you have received the money. The online world can be tricky and full of scams and you don’t want to fall into the hands of a hacker.
The video below talks about “flipping” websites. This is a lot like buying a home and fixing it up for re-sale, only it’s done with a website. Flipping websites has become very popular, and the video below explains more about this common practice.