Introduction – What Is Flippa?
For those of you who have ever wondered “What is Flippa? – Is it a Dolphin?” let me give you a quick rundown. Flippa.com is an auction site for buying and selling websites and domains. There are quite a few sites like this around these days, but Flippa is the original and gets the most business and traffic.
If you have a site that you want to sell, or just a domain name that you aren't using, you can head over to Flippa and list it for a small fee. If somebody likes what they see, they might well make you an offer and a deal is done. You can also be the buyer, and hunt for websites and domains to buy yourself.
My experience with Flippa began when I wanted to sell a site that was getting a lot of traffic, but I wasn't really sure how to monetize. I’m talking about 20,000 unique visitors a month kind of traffic. It was constantly playing on my mind how to monetize that traffic, because most people were just arriving to look for some quick information, and then moving on. It was difficult to get that traffic to convert to buying something. I am not an expert marketer after all.
I was growing sick of having all this traffic and not having a clue how to monetize it (I did try various things).
When I decided to sell, I went to Flippa and checked out lots of different listings to see what was selling. I wasn’t sure if people would buy a site just based on traffic metrics, but after doing some research I was confident they would.
I listed it for a $2,500 “Buy It Now”. I guessed this was probably too high, but I wasn’t sure. A few days later I lowered the Buy It Now price to $1,000 and within 24 hours I had sold it. Maybe I should have held out at $2,500 for longer.
$1,000 for a site that I wanted to offload and be done with is no small amount of money either way.
Obviously after that, I decided to get a little bit more involved with Flippa, and did some experiments of my own. I’m going to walk you through some of the things I've learned so far.
When To Let A Site Go
There's no real rule for when you should sell a site, if at all. Some people build sites purely to sell them, while others get bored with their sites or take them as far as they can, before cashing in and handing them over to someone else.
Generally, a site will sell for 10 times its monthly revenue, so a site earning a few hundred bucks a month could get you a pretty good payday, that will also tide you over until you can replace the revenue, sell another site, or whatever you want the money for.
What about if your site has reached its maximum potential, and you want to sell it, then use the money to invest in a bigger site, or several smaller sites? It could just be that selling is the most strategic thing for you to do.
Also, if your site is not making money or getting as much traffic as you had hoped, but you think it has the potential to do so for somebody with more experience or time, then that could be another indicator that it's time to sell.
Another determining factor is answered below…
Will It Sell?
It can be hit and miss with Flippa, sometimes you need the right buyer to come along at the right time. As a general rule, if a site is making money, it will sell. The problem is, we often don't want to sell the money makers, choosing instead to offload the “flops” or “time wasters”.
While traffic isn't as much of a guarantee of a sale, a site that gets a lot of traffic will still attract attention.
There is also the start up site. As many people create sites purely for listing on Flippa, myself included, many of them are on sale as soon as they are completed. This is where the crap shoot often comes in. It's also where a lot of plain crap comes in.
Adequate research, preparation, and an honest pitch and clear “how to use this site” guide will increase chances of these sites selling.
Don't bother producing the same old cookie cutter “autopilot” sites that you might have seen before. This type of site looks relatively fancy, promises automatic earnings using outsourcing, and simple profit. I always wonder though, if the product is really going to be that good, why are they only costing $100?
Surely the developer could just produce hundreds of them and earn a lot more.
The pitch or proposition is pretty important. Honesty is best if you want your site to sell (unless it's one of the above mentioned cookie cut sites). The kind of buyer you want to attract is responsible and will understand what they are bidding for. This means they'll want to know your traffic sources and revenue details.
Don't make things seem complicated, but don't generalize too much. Here are my general selling tips:
- Check out similar listings (both current and historical) to find what was unique about them. See what works and what doesn't.
- Make your site clear and attractive.
- Don't let yourself appear too formal or business like. Let people see you're a regular person.
- Avoid too much site related jargon. Not everyone knows what SEO means.
- Don't use exclamation points, random highlighted text, or other cheesy presentation types. There are plenty of terrible listings on there that do that already.
- Be realistic with your selling price.
How Much Is My Site Worth?
As I said before, a successfully earning site can get 10 x its monthly income, often a lot higher. If yours is such a site, you might want to set a Buy It Now price at 15 x earnings, and a starting bid at 5 x.
Some people like to set very low starting prices (and use a reserve) to attract more attention, but if the site is earning, that shouldn't be necessary.
If the site is NOT earning, it really is a case of trial, error and more guess work. Again, do research and comparisons with similar sites and see what happens, but there's no guarantee either way.
Finding An Opening
One final tip. If you are planning to use Flippa a lot in the future, and build sites custom to sell there, look for an opening. Do not bother just copying the other stuff that sells well, about 50% of them never sell anyway.
If you can find a new angle, or a new way of presenting something to a hungry audience, your sites will sell like hotcakes. Are they just buying the same crap over and over because they love it, or because it is all that is on offer?
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