Having an established niche website is great. But building one from scratch is highly taxing. This is why many entrepreneurs opt to buy an established niche website.
There are other reasons for buying a niche website, like acquiring a competitor or diversifying your investment portfolio. This guide will walk you through buying an established niche website so you know what’s coming.
Your go-to place for searching niche websites in California should be brokers and platforms. You would be surprised to learn that there are thousands of ads and listings out there.
There may be a diamond in the rough if you look carefully enough. Some of the brokers charge a fee, while others don’t charge a penny. Here are a few places:
- Flippa.com – use their advanced search tool to filter through the giant network of websites
- EmpireFlippers.com – this platform specializes in selling established niche sites
- ExchangeMarketplace.com – Shopify’s very own marketplace for ecommerce stores that are available for sale.
- eBay.com – you can find many established websites for sale on eBay as well.
Starting the search for a niche is easier said than done because of the variety of options. It would take you days to list down all the available niches of websites, let alone crawl through the massive clusters of websites available for sale.
This is why starting with an industry you are familiar with is recommended. For example, if you have a lot of working experience in fashion, it makes sense to buy a fashion site because it aligns well with your skills.
It can be challenging to succeed in a niche you don’t know anything about. But knowing a thing or two about the industry can give you a massive leg up over the competition because you are already familiar with the trends, opportunities, and challenges.
If you don’t already have a niche in mind, consider working with a website broker for an inside scoop on the latest trends.
Once you’ve narrowed down on your list of options, try to find out why the websites are for sale. Perhaps the owner wants to move on to a different industry and needs money to start a new website.
In this case, you could bring a fresh perspective and some new energy to help the business grow. It is not uncommon for the owner to sell their website for bad reasons.
You have to watch out for the following red flags before buying the website:
- Has a sketchy backlink profile with low-quality websites linking back to it (use an intelligence tool like SEMrush to the backlink profile of the website)
- Traffic is on a downward trend (ask the owner to provide traffic analytics for last year)
- Has duplicate content that is penalized by Google (use plagiarism detectors to audit the content on the website)
Remember, the best niche websites for purchase are the ones that have an upward trend in traffic. At worst, the traffic should be stable.
If the traffic numbers for the past year are in a sharp decline, this means that Google is no longer rewarding the website.
This could be due to a new update that Google recently rolled out or, even worse – a penalty. You don’t want to buy a website that has fallen from Google’s good graces.
In this regard, a broker may be able to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you by screening the website against a list of various red flags.
Interviewing the owner about their reasons for selling the website is important. Be on the lookout for:
- A niche that isn’t profitable because the demand isn’t there
- Negative coverage on the internet
- Competitors that are too far ahead
Make sure to learn as much as possible about the website’s challenges and future opportunities. In addition to speaking with the owner about the website, try talking to your prospective readers.
They will give you an honest view of the website without the bias of the seller or broker trying to convince you to buy.
Several factors need to be considered to determine a website’s worth.
Let’s take a look at the most significant factors you should consider when buying a niche website.
Traffic is worth more than its weight in gold. It would help if you looked for evidence of stable or growing traffic.
Study how long the website has been around and its traffic growth rate. There may have been a sharp decline in traffic because of increased competition, or even a penalty from Google, or both.
Try to ask the owner about the revenue their niche website in California brings to them every month and the costs of running it.
Perhaps they have access to experts who manage and run the website. Transferring the website to you without importing the talent may result in a sharp decline in profits.
It may not be worth buying a website if it takes a lot of talent to manage it. Understanding the website’s finances will give you a rough estimate of what you can expect to make in the future.
What will the website’s future (and the niche) look like in the coming years? Does it appear that the niche will do great in the future?
Or has the owner predicted that the website will soon fail and wants to jump ship to cut their losses?
Perhaps the website no longer has potential with no demand at all. These are the questions you should ask yourself before buying a new website.
A website can receive traffic from various sources, including search engines, social media pages, influencer marketing, and even pay-per-click campaigns.
You want to buy a website that receives traffic from organic sources like Google and Bing. It is pointless buying a website if you have to invest in PPC campaigns.
PPC campaigns are mostly ineffective if your business model is affiliate marketing and AdSense.
You can make exceptions in cases of websites that have a powerful brand.
Use intelligence tools like SEMrush to study the estimated traffic of the website from Google.
SEMrush provides an estimate of the total volume of traffic that the website is likely to receive from Google.
It does this by analyzing all the keywords the website currently ranks for. Websites with a high domain authority can rank for new keywords more easily.
Generally, a domain authority over 30 is a good start. Websites with a low domain authority (less than 15) will be challenging to grow and manage.
SEMrush offers a free one-week trial – take advantage of it while you can!
Once you have decided that you want to move forward with a niche website and have an estimate of its revenue earning potential, it’s time to pitch a price.
You will typically do this by making an offer by email or phone. If your offer matches the seller’s financial goals, they will be more inclined to proceed with the transaction.
As is true for most negotiations, there will be a lot of back and forth as you negotiate the terms of the deal and price before coming to a tentative agreement.
You can always return to make changes to these terms if you find something that changes the website’s value during your due diligence.
It is crucial to be familiar with the technology powering the website. Is the website powered by Joomla, WordPress, or something else?
This will let you know how easy and difficult it would be to maintain the website. WordPress websites are generally easier to maintain because of the abundance of helpful plugins and tools.
You can also hire professionals to help you maintain the website. If the website was built from scratch using custom code, it would be challenging to make changes to it.
It may be difficult to make improvements and updates to the website even if you hire a programmer.
It is vital to update a website to stay ahead of the competition, trends, and tapping into SEO.
Just because you’ve bought an established niche website doesn’t mean it will continue to perform consistently in the future.
You will have to create a strategy to ensure that the website continues to grow and bring in revenue.
The most obvious strategy is to update the content on a regular basis. Failing to update the content could result in loss of traffic and heavily penalize your ranking on search pages.
You can choose to write the content yourself or hire an expert – whichever is easier and more affordable.
Learn from the experiences of your previous owner as well as your immediate competition. A content strategy is useful because it helps you take advantage of SEO opportunities.
Try to create more revenue sources and streamline all your operational processes. If possible, ask the owner to provide you with training to manage the website.
During this training period, your goal is to learn as much about the website as possible to guarantee your success.
Come up with a clear action plan that will let you grow the website in the future.
Always include the website’s social media handles into the sales process. In some cases, the website may not be able to grow without its social media presence.
Perhaps a large percentage of the traffic originates from social media pages. If so, you don’t want to miss out on traffic from social media.
More importantly, your website’s social media presence also plays a role on how you will rank on search engines.
Google takes a look at your overall digital presence before rewarding you with a rank. You may also have noticed that most businesses (and even celebrities) now have their own knowledge panel on search engines.
This knowledge panel lists out all social media platforms and business pages that the website is active on.
Taking control of these pages is essential for SEO and managing your website’s overall brand. As a rule, if the website’s brand is tied to other platforms, then it only makes sense to acquire them as well.
Now that you’ve bought the website, it’s time to get to work.
Your priority should be to grow the website’s audience straight away. This will require campaigns on social media and a new search engine optimization strategy.
SEO is a little difficult these days because of the abundance of websites out there. You can try to handle SEO yourself or hire professionals to manage the site.
Good SEO requires:
- HTML compliance
- SEO-ready blogs and page titles
- Well-researched content with optimized images
- Landing pages (if you’re selling a product or service)
- Lots of relevant keywords (plugged in naturally)
Remember, growing the website will be a constant struggle. You will have to check out various guides and consult experts to see growth.
If it feels like a full-time job, you may want to enlist the help of SEO professionals.
When buying a website, make sure you have:
- Acquired the necessary email accounts linked to the website
- Acquired the credentials to the hosting provider of the website
- Acquired the credentials to social media pages (if they are part of the deal)
- Acquired credentials to the domain name registrar
- Access to multi-factor authentication
- Ensured that the previous owner has given up complete control of the website
- Access to affiliate marketing programs linked to the website
- Removed the previous owner’s Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify pages from the website
So there you have it, all you need to know about buying an established niche website. It can be a difficult task of acquiring a new website, even after you’ve studied everything. But as long as you do your research, the niche website will prove to be a profitable investment that will bring in a sizable chunk of change to you.
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I am Hannah, an online entrepreneur based in New York, United States. As the founder of several successful niche websites, I got the expertise in areas such as making money online, blogging, YouTube, affiliate marketing, and more. Through this website and blog posts, I am trying to provide insightful and actionable tips to help aspiring entrepreneurs, find ways to make money online. Read more.