Buying a website is an investment and, as with every investment, you need to consider all the fors and againsts.
Here’s everything that you need to know before buying a website.
1. Check the Domain Authority
The domain authority can tell you all sorts of things about the site; for instance, a high DA indicates that the website is high-quality and well-optimized. Domain authority is also crucial in building your online presence and getting sponsored reviews or paid advertisements. DA is very important and that’s why it should be the first thing you’ll look at before purchasing a site.
2. Site History
Check how long the site had been operating before you decide to buy it. In general, a website that had been running for a longer time is more stable. In addition, it had probably built some authority and generated more income over time, hence it will be easier to promote. Finally, make sure the site has had a good reputation because it will be hard for you to change things in a positive direction.
3. Site Design
The design is very important because it brands the website and provides a base for the overall User Experience. If you buy a poorly-designed site, you’ll probably need to make some changes. In that case, you also need to check if you’ll be able to edit the site’s content. In case changes are difficult to make, you’ll probably have to invest some extra cash to hire an expert.
4. Site’s Platform
Check which platform is powering the site you want to buy – WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, etc. This will give you an idea of whether you’ll be able to easily maintain the site. For instance, if you’re used to working in WordPress, buying a site that is powered by Joomla will present an extra challenge. You’ll need some time to figure the platform out, so carefully consider if you’re ready to go through all the effort or hire experts who’ll help you with the transition.
5. Keyword Ranking & Traffic Quality
A website can attract lots of traffic, but if it is ranking for the wrong keyword, you have no use of it. In order to be able to convert visitors into customers and make money online, you need to make sure the site is ranking for the right keyword.
To check the site’s traffic quality, analyze its landing page, as well as its most popular pages using Google Analytics.
6. Target Audience
When you’re creating or buying a site, you must have your target audience in mind. For instance, if you’re building a cooking website, your target audience will probably be women who are family-oriented, who like creating new dishes and frequently search the web for recipe ideas.
The website you’re buying needs to appeal to your target audience, i.e. in your case, you need to buy a website that used to target women who like cooking. Since you’re inheriting the site’s followers, this will increase the chances of them continuing to follow you even after you make the changes.
7. Content Quality
Make sure the website you’re buying has high-quality and shareable content. The best indicator of this is social media. If the site is popular on Facebook and Twitter, it’s a sign that the content is engaging and relatable.
8. Site Reviews
Before buying a site, you need to check its reputation (we already mentioned the importance of a good reputation in #1 above). If you want to know what people are thinking and saying about the site you’re planning to buy, check the reviews, comments, and customer testimonials. For more objective reviews, you should also check other websites and read as many reviews as possible.
9. Marketing Background
In order to stay competitive, you also need to check the marketing strategies previously deployed by the site. This will give you a general idea about what your future marketing plans will consist of. For instance, if the site has already had a great SEO strategy and ranks well in search engines, you’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts elsewhere (for example, on social media) or save money on hiring an SEO expert.
However, having somebody who understands marketing is crucial in helping you move forward. If your budget doesn’t allow you to hire a full-time marketing specialist, you can turn to freelance platforms such as Fiverr or Upwork and get professional assistance at a lower price.
10. Plan Your Budget
Last but not least, you need to consider the amount of money you’ll need to buy and maintain the website.
The best policy is to go for a site that is neither too cheap nor too expensive. A basic site should cost around $2,500, so if you find a website for $500, there must be something wrong with it (it may have reputation issues or hidden expenses that you’ll find about later).
You also need to set aside a sum of money for maintenance. While some may enjoy the challenge of maintaining the site on their own, most outsource the task to a specialized company.
If you decide to maintain the site by yourself, make a list of your skills and consider hiring experts (programmers, content writers, marketers, designers, etc) for the rest of the tasks.
If you go with a specialized company, the cost depends on your website’s complexity and size, as well as on the package, i.e. what you want to be included. Maintenance can cover all sorts of services, including website framework, hosting, IP address, SSL certificate, plugins and extensions, backups, content maintenance, SEO updates, etc.
Keep in mind that the maintenance expenses shouldn’t exceed the amount your site generates. To keep your site in good condition, you’ll need between $50 to $250 a month.
When it comes to buying a website, you’ll face a number of challenges. The above-listed tips may not cover them all, but they should be enough to give you a general checklist and stir you in the right direction.