Flipping Websites

Here's a revenue stream option for writers that I don't think we've really talked about much - flipping websites or blogs.

Yesterday I sold two of my websites that I didn't feel like managing / updating anymore - AboutGreenLiving.com and FreePressReleaseWriting.com. I liked the domains. I liked the potential each had. But I already have my "big three" sites that take most of my time, and more than a handful of others that I'm a bit more hesitant to part with.

How I Did It

I started auctions for both of those sites at the DigitalPoint forums yesterday morning, with an end time of Monday evening. I'd received and accepted private bids / offers by early evening for both, received payment, and transferred everything to the buyers - painless process. I didn't sell them for a huge amount - the sites weren't really earning much if anything, and they'd just been sitting around for a while. One went for $350 and the other for $400. Not bad for a day of no "real" work. It reminded me that the domains and dead sites I've accumulated are essentially virtual assets.

The Value of Your Sites

As mentioned, the sites didn't have much in the way of traffic or income. The selling prices were based more on the content on those sites - in one case unique, and in the other mostly not unique, but all written by an expert in the niche (and in a high-paying niche at that). So I started thinking, why not do this with a few more domains I have sitting around?

I'm trying to unload things I'm not using, so I can be more productive and focus on my bigger sites. I've said I'd do this in the past - even sold a few sites (my first taste of site flipping was when I sold a business finance blog for a few hundred dollars I believe sometime last year). I think it's about time I really cleaned house before things pick up next month.

So I've decided that once I finish my current e-book, I'm going to go through some domains I want to get rid of, write a few unique articles for each, and sell the sites. They won't bring in as much as the others, because they weren't existing sites. They won't bring in nearly what I'd make for selling the articles directly to a client. But they will fetch more than I'd make just selling the domains (some of which are going to be hard for me to part with).

How to Flip a Site: Quick Flip or Building Value?

You can flip websites too. Have you ever considered it? You just register a domain, set up a blog on your hosting account (I use WordPress), and then upload a theme and write some content.

Ideally, you'll want to choose a niche with high-paying keywords (use the Adwords Sandbox to help you find those), and you'll know how to optimize the content well for search engines. The more value you can add in the way of optimizing it, the more you'll likely be able to get for it.

Or, you can keep the site and monetize it for a few months. This way, you'll hopefully get Pagerank for the domain, and some verifiable income coming in for the blog. You'll also have time to build some traffic and rankings in the SERPs. All of those things will increase the value before selling.

I have at least four domains where I'll try to do a quick flip. I have two that I'll be setting up and trying to sell a little bit later. If the quick flips don't work, I can always hold onto them for a few months and sell them later as well.

Worthwhile Revenue Stream for Writers?

Obviously this revenue stream option isn't for everyone. Some writers just want to write and not be bothered with anything else. But if you're used to writing for the Web, and you've run a blog before, this can be another option, especially if you have some slow time. The investment is minimal - domain name and hosting if you don't already have them, and you can earn it back (and then some) pretty quickly. Depending on how much you're currently earning on a per-article basis, you may even be able to fetch more this way than selling your articles alone - and considering you can set up a WordPress blog in your hosting account in minutes these days with most hosts, it really doesn't have to take much extra time if you go the quick flip route.

I'm curious to know if you've tried flipping websites. Was it intentional, or were you just selling an old site you couldn't manage anymore? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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5 thoughts on “Flipping Websites”

  1. Hi Jennifer

    Thanks for writing this post. Really.

    The idea of flipping sites really does suit my nature as I have so many ideas and I often don’t see them through. So starting them off, then letting them go for someone else to nurture it suits me to the ground.

    I have one blog that I’d like to sell in the near future, but my problem is that I don’t know how to transfer ownership. I’m with Bluehost. I heard that it’s much easier to transfer a site on GoDaddy. How easy did you find doing the whole transfer thing?

    take care…

  2. Hi Jennifer

    Thanks for your quick response.

    I’m confused. When you transfer the files over to the new owner, how do they then own the domain name?

  3. There are several different ways of doing it. Some people transfer the entire hosting account. They may set up a hosting account for it, but more often what I’ve seen is that they set up a reseller account, set up the sites they want to flip as customer accounts, and then transfer the hosting either for free or while charging to host the site for the new buyer.

    I don’t include hosting when I flip a website or blog. I set them up on an account with some of my other sites, so all I do is backup the database and any site files, which I then transfer to the buyer. So I don’t have to deal with any host issues that way.

  4. Thanks, Jennifer. I think once I’ve had a go at it once, it’ll all make sense.

    Thanks again for your help.

    take care…

  5. The domain transfer and actual site transfer are different. Sorry – I thought you were asking about transferring the actual site.

    I’ve transferred domains from Godaddy and a few other domain registrars to new buyers.

    The most important thing is to check your registrar’s policies before trying to sell. Some will tell you they won’t transfer it away if it’s within 60 days from the start of the registration or 60 days (or some other period) from the end of the current registration. They each also have their own procedures. Here are the basics though (should be pretty easy on your end no matter where they’re registered):

    1. Unlock your domain from your domain admin.

    2. Get the authorization code for your domain (somtimes you can find it in your domain admin area, and sometimes you have to contact the host for it).

    3. Give that authorization code to the new owner if they want to move it to another registrar of their choosing – the transfer initiation is generally done by them through the new registrar once you’ve unlocked it and given them the code.

    If they don’t want to move to a new registrar you can often do a free “push.” For example, I do this periodically for Godaddy (when I have the domain registered with them, and someone wants it pushed to their own Godaddy account).

    Again, each registrar has their own procedure (some call it account ownership changes, some pushing, some importing). In some cases, the other person will initiate the import into their own account. For Godaddy, you would go into your domain admin and enter the new owner info (name, email, address, phone, etc. which you would get from the buyer), and simply confirm it. Then it’s in the buyer’s hands to finish the account transfer.

    Hope that helps – I know it can be confusing. The best thing to do is to see what the specific registrar says in their support materials about transferring out.


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