Investing in an online business is a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing.
And we’re not just talking about building websites from scratch. It is now possible to buy an established website that is already generating revenue, has an existing flow of traffic, and a ready-made functioning business model.
In comparison to investing in a more traditional offline business, a website that is already making money allows you to side-step a lot of hassle. This might include huge start-up costs and time-consuming legwork to get the business up and running.
If you don’t yet have the skills to monetize a site, or the time or cash to invest in a site’s marketing and maintenance, buying an established website could be a good fit for you. You can even sustain one or several websites on the side of your normal job, multiplying your monthly income with minimal effort.
Sounds amazing, right?
But how do you go about finding the right investment?
If you are new to the game and don’t know where to begin, don’t fear. In this article you will learn several ways you can go about finding a website that makes money. And you can get started straight away.
How to identify the type of websites to look for
Before diving in, it is important to identify what you are looking for in a site.
The simplest way to do this is by thinking about what type of buyer you are, and what your needs are. When you know what the criteria are for your site, it will make it easier to rule out deals that are not right for you during the search process.
Are you a first-time buyer lacking knowledge? It’s best to stick to sites that are fairly simple and low maintenance to run, and that generate consistent revenue. Small Adsense or Amazon sites can be a stable bet and are easy to get your head around. It’s also a good idea not to blow your whole budget on the first purchase. Inexperienced buyers can stumble on a number of buyer pitfalls. You have to be prepared to accept that things can go wrong and investors sometimes have to cut their losses.
Perhaps you are looking to build up longer-term investments on the side of your 9-5 hustle. You might want to eventually transition from your job to owning an online empire. Look for low risk sites with multiple traffic sources. Perhaps keep some cash to inject into improving the sites you buy.
Are you happy to invest time into improving a website? Think about using any skill sets you might have to your advantage. If you are a whizz at Facebook advertising for example, look for sites who are not yet making the most of this. You may have a chance to improve websites and increase their revenue.
Four top places to look for websites that make money
So you have established what you are looking for. Now you want to start your search for the perfect website. But where to look? We have listed the main places you can find profitable websites below.
Online marketplaces list websites and online businesses for sale. You can browse through their listings quickly and easily, filtering your results by niche. Marketplaces can have a wide range of websites but are best for finding smaller deals up to around $20,000. It’s a good place to start getting an idea of the different options out there.
Marketplaces have some steps in place to verify the revenue and traffic analytics of the sellers. The downside is they can still attract lots of low quality listings, with fraudulent or misrepresented numbers. Make sure you perform your own due-diligence on any potential sellers. For inexperienced buyers this can prove difficult, hence some buyers prefer buying directly, or using brokers for more support.
Flippa is one of the biggest, most established marketplaces for websites on the scene. It is an auction site, unlike many other marketplaces, where buyers bid on sites. Flippa gets thousands of listings and a has huge range of websites for sale. It is possible to find good deals but be wary of scams. The site verifies sellers with proven revenue and traffic statistics via Adsense and Google analytics. Although this can minimize risk of fraud, it is always best to double check seller’s claims before buying.
Empire Flippers is a well-established, premium marketplace. It has a good selection of profitable websites on offer.
Buyers must make a refundable 5% deposit in order to receive the URL and revenue and traffic statistics of any website they are interested in. This protects the future owner from competitors looking to replicate profitable sites or niches and shows the seller which buyers are serious. Empire Flippers offers some buyer support during the sales process.
Although not the prettiest site, Buy Sell website gets some decent listings. They specialize in established and start-up websites and domains. They provide a range of sites to browse with a straightforward buying process.
2. Purchase directly
From a website owner
An alternative way of buying a website is identifying one you want to purchase and contacting the owner directly. This allows you to deal exclusively with sites in your niche that match your criteria. Make sure you do your research before making any offers. Check website analytics and traffic statistics using resources such as Alexa or Ahrefs to make sure the site is good investment. You might also want to run a quick background search on the site owner.
Once you are sure on making an offer, put together a pitch and contact the owner through the contacts section of the website, or use whois.com to look up the domain owner. Put a little time into the pitch so that the owner will take you seriously.
If you pull it off, this method can be a great way to find a site. It means you can identify sites that are a good fit without competition from other buyers. However, be prepared to receive a no, or maybe hear nothing back from whoever you approach. They may also be less willing to negotiate on price.
From companies that run websites
There are also individuals and companies that run many websites themselves who you can contact directly to sell you a website. This way you deal directly with professionals who are experienced at buying, selling, and running websites. You can cut out the lengthy process of wading through marketplace listings and cold-emailing site owners who may not be interested.
Domain Magnate, as well as providing a brokerage service, can be contacted directly to buy websites with established revenue. It can be beneficial for newbies who want to know they are dealing with a trustworthy company that doesn’t take commission. Domain Magnate can also help with the next steps after completion and provide support to ease the buyer into the running of their new business. Compared to some marketplaces however, the number of websites to choose from may be limited.
3. Online brokers
Perhaps you would like someone to walk you through the whole buying process. Or you don’t want to worry about losing money buying from a dodgy seller. Maybe you just don’t have the time or patience to negotiate with the seller yourself. If any of these apply to you, you might consider using a broker when buying a website.
Brokers can provide valuable support. It can be a comfort to know you are dealing with trustworthy industry professionals. They have extensive experience and contacts in the business and so tend to have high quality listings. Some even offer a personalized service to find you a website that matches your criteria. Brokers don’t get paid until a deal is completed so it is in their interest to help you find a good deal. Its generally only worthwhile using a broker for higher priced deals from $20,000 to more than $1 million.
Domain Magnate is a trustworthy broker offering a range of pre-selected, vetted listings. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced buyer, support is offered from start to finish, including after-sale support.
FE International offers a wide range of high value sites and an efficient, successful sales method. In recent years the company has also improved its due diligence process to eliminate fraud.
Quiet Light Brokerage is a reliable online broker specializing in high value ecommerce, Amazon FBA, SaaS and content websites. It is a solid platform to find profitable websites.
4. Forums and Facebook groups
If you have not had much luck with the buying methods above, it can be possible to find websites that generate income through specialized forums and Facebook groups.
These platforms tend to attract lower value deals which, if you are a first-time buyer looking to test the waters with smaller investments, could work out well for you. There are usually many listings of varying quality which may take some time and patience to scroll through. However, you can find some good deals this way. Just make sure you ask the seller for all the revenue and traffic data before you enter into negotiations.
Check out the following forums and Facebook groups to find websites and domains for sale:
So there you have it. We have seen there are various ways you can find established websites for sale that already make money. You can go ahead start the search for your ideal website.
Just remember, whichever buying method you choose, make sure you do your research and verify the website is as good as it looks on paper. Don’t let yourself be swayed by a deal that looks too good to be true. Compare various deals and approach each listing critically and soon you will find that money-making deal that will work for you.