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How to Optimize and Sell a WordPress Website (And What to Look for When You’re Buying)

Alec Wines Updated on August 15, 2023

How to Optimize and Sell a WordPress Website (And What to Look for When You’re Buying)

People buy and sell websites more often than you might expect. If you have a WordPress site that receives decent traffic and/or earns a consistent income, there may be quite a few buyers willing to take it off your hands. However, in order to catch their attention, your website will need to be running in top shape.

By “top shape,” we mean that every component of your website should be working perfectly and each page should load as fast as possible. For that to happen, you’ll need to optimize your site and make sure the web hosting service you’re using offers everything your buyers might expect.

In this article, we’ll discuss what to look out for when you’re in the market to acquire a website. Then we’ll talk about how to optimize WordPress and sell your site for all it’s worth. Let’s get to it!

What to Look Out for When Buying a WordPress Website

The process of buying a WordPress website is relatively simple, particularly if you use a broker, such as Empire Flippers. Via the Empire Flippers platform, anyone with verified ownership of a website can put up a listing at any time. How much you charge for a property depends on different factors, such as how much traffic it receives, engagement levels, revenue, and more.

As a buyer, there’s more to look out for when prospecting for websites, beyond the number of visitors and recurring revenue. You may come across a site that appears to be an absolute goldmine, but is a mess when it comes to technical optimization.

For buyers, WordPress websites tend to fall into the following four categories:

  • Sites using web hosting services that don’t provide the functionality you need
  • Poorly optimized sites that take ages to load and frequently render with errors
  • Sites with lax security, which may be vulnerable to outside attacks
  • Websites with a lack of detailed or historic analytics data

It’s common for buyers to find websites for sale that have a lot of potential their owners haven’t tapped into yet. If you’re a buyer, these properties are similar to run-down houses that can be purchased for cheap and fixed up. In this scenario, you will have a valuable addition to your portfolio once the run-down site is all nice and shiny, which you can then choose to resell or keep and earn an income. However, that’s only after you spend a significant amount of time and/or money refining it.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you’re willing to invest in a fixer-upper or if you only want to buy websites that are ‘turn-key.’ Either way, it’s important to ‘perform a home inspection’ so you know what you’re in for before putting money on the table.

How to Optimize a WordPress Site (3 Key Tips)

If you’re setting out to sell your website, you’ll want to maximize your profits. To do so, it’s essential that you understand how to optimize WordPress and what elements require your attention. The more work you put into ensuring your website is in top shape, the more money you may be able to get out of selling it. Here are three tips to consider before launching your listing.

1. Consider Upgrading Your Hosting Service

When it comes to website performance, there are a lot of factors that affect speed. For the moment, we’ll focus on web hosting alone. If you’re already using a web hosting provider that offers excellent performance, you can skip to the next section.

Migrating a website is relatively simple, but it can also be a big hassle for buyers. First of all, low-budget hosting services can impact your site’s performance and cause a buyer to assume you sold them a website in poor working condition. Once your buyer figures out the real issue, migrating the site to a new web hosting service will either involve a lengthy manual process or contacting the new service to ask them to handle the task (often for a fee). In either case, that’s work a new website owner shouldn’t have to do.

If you’re planning on selling a website that receives a fair amount of traffic and earns money, we recommend that you move on from shared hosting. There are plenty of hosting options that are relatively cheap and provide fantastic performance, which can make your WordPress site more attractive to potential buyers.

In our experience, Virtual Private Server (VPS) and managed WordPress hosting plans are the best options for growing websites. Let’s break down why that is:

  • VPS. A VPS is perfect if you have some experience with server administration. With a VPS, you get full control over your hosting configuration and you have to share resources with other users.
  • Managed WordPress hosting. Managed WordPress hosting takes care of most maintenance tasks for you, including server and site speed optimization. This means you can focus on the day-to-day tasks of running and growing your website.

As you might expect, managed WordPress hosting plans tend to be a bit more expensive due to the type of services they offer. However, the extra expense maybe worthwhile if it means you can present your website to buyers in the best shape possible.

2. Optimize Your WordPress Website Performance

Although web hosting plays a significant role in overall WordPress site performance, there’s a lot more you can do to make your site faster for potential buyers. Putting in the work when it comes to speed optimization will translate to better User Experience, which in turn can lead to increased traffic and conversions. All of this means you might be able to get more money when you decide to sell your site. Key tasks for optimizing your WordPress website performance include:

  • Minifying scripts on your site. JavaScript and CSS scripts can add useful functionality and styling to your website. However, the more scripts your pages include, the longer loading timers become. This is why minifying scripts is considered a best practice.
  • Optimizing images on your pages. High-quality images look fantastic on any page. However, large resolutions also translate to bigger file sizes. Optimizing or compressing images can speed up loading times dramatically.
  • Leveraging browser and server-side caching solutions for your site. Caching enables browsers to store key website components locally, so users don’t have to reload every asset on each visit. By configuring your website to use caching, you improve the experience for returning visitors.
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs are server clusters spread out in key locations across the globe that cache your website. When users visit your website, they can load your content from those servers, which often provide better response times and may be physically closer to them.
  • Using a lightweight WordPress theme. Not all WordPress themes are built with performance in mind. By using a fast theme, you can cut down loading times drastically. Moreover, a “lightweight” theme doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t get access to great features – it’s all about doing your research.

Ideally, your website should load in under three seconds. After that, you can start losing out on a significant number of visitors. If you’re not sure how long your WordPress website takes to load, you can easily find out using tools such as PageSpeed Insights:

How to Optimize and Sell a WordPress Website (And What to Look for When You’re Buying)

We’re fans of this particular solution, not because it’s a Google product, but because it provides a lot of information about where your website falls short in terms of its performance:

How to Optimize and Sell a WordPress Website (And What to Look for When You’re Buying)

By prioritizing the opportunities for improvement that are slowing down your website the most, you can start to see performance boosts almost immediately. If you’re not confident in your technical skills, you can always search for tutorials that show you how to undertake each recommended action.

Another option is to outsource this work and use WordPress maintenance and optimization services, which can help you keep your website running smoothly in the months leading up to a sale. Investing in such services could help you sell your website at a higher price down the road.

3. Secure Your Website

WordPress websites fall prey to vulnerabilities and attacks every day. The platform is such a popular Content Management System that hackers are always looking for opportunities to exploit it. Most commonly, this involves trying to use brute force to get past your login page, using plugin or theme exploits to load malware onto your site, or even gaining access to stolen credentials.

If you’re selling your website, it’s in your best interest to keep it secure. This entails several best practices, including the following:

  • Using a web hosting service that implements security measures on your behalf
  • Using a CDN that can protect your website from Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Keeping WordPress and all of its components (plugins and themes) updated
  • Setting up a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your site and enforcing HTTPS connections
  • Setting up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for your website

Although that may sound like a lot of work, it’s important to look at security as an investment in your website, just like speed optimization.

Moreover, using a reputable web host should take care of a lot of the work when it comes to security. It’s becoming relatively common for managed WordPress services to offer one-click SSL setup as well as CDN integration.

Likewise, setting up a 2FA solution for WordPress is relatively simple thanks to plugins. You have different options to choose from, such as WP 2FA and Google Authenticator – WordPress Two Factor Authentication (2FA , MFA). Both of these plugins enable you to choose from multiple approaches when it comes to 2FA implementation, which is why we have recommended them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About How to Buy and Sell WordPress Sites

Hopefully, we’ve provided you with all the information you need to start buying and selling WordPress websites. If you still have a few questions, check out our FAQ section below.

How can I sell my website?

The easiest way to sell your website is to use a brokerage service that can help connect you with customers. Some brokerage services, such as Empire Flippers, will let you know if your WordPress website is ready to go to market and how much you can hope to sell it for.

How much should I sell my website for?

To calculate how much to sell your website for, you can take its average profit and use a multiplier. Usually, you take average net profits from a period that can vary from 6 to 12 months and decide on a multiplier based on your type of business.

Where can I sell my website design?

Selling a website design isn’t the same as selling a full website. If you work with WordPress, you can offer custom themes on online marketplaces such as ThemeForest, or through your own website. You might also choose to sell freelance web design services on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

Selling custom web design work for WordPress usually means developing a theme from scratch or taking a client’s theme preferences and making any custom changes they require. In some cases, you could also sell graphic files alone, such as Photoshop Documents, which customers use as blueprints for their web designs.

How long does it take to sell a website?

How long it takes to sell your website will depend on how its numbers look, what marketplace or broker you use to list it, what type of site it is, and what your asking price is. There’s no way to provide you with an accurate estimate without this information. If you’re using a broker such as Empire Flippers, the service will generally ask you for up to 6 months to find the perfect buyer, but the process can go much faster.


Getting your WordPress website to the point where it has a massive audience and makes consistent money requires a lot of time and effort. However, traffic and income alone aren’t enough if you want to attract buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for your online real estate.

If you want to maximize how much money you can get from selling your website, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Set up an analytics solution and track your earnings
  2. Consider upgrading your hosting service
  3. Optimize your WordPress website performance
  4. Secure your website

Do you still have questions about how to buy and sell websites? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

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