how to flip a website

I Flipped My First Website – Here’s How it Happened

So I flipped my first website. It went for $35,000. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time but something has always held me back. Fortunately for you this post is not to brag. In this article I’m going to tell you how to flip a website. Hopefully this addresses any questions someone has about how to flip a website.

How Did I Find a Buyer?

Someone reached out directly to me. At first this seemed like a waste of time, but the more we talked, the more it made sense. He emailed me and said he’s interested in purchasing the site. I shared the earnings, page views, etc. for the site. We negotiated back and forth for about a week and finally came to an agreement.

While this process worked for me, I admit it was somewhat of a leap of faith when it comes to trusting my buyer. I did some research on him. He had a very strong personal brand established on the internet. It’s possible that he could have set up an elaborate scam, but in the end it would have been exposed and I would have been protected. More on that later.

It’s very likely you don’t have people emailing you to sell your website. If that’s the case there are other options for finding a buyer for your site. Probably the most famous option for doing this if Flippa. If you are going to go with a third party to assist you with the selling of your website, I would recommend Empire Flippers.

If I have never used Empire Flippers, then how could I recommend them? Well, even though I didn’t go through with using them, I did go all the way through the process up to the selling point. They are very professional. You have very experienced people helping you all the way through the process. While you are paying them a hefty sum for their help (8-15% of your sale price), it really makes the process seamless and is definitely worth it. By using them you reach a larger audience which probably increases your sale price by that amount.

How Do You Know What Your Website is Worth?

This is such a loaded question, but I’m going to take it on anyway. Empire Flippers defines the worth as the average monthly net profit over the last 6 to 12 months x 20 to 60+.

Obviously that’s a very broad description of the selling price. Basically it comes down to what the site is worth to you.

Let’s take a look at my site and how I came to a price I was comfortable selling it for.

Up until February 2019, my site was increasing earnings substantially every month leading up to it. The site was using AdThrive for revenue primarily. While there was additional revenue, since AdThrive accounted for 80 to 90 percent of the revenue, that’s what we will focus on. As a quick sidenote, AdThrive does not offer an affiliate program, so I am not compensated in any way for saying positive things about them, but they are an incredible ad network. If your site gets over 100,000 pageviews a month, they are an incredible option for monetizing your website.

Here are my earnings with AdThrive for 2018 and 2019:

adthrive 2018 earnings

adthrive 2019 earnings

So a little background on the ups and downs of my earnings. I was experiencing regular growth up until February. The site is in the diet industry. Everyone is dieting in January, so traffic is highest at that point. Even though the RPM was down, traffic way through the roof, resulting in a huge month. So a drop in February was natural.

Then in March my Google rankings were crushed with a Google update. This is something Google does regularly and it can affect your site in a big way. Up until this point I had never been negatively affected by one of these. I’m still in the process of sorting out what happened. Maybe I will write an article about that at one point, but that’s not what this article is about.

So from August 2018 through May 2019 my site made $18,031. That’s an average of $1,800 a month, roughly. So when you do the math, my site got 19.44 times the monthly revenue over the last ten months.

If you look at Empire Flippers’ definite of a site’s value that might seem a little low. But my situation was unique. I was hammered by an update in March and had done very little to get the site back to where it was. In the days leading up to being contacted by the buyer I had done a few things to fix my site. There were even some positive signs as far as traffic and revenue increasing, but I was ready to move on and start fresh.

Ultimately, this was the price that made sense to me. And no one can put a value on your website but you. This site wasn’t going to get me $35,000 for a long time and I have other ventures that my time can be better spent being invested in. So I went for it.

How to Transfer the Site to the New Owner

I think in the back of my mind, this was the part of the process that held me back from selling my site to some dude who reached out to me by email.

As it turns out there is a company that specializes in this exact process. They are appropriately named Escrow. It really simplifies the process into these steps:

  1. Buyer and seller agrees on terms
  2. Buyer pays Escrow
  3. Seller transfers the website
  4. Buyer approves the transfer of website
  5. Escrow pays the seller

For my transaction it went down in these exact steps. It took about two days for the entire process, with my money arriving the next day. That could certainly vary, but we didn’t run into any issues during the process. If you do run into an issue, Escrow is able to step in and help remedy the situation.

As far as the technical details with regards to the transfer of the website I’m not going to get too deep, but I will provide you a basic outline.

After the money was with Escrow, I transferred the domain to the buyer. Then I provided the buyer with Admin access on WordPress. If you are unsure what WordPress is, it’s how I manage the content for my site. From there I’m unsure how he migrated the site, but it’s very likely he used the WordPress Migration plugin to do so.

On top of that I gave him the log in information for all of my social media properties. Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. He declined taking my extremely weak Facebook presence. I also gave him the credentials for MailChimp, which is my email list. To sweeten the pot I also included a long list of recursive keyword research, but that’s not something that will usually be included. Sometimes you get creative to try to get that last couple thousand.

After I provided all of that information, he logged in with all of them and by the next day he approved the transfer. The process went much smoother than I ever imagined.

Conclusion

Now that I’ve flipped my first website, I can’t wait to do it again. Could I have made more money if I flipped it at an all-time high? Possibly, but all things considered, the website was a massive success. All things considered it made about $30,000 in revenue and then another $35,000 when I sold it. This was all in about a year. $65,000 is a solid annual revenue and when you consider the time I put into it, the return was pretty incredible.

I started a site last month and am going to document the entire process including the steps taken to get the site profiting and traffic stats up to the price that it is sold for. When I start the project I will include a link right here.

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