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Risks of Buying and Owning a Site (…and Why You May Want to Sell)

Owning a website is a risky business. Why? Because the market can shift at any moment. No matter your niche, the internet is full of a hundred other sites doing what you’re doing. You’re constantly being pulled in two directions.

On the one hand, you have to build your brand and pull in new clients, but on the other, ensuring customer satisfaction has to be your number one priority. That means maintaining content quality, product originality, marketing strategy, and online presence. It’s a continual process of evolution and improvement.

And if you fail to meet expectations at any point, that can mean the demise of your business. Creatives often start their journey full of excitement but quickly become disillusioned at the low payoff after putting in extraordinary work.

In such a high-risk environment, many choose to build their sites to a certain height and sell it for a profit. Because once you plateau, staying there is extremely difficult. Customers are fickle, and unless you can create extreme brand loyalty, they will leave you for better alternatives.

If this is an option you haven’t considered before, you start looking into why your website may be worth money. How you go about selling your site depends on what assets you have to offer. Sellers who enter the website trading market unaware of what they have to offer and what buyers look for in a website usually leave disappointed.

As site owners, it isn’t easy to sell a business you’ve spent months, if not years, building from the group up. But sometimes it is simply unavoidable. As savvy business owners, you need to know when to sell your site. Here are a few factors you should take into account.

1.  You’ve plateaued

Your site has reached its plateau when you aren’t gaining any new visitors. There are two main stages of growing your website. The first is increasing your web traffic, and the second is converting those potential leads into actual sales. If the strategies you’re using aren’t impacting either of these stages, you’ve got a problem.

As a website owner, the best way to monitor your site’s growth is through tools like Google Analytics. If your growth trends are stagnant, that’s a bad sign. When you’re getting started selling a website, potential buyers will ask you for this data. And if your traffic records or sales reports are stagnant, they will see it as a red flag.

A mistake many sellers make is thinking that maintaining their site is enough to warrant a high price. But the truth is quite different. When it comes to what buyers look for in a website, one of the first factors is the growth potential. A smart buyer will not just consider how well your site is doing now but also how it’s likely to grow in the future.

To this end, they will ask you to show them your growth trends for at least the year prior to the point of sale. The longer your site’s growth is stagnant, the more it loses sales value. If you have a profitable site that you cannot grow, you must sell it as soon as possible to make the most amount of money. Otherwise, every day wasted is decreasing that price tag.

A common mistake site owners make

One of the common reasons site owners put off selling their website is because they believe they can still turn things around. And while this is an optimistic approach, it isn’t an unreasonable one. As long as it is based on data and evidence, the final decision is yours to make.

That means critically analyzing your site and coming up with a major structural change or strategy that will boost your growth trends in the future. But if you do not have a workable plan and your decision is based entirely on your emotional attachment to your site, you should sell immediately.

2.  Losing interest

The second reason you should sell your website is when you’re losing interest in your business or niche. Running an online business is hard work, with long hours and extreme dedication. If you aren’t motivated to put in the same level of effort you have in the past, your website will suffer.

And you may think that this doesn’t apply to you, but running a successful site isn’t just about completing the everyday tasks. It means rethinking your strategy continually, taking into account customer responses, and A/B testing on every level. From ad placement to content quality, gathering data and making adjustments is critical to the sales growth process. Creating a profitable website means going above and beyond every day, and if you aren’t willing to do that anymore, it’s time to let go.

Knowing when to sell your site is the key to turning a profit. If you wait too long, your rating and product quality will decrease as customers notice the ripple effect from your lack of interest. Your growth trends will stagnate for a while and then turn downwards.

Buyers are not oblivious to the reasons why site owners sell their sites. Most buyers will ask you when you’re selling your site when you join a website trading platform. And they will understand if you explain that the stagnating trends are because you’ve lost interest. That means you can still price your site higher as opposed to if the level trends were because of failing strategies or competition in the market. However, if you wait too long, those trends will take a downward turn, severely damaging your site’s value.

What happens when you don’t sell your site

When you hold on too long, you risk permanently damaging your investment. Your website is an asset, and selling it is the final value it holds. Simply letting it fade into disrepair is a waste of all the years of effort you put into the business. A website isn’t a hobby you can get back to in a few months. It’s an investment that is depreciating every day you aren’t working on it.

Your best bet is to capitalize on this opportunity and sell it for the maximum amount. You can always use the money to start a new venture in a few months. Another mistake beginner sellers make is choosing a value arbitrarily or based on emotional investment.

Once you find out what buyers look for in a website, you’ll be better placed to value it accurately. And you’ll have a better chance of getting the listed price. Generally, buyers will evaluate a site themselves before they contact a seller and ask for records like sales reports and traffic data. If they think you’ve overpriced it that will put most buyers off. Timing is everything when it comes to making a great sale.

3.  Competition in the market

Competition in the market can wreck your site’s value. With other factors, the decision to sell your site is still a subjective one that you have to make based on whether you think you can turn things around. But this is one point where there are no two ways. If your site is highly profitable today, but a competitor has emerged in the market, you need to take steps immediately.

Start by solidifying your position and ensuring customer satisfaction. At this stage, keeping a close eye on your data is critical. If you can establish yourself as the bigger, more popular brand, then you’re good to go. While it will take more work to maintain that position in the future, you have proven that your site has earned its place in the market.

However, if you are struggling just to coast by or if a new competitor has a better product or brand identity, you’re in a world of trouble. And if you see any loss in traffic or sales that means you’re losing customers to a competitor you are unable to compete with. Eventually, this will pick apart your company. If you don’t have strategies to combat this, you need to sell your site before it loses value.

When should you sell your site

Two things will happen when your website fails to maintain its position. First, it will move from the green to the yellow zone as your growth trends begin to stagnate. If you want to save your investment, it is imperative that you find a buyer while your company is in this zone. While buyers are hesitant to purchase a site with strong competition in the market, you may find one who thinks they can implement better strategies to strengthen your business model.

However, if you fail to sell your site at this point, it will inevitably fall into the red zone. Your profits will shrink day by day, and this will show in your data. No buyer wants to purchase a website with a downward growth trend. At this stage, you should still try to sell your site by pricing it lower. Your only hope is to come across a greedy buyer who is tempted by the low price tag. Knowing when to sell your site is the key to turning a profit. Wait too long, and you risk losing your window of opportunity.

4.  Changing landscape

When you start a website, you put a lot of thought into what you’re going to sell, how you’re going to market it, and who your target audience is. But you can’t prepare for everything. And eventually, there comes the point when you have to accept the changing landscape. Whatever you were offering your customers is no longer needed or profitable. Perhaps a better alternative has emerged on the market, or they’ve simply moved on.

Although evergreen niches aren’t immune, this is a problem you often see in trends based sites. If you have a website that depends highly on a fickle customer base’s wants, knowing when your clients are losing interest is essential if you want a return on your interests. It begs the question of why anyone would even start a trend based site instead of picking a more reliable evergreen niche.

The answer is simple. With the increased risk factor comes the most substantial possibility of a payoff. Items like fidget spinners gain popularity fast and make big profits in a small amount of time. And you can triple those profits by selling your site while it is still near its peak.

When to sell your site

Keep in mind that no buyers will want a trend based site once the trend has ended. The trick is to keep your ear to the ground and get out as soon as the trend starts losing momentum. That way, you’ll still find a buyer who wants to profit off of the trend as long as it lasts, and you’ll carefully avoid the attached risk.

But site owners often get greedy. After all, who wants to sell a website that’s making huge profits? Often you see trend-based site sellers who held on too long and are unable to find a buyer. If you own a site like this, you have to think about your long term goals. While you may not want to sell a site that’s still making a lot of money, remember that it will free fall downwards once it moves past its peak. Getting out is not only the smarter choice but also the business savvy one.

The key to selling your website

Overall, there are multiple reasons why you should sell your site. Owning a website is a risky business, but some websites are at more risk than others. While deciding whether to sell your website is ultimately yours, you should keep a close eye on your metrics to guide you. Listen to your customers and the market and try to make data-centric decisions. Your attachment to your website is valid and understandable, but it may also be standing in the way of potential profits. You don’t want your site to lose value which is why selling it in a timely manner is in your best interests.

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