How to sell your website business

A website is a digital asset. If you’re not able to keep growing and building it, the value will decline. If that’s the case, it’s time to think about getting a return on your investment by selling the site. 

There are plenty of good reasons for selling a website. Perhaps you have other web assets that you want to focus on. Or maybe your life circumstances have changed, with a new job, expanding family or travel opportunities. 

But while we are all familiar with how to sell traditional bricks-and-mortar business assets, the online asset class is a bit of a mystery to many. Here is our quick guide to some of the key things to consider and where to get started. 

1. Know your website’s worth

What is valuable about your website? Is it an online shop where the value is in the sales ledger? Or is it a high-ranking information site where the value is in the domain search ranking. Or perhaps it’s a review site where you make money from affiliate links and adverts. Maybe you have no idea but have a feeling it’s worth something. 

The first step in valuing your website should be getting it valued, using a service such as the Flippa valuation tool. This will give you a starting point, that you can build on. You can also look online to see how much similar websites are going for. 

Important factors in your website’s worth include:

  • Sales and profit.
  • Business growth trends; is your business scalable in case of unexpected changes in the number of, for example, new customers?
  • Customer acquisition.
  • Time spent on website upkeep and internal processes.

2. Identify your audience

The first step in selling any kind of product is to identify the audience, selling a website is no different. Of course, there are likely suspects in terms of people looking to make this kind of investment:

  • First time buyers Generally high-paid employees, looking to purchase their first business.
  • Internet entrepreneurs They know what it takes to run an online business and are looking to expand their portfolio.
  • Brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs They are less experienced in online business, but eager to expand or even move entirely into the digital space.
  • Corporate buyers They are generally looking to purchase larger businesses, keeping current management in place.
  • Your competitors  Other businesses in your space might want to consolidate with a site similar to their own to capitalise on your traffic and reputation.

Google Analytics will also help you to identify whether you are filling a niche that people are searching for often. More than just being what people want, you should strive to be what people need, as that will help your business to survive through thick and thin.

3. Research how and where to sell

When looking to sell your website, you should research as many online marketplaces as possible. This will allow you to make the most current choice and get the best deal on your website. Flippa is an auction-style marketplace for websites and an ideal starting point. Alternatively, websites worth over £100,000 could benefit from being sold through a broker or investment bank.

You may be able to find a local business broker. For example, just one click for a St. Louis business broker and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Be sure, however, to research the broker’s reputation and success rate with digital assets before committing.

4. Optimise your website before listing

Before selling you will want to spend time making sure your website is worth as much money as possible. Get a website audit and spruce the site up to maximise its sale value. 

Optimising is all about increasing traffic, clicks and sales.

You can start by checking the loading speed of your site. If a page is taking more than 2.5 seconds to load then a considerable number of potential visitors will give up and click away. Slow loading sites also give Google search a detrimental signal about your site , which will negatively affect your rank in search results. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to get a full report on your loading speeds and tips about how to speed it up. Tips are likely to include reducing the size of images and minimising the use of external JavaScript requests. 

Equally important is a focus on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Besides the fact that Google penalises non-optimised sites, SEO generally will allow visitors to have a better time on your site, increasing click rates. 

In order to optimise your website’s usability you may want to:

  • Reduce the number of plugins, CSS, and JavaScript files on your website.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • Use a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to speed up loading times.
  • Database optimisation through your Central Management System (CMS). 

It is also worth taking some time to improve your internal SEO. That will include optimising each page with relevant keywords, increasing the length of blog posts where possible and increasing the number of internal linkages. You should also ensure that images are optimised with alt tags. 

Otherwise you can improve your visibility through conversion; for example by encouraging visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter.

5. Put together a processes manual 

When people buy an asset they want it to be in good order with simple usage instructions. A website is no different. Your purchaser will want reassurance that they can operate the website business without delay and without confusion.  

A clear and straightforward process manual will make the business a much more attractive proposition.  It will give buyers a realistic view of how much time and effort they will need to put in to upkeep the website. It should include step-by-step instructions for everything that needs to be regularly done to keep the business running. It should include ancillary tasks such as social media management, and it should also include key contacts and CRM details if relevant. 

6. Present evidence of traffic and sales

When attempting to sell your website it is essential that you provide buyers with detailed statistics on your website. There are many platforms that can present your statistics in a readable way, including Google Analytics and SEMrush.

These are a few areas your stats should focus on:

  • Diverse traffic sources and stable growth, detailed and historical.
  • Clean legal history.
  • Growth potential.

Wrap up 

Earning through a website is a dream job for many, but when your circumstances change, what was once a joy may become just another way your time is being sucked away. If you have no time to upkeep your asset, or no will to, you may want to consider selling. 

These days there is lots of help available if you do decide to sell your website. This guide has taken you through how to get the site valued, where to sell, how to optimise for better speed and more traffic and how to present your sales package in the most attractive and useful way.  We hope that those steps will help you to achieve your goals for the site sale and pass on your asset so that it continues to thrive with its new owner.