Over the last few years I have been fortunate enough to participate in a handful of affiliate website transactions, as both a buyer and seller.
From doing multiple transactions, I have been able to boil down what you need to look for when buying an affiliate website.
Since purchasing a website is an investment, my goal is to help you protect your investment by being aware of the following potential opportunities and pitfalls.
1. Website background
Before purchasing any affiliate website, I try to figure out how many months will it take for me to earn back the cost of the website.
In a perfect world, I try to buy websites at a 24 month multiple, meaning the website will pay itself back in 24 months if the profitably stays the same.
However, quicker is always better, so addressing “low hanging fruit” opportunities could be a great way for you to increase the profitability of a website and shorten the timeframe to say 18 months.
Since I am looking for easy and quick fixes that can be made to increase profit, I do not want to buy a site that is being sold by a website flipper as most of the easy fixes were probably already addressed.
Additionally, I want a website that is at least 2 years old so there is a good trend of website traffic and income.
Be sure to research the seller if possible, to understand their background, and find out why they are selling the site. Buying a website from the original owner, that started it 3+ years prior, is best case scenario.
Some additional website background pieces to consider:
- Does the website use a .com, .net or other url, .com preferably?
- Does the website use a PBN, or was a PBN used in the past? I generally stay clear of PBNs because most people don’t use them correctly, but more on this in one of the future posts.
- Is the current domain name the original domain name? If not, does the original domain come with the sale and is a 301 redirect being used?
- Is the seller an SEO expert (or an ‘expert’)? If so, this may limit improvements that you can do.
2. Website setup
Considering how a potential website is setup can be crucially important, as ease of use and modification is highly desirable.
For instance, a website running on WordPress typically adds more value when compared to a website that is running on a clunky or custom website builder.
WordPress is widely used, has ample support, and offers tens of thousands of plugins and templates that can be added with just a few clicks, making WordPress the go to.
If a website you’re considering purchasing does not use WordPress, you may want to reconsider the purchase. If you need to sell the site for whatever reason, it may have less resale value if not using WordPress.
Google Analytics is an online tool, created by Google, that tracks all aspects of a websites’ traffic. If a website does not use Google Analytics (GA), or another similar and trusted tool (Clicky), I would not purchase the site.
Website owners can give potential buyers “read only” access to their GA account, which can be used to verify traffic, find trends, identify top earning pages and see where the bulk of the traffic is coming from.
Use GA to ensure the website you are looking to buy has had steady traffic trends over the years.
It would be unwise to buy a site that has traffic trending down, unless you are an SEO guru and can increase the organic search volume. Personally, I look for sites that have steady traffic, no huge spikes up or down.
The whole point of you purchasing an affiliate website is to create income, so how a site is monetized is very important.
When I’m looking for a site, I like to see several different monetization methods as this adds security.
For example, an even spread of income over three different affiliate programs plus Google Ad Sense offers protection if one of the affiliate programs is to go down.
If the site is monetized in just one way, then you run the risk of losing your only income stream. But this might be one of those quick wins if that’s the case. You could add/test different monetization methods and set yourself up for a nice income boost from the get go.
Consider buying a site that is only monetized in one way, if you think you can add additional avenues to spread the risk and increase the profitability.
One of the sites that I sold brought in income from roughly six different methods.
Look for out of place profit spikes that may be a tell tale sign that a seller was working extra hard the last few months to increase the profit to sell the site for more money.
Obviously profit will spike around the holidays and certain months for seasonal niches, but be aware if these spikes are just to inflate the purchase price. If you feel as if the purchase price has been inflated, then create an offer based on the more reasonable average profit numbers.
There are several ways a website can receive traffic, these include organic search, paid advertising and social.
Buying a website that receives a majority of traffic from paid advertising is not a good investment, as you are required to spend money to make money.
I’m a firm believer that promoting articles with ads is a great way to increase profitably, but relying solely on this can be detrimental. Some people like social traffic, I’m not a huge fan.
Ultimately, free organic search traffic is what I am looking for from well created articles that are SEO friendly.
Getting an article to rank organically in the search engines is the desired effect, as this will bring in free traffic every month. I suggest buying a site that has numerous articles bringing in organic traffic as the seller has already done much of the hard work.
When you take over ownership, you can optimize these articles to increase profit, and spend time creating new content that can continue to rank organically.
I like to use Ahrefs for all of my keyword/article tracking, and SEO needs.
If you found this article helpful, then you can download a complete five page website buyers guide that I wrote that goes into even more depth here.
Investing in affiliate websites can prove to be a lucrative endeavor, yearly returns of 60% to 300% are not uncommon, but it all comes down to purchasing the correct site.
Taking the advice stated above, mixed with your own business and marketing acumen, you’re well on your way to making an educated buying decision.
We hope to hear about your affiliate website success in the near future!