I’ve done a lot over the last 2 years. I was hoping to squeeze everything into one blog post. That just won’t happen. There is simply too much background knowledge and details I must explain. If I tried explain everything in one post, it would be several pages long, and I would most certainly leave a bunch of important items out.
Anyway, let’s get to it.
Why Listen to Me?
Well first of all, I’ve got over $200k worth of website sales on Flippa: https://flippa.com/users/166521 (You must be logged into Flippa to view this link) – Here is a link to all my previously sold websites: https://flippa.com/buy/search?q=username%3Anoonanco&sort_col=timestart&sort_dir=desc&status=all
I’m not some keyboard jockey, typing up useless guides for linkbait to my ad-rich blog. I’ve actually gone out, done the work, made the money and am reporting my findings on the subject.
First, the Basic Earning Strategy
There are some total newbies reading this blog, so I’ll lay out the foundation before going deeper into the acquisition process. The whole idea revolves around the business model of setting up websites, getting free traffic from Google, and monetizing the websites through Adsense or other affiliate/advertising sources. Optimizing the site to rank higher in Google is a practice known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. A lot of factors go into ranking, including keyword placement, backlinks and even site age. Making money from a high-traffic site is pretty easy through Adsense. If you don’t know what Adsense is, Google it.
I do a pretty good job explaining this in further detail in this post: How My Websites Make Me Money.
Why Aged Sites?
Anyone can go to Godaddy.com and register a domain name. It costs less than 10 bucks and takes less than 5 minutes. You throw up some useless content, grab a few backlinks and hope for the best with Google. Sometimes you’ll get a few hits, sometimes you’ll get none. Either way, Google doesn’t really fancy new sites that pop up overnight. Of course, I’m simplifying, but just know that it is easier to get traffic to a site that is already getting traffic than it is to a site that doesn’t already get traffic. Duh.
When you buy an older site, you are getting a lot more than a domain name. You are getting something that has been in Google’s index for a while. You are getting a site that already has a ton of backlinks, backlinks that are OLD, and backlinks that are coming from other aged sites that Google probably views favorably. The internet wasn’t overrun by spammers and scammers back in the day, and in general, quality sites seem to stick around longer than spammy ones.
Furthermore, aged sites seem to have more stable search engine rankings. I’ve seen new sites pop up and then disappear, or get “sandboxed” by Google. (Again, google it if you don’t know what sandboxing is). Sites that are still ranking well with the same static content will probably continue to rank well for a while. Sites that get a spike in traffic because a linkbait article went viral, aren’t terribly stable. You get the point.
Lastly, if you are already receiving favorable traffic/rankings, you’ll be able to leverage that into new ventures with the site. For example, starting a forum/community because the site already gets a ton of traffic. Or ranking well for new terms because you are linking to fresh content on the homepage. Traffic/rankings have a lot more potential than the immediate Adsense earning power.
Why Neglected Sites?
If someone is updating their website daily, they are probably aren’t going to be interested in selling it for a reasonable price. If someone set up a site 10 years ago and has since lost interest and/or completely forgotten about it, they are much more likely to cash out when you come in with a $x,xxx offer.
If a site is still ranking well, and it hasn’t been updated in 10 years, you’ve found your diamond in the rough. (How can you tell if a site is still ranking well? This will be covered in a later post)
You should keep an eye out for key indicators that a site is neglected:
- Annoying background imagees
- Ugly layouts/frames
- The site has a “Webring” at the bottom of the page
- The site has a “Guestbook”
- Animated GIFs used in the layout
- “Last Updated: (a long time ago)”
- “Copyright: (2001, 2002, etc.)”
Generally, anything that was popular in webdesign 10 years ago, but is totally extinct today is pure gold. Here are some “before” examples of websites which I did acquire (and eventually sold):
http://web.archive.org/web/20080515235556/http://www.brain-surgery.com/ (this one had some phone numbers listed, but just looked so terrible I still pursued it)
http://web.archive.org/web/20080531073433/http://www.studyguide.org/ (you need to scroll down and to the side to find the content)
A couple warning signs might indicate that the site is still in use:
- Sites that have phone numbers/addresses listed. (You can always call and hang up to see if the phone number is still good)
- Sites that have a log in/sign up button. (You can try signing up/logging in to see if it still works)
- Sites that mention recent current events or are obviously updated recently.
- Sites with a calendar that has future events listed in it. (Sometimes you’ll find an “Upcoming events” section with the “Next Event” in 2003. Score!)
At this point, you should easily understand the advantage of pursuing aged/neglected sites. You should also be able to easily identify a site that is aged/neglected.
In the coming posts, we’ll be getting into how to actually find these sites, how to see if they are still ranking, how to determine value, how to contact the owner, how to complete the transaction, what to do with your new website, and finally how to cash out by selling for a profit.