I’ve been working online in one form or another since 1998 and in that time I have built, sold and bought countless websites and domain names. From time to time, I will see a website that I like the look of and I’ll drop the owner an email to see if they are interested in selling it. Chances are, if you are reading this, that you have received such an email from me and want to know a bit more about me and how I operate before replying. Therefore, here are a few FAQs to guide you further…
Why are you interested in my website?
There could be a number of things which have attracted me to your site but, at this stage, chances are, I just like what you are doing and think that your website might be a good ‘fit’ in my portfolio. Sometimes I may see ways to improve a website which the owner might not have spotted and sometimes I think that the site is simply a great piece of Internet real estate that I would be proud to own. Either way, take it as a compliment – I like what you’ve done and I’m willing to put cold, hard cash on the table to prove it!
How much will you pay me?
Well, I’m going to need a bit more information before I can give you an exact figure but I am not here to try and rip anyone off. In general terms, if a website is already earning money, I would look to pay anywhere between 1.5x and 3x annual profits. These ratios are flexible and depend on a number of factors, for example: age of site, visitor numbers, source of traffic, type of income generated, competitiveness of the specific market, future opportunity, potential costs going forward, time required to run the website, trends of income/traffic over the previous months/years and so on.
What type of websites are you interested in?
I prefer ‘information-type’ sites – ie. websites which help an end user by providing them with information (either free or paid). I love membership sites (where a user is paying a recurring monthly fee) and I also like websites which sell digital products such as eBooks or simple software. Websites which fit into the ‘not interested’ category would be online shops selling physical products (too much like hard work) and gambling/porn sites. I am also not interested in any website less than two years old.
Traffic is just as important to me as income so a website with decent traffic but low or no income would be of interest. By ‘decent traffic’, I am thinking of at least five hundred unique visitors a day (which is actually quite a low number).
Can I stay on as a shareholder or partner if I sell to you?
I sometimes get asked this question when an individual is reluctant to sell their ‘baby’ but they are also bored stiff of running a website. They don’t want to see all their hard work going to someone else but equally, they are fed up of dealing with the day to day maintenance. I’m afraid the honest answer to this question is, ‘no’. It complicates things going forward and I would feel obliged to run changes etc past the previous owner, which I don’t really want to do. I will, however, promise to look after your website and, indeed, my investment in it!
Ok, I’m mildly interested, what next?
Simply reply to my email and let me know! I’ll be grateful for the reply and will ask a few basic details about your website traffic and income which will enable me to give you an indication of what your site might be worth to me.
Please note that I may email you back and say that, having seen the figures, I am no longer interested and this will most likely be due to one of two reasons. Firstly, I may have underestimated your traffic levels. For example, I may have assumed that you are getting a few hundred or thousands of visitors a day but actually, it is only twenty or thirty. This is unlikely as I have spent so long working in the Internet marketing arena that I can usually tell a busy site from a ghost town but I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. Secondly, it is possible that I have underestimated things the other way and whilst I thought you might be getting five thousand visitors a day, you are actually getting fifty thousand each day and I simply can’t afford your website or I don’t want to tie up as much capital as would be required to make you a fair offer. If this is the case and I am no longer interested, I will let you know quickly and I will explain the reason.
If you want me to sign a non-disclosure agreement at any point, please let me know. If I make you an offer and it is of interest, then we can talk further. If not, no problem, we can both go our separate ways with no hard feelings.
Thank you for your time!