EF Staff

March 21, 2016

Entrepreneurs create businesses and websites with varying intentions.

Some may start out following a dream, turning their passion into a profitable profession and viewing it as their “baby.” Often, these individuals can’t fathom the idea of ever letting the business or website go.

On the other hand, someone else’s main goal might be to create a business that they have designed to specifically flip on the market eventually.

Regardless of which path you take, we believe it is incredibly important to building a sellable site from the beginning and plan for an exit strategy — just in case.

If you’re starting out and have no intention of selling, then you’re probably wondering why you would ever do this, but the reasoning is simple: you cannot predict the future.

One day down the line, you may look at what you built and, however proud of it you are, want to move on to something new. In that case, you will have wished you took our advice.

To help you avoid any potential heartache in the future, we’ve compiled a list of tactics — inspired by one of our earlier episodes — that helps add sellable value to your website from day one.

8 Tactics for Building a Sellable Website

Take these into consideration when you get started. That way, if you change your mind and decide to put your site on the marketplace, you will improve your odds of profiting off all of that hard work.

1. Stability of Income

Stability of income is one of the main factors we consider when vetting a website. We look for trends like whether or not income fluctuates from month to month, is on a continuous decline, or is frequently doubling in profit each month.

You may think that a site doubling in revenue each month is a good thing, but it tells us that perhaps it’s not the best time to sell because it’s still climbing and not stable. In this case, we would suggest riding it out and maximizing the revenue you get before selling. When it starts to hit the stabilization period, then consider selling.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of websites that are in seasonable niches. For example, if you sell pool related products, then obviously your revenue changes depending on the season. If you are looking to sell a seasonable niche, it’s best to do so during high seasons versus low seasons because people will not want to purchase a website going into a dry period.

2. Income Upside for Buyer

We see this quite a bit: buyers who purchase a site only to sit on it before flipping it. Unfortunately, such sites are not attractive to future buyers.

Buyers want to see an upside to acquiring a new site. Even if you intend on flipping it, invest some time into improving it, so you can show some upside to the new buyer.

For improvements, you could look into different monetization methods or add fresh new content to show the potential new buyer that it is worth buying.

3. Repeatable and Scaleable Traffic Sources

How many sources of traffic does your website have? When you first get started, you may rely on one source of traffic such as Google AdWords. Over time, you will want to expand your sources because it becomes problematic when the majority of your traffic comes from only one source. Simply put, you can max out this source, and it will no longer be as useful or reliable to you.

In the case of AdWords, if you use up all the related keywords, then the buyer has no room to grow with this source. If, however, you build a site with multiple traffic streams (ie. social, organic, etc.), the buyer can work on boosting one if another becomes tired.

The best way to analyze your traffic sources is by installing Google Analytics and reviewing data regularly.

To do this, login to your Analytics account, choose Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Channels.

Focus on the channels that are not performing as well. For example, if 60% of your traffic is coming from AdWords and only 20% from social media platforms like Facebook, invest some time in beefing up your social presence and then revisit Analytics in a few weeks’ time to see how this affects performance.

4. Uniqueness of Content

We’re forced to reject many sites that come our way because they don’t have unique content. They have repurposed copy, articles, and images that are old and tired.

Fresh content is better.

We have heard arguments for and against this. Some believe it’s okay to copy articles and put them on your own website, that this doesn’t affect your ranking, but there’s no proof that this method works.

What we do know is that Google has already said they do not like this form of content, and as a seller, you need to evaluate your content strategy and take this into consideration.

We suggest creating original content yourself or outsourcing this task if you do not have time to do it yourself. Just make sure it’s 100% original. And this goes for more than just the written word. Design original images, tables, or even infographics, too.

5. Clean Layout or Design

It’s an unfortunate reality that worse-looking sites do better on AdSense. They’re ugly, but they make money.

Though micro-niche sites with a bad look often do better, there is one thing that they all have in common — they have a clean layout.

Cluttered sites are confusing to the eye and tend not to make as much money. You want to make sure that the links on your website are easy to identify, that there are no broken links or ad images overlapping one another.

Another thing you should consider is using a universal platform like WordPress. Using a common platform is appealing to potential buyers because it reduces the learning curve associated with taking on a new site.

Simply put, use WordPress, fix your links, and tidy up the design. It doesn’t have to look sexy, but it does have to be clean.

6. Have a Clean Back Link Profile

After traffic, referral sources, and organic keywords, the next thing we vet on a website is its back link profile. A back link profile refers to the the links that are placed on other websites and directing to your site.

For years, many sites have done well by using private blog networks (PBNs) or buying links, but they run the risk of being slapped by Google and bumped down or even de-indexed in the rankings. Your link-building profile can negatively impact a sale if it is not up to par. In fact, we’ve actually denied sites because of their link profiles.

We suggest using the Disavow Tool to identify any old, poor links and having them removed.

7. Timing

Over the years, we have found that the best time to sell your site is when you don’t need to.

The reason for this is simple. If you are desperate to get rid of your website, buyers will see right through that. Their bullshit flag goes up, and they feel like something is wrong with the site, making them less interested in buying.

If your site just tanked in rankings or has been de-indexed, we understand the desire to jump ship, but choosing to sell because you’re in a desperate position is not the time. Either you’re going to scam someone or you’ll get a horrible multiple. Instead, ride out the wave. Wait till it’s on an upswing again and then move to sell.

8. Seller

We put a lot of stock in getting to know our sellers.

Who are they? Do they have a LinkedIn profile, Twitter, etc.? If there is no information available about them on the internet, that comes off as a little sketchy to us.

Nowadays, there’s no reason to not have some sort of online profile. If you don’t, it sends up a red flag and makes us question doing business with you because, if there happens to be a problem with the site or sale, you’ve disappeared, and we have no way of finding or contacting you.

There are, of course, anonymous people out there, but you as a seller have to put yourself out there a bit in order to build confidence in a potential buyer.

Making the Sale

Perhaps you never intend on selling your website, but all eight of these tactics work to your advantage in the long run.

Creating a website with unique content, multiple traffic sources, a clean design, and a healthy back link profile puts you in a position to thrive in business.

Additionally, learning to weather the storm when your site takes a hit, striving for a stable income versus an unpredictable one, and constantly improving your site teaches you responsibility and thickens your entrepreneur skin.

Building your website using these eight tactics will set you up for success. Click here to start the process to sell your site now.


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Discussion
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  1. […] traffic, while incredibly valuable, is really a waiting game. There are only so many things you can do to speed it up, and it is a lot trickier to […]

  2. Matt says:

    I think that all of you are are doing a great job and I enjoy your blog as well as your services. I am sure in the future I will sell through Empire flippers.

    I am in a position where I would consider buying some sites under the 10K mark but I often see that the baclink profile is built around PBN’s which is something I consider to be very high risk.

    I applaud you for always being upfront about this in your listings but would like to see more listings without PBN’s. I know that is really out of your control but I just thought I would give you my 2 cents.

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