If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to make money online, flipping websites might be your calling. Website flipping is the business of buying and selling websites for a profit. It can be a great way to earn an income online, and it offers several advantages.
First, they can earn money while you’re growing them. And unlike other business ventures, there is no need to invest in inventory or staff. Website flipping also offers flexibility and can be done part-time, making it a perfect side hustle. Because websites can be sold quickly and for a high price, it’s possible to earn a significant return on investment!
So if you’re looking for a way to make money online, starting your own business as a website flipper is worth considering. Here is an overview of the different strategies for flipping websites, how to increase your website’s value, and how to sell your website once you’re ready to cash in.
The Two Ways to Flip Websites
There are two basic approaches to website flipping: buying and selling existing websites and building and selling new websites.
Buying and Selling Existing Websites
The first way is to buy an existing website, make improvements to it, and then resell it for a profit.
This method of website flipping can be highly profitable, and the more traffic and revenue your website builds, the more you can sell it for. In general, you can expect to earn roughly 25-35 times the site’s monthly income using this method.
For example, let’s say you buy a website for $4,000 that’s earning about $150 per month via ads and affiliate sales. If you spend 3-4 months building that website until it’s making $1,000 per month, you could sell it for $30,000!
However, buying and selling websites in this way typically requires a significant upfront investment, and it isn’t without its risks. For instance, let’s say that a large part of that $1,000 the website is making is generated through affiliate sales, and then that affiliate program shuts down right before you’re about to sell; you would more or less be back to square one. That’s why it’s imperative to diversify your monetization methods as much as possible.
Building and Selling New Websites
The other approach to website flipping is to build new websites from scratch and sell them. The most significant advantage to this approach is that it requires less upfront cost on your part; you can buy a domain and launch a new WordPress website for well under $100.
However, it can take a lot longer to build traffic on a brand new website. That’s because it takes time to build your domain authority, which determines how much Google trusts your site. In fact, it can take 6-12 months before Google starts ranking your content!
That said, there is a market for “starter websites” that aren’t yet making money. You won’t earn as much profit on these, but they are faster to turn around. Starter sites can sell for anywhere from $200 to more than $1,000. If you can turn around multiple starter sites quickly, you can make thousands per month!
How to Flip Websites for a Profit
Once you’ve decided which approach you want to take, here are the next steps to get started.
Determine the Niche
Whether you’re buying an existing website or starting a new one from scratch, you need to determine a profitable niche or market to target. Ideally, you want to choose an on-trend niche with low competition keywords.
A sub-niche in personal finance or health is usually a safe bet, but there are hundreds of other niches you can choose from. A good way to research markets is by searching for long-tail keywords in the niche you’re thinking about.
Long-tail keywords are phrases of three or more words. They generally have lower search volumes but are easier to rank for. You can use a cheap tool like Keywords Everywhere to check the search volume on keywords and get long-tail keyword ideas. Then you can use the free Moz extension to check the domain authority of sites that are ranking for those keywords.
For example, if you’re thinking about starting a travel blog, you might Google “best travel destinations” and notice that the top results all have domain authorities of 80 or higher. That means it will be tough to rank those keywords organically.
On the other hand, if you search for something more specific, like “where to travel with a toddler,” you’ll notice that the top results have much lower domain authorities, which means it would be easier to rank for that keyword phrase.
If you’re planning on creating a starter site to sell, this stage is less important since you will be selling before the site brings in much traffic or revenue.
Find a Domain Name or Website
If you’re starting a new website, you’ll need to find a good domain name. The ideal domain name is easy to remember and relevant to your niche.
You can use a tool like Bluehost to search for available domain names under $20. Always choose a domain that ends in “.com,” which is easier to remember and makes your website appear more legitimate to potential buyers.
If you’re looking to buy an existing website, you can find websites for sale on Flippa, Empire Flippers, or Motion Invest. (More about these websites later!)
Empire Flippers is generally more expensive since they only deal in high-quality sites. Flippa offers a range of websites for every budget and provides lower-stakes options for the beginner flipper.
When evaluating a website for sale, pay close attention to the traffic volume, the revenue generated in the last three months, how it is monetized, and the costs associated with running the site. These factors can help you determine a website’s potential for growth.
For example, suppose you see a website for sale that generates $1,000 per month in revenue via affiliate links only. It might be a good candidate since you could increase revenue by improving the SEO and running ads.
But you also need to be on the lookout for red flags. For instance, if you see the website has seen a steep decline in revenue or traffic within the past few months, it could indicate that the website will make much less than the valuation suggests. Also, avoid websites that use private blog networks (PBNs) to build backlinks, as these sites are at risk of being penalized by Google.
Set Up Hosting
The next thing you need to do is set up hosting for your website. Hosting is where your website’s files are stored and accessed by visitors.
There are many different web host companies to choose from, like BlueHost or Liquid Web. Do your research on a few and choose the best one for your budget and needs.
If you’re starting a new website, the next step is to install WordPress. WordPress is a content management system that makes it easy to create and manage a website. Most professional bloggers use WordPress because it’s highly customizable and ideal for search engine optimization.
While it is possible to flip websites built on other platforms like Squarespace or Wix, you may have difficulty finding buyers.
Most hosting companies will have a one-click install option for WordPress, making it easy to set up.
If you’re buying an existing website, check that the site is built on WordPress and not another platform.
If you need to learn WordPress, WPBeginner has a ton of great free tutorials to help you get started.
Choose a Theme
Once you have WordPress installed, it’s time to choose a theme for your website. A theme is a template for your website’s visual appearance and user experience.
There are many free and paid themes available. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find some decent free themes. But if you want a more professional-looking site, it’s worth spending a few dollars on a premium theme.
Some popular theme shops include Genesis, Elegant Themes, and Kadence.
Plugins are like apps for WordPress, and they add more functionality to your website. For example, there are plugins to help with SEO, security, forms, contact pages, and social media integration.
Try to keep plugins minimal, as adding too many can slow down the site. The best plugins to start with are Yoast, Antispam Bee, UpdraftPlus, and WP Rocket.
Build Out the Content
Now it’s time to start creating good content for your website. This is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time.
When creating content, you need to ensure it’s high quality, keyword-rich, and informative. If you can do all three of those things, you’re on your way to creating a successful website. The more high-quality content you have on your site, the more you can sell it for.
To help with the keyword research process, use a tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or Semrush.
Once you have a list of keywords, you can start writing articles around those topics. Focus on long-form content that’s at least 1,500 words long.
It’s also essential to include images, videos, and infographics to break up the text and make your articles more visually appealing.
Tips for Increasing the Value of Your Website
Once you have a website that’s up and running, it’s time to start thinking about ways to increase its value to maximize your profits.
Here are a few best practices to get you started.
Optimize for Search Engines
Search engine optimization is critical if you want your website to rank on Google organically. Free traffic from Google is the best kind of traffic because it doesn’t cost you anything to generate, and it’s also the most sustainable in the long term.
There are two types of SEO that can help your website rank on Google Search: On-page and off-page. On-page SEO encompasses any actions you take on your website to improve its search engine friendliness, such as using the right keywords and adding alt text to images.
Off-page SEO involves building links back to your site to boost your rankings by improving the site’s domain authority. Backlinks are typically achieved through outreach campaigns and guest blogging.
If you need help with your SEO strategy, Moz has an extensive learning center where you can get a better understanding of SEO for free. In particular, check out their beginner’s guide to SEO.
Improve Site Speed
Site speed is another ranking factor for Google, so it’s essential to make sure the website loads quickly. If your website is slow, it will result in a high bounce rate, impacting views and revenue.
There are several ways to improve your site speed, but some of the easiest and most effective options include using a caching plugin, optimizing your images, and using a content delivery network like Cloudflare.
Build an Email List
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate sales, making it a great asset that increases the value of your website.
Building an email list is relatively easy. Sign up with a provider (Constant Contact, ConvertKit, or Sendinblue) and add an opt-in form to your website so people can sign up to receive your emails. Once you have a list of subscribers, start sending them regular updates about your websites and valuable information related to your niche. You may be able to get more for your website if you can prove that your email list has high open rates.
Diversify Monetization Methods
There are many ways to monetize a website, so try to use as many as possible. Not only will it increase the website’s value, but you will also create a more stable stream of revenue.
Some of the most popular monetization methods include:
Where to Sell Your Website
Once you’ve done all of the above and increased the value of your website, it’s time to sell it. What you can earn for your website depends on where you sell it and how. Here are the top website marketplaces to list your website for sale.
Flippa offers a wide range of features, including an auction-style marketplace where prospective buyers can place bids on your site. You can also get a free valuation for your site using their in-browser tool.
All you do is share your traffic numbers, income, costs, and a few other details, and they will give you an estimate of what your website is worth. The standard listing fee is $29, which provides you with three months to sell your site. Flippa is beginner-friendly and a great place for selling starter sites that are not yet generating revenue.
Empire Flippers is a website broker that has helped thousands of people buy and sell online businesses, from small lifestyle blogs to large eCommerce sites. However, they do not sell sites that are not generating revenue, so you will only be able to sell your site here if it’s making more than $2,000 per month.
But if they list your site, you can be confident that your site will sell; they have a 95% sell rate! There are no listing fees, but they will take up to 15% of the sale, depending on the selling price.
Motion Invest is another good platform for sellers, with a free valuation tool and an average selling multiplier of 36x. They concentrate primarily on content sites that are monetized with affiliate links and display ads.
They have a low barrier to entry and accept sites that are making as little as $20 per month. They may also offer to buy your site directly, which involves no fees and can help you sell faster. The drawback to a direct offer is that they are typically at a lower price than a marketplace offer. There is no listing fee for marketplace offers either, but they will take a cut of the earnings when the site sells.
Whether you decide to sell starter sites for a few hundred dollars or invest in established websites for a larger profit, digital real estate can be a great side hustle or a full-time business. It has unlimited income potential! And although website flipping requires a few essential skills, the advantage is that you can learn as you go.
With some practice and dedication, anyone can become a successful website flipper. The more you do it, the faster you can sell websites and make money.