What You Need to Know Before Buying a Website
A website holds limitless potential. If you’re an individual, owning a website gives you the opportunity to make it an authority resource in a given niche. In turn, you can start displaying affiliate links, sponsored products, paid advertisements, and countless other types of money-generating content.
Depending on how much time you’re willing to devote to building up this brand, you could opt to have books created on the subject and even put your face on it, turning yourself into a niche authority. Down the road, you might have the opportunity to further spread awareness (and make more money) through speaking engagements, brand partnerships, and other serious business activities.
Of course, for the average person looking to buy a website, they don’t plan on taking things that far. Rather, they want to buy a website that they can use to make passive income. That’s money generated from a source (i.e., website) that doesn’t require daily involvement to generate said money. This is entirely possible if you choose a website with a good foundation and keep it updated with relevant information. You can make money with referral links and affiliate products in a very hands-off way.
So, why aren’t more people doing just that? Aside from the fact that most people aren’t familiar with the world of website building and affiliate marketing, even those who are often feel discouraged by the daunting task of finding a niche, choosing a domain, and setting up the website. It’s a process that could take weeks (or even months) when done right. And, maintenance is an on-going ordeal. Of course, in today’s world, every problem has a solution for sale. To address this particular issue, many people buy pre-made websites.
Buying vs. Building
If you want to own a website, you have two options: buy one or build one. As you may have suspected, each option has its perks and disadvantages.
The Pros of Buying a Site:
The Pros of Building a Site:
Many people prefer the flexibility and freedom of starting a website from scratch. Others want to skip the costly, time-consuming setup process so that they can pickup where the creator left off. Skipping the setup allows you to monetize sooner and start making money more quickly. Of course, you shouldn’t buy just any pre-made website.
4 Things to Look for in a Pre-Made Site
When looking at pre-made websites, you have a few different options.
The first option is to invest in an already established website. This is a site that’s been live for some time. It already has traffic and may even have a loyal following. Most likely, this site wasn’t built by someone planning to sell it (although that is possible). Most established websites are sold by businesses or individuals who no longer have time to manage them.
Expect to pay a pretty penny if your website already comes with an audience and/or reputation. Flippa.com is a good platform if you’re looking to buy a pre-established site. They range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the audience size and how realistic the seller is being.
The other option is to buy a “starter” site. This is the more cost-effective and customizable option. This is where a person (usually a professional who does it for profit) sets up websites, gets them going, and then lists them for someone else to take over. This is what I do alongside ghostwriting and editing. I’ve been setting up websites for years, both for myself and clients, and I truly enjoy the process. So, I often find myself doing it in my free time. After all, my work as a ghostwriter has me exploring all sorts of interesting niches.
These sites are ready to go. Buy one and the owner will transfer it to your domain name registrar and hosting. Some also offer their own hosting so you don’t have to worry about the technical maintenance of the site. Otherwise, it’s yours to do with as you wish. Whether opting for a pre-established or starter site, follow this advice.
1: Judge The Domain Name
The domain name is something you most likely won’t change after buying the website. While you could go through the hassle of transferring all of the website’s content to a new domain name, the idea of buying some pre-made is that it makes life simpler. So, since the domain name is going to be the permanent home of your website, you need to make sure it fits your needs.
First, I always suggest opting for a .com extension. This is the premium extension that everyone automatically types in when they’re pulling up a website. However, plenty of new extensions are becoming popular, like .io and even longer ones like .community. I say keep it short, simple, and memorable.
Second, since it’s so hard to find domain names these days, many people opt for “brandable” domain names. In other words, they make up their own words and say you can turn it into your brand–sort of like envato.com. Sometimes you can pull it off, but you should always lean towards something relevant. Hearing the name should instantly call the niche to mind (think: VitaCup, Credly, or Zomato).
2: Examine The UX
Many times, the starter sites you’ll find are absolutely horrendous when it comes to design. It looks like they’re using OG templates right out of the 2000s. To set yourself up for success, you need to find a website that includes modern, mobile-friendly design. Ideally, this website will run on WordPress as its Content Management System (CMS).
Using WordPress means you’ll be able to manage the site with ease and create new posts/pages as soon as the site is transferred to you–even if you have no experience owning a site. You’ll also have endless potential when it comes to themes (site design) and plugins (site functionality).
While you can change the design of your website down the road, the whole point is to choose a site that’s already setup so you don’t have to spend time on the foundation of it. A good test is to load it on multiple devices and see how it looks.
3: Consider The Content
The content that already lives on a pre-made website is usually the most important. For instance, the things the homepage says and the tone/style it’s written in is going to influence almost every visitor. The homepage style sets the tone for the entire site, and it may or may not match the vision you have in mind.
You can clearly update some of this content to fit your needs, but it all goes back to making things easy on yourself. In the event that you’re considering buying one of the sites that I have listed for sale, I offer services to update and add content as necessary so the site fits your vision. And, that’s another thing….
If the site already has a blog or a lot of content (which is great), you need to think about maintaining the tone that has become associated with the website, especially if it already has an established audience. Consistency is the key to good branding, so you need to look at what’s already on the site and plan on publishing more of the same.
4: Analyze The Audience
Last, but most certainly not least, you need to see if the website already has a following of some sort. If you’re buying a starter site, it most likely won’t. In fact, the site may only date back a month or two, which means it’s a fresh build that’s ready for you to start marketing. However, in the event that it’s been up for three months or more, it may already be getting some organic traffic and it might even have a social media audience of some kind.
When an audience exists, analyzing it can help you plan your approach and marketing strategy ahead of time. Always ask questions if you need more information about what your site purchase includes, how long it’s been published, or what sort of advertising (if any) the current owner has invested in.
Prepare for Site Ownership
There are so many things you can achieve by owning your own website. In fact, I’ve written an entire post about it! If you want to browse the sites that I have available, click here. In the meantime, I suggest researching some other pertinent topics, like: the basics of search engine optimization, how to get into affiliate products, and the latest best practices in the realm of digital marketing.
Whether you choose to buy or build your next website, choosing the right niche is critical to setting yourself up for success. I recommend that you join the Warrior Forum and other resourceful platforms in order to get feedback and read helpful opinions about making money online. Good luck!
I’ve been writing and editing professionally since 2014. Over the past five years, I have worked with thousands of clients in a variety of industries. In fact, I’ve collected over 5,000 reviews from my happy customers.
I live in the United States, but I travel often. With that said, I’m super easy to find! I’m a native English speaker and always up for a new project. You’ll find me to be extremely communicative, professional, flexible, and fun to work with.