You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

5 Essential Questions to Ask Before Buying an Affiliate Site

Lauren Buchanan Updated on February 20, 2023

5 Essential Questions to Ask Before Buying an Affiliate Site

When buying an affiliate site, it’s important not to judge a book by its cover. 

Although the business may look great on the surface, you have to dig deeper to uncover whether the affiliate site is a good investment or not. 

You not only need to examine the site’s potential for growth but also whether it matches your interests, and skillset, and if you have the necessary resources to take the site to new heights. 

The trick to avoiding buyer’s remorse is knowing which questions to ask to uncover this vital information. 

The good news is, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together this helpful list of five essential questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line. 

1. What Is the Niche or Market of the Website?

When you’re on the hunt for an affiliate website to buy, the first thing you should ask about is the niche that the site operates in.

Understanding the niche will give you insights into the target audience, competition, and demand for the products or services being promoted. If the niche is too crowded or doesn’t have enough demand, it could limit the site’s earning potential and future success.

It’s important to consider the longevity of the niche and products too. Sure, sites about the best fidget spinners might have cashed in for a while, but once the trend died out, so did the traffic and revenue. 

Try to look for evergreen niches like health & wellness, personal finance, food, or education & self-improvement. These niches have long-term potential and are unlikely to go out of style.

Also, pay attention to the website’s domain name. If it’s super specific, like “”, you’ll have a harder time attracting a wide audience and exploring new topics. It’s best to find a domain name that is descriptive and not too limiting, so you have more flexibility and growth opportunities in the future.

As Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” If you’re planning on writing the content yourself, try to find a website that aligns with your interests. You don’t want to be stuck researching keywords and writing about the best fertilizer for roses if gardening just isn’t your thing.

When it comes to analyzing a niche, there are a few things you can do to get a better understanding of its potential. 

First, take a look at popular keywords related to the niche using keyword research tools. Then, get to know the competition by studying the websites and strategies of the top players in the field. 

It’s also helpful to find out more about the target audience through tools like Google Analytics or social media platforms, and look at sales data to get an idea of the demand and growth potential for the niche.

2. What Traffic Sources Does the Site Have?

An affiliate site is nothing without traffic. But not all traffic is created equal so it’s vital to put the traffic of the site you’re interested in buying under the microscope. 

Diversification of Traffic Sources

The first thing to take note of is how many traffic sources the site has. Dependence on a single traffic source makes the site extremely vulnerable. If that one traffic source penalizes your site or shuts down for whatever reason, your affiliate site could crumple. 

Diversification is key, so look for sites that draw traffic from a variety of sources such as SEO, social media, email, referral traffic, direct traffic, or paid search. 

Understanding the traffic sources will also give you insight into the potential for growth and scalability. For example, identifying ways to optimize the site’s SEO or spotting new traffic sources to tap into. 

Quality of the Traffic

Next, examine the quality of the traffic. If the website has a high percentage of low-quality traffic, such as from bots or click farms that’s a big red flag as it may indicate a lack of engagement. 

This type of traffic offers no benefit to the site as it doesn’t convert into sales or conversions and can lead to high bounce rates. 

Traffic Patterns

You should also take a look at the site’s traffic patterns. A decline in traffic over time may suggest a lack of interest in the niche or saturation of the market, which could limit future growth prospects. 

Unnatural spikes or drops in traffic may indicate suspicious activity, such as paid traffic or referral manipulation, which could negatively impact the website’s reputation and search engine ranking.

Analyzing traffic patterns will also help you identify any seasonality within the business. 

Traffic Acquisition Costs

Finally, pay attention to the cost of the site’s traffic acquisition. 

If the site is reliant on paid traffic sources, such as Google AdWords, it’s important to understand the cost and return on investment (ROI) for these campaigns to determine if they are sustainable and cost-effective.

3. What Is the Performance History of the Site?

Analyzing a website’s current and past performance can provide valuable insights into the site’s potential for future success.

When analyzing performance, there are a few metrics you should dive into. 

History of Earnings 

The first is the affiliate site’s revenue. Getting a clear picture of how much money the website is currently making and what the trend has been over time will help you determine whether the asking price for the business is fair and whether you’ll make a good return on your investment.

You want to see a stable earnings pattern, with growth year-over-year despite any seasonal fluctuations.

To get a full picture of the financial health of the business, ask to see the profit and loss statement (P&L). This will give you the nuts and bolts of the site’s earnings, including all the money coming in and going out of the business.

Conversion Rate

A metric that directly affects the site’s revenue is the conversion rate. This refers to the site’s ability to turn visitors into paying customers. A high conversion rate indicates that the site is effective at persuading visitors to make a purchase, while a low conversion rate suggests that there may be room for improvement in terms of the site’s design, content, or product offering.

Pay attention to any spikes or drops in the conversion rate and ask the seller about it. It could indicate a change in writers or an effect of a Google algorithm update. 

A low conversion rate often goes hand in hand with a high bounce rate, which means a lot of visitors leave the site after only viewing one page. This is a red flag for poor user experience and can hurt the site’s search engine ranking.

Backlink Profile

Lastly, examine the site’s backlink profile. A high-quality backlink profile shows that the site has a strong online presence and is considered an authoritative source in its niche. 

On the other hand, a low-quality backlink profile with a high number of spammy or irrelevant links can negatively impact the site’s search engine rankings and reputation. 

There are several tools you can use to analyze a site’s backlink profile, the most popular of which include Ahrefs and SEMrush. These tools provide an in-depth analysis of a site’s backlink profile, including the number of backlinks, the quality of the links, the domain authority of the linking sites, and more.

4. What Is the Quality of the Content on the Site?

One of the most important parts of an affiliate site is the value it provides to consumers. People aren’t visiting the site just for those affiliate links, they’re there for the content. That’s why it’s crucial to take a close look at what’s on the site and make sure it’s up to snuff.

Check if the site’s content is engaging, well-written, and relevant. If it’s outdated, poorly worded, or just not that interesting, it might be tough to keep visitors coming back, which is bad news for the bottom line.

Looking at the content does more than just give you an idea of whether the site is priced fairly and a good investment. It also gives you an opportunity to identify areas for growth.

Use keyword research tools to see if the site’s content is optimized for the right keywords. This can help improve its search engine visibility and ranking. Check if the content is readable and easy to understand. Make sure it’s relevant to the target audience and niche. And don’t forget about multimedia elements like images, videos, and audio.  These are all easy fixes that you can make to the site’s existing content to boost traffic and conversions. 

Watch out for red flags like duplicate or plagiarized content, keyword stuffing, spammy or over-promotional content, and unnatural backlinks. All of these factors can make the site vulnerable to Google algorithm penalties.

You should also ask the seller about the current content creation process. Some questions could include: 

  • What does the seller’s keyword research process look like?
  • How does the seller decide on which topics to write about?
  • Does the seller create the content or is it outsourced to external writers?
  • How many articles are published per month? 
  • Is there a consistent publishing schedule or is content created sporadically? 
  • How often is the existing content updated?

This will give you an idea of whether you’ll be able to maintain the current content quality and publishing schedule, and which areas of the content creation process you can improve on. 

It’s also worth noting if any of the site’s content is personality based. A change in writing style may affect future traffic to the site. 

5. What Growth Opportunities Can I Tap Into?

As a buyer, you’re not just looking to acquire a functioning affiliate site, you’re looking for a business with potential for growth. 

And who better to ask about the growth opportunities than the seller themselves? After all, they’ve been running the show for a while and know the ins and outs of the business like the back of their hand. 

Common growth opportunities include expanding the product offering, tapping into new traffic sources, improving the user experience, and growing the email list. By asking the seller about these potential opportunities, you’ll be able to gauge whether you’re getting a good deal and have a roadmap for future success. 

This also segues into another important question to ask the seller. With all these growth opportunities to take advantage of, why have they decided to sell the business instead of growing it further?

Are they looking to retire and enjoy the good life? Or maybe they’re using the sale to fund their next big venture?

Sometimes the reasons are simple, but other times, you might uncover some red flags. If the seller is looking to free up more time, it could mean the business is a bit of a time-suck with operations in need of optimization. Or, if they’re short on funds or have hit their growth limit, that could mean all the easy opportunities have been exhausted and it will take some serious capital or expertise to take it to the next level.

Figuring out the growth potential is a critical part of the buying process, so make sure you get the full scoop from the seller and have a roadmap for growth before proceeding with the acquisition.

Avoid Buyer’s Remorse by Asking the Right Questions

Savvy entrepreneurs don’t always have the right answers. Sometimes, they have the right questions instead. 

Asking these five questions before you buy an affiliate site will give you critical insight into the site’s current status and future potential, helping you avoid an expensive acquisition mistake. 

Removing low-quality affiliate sites from the mix is one way that Empire Flippers can make your acquisition journey easierWe carefully vet every business submitted to us to ensure that we list only the best-quality businesses. Register an account to explore the full potential of our marketplace.

If you’re not sure which site is right for you, schedule a call with one of our expert business analysts to help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect business to suit your needs.

Make a living buying and selling websites

Sign up now to get our best tips, strategies, and case studies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Business to Sell?

Click here to get the process started today.