Buying an Established Turnkey Website: What You Really Need to Know

by Janice White, September 15, 2014

One of the hardest things to do, as a budding online entrepreneur, is to get the traffic to your new website. At the same time, your business depends on traffic for sales and growth. What do you do? One way to circumvent the normal organic growing process is to buy up websites with existing traffic and then redirect them to your flagship website. Here’s how to get the process started.

Check Traffic Stats

The whole reason for buying a turnkey website is to guarantee traffic. So, make sure you check the traffic stats of the site before you dive in and buy it. Now, there are a number of ways to do this, including using Alexa, Compete.com, Google Trends, FeedCompare, and SEMRush. Out of these options, SEMRush is one of the best if you want to determine long-term viability of the site.

That’s because it will tell you what keywords a particular website is ranking for. But, Compete.com will give you a ranking similar to Alexa so you’ll have an idea about the traffic coming in right now. None of these tools is perfect, but Compete is a little better than Alexa due to the fact that it pulls from multiple sources. The downside is that it’s only U.S. based traffic.

Google Trends is also a good one, arguably better than either Compete or Alexa. You would assume that Google’s data would be more accurate. If you’re a conspiracy-minded person, you might also argue that Google’s data is way off.

The only downside, and this is a big one, is that it doesn’t actually tell you how much traffic a site gets. Instead, it gives you relative values. So, really, Trends is only good if you plan on comparing your target site with another site.

If you want a decent idea of the relative traffic of your target acquisition, use a popular site that you know gets a lot of traffic, like Amazon.com or Facebook or some other large brand.

Have a Commercial Intent For The Site

There are a lot of websites for sale that don’t have a commercial intent. In other words, They’re informational-only. This presents a problem for you if you want to commercialize them - if you want to redirect traffic or “funnel” it to your flagship site.

In your quest for more traffic, keep in mind that some traffic is worthless. The site you buy should have a commercial intent. That’s what will draw users to you that have an expectation of buying something.

Give Your Own Honest Opinion About The Site To Yourself

Yep, you will basically be talking to yourself here. It’s OK, just do it when no one else is around. But seriously, this is an important way to assess the legitimacy of the website you’re thinking of buying. When you first load the webpage, how does it strike you? What do you think about it? Try to give your honest appraisal of it within the first five seconds of seeing. Why five seconds? Because this is exactly what your visitors will do. The only difference is, if they leave because it looks unprofessional, they will be taking their wallets with them.

Check For Authentic Comments

Before you buy into a website, check it for authentic-looking comments on the articles and blog posts. You can probably tell what looks legit and what looks like paid comments. If there’s a lot of spam, this isn’t a good sign. It means that the old owner isn’t or wasn’t monitoring the site very well. It may have built up a reputation as being “OK to spam” for links.

Buy A Site At Auction

Buying a site at an auction is probably the best option, and sites like Flippa cater to people like you who want to buy sites for their traffic. The only problem with Flippa is that you really need to do your homework because not all webmasters are above board and honest about the traffic being generated.

Fortunately Flippa makes researching a lot easier with their “verified listings.” Flippa verifies the claims of the webmasters, weeds out scammers, and provides straightforward pricing.

If you don’t find anything here that interests you, you can always use places like eBay - there’s no real verification process there though so it’s buyer beware.