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eBay: How To Flip a Website for Profit

September 17th, 2007 posted by · 9 Comments

eBayThere’s a lot of money to be made by flipping houses lately, but how about websites?  I’ve been buying and selling websites on eBay for three years now and it keeps getting better.  The basic premise is to buy a semi-established website, fix it up a little bit, get some traffic going to it to boost its Google rating and then sell it.

Do a simple search for “website business” on eBay.  You’ll probably get a few dozen pages of results – now to narrow it down.
I only buy a site that I know I can make a profit from a few weeks later when I decide to flip it.  Do some research to see what the most popular niches are right now and look for a site based on that genre.  You also don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a site either.  I pay between $25.00-$50.00.  Some sites come with already established hosting accounts, or an offer to have the site hosted free for one year.  If the site doesn’t come with hosting, read my post on choosing a web host.

Once you buy the site, start marketing it as fast as you can.  Chances are that even though the site was advertised as “established”, a quick domain lookup will show the site was registered a few days prior to the auction being set up.  Some quick, but simple ways to get fast traffic to a domain to boost its ranking:  SEO, link exchanges, forum signatures, e-mail, word of mouth, blog comments, share a link on Facebook, post a MySpace bulletin etc.

A big player in the turnkey business is WebKnix.  Their average auction closes at around $3,000… the highest price I’ve seen a turnkey business go for.  However, their sites are not the “run of the mill” businesses you normally see.  They create their sites from scratch and you will notice they are 100% authentic.  A few months ago I made a big investment in a secret restaurant recipe site WebKnix was selling.  I paid $2,400 for it and spent around 4 months marketing it and building up traffic to it.  After it was #9 on Google for “Restaurant Recipes”, I turned it back on to eBay and showed my traffic stats as an added incentive to how big this website truly is.  I purchased a Featured Plus listing for 7 days and the bids started coming in.  The final value for the site was $8,600 – a profit of $6,200 in just 4 months.  Not bad for a little bonus cash!  I don’t recommend doing this right from the beginning until you get the feel for how well you can market a site on eBay.

You can find cheaper sites to sell by browsing eBay and buying from a smaller seller.  Search “website business” and choose a site to buy that is not duplicated by any other eBayer.  Purchase the site for around $25.00 or so… even less if no one else bids.  Add in your own colors, designs, content etc.  Even apply for Google AdSense and work that into the layout of the site.  If bidders see that not only can they make money from the product the site sells, but also AdSense, it will extremely increase your bids.
Most sellers don’t shell out the extra $20.00 for a Featured Plus listing, but you’re smarter than that.  To make sure you don’t lose money if no one bids (which is unlikely), start your auction off at $14.00, which is low enough to encourage bidding and safe enough if you only receive one bid.  In the worst case scenario, you’ve only lost $6.00, plus the price of the domain name, which you could resell without any problem.

I purchased a site last month on pet grooming for $35.  I made some small fixes and generated about 500 hits a day to the site for a few weeks, then sold it recently for $220.  I made myself $185 right there (minus the eBay listing fee).

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9 Comments so far
  1. Susan MyAvatars 0.2

    This method sounds very promising! Thanks.

  2. YC MyAvatars 0.2

    This is quite interesting, Chris. I might actually try this in the near future.

  3. Lori MyAvatars 0.2

    Very interesting infomation. I’ll have to look into that further.

  4. sreekanth MyAvatars 0.2

    :?: sounds interesting would like to fallow u help me

  5. Justin MyAvatars 0.2

    :twisted: Nice! I have done this in the past and have made decent money off of it. I think with better skills in marketing and website building it should even be better now.

  6. Missy MyAvatars 0.2

    I have a blog i started back in April, that is now a PR4, and receivces steady weekly traffic, and has about 40 subs.

    I’m wondering if i sould sell it, or make money off it, by doing sponsored reviews. Hmmm?

    Decisions. decisions. lol. I wonder what it is worth? and how much i could get for it, if i were to market it and sell it.

    Chris: i’m gonna send you an email.

  7. Sasha Jade MyAvatars 0.2

    Are you willing to share any of your secrets on how you got so much traffic or got on the first page of google in 4 months so we can all use this information to flip sites?

  8. Chris Jacobson MyAvatars 0.2

    Sasha: Mostly linking to the flipped sites from my other high traffic sites to gain PR. As well as link exchanges, AdWords and good SEO techniques.

  9. The Art of Flipping Websites Lives On MyAvatars 0.2

    […] Not sure what RSS is? Find out. Thanks for visiting!I’ve written before about how I used to flip websites on eBay for a few hundred dollars profit. Since then, I’ve evolved and put my time towards other […]