How Much Is My Website Worth? (Website Valuation Guide)

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Quick Answer:

  • Average monthly profit is the most important factor in determining a website or online business’s value.
  • Currently, most content-based and e-commerce websites are valued at around 24x-42x average monthly profit.
  • Certain types of businesses (like SaaS) usually have higher valuations, and others (like dropshipping) tend to have lower valuations.
  • The best way to get an idea of how much your online business is worth is to get a valuation from a broker or use a free online tool like Empire Flippers’ valuation calculator.

If you’re considering selling your website, blog, or online business, the first question that comes to mind is, “How much is my website worth?” After all, you can’t decide if you want to sell it without having an idea of how much you might get for it.

The truth is, your website or online business is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Thankfully, the calculation methods covered in this website valuation guide are relatively standard throughout the industry right now. However, there are exceptions.

Every buyer or potential buyer is unique, and each one will have their own idea or opinion about how much your site is worth to them.

This article covers the most common method for determining a website or online business’s value, but remember that specific buyers may be willing to pay more or less.

After reading this article and completing the three basic steps, you’ll have a good idea of what your site might be worth to the average buyer. You can use this to help determine how much you should ask for the site, and you can use it as one factor in determining whether an offer is acceptable or not.

Get a Free Valuation in Minutes!
How Much Is Your Site Worth?

Empire Flippers offers an excellent (and free) website or business valuation tool. It only takes a few minutes to enter the details of your business, and you'll get a report on the estimated value. You don't even have to talk to anyone! It's my favorite tool for online business valuations.

Why Sell Your Website?

I sold my first website in 2010, and I’ve had several other sales since then. Over the years, many people have asked me why I would sell a website that’s making money or why I decided to sell at a particular time. Here’s a quick look at some common reasons for selling an online business:

  • To free up more time. Most online businesses require time and focus from the website owner, even if you have a team of freelancers or employees. You only have so much time available, and maybe you’d rather use your time for another project.
  • To cash out. You’ve worked hard building your business, and selling may give you a sizeable payout. Sometimes, the amount you make from a sale can be life-changing.
  • You’ve taken it as far as you can. Maybe you’ve succeeded with your site, but you don’t think it will continue to grow based on the time and resources you can invest.
  • Selling while trends are positive. It’s much easier to sell a site that’s growing than one that’s declining. If your site is doing well, but you’re concerned that the trends may reverse, it might be best to sell now.
  • You’ve mentally moved on. If you’re no longer interested in running the site, you may prefer to sell it and be done.

Of course, those are just some of the possible reasons, and every seller will have their own unique situation. But the point is, there are many different reasons to sell. And once you see how much your successful website or online business is worth, you may be ready to list it.

How Much Is My Website Worth? (Common Valuation Model)

The most common method of determining a website’s value is applying a multiple to its average profit. For example, if a business has generated $20,000 of profit per month over the past 12 months and the multiple is 36x monthly profit, the business is worth $720,000 ($20,000 x 36).

Sometimes profit from the trailing 12 months will be used to determine the value, and other times the average monthly profit from the past 3 or 6 months will be used instead. Larger sales of established websites typically go off of the past 12 months. Smaller sales and sites that haven’t been around as long may use the average of the past 3-6 months.

You may see the multiple expressed in yearly or monthly profit. For example, 3x annual profit would be the same as 36x monthly profit. Brokers and marketplaces that work mostly with deals over $1 million typically use a yearly multiple (like 3x, for example), and those that work with smaller deals often express it in monthly multiples (36x).

The average multiples used in determining valuations have increased over the years, but slightly decreased recently.

When I started my first blog in 2007, many website sales fell in the range of 20-30x monthly profit. Several years later, 30-36x was more common. In 2021 and early 2022, 42x average monthly profit (3.5x annual profit) was fairly typical for an established content or e-commerce site sold through a broker. In 2023, valuations have declined slightly.

Over the past decade, selling prices have increased because there are far more buyers and investors today than years ago. Increased demand drives prices higher.

Note: The information in this article is intended for websites and online businesses that are generating profit (not starter sites), and it may not be relevant for businesses generating more than $1 million per year in profit. Businesses with higher profits are likely to have higher valuations but fewer potential buyers. If that’s you, I’d recommend getting a valuation from a website broker or investment banker who deals with larger transactions, like Quiet Light.

If you’re selling an e-commerce business, inventory adds an extra layer to the process. While each transaction is unique, inventory is often sold to the buyer at cost. For example, if you paid $50,000 for the inventory you have at the time of the sale, the buyer would pay you $50,000 for that inventory on top of the sale price for the business.

Free Website Value Calculators

Using an online valuation calculator is one of the best ways to get a quick idea of how much your website is worth. However, many website value calculators are completely worthless. If you only enter your domain name and it shoots out a value, it’s not accurate.

The type of calculator you should use will ask for details like:

  • Your average monthly profit for the past 6 or 12 months
  • Your traffic levels
  • The size of your email list
  • Your monetization methods

Entering these details takes a few minutes, but you’ll get a reasonably accurate range of your site’s worth.

The best website valuation calculator is from Empire Flippers. After you enter a few details about your site, Empire Flippers gives you a range and a suggested listing price. This is an excellent way to quickly gauge how much your site is worth, and I recommend it to anyone who’s considering selling.

Empire Flippers Calculator

Steps to Calculate Your Website’s Worth

Now, let’s look at the basic steps you can follow if you’re ready to determine how much your site is worth.

Step 1: Create a Profit & Loss Statement

Before you can calculate the value of your site, you need to know how much money it’s making. The best way to do this is by creating a profit & loss statement (P&L) outlining all your income and expense sources. Include all monthly costs of running the site and any one-time expenses or investments.

If you’re using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, you can easily create a P&L for your site. Simply calculate the income and expenses, and subtract the expenses from the income to determine the profit.

Your P&L should be broken down by monthly revenue and expenses, so you can see how much you brought in, how much you spent, and how much profit you earned each month.

If you’re creating the P&L for yourself just to determine how much your site is worth, you can simply include the totals if you prefer. However, potential buyers will likely want to see it broken down by line items.

Your P&L should cover the past 12 months, at the very least. Brokers and buyers may want to see details for the past few years to see trends. If the site is less than a year old, include every month since it launched.

Accounting for Your Own Time

Buyers will also want to know how much time you spend working on the site. Some buyers will assign an hourly rate to your work and reduce the profit accordingly (since they’ll hire someone to replace you).

For example, if you spend an average of 50 hours per month working on the site and the buyer assumes they’ll need to pay someone $40 per hour to replace you, they may add an additional expense of $2,000 (50 x $40) per month. Each buyer will have their own approach, but be aware that the time you spend working on the site could factor into the valuation.

Step 2: Calculate Your Average Monthly Profit

Once your P&L is done, calculating the average monthly profit is easy. The only challenging part is determining whether you should use the past 3, 6, or 12 months. Here’s my logic on this:

  • Use the average of the past 12 months for established sites that have been around for a few years and are generating at least $3,000 per month.
  • Use the average of the past 6 months for smaller sites and businesses that may be less than two years old and generate less than $3,000 per month.
  • I would rarely use only the past 3 months, because it’s a very small sample. You might use the average of the past 3 months if the site is new (around a year old) and growing quickly.

Remember, this is just my personal opinion. However, people and companies making larger acquisitions tend to use the average of the past 12 months, and people making smaller purchases are more likely to use the average of the past 6 months.

If you’re working with a broker, they’ll help you to determine how you should determine the average monthly profit.

Step 3: Choose an Appropriate Multiple

After you know how much profit your site averages per month, the last step is to decide what multiple should be used to determine the site’s value. Currently, 3x annual profit or 36x monthly profit is common for content sites and e-commerce businesses that are sold through brokers.

If your site averages $10,000 in profit per month and you’re using a multiple of 36x, the site’s value is $360,000.

In just a minute, we’ll look at factors that can increase or decrease your site’s value or the multiple. Based on the details of your site, you might feel like it’s worth 48x monthly profit, or some other multiple. But 24-42x gives you a baseline for most content sites and e-commerce businesses.

Get a Free Valuation in Minutes!
How Much Is Your Site Worth?

Investors Club offers a free valuation tool that only requires a few minutes of your time. Enter details about your site, including traffic, income, and expenses. The tool will provide you with a report showing your site's estimated value. If you like what you see, you can proceed to list it for sale with Investors Club.

Selling Through a Broker vs. Selling Privately

When you’re ready to sell, you’ll need to decide if you want to use a website broker or try to find a buyer on your own. The most common reason for selling privately rather than using a broker is to avoid paying broker fees. However, from my experience, most buyers take this into consideration when determining what they’re willing to pay.

For example, If you’re trying to sell a site with $10,000 of average monthly profit at a multiple of 42x monthly profit, the value is $420,000. The average broker fee on that amount would be 15%, leaving you with $357,000 after the fees.

If you’re selling privately, many buyers will not be willing to pay $420,000 because they know you’re not paying broker fees. They’ll often reduce the valuation accordingly. The $357,000 you’d get after broker fees equals just under 36x average monthly profit, and that may be what a private buyer would be willing to pay.

I’ve sold sites privately, and I’ve sold sites through a broker. The two sales that were through a broker (both were sold through Quiet Light) sold for a higher multiple than any of my private sales. I’m completely confident that I got more for those sales after broker fees than I would have been able to get by selling the sites on my own. I had private offers in both cases before listing with Quiet Light, and they were significantly lower than what I ultimately got.

In my opinion, good brokers (like Brad Wayland from Quiet Light) can usually get you more money than you’re likely to get with a private sale. The exception to that is if you happen to have a very strong network of potential buyers.

Factors That Can Increase Your Site’s Value

While the framework covered above is a good starting point, several factors may increase the value of your site.

1. Business Model

Some types of online businesses generate more demand from buyers than others. For example, SaaS businesses tend to have higher valuations than most other types of businesses. Buyers like the predictable recurring revenue of the SasS model.

Additionally, established SaaS businesses can be somewhat passive if a support team or process is in place.

2. Industry

There are a few industries that tend to appeal more to potential buyers. For example, personal finance blogs/sites tend to have higher multiples than content-based sites that cover other topics.

You can see the industry or topic of sites listed at Quiet Light or Empire Flippers to get an idea of your industry’s common multiples and valuations.

Best for Sites Making at Least $5k Per Month

Quiet Light

  • Content sites, e-commerce, FBA, SaaS, and more.

  • Over 85% of listings sell within 90 days or less.

  • 47% of listings sell at or above asking price.

Best for Sites Making at Least $2k Per Month

Empire Flippers

  • Content sites, e-commerce, FBA, SaaS, and more.

  • Has sold more than $450 million worth of online businesses.

  • Free migration service (transferring the site to the buyer).

Best for Sites Making Less Than $2k Per Month

Motion Invest

  • Focuses exclusively on content-based websites.

  • One of the only marketplaces that's ideal for small sites.

  • Incredible 97% success rate.

3. Upward Trends

If your site’s profit and traffic are trending upward, you may be able to increase the multiple. Growing sites will increase in value each month. If the valuation is based on the average monthly profit for the past 12 months and your profits are higher now than 12 months ago, the value will continue to increase as those older months fall out of the trailing 12.

Sites that are growing like this could be worth more in the future, assuming the trends continue. As a result, very strong trends may justify an increased multiple.

4. Multiple Revenue Streams

Sites with multiple income sources (ads, affiliate revenue, services, digital products, etc.) will often be able to command a higher valuation than sites with only one income stream. This is because buyers like the idea of reducing risk by having multiple income streams, instead of relying solely or mostly on one source of income.

5. Diverse Traffic Sources

Sites with website traffic from multiple sources (organic, social media, email marketing, direct, etc.) will generally be easier to sell than those with just one primary traffic source.

Again, having diverse traffic sources gives potential buyers more confidence that the site can survive algorithm changes and other unpredictable events.

In my opinion, this is even more important now than it’s ever been. With the advancements in AI and the potential for significant changes in how search engines operate, having diverse traffic is even more appealing than it has been in the past.

6. Strong Email List

A strong email list is a valuable asset for any website. A high number of subscribers, and lots of engagement, could lead to an increase in valuation.

Potential buyers will appreciate having an email list that they can reach out to at any time. The list can be used to generate traffic to the site, promote affiliate products, or promote and sell their own products or services.

7. Age and Authority of the Site

Older sites with established authority tend to get higher valuations than newer sites. Sites that have weathered many Google algorithm updates and other changes within the industry have a longer and more substantial track record.

8. Hands-Free Operation

If you’ve automated or outsourced most of the processes required to run the site, this will attract potential buyers. Buyers are investors. They do not want to buy a job, and most of them will outsource the work related to running the site.

An established team that can continue running and managing the site is a big plus. Being able to show potential buyers that everything is already taken care of makes them more confident that they can take over without worrying about setting up new systems or processes.

9. Strong Social Media Presence

Having an active and engaged social media presence may increase the value of a site to some extent. Having followers, and more importantly, engagement from those followers, is attractive to potential buyers. They know they can leverage your existing following to reach even more people.

So if you have a strong social media presence with high levels of engagement, be sure to mention it and show it off to potential buyers. This could give you some extra bargaining power when negotiating the sale price.

Factors That Can Decrease Your Site’s Value

Of course, several factors can decrease buyer demand, which lowers your site’s value.

1. Downward Trends

If your site’s profit and traffic are decreasing, the value will likely be lower. Buyers may be hesitant to invest in a site if it isn’t growing or is starting to decline. They’ll need to reverse those trends to succeed with the purchase, which means they’re taking on more risk.

The more significant the downward trend is, the more it can impact what the buyer is willing to pay. Generally, I recommend not selling a site when it’s trending downward unless there’s a specific reason why you need to sell.

2. Private Blog Networks (PBNs) and Other Toxic Backlinks

Many potential buyers will be turned off if your site depends on PBNs or other toxic backlinks. A smaller pool of potential buyers leads to a lower valuation.

You may still be able to sell the site, but the value of the site will most likely be significantly lower than it would have been without those links.

3. Dependence on One Stream of Revenue

If your site relies heavily on a single source of income, that can be a deterrent for potential buyers. The site’s profit could be significantly impacted if something happens to that single source.

For example, Amazon has decreased affiliate commissions a few times over the years. When that happens, the profit of Amazon affiliate sites decreases, and so does their value.

4. Dependence on One Source of Traffic

Likewise, relying exclusively or very heavily on one traffic source could be a negative for some buyers. Historically, getting a very high percentage of traffic from organic search (mostly Google) hasn’t been an issue, but I could see that becoming more of a concern depending on how things trend with AI.

5. Too Personalized to You

If your site is too tailored to you personally, buyers might be hesitant to purchase. They may be unsure if they can continue running the business successfully without disruption once you’re gone. They may worry that the site’s followers are drawn to you personally, and they’ll lose interest in the site after you leave.

However, this is not always the case. I’ve seen highly personal sites sell for very good multiples, so it depends on the buyer.

If your site is highly personal, you can also start taking steps to depersonalize it if you’re considering selling it in the future.

Get a Free Consultation

It’s worth talking to a website broker if you’re considering selling your site. Most brokers, including Quiet Light and Empire Flippers offer free consultations and valuations. Even if you decide not to use the broker, you’ve at least gained a professional’s insight into the site’s market value.

Get a Free Valuation in Minutes!
How Much Is Your Site Worth?

Empire Flippers offers an excellent (and free) website or business valuation tool. It only takes a few minutes to enter the details of your business, and you'll get a report on the estimated value. You don't even have to talk to anyone! It's my favorite tool for online business valuations.