Make Money Buying Websites

make money buying websitesIt IS possible to make money buying websites. Many people search for and buy websites on platforms like Flippa.com. However, I’d like to discuss a strategy I implemented just over one year ago involving buying a website and the related domain names that one of my former competitors had been using. One of the businesses that I’m involved with is quite competitive and finding new clients is critical to success. Part of finding new clients, or having new clients find me, is having a strong online presence.

Many years ago, one of my competitors had a website. At the time, I didn’t think much of his website and the domain name he was using was awful. However, he also owned a great domain name that was not only brandable, but had the exact keywords I wanted. He wasn’t using the great domain as the primary domain for his website. He was instead forwarding the type-in traffic from the great domain to his main website. Anyway, since he wasn’t using the great domain as his primary domain, I offered him a couple thousand dollars for it. He declined and I continued raising my offer until I reached $5,000. He still declined the offer.

Fast forward several years. That same gentleman ended up selling his business, but kept both his website, his primary domain name, which was lousy, and the really good domain that he was just forwarding to his website. Then in December of 2012, I received a call from this gentleman and he had decided he was now willing to sell me the great domain name. In addition, he would also include the primary, albeit lousy, domain name and his website. After many years of trying to work out a deal with this gentleman, I now had a ready, willing, and able seller.

I did some due diligence and contacted the person responsible for building and hosting the website. Most of the content from the site had been removed and the site was basically just a shell. The web developer owned the content management system and said there was really nothing for me to buy, but he was willing to have me take over the monthly billing and would add my contact information.

Armed with knowing there really wasn’t a website that I could purchase, I began negotiations for the domain names and rights to the website. We ended up agreeing to a price of $8,000. I had a certified check prepared and met him at a coffee shop with my laptop. We logged in and “pushed” the domain names from his GoDaddy.com account into my GoDaddy account. We each spoke with his website developer and let him know I would be taking over the website account and making the monthly payments.

After spending $8,000 over one year ago, I can look back and say it’s been a great investment. While there have been challenges working with the web developer (happens to be a genius at getting traffic, but a little temperamental), I was REALLY surprised to find out, after the fact, that the website receives about 5000 visitors per month. On top of that, the lousy primary domain name receives over 1000 visitors a month, I suspect mostly from old back links. I am using the great domain name as the primary name for my business site  and receive several leads during the course of any given week, sometimes several leads per day.

To be honest, I’ve been so busy the last year that I haven’t been able to follow up with all the leads. I’ve been forwarding them to associates or just ignoring the ones that don’t look promising. One of the leads that I did work on led to a transaction that will happen in a few days and I’ll walk away with a check for over $2,500. I’ve had about $2000 in expenses since I’ve purchased the domains and had use of the site. That hasn’t left me with a huge profit so far. However, I have no doubt as I start working the leads that I can easily generate an additional $5,000-$10,000 per year in profits from the site, maybe a lot more.

If you’re involved in a business in which online leads are important, you may want to consider keeping an eye on your competitors. As your competitors retire, move, or decide to get out of the business, why not offer to buy the domain name(s) they’ve been using and forward them to your main website or purchase their website and even their list of past clients.

Update as of May 9, 2014

I just made another sale that came directly from a website lead. This sale will provide me with a check for over $7,500 in a week from today. I also have another lead from the site that I expect will generate over $8,000 in 30-60 days. Even some of the lower-quality leads that I’ve shared with associates have now generated income for them. The returns from the purchase of the domains and rights to the website are looking like they’ll be incredible and may make it one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

Update as of August 13, 2014

Leads from my former competitor’s website have now generated around $18,000 so far in 2014. I also inked a deal yesterday that was a result of having the site. The deal will produce $4000 for me this year. Even if nothing else comes of the site the rest of this year, it will have directly led to an extra $22,000 in my pocket this year. I can testify that it is possible to make money buying websites.


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