The lure of a business in a box is strong. It sounds great right? Why go through the hassle of building a business, when you could just buy one? No need to reinvent the wheel!
The world of done for you websites has given the impression to a lot of would-be online entrepreneurs that they can simply buy a website and start earning money. No work necessary! This cash cow, virtual ATM is gonna cost you just $299. No prior experience required.
For a one time fee you can have a real online business. Stop working long hours, and get your butt to the beach ASAP!
Not all companies that sell done-for-you products are scams. Some sell legit products. However, there's a big difference between buying a website that's already turning a profit, versus buying a pretty-looking box that you'll still have to work your ass off to actually turn profitable. .
If you want to start an online business (or buy one), please read though this post to see exactly where your money is best spent.
5 Problems With “Done For You Websites”
1. You Still Don't Know How To Run The Biz
Buying a business in a box sounds like a great idea. After all, the thing should run itself, right?
Well, I've got some bad news for you. Even if someone else starts the ball rolling for you, you're still going to have to keep it rolling year after year.
If you don't know how to use the CMS (like WordPress), or you don't know how to create content, then what? Now you need to pay for outsourcing, training, or consulting.
One of the reasons I tell people to make their own affiliate website instead of buying them is that you get to learn how your business is run along the way. My advice would be different if you had an MBA or experience with the style of website you're buying. If you know how to run the style of business you're buying, great! A done for you website might be a good investment.
Most people, however, are starting out with zero experience in the world of business, and zero experience in the the world of blogging and content creation.
It would be like buying a new car with a stick shift. Yes, the car functions. But can you drive it?
2. There's No Content
This is a huge, huge problem. Did I mention that it's a huge problem? Content is the currency of the internet. It's the stuff that you write on your websites or blog. If you don't write content, you don't exist online.
Many websites you can buy online are just a bare-bones website with nothing else. They paid a VA $5 per hour to create a custom menu and install a Premium WordPress theme. That's it.
Some companies — like the kind that call you on the phone to sell you a “biz op”, claim give you some content. The content the populate the site with is most likely “spun” AKA rewritten from other sources. Stealing content is copyright infringement, and rewriting content is a spam signal for search engines. Any content on your website should be 100% original.
There are some done-for-you services out there which do actually add original content to your website. Kudos to them!
Unfortunately, much of the content is outsourced to low-quality writers, then punched up by and editor. It's generalized, uninspiring, and not rank-worthy. It looks impressive to an inexperienced online entrepreneur, but when you read it, does it sound like it was written by an expert?
3. There's No Traffic
Without people on your site, you aren't going to make sales. You need to figure out how to get people on your site and interested in what you are selling! Traffic comes from rankings in search engines. This is done through keyword research and content creation. Otherwise, you'll need to pay for some ads (costs money), or have a relevant social media following.
Traffic is gonna cost you time or money. Choose one.
The other scam these places run (this part is actually a scam), is that they have “traffic packages” available. They'll say they can send you X amount of clicks for a price.
Most of the time, they outsource these clicks to developing countries, and they are not engaged users on your site. Sure, you see a couple blips where people are clicking your links, but do they buy anything? Nope. They are paid to visit your site.
The type of visitors you should be interested in engaging with are the ones who want to read your content and buy the stuff you promote! Organic visitors from Google convert great on product reviews.
My advice? Never waste money on traffic packages unless you know where the traffic is from. A website is 10,000 paid visitors will make $0 in online sales.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
The thing that makes me most angry is that they prey on people that don't know any better. Internet based scams and phone call based scams usually start telling you that they have customers that make $500-$2000 per month.
An often-used tactic is to “be realistic”, bring your expectations down to Earth by saying that they will not make you a millionaire. Your website will add a measly $500 to your monthly income to start.
The reaction they expect to have (and I suspect that this tactic works), is you letting your guard own.
Oh wow, I guess it isn't a scam. They gave me some pretty slow expectations!
What they don't tell you is that the aren't guaranteeing you make that money. Be sure to read the fine print before you buy. No one can guarantee income, unless you are buying a profit-verified website from a reputable broker.
Any website you buy, done-for-you or not, is going to require that you put in a lot of work to build traffic, then optimize for sales. It's very possible for anyone with a high school education to do this type of work, but it's going to take time.
Though there are lots of variables, I usually tell people to expect to work 3 – 6 months for 3 – 5 hours per day, 5 days a week, and then you can expect to start making sales. Just making sales! Expect to work for 1 year or more before you can see consistent income of more than a few hundred dollars per month.
5. High Cost, Low Value
Really, most of these sites that are offering a done for you websites are offering just that – a website. And a website isn't worth diddly-squat if you don't know what to do with it.
Those that offer training along with their site usually have a few lame videos that speed through a few essential concepts and then send you off to the races. Two months later you are wondering where the traffic is and why you aren't making sales.
The truth is that earning online income is a learning process for most of us. It takes to figure out. I built my first affiliate sites in 2010, and it wasn't until 2012 that I finally quit my job and started doing this full time.
In the meantime, I learned how WordPress worked, how to do SEO, and even how to run a business, pay taxes, and and hire contractors.
In terms of building out your website, there are some fundamental concepts you need to wrap your head around – things like keyword research, competition, writing ad copy, site colors, navigation, linking strategies, and social media promotion.
With a biz in a box, how are you going to manage all that? My advice is to make sure whoever you buy your site from also has some good training modules on how to actually grow the done-for-you site into a proftiable business.
Buying A Profitable Website
Buying a website that's already profitable is a bit of a different thing, but still comes with some caveats.
Typical multiples are 20x-40x, so a website earning just $1,000 per month might sell for $20k-$40k, depending on how the business is structured and other details.
Even just 20 grand is a far cry from what most people could afford, and that would get you a site earning only $12,000 per year (not even a full time income).
That being said, this is a much more solid strategy to grow earnings. If you can find a site that's already doing well, and if you know how to run a similar business (affiliate, ecommerce, FBA, etc), then you could add value over time and grow the earnings.
The main issue to watch out for is deciding whether you can actually run the business. Many sellers claim that they earn this income performing very few monthly tasks, but what happens if the stuff hits the fan? Can you fix it? What if earning start declining in a year? Do you know how to troubleshoot the problem and bring them back?
A beautiful looking WordPress website takes about an hour to make and costs about $20. For your first year of operation, including hosting, you would only have to pay about $400 if you bootstrap it.
Why pay $1,000+ for one of these IKEA-like, cookie cutter jobs that leaves you with a basic WordPress website and no clue what to do next?
Don't be disappointed by a ready made site. Make your own website.