How To Sell A WordPress Website Online
Have you ever considered selling your website but don’t know where to start? Selling a website may sound as easy as listing an item on eBay but there’s actually a lot you need to know and consider. Don’t worry, I’ve been through the process as I have sold a few websites before so let me help you out and cover the different aspects on how to sell your website online.
Why Are You Selling Your Website?
There may come a time when you’re going to want or have to sell your website. Maybe you don’t have time to maintain it anymore. Maybe you’re simply ready to move onto other ventures. Maybe you’re in need of a lump sum of money. Whatever the reason is, make sure it’s something you are really serious about or you’ll end up with regrets.
A friend of mine, who I had a joint online venture with years and years ago, had a WordPress website, that was making thousands of dollars monthly, decided he wanted to sell it for a couple reasons; he was ready to move on from his online ventures and he wanted to take the money to start a different type of business – a restaurant.
If I remember correctly, he ended up selling it for $75,000! Although, he could have gotten at least $90,000-$100,000, he was content with the price but more importantly, he was happy moving onto the next phrase of his life.
As a lot of you guys know, I considered selling DatMoney but obviously didn’t end up doing so. There was a couple of websites I wish I sold when they were at its peak because I know I could have probably made six-figures off the sale, but instead, held onto it for too long and ended up with not as much. Pretty much like selling a stock at the wrong time.
Whatever the reason is that you’re selling your website, make sure it’s what you really want to do and that you’ll be happy with the decision with no regrets.
Know How Much Your Website Is Worth
Everyone has their own theory behind how much their website is worth but when it comes down to it, it’s really worth as much as someone is willing to pay you for it.
Remember when former Microsoft SEO Steve Ballmer bought the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion? A lot of people till this very day thinks he overpaid more than half a billion dollars. I’m one of those individuals but when it comes down to it, if you find the right buyer willing to spend, the worth of your website might even surprise you.
Here are some points to help determine how much your website is worth:
Revenue and Costs – Believe it or not, but how much money you make from the website isn’t the biggest factor when it comes to selling, though, it obviously plays a key part.
Before, I had embedded in my head that you should sell for 10 times your site’s gross monthly profit. So if you were making $5,000/monthly then you should be able to sell for $50,000 but that’s not always the case.
Some people go by five times the average profit as online revenue tends to fluctuate. I also read websites are usually worth somewhere between three to six times the profits.
In my experience, I’ve sold for more than 10 times the monthly profit but also just a little more than twice the monthly profit. But in any instance, I had a minimum price in mind and was okay with the sale at those prices and so should you if you decide to proceed with a sale.
Subscribers/Members/Following – If you have a large audience but don’t make a lot of money from the site, buyers who are great at monetizing will see this as a great opportunity.
When it comes to any online business, everyone will tell you that building an email list is essential to success. If you have a big email list on top of all the followers from different social media platforms then your site just increased that much more.
How Much Work Does It Take To Maintain – Time is money. Remember that because your buyers will have that in their heads too. They will see how much work it takes to maintain your site to see if it’s even worth buying your site.
Potential – This is arguably the biggest factor, in my opinion, to selling a website. Depending on the site, some buyers will be more focused on everything else besides the finances. If your site has potential in the buyers eyes then there’s a high chance you have a potential sale on your hands.
Preparing To Sell
Hopefully at this point, you have an ideal price in mind on how much to sell your site for. Now you’ll have to prepare all your selling points, stats and proof to back up all your claims. The more straightforward and open you are, the easier it is to make a sale.
Here is a list of things you’ll need to prepare:
– Listing description and selling points (why a potential buyer should spend money buying your site)
– Proof of site stats (traffic, backlinks, pagerank, subscribers, social media, etc)
– Proof of financials (listed individually for each revenue source as well as costs to maintain)
– Details on how to run the site (how much time is needed to provide content, marketing, technical knowledge, how much money is needed to spend, etc)
– Everything that comes with the sale of the site (if it comes with products, social media accounts, premium web design, plugins, etc)
Some may include more items to highlight their site or they’ll even post answers to questions that will probably come up regularly such as why you’re selling the site, has it been banned with any programs such as Google Adsense and so on.
Finding Potential Buyers
Now that you have your ideal price in mind, all the stats and proofs of your site, it’s time to find potential buyers for your site.
There are plenty of ways to find potential buyers, here are a few:
Auction sites – Flippa.com is one of the most reputable sites to buy and sell websites. I’ve used it and there are plenty of buyers constantly checking out the listings. I like the fact that people bid (you can bid publicly and privately) and you can set your reserve price.
You can also sell on eBay but in my opinion, Flippa is the way to go.
Forums – There are plenty of tech and web forums out there that has marketplaces but Digital Point is the one I would recommend. Like Flippa, it’s reputable and you’ll be able to see if a member is in “good standing” or not. Keep in mind, you’ll need to have X amount of posts before listing anything for sale.
Site Brokers – I personally never sold a site through brokers but that is an option. Typically, it works equivalent to a broker selling a house. You have a set price, they find you a buyer and make some sort of commission.
Privately – If you have a good network, you’ll probably know a lot of people who know people who know other people who might be interested in buying your site. Luckily, I’ve been in the situation where I’ve known people who have helped find buyers for me pretty easily.
You have your ideal price in mind, got everything ready to sell your site and now you have a buyer, how do you accept payment?
Escrow – The safest way for both parties is through Escrow. The buyer deposits the money in an Escrow account, and once both parties are happy with the transaction, the money is released to the seller.
I would highly recommend this option especially if you’re selling your site for a large amount.
Paypal – I’ve accepted payments through Paypal before, typically the buyer sends the money first (I’ve heard others do at least half up front, half when the transaction is complete) and then the seller transfers all site files.
The bad part is you guys have to come up with an agreement on who sends what first and how much upfront.
When you’re dealing with online transactions, it’s best to be safe and go through reputable sites.
Transferring All Files And Domain
You have a buyer, the money is in the Escrow account just waiting for you and now it’s time to transfer all the necessary files and domain.
Transferring the domain – Ideally, it would be easiest if the buyer has an account (or creates one) with the same domain registrar you have. Say your domain is hosted on GoDaddy, you can simply transfer it to their account.
If you purchased your domain through your hosting company like HostGator, you’ll have to submit a ticket to them to assist with the transfer.
Transferring Site’s Files – There are multiple ways of doing this but an FTP Client (such as Filezilla) would be easiest as it includes every file on the server.
WordPress has an import/export feature as well.
Another option is to ask your hosting company to assist with it. Or if you happen to have a reseller hosting account, you can simply transfer the entire hosting account to the buyer.
Providing Support To New Buyer
The buyer may need assistance in the beginning to help get things going so you may be providing support until they have a general sense of how everything works. Keep this in mind as you’ll have to probably be their support until they get comfortable.
Ultimately, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you go through reputable sites to sell and accept payment as they’ll have some kind of reassurance for you.
Hopefully you’re satisfied with your website sale. Time to go out and celebrate!
Good stuff, Jay. I think it’s important for people to understand that you should put in some sort of email optin on your site, even if the intention is to flip it. Google wants a contact page no matter what so it’s in your best interest to collect names, even if you don’t plan on marketing to the list. That list can add enormous value, especially if the site isn’t making any money.