When I first started buying and selling websites, I only knew about Flippa. But, in the last few years, there are new options for both buying and selling websites for passive income! Where can you buy and sell websites in 2021? Well, we already made a list of marketplaces in our other article, but in this one, we are going to cover specifically where you can buy websites.
Just because of the size of the topic, we are going to cover the opposite (where can I sell websites) in a separate article.
Where can I buy websites?
As I already mentioned, we already talked about this topic in our earlier articles. That list is constantly being updated as we are in touch some of the providers. There’s a comprehensive list of marketplaces where you can both buy and sell websites. You can see we listed 9 different options, which include almost 20 marketplaces, brokers and individual sellers.
So in this article, we will just cover broadly, where you can buy websites that make revenue. These websites make money online through affiliate marketing, ad networks, and by selling their own products, or software. As you may or may not know, there are many monetization options.
Here’s how you can buy a website for passive income:
- Directly from the owner
- From a brokerage
- From a marketplace with an auction
- From a broker
1. Buy a website directly from the owner
If you buy a website directly from the owner, you don’t have to pay a broker fee. But, that’s pretty much where the pros end. Cons on the other hand are several, unless the seller is reputable.
You have to do your own due diligence and have a certain level of experience to go down this route. For example, you may have to explain to the seller what is Escrow, and in some cases take a chance on paying directly to the seller.
You may not react the same if the deal is worth $1,000 or $1,000,000 but the problems are the same. There are people that own websites worth throughout that range, that haven’t heard of an Escrow, or sold their business or website in the past.
This makes communication and website evaluation very difficult.
If they are not selling, will you be able to buy?
Sometimes it could be a good idea to go through a website valuation tool together with the seller in case his valuation is… how should I put this delicately? Ridiculous? Outrageous? Either way, when you are doing outreach to someone who is not selling a website actively, sometimes outrageous offers are necessary to get the deal done.
Another downside is that you will have to source your own deal flow. This means building tools that will find potential websites and then reaching out to prospects with offers. It’s a lot of work, so you have te be sure it is time well spent.
Am I doing a broker’s job then?
Why would you do all this? Well, in some cases you may find a gold nugget. A website that’s “off the market”, and you convince the owner to sell. Maybe even below market price. Ah, we can all dream sometimes.
Usually, website brokers scan the entire web, and then bring them on a marketplace or offer the websites to their list of contacts directly.
2. Buy a website from a brokerage
Most of the big deals happen in the marketplaces that really are brokerages. The problem there is their deal flow. For example, if your budget is $20,000, which in most countries, and with most website investors is a sizeable amount of money, you are not going to find that many opportunities to buy websites.
If you look at the following brokerages to buy websites, you can see that you won’t find a single deal for that budget;
- FE International (33 websites for sale, cheapest website you can buy is listed at $60,000)
- Empire Flippers (115 websites for sale, smallest website for sale is listed at $20,337)
- Latona’s (52 websites for sale, lowest $20,250)
Date of check 15th March 2021.
Not to mention, you can’t really pick a niche, because there’s not that many, to begin with. These brokerages focus on big deals and in these places they go up to 20-25 million dollars!
If you decide to buy a website from a reputable brokerage such as this, you will most probably be in touch with a broker, and the owner may not be available for a meeting.
Difference between a brokerage and marketplace
Before we move on to the next option, let’s quickly explain the difference between a brokerage (that some call marketplace) and a marketplace. In a brokerage such as Latona’s, Empire Flippers and FE international, as mentioned above, you are communicating, and it feels like you are buying from a broker. You also pay a broker fee. Sometimes you don’t even meet the owner of the website you are buying.
In a marketplace, you have other individuals selling their website. When you ask a buying question, the owner will respond. In a marketplace like Flippa, you may not pay a broker fee, but you will pay a marketplace fee. So let’s see how that works.
3. Buy a website in a marketplace with an auction
In marketplaces like Flippa, you can find hundreds of websites for sale. Flippa is working kind of like Ebay, and there are multiple auctions active around the clock.
Sellers love auctions sites because it promises more eyeballs, and better offers. In return, this means more website for sale. Which is why buyers are attracted here.
With auction sites, you also know that the seller is motivated to sell. If you are using the first avenue I mentioned, it will be hard to find a motivated seller. Here, everybody is on the clock, and there’s a great chance a deal might happen. Even below market value.
Bid and wait, or bid and buy
In an auction sites, you have the ability to give your best bid and wait to bid again until the auction ends. Or you can make an offer he can’t refuse.
Ok, not that kind of an offer. When the seller lists a website, they have the ability to set several limits.
- The least amount of money the website will sell for. This is also referred to as a reserve price.
- The least amount of money that will get you the website immediately. This is also referred to as a “Buy it now” price.
Speaking of Flippa specifically, there are hundreds of active deals both auctions and inactive listings (websites just waiting to be sold for best offers). Unlike marketplaces mentioned earlier, here you can find websites for as little as $500 USD.
4. Buy from a broker (or a flipper)
And lastly, we come to the last option on this list where to buy a website. Well, you can buy a website for passive income from a broker. In some cases, like I already mentioned earlier when writing about big deals on marketplaces, a broker will be your major point of contact when buying from a marketplaces such as Empire Flippers, or FE International.
But this is not the same as buying directly from an independent broker. There are internet entrepreneurs, website investors, website flippers, independent brokers out there who buy and sell websites for a living. They have many names, and essentially, they all mean the same. An individual, or a small company, bought or built a website, and now they are selling it directly to the buyer.
In some cases, these independent website brokers grow over time, and then they evolve into a full-blown marketplace. Besides selling their own websites, these website acquisition managers, website flippers, start offering websites from other internet entrepreneurs! Sometimes, they pre-vet the website, and they check the quality of the assets being sold. This is like an added value compared to some low-quality marketplaces. These marketplaces are not really similar to the high-quality marketplaces I’ve mentioned here in this article.
Here are a few examples where renowned website brokers, experts are selling their own websites, and other people’s websites.
- Motion Invest by Spencer Haws, Jon Gillham and Kelley Van Boxmeer
- Investors Club by Andrej Ilisin and Jason Burnworth
- DomainMagnate by Michael Bereslavsky
- Webmaster.ninja by Goran Duskic (that would be me, the author of this article. )
These industry experts have good outreach and stand behind the websites they offer. They don’t offer as many websites as major marketplaces, but ranges are from $1000 to seven figures.
I am selling websites I own here on webmaster.ninja, while other website investors I mentioned above, are also brokering websites. In some cases, these experts offer starter sites as well! I will cover the starter sites below. So before we dive into buying starter sites, I would like to briefly mention an option where you can find and talk with other website brokers, website investors, however, you want to call them.
Facebook groups where you can buy websites for passive income
- Niche Pursuits Facebook group (23,700 members)
- Niche Affiliate Empires (7,700 members)
- Rhodium Community for Online Entrepreneurs (717 members)
- Flipping websites, by Investors Club (12,500 members)
These Facebook groups are mostly private but are not very difficult to get into. Some require a chat with the administrator before they approve you. Also worth noting, in some of the groups, it is not allowed to advertise, or openly list websites for sale, but you are able to learn a lot and meet website investors that buy and sell websites.
Buying a turnkey website for passive income
One avenue you could take with these industry experts is buying a starter site. Spencer Haws, who we interviewed earlier, sometimes partners with other website investors to create such offerings. Brandbuilders.io is a good one, and what they are doing is selling premade, turnkey websites. These websites are built to be monetized through Amazon Associates program.
Andrej Ilisin, apart from running Investors Club, runs Alpha investors, and there you can buy turnkey affiliate websites as well.
Different options for starter sites
When buying a website, at some point in your buying process, you are going to see starter websites. These are either pre-made, turnkey websites that are built specifically for monetization through some of the programs, such as AdSense, Amazon Associates, other Affiliate marketing programs, maybe Clickbank, and others.
The starter websites I sell are priced at $1000 and are usually old websites (minimum 2/3 years), with some backlinks pointing to them. They are also making little money (up to $5 dollars per month). Usually, when a service provider is selling a starter site it doesn’t have any backlinks, it is brand new, and without any revenue.
Starter sites are not exactly passive income
When you buy a turnkey website, you still have your work cut out for you. It’s like starting a brand new project. Although, you are on the right path, and there’s a good opportunity, you have to do the work.
So, when you buy a website for $3000, and it is already making $100 per month, you will get a payment in a month. About $100. But, when you buy a starter website for $1500, after the first month, you will probably get close to $1 in the bank account.
Are turnkey affiliate websites a good option for me?
A turnkey affiliate website may be a good option for your first website purchase. You limit the possibility of a scam if you are buying from a reputable seller. These websites won’t go on to make you a million dollars online, but you will get that first check. Sometimes, that first check is all the difference in the World!
Another great option for a turnkey affiliate website, is to actually buy a website that is already making money! But there’s definitely value in someone else outlining the keywords you should target, and writing the articles in advance.
I wasn’t sure if I should put buying a turnkey website in this article because there are companies and individuals offering only turnkey websites. HumanProofDesign is one of them. On their website you can see they built over 1200 websites.
If you are interested in buying a website like this they are called all sorts of names. Here’s how to look for them:
- Turnkey website
- Starter site
- Pre-made niche sites
- Done-for-you revenue-generating website
- PLR websites
Some are offering PLR websites (PLR stands for Private Label Rights). When you see this, you should enquire, as with other turnkey websites, which content is being used to build the website. You want to be sure that you have the rights to use the content on your website, and that this is as good content as you can get for your money.
Buying into a certain niche
Sometimes you really want to get into a hot niche, or a niche you are really passionate about, but nobody is selling websites in that niche. In that case, you can either build everything from scratch or buy a turnkey website.
Buying these types of websites may be a good start, and then when you reach a certain level of revenue, you can flip them or grow them further.
What do I need to know when I am buying a website?
I am often asked this question, and I make the mistake of turning into a philosopher.
With that being said, knowing yourself is the first step in buying a website. It depends if you are a first time buyer, or not. Your decision making process will be different if you have $1,000 for investing or $1,000,000 for investing. Depending on your skillset, you may have a different path to success compared to technically advanced investors buying websites for passive income.
I’ll try to summarize the most important factors that impact the decision-making process when you are buying a website for passive income. Simplified, these fall into 3 major categories. Time, money, ability.
- Your budget (money)
- Your skillset (ability)
- Market conditions and trends (time)
- How much work you plan to dedicate (ability)
- Your business connections (ability)
- Time sensitivity (time)
I’ll write a more detailed article on “how to buy a website”, if you forgot, here I am covering “where can I buy websites for passive income”.
Are websites really passive income?
Before we continue, I’d like to make a quick side note. I don’t like writing or saying “websites for passive income” because there is a lot of work going on. Websites will not give great returns unless you work. But then again, do real estate or stocks give great returns if you pay no attention to them and you don’t do any work?
Also, websites are more passive in nature compared to some other businesses and jobs, and besides people usually look for this on the Internet with a “passive income” keyword attached to them, so I simply joined the bandwagon. Now that’s out of the way, and I reiterated my stance of “websites for passive income” includes serious work, let’s proceed.
Can I buy websites in one place, and then sell websites in another place?
You sure can! If you have a good source where you can buy websites on the low, and then resell them in a different place for a profit, that’s great. However, there’s no marketplace or location where you can always find websites for sale, below market value.
There is a way to sell them, and ask for above market value. We will cover that in a separate article “where to sell websites”, and “how to sell websites”.
Usually, it’s a good place to start by buying a website directly from the owner. If nothing else, you don’t pay broker fees, and in some cases, not even Escrow fees. It takes a lot of trust, and both buyer and seller need to be reputable, and the amount needs to be below 5 figures.
Everything above is pushing it, and you need to do it properly. But doing it the “old fashioned way” with a contract and a wire transfer, has definitely worked for me in the past.
Opportunities are everywhere
Other than that, opportunities are everywhere. The only problem is, you need to know what you are going to do after you buy the website. How do you plan to grow your website? Do you plan to sell the website? Do you have any particular partnerships in mind?
There are many things to consider, and we will cover them in our article “how to buy a website for passive income”. In short, smart and capable website investors can turn a website around and 10X their investment, no matter where they buy it.
Where can I buy websites for the lowest price?
This question is a bit two-sided. One could mean, where can I make the most profit. And the other could mean, where are “smallest” websites being sold. Meaning, where can you buy websites for a modest budget, such as $1000.
The first time I bought a website was for $2200, and I was scammed. A good 2-3 years had to go by, until I would “forget” my first episode, and try again. The reason I am telling you this is because the purchase I did then was $500.
Yes, I bought a website for only $500. Then after a while I sold that website for almost $1500, and since I purchased that website, it made $800 in profit. It’s not much, but those $500 (ROI $2300) might have been the smartest investment I ever made. Why? Because I started to buy websites, even though I was scammed on my first purchase.
If I buy a website, do I need to sell it?
You’ve read a few times in this post about buying and selling websites. Some of you may be thinking, why would someone sell a good website in the first place? If I buy, do I need to sell?
That’s a great question we will cover in a separate article on selling a website. But in case you are considering this question as a buyer, you don’t really need to know why someone is selling the website. What you need to do is proper due diligence, and if you like what you see, then start buying and improving on what’s already built.
Where do you buy websites? Wherever you find the best deal that fits your portfolio! Sometimes it will be in a marketplace, sometimes you will win an auction, and in other places.
If you see a website you can turn around and sell, take action! Buy that website, once you do that, it’s going to be one of those “the rest is history” moments.
I’ve been an online entrepreneur for more than a decade. Back in 2011, I sold my first small business. 500 Startups alumni. I love to read and write in every shape or form. Founder of WhoAPI and webmaster.ninja and website investor.