Imagine being able to work anywhere in the world, only having to spend a few minutes each day to collect your salary. People dream of being their own boss. Flippa is an online auction house for websites, it capitalises on this dream and you can too by following my full Flippa Guide.
This one page will give you all the free resources you need to make money online by flipping websites. Coding knowledge is a bonus not needed. No donation or email subscription is required.
This guide covers how to build (or outsource) a website that will make money. If you fail to make revenue directly then sell it on – for profit – and start again.
Flipping doesn’t require any large investments, and any money you put in (hosting fees) will be protected. Flippa takes the risk out claiming your online niche.
I also explore what you might be looking for buying a website from Flippa, this section is worth reading for a seller as well so you understand what people are looking for in a listing.
Most ‘make money online guides’ are trash which will teach you how to make a squeeze page. Often virtual pyramid schemes that will get you nowhere, always dangling a carrot in front of you saying the real money is just another $100 away.
All the content on this site is free, and always will be. There are no tricks in my guide, only tips. It works, it’s easy and the more time you put in the more you’ll get out.
- How The Flippa Guide Works – An Overview
- What To Look For – A Buyers Perspective
- Tips To Flip – Finding Your First Trend
- Flippa Friendly Websites
- Building Your First Website
- Black Hat Gains
How The Flippa Guide Works – An Overview
The most reliable way of hitting gold online is by jumping on a trend early, or by finding a niche product and creating a market for it yourself. Both these methods require a degree of risk – you are investing not just your time, but money as well into building the website and buying the domain.
If your website doesn’t generate traffic or revenue it becomes very tempting to keep sinking money in which you may never get back. This is where the Flippa strategy comes in.
Carefully plan your niche; buy a quality domain, and if it bombs after a month or so and you feel it won’t be successful, flip away. Worst case you’ll only make a small profit. If done right the domain alone should be worth many times more than what you pay in hosting fees.
On the other hand if you do think it’s going to be popular ride with it. The more you establish your website the more valuable it becomes. If you are jumping on a trend, mine that trend until you find your profits starting to drop off. When you feel your time is better spent elsewhere, flip that sucker and repeat. That’s when the real money comes in.
Over time the aim is to build yourself a portfolio of websites that make passive income. As you make more and more monthly revenue diversify into more sites for even more gains. Websites regularly go for 2+ years worth of income.
What To Look For – A Flippa Buyer’s Guide
If you are looking to buy a website there are five factors you will want to be very clear on. If a listing doesn’t have any of the following, chances are it will not be worth much. As a buyer (ideally) you want all the following factors accounted for in your listing.
- A great domain (more detail later)
- Steady and growing traffic (often people sell when traffic is declining)
- Steady and growing revenue
- Majority of traffic coming from either organic search or social media
- If a listing has lots of social traffic ensure that the social media accounts are sold with the listing
If the seller can give a good reason for something like traffic decreases over time and the website is cheap, it may still be worth an investment. As a buyer if you are looking for a completely safe investment it’s worth taking extra time and maybe spending a little extra money to be sure that you buy the best site for you.
Flippa Advice For Buyers And Sellers:
If the traffic and revenue are all over the place then buying the website is risky. As a Flippa buyer you need to know why the traffic might be erratic. As a Flippa seller you want to be ready with a clear answer to that question. Did you advertise, was it effective, can you learn from the seller (or teach your buyer) how to create traffic of this kind.
Erratic traffic which isn’t accounted in the costs is a big red light. Try and be open and honest as a seller and question anything that seems off if you are considering buying. You do not want to pay for a site which can’t generate traffic. Anybody can build a site like that nobody visits.
That is not to say that you won’t be able to sell a site that doesn’t generate traffic. If you aren’t currently getting visitors to your site your listing will have to focus on a viable strategy for bringing traffic.
If you are buying a website from Flippa, you want to be sure that you will be able to sell it back for at least as much as you bought it for, so try and find out why the user is selling their site.
As a seller give a clear reason of why you are selling your website (for instance, it’s a starter site and you are a web designer or you are looking to work on other projects).
If you feel you are more knowledgeable in a niche then the website’s builder you may be able to buy the website, increase it’s value over the course of a few month and then flip for a decent profit when the traffic starts increasing.
Tips to Flip – Your First Trend
There’s loads of ways of finding trends. Most of the websites covered in this guide get the majority of their traffic from SEO. As Google is the most used search engine my advice is look on Google Trends. As Google has the highest traffic of any search engine they should be your trendsetter.
You can also use Google to narrow your niche down. Imagine I am making a niche blog focused around being a full Flippa guide – which websites are worth buying, which aren’t etc.
Start by Googling your idea, at the bottom of the page you can see related searches. This is a particularly good technique for narrowing your niche because the suggestions come from searches that real people make.
You can also use Google’s autocomplete function on the search bar, but you get more results from the bottom of the page.
So going on the searches related to Flippa guide I might narrow my niche down to how to make a living on Flippa or Flippa selling guide, and I might write a post titled pro guide to buying websites.
People are lazy and an average looking website on a well thought out domain becomes infinitely more valuable than the domain alone – if it bombs whoever buys it can always resell. If you find a killer niche and plan a theme for your website make sure you will be able to pick a domain name which fits your page.
With the opposite; if you have a bad domain with a beautifully designed website – unless you can prove that the revenue is there waiting for a buyer to collect – nobody will bid on your risky venture.
When you are choosing your niche ensure you will be able to get a great domain which suits your theme.
- Real word(s)
- Can have one hyphen
- Less than 15 chars (ideally)
- Exactly match a high traffic, relevant search term
Flippa Friendly Website Tips
The advice in this section should help both buyers and sellers. If you are starting from scratch then try emulating one of these types of websites. If you are a buyer you may be able to get a bargain if you find a website which is not set up to make it’s full earning potential.
I find forums’ owners often really don’t know how to generate money without alienating their community. They are often underpriced with little strategy going forward. Starting from scratch a blog is probably the easiest website to build for yourself, and the cheapest kind of website to outsource the design for.
Blogs are best monetized through Google Adsense and Affiliate links. Certain niches pay more per click/1000 impressions than others so that is something to consider. I have an SEO guide which covers the basics of what you need to get search traffic for your blog, it’s written to be simple enough anybody can follow it.
Try to make at least two posts a week. The more you write the better but it can become very time consuming. By the end of the first month if you aren’t getting close to 1000 visitors, and aren’t experiencing steady growth as you create more content it may be worth flipping.
If you have to outsource writing, my advice would be use a freelance from People Per Hour who is experienced in SEO and keyword planning. The point of choosing a good niche is that you shouldn’t need to outsource the writing. If you find that your blog is popular and you want to keep it for at least a year then you may find that a freelancer is profitable but:
It’s very easy to spend a lot of money getting other people to write content for you. When you sell the website the value is in traffic that your content generates rather than the content itself so if you spend $100s on content that doesn’t build traffic or revenue you risk making a loss on your website. Outsourcing isn’t for beginners.
Remember you want quality over quantity, try and do case studies or guides which nobody else has done. Write as much on any subject as you can. Careful keyword research will help you generate plenty of traffic.
If you are planning on running a blog long term Patreon can be a great boost to your income and another saleable asset.
A great idea can sell for a lot of money on Flippa. If you have a good domain, and a source for a great product with a good margin then even if you’re unable to generate traffic you can probably make a fair profit by Flipping your site.
Alternatively if you find you are making a few sales in the first month, you are likely to experience steady growth for the first few months from word of mouth alone.
Make sure you collect email subscriptions, that way you can encourage repeat business through special offers.
You may find marketing on social media or even adwords boost your profits. Obviously if you sell one big product you will make more per sale than lots of little products. As you get a feel for what people are buying you will get a clearer idea of how to advertise.
Finding reliable niche dropshippers can be hard. It’s not a good idea to use a chinese vendor because they can take weeks to deliver and your repeat business will suffer.
You may have to contact websites directly to ask if you can work with them and negotiate your margin. If you take the time this can pay off massively.
Dropshipping sites can be tricky to set up. If you are outsourcing the website build you will wind up paying more than for a basic blog but there are pros and cons to all models.
Niche dropshippers are one of the most valued types of websites that sell on Flippa. they are also great to keep for your portfolio.
Forums are tricky because you need to generate an active user base, not just traffic or even sales. That said if you are able to do that there are plenty of revenue streams to explore.
Setting up a YouTube collective is one of the best money makers as you will find that a lot of your members will subscribe and send you content. A YouTube partnership can be worth GOLD – literally if you get 1m subscribers YouTube reward you with a solid gold plaque!
You can advertise, and sell subscriptions which give access to hidden forums, and an advert free experience. This is best done as your forum becomes more established and you get to understand your userbase better.
You should have a friendly community which have trust in you, so they are likely to buy the products you suggest and when people sign up you collect their emails.
Unless you have experience building forums, this type of site is best bought cheap on Flippa and then monetized. You can often find cheap deals for forums with a good active user base as they are hard work for those who don’t know what they are doing.
Please read my full forum monetization guide if you are planning on building or buying a forum. It contains lots of unique advice on how to make money through giving users a great experience, rather than at the user’s expense.
Review sites (yell.com for example) are great because they are completely passive income. Once they are set up other people create the content.
Working on your backlink profile will make your website more valuable if you are looking to Flip it early. You can also incentivise people to join your site by removing ‘nofollow’ from links of their choice and allowing custom anchor text for a small fee.
Again Google Adwords, and Amazon Affiliates will probably be your main revenue stream. If you are unable to build a review site yourself then outsourcing can be expensive, but a simple review site isn’t much more work than a regular blog.
Squeeze pages exist to ‘squeeze’ details, or money out of your visitors. They are single page websites and should be as simple as possible – a video and a bit of text. A successful squeeze page should always offer something for free (ideally a course) to be emailed to the user.
You don’t want any distractions, so you should never put ads on a squeeze page unless they are the actual focus of the page. Some people use squeeze pages to sell, I always advise against that. People are becoming more savvy of the squeeze page and often don’t trust even legitimate ones.
Collect emails and build a personal relationship by giving away good information. You want to slowly try and upsell other courses or ebooks while building a relationship with your subscribers.
A good course should be personal and by the end a user should have trust and feel that you are a reliable source of good information on what to buy.
Squeeze pages’ value come from their conversion rate. You will have to pay for advertising to get visitors as they rarely rank on search engines. Squeeze pages are easy to build but you have too keep them for a few months to show their worth to a potential buyer.
Viral Content Pages:
Viral content pages are a type of blog which round up lists, vines or videos. Short posts which are likely to be shared a lot over social media.
The value in these sites is the social following and how well they engage. A well run social campaign can help you decide whether you are on to a steady passive income, or whether your site should be Flipped.
They can be easier than blogs because they collect other people’s content (sometimes on autopilot). That means they are unlikely to rank on search engines, if you are struggling to build a social following in the first month it’s best to Flip.
This niche is getting filled, people can get their news or funny videos direct from YouTube so you will need something really special to make money. Where you aren’t working on writing content your success relies on being able to create cheap adverts and selling advertising space.
Building Your First Website
If you have never built a website before it can be intimidating. The great thing about WordPress is that with a bit of practice, if you can use microsoft word then you can build website. If you have a great idea but can’t build it yourself you can hire a freelance very cheaply to do it for you.
Set a budget of $150 for the first month as that is what you can expect to get for a basic starter site if you flip it. If you need to buy content make sure not to spend more than $75 and you will double your money. The only thing you need to pay for is hosting.
If you can write you can make a WordPress site. WordPress is great because it allows all sorts of plugins, so you can easily make an e-store, blog, review site or forum.Wordpress the most widely used content management system which people use for building websites, so you are more likely to be able to flip your website if you make it in WordPress.
It’s worth investing in a premium theme for WordPress. Premium themes are updated more often, and as a result are more likely to be SEO friendly. You need your theme to be responsive so that it works on all devices. If you are working on a limited budget to build multiple websites you want a customisable theme that you can reuse for many different websites.
If you are going to be making revenue from Adsense you want a theme that works well with the banners, rather than having to stretch to put them in.
A great option is the Genesis Framework, it’s ultra SEO friendly and nice and customisable. You can get child themes which suit any kind of niche you can think of, but on it’s own the genesis framework punches all other themes out the water for it’s clean coding and out the box SEO compatibility.
You want monthly hosting as cheap as possible – you can always change suppliers if your needs change. In the first month Hostgator is as cheap as it gets, and it doesn’t require yearly contracts like most other suppliers.
I believe Hostgator works best with this method because you want to do everything as cheap as possible incase you decide to flip. If you are keeping the site you can choose a better, more expensive host but for small sites hostgator is as good as any other and cheaper.
Another notable plugin is the SEO plugin by Yoast which makes wordpress more customisable and SEO friendly.
Flippa Sellers use Social Media
Always try to grow your social media on as many platforms at possible. You expend time, but you can manage multiple social profiles easily and each follower is potentially your next huge client.
Join as many social platforms as suit your business (G+, Twitter; Facebook) are the minimum. YouTube can be gold dust as well. Make regular posts with hashtags, simple stuff but it all adds to the value of your site directly and indirectly
Social media is a proven marketing method. Increased sales lead to a higher asking price. Established social media is worth a huge amount on it’s own without a business attached, so don’t skimp on your social media. Make multiple daily posts if you can.
(Optional) People Per Hour
You can hire a professional web developer dirt cheap on people per hour. Sometimes you can get a website built with a premium wordpress theme for less than the cost of the theme itself. You can also use PPH to get content for blogs, or some cheap SEO (alternatively look round my site for DIY SEO).
If you are willing to make a small extra investment and don’t mind using methods frowned upon by the industry there is a very effective ‘black hat’ method. Buy traffic for the first few months. As explained earlier people look for three things on Flippa – A good domain, steady traffic and good revenue.
If you have Google Adsense on your well chosen domain you will tick all three boxes. Buy 10,000 visitors a month for three months – I wouldn’t buy any more. This is against the terms of service for Adsense so I won’t link to any traffic suppliers (although they are easy to find in Google). If you can demonstrate you are making just $50/month and lots of traffic you should be able to get over $1,000 for your website.
This section is only here so the Flippa Selling Guide is complete. People do use this method so if you’re a buyer then watch out. It is immoral because once the website has been bought your buyer will notice a large traffic drop.
It is also against most advertisers terms of service and could get you banned (unlikely). The real issue is getting a bad rating on Flippa which will make selling any other websites hard. The way round this is to be honest and include what you paid for your traffic in your costs.
The more websites that you build the better feel you will get for what works and what doesn’t. The Flippa Guide gives you the basics, you will learn new tricks from every niche you work in. The first is always the hardest.
Again, if you are planning on keeping a website for more than a month it’s worth learning about search engine optimisation. Take a look round the rest of this blog because it is filled with useful, free guides.
I have a complete beginner to advanced SEO guide, it’s a long read and you won’t want to fully optimise a website you’re only keeping for a month, but it has a good explanation on what SEO is, what we know and how it works.
If you start generating more than $1000/month in revenue it may be worth seeing how much you can get from selling your website. People pay lots of money if you can build them a passive income stream. When you have done it once, it gets easier to do it again.
Like any business – find what works for you and stick to it. Don’t try and redesign the wheel and make sure you choose a great domain name.
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