If you want to start buying websites on Flippa – where do you even begin?

What should you be searching for?

Flippa is one of the biggest and best online marketplaces for buying websites for passive income and profit.

But if you don’t go in with a strategy and you don’t really know what you’re looking for, you’ll end up spending a lot of time with nothing to show for.

On the flip side, when you know exactly what you’re looking for, then buying profitable websites on Flippa can be fun and easy.

Today, Liz is going to show you the exact search criteria to use when you’re looking for websites to buy on Flippa.

In fact, these 3 search criteria are what Matt and Liz recommend their Digital Investors Program students use when they are starting out.

Watch the video and/or read the article below to see what 3 things you should be looking for when you’re looking to buy websites on Flippa.

Liz Raad: Today, I want to share with you what you need to look for when you’re buying your first website on Flippa.

The Flippa platform is a fantastic place for beginners who are getting started in buying, renovating and selling websites. That’s because in this marketplace, there’s a whole range of websites available, starting from $1, all the way up to millions of dollars. And there’s a lot of websites on there for sale, with new listings coming on every day. So, that’s where we get our students to start out.

In this article, I want to show you what we’re looking for and what we teach people to look for when buying websites on Flippa. This will help get you started with a strong foundation in this marketplace.

Have a Clear Strategy when Buying Websites on Flippa

Liz: So, having a look for websites to buy on Flippa is very exciting. But, before you even start looking, you need to think about a strategy going in.

Matt and I have a strategy that has been really successful for us. We want to find websites that are as leveraged as possible, so that we can renovate and add some value to them. That way, we could either potentially sell that website for profit, or keep it for the cashflow.

So, when we’re out there looking at websites to buy on the Flippa platform, it means we’re looking for something different to what most other people are looking for.

How to Buy a Profitable Website using our Content Strategy

Liz: When searching for websites for sale on Flippa, we’re looking for content-based websites. That’s because in our experience, those are the most leveraged types of websites:

How to Buy a Profitable Website
  • We don’t have to buy stock.
  • There’s less investment involved.
  • We don’t have to organize deliveries.
  • We don’t have to work with drop shippers.
  • And there’s a lot less moving parts.

We find that content sites are the most leveraged websites we can buy and also, we find it easier to add value to those websites as well. So, that’s why we choose content sites, and I’ll will show you on Flippa actually how we find these particular sites.

Buying Smart with our Website Due Diligence Checklist

Liz: Now as you get more experienced at buying websites for profit, you want to look for sites that have:

  1. Some really nice existing profit, and
  2. Good, solid, ongoing traffic.

That way, you’re buying yourself an asset that is going to be consistent and ongoing.

When doing your due diligence process, one of the major factors to consider includes, “Is this website going to keep making the money that it’s making now?”

There’s a lot of different questions as part of our due diligence checklist, which helps us to answer this question. This is so we can feel safe investing in that website.

Start Small when Buying Established Websites

Liz: Now when you’re beginning though, we recommend all our students start small. I think that’s really smart in this marketplace.

You might’ve heard of paper trading when you first start trading shares. You go into the market with only a small amount of money, or even just paper trading to get used to the marketplace to really learn without investing a huge amount of money.

We’ll do another article about the biggest mistakes that beginner investors make when they get into buying websites on Flippa (or on any other platform). But one of those biggest mistakes is just starting too big too quick – especially if you haven’t had a lot of experience.

Unlike traditional businesses, you have the option to start small when investing in online businesses

Liz: Just remember – if you are new to the world of website business for sale, you do have the luxury of starting small. Matt and I used to be brokers in the offline world. We worked in mergers and acquisitions, and even small business sales. We were looking at people spending half a million dollars or more on a business. And some of these investors didn’t have any small business experience at all. So, now that’s a lot of money to put on the line to risk when you’re getting into a first investment.

Whereas, on Flippa, we can buy our first website for under $1,000, and sometimes even under $500. That’s a great way to start.

Take a look at some examples of our students buying small websites for passive income…

We’ve got quite a few examples on our Matt and Liz Raad YouTube channel. If you go to the Success Stories, you’ll see Yvette and Jasmine, and you’ll see Nathan and Alexa. These guys bought websites and renovated them and their first websites were under $1,000. And you’ll see it in Nathan and Alexis’ story, they sold their website for almost $17,000 after the reno.

So, it’s a really nice strategy to go in small when you first start buying websites for profit. You use these websites to learn, get your team in place, get everything organized, and then you can step up to those bigger deals.

What to Search for when Buying Websites on Flippa

Liz: So, the next thing we want to look at is how do we find these websites? What are these little gold nuggets that we can pick up on Flippa?

We’re looking for websites that we can add some value to and improve. That way, we could potentially either:

  1. Pay it off to ourselves as quickly as possible (so we reduce our risk to pretty much zero at that point),
  2. Or we can renovate to sell again and build up our bank.

From there, we can maybe then step it up to the next level. We can start looking at websites that priced around $2,000 or $3,000, or even $10,000+.

Key Benefits we gain when buying Established Websites on Flippa

Liz: So, we’re going to go into Flippa and look for some content sites. And I’m going to do this search live on the Flippa platform and actually show how we do our search. But, here are some key benefits of buying an established website:

Site is already generating Profit and Traffic

We’re going to look for maybe a little bit of profit. It’d be ideal if it had some traffic, some people coming and visiting the website, because that’s what we’re trying to buy. We’re trying to buy leverage.

We get the benefit of website age

When buying an established website, someone else has done the work to put the site together. It’s got some age and some history behind it.

Basically, the benefit of buying a website is that we bypass all that build and startup phase. So essentially, we’re buying time:

  • The time that it took to put the website together.
  • The time that it took to write all that content.
  • The time that it’s taken to age online – for potentially a few months or (ideally) a few years.

That history of an established website is worth it.

Key elements we’re looking for when buying websites on Flippa

Liz: So, the 3 main things we’re looking when buying websites on the Flippa platform include:

  1. Profit
  2. Traffic
  3. Topic/Niche

We’re looking for maybe a little bit of traffic and/or profit, but not necessarily. It depends on what your strategy is.

We’re looking for a specific niche. Not only do we focus on content websites, but we’re looking for certain niches and topics that the websites are about. We really want to focus on particular niches and then we’re looking for opportunities to grow.

Also, we need to make sure that we’ve got websites that have the ability to be renovated. It’s just like when you buy houses, it’s like buying those diamonds in the rough. It means that you’re going to make more money and have less risk.

So, let’s go live on the Flippa platform and have a look for how we search for these first websites to buy on Flippa.

Searching for Websites for Sale on Flippa

Liz: Okay, so here we are on the Flippa platform and we’re going to start looking for some websites to buy. So, we can browse the websites. You can go in here through to the “All Websites”, and we will have a look at what’s here today.

Now, you probably need to click on the See All Websites. If you’re at the next level up and you’re looking for larger websites, you might want to have a look through the Editor’s Choice, because there’s some good stuff in there. But when we’re starting out and doing our first websites, we want to look at more the smaller websites.

Searching for Websites for Sale on Flippa

Filter – Starter Sites v’s Established Sites

Liz: Now over here on the left-hand side, there’s a live search bar. It’s great because Flippa have recently updated that, so it does a live search for us. Now the difference between here:

  • Established Websites: are websites that have been built. They’ve usually got some traffic, they’ve got some people visiting them, and sometimes they’ve got a little bit of profit already.
  • Starter Sites: are just built to sell. They don’t necessarily have any traffic, and they may not have unique content.

Now for your very first website, if you just want a little cheap site to just get in the market and see what it’s like to buy a website, then we say to our students, “Yeah, go for it”.

You could buy a starter site and take it from there. It’s already built still. You can start adding content, you can do a little bit of a renovation. But just be aware, a starter site is going to take longer to be profitable, because it is starting from zero.

So, what we’ll do in this search though is we’ll look at some established sites.

Established Websites For Sale on Flippa

Filter #1: Content Sites

Searching for Content Websites on Flippa

Liz: As I was saying before, our strategy is content sites. That’s because we have been in manufacturing, we’ve had wholesale and distribution businesses in the offline world, and we don’t like having stock or inventory. We don’t like having our money tied up in that.

We like to have websites that are totally leveraged that make their money from advertising or information or affiliate products. So that’s the sort of websites, because we like the leverage of that. So, we will only look at Content websites. We can leave all those blogs, directories, reviews, forums selected.

Filter #2: Monthly Users

Liz: So, you can see now we’re getting down to some nice websites there. You can actually put in a number of monthly users if you want to. This allows you to specify if you want a certain level of traffic.

To be able to apply for an AdSense account with Google or to get onto Amazon, it’s good to have a little bit of traffic already on your website. For Amazon, you need to make a sale within three months, so ideally you want some traffic on a website if you’re applying for an Amazon affiliate account, so you might want to do that.

Search Criteria for Buying Websites on Flippa

Filter #3: Monthly Profit

Liz: But the other way to do it is to put a profit range. So if this is your very first website, I would suggest you go from a profit range of $0 to say $50 a month. That means what we’re going to see is websites that aren’t too big.

They’re probably not going to sell for a huge amount of money, and that means we filter out the larger ones. We’re more likely going to see websites that are in that “under $1,000” range. (Except for larger website listings that are showing no net profit, might show here).

Filter #4: Price Range

Liz: You can also put in a price range if you want. Maybe you say, “Okay, a maximum price that I want to pay is $3,000.” That will then filter out those high-level ones that are zero profit, but have a value because of their history and other things.

Filter #5: Website Age

You may want to put some age on it, say 3 or 6 months. You don’t need to. Obviously if it’s 0 years old, it means it’s a Starter site, it’s got no history. So, it’s potentially not as valuable as one that has been online for a little bit.

Doing a first scan of established websites for sale on Flippa

Liz: Now let’s see what we’ve got from our filtered search. As we’re scanning through the results, we need to think – what sort of websites are we looking for? We’re training our students to look for topics where they can add content which would add value to the website. Ideally in a niche, and the three magic niches are:

  1. Health
  2. Wealth
  3. Happiness

Here are some typical results you might see of websites for sale on Flippa

So, you can see from the results, there’s lots of websites there. You can go through and find all sorts of websites, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Software as a Service

Liz: Dabble: So, we don’t really want to have websites that are Software as a Service (SaaS), or things like this where we’ve got a website and design and style. I’d have to look into that, but that wouldn’t be one that would catch my eye.

Content-Based Sites

Liz: My Food Wiki sounds interesting, so I’d probably have a look at that one. It’s five years old, so it’s got some nice history. It’s not making a lot of money, but perhaps what we’re going to do is go in there and see could we improve that monetization?

At the moment, it’s making money out of AdSense (the Google advertising program). Potentially, maybe we could add Amazon affiliate, as well as other affiliate products? Maybe we could add some information products to the website and increase the monetization?

Or potentially we could just be adding more content and increase the traffic and increase our AdSense, (or other advertising) revenue.

Fit Notch is another one that stands out here. That’s a website in the health and beauty niche, and it’s monetized with Amazon. It’s 1 year old, so it’s got a little bit of age on it, and it says it’s making $47 a month.

Now obviously at this point, I’m not doing due diligence. What I’m showing you is just the initial scan of the Flippa results to show, “Okay, these are the ones that I would click into to research further, because they’re about a particular topic.” There’s lots of money in fitness, there’s lots of content that you can write in fitness, so that’s one that we would go, “Okay, let’s have a look at it.”

Sites in Technology

Liz: We tend to avoid the tech ones, because tech moves so fast. There’s a lot of content you can create in tech websites. This is the thing – you don’t have to have an interest in the particular topic, because we have content writers who write the content.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about it – we have owned a few tech blogs and they’ve done very well! I haven’t managed those ones, Matt’s been managing those ones. There is definitely money to be made in tech, so you might have a look and see what that one is about…

Good Gaming Desk is a beautiful review site. They’ve got AdSense on at the moment. But if it’s gaming desks, I would be putting Amazon or other affiliate products on there. This one’s just at $6 at the moment, so it could be some fun – especially as a beginner.

Online Business For Sale Flippa

General Knowledge Content Sites

Liz: Club Enigma is a general knowledge site, and they’re monetized by AdSense. These sites are harder, because people aren’t particularly looking for that content. What we’re looking for is topics that people would look up on Google, so people are already searching for the question.

We’re looking for sites that answer questions and solve problems. But these general knowledge sites, you generally need a heck of a lot of content on there to make them profitable. So we tend to avoid those ones.

Club Enigma website for sale on Flippa

Amazon Affiliate Sites

Liz: I would much prefer this one, Best Massage Chair Guide. It’s monetized with Amazon at the moment. But, what I’d be thinking is, “Could I get other affiliate offers on there?

Actually, if you watch one of our success stories, Lisa, that’s what she’s done really well. She’s broadened the monetizations of her passive income websites. She bought a site for $2,000, and it’s now making $7,000 a month. She’s just gone direct to the product manufacturers (or the better affiliate offers), and now gets a much higher affiliate commission than the original owner did on the website. So, that’s the sort of thing we do to reno these sites.

Passion Niches

Liz: We’ve got Bowling OS, so that’s a really nice passionate niche, the sporting niche. So I might go in and have a look at that one.

Pet Niche

Liz: Pet Hair Guards. Yep, anything in the pet niche, that’s always worth a look!

Creative Niches

Liz: Hello Creative Sisters. I’d have to look at that, maybe if it’s creative, like things for kids or something like that. But a creativity blog isn’t always something we’d be interested in. Now that’s not to say you can’t make money out of it, of course. I’m just showing you what our strategy and what our filters would get you.

Looking for larger opportunities when Buying Websites on Flippa

Liz: Now, obviously going and finding some bigger websites is fun too! You can increase your existing filter parameters. You can take off your $3,000 restriction and put that up to say $1,000 a month. Maybe change the filter to show anything making from $500 to $1,000 a month, just to have a look around.

That’s good fun, because that shows you what’s in the marketplace and what people are making out of these types of websites.

Additional Filter Tip: Search for website listings that are close to ending

Liz: But let’s go back to our zero to $50 (or let’s say $100). One of the things you can do is scroll down and have the listings that have only got a couple of hours left. You can see what the bids are at right near the end of the auction, and you might pick yourself up a little bargain.

So, you can see there we’ve got $1,000. Tattoos is tricky as well, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the tattoos sites. Although that’s 4 years old, it’s got some good age on it. That’s making a little bit of money, so maybe worth having a look.

There’s other ones here for $160, $280, $500 etc. So, here’s where you can potentially pick yourself up a nice bargain. Now I’m not looking at the topics there, of course. But that’s just another way to search on Flippa in order to get that very first website for you under your belt.

There are Plenty of Opportunities out there when Buying Your First Website on Flippa

Liz: We’ve got lots and lots of students who get that first website for under $300 – $500. They renovate the site and end up selling them for thousands of dollars. Actually, if you see Yvette and Jasmine’s story, they bought their small passive website for $320 and sold it for $6,000. And they made $200 – $300 per month out of it as well!

So, there’s lots and lots of opportunities out there. And this is what we love about the Flippa marketplace – there’s lots of opportunities for when you’re starting out.

Okay, so now you know how we do that search for those websites to buy on Flippa. Especially those websites when you’re first getting into this marketplace, and into this world of investing and renovating websites.

If you want to check out more, make sure you watch some of the other videos on our channel. We’ve got heaps of great information here for you, and also check out those success stories of our students and what they’ve been doing. It’ll really open your eyes to the sort of deals that are being done, that you can buy, renovate and then sell or keep websites for a really nice cashflow.

buying websites for profit matt liz raad

Liz Raad
Liz Raad

Liz Raad is a website investor, Angel Investor and leading educator on Digital Investments, and is recognised as the Australian expert in buying, renovating and selling profitable websites and businesses. Connect with Liz on Facebook, or LinkedIn.