Optimize a Flippa Auction Listing: How To Guide With Results

mushfiq sarker

I’ve been active on Flippa as a website seller for over 10 years with 140 auction transactions totaling over $441,000.

With that, I’ve mastered the optimization of Flippa for sale auction listings. The goal is to ensure buyers get all of the information they need to make a confident bid, and also to cater to Flippa’s ranking algorithm.

In this write-up, I share the exact process of how to create a Flippa website sales listing that is optimized for success.

Let’s get into it!

6 Methods To Optimize Flippa For Sale Listings

When you first visit a Flippa listing, you see 4 major elements above the fold (towards the top) that you have full control over to optimize. This includes:

  1. Listing Title
  2. Cover Photo
  3. Summary
  4. Category

Here is an example listing of one of our auction listings that sold for $70,000, while generating 6,049 views and 152 buyers that followed the listing. Each critical section is highlighted:

Flippa listing optimization

I will discuss each of these in detail below.

NOTE: To begin with, you must be selling a good asset. You can’t just optimize a Flippa listing to try and sell a bad website. A quality website with an optimized listing page is required for the best outcome. The goal is also to be transparent and not hide any critical information.

1. Optimize Listing Title/Headline (80 Characters)

Optimizing the listing title is one of the best ways to stand out from the noise of the crowd.

I start with keywords smart investors are searching for when they look at listings. Making sure one or more of these are in the title is a great way to generate attention. These keywords include: 

  • Uptrending
  • Growing site
  • High-growth
  • Many easy wins available
  • Lucrative niche

Here are some examples of titles I’ve used in the past:

  • High-growth Music site making $2,747/mo over last 6 mo with 16,394 views/mo.
  • High-Growth One-of-a-Kind Content Site Earning $9,000+ Per Month in Dating Niche
  • High-growth Baseball site making $1,471/mo with 11,081 views/mo. LOW RESERVE!
  • High-growth content site making $936/mo with 11,639 views/mo. NO RESERVE!

Be honest in your title description. Buyers on Flippa are smart. They can look through scams quickly and will not bid on your listing.

Takeaways: An optimized listing title should pop out from a list. Use those keywords, use action verbs, and remember that the listing title is the first sales pitch. Make an impression.

2. Add a Photo to Flippa Listing

Show off that front-page site design. A screenshot can make a great impression. Is there a good-looking logo? Good clean theme? Original pictures in the screenshot? These are all details that make a listing stick out from another hastily thrown-together gray hat site.

A good screenshot cover photo will stick out and get more views for the listing.

Here are examples of cover photos that do well:

  1. Screenshot of the homepage (if it looks good)
  2. Screenshot of uptrending traffic graph from Google Analytics
  3. Screenshot of earnings P&L graph
  4. Combination of above manually created (i.e., add traffic and P&L into one screenshot)

Takeaways: The goal is to showcase more information in the cover photo graphically to get buyers interested in your listing. Flippa does not have restrictions on what the cover photo is as long as it’s not misleading.

3. Add Descriptive Listing Summary (200 Characters)

Don’t short yourself on the description. While 200 characters isn’t a lot of space, it is enough to make a good impression. Having a simple bland 40 or 50 character description is a wasted opportunity.

I make sure to list the information I know I look for as a buyer:

  • What are the average monthly pageviews?
  • What is the average monthly profit?
  • What was last month’s profit?
  • Is there a reserve or not?

Here are examples of a few descriptions I’ve done:

  • This is a Multi-Revenue Website in the Music niche. Website made $2,747/mo over last 6 months. Website has many easy wins for growth and is unoptimized for conversions. The website is aged since 2000.
  • This is an Amazon affiliate site in the sports (baseball) niche. Website made $1,471 in December 2020. Website has NOT been optimized for conversions; upside for buyer. LOW RESERVE.

Takeaways: These are “make or break” details for some buyers and providing all that information upfront, that moves the sales listing automatically into the “maybe” group for motivated buyers.

4. Pick a Listing Category

Sometimes the right category for an online business is obvious. When you are putting together the listing on Flippa, you can choose the category/niche of the website. Make sure to pick the accurate niche as many buyers are looking for strategic acquisitions.

Pick an appropriate listing category for the site. The more the site up for sale matches what a potential buyer is looking for, the more likely it is to sell.

5. Detailed Seller’s Notes (No Word Limit)

A listing light on details is not only unhelpful but can look sketchy. This is the seller’s opportunity to really sell the site, highlight its strengths, and pitch to potential buyers just how good of an investment it is.

Here’s an example of a description format that I use:

Optimizing Seller Notes in Flippa Listings

A. List of Easy Wins

Include a list of easy wins that the buyer could take advantage of. Maybe they could put on display ads or upgrade to a better existing affiliate program. Maybe there’s a lot of just-published articles that haven’t fully ranked in Google yet but will.

Point out the easy ways that a buyer can increase the revenue from month one. This will ensure buyer interest.

B. List of Setbacks

A transparent seller will list setbacks. Every website has issues. Being transparent allows you to gain trust of the buyer.

Some setbacks include the site being hit by Google algorithmic updates, content quality needs to be improved, affiliate commission cuts, among others.

Make sure to be upfront and your buyers will appreciate it.

C. Reason You Are Selling

If the site is so good, why are you selling? That’s the single most common question to website sellers and it’s a legitimate one. Answer the question. A solid answer doesn’t have to be complicated, but giving a good reason for selling helps set the buyer’s mind at ease.

D. List of Assets Included

Are there social media accounts with the site? Email list? Original pictures or illustrations? Any licenses to premium software or special affiliate terms? List all assets that are included with the sale.

E. Post-Sale Support

Some sites won’t need any, but in some cases, a buyer might want help transitioning the site. This is especially true with things like an FBA business or dropshipping. Make sure to list any additional support.

I like to provide 30-days post-sale support via email. This is pretty standard in the industry and allows the buyer to feel comfortable that I won’t just disappear post-sale.

6. Add Revenue Screenshots and Other Proof in Attachments

The more proof you have in the form of screenshots and live videos, the better. This backs up the numbers that you are claiming and makes vetting easier for the buyer. Anyone can make up a number, but having multiple attachments showing the sales numbers for various income sources will make a site stand out.

Here’s an example of what my attachment section looks like in a for sale listing:

Add proof of earnings screenshots in Flippa s Attachments section

Examples of attachments that are a must:

  • P&L spreadsheet showcaseing revenues and costs
  • Screenshots for at least last 6-months from each revenue source (e.g., Amazon Associates, Ezoic)
  • Video recordings of earnings from each source
  • Data dump of Amazon Associates orders
  • Screenshot proof of email list subscribers (totals, open rates, click rates)
  • AHREFs and/or SEMRush report
  • Google Analytics traffic screenshots and trends

Pro tip: You can also state that you have all of the attachments organized in a Google Drive or Dropbox folder. Buyser can reach out to you to obtain access to the folder. This saves the buyers time in having to download each attachment from the Flippa listing page.

Takeaways: This attachment section is where you can showcase the value of the website for sale. The more data the better.. No one will ever complain that you added too many attachments. Be upfront. Be transparent.

2 Other Optimizations You Can Do On Flippa

1. Provide daily revenue updates in Flippa listing comments

Providing daily updates with revenue numbers provides buyers with even more confidence. Every morning, I collect the revenues for the month to date and list out the numbers.

Here’s an example of this in action:

Update earnings in Flippa comments section

Doing this has significant benefits:

  1. Buyers can see the consistency of the website in terms of revenues
  2. When a comment is made, every Flippa Watcher is notified via email thus getting more eyes (and giving the buyer a reminder) of your listing
  3. Transparency that you are selling a high-quality website

This extremely simple update on a daily basis can propel your Flippa listing forward in terms of bids and ultimately final sales price.

2. Optimize for When The Flippa Auction Should End

When you are about to make your listing live on Flippa, you will be promoted for when you want the auction to end.

Based on research across 140+ transactions, here are the optimal numbers:

  • Optimal number of days are 7-10 days (encourages FOMO, and quick transaction)
  • Start day should be mid-week; Wednesday is the best day to start
  • End day should be mid-week as well; Tuesday-Thursday are best days to end

You do not want to end an auction on the weekend, as most people are not actively on their computers at that time.

Flippa Reserve Price vs No Reserve Listings: What’s Better?

Go with a reserve or no reserve? This depends on your risk tolerance, the value of the asset being put up for sale, as well as considering how hot or cold the marketplace is at the time. However, with my experience, no reserve auctions outperform reserve auctions.

The reasons for that are:

  • Encourages significant bidding at the early stages of the auction thus driving up watchers and bidders
  • Pusheds the Flippa listing to the front page thus snowballing in more watchers and bidders
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO) occurs thus encouraging more bidders and watchers

Here is what a listing with a reserve looks like:

Flippa Reserve Listings

Here is what a listing without a reserve looks like:

No reserve Flippa listings

Going with a reserve gives the safety net that either the online business will sell at an acceptable minimum amount, or the seller won’t lose it. This can also be a nice safety net in a turbulent marketplace. 

There are buyers who insist that going with a reserve price can actually end up shooting you in the foot. No Reserve auctions tend to have more watchers and bidders, which can heat up into a bidding war. Many times this leads to a larger final sale price.

Takeaways: Remember that you are legally obligated to follow through with a transaction if it sells regardless of price. Not including a reserve will encourage more bidders but it’s a risk you have to be willing to take. Make sure you understand what’s at stake.

Common FAQs about Flippa Auctions

For more details, make sure to read our Flippa review. Here are common questions that get asked:

What are Flippa’s listing fees?

The listing fee on Flippa depends on what’s being sold. The listing fees for Flippa are currently $10 for domains, $15 for starter or template websites & iOS/Android apps, and $49 for established websites or revenue-earning online businesses.

Should I use a Flippa broker to list my site?

Yes! I recommend using a Flippa authorized broker. The Website Flip is an authorized broker with Flippa. The benefits include tapping into their network of buyers, getting automated listing upgrades for free, and having someone else manage the entire process.

The great thing is that the success fee Flippa takes is the same. For example, if you were to list a site the success fee would be 10% usually. If we were to list it, it’s still 10%. The brokerage shares the fee with Flippa so it’s no extra cost to you.

Check out our brokerage service.

What is Flippa’s success fee?

The success fee is based on what the final sales price is.

The success fee starts at a minimum of 10% for sales $50,000 and under, drops to 7.5% for sales $50,001 to $100K, and drops down to 5% for sales above $100K. A 15% success fee is standard when a Flippa partner broker is used.

Benefits of Optimizing a Flippa Auction Listing

The benefits of optimizing your Flippa listing include:

While taking the time to optimize your listing will help the end sale price, it’s critical to ensure you are being honest and upfront and not mislead any buyers. Transparency and honesty are key here.

The above tactics can be applied by anyone thinking of selling a website, but if you would like someone to handle this process for you, reach out to The Website Flip team and we can help you list your site for sale.

Good luck with your auction!

mushfiq sarker

Analyzed by Mushfiq Sarker

Mushfiq has been buying, growing, and selling website assets since 2008. His first exit was in 2010. Since then, he has done 218+ website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. He is the founder of The Website Flip. Check out all Mushfiq's articles, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

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