Selling your website can be a lucrative business decision. Regardless of your reason for wanting to sell, getting maximum value for your website requires more than just a “for sale” listing.
Working with a business broker like First Choice Business Brokers will help you sell your website fast and for the highest possible price. They’ll also help you navigate through negotiations and provide expert guidance through the transaction process. Follow the step-by-step instructions in this guide to sell your website the right way.
Crazy Egg’s Favorite Tools for Selling a Website
Below you’ll find our Golden Eggs—our favorite tools to help any website owner easily sell their site.
First Choice Business Brokers is a top-rated brokerage that assists both buyers and sellers through any business transaction and negotiation. Take advantage of a free business valuation to get started.
Murphy Business Sales shines as a business broker that navigates the waters of cross-border sales between the US and Canada, widening your range of potential buyers. Contact Murphy Business Sales to find a local broker in your area.
More Top Business Brokers
In addition to the Golden Eggs highlighted above, our team here at Crazy Egg has conducted extensive research and in-depth reviews on the best business brokers on the market today. Our complete guide makes it easy to find the best brokerage firm for your unique situation as you’re getting ready to sell your website. Check out our full guide of the best business brokers for more information.
Step 1 – Get Started With First Choice Business Brokers
While you might be eager to jump straight to the sales process, a little patience in the early stages of selling your website can lead to bigger profits down the road. Before you worry about coming up with a listing price or finding a seller, the first thing you need to do is find a business broker to guide you through the process.
First Choice Business Brokers is an excellent option to consider if you’re selling a website.
Founded in 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has over 60 offices and nearly 180 brokers managing transactions nationwide. They’ve facilitated over $10.5 billion in listings, simplifying the sales process for sellers while ensuring their clients get maximum value.
First Choice Business Brokers will help you get an accurate valuation of your business, so you know where to start before listing it on a marketplace. They’ll also help you find qualified buyers and manage negotiations through the entire sales process.
With First Choice, you can also keep the website listing confidential. So your sales won’t decline, and you won’t scare off partners, employees, or customers before the sale is completed. Everything can continue running like normal while you’re getting the ball rolling.
As a website owner, you’re not limited to buyers only in the US. First Choice can also put your listing on international platforms, attracting a wider audience and helping to create a bidding war for potential buyers.
They’ll even help qualify real buyers from people just shopping around with no real interest or intention of actually acquiring your site. This can save you a ton of time and headaches and essentially removes you from the grunt work involved with the process. First Choice will work on your behalf to sell your site while you can relax and continue to focus on operations or your next venture.
Step 2 – Get a Website Valuation
You might have a number in mind that you want to sell your website for. But it’s rare for that number to align with the actual market value of your site.
Fortunately, your number might actually be lower than what qualified buyers are willing to pay. So taking the time to get an accurate website valuation will ensure you’re not leaving money on the table when your site is officially listed for sale.
There are lots of different platforms and online resources that provide valuations for websites. But getting this straight from your business broker makes the most sense, as it cuts out the need to use multiple services throughout the process.
Keep in mind the business valuation you get from your broker is not a guarantee of what your website will sell for. It’s simply an estimate of what the site is worth based on your business model, market conditions, and other factors.
To assist your broker and ensure they have much information as possible, be prepared to provide them with information like:
- Website age
- Traffic volume
- Traffic sources
- New sessions
- Monetization sources
- Email subscribers
- Active subscribers
This information should include the past 12 months of site traffic and analytics. In terms of market value, it doesn’t typically matter how many page views your site had three or four years ago. The most recent data is going to be the most relevant.
Based on your valuation, you can determine whether you want to proceed with the sales process or spend more time growing your website before listing it for sale.
Step 3 – List Your Website For Sale
There are lots of different ways and platforms for listing your site for sale. The best option depends on several factors, including how discreet you want the sale to be and what types of buyers you’re trying to attract.
Online marketplaces are great for smaller sites that just want a quick and seamless flip with minimal negotiations. But you typically won’t be able to extract maximum value this way.
Website marketplaces can also be challenging for websites with employees, partners, suppliers, or anyone else who you want to keep in the dark during the sales process. If your site is listed for months and staff catches wind of the sale, they might jump ship before a new owner takes over. Hiring replacements for a site that’s for sale can also be tough, and all of these scenarios can make your website less appealing to prospective buyers.
For ecommerce websites, even customers could be hesitant to buy from your site knowing that ownership is about to transfer hands. They may have concerns about the quality of your products and the guarantees for returns and warranties.
That’s why it’s usually better to let a business broker handle the listing of your site on your behalf. They’ll keep the listing confidential and only expose it on private marketplaces and networks.
First Choice will ensure buyers sign an NDA before any information about your business is disclosed.
Have some patience when you’re listing the site. While some of you may want cash in your pocket immediately, most sites take up to 90 days for the entire process to complete.
This can obviously fluctuate based on the type of website you have and the current market demands. But in most cases, you won’t have a signed offer on the table within the first few days of the site getting listed. That’s completely normal and shouldn’t be a reason to panic.
Step 4 – Find Qualified Buyers
The way you find buyers will vary depending on how you decided to list your site in the previous step. If the site is listed on a generic marketplace, you’ll have to wait for buyers to find your site as they’re browsing the platform. In some cases, those marketplaces will allow you to promote your sale with ads and promoted listings for an additional fee.
But if you want to be more discreet with the sale, this is an excellent time to lean on your broker to find qualified buyers for you.
The great part about using a broker is that they have a network of both buyers and sellers. Investors and prospective site owners can also use your broker to help them find businesses for sale and look for acquisition opportunities.
Your broker might already have a list of qualified buyers in mind to contact immediately.
If you’re using First Choice as your broker, they’ll handle all of the buyer inquiries on your behalf as well. So your phone won’t be ringing off the hook every day, and your inbox won’t be filled with spam. They can quickly qualify those buyers as well to filter out the candidates who are not only interested in buying your site but are capable of buying it for your asking price.
This frees up your time, so you won’t have to deal with constant lowball offers.
Step 5 – Negotiate the Best Offer
Most buyers will also be using a broker to represent them during this process. A phone call saying, “I’ll buy your site for $500,000,” shouldn’t be considered a real offer until a formal offer letter has been received.
The offer letter will include much more than just the selling price.
Expect your offers to include the terms, financing, due diligence process, exclusivity period, and estimated closing date. These requests are completely normal, and it helps buyers feel more comfortable about buying your site by getting things in order on their end. They may also want to confirm that the information you’re telling them is true rather than taking your word at face value.
If you’re fielding multiple offers, it’s on you to determine which offer is better. Sometimes, that’s more than just the sales price.
For example, let’s say one buyer offers to buy your site for $625,000, but the due diligence terms are fairly strict. They’re going to need you to provide some of the financing, and the target sale date is three months from now.
A second buyer might offer $550,000 cash with no questions asked and complete the sale within 30 days.
While the first offer is higher, the second offer might be more appealing to many sellers. This is another reason why working with a business broker is so helpful, as they’ll walk you through the negotiations and help spin offers in your favor.
Step 6 – Finalize the Contract and Transfer the Website
Once you’ve accepted an offer, it’s time to draw up the official contract. This is something that you’ll want an attorney to handle on your behalf, and it does not fall under the responsibilities of your broker.
The contract will contain all of the information negotiated in the previous step, including all of the appropriate state, local, and federal business sales information. There will also be plenty of legal fine print to protect both parties involved with the deal.
If the buyer creates the contract, make sure you have your attorney go through everything before it’s signed.
After everyone agrees to the terms and signs, you’ll need to transfer all of the website assets over to the buyer.
This can include your domain, CMS, hosting, email list, social media profiles, and whatever else is packed into the deal. For some website sales, you may be asked to sign a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement for a specified term.
In these scenarios, you could be barred from starting a similar website, poaching your employees, or stealing customers in a new venture for the next year.
Step 7 – Be Available Post-Sale to Ease the Transition
Even after money changes hands and your site has been passed to the new owner, you still need to make yourself available to provide assistance during the transition.
The length of time you’ll be required to do this will depend on your contract terms. It can range anywhere from 30 days to 90 days or sometimes as long as a year.
You might even be provided additional compensation for this. But again, it all depends on how your contract is laid out.
Even if you’re not contractually obligated to help the new owner, it’s still a good business practice to follow. This is especially true if you’re planning on selling additional websites down the road. You don’t want to develop a reputation as someone who is difficult to work with, especially after you’ve been given hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
So be as helpful as possible to the new site owner whenever they have questions for you, as long as it’s within reason.