There are a lot of WordPress sites out there. And even though WordPress is a free-to-use site builder, WordPress sites can still be pretty lucrative. This means that there is a significant market for buying and selling WordPress sites. The most sought-after are of course the ones that; have the highest traffic, run quickly and smoothly, and bring in consistent revenue.
So if you own a WordPress site yourself and are considering selling it, you may be wondering how to make the most out of your site. Is there anything you can do to optimize your site and increase its value or desirability? How do you go about selling a WordPress site anyway?
Equally, if you are looking to buy a WordPress site, what do you need to know? What should you look for and what should you avoid? How can you look for a site with potential so that you can optimize it yourself and increase its value?
We will cover everything you need to know about WordPress sites in this ultimate guide to optimizing, selling and buying a WordPress site.
How to optimize a WordPress website
How quickly does your site load and run? A speedy loading time (ideally 3 seconds or under) is vital so that users don’t get bored or frustrated using the website. This will in turn lead to more clicks, conversions and revenue. Is your site secure? Optimizing your site also helps to stay safe from hackers. So if you want to optimize a WordPress site so that it is running at its best, there are some key things you can do.
Change your hosting service
Although there is not one single thing that determines the speed of your site, your web hosting provider can be a big factor. If you, or the site creator, originally signed up with a cheap or shared hosting provider, your site may be slow or laggy. Therefore it is probably a good idea to migrate to a higher-performing provider.
Why will a site with poor hosting service be unattractive to buyers?
- It can cause performance issues and make the buyer think there are problems with the site
- Migrating to a new web hosting service can be lengthy or costly for a buyer
What kind of web hosting service should you migrate to? There are many different hosting options, but if your site uses shared hosting (a service that hosts various sites with a single server), we recommend you move away from this. You might consider using:
- A Virtual Private Server (VPS) – although the physical server is technically shared with other users, it replicates the experience of a dedicated server giving you ultimate speed and performance
- Managed WordPress hosting – although a little more pricey, this hosting environment is designed to help your site stay secure and run faster, taking care of updates and backups automatically— this will be attractive to buyers
Optimize your images and theme
When you build a site, it is natural to want to choose the highest quality images and the most attractive WordPress theme. However, very large resolution images and certain themes can take a long time to load and slow down the speed of your site.
What is the best way to resolve this problem?
- Go through the site and consider reducing the size or compressing any large images
- There are options for fast or ‘lightweight’ WordPress themes that are designed for fast performance
Caching allows a browser to locally store website components. This means if a user visits your website more than once, they won’t have to reload everything each time. This means they enjoy a fast performance.
How can you use caching to improve the performance of your WordPress site?
- Configure your site to use caching— you can do this by turning it on in the settings
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)— these are groups of servers in different locations around the world. The server closest to your visitor will load the site content to improve speed
Minify your scripts
You don’t have to be a developer to minify your script. There are various minify plugins such as:
- Fast Velocity Minify
Make your site secure
There are so many WordPress sites out there that the platform is fairly vulnerable to hackers. Security concerns can include things like people hacking your login details or loading malware onto your site. Not an attractive prospect for any buyer.
To keep your site optimized on the security front, make sure:
- Use a reputable web host that follows stringent security measures
- Add Two-Factor Authentication to access your site, adding a 2FA is easy with a variety of WordPress plugins like WP 2FA or Google Authenticator
- Keep your WordPress plugins and themes up to date
- Establish a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your site – this is often available through managed WordPress services or CDN integration
- If using a CDN, choose one that can help protect your site from Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks
Selling a WordPress website
So if you are looking to sell your WordPress site what do you need to know? Where do you start? How much is your site worth? Have you made a website design that you want to sell?
How to sell a WordPress site
There are a few different options when it comes to selling a site.
- Through a marketplace— there are many online marketplaces where you can buy and sell websites such as Flippa.com (think Amazon for websites). While there are drawbacks to selling your WordPress site through a marketplace, this is a good place to start, as well as being a budget-friendly option
- Broker— probably the most secure way to sell a WordPress site is through a broker – They will help you value your site, find and vet potential buyers, manage the transaction and close the deal
- Private sale— this option is not possible for most people as it involves already having a network of contacts within the industry who might be interested in buying your site – If you do know someone though, this can be a good way to avoid brokerage fees
How to determine the price of a WordPress site
There are various ways to determine the value of your website. The most common way is to calculate the worth using a multiplier. For example, if your site brings in $50k per year and your multiplier was 3, the site would be worth 3 x $50k = $150k. To calculate your multiplier you will need to do your research and consider the following factors:
- Relative risk
- Traffic sources
- Revenue sources
If you have no idea where to start, visit marketplaces and take a look at similar sites listed for sale. You will start to get a ballpark figure of what you could earn.
How to sell a website design
Have you created a custom WordPress theme that you would like to sell? If you work with WordPress there are several different marketplaces where you can list these such as ThemeForest. You could also sell the theme through your own website.
If you are offering your web design services to clients to build themes from scratch or update their current theme, you can list your services on freelance platforms such as Upwork. You could even sell stand-alone graphic files to clients.
Buying a WordPress website
What about if you want to buy a WordPress site? Where do you start? What do you look for and how do you choose the right investment for you?
Where to buy a WordPress site
In the same way as selling a site, there are three main options for buying a site.
- Online marketplace— here you can browse listings of sites for sale
- Broker— you can hire a broker who will help find good deals for you, perform due diligence on the site and the buyer and help facilitate the sale
- Personal contact— perhaps you know someone who is looking to sell a site, why not make them an offer?
What to look for
How do you judge a WordPress site on whether or not it is a good investment? This can vary depending on your interests, goals, skills and finances but the key areas to look at are:
- Recurring revenue
- Number of visitors
- Traffic sources
- Revenue sources
- Site security
- Errors in the site
- High-speed hosting service
- UX experience and web design
Red flags to look out for
If you want to buy a site without major problems then there are some red flags that you can look out for. Make sure to consider the following areas before making an offer:
- Web hosting services— what web hosting service does the site use? Does it provide the necessary functionality? Could the host be causing poor site performance? Are you willing to put in the time, effort and cash to migrate to another host?
- Poorly optimized— Does the site take ages to load? Is it glitchy with errors? How is the design and UX experience?
- Lacking security measures— Are there security measures in place? Is the site vulnerable to hackers?
- Lack of data— Can the seller show you at least 6 to 12 months of analytics data? For example traffic data, Click Through Rate (CTR), traffic sources, financial data? If not this is a big red flag. Also, look out for any unexplained downturns or anomalies.
Does it have potential?
Are you looking for a fixer-upper? Many people like the idea of purchasing a site on a budget so they can use their skills to optimize the site and increase revenue. If this sounds like you, depending on your skills, some of the red flags above may look like dollar signs. Assess your skills and the amount of time and money you are willing to spend on ‘renovations’.
So whether you are looking to dip your toe in the world of WordPress, or you already own a site you are looking to optimize or sell, it is time to take action. Now you know the areas that will make a site attractive to buyers, and what will be a big turnoff. The WordPress market is waiting!