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After building online businesses for more than 15 years, I’m convinced that selling a website or online business is an outstanding way to make money. I’ve built and sold several businesses for a total of more than $2.25 million. Of course, I’ve also made money running those sites while I owned them. But the lump sums from website sales have had the most significant impact on my financial situation and net worth.
Most established and profitable websites sell for 2-4 times their annual profit (valuations have generally increased over the years). For example, a site that’s earned $100,000 in profit during the past 12 months may be worth $200,000 – $400,000.
Of course, you won’t continue earning money from the site when you sell it, but you won’t need to invest any more time into it. That’s a huge factor because you’ll have time to spend on other projects. And if you can replicate the success with another site, you can continue the process and make even more money.
If you’re considering selling a website or online business in the future, there are several ways to increase its value before selling. With the right approach, you can maximize what you earn from the sale.
For example, increasing your site’s annual profit from $100,000 to $110,000 may not seem like a huge jump. But that extra $10,000 profit may add $20,000 to $40,000 to the site’s valuation. So the additional $10,000 could be more like $30,000 to $50,000 (the $10k in profit plus the $20k-$40k when you sell it).
That’s a pretty convincing reason why you should make an effort to maximize your site’s value before selling. This article covers some specific options you can explore to make your site more valuable.
Ways to Increase Your Website Value
1. Increase Revenue
The most significant factor in determining what a website or online business is worth is its profit. And increasing revenue without increasing expenses will lead to a higher profit and a higher valuation. This is the most obvious way to increase what a site is worth.
There are countless ways you can increase the revenue of a site. Here are some options.
Add Product Comparison Tables
Product comparison tables are highly effective for affiliate and e-commerce sites. They capture attention and quickly provide readers with details that help them make buying decisions.
Affiliatable makes it easy to create helpful comparison tables like the one below.
Improve Calls to Action (CTAs)
Make more money from the same traffic by increasing the conversion rate. This may involve adding CTA buttons with affiliate links, using promo boxes or other types of callouts to grab attention, or doing split testing to see which CTAs perform the best.
Affiliatable also allows you to create eye-catching promo boxes in various styles, like the one below.
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.
Put Ads on the Site
Some content websites are monetized only through affiliate programs. If that’s the case, consider putting display ads on the site. Usually, display ads have minimal impact on affiliate earnings (but see the next point).
Ezoic can be used to monetize sites of any size, with any amount of traffic.
Remove Distractions on High-Performing Pages
Your most important pages for affiliate promotions and landing pages for selling your own products should have as few distractions as possible. You can remove ads and other unnecessary details/distractions from these pages.
Use a Better Ad Network
Ad networks like Raptive (formerly called AdThrive) and Mediavine produce the best ad RPMs for most sites. If you’re using Google AdSense or a smaller ad network, you may be able to significantly increase your revenue by moving to a better ad network.
Raptive and Mediavine have minimum traffic requirements (100,000 page views per month for Raptive and 50,000 sessions for Mediavine), but it’s worth working to get to these levels if you’re not already there.
Identify and Fix Broken Affiliate Links
If you have a lot of affiliate links on your site, chances are several of them are broken or no longer work. This could be because the product is no longer available (very common with Amazon affiliate links) or the vendor moved to another affiliate platform.
Check your affiliate links, especially the ones on high-traffic pages. If necessary, change the link or link to a similar, available product.
Negotiate Higher Affiliate Payouts
Affiliate commissions are almost always negotiable, but you may need to initiate the discussion. Sometimes they’ll give you a higher commission based on the volume you already produce. In other cases, they may give you a higher commission in exchange for more exposure on your site.
Add Upsells, Order Bumps, and Cross-Sells
If you sell your own physical or digital products, improving your sales funnel may be the best way to increase the average order size. Shopping carts like ThriveCart are built for conversion, making it easy to nudge customers toward additional purchases.
ThriveCart can help you to make more money from the same traffic. If you sell digital products, you'll love ThriveCart. This shopping cart has been designed to increase conversions and help you sell more.
- One-click upsells
- In-cart order bumps
- Sales funnel builder
- Simple A/B testing
- And much more
Add More Products
Creating and selling more products allows you to reach more customers. Plus, you’ll have more options for upsells, order bumps, and cross-sells.
Create Bundles of Products
If you have several products, you can bundle them together. Customers love bundles because they can get great deals. Bundles are also ideal for sellers because they increase the average order size.
These are just a few examples, but there are many other possibilities as well. Of course, some of them will require more time and effort than others, but there are plenty of options for most sites. With some focused effort, you can likely increase your site’s revenue, which also increases the value if you sell the site.
2. Decrease Expenses
The second factor that affects your site’s profit is its expenses. The lower the costs, the higher your site’s profit and valuation. Here are a few ways to reduce expenses.
- Eliminate or reduce unnecessary subscriptions (plugins, SEO tools, SaaS, etc.) related to running the site. You may be paying for subscriptions you don’t need, decreasing your profit and your site’s value.
- Consider switching to cheaper tools or platforms. Only make these changes if they’re relatively easy (not labor intensive) and won’t negatively impact your business.
- Evaluate what you spend on freelancers, contractors, and employees. Are you getting value out of these expenses? You don’t want to cut back so much that it hurts your results. But you should evaluate these expenses to ensure that they’re necessary and that they produce results.
Go through all of the expenses you’ve incurred over the past few months. Look at each item to see if it can be reduced or eliminated without impacting your revenue or the amount of time you spend working on the site.
3. Increase Traffic
While revenue and profit are the most significant factors in determining a website’s value, traffic directly impacts the site’s revenue. If everything else is equal, more traffic equals more revenue.
Also, buyers get excited to see a site for sale that has an upward traffic trend. It’s much easier to sell a site that’s trending up than one that’s trending down or flat.
Of course, there are many ways to increase website traffic, but here are a few ideas.
Update and Optimize Existing Content
Pages that are already ranking well in Google searches might do even better if they’re updated, improved, and optimized. In fact, the results are usually faster with updating existing content than creating new content from scratch.
Start with pages that are ranking on the middle to bottom of the first page for the target keyword. An increase in ranking here may produce significantly more traffic. You can also work on pages ranking on the second or third page for the target keyword.
Focus on content that’s already ranking rather than pages that are not ranking at all. Google already likes this content, you just want to improve it. This process is pretty simple with tools like Surfer, Frase, and NeuronWriter. I’ve tried many of these SEO tools, and NeuronWriter is my favorite. It’s also cheaper than many competitors.
NeuronWriter is my go-to tool for optimizing content for Google. You can use it to write new content or update existing content. NeuronWriter uses natural language processing (NLP) to help you plan, write, and optimize content.
- Easy and fast to use
- Much cheaper than competitors like Surfer
- Can be used by teams or with freelancers
- Gets results!
Create New Evergreen Content Targeting Low-Competition Keywords
These keywords and phrases are usually long-tail (several words in the phrase) and relatively easy to rank for. You don’t need a high domain authority to rank for low-competition keywords.
Use a keyword research tool like Semrush or KWFinder to identify keywords you can rank for. These tools assign a difficulty score to each keyword, and the lower the difficulty, the easier it will be to rank for that keyword.
You can also look for search queries where low DA or DR sites rank on the first page of Google. If low-authority sites are ranking, it’s generally an easier keyword to target.
Keyword research is an essential part of SEO, but the leading keyword tools are priced too high for many bloggers and small businesses. KWFinder by Mangools is an excellent, affordable option, and it's become my go-to keyword research tool over the past few years.
- Get keyword ideas with estimated search volume
- See the difficulty score so you can find keywords that are easy to rank for
- Track your rankings for your target keywords
- Research your competitors
- Affordable pricing
4. Diversify Your Traffic Sources
If 90% of your site’s traffic is from a single source, it presents a greater risk to a buyer. Most buyers like to see diverse traffic because it gives some protection in case something happens to the top traffic source.
For example, a site that gets almost all of its traffic from organic Google search is more vulnerable to negative impact from a search engine algorithm update than a site with more diversified traffic.
The same thing is true for sites that get a very high percentage of traffic from Pinterest, Facebook, or some other source.
If your site relies heavily on a single traffic source, work to build up at least one other source.
5. Add More Income Streams
Similar to the previous point, having all or most of your income from a single source also presents a risk. For example, if your site is overly dependent on a single affiliate program, the revenue and profit could drop drastically if anything happens to it.
Affiliate commissions are sometimes cut, or the program may be closed completely, so you don’t want to rely too heavily on a single source.
The same concept applies to other monetization methods as well. If your site makes all of its money from display ads, what happens if ad budgets drop across the board (this happened during Covid)?
Regardless of how your site is monetized, you should have a few income streams to protect yourself and ease the concerns of potential buyers.
6. Grow Your Email List
An email list is a valuable asset, and many buyers will pay more for a site with an active email list. An engaged audience gives the buyer confidence they can continue monetizing the site after the purchase.
A strong email list protects the buyer in case of a traffic drop from Google, Pinterest, Facebook, or another source. They can continue to drive traffic using the email list without being at the mercy of an algorithm. It also allows them to promote their own products or affiliate products to a warm audience.
If you’re not already building an email list, start now. And if you already have an email list, prioritize its growth. In addition, you may also want to work to improve engagement. This may involve setting a regular schedule for emails, setting up or improving a welcome sequence, segmenting the list, A/B testing subject lines, and more.
When a buyer evaluates different sites to purchase, an active email list will help make yours stand out from the crowd and add value.
7. Build a Funnel
Funnels are extremely effective for increasing revenue, and established funnels are also attractive to potential buyers. Buyers love to see high-producing funnels because it puts an aspect of the business on autopilot.
A funnel is a sequence of pages and/or emails that guide visitors through a specific process. Each step aims to get them closer to making a purchase or taking a specific action. If you’re already driving traffic to your site with paid ads, an optimized funnel can exponentially increase your return on investment (ROI).
If you sell your own products, you can set up funnels to convert visitors to email subscribers to buyers. You can also use funnels to move paying customers from low-priced products to higher-priced products, bundles, or subscriptions.
Even if you don’t have your own products, you can still use funnels. You can set up funnels that promote affiliate products after email signup. The possibilities are virtually endless.
8. Establish Standard Operating Procedures
If you plan to sell your site, buyers will want to know how it all works. They’ll need to understand the systems and processes that keep the business running. This is where Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) come in.
Creating SOPs can be extremely helpful for both you and potential buyers. As an owner, they prevent things from falling through the cracks and ensure critical tasks are completed consistently with high quality.
When a buyer sees well-defined SOPs in place, they feel more confident about buying. It also helps them quickly get up to speed after the purchase because everything is written down and easy to follow. And it makes your life easier after the sale because you won’t get as many questions about operating the site.
You may find that creating SOPs helps you become more organized and efficient with running your site, even if you don’t plan on selling it.
In any case, if you decide to put your site up for sale in the future, well-defined SOPs will make your business much more attractive to potential buyers.
9. Build a Team
It’s important to remember that most buyers are investors. They’re likely to hire people to do the work related to running the site. It makes the transition much smoother if you already have a team in place that will continue to work with the new owner.
For example, you may have a virtual assistant, editor, and a few freelance writers. The details of your team will vary, but the point is, you have people in place who can carry out most or all of the work needed to run the site.
If you have a team in place, the buyer won’t have to guess at how much they’ll need to pay someone to do the work. If you do all the work yourself, the buyer has to estimate how much they’ll need to pay to replace you, and they may overestimate to be on the safe side. This can negatively impact the value of your site because they’ll factor those costs into their offer.
10. Acquire Strong Backlinks
Backlinks are a major factor for ranking in Google searches. A site with strong backlinks will get more organic traffic (in general), which means higher potential revenue.
A strong link profile not only benefits your site’s current search rankings but also makes it easier to get new content to rank well. This directly impacts buyers because they may be able to get faster results with the content they create and publish after buying the site.
If your site has a weak backlink profile, the buyer may need to dedicate time and money to building links.
You can build links to your site in countless ways, but here are a few proven and effective options.
- Become a source. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) connects writers, journalists, and bloggers with expert sources for their articles. Sources provide quotes that can be used in articles, and most publications include a link to the expert’s website along with the quote. This link building approach requires a lot of work, but you can get links from very high-authority sites.
- Tools and calculators. Hire a developer to create a useful online tool or calculator (like a mortgage calculator) that others will link to.
- Create linkable content. Certain types of content tend to attract links. For example, statistics pages, glossary pages, and trend predictions. If you create this content and get it to rank near the top of the search results, it may attract links with no additional effort on your part.
- Free resources. Create something of value, give it away for free, and use it to build links. There are endless possibilities, including printables, spreadsheets, templates, apps, and more. Think about what you can create to provide value to your target audience.
- Poach your competitor’s links. Use a tool like Semrush or Ahrefs to find sites linking to your competitors. See if you can duplicate those links to your site.
11. Grow Your Social Media Presence
A strong social media presence can also be attractive to potential buyers. This shows that you have an established brand and provides the potential to drive traffic back to the site. Social media channels can also be monetized through sponsorships, so it has the potential to increase profit as well.
You can strengthen your social media presence by consistently creating quality content that resonates with your target audience and promoting it across different channels. You’ll need to identify the social platforms that are most popular with your target audience and work to build your presence on those platforms.
Building a strong social media following takes time, so it’s not something you can start now if you plan to sell your site soon. But if you’re looking to build the value of your site before selling at some point down the road, dedicating time and resources to social media may be a good move.
Sell Your Website or Online Business on an Upward Trend
Now that we’ve looked at some specific ways you can increase the value of your site, I want to stress the impact that revenue and traffic trends can have on your sale.
💡 Potential buyers want to see positive trends. Negative trends will put up red flags that could reduce the price they’re willing to pay or deter them from making an offer.
If you plan to sell your site, it’s critical to do whatever you can to ensure the trends are positive before it’s listed for sale. It’s common for website owners to decide they want to sell after their site has been neglected and the trends turn negative. But you’ll need to avoid this if you want to get the maximum amount for your site.
How Much Is Your Website Worth?
If you’re considering selling your website or online business, you may wonder how much the website is worth. If you’d like to learn more about the valuation process, please read my article How Much is My Website Worth? I also highly recommend getting a free website valuation from a broker. You can use the online calculator at Empire Flippers or set up a free consultation from Quiet Light.
Final Thoughts on Increasing the Value of Your Site
When you’re ready to sell, the goal is to get as much money as possible for your site. Taking the steps outlined in this article will help make sure that happens. However, you’ll need to prepare in advance so you have time for the results to show up.
By implementing some of the tips covered in this article, you can list your site at a higher price point than otherwise possible.