If you own an online business but have lost interest don’t waste the opportunity by letting it fall into disrepair. With a little effort, you can sell your website and turn a significant profit. Don’t let your inexperience deter you. The website trading market is full of first-time buyers and sellers. Getting started selling a website is easy if you’ve done your research.
But before you can put your site on the market you have to optimize it. This is a simple process of figuring out what buyers look for in a website and taking steps to highlight those factors in your business. When you’re selling your website you have to take into account a few things that you normally wouldn’t. This means going through every level and streamlining all your processes.
No one knows better than you how you should alter your business model to maximize its value. However, if you can’t figure out where to begin here are a few steps you can take to get started.
1. Test advertising networks
Despite all the time and effort site owners put into running their businesses very few make an effort to collect data. If you aren’t conversion testing your income sources you’re missing out on the opportunity to increase profits. A common misconception is that your site’s ad income depends solely on your traffic. But, this isn’t necessarily true.
Changing your advertising network is another way to increase your revenue. There are a lot of options when it comes to ad networks, AdSense, Ezoic, or Mediavine just to name a few. And while they are all similar one network might benefit your platform more than the others depending on your audience and content. There’s no way of knowing which will increase your profits or by how much other than by testing it.
When you’re looking to sell your website test out multiple ad networks to see which one works best. You can also try running multiple networks if your first service doesn’t have an exclusive contract.
2. Sell direct ads
While optimizing your ad strategy through a network is a good first step you should maximize your website’s earning potential with direct ads. A good tip is to create a separate “advertise” page on the site. That tells companies you’re interested in selling direct ads and makes it easier for them to see what you have to offer.
Alternatively, you can use the data from your AdSense to target companies that have shown an interest in your website. These businesses are already profiting from their strategic ad placement on your site so it’ll be easier for you to make a direct deal. As opposed to a completely new company that is unaware of your website or viewership and will need to be convinced it’s worth their while.
3. Try affiliate marketing options
If you’re looking to sell your website chances are you already have affiliate marketing options set up. Improving your affiliate links is one of the best ways to make your site sell for more money. Go through your most popular articles and experiment with link placement. Generally, placing them earlier in the article generates a better response. Use multiple affiliate links spaced out throughout the post and make sure they target your audience.
How can you do this? After you collect data for customers’ responses you can use it to create segmentation lists. So your customers only get the information and product links they’re interested in. A/B testing can help you isolate the type of links your customers respond to the best.
Other options to maximize revenue using affiliate links include CTA buttons, banners or pop ups. Remember, the more people that click on your links the more sales you’re likely to make. But make sure you don’t overload your site with ads.
4. Lead capture methods
When you’re categorizing your assets in a sale, don’t forget about your site’s lead capture methods. The diversity and quality of these resources are every bit as important as your traffic and products. Say, for example, that your website has an active, comprehensive email list. Not only does that list add to the price of your site, but it also has independent value.
Often buyers who make a living website trading like to collect websites in the same niche. That means your site’s ability to draw in useful traffic and convert it into sales is transferable to their other properties and, therefore, is of immense value to them.
Additionally, the more avenues of lead generation your site has the more stable its ability to generate revenue. This is a huge plus for buyers who want to know their investment will pay off. So if you have a number of social media accounts with a following that buys your products these are assets worth a lot of money. Often brands will attempt to create online communities for just this purpose.
Here it is important to remember that the number of followers or viewers are not valuable in themselves, but rather the percentage that converts into active buyers. Platforms like Facebook have data management options that allow website owners to see these percentages in real time. And in the case of a sale you should have this data ready to show potential buyers as proof of why you’ve priced your site as high as you have.
5. Conversion testing for ad placement
While many site owners will make an effort to place ads on their page or even try out multiple advertising networks, few realize the impact details can have on the end result. Often small changes like moving an ad from the left side of the page to the right can double your click through rate (CTR). Similarly, ads that are integrated with your website’s content and look natural get a better response than ones that seem out of place.
But, it isn’t enough to place an ad. You also have to take steps to ensure your viewers click on it. One way to increase your CTR is to move your ad either above the fold or next to your CTA. When the ad is next to your call to action (CTA) viewers are more likely to see it and there’s a greater chance they’ll click on it. Make sure the two are easily distinguishable.
Some sites purposefully make them similar to trick users into clicking the ad. But that lowers your website’s customer experience and ratings. The overall decrease in return viewers will negate any temporary increase in CTR. So keep making changes and conversion testing them to find the best placements. Ezoic has built in features that help creators do this while certain WordPress plugins will do the same for AdSense.
6. Increase revenue streams
The best way to make your site sell for more money is to increase your revenue streams. When you’re trying to sell your website you need to understand what buyers look for in a site. If your site has multiple products or income sources buyers will automatically be willing to spend more money on it.
Having products that you can sell online like an ebook, instructional series or audiobook is the most lucrative method to increase value at little cost. Once you put them up these resources will continue to generate passive income for your site for years to come. In fact, their value will only increase as your site grows. This growth potential is extremely attractive for a potential buyer.
7. Personalize your calls to action
Quality branding can elevate a company far above its competitors. If you can create a community or offer a personal touch to your customers they’ll develop an emotional attachment to your brand. That kind of brand loyalty brings repeat customers which is an attractive asset for potential buyers. And one place you can develop this connection is in your CTAs.
Your call to action is where you’re inviting viewers to interact with your company and let you into their lives. Whether you want them to join your mailing list or online forum you’ll have a better chance if your phrasing is inviting and human. So stop using robotic messages like ‘Click Here’ or ‘Receive emails’ and instead shift to phrases like ‘I want this’ or ‘become a part of the family.’ Comprehensive A/B testing will help you narrow down your options.
How long does this take?
Overall, optimizing your site will take anywhere between two to six months depending on how you go about it, what state your website was in when you started and the speed at which your customers respond favorably. Regardless of the specifics you should start early and take your time maximizing your site’s potential before you put it up. The better your internal processes, the more money you can sell it for.
What not to do
It’s tempting to speed through the optimization process. Afterall who wants to go through the hassle of putting in time and energy on a site they’re just going to sell. But doing so is actually in your best interest. Many sellers try to take the easy route instead. They’ll bolster their analytics and data with either fake or temporary tactics, but this rarely works because a smart buyer will want to know how that data came to be.
A buyer who knows what they’re doing will want not just your current traffic records but also your Google Analytics data over the past six to twelve months. Now, say your web traffic report shows a massive jump within the past two months. Your potential buyer will want to know how this happened. If your answer is that you bought expensive ad space, they will take note of that expense under running costs. When you’re getting started selling a website there are steps you take to maximize the value of your site.
However, last-minute bumps that increase your running costs are not the way to do it. Many first-time sellers think this will work because they assume that a buyer will base their decision solely off of traffic but that simply isn’t the case. Often an approach like this can actually harm you because now you have high traffic records but your sales reports don’t match. That’s why you need to put in the work to maximize your sales processes, links and ads.
Another mistake sellers make is wasting time trying to build hype on their website trading platform. Subjective data won’t help you make a sale or convince buyers that your site is worth its high price tag. Neither will a flashy design or its relative hype in the niche. If you want to sell your website for a lot of money you need to present objective metrics to back your case. Remember you’re marketing your site to other professionals and they know every trick in the book. Instead of loading your page with sales copy focus on handing out actual information. It will generate a better response.
If you want to increase your site’s value you need to invest time and money on profit optimization strategies. That can mean multiple things, affiliate marketing, advertising, product improvement, new lead capture methods, design changes, or an alternate monetization strategy from the one you’re currently using.
There is no one right answer and a third party can’t tell you what will work for your site. It’s a process of trial and error and elimination. How much benefit you get out of a particular strategy depends on your niche, audience, content and products. You also don’t need to completely remake your site. Often small changes like rewording your call to action or moving your ad from one part of the screen to another can massively impact your profit margins.
Before you put your site on the market spend a few months optimizing it. Try and conversion test new things. Take note of what your audience likes and what they don’t. Having an optimized website is in your best interests as the seller because it means your site will sell for more money.