How to Buy Websites: The Easiest Way + What Most Are Doing

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You want to make money with a website but don’t want to build and grow one on your own. The solution is to buy one that’s already established and generating monthly income. 

Marketplaces are the simplest way to do it. These ecommerce platforms specialize in one thing—buying and selling websites. You just browse and buy. The alternative is to cut out the middleman and go directly to a website owner. 

Both strategies work, but there are things you should know about each before you pick one.

Most Are Buying Websites on Marketplace Platforms & It’s Simple

There are many website marketplaces out there, but Flippa and Empire Flippers are two of the most popular. 

There are several reasons why most people choose sites like these to buy or sell a site.

  • These sites are all-in-one ecommerce platforms designed specifically for buying and selling websites. You don’t have to weed through a bunch of unrelated content or a messy user interface to get to the point. Everything you find on these sites is designed to help buyers and sellers close deals.
  • Buyers can browse thousands of sale listings that include data like years in business and monthly revenue. The sites do initial vetting and ensure the business is legitimate. This gives buyers confidence. Empire Flippers, for example, adds a Verified emblem to its listings to make it easy for buyers.
Empire Flippers listing with a Verified emblem on top right corner
  • There are resources for both buyers and sellers. There are blogs, podcasts, and newsletters filled with information relevant to anyone buying or selling an online business. There are also other resources, like Flippa’s free valuation tool for prospective sellers.
Flippa free valuation tool
  • Buyers can browse and search thousands of listings all in one place. Search by business type, monetization strategy, price, and even trending categories. This saves a ton of time and makes finding the right site much less stressful than starting your own search from scratch.
Flippa homepage

These platforms definitely make the buying process more streamlined. But landing a really good deal can still be a challenge.

Typically, these sites tend to offer well-established business opportunities that are generating real and consistent monthly income. As a result, you’re going to be looking at sale prices that are on the higher side. 

It’s not uncommon on these sites to see asking prices of six to seven figures. If you’re looking for cheap sites to scoop up, you’re probably not going to find it here. 

That’s not to say there aren’t cheap sites available. Flippa, for example, has an auction feature that tends to offer lower-priced sites. If you’re on the market for an underutilized website that you can build yourself, there are auction sites out there that specialize in just that.

These sites are basically the Ebay for websites. Think minimum reserves, last-minute bidding wars, and buy it now (BIN) options. But if you’re not a fan of losing out when someone bids $1 more than you with two seconds left on the auction, you’re probably not going to enjoy the experience.

If you do find a site you want to buy, proper due diligence is still something you need to do yourself. Some sites, like Flippa, offer due diligence packages for an additional fee.

Flippa pricing for reports

Others, like Empire Flippers, refer you out to third-party companies that will do the research for you. 

Either way, the responsibility falls to you to make sure everything is as it is claimed to be and that the numbers add up. This means making sure there’s valuable traffic to the site, verifying the domain history, validating revenue sources, checking mailing lists, calculating running costs, etc. 

This can be a lot of work, which is why so many buyers outsource it. However you choose to do it, it has to be done.

For the right buyer who has the budget and commitment to the details, using an ecommerce platform to find and purchase a website is a great route to go. 

It isn’t the only way.

1 More Easy Way to Buy Websites: Directly From The Owner (When It Works)

In theory, skipping the middleman and going straight to a website owner to buy their site should be easy. You find something you like, make sure it’s a high-quality site, contact the owner, and negotiate until you land on a price that works for both of you.

In real life, it isn’t that easy. The chances of you getting your new website this way is far lower than using one of the marketplaces out there.

Here’s why.

Getting website owner contact information can be difficult. Most website owners take the time to protect their privacy when they purchase their site’s domain name. As they should. Keeping their personal information off the Whois database keeps it out of the public domain. If they don’t, they get bombarded with unsolicited emails and calls from people trying to sell them website services.

They may not want to sell. The old saying that “everything is for sale at a price” may be true. But if the owner of a website isn’t interested in selling, the price you pay will likely be very inflated to get them to change their mind. You could end up doing a ton of digging and outreach to end up walking away because the price is too high.

You have to do all the legwork. This means not just finding out the owner, but doing at least a bit of research to determine if the site is worth pursuing. If it is and the owner wants to sell, you need to dig even deeper into things like website reputation, monetization information, site history, traffic volume, and owner credibility. 

It takes more work to go the DIY route when buying a website, but it’s doable. 

So why do people go this route? The biggest benefit is that you’ll almost always get the site for much less than if you went through a marketplace or broker.

If you’re ready to jump in and find your next website on your own, here are some tips for success.

Know where to look. Sure you might accidentally stumble across an interesting website that has potential, but not usually. Google search isn’t going to help you much, either. If you don’t want to use an ecommerce platform, other ways to find out about websites for sale include:

  • Social media – You can do outreach to your LinkedIn network, join Facebook groups focused on buying/selling websites, and follow hashtags like #websiteforsale on X.
  • Online forums – There are industry-specific groups and communities in places like LinkedIn and Reddit. Look for groups devoted exclusively to buying and selling websites and businesses.
  • In-person networking – Go to industry conferences and meetings, participate in local startup events, attend meetups with entrepreneurs. All are great opportunities to have informal chats where sale opportunities might be revealed.

Practice your pitch. Once you find a prospective site to buy, you have to initiate contact with the owner. If you haven’t practiced your cold-calling skills in awhile, now’s the time to brush up. First impressions matter, so you want your initial contact to pique the owner’s interest.

The key to success is finding out everything you can about the owner—their interests, professional background, things you have in common, and other details that give you insights about what makes them tick. Then once you have that information, you want to use it into your initial outreach.

Maybe you both attended the same college. Perhaps you both enjoy fly fishing. Could be that you both follow the same business influencer.

It’s all about making a connection. Whether you’re sending an email or making that first call, building rapport through common interests can make the difference between being ignored or invited to have a second conversation.

Have your resources lined up. Presuming your research and outreach goes well, there will be a time when you have to close the deal. Besides financing, you’re going to need a lawyer to draft up the purchase agreement, an escrow agent to hold funds until the purchase is complete, and someone to ensure the transfer steps are completed (domain, hosting, access, etc.). 

Maybe you can do some of these things yourself. Maybe you need to outsource everything. The important thing is that you have these resources lined up before you find the perfect website to buy.

Dial this all in and finding your next website on your own is within reach.

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