How to Sell Your Website or Online Business (Complete Guide)
Are you looking to sell your website or online business?
Selling a business or website is like selling a house. It can be stressful and involves a lot of preparation and paperwork. Many beginners are unsure how to get started.
In this article, we’ll show you how to sell your website or online business for the highest price.
Why Sell Your Website or Online Business?
So you’ve taken time to create a successful website and build an online business around it.
But what do you do when it’s time to move on to something new?
Perhaps your circumstances have changed or you want to take time off to travel. Maybe you simply need the money or you are ready for a new business adventure.
What is the best way to sell your website or online business and get what it’s worth? For that matter, how do you find out how much your site is worth to begin with?
Selling a website can be overwhelming. However, it’s certainly possible to sell your site for what it’s worth. In fact, many people make money online by flipping websites.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how to sell your website or online business for what it’s worth. Here are the topics we’ll cover:
How Much Is Your Website Worth?
You might be wondering how much you can realistically sell your website for. It’s impossible to come up with an exact figure, but we’ll show you how to come up with a workable range.
One rule of thumb is that you can generally sell a website for 2 to 3 times your annual profit, after expenses. This will mean that the person buying your website can expect to make their money back in just two to three years.
This gives you a ballpark range to start with. However, in some cases, you can make even more money. For example, subscription-based websites and businesses that serve a particular niche such as health or personal finance are often worth more.
You can get a better estimate of your site’s value using online website value calculators.
The Flippa Free Online Business Valuation Tool gives you a figure for how much your website is worth after answering six questions. This should only take a few minutes to complete.
The Empire Flippers Valuation Tool also calculates a valuation for your website after answering a few questions.
However, to receive the valuation you will first need to provide your email address and optionally your phone number.
There are other tools that give you a rough valuation based on just your website’s URL. Potential buyers may use them to get an idea of how much your site is worth, so you may want to check them as well.
Finally, you can have a look at what websites similar to yours are selling for. The best way to do this is by searching on the Flippa website and checking the ‘Recently Sold’ box at the bottom of the left column.
You might also like to talk to a website broker since they are experienced in valuing and selling websites. More on that later.
How to Make Your Website More Valuable
If you’re not in a hurry to sell your site, then you will be able to make more money by waiting until it peaks. This means that you need to do some work first, and the more effort you put in, the easier it will be to sell.
In particular, you should focus on maximizing your traffic and profits before you sell. This will increase the value of your site and business. Most buyers will carefully look at your last year of sales, so you need to make the numbers as good as you can.
Increase Traffic to Your Website
The more visitors your website has, the more valuable it will be.
Since most of your organic traffic will come from search engines, you need to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) so your site ranks higher on Google.
You can get started by working through our 13-point WordPress SEO checklist for beginners.
Improve Your Website’s Performance
A fast website is more valuable than a slow one. Fast-loading pages improve user experience, increase your pageviews, and help with your WordPress SEO.
Our ultimate guide to boosting WordPress speed and performance is full of actionable steps that you can take to improve your WordPress speed immediately.
For online stores, you can follow our guide on how to speed up WooCommerce performance.
Grow Your Social Media Followers
Potential buyers will also be interested in your reach on social media. You can start to build your social following using our complete social media cheat sheet.
Create an Email List
In our business, an email list gets 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns.
Building an email list will increase conversions and grow your profits, and will be a valuable resource to the person buying your business.
See our guide on the right way to create an email newsletter to learn how to get started.
Improve Your Profits
You can also start looking for new ways to make money and improve profits. The profits you made over the last year is an important indicator of the value of your website.
If you have a blog, then you’ll find plenty of ways to increase your profits in our guide on proven ways to make money online blogging with WordPress.
If you have an online store, then you can start tracking your WooCommerce conversions with MonsterInsights to learn what is working and what needs more attention.
How to Make Sure Your Business Is Transferrable
Once your website is sold, how easy will it be to transfer to the new owners? Potential buyers will want to know that the website will continue running successfully after the sale.
Now is the time to start preparing everyone for a change in ownership and removing potential obstacles to a smooth transition.
Make Sure Your Business Does Not Rely on You Personally
Make sure your website or business will continue to run smoothly once you are no longer involved. Most buyers are looking for an investment, not a full-time job trying to replace you.
That means you will need to train a team or virtual assistant to run the business, including customer support, operations, and more.
For example, if you sell WordPress plugins, then make sure that your team includes developers who understand the software and can continue to maintain it after the sale.
You can also use automation and artificial intelligence to ensure that your website or online store runs smoothly with minimal effort.
Alternatively, you can switch to managed WordPress hosting where backups, updates, and many other maintenance tasks are done for you.
Prepare Any Third Parties for the Change of Ownership
If your business relies on third-party businesses, then you need to make sure those relationships will continue after the change. This can include your partners, suppliers, influencers, freelancers, and more.
For example, if you are getting a special deal from one of your suppliers that helps you stay profitable, then you should make sure the deal will carry on with the new owners.
Make Sure the Necessary Resources Are Transferrable
If you run several websites or businesses, then you may be sharing resources between them, such as a phone number, customer support staff, or your website hosting account.
If that’s the case, then you will need to separate them before you can sell. This will allow you to transfer each of these resources to the new owner more easily.
Make sure that you handle your communications in a business email account you can transfer to the new owner rather than your personal email account.
And check that any premium WordPress plugins your site relies on are registered in the name of the business and use a business email address.
Also, you should make sure that any team management tools you are using can be transferred to the new owner. For example, Slack makes it easy to transfer ownership.
Create Standard Operating Procedures
If you haven’t already done so, consider creating standard operating procedures on how you run your business and handle specific tasks. This will help the new owners continue to run it with the same success you have.
This could include how you do keyword research, create content, optimize for search engines, create product catalogs, and more.
Final Preparations Before the Sale
Once you put your website up for sale, potential buyers are going to be doing their due diligence to weigh up whether your business is worth buying. They will ask you a lot of detailed questions.
This means you will need to collect accurate data about your website and finances.
Collect Accurate Website Metrics
Potential buyers will want to see detailed reports about your website. Hopefully, you have already been keeping information about your traffic, visitors, conversion rates, and more.
If not, you can follow our guide on tracking important website metrics such as site speed, traffic, top referrals and countries, demographics, and your best-performing posts and pages.
We recommend you document at least three to six months of the following:
- Google Analytics reports demonstrating user engagement
- Google Search Console reports showing keywords used to find your site
- Google AdSense reports or similar to prove your profit and loss figures (if relevant)
Collect Accurate Financial Records
You should also get your financial records up to date. Messy finances are frustrating to buyers and force them to do more work in making their decision.
Here are some financial reports potential buyers would like to see:
- Profit and Loss sheet
- Proof of Sales (if you have an online store)
- PPC ad spend
You may find it worth hiring an accountant. They understand what they are doing, and can get your records into a form that’s easy for potential buyers to understand.
Alternatively, websites like Flippa offer due diligence verification and assessment services.
Place a Dollar Value on Your Business Assets
Make sure that you place a value on all of the assets that you will be selling along with your business. These increase the value of your business.
This can include your working capital, store inventory, team, and Adwords campaign history.
You can also try to put a price on less tangible assets like your customer database, email list, social media engagement, website traffic, and processes and procedures.
Where Can You Sell Your Website or Online Business Safely?
Once you are ready, you need to choose the right place to sell your website. Typically, this will be with an online marketplace or a broker.
Flippa is the best online marketplace to sell your site. It’s an auction site similar to eBay but specializes in online businesses, websites, and domain names.
They maintain a list of affiliated reputable business brokers who can help you with the sale.
Users can follow auctions and bid on your website or business. If you accept their bid, then they follow the Flippa payment guidelines.
Usually, sellers use Flippa’s escrow service for secure payments and transfer of registration.
Empire Flippers is a leading broker that will help sell your business or online business. They will value your business, design the sales page, and handle the advertising.
A broker is a great choice if you’re not sure where to start, or you’re just short of time. And because they charge a commission, they are motivated to get the best price that they can.
Whether you choose a marketplace or broker, they will give you all the help you need when it comes time to transfer the website or business to the new owner.
We hope this tutorial helped you learn how to sell your website or online business. You may also want to see our guide on creating a WordPress membership site, or our expert picks on the best drag and drop WordPress page builders.
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