1. Become acquainted with online website auctions sites.
There are a number of websites that sell niche websites. Flippa.com is a very large marketplace that has many niche websites sold every month. If you browse the selection, you will find at least one niche site that is worth a look.
- Understand the terms of the auctions and bidding obligations.
- Browse Flippa.com for starters
2. Take a look at users who are very active and have a good history of buying niche websites.
This will bring you into the realm of understanding what to look for in a niche site and what to avoid bidding on. Expert bidders know what questions to ask and they know when to bail on a website.
- Survey and observe the comments and actions of reputable 2-3 year history buyers of niche sites
- Survey reputable domain buyers of niche sites
- Learn from everyone, both beginners and the experts and how they think
3. Look at the seller.
The seller is usually the one that knows most about the niche site they are auctioning off. Be sure you know everything about them before considering the site they are selling: what other websites they’ve owned, are they banned on any sites, did Google Adsense ban their sites, do they have fishy account names on other sites, is their site delisted from Google search results?
Why does this make sense? Because you won’t be making a truly informed purchase if you don’t know the seller. Online it is easy to create false impressions. So it is good to do due diligence and check up on the personality and trustworthiness of a person. But even a trustworthy person can conceal some things if they are skilled at writing an auction ad, so step 4 will cover the most important aspect of buying a niche site.
Here are a few things that you should run from when you see a seller do this.
- 6 months income or less, and sporadic (2-3 years of income proof is far better)
- Boasting about the website “WOW! #$$## SUPER WEBSITE 12,000 THOUSAND HITS!!!! @@@”
- Overly short auction description, no Google Analytics, incomplete details in listing(shows lack of care)
- Inconsistently written description vs comments to questions (speaks a different language, poor spelling); a portion of the description seems legitimate but then they comment to respond to questions and write:”Website my is AccordiansbyBach.org very good, Google Analytics confermid”
- Can’t answer a question and deletes your comments (online that is the same as “shut up” in person, especially without notice given)
- Evades legitimate questions on security, income from website, analytics, backlinks, PR ranking status, blacklisting, etc
- A cheap site that has a poor domain name and appears to be nothing more than WordPress fluff and flashy CSS
Here are a few things that can boost your confidence in a particular niche website for sale:
- The seller has exposed their real name, confirmed their identity with Flippa.com and has a company running the auction for him with an impeccable auction and speedy responses to all questions.
- The seller has sold other websites that are still online and you can contact the owners of those sites for feedback on the sale which occured 1-3 years ago.
- The seller is genuinely friendly and has revealed everything from the pros to the cons of the website in a highly detailed report. Nothing is missing, so that you can go through the Buying A Website Checklist swiftly and confidently. The seller has tons of pages of verifiable data, Paypal, bank statements, SEOmoz data, hosting information, every bit and kind you can think of; they really put an effort in revealing that their site is actually a money maker; a bit like a car salesman being happy to show you every inch of a car, from the trunk to the spark plugs. They’re willing to take it apart because they’re sincere.
- The seller updates with income information from the site.
- Flippa sponsors the auction
- The seller offers support after the sale for a week, and speaks to you over the phone or face to face via Skype. Again, they are genuine and friendly. Nothing puts you off about them.
- The owner invites people to join their forum to try it out because they like the website and have owned it comfortably for years ($$$$$) – this is confirmed by the real active forum posts that you can view each day of the auction
The seller and the buyer have to trust each other enough to make a deal. Don’t move ahead any further until you’ve established trust. This is a really big decision, take your time to pause, discuss with friends and family before you bid, if possible. That way you’ll be sure of your decision and you’ll have lots of advice.
4. Verify and double check all the numbers.
Numbers have to match. Check them. If there are inconsistencies in the “income proof” images, videos or the auction post itself – beware.
- Double check the Google Analytics statistics against all the images provided
- Double check the links to the site via Opensite explorer and use other resources as well to verify and confirm the info provided by seller
- Request a guest pass to see Google Analytics for yourself (owners of websites can give you a temporary look in their control panel, to see where traffic actually comes from). Use that opportunity to verify that traffic isn’t coming from 1 country and comes in great abnormal bursts (which would indicate purchased traffic).
- Request video proof of income such as Adsense, affiliate income, etc
- Watch the videos again and again of any “proofs” and compare to “proof” images of earnings, analytics.
- There is no harm in doing too much research into the numbers of a niche website that you’ll be paying $$$$ of dollars for
Once you feel you have found out the seller is dishonest, move on to another site. If you found a seller that looks great, but you still aren’t sure? Bookmark it or follow the auction until it expires. See what questions other expert buyers asked and learn from them.
After a few observations like this you will have at least a fundamental understanding of how to examine a niche site before bidding on it. Not knowing something can be disastrous so take heed: do you want to lose thousands of dollars on a foolish mistake or will you take the 5 minutes it takes to ask more questions, examine data more closely, request advice from authoritative professional buyers of niche sites?
5. Buy the site you feel most comfortable with after examining all the data, confirming it and double checking it.
Now if the seller begins to flake out or acts strangely all of the sudden, be ready to cancel the purchase(if it is possible; be sure to understand the terms of the auction prior to bidding).
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