Getting the best price when selling a website doesn’t happen by accident. Beyond knowing the going market valuations and picking the best place to sell, you need to properly position your website to create buyer interest when you list.
You have two goals when you go to sell your site: maximize site valuation (price) and minimize time on the market to find a buyer. Achieving a balance between both of these is key to a successful exit.
I share tactics in this write-up that I use to achieve this two-pronged goal. I cover the following topics:
- Why position your site
- Basic tactics that you must do
- Advanced tactics to increase your site’s value
- Common questions
Let’s get into it.
Why “Position” Your Site For Sale?
You wouldn’t do a showing of your house for sale without cleaning up and creating a nice presentation for potential buyers. Your niche site is online real estate. You need to take the same time to prep your site’s “showing” to get the highest possible valuation from it.
To Maximize Valuations
This is the most obvious reason to position your site for sale. The difference between getting a 32X valuation and a 40X valuation can be many thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t make sense to leave that money on the table when you don’t have to (and when most tactics take an hour to do).
Properly positioning your site for sale will give you the best chance for the highest possible selling price.
To Showcase “Easy Wins” To Buyer
Numbers aren’t the only thing that can get a potential buyer excited. Many website buyers are looking for potential to grow current revenue streams.
Maybe there are still some easy wins that could make the website more money. Maybe they have resources or a team that can take advantage of the niche to do more with the site than you could.
You don’t want these “easy wins” to be buried. They are a great sales tool for your niche site and you want them front and center to any potential niche site buyers!
To Show Confidence In Your Site
There’s a big difference between niche sites being dumped before the hit from a recent Google Algorithm change and a solidly built site that will keep producing whatever changes come.
Showing confidence in your site as a seller is going to make a buyer more confident in his/her purchase.
When a buyer is excited about the sale, they’re often more likely to pay a higher selling price.
The 5 Basic Tactics You Must Do
There are plenty of advanced tactics that will only apply to certain sites, niches, or situations. However, these basic tactics should ALWAYS be on the top of your “To Do” list.
1. Create a Profit and Loss Spreadsheet
One of the first questions that will come up will be some form of “gross profit vs. net profit.” Depending on the site, these numbers can be vastly different.
If you don’t have a clear spreadsheet, you lose credibility as a seller.
Even if the answer for expenses is as simple as “X per month for hosting” and that’s it, having those numbers in a spreadsheet, clearly laid out is important. Being able to see the gross profits, total expenses, and net profit in one place makes you look like a professional.
Download my template here that I always use. Use this as an example and expand if needed.
2. Document Major Improvements
Those house flipping shows aren’t just about buying a cheap property and selling it for a profit. The fun of watching them is seeing the changes. Watching the improvements that take place.
Many buyers of websites react the same way – they want to see that list of long changes you’ve made to improve the site.
How did you get from the original income numbers to where you are now? Is it sustainable? Can they spot areas they could optimize or improve revenues that you haven’t applied yet?
Documenting major improvements to the site shows you’re a professional and helps justify a high valuation because the work you’ve done is right there on your improvements document for all to see.
Takeaway: This does not need to be very detailed. I usually keep a running bullet list of changes I make to a site. To the point. No fluff.
3. Document Highlights and Setbacks
You want to be able to easily refer to not only the strongest parts of your niche site but also the setbacks suffered on the way to getting there. All sites have issues. Either they take too much time to manage, the revenue opportunities (in your opinion) are tapped, you’ve tried all keywords, among a plethora of other reasons.
List these out for the buyer to review. Being upfront and honest garners trust. This makes all the numbers more trustworthy in the eyes of the buyer, not to mention it may show something you tried that they were planning to try out.
Takeaway: Having both the highs and lows recorded gives the site a “story” to tell buyers, and a good story will almost always sell. Especially when backed by good documents.
4. Document Why Your Are Selling
If your site is so profitable, why are you willing to get rid of it? This question is a good one and it’s going to come up in any sales transaction. You want a good answer to this.
Was the plan always to sell? Are you simply interested in other topics? Looking for capital to start another business? Having a clear reason why you are actually selling a profitable website is important if you want the best possible valuation.
5. Document Easy Win Growth Opportunities
While there are many people who buy niche sites and set them aside to create a passive income portfolio, even then they often want to see what they can do to maximize monthly profits before setting the site aside. Other buyers are looking for sites making money already that they can actively improve.
In both cases, being able to point out possible opportunities for growth is a great way to get potential buyers excited about your niche site and what they can do with it. If they’re excited for the site, they’re going to be willing to pay more so they don’t miss out.
Example of Documentation: Highlights, Setbacks, Easy Wins
In the deal flow that I publish in the newsletter, I list out highlights, setbacks, and easy win opportunities for each website reviewed. This gives the buyer confidence there are opportunities.
Here is an example:
To the point. No fluff. No essays. Make it easy for the buyer to understand the key points. They will come to their conclusion anyways. Your job as a seller is to give them things to think about.
7 Advanced Tactics To Position Your Niche Site for Sale
The above tactics are the basic ones you should do. In this section, I will cover tactics that can improve your site’s earnings, presentation, and quality.
Note that if you are doing anything to increase revenues, you cannot just sell at a monthly multiple of your new increased revenue. Buyers will want to see that revenue for at least a 6-month period.
Takeaway: make sure to wait at least a few months up to 6 months for your new tactics to show their benefits on the P&L.
Let’s start with the easiest of strategies to the more involved ones.
1. Improve Your Site’s Design
Most site designs are garbage.
Cosmetic changes can drastically improve the appeal of your site at first glance. Remember that a P&L, traffic trendline, niche, and other such criteria will get a buyer interested in your site, but if they visit the site and it just does not look professional, they will walk.
Here are some easy win cosmetic changes you can do on the cheap:
- Update your logo: Hire someone on Fiverr for $5-$15 to get you a new quality logo built.
- Update your featured images: I use Canva to create a featured image template. Update the first 10-20 articles which usually show on the homepage and archive pages at the least
- Improve your footer: adding basic information to your footer can make your site look much better. Add contact information, social media profiles, main pages, disclaimers, “featured on” image, and more
Those are the easy ones. It will only take a couple hours of work to get all of it completed but it will have a major impact for your interested buyers.
2. Improve Content Quality
Most buyers, including me, usually read the first few recent articles and the high-traffic articles.
Optimize the content quality of these specific articles. Ensure there are no grammar mistakes or spelling errors.
You do not want a prospective buyer to read these specific articles and get turned off even though your other articles may be top-notch.
Takeaway: Optimize for what the buyer will see immediately.
3. Improve Content Formatting
This one should be a no-brainer but many sellers miss the mark. Your content formatting is key for both user experience and buyer experience.
This includes the following:
- Proper user of headers (H2, H3, H4) in a hierarchical structure
- Proper use of bullet lists
- Proper user of images
- No blocks of sentences; space things out
- No unnecessary spacing between elements
- No unnecessary HTML code
A major turnoff for me when I look to buy a site, however nice the P&L looks, is seeing a lot of articles that need major formatting, restructuring, or rewriting. While yes these changes are easy to do, they do take up time.
Takeaway: Make sure to improve your content formatting for at least the top 10-20 articles.
4. Implement Revenue Easy Wins
If you want to maximize valuations, implement revenue easy wins at least 3-6 months prior to selling your site.
A few easy wins that seller’s miss are:
- Adding display advertisements on an affiliate focused site
- Adding affiliate links within the informational content
- Adding comparison tables, call-to-actions, and/or product boxes to affiliate content
- Fix broken affiliate links (specifically broken Amazon links)
For more advanced techniques, make sure to check out EasyWins.io, a dedicated database of 120+ strategies to improve website valuations.
5. Add New Content in Bulk (keep some for new buyer)
A major reason sellers sell a site is because they are no longer interested in working on the site. That’s understandable and has happened to me as a website flipper many times over.
However, that does not mean the site should be neglected. Before you decide to sell the site, add a bulk amount of content. This could be 5-15 articles to keep it fresh.
The benefit here is that your site now has a boost of new content, the buyer sees that you’ve added new content that may rank after they acquire it and the fact that the site is being taken care of.
Bonus tip: if you want to really ensure maximum valuation, keep 5-10 articles in draft for the new buyer to publish. This will relieve a huge stressor regarding how quickly they can get new content published to grow the site.
6. Add a Digital Product (e-book, course)
In most niches, a digital product (e.g., an e-book) can act as a great lead magnet or a product to sell. If you want your buyer to feel like they are winning when they purchase your site, get a high-quality e-book written.
This will cost you anywhere from $200-$500 but will definitely provide the buyer with confidence that they are getting an asset with the sale that they can monetize, give away, publish on the Amazon Kindle Publishing Program (KDP), or whatever else they can think of.
7. Bundle New Assets and/or Acquisitions
This is my favorite way to maximize sale price.
Many brokers, specifically Empire Flippers, value a site at a higher multiple if it comes with other assets. For example, if the seller has a smaller niche site partnered with a larger one in a “portfolio sale”, the multiple is higher than if it was just one site for sale.
Any asset that provides strategic value to the main pillar site can increase valuations.
Here are examples that I recommend:
- Smaller shoulder niche site: if you have a niche site in a shoulder topic to the original one, you can bundle and sell. The buyer will love the idea that they will get another site they can then grow to diversify risk.
- Social media profiles: acquire Facebook groups or Pinterest profiles in the same niche as your main site. I’ve acquired 2 groups in the same niche of my main outdoor site. These groups drive traffic back to my site but also provide an audience to which you can market products. You can acquire such profiles by cold messaging owners and buying them.
This is a strategy I do for ALL my larger sites now. I tack on additional acquisitions to bolster the main site’s traffic. This is called building a moat around your business.
Should I implement ALL easy wins?
In my opinion, the answer is no. Keeping some upside wins for the new owner of the site will motivate them to pay higher valuations.
For example, I’ve at times not placed display advertisements on my sites. I then let the buyer know that display ads will bring in an additional $XXX/mo. I even introduce the buyer to the ad networks (if possible) so they can get set up.
Yes, I am leaving money on the table, but I am also getting a quick sale allowing me to use the funds in other projects. It also allows me to build a rapport with the buyer so they come back to me to buy more sites. Win-win.
Wrap Up: Focus On Positioning Your Asset
Following the simple steps that I laid out here will help make sure you maximize the two-pronged goal: maximize valuation with a minimum time on the market.
Next time you go to sell a site, ask yourself these questions:
- If I were to view this site for sale, would I buy it?
- What can I do to the site to improve its visual appearance, content quality, earnings, etc.?
- Why am I selling? What are the easy wins, highlights, and setbacks of my site?
Once you’ve practiced these steps once or twice, properly preparing your niche site for sale will become second nature. Your reward for this work? Higher exit prices.
Taking the time to showcase your niche site in the best way possible leading up to a sale is always going to pay off. I guarantee it.