Buying a website can be a fantastic decision.
It’s a great way to expand the scope of yours, or if you know what you are doing, it can be a profitable investment.
However, for you to be successful when buying a website, you need to know how to assess its value.
The first step in this process would be to familiarize yourself with what makes an online business valuable.
Then, you may want to consider doing some research to do your own assessment and valuation.
Take a look and see how these resources can help you determine a website’s value.
Verifying the situation
The first thing you’ll want to do is accurately assess the value of a site is verify a few things.
You’ll want to make sure that the site being sold to you isn’t owned by someone else or to make sure that the person selling you the website doesn’t own similar businesses.
If this ends up being the case, then the site actually becomes quite a bit less valuable, as it suggests it might not be a legitimate business but rather a scam.
DomainTools.com helps you verify that the entrepreneur you’re talking to owns the website in question, and identify any other domains owned by them.
WhoRush.com is another tool that helps you see what other domain names are owned by the same person. Additionally, it lets you identify websites using the same advertising IDs, stat tracking IDs, and affiliate codes.
Reverseinternet.com combines a few different tools into one service to help you track down other websites owned by the same person.
How to Identify Legitimate Traffic
The amount of traffic a site drives is a key determiner of value.
It’s where you’ll figure out growth potential and understand what it is you’re working with.
Site owners will present you with traffic figures, but you’ll want to do your due diligence to make sure they aren’t trying to pull a fast one on you by disguising traffic that was generated through blackhat tactics.
Here are some tools to help you verify these numbers and determine the site’s value on your own:
Google Analytics: Analytics will help you identify exactly where the traffic is coming from, as long as the owner has it installed.
You can also figure out what keywords the website is ranking for, and which social media platforms they’re using to drive traffic to the site.
Analytics will also help you identify referral traffic sources, which can validate high organic search rankings.
Open Site Explorer:
OSE is a great tool that can help you figure out how a website is getting backlinks from other websites.
You can also see whether those links are going to negatively impact the website’s search rankings in an algorithm update.
You can verify the website’s strength and authority compared to its competition, and identify any low-quality or blackhat link building tactics.
Tools like SEMRush are perfect for figuring out if the niche is highly competitive, or if there is still growth potential left in it.
You can also use SEMRush to validate the quality of links and ensure that the owner’s SEO strategies are in line with search engine best practices.
Projecting the future
These tools we’ve discussed so far help you to figure out where a site is at right now, but another important thing to do when determining a site’s value is to try and figure out where it’s headed.
Sites operating in a dying niche are going to worthless, whereas sites on the forefront of a growing yet relatively unknown one are going to be worth more.
Use these tools to help you try and make some projections about the future of the website and determine its value:
- BuiltWith.com: is a tool that can help you decipher what technology has been used to build the website.
- BannedCheck.com: For websites that use third-party advertising or affiliate networks to generate revenue, check that the owner hasn’t had the website banned from those networks. BanneedCheck.com is the perfect tool for helping you uncover whether a website is ineligible for using certain ad networks, like AdSense, or affiliate networks, like Amazon Associates.
- Google Trends: Google Trends will help you identify if the industry that the website has been built around is dying off or growing at a steady pace. Many websites are being sold because the previous owner knows that the industry is trending downwards and wants to get out as soon as possible.
Now You Know
The tools here can be very helpful.
If you start to get really serious about buying and selling websites, you may want to consider hiring a broker to help you get to the bottom of a site’s value, especially if revenues are high and you’re dealing with high asking prices.
But before you get to that point, these tools should prove very useful in helping you figure out how much a site is worth.
About the author:
Jock runs Digital Exits, an online brokerage service dedicated to the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses.
It’s his job to make sure people are getting the right deal for a website, whether buying or selling, and he’s heard too many stories of people not getting what the site is worth.
As such, he works to help inform webmasters of what makes a site valuable and how they can determine value on their own.