How to Flip Websites for Profit: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Buying something, making improvements, and selling it for a profit is not new. Think about people who do this with cars or houses; you will realize many things can be flipped for profit. Websites are no exception.

But how do you flip a website?

To flip a website, first choose a market segment or niche to build a website or buy an underperforming website, create new content for the website and drive traffic to it through SEO and other website improvement techniques, set up affiliate advertising links, and then sell the website.

While it may seem easy and quick to make money, flipping a website takes patience, skill, knowledge, and work. Keep reading this article for all the website-flipping info you need to get started.

How to Flip a Website in 5 Simple Steps

From deciding to flip a website to selling it, there are five processes to go through. Each process has its own set of steps and will take perseverance and skill.

To flip a website, you will need to go through these five processes:

  • Research high-demand market segments or niches
  • Build a functioning website or buy an underperforming website
  • Create new value-adding content for the website and drive traffic to it through SEO and other website improvement techniques
  • Set up affiliate advertising links to prove its profitability
  • Sell the website

If you have any experience in website development or maintenance, you already have the skills and knowledge to flip a website. The risks and barriers to entry for flipping websites are also low. If you build a website and invest some time and effort, there is no reason you can’t flip a website.

With that, you must follow these five processes, and you will flip a website in a few weeks or months!

1. Research High Demand Market Segments or Niches

Decide whether you would like to flip websites in high-demand or niche segments. High-demand segments mean you will likely get a very small slice of a very big pie, but if there are a lot of people looking for a slice like yours, it is likely to sell.

In a high-demand segment, quality will be a differentiator. High-demand segments are also easier to build customer bases and email lists as there are many consumers to target for this and lower barriers to contact them.

There is also a competitive advantage in a niche. The pie is smaller, but if you get in early or can establish your website early on as a trusted source in the niche, the size of the slice is bigger. There may be fewer people looking to buy a niche site, so weigh the pros and cons. Remember that you need to be interested in the niche so that building (or buying and improving the website) will not be tedious.

Once you have decided on a high-demand segment or niche, it is time to research! To do this, visit website flipping marketplaces like Empire Flippers and Flippa and see what others are doing (and, importantly, not doing!). Make a list of the segments or areas in which you could build or improve a website. These may be something from your work history or an area you have experience in.

Then take a close look at the websites for sale and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have an interest in the segment or niche?
  • Is the segment or niche saturated?
  • Is the segment or niche profitable?

Interest in a segment or niche comes in different forms. There are passions and hobbies in your life that, if you are asked about at a party, you will be able to talk about for hours. These are natural fits for you.

But dig a little deeper into your own life and experience. Have you worked in a market segment or industry in which you have a lot of experience? Could you give specialist knowledge or information on it? While it may not be as exciting as your passion, you may already have enough information and knowledge to create content without getting tired or bored.

The segment or niche is saturated if there are already many of these sites for sale on website-flipping marketplaces. Look at the average time it takes for these sites to sell and the quality and content of these websites. If they take a long time to sell, you may not see a profit for a long time. If they are of a better quality and have better content than you can produce, you may not be able to outdo the competitors.

A segment or niche is profitable if there is high demand and quick sales of websites. It will also be profitable if the general quality and content on the sites for sale are not very high. If you can produce a better product than what is on offer, there is a much higher chance of it being bought.

This list of known profitable areas may get you started on segments or niches you can explore:

  • Business
  • Food and cooking
  • Health and wellness
  • Personal development
  • Technology
  • Travel

2. Build a Functioning Website or Buy an Underperforming One

Once you have decided on your market segment or niche, you will need to make a second decision: To build or to buy?

This may be an easy route for you if you have experience and knowledge in building websites. If you have never built one but believe you could, it may be time to learn a new skill. There are many free and paid-for platforms to build websites on. Research some of these and begin building.

The biggest upside to building a website is that it requires very little start-up capital, just a few dollars for website hosting. The key to building a website is to ask if you can do a better job than the competition on website flipping marketplaces. Building a website may be your best bet if you believe you can.

If you do not believe you can build a better website than the competition, consider buying and fixing an existing website. The downside to buying is the cost. Start-up capital could run into thousands of dollars, and while you will make this money back, you will need at least the capital to buy one website, to begin with.

If you build a website, functioning means that the website is not only usable and bug-free but is published and indexed on the internet and that you have enough content to be useful to site visitors.

You have a working strategy to build a following or client base.

If you buy a website, check with the marketplace how ownership will be transferred to you and then begin working on the site. Some websites for sale already have traffic or are selling a product which will help cover some of the costs of the site before flipping it. It is functioning as soon as traffic starts to increase, you have worked over all the content, either replacing it or improving it, and the site’s Google ranking begins to improve.

Often overlooked is how websites perform on mobile devices. Google says more searches are now done on mobile devices than desktops. Websites need to be mobile-friendly. Check that all your content is scrollable, that videos will display properly on mobile devices, and that all images are high-quality.

3. Create Value-adding Content and Drive Traffic to the Website

First, perform an audit of the website. Highlight where SEO opportunities have been missed and identify if any common SEO mistakes have been made. See which areas need the most improvement and start there.

The value of a website comes from these five areas:

  • Content
  • Email list
  • Social media followers
  • Website revenue (discussed further below)
  • Website traffic

Building value into any website can be as narrow as improving one area or as wide as improving all five areas.

If you have chosen to buy a website to flip, considering these five areas of value may also help you when choosing the site. If you see a site missing one area or can easily be improved in a few, it will help determine if it is a good one to buy.

To improve the content, look at the quality of the content (images, copy, product catalog, etc.) and either create/upload new content or improve on what is there.

Copy, or the writing on the website, is often the easiest to improve. Check all grammar, length of information, and relevance for the website and rewrite it. Create SEO-optimized content and place it strategically on all pages of the website. Add additional information where necessary. Improving images may be as simple as purchasing better or more relevant images from stock image websites and replacing them.

Email lists can be improved by linking social media campaigns or competitions to build email databases or buying legitimate, opt-in email lists.

Link the website to social media platforms and work on improving attention-grabbing and relevant content. Drive traffic to your website through social media and vice versa. Post the newest website blog posts on social media and ask for comments or launch new products or information on social media with a link to more details on the website.

Improve website traffic by growing your social media presence, using targeted keywords, writing guest posts, email newsletters, and exchanging backlinks.

4. Set Up Affiliate Advertising Links to Prove Profitability

There are many ways to increase website revenue, but the following are the most common:

  • Sell ads spaces on webpages
  • Using sponsored posts
  • Sell digital products
  • Use monetization widgets, and
  • Use RSS feed ads

Websites already generating income are more attractive to buyers and will fetch a higher price. Putting effort into building each of these website revenue streams will mean you can set the selling price of the website higher.

Even if you only set up on-page advertising like Google Adsense, Adthrive, or Mediavine, you will have already improved the site.

5. Sell the Website

This is the last step but the most important one.

You should have your website valued before you put it on the market, so research which marketplace websites will value your website before listing it or using a paid website valuation service. While it may cost you to do this, a realistic website valuation will save you from listing the selling price as too low and losing profit or setting it too high, and it doesn’t sell.

Choose your preferred website marketplace and list your website. Each website flipping marketplace has detailed instructions and helps agents to assist in listing and selling. Chat with their consultants about how best to use their site.

Final Thoughts 

Website flipping is fun, but following the steps above should also be easy to do. Ultimately you are doing it for the profit, so put as much effort as necessary to justify your time and outlay. Whether you build a website from scratch or buy one to improve and sell, flipping websites is a fun way to make money!

(Related article: The Economics of Website Flipping: I Bought a Site on Flippa For $36,000)

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!