Interested in Flipping Websites? – Follow the Process

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I've been surprised by the interest other writers have had in flipping websites. I've posted about it as an additional income stream in the past, and it's something I'm still asked about.

I also have a goal for 2009 of flipping a few sites, as a means of monetizing some domain names I have sitting around.

This weekend I've started preparing the first of those sites, and I thought I'd do a series of posts here along the way for those interested in trying it themselves.

The Site

The first site I'll be working with is eWritingJobs.com. I've had this domain for a while, and a barebones WordPress blog was there for about a year. There just wasn't time to build it further, especially considering that I already run several other sites in the niche covering similar topics.

The Plan

Because eWritingJobs.com has an aged domain (not something I just registered to flip right away), I'm not going to do a quick flip on this one. In fact, there's a chance it won't get flipped at all. Let me explain:

When I build a "quiet site" (something I don't necessarily tie my name to or promote heavily), it's setup to earn some ad revenue. If it earns a few hundred per month after a couple of months, I'll keep it to continue earning that income somewhat passively. If it earns less (let's say if it's earning less than $100 per month), I'll sell it / flip it.


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The idea is to create multiple small sites (I usually use a blog format), and either earn income through ads that make them worth keeping or sell them to earn a profit on what's there. The best case is to have them earning for you continuously. When I flip a site it's usually because it's not worth the time anymore, and I'd rather take back some of my time or resources to devote to newer projects.

So you may follow the process and learn how to flip a quick and simple site for a few hundred dollars or so, or you'll learn how to setup that same simple site or blog to earn residual income. Either way, it's another income stream you may find worthwhile.

What's Been Done So Far?

  • This weekend I changed the theme on the blog from a drab blue-gray theme to something warmer (which I felt fit the niche better).
  • I previously decided to use the posts there elsewhere, so I added bylines and links - if the site is sold, there will be a condition that those resource boxes have to remain on the old articles if they keep them published. Any new content on the site will be unique and for that buyer only.
  • I also added a free job board to give me something specific to promote to attract initial visitors (the blog only brought in a little under 3000 pageviews last month, so I need to majorly improve that now that it's not just sitting around). In related news, if testing of this job board system works well, I'll also be incorporating one here at AFW.
  • I setup ads in what I believe will be a relatively well-optimized manner. I also made sure every single ad could be tracked. In other words, when I earn from one of them, I'll know the ad clicked on was from this site and not another site of mine where I'm promoting the same product. You should be doing this any time you place ads on your site, but it's especially important if you may sell in the future - you'll have to prove income directly from the site or blog.

Still to Come

  • I need to change the intro text near the top of the site (it's still the default from the theme).
  • I want to set up email subscriptions so visitors have some options.
  • I want to write 5 - 10 unique articles.
  • I want to have at least 25 job postings added.
  • I want to add a resume section to the job board, where writers can advertise their own services.
  • I need to add the job board TOS.
  • I need to add instructions on using the job board.
  • I need to build links (article marketing, press releases, worthwhile comments on related blogs, etc.) - not all links will contribute to something like pagerank, but the primary goal is really to build visibility and direct traffic from a variety of related sites.
  • I also need to make sure the site is generally well-optimized (or easy for the potential new owner to optimize further).

Determining Value

There are a lot of folks out there that are happy to throw a few rewritten PLR articles on a new domain and sell it off for $50 or so. I prefer using mostly unique content, because it's a big part of what I'm able to charge.

What you can charge for a flipped site will depend on several things, including:

  • The income of the site over the last few months (the longer you've had a steady income, the better).
  • The traffic (and also its stability and where it's coming from).
  • The PR of the domain (although you can still easily flip them with no PR, so don't obsess over something like this).
  • The number of backlinks to the site (and where they're coming from).
  • The value of your content (if you charge $50 per article normally for custom work, you'll likely be able to flip a site with 10 unique articles for much more than someone who usually charges $5 per article) - in fact, this has been the primary selling point of other sites I've flipped (in the $350-450 range, generally assuming little to no traffic and income).

In the past, I've mostly focused on the content. That's still going to be a big part of what I determine to be a minimum selling price (if I don't get that price, I'll simply hold onto it for a while longer and keep building traffic and income). However, I do want to put more emphasis on the other areas as well.

As of now, I'd like to give myself three months to prepare it for a flip (or decide to keep it). That means I'll be noting here what I'm doing with that site in regards to increasing its traffic, building links, getting activity to the job board, and building income to show to potential buyers (maybe with weekly updates). If the site hits over $100 per month before then, I'll keep promoting it to grow that a bit, and I'll keep it for a while. If it earns less than that every month for the next three months, I'll auction it off with a minimum reserve price set.

While I imagine there's more interest here in learning how to do the quick flip for fast cash, I strongly believe there's more value in going this route, and I hope others here will benefit from a "behind the scenes" look at my process.

If you are more interested in the quick flip, don't hesitate to comment and let me know. If it looks like enough folks are interested, I'm happy to take one of my other "spare" domains and do a quick flip in the next week or so. Here are some of the niches I have domains available for that could be quick-flipped:

  • PR writing
  • Business writing
  • Copywriting
  • Indie Music

I'm also willing to register a new one if needs be, and have a few ideas to take advantage of the New Year timing. So let me know.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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3 Comments

  1. Malcolm Bastien December 17, 2008 Reply

    I liked the article. I’ve never thought of flipping websites before, but the basic points of your plan are pretty helpful, especially in weighing if holding onto a site for passive income is the better way to go.

    The goals you’ve set are helpful also.

    Thanks!

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