I’ve already mentioned what you should do if you want to sell your website. It’s now time to go over some of the most common mistakes made by those auctioning websites. While some of these strategies can help you, especially if your website isn’t valuable, the majority of them will turn off the types of buyers you want to attract. Ignore them at your peril, because they are definitely techniques to avoid.
1. Fill your auction with useless data and unnecessary hype.
Nobody cares about your blog’s distinctive design, flashy navigation system, or the amount of praise it has received from others in your niche. They are concerned with its revenue potential or, in rare cases, its level of influence in its niche. In most cases, it’s best to keep subjective data off your website’s auction page, such as critical praise or “best blog in ___” type feedback.
On the same note, avoid using fifty-point red headers and sales copy on your auction page. Consider rule two once more: you’re marketing your website to other marketers. Instead of employing every direct response trick in the book, provide information that people will find useful. It’s extremely difficult to sell to marketers, and it only gets worse when you use the same tactics they do on a daily basis.
2. Profit from passing fads, short-term events, and crazes.
On Flippa, I see this type of error all the time. Marketers, typically inexperienced, purchase a domain that is loosely related to the most recent celebrity death, set up a generic two-page WordPress site, and believe it will be the next big thing. In an effort to make a quick buck, these auctions are typically loaded with potential-driven sales copy and an overwhelming contempt for their potential customers.
They all have one thing in common: they rarely, if ever, make a decent profit. While the owners of these websites may make a few dollars on the sale, it is rarely enough to warrant their consideration. Not some hyped-up spur-of-the-moment domain name, but a website with long-term potential, is the best type of website for onward sales.
3. List your website but make no effort to monetize it.
The only thing worse than overselling a website is underselling it by failing to devote any time to monetization. This error is frequently made on Flippa, but unlike many of these errors, which are made by newbies, this one is made by professionals. They list websites without even attempting to monetize them because they are always short on time and challenged by other projects.
Any signs of profitability, even a Google Adsense block atop your page, are beneficial to increasing your sales price. While websites do occasionally sell based solely on their unrealized potential, this is far from common. Take the time to test the profitability of your website, and even if it isn’t a winner, let people know that it is at least capable of generating income.
4. Defining the potential of your website without considering the long term
Browse any auction website and you’ll find descriptions where the merchant has been, shall we say, overly optimistic about the future of their website. No, it is unlikely to become the next Facebook, and it is unlikely to triple its revenue in two months. While these examples are extreme examples of long-term prediction, they are a good indicator of how a little long-term thinking can help with your sales.
Websites aren’t bought to be flipped right away, at least not in most cases. They are typically purchased as a relatively long-term investment (by online standards). Be upfront and clear about how your website is performing now, but don’t forget to include a description—even if it’s quite salesy—of how it might perform in the future.
Have you ever sold a website before? How did it go, if so? Did you make a profit, lose money, or break even on the sale?
Leave your own experiences in the comments, and let me know if you have any tips for selling websites more effectively. I’ve seen a variety of techniques succeed in this field, and it’s always interesting to see how well people do with unconventional tactics.