• Hey guys,

    Here's my original Site Flipping 101. Should give you a good introduction into flipping.

    Firstly, why I think it is a good way to start out for noobs (please note, you need to be able to afford at least a domain and hosting, approx $20) is because it’s a fantastic way to learn a little bit about every area of IM: web design, programming, servers, content creation, marketing, finding the right products, SEO etc. If you can build and sell a site for profit, chances are you can do most methods on the forum.

    Depending on your budget there are a few ways you can start.

    * Noob/poor man - $20, buy domain and hosting, use free software to build site, use PLR content

    * Mid-level - $150, buy domain with some PR and hosting, outsource everything

    * High roller - $any, buy an established site, spruce it up and sell it


    For a start, with every site you build and expect to sell, install Google Analytics and make sure you can track your specific income for this site – whether it be channels in adsense or whatever.

    Now personally, I like to buy established sites cheap from places like DP (Digital Point), but I’ll start with how to do it from scratch. I’m not going to explain the technicalities of building a site, that’s what Google is for :P

    There are loads of different types of sites that sell but here are a few ideas for noob/mid-level:

    * Do some keyword research, find a good niche, get a domain, throw up some articles (tons of tutorials in the adsense section)

    * Buy a tool, learn to use it, offer as a service on your website. When you get bored of service sell the business

    * Write an ebook, write a sales page, buy domain, sell some ebooks, flip the site when sales start to drop

    * Buy a domain with page rank, add some content and sell (people love PR)


    As a rule of thumb, don’t expect much for a new site – DP you won’t get much more than $50 whereas Flippa you might get $200 but have to pay the fees.

    I would recommend starting out on somewhere like DP where there is no listing fee and learn how the business works with a few small transactions etc. If you can use escrow for all transactions, it is a lot safer than Paypal and at some stage you will get stung using Paypal (plenty of threads complaining about them)

    Now for most of you that will be nothing new or anything earth-shattering so let’s move on to bigger fish.

    For bigger sites (anything over $200) I would always recommend selling on Flippa. It has the most traffic of standalone marketplaces and a large number of qualified buyers with cash on hand. There is still a lot of crap listed on there, but that’s not a problem as you are selling a site not buying one.

    What I tend to do, is browse DP for sites selling cheap (look for 2-3 months revenue as price), do all my checks against their stats (chances are if their stats don’t add up, they are lying so move on to something else no matter how good the deal sounds)

    Once you’ve chosen your site and paid for it, got the domain etc time to get to work. I tend to buy sites that I feel I can add most value to. So if you’re specialisation is monetisation and you feel you can double the revenue, you’ve got a perfect site. If you can make kick ass designs, pick up an ugly site, spruce it up, happy days. If you’re a good writer, buy a site with no content, add content. You get the drift.

    It’s not rocket science but I would recommend starting out small as it does take a while to get used to, and ultimately it comes down to judgement and experience not clever tools or checklists.

    I would recommend doing some good SEO on the site once you have it. I tend to have a blast with scrapebox although SEO is by no means my speciality. Sites that sell well on Flippa tend to have organic traffic and earnings through adsense.

    This is important: if you have bought your site on DP chances are the site/auction has got indexed for the site name. So if anyone looks up your site they will see the auction, and where you bought it. This isn’t good

    Make sure BEFORE you list on Flippa you can’t be found in search engines, or you’ll have problems selling.

    Now a few tips for Flippa:

    * 100s of sites get listed, so you need to stand out. You have to SELL the site to them, so use catchy titles with good selling points such as “meathead1234’s site, 5 years old – NO RESERVE” – you get the picture.

    * Buy auction upgrades. Don’t be tight, get a front page listing! You will get 10x more traffic and 10x more likely to sell. Not to say you can’t sell without it, but if you think about it in monetary terms: with 10x more people viewing your listing, will you get $30 (cost of featuring) extra back? The answer 9/10 is yes

    * Write a good description. Put as much [good] detail in your listing as possible. Make sure you are transparent with stats – Google Analytics (or at least awstats) and as much historic revenue as you can.

    * If you have a unique traffic/revenue source – DO NOT tell people in the auction/by PM how it works. You lose your unique selling point and premium you can charge.

    * Flippa buyers like page rank and alexa rank – don’t ask me why, but they do.

    * Unique is good – unique content, unique design etc, adds a lot of value to buyers.

    * There is lots of traffic in the “most active” section of Flippa – so if you can get the bidding started (hint: low starting price)

    * Offer free hosting/free transfer with the site – either let them take over your hosting account or buy a reseller package with Hostgator and charge them 10 bucks a month to host with you (most won’t bother moving to their own server, especially at lower end).

    * Incentivise the BIN price – offer some free articles, SEO services, hosting, support, other crappy domains etc if the BIN price is reached.

    * Don’t worry if you’re site doesn’t get bids early – the number of watchers is the important part (over 20 is very good). People like to see the auction run, and don’t like to make the first bid, so get a friend to bid early on to get it moving :P. Most sites on Flippa tend to sell for BIN (in my experience anyway) so be patient. If bidding is made towards the end of the auction, it is extended by 4 hours to prevent “sniping”.

    * Don’t auto-accept bids. Especially if it is a BIN. If the buyer doesn’t pay then it takes time and effort to relist. Check the buyer out (join date, feedback etc) and if in doubt PM them to confirm their bid is genuine.

    * Selling price: general rule of thumb – sites with search engine traffic, age and adsense earnings will go for anything between 10-24 months revenue. Newer sites: 2-3 months revenue. Brand new sites: depends on design, content etc – aim for around $200 on Flippa or $50 on DP.

    * Answer questions honestly and promptly. Whether in the listing or by PM answer them today not in 5 days time, you never know who is serious or not.

    Most of my flips are relisted in a couple of days, and will be up on Flippa in no time. Work fast, and you should be able to make a good profit and all you need to do is answer questions and see the money come rolling in.

    Any questions - let me know :)
    Post edited by Unknown User at 2010-06-16 12:58:17
  • great tips there :)

    Also, I would like to add... Ultimately what it comes down to is just making an irresistible offer - read your pitch again, make adjustments and read again until you forget you're the one selling it and you wanna buy it :D

    Got a few questions too... what type of thing do you like to include in the title and description that works most of the time? You touched up on it a bit in the OP but I would like to learn more about that. I'm guessing you have to look at it like a ppc ad and capture people's attention in as few words as possible. Any extra tips on how to do that? or examples of what you consider really good titles?
  • Hey enSo,

    Glad to see you around here - have noticed a few of your posts on BHW, always good to see familiar names :)

    When it comes to the sale pitch, you're 100% right. Countless number of times I've seen sites on Flippa either sell for $100 or get no bids at all, knowing that I could flip the very same site for $500+ and attract a lot of interest simply because I know how to write a better sales copy.

    As for the title, it's arguably the most important bit of any auction listing. I've done a whole lot of experimenting in this area and while there's obviously no 'magic formula', I can say that what seems to be working best is taking a piece of paper, writing down all attractive aspects of your site (i.e. 10k visits a month, active community, $700 net p/m, PR4, hot niche etc. etc.), then picking out three of the hottest aspects, and including those within the title, along with a short description of the niche if applicable (though I've held some extremely active auctions that didn't have a single reference to the niche / type of the site within the title).

    When it comes to the description (or actually the sales copy - as that's what it is), it's pretty much copywriting as any other copywriting and the same rules apply. I'll touch this subject further in another thread at one point as I've spent a lot of time studying it and consider myself a better-than-average copywriter, but in a nutshell:
    1. Use the opening paragraph to gather interest and list the most attractive bits of your site
    2. Make the whole copy easy-to-follow and logical in order not to lose any readers 'in the middle'
    3. Use bullet points and numerical lists A LOT - people love these!
    4. Don't make the copy overly hyped - a good way is to balance it with one or two negative aspects, such as "don't think the site you're about to buy will make you rich overnight - you do need to invest a few hours each week into it to keep it profitable" as it'll make you sound far more honest.
    5. Perhaps most importantly - feel free to 'bend the facts' but don't ever downright lie. Should be common sense but I still keep seeing (respected) sellers lying about different aspects of the sites they're selling, only to get pissed on by the buyers later on. Quite frankly, in average each person who has bought a site from me has bought 1.3 sites, not 1, meaning that the upsell value is ENORMOUS, i.e. it should be our #1 goal to keep extremely good relations with our customers.

    I hope the above made sense. As I said, a more sophisticated piece of auction copywriting is coming soon :)

    Bryan

    Oh, and "make adjustments and read again until you forget you're the one selling it and you wanna buy it" is extremely well said - that's exactly the attitude one should have when writing a sales copy, any sales copy really - be it an auction listing or an acai ad.
  • Thanks for the quick and detailed response.
    That's exactly what I was doing for the title but found myself lost on what to write in the subtitle (that's actually what I meant to say by description in my first post ). Although that's probably something most people don't even look at since it's only shown in the listing page, after they decided to check it out. Considering the fact that you can only see it when you go to bid MAYBE the best thing to have as the subtitle is a subliminal message like "You know you want to BUY IT NOW" :D
  • Ah, right - didn't realize you were talking about the subtitle. Quite frankly I agree - it's pretty much the most useless bit of the listing so write anything you want in there :P As for me personally, I've usually used it for stuff such as "PLUS this and this incredible bonus" etc. Could also use it for some additional info about the site, i.e. stuff that doesn't fit into the main title ... and yeah, "You know you want to buy it NOW" sounds good, too :D
  • Bryan has this spot on - most important sales points in the title. I also want to make buyers CLICK on my auction. Keep them guessing. Don't describe the site itself in the title - tell them the revenue/profit/potential. You want to get people interested. Ultimately - more eyes on your listing = more $$.

    And of course, make the deal awesome for the buyer. You want them to walk away from the listing wondering what they were missing out on. Potential buyers will often hang around and observe a listing until the later stages - one of the reasons I recommend to get the bidding started. Time is money, so quicker your site sells, the better :)
  • hey meathead, thanks for this article! Gives me a really good overview what siteflipping is all about!

    * Don’t worry if you’re site doesn’t get bids early – the number of watchers is the important part (over 20 is very good). People like to see the auction run, and don’t like to make the first bid, so get a friend to bid early on to get it moving Tongue. Most sites on Flippa tend to sell for BIN (in my experience anyway) so be patient. If bidding is made towards the end of the auction, it is extended by 4 hours to prevent “sniping”.



    That brings me up to an idea..

    **EDIT: content deleted**
  • Great discussion!

    I have one question though Thomas. You write:

    This is important: if you have bought your site on DP chances are the site/auction has got indexed for the site name. So if anyone looks up your site they will see the auction, and where you bought it. This isn’t good

    Make sure BEFORE you list on Flippa you can’t be found in search engines, or you’ll have problems selling.



    Sorry, if this is a dumb question. But, how do I make sure of that? The only possibility, that comes to my mind, would be, if the site comes with a domain, choosing another domain name. Or did you mean something else?
  • [quote="Isa"]
    Great discussion!

    I have one question though Thomas. You write:

    This is important: if you have bought your site on DP chances are the site/auction has got indexed for the site name. So if anyone looks up your site they will see the auction, and where you bought it. This isn’t good

    Make sure BEFORE you list on Flippa you can’t be found in search engines, or you’ll have problems selling.



    Sorry, if this is a dumb question. But, how do I make sure of that? The only possibility, that comes to my mind, would be, if the site comes with a domain, choosing another domain name. Or did you mean something else?


    Welcome aboard, Isa.

    Changing the domain name won't do you any good as with the change of the domain name you'll also lose all search engine rankings and ultimately the traffic and revenue that comes with the site.

    What you should do is avoid buying these sites altogether. I generally tend to 'spot' good sites within the first 8 hours of the creation of the DP thread (that's the time frame during which the thread starter can edit the thread), agree on a deal privately and then have them erase the contents of the sales thread to avoid having Google pick it up.

    Cheers,
    Bryan
  • Hi Bryan,

    genious, thanks! =)
  • I was wondering the same thing Isa. Clever idea Bryan thanks for that.

    As an aside what Im getting most from my time in the forum is the attention to detail that you guys are providing as evidenced by Bryans reply. To me it clearly shows that you actually do this stuff rather than rehash someone elses material and try to pass it off as actual experience

    Thanks again

    Glenn
  • Thanks for that tiny but awesome bit of info.