That day has finally arrived! The day my Flippa account showed that I sold 200 sites and made over $34,000 just from that platform alone.
Actually, I’ve sold more than 200 blogs, including starter sites, established sites, and monetized ones. I’ve worked with Flippa and several private and boutique brokerages. I did one-on-one deals with some buyers coming straight from my network, and I’m also part of some secret deals outside the marketplaces.
From just a side hustle in 2020 to a full-time living for a family of five living in Norway, I’m happy to say that flipping blogs has worked out very well, at least for me.
So, to mark this very number of 200 transactions, I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned while flipping blogs. These tips and tricks worked well for me, and they should help you if you’re getting into this industry or want to take your blog-flipping business to the next level.
As mentioned above, I’ve flipped a mix of both starter sites (sites with just content and maybe a few simple digital products such as e-books, workbooks, etc.), established sites (sites that have been around for a while with a DA from 3, yet they haven’t made any money with them), and monetized sites (sites that have been around for at least one year, with good traffic and an income of $100+ per month).
Therefore, the list below will be divided into three main groups, depending on the type of sites I’m talking about.
For Flipping Starter Sites
1. Domain Matters
A domain with a combination of keywords, a brandable/memorable name, and preferably an exact match is best for starters. Since your site doesn’t have any traffic or income when you put it for sale, the domain name is of utmost importance.
It will help the buyer get started quickly with SEO and make it easier for them to rank better in search engines. Plus, a .com TLD is always more desirable than a .net, .org., or any other strange TLD out there.
2. Keep Content Creation Low-Key
If you’re creating content for your starter sites, keep it simple and focused on basic information that buyers can easily use as a foundation for their own work.
The new owners will then have to work on the content to make it more “them” and resonate with their audience. So, you don’t have to invest too much time in creating content for the site.
One of the best ways to start out without spending too much time and money on content creation is by using PLR as a base for the site. You can then add your own research and twist it, making it unique and exciting enough for potential buyers.
3. Content Quality Matters
Keeping your content creation low-key doesn’t mean you can write mediocre content and get away with it. Content quality still matters, as buyers will consider this when considering your site’s value.
Ensure that all your posts are well-researched, organized, and properly formatted (headings, bullets, bolded words, etc.), and use proper grammar and spelling throughout.
Again, PLR will be your best friend if you’re stuck and don’t have the time or resources to create high-quality content.
4. Stick to a Few Niches You’re Comfortable With
When I started out, I would like to cover as many niches as possible. I think the only few niches I didn’t touch were pets, tech, masculine topics (for obvious reason), and adult items.
But after several months in the industry, I realized it’s best to stay within a few niches you’re comfortable with so you don’t have to constantly research new topics. This will save you time (which is essential when flipping blogs) and help you build expertise in a specific field.
To maximize your profits, pick a few niches you’re comfortable with and specialize in those. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one, but keep it within 4 – 5. This will help you build your brand, become an expert in that niche, and make sure the sites you flip meet the market demand.
5. Stay away from Content Mills As Much As Possible
Content mills are sites where you can find hundreds (if not thousands) of articles for meager prices. Although the idea seems great, and the prices are unbeatable, there’s one downside to using them: the content is crap!
I used to fall into this trap as well, thinking I was getting a great bargain (think 9 million pieces of content for $99). But in the end, I would have to re-write or delete most of it, which would take me twice as long (and sometimes more) than creating content from scratch.
6. Dare to Say NO
With over 200 sites flipped under my belt, I’ve met all kinds of buyers. Some were more experienced than me, while others were entirely new to the industry and had almost no idea what they were doing.
The one thing I learned is that it’s okay to say NO. If a buyer makes an outrageous offer or asks for something you’re uncomfortable with, don’t be afraid to decline. You are in charge of your own business, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.
Don’t let buyers pressure you into anything that doesn’t fit within your business ethics or doesn’t make good financial sense. Just because you’re new in the industry doesn’t mean you have to accept any offer that comes your way.
7. Have a Portfolio Ready
In addition to having your account (in this case, Flippa is where you can list your starter sites for sale, while other marketplaces may require a certain amount of income or traffic to list), you will also need to have a portfolio of your available sites.
This is especially important if you’re going after more experienced buyers, who will want to see this to get an idea of what kind of sites you can provide and what kind of deals you offer.
Also, if a buyer is already willing to purchase one site from you, chances are they’ll be interested in checking out other sites you have available for sale. So, always keep your portfolio updated with the latest listings and prices.
For Flipping Established Sites
While established sites are much different than starter sites, the principles of flipping them remain largely the same. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when flipping established sites:
8. Focus on Content and Keyword Research
While it’s obvious to focus on good content regardless of the niche, it’s doubly important for established sites. Many buyers opt for these types of sites because they want something that already has a solid foundation in terms of content and SEO.
Do your homework to find the most important keywords within that niche, and then use those words throughout your content. Not only will this help you optimize the content you create, but it will also help prospective buyers see that you know what you’re doing and that the sites you flip are worth investing in.
9. Focus on On-Site SEO
At this point, you will want to gain as much traffic for your site as possible, and the only way you can do it is to work on on-site SEO. On-site SEO includes optimizing your titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags. It also means creating engaging content, internal linking, and ensuring your site is mobile-friendly.
These are all essential factors for improving the organic visibility of any website, and focusing on them will make your site much more attractive to buyers, even when it doesn’t generate any income yet.
10. Monetize ASAP
As soon as you start building an established site, you should immediately start looking for ways to monetize it. This could mean installing a membership plugin or adding affiliate products, etc.
Although it will take a while until you can earn a decent amount of money to call it a monetized site, using the right strategies and being patient will eventually pay off. Prospective buyers will be more interested in your site if it has been optimized for monetization and has the potential to scale up later.
11. Don’t do PBN
PBN stands for Private Blog Network, and it is a controversial SEO tactic that involves creating multiple websites with backlinks pointing to your main website. This can help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), but it also comes with risks.
Google has become very strict about this practice, and if they catch you doing it, then there is a risk of your website being penalized. That’s why it’s best to avoid PBNs altogether and focus on other legitimate SEO strategies instead.
I recently stumbled upon this blog post from Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits, and if he said NO to PBN, I will too.
12. Design Matters
Now, since you want to market your site as an established site, it’s time to consider the design. The design of a website is one of the first things buyers will notice, so make sure to choose a theme and color scheme that best reflects the niche you are writing about. It will also elevate the whole aesthetic of the website and make it look much more professional than just a starter website.
In addition, pay attention to the navigation bar, layout, typography, and other design elements to add more value to your site. Also, opt for a lightweight theme since this will ensure faster loading times, which is essential for SEO and user experience.
13. Keep Working on Your Site
If you keep posting high-quality content consistently and sharing your blog posts on social media, chances are you will have a steady stream of traffic coming to your site. This is the best way to demonstrate that the site can generate income without any additional investment from buyers.
Eventually, all this traffic will convert into leads and sales, so keep working on the site as if you are going to keep it for yourself. As long as you continuously improve and optimize the website, buyers will be more likely to invest in your product and get a better deal.
14. Find a Reputable Marketplace or Brokerage
I personally find flipping established sites more difficult than trying to flip either starter sites or monetized ones. That’s why it’s crucial to find a reputable marketplace or even a brokerage service that can help you maximize the value of your site.
These services can help you get more exposure and find buyers willing to pay more for your product. Plus, they will also handle all the paperwork and negotiations involved in a successful sale, which makes flipping established websites much less daunting.
15. Have a Realistic Price in Head
For monetized sites, the price tags are pretty simple—a multiple of 24, 36, or even more of the website’s net monthly income in the last 12 months (L12M revenue).
However, it’s more complex for established sites, and you should always have a realistic price in your head. The exact value will depend on numerous factors, such as the age of the domain, average traffic, keyword rankings, etc.
Ultimately, you want to ensure you don’t undervalue your website and don’t miss on any potential sales. At the same time, you also need to keep your expectations realistic since buyers expect discounts.
I’ve been in the industry long enough to see many established sites sold for prices that were much lower than the seller initially expected. Yet I’ve also seen sites that are way overpriced, resulting in a prolonged sale period and no buyers at all.
All in all, it’s essential to find the right balance between your expectations and reality while pricing an established site. And always remember—the real value of any website lies in its ability to generate consistent income!
For Flipping Monetized Sites
16. Keep up with Whatever Works
If your sites are gaining traffic through Pinterest, then make sure to keep pushing the Pinterest game. If SEO works for you, continue improving your SEO rankings and organic traffic.
Basically, whatever has been working for you should be kept up with and any areas that may need improvement should be addressed. Maintaining consistent performance is important as buyers will want to know what kind of track record the site has before investing.
17. Track Your Income
You’ll need to prove to potential buyers that the website is generating income, and the only way to do that is to track your monthly income and put everything in a P&L report. You can create a Google Sheet or an Excel file that tracks all your costs and income from the website and share it with potential buyers later.
You should also try to record short walk-through videos where you go through all/some of the monetizing elements of the website. This step can help buyers understand where their income is coming from, making them more interested in investing in your product.
18. Keep Records of All Expenses
The only way to price a monetized site correctly is to have an accurate record of all the expenses associated with running it. You should also keep track of any investments you’ve made in the website to demonstrate how much effort and money you’ve put into it.
These records will help buyers understand what value they’re getting from your product and can even increase the perceived value and, thus, the price tag. Plus, having all the expenses sorted out makes everything easier during negotiations.
Let’s say your site makes $1,000 per month, which is quite a good point. Yet the operating expenses are also relatively high, so buyers need to factor in the cost of running the website before making any decision.
By having an organized record of your expenses, you can make sure that everyone involved is on the same page about how much needs to be invested for the site to continue making money.
19. Consider Working with a Broker
At this stage, it’s also a good idea to get an experienced business broker to help you out with negotiations. They can handle all the paperwork, do proper financial analysis, and even increase the perceived value of your website in the eyes of potential buyers.
For me, while I can manage the starter and established sites myself, I always turn to a broker for help when it comes to flipping monetized sites. It’s just too complex of a process, and having someone with relevant experience on your side can give you an advantage.
Of course, you’ll earn a little bit less compared to if you do it yourself (think broker fee, commission, and exchange rate as well), but the peace of mind and professional help are usually worth it.
20. Have Patience
It may take anywhere from a few months to almost a year to close a deal, depending on how big the numbers are and how much the buyer is willing to pay. So, if you’re selling a site generating $100 per month for $4,500, with room for negotiation, it may take longer than selling a $1000/month site for $20,000.
Also, if your price tag is around $5,000 – $10,000, chances are it will take a shorter time to find a potential buyer and close the deal compared to sites selling for $50,000 and above.
In any case, have patience, as the process can be lengthy. It’s all about selling the right website at the right price. The more you can do to make your sites attractive and maximize their value, the better!
Finally, You’ll Need to Learn from Someone
When I first heard about blog flipping, I thought it was impossible. And if yes, it was not for me. I had no idea and didn’t know where to find the “idea” from. I mean, although it sounds very straightforward—you create, monetize, and sell—I was totally lost on the specifics.
Then, after a few months trying to figure it out myself, I finally enrolled in a course from Chelsea Clarke, one of today’s most successful website flippers. All the knowledge she shared was new to me, and I learned a lot from that first course I bought.
I then enrolled in a few more courses from other top website flippers, but eventually, I found my niche in the industry. That’s when I started to unlock the power of flipping websites and succeeded.
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to courses. Depending on your level of experience, you may need to take more courses or just one, or nothing at all.
For example, if you totally have no idea, you may need to start with a beginner course and work your way up. But, if you’re already a niche site builder / an SEO expert / a content marketer, you may need to focus your learning and perfect the skills necessary for flipping websites.
Regardless of how you plan to approach the learning process, in the end, it boils down to one thing: having someone who can teach you what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to website flipping. It will save you a lot of time and money doing the trial and error yourself.
In fact, I’ve launched an online course named Blog Flipping Master (it was Blog Flipping 101 in the beginning) since 2021, taught in my mother tongue (not English). The course covers everything you need to know about blog flipping from day one, and make sure you do it the right way.
Then I’ve been on and off with the idea of a replica of the course in English but never got around to building it. Since I last checked my email list, I’ve seen many people interested in a course for this lucrative side hustle.
Now, I’m sure many people want to learn blog flipping, but they don’t know where or how to start. That’s why I’m finally preparing to launch an English version of my Blog Flipping Master course.