If you’ve been sitting on the fence about selling your website, maybe it’s time to talk to a website broker.

Why?

Because we’re seeing huge multiples right now for these simple content website sales.

But – we’re also seeing many sellers leaving a lot of money on the table by not setting up their website properly for sale.

Joe Burrill started out as a student of eBusiness Institute and is now a leading website broker for selling websites on Flippa. He’s now sold over $2 million worth of websites.

Read the transcript or watch the video below to learn how to set your website up for success and earn maximum profit from your website sale.

Hear from Joe Burrill why small content sites are a hot part of the marketplace right now and how you can make maximum profit when selling your website on Flippa…

Matt Raad: Hi, everyone. Today we’re very lucky to have Joe Burrill with us. Joe is a past student of eBusiness Institute and is now the world’s leading website broker on the Flippa platform.

Joe Burrill: Yes, for the last two years in a row.

Matt: And for some of you who might not know Joe, we have been doing regular interviews with him since 2012.

Joe: That’s right. It’s been 10 years now.

Matt: Yes, and that’s when you started with us. I remember you left university, starting out as a clerk. Who were you working for back then?

Joe: Queensland Transport and Government.

Matt: And you were pretty keen to quit that job back then?

Joe: Yes, but it set me up quite well. They made it nice and easy for me to transition into this full-time entrepreneur role.

Matt: Yes, into buying and selling websites. So, we’re going to have a look at that today. And of course, now you are one of the world’s leading website brokers.

For our readers who may not realise, Joe lives the laptop lifestyle. He doesn’t live in Australia anymore. He lives in Sweden with his partner Nat, and they have a beautiful little bub now, called Leo. They come out to Australia once a year to visit family.

And so, Joe’s agreed to come here today and give us all a bit of an update on what’s happening out there in the marketplace. I think it’s particularly relevant for those in our community who are buy or build websites, particularly small content sites. This is Joe’s specialty, and it’s a hot part of the marketplace.

Joe Burrill has sold over $2 million worth of website deals with Flippa

Matt: So, Joe, over the last few years, you must have had a pretty interesting time going through COVID living in Sweden, but also in this website space. What have you seen happen in the buying and selling website space in the last few years?

Joe: So, specifically in the website space, there was a bit of a concerning dip, mostly with the more E-Commerce style businesses, with the supply chain etc.

But from my experience, there was very little impact to the content businesses. In fact, if you look back two years, multiples have actually gone up.

For me, I started my brokerage business about a year before the COVID outbreak happened. And to be honest, I barely noticed! That was me personally and my experience.

But there were businesses that I was representing that did get impacted. Like I said earlier, they were E-Commerce businesses.

Small content websites are still selling for up to 48x multiple

Matt: Joe, you specialise in selling content sites, just like what we teach at eBusiness Institute. I know you’re a bit humble about this, but you said you’d done over $1 million in website deals in our previous interview. What’s that figure up to now?

Joe: It’s definitely well over $2 million now. I’m not sure the exact number because I also sell some websites privately. But I can tell you that on the Flippa platform, it is over $2 million as of today.

Matt: That’s cool. And you just sold one today, didn’t you?

Joe: I did. One sold this morning at $63,000.

Matt: It was a really cool content site. And what sort of a multiple did you sell that website for?

Joe: This website sold for 4 x yearly profit. That’s around 48 x monthly multiple.

Matt: This is why I asked Joe here today to give you some insights. Joe is a legend at selling smaller websites for absolutely phenomenal multiples. That is Joe’s superpower.

Actually, that’s how Joe became a broker. Joe was introduced to the CEO of Flippa at one of our events. We said to the CEO at the time, “Joe’s superpower is selling these websites. He buys sites, fixes them up and sells them.”

Joe’s success came from learning how to buy, renovate and sell websites

Matt: That was always your strategy, wasn’t it, Joe? Flipping websites?

Joe: That’s right. It was rare that I held a business for more than one year.

Matt: That’s how you started out. And so, because Joe was so good at it, Flippa said to him, “Well, do you want to become a broker?” And the rest is history.

You’ve probably already seen a number of our interviews on this blog, where Joe has helped a lot of our students sell websites for extremely successful outcomes, very high multiples.

One example is Nathan and Alexa’s site. That was a legendary outcome.

Joe: That was probably the most famous one. The multiple we got on that site. Gosh. It was a few years ago now. But we sold it for 58 x multiple. It was pretty high up there.

Matt: A small content site made $300-$400 a month. And I think you sold it for $17,000, didn’t you?

Joe: Yes.

Matt: So, we’re pretty proud about that one.

The strategy that Joe used to sell a site for 100x multiple

Matt: What people don’t know (and you don’t have to say the specific sites), but behind the scenes, Joe has sold some of his own sites for very similar multiple. You’ve had some phenomenal success. Liz and I have been super impressed with some of these content sites you’ve sold over the years!

Joe: Well, I almost don’t want to mention the best one because the result was so ridiculous! Like, you can’t expect it to be repeated even today. And this was around five years ago.

Matt: Yes. When multiples weren’t that high.

Joe: It was literally over 100x, and I was thinking, “What is going on?!”

We can talk about the strategy I used to get the multiple that high if you like, because this one resulted in a bidding war.

I used Flippa’s auction system and started the auction at $1 with no reserve. So, the highest bidder was going to win. And towards the end, they just kept on bidding.

Matt: It was a good site.

Joe: It was a good site, and it was in the tech niche. Both buyers really wanted it, so it just went crazy high. I use this strategy a lot, especially with businesses valued under USD $20,000. It works very well because there are a lot of buyers around that price range.

If you don’t do these 2 things when selling a website, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table…

Matt: So, Joe has shared with our community at a private event that this is a key strategy he uses and one of the reasons for his success. When he sells a small site, he doesn’t set a reserve. But there is a caveat to that, isn’t there?

Joe: Well actually, there’s two.

One, obviously, the business has to be good. The website must be well built. There should be no hidden skeletons or anything that can fire up the comments section.

The second thing is to make sure all your ducks are in a row. Make sure that everything is well listed, documented, and your profit and loss statement is very clear and can be backed up with documentation.

For example, if you’re saying it’s made $550 in February, then you need to have a screenshot that says, “This is how it made 550 in February.”

Matt: And you need to have a process, you need to know what you’re doing. I think that’s what you were saying to our students. It’s not as simple as just throwing it onto Flippa and not setting a reserve. There’s a process involved.

Joe: You will not get a good price if you do that.

Matt: That’s right. You need to know what you’re doing.

Why websites under $50,000 are selling like hotcakes right now…

Matt: Please understand that Joe has built up a lot of experience over the years. He has a lot of momentum behind what he does on the Flippa platform. As a result, he’s got a lot of buyers that now follow him.

Joe, what would you say is the sweet spot for these smaller sites?

Joe: Typically, my sweet spot would be valuations of between USD $10,000 – $50,000.

Matt: And the market’s hot for those at the moment. There are lots and lots of buyers.

Joe: Yes, there are lots of buyers around that price range.

How Joe used flipping websites to create his laptop lifestyle and quit his job within 3 years

Matt: So, Joe, when you started studying with us at eBusiness Institute 10 years ago in 2012. How did you get started? You were doing this part-time and also working full-time.

Joe: Yes, so I worked on websites on the side. I started with a nest egg of around AUD $10,000 which helped me start the process.

My focus was mostly on flipping websites. I would buy websites, hold them for about a year and then sell them.

Matt: Most of our community knows that Liz and I are all about long-term buying and holding passive websites. But website flipping is where you buy websites, do simple renovations, and then sell them relatively quickly, like within 12 months or so.

And Joe was hugely successful at flipping websites for profit.

Joe: Yes, I just did that a few times. And eventually, the deals got a bit bigger, basically just doing the same thing.

Joe reveals the best type of websites to flip

Matt: Do you remember some of your first flips? What did the numbers look like back then? And what price range were you buying websites for?

Joe: The first few websites were around $1,000. Towards the end, I bought websites for between $5,000 and $10,000. So, there were definitely smaller ones.

These days, it’s a bit harder to find a good deal around that price range because there are so many more players.

Matt: Now you’ve got to pay the higher price to get the good ones. Especially if they’re listed with you.

Joe: Exactly.

Matt: You’ve got to be prepared to pay more.

Matt: And were these websites all in standard niches? Were they always content sites?

Joe: Yes, I always did this on content sites. I never did any E-Commerce businesses.

Matt: No, we don’t teach that.

Joe: But I broker E-Commerce businesses occasionally.

Matt: And did you quit your job to do this full time? What was the process? Did you just quit it suddenly one day?

Joe: No. working for the government made it pretty easy.

When I first started the Champions course in 2012, I dropped to four days a week. And then, as the business started to get a bit better, I dropped down to three days a week. Then in 2015 I quit. So, it took me three years.

Matt: So, three years to quit. There you go.

How Joes’ mindset allowed him to achieve his first $1,000 passive income online

Matt: And one of the things that always stood out to me (I was really impressed with) when I was coaching you was your mindset. Liz and I teach a lot about mindset. We like to teach goal setting and Joe really dialled that in. He followed exactly what we said and set these goals.

And what I love about you, Joe, is you would say to me, “Matt, I’ve set this goal,” and you’d show me your goals. And then you would just be ticking them off. And sometimes they took a bit longer to achieve, some even took three years.

Joe: Definitely.

Matt: It all sounds easy. It just rolls off the tip of the tongue. Joe looks like this dead-set legend. But I remember at the time, there were frustrations. You wanted it to go a lot quicker than three years.

Joe’s goal was to achieve $4,000 profit per month…

Joe: I remember the very first number in that very first seminar was $4,000 profit per month. And that was a goal for a very long time. And to be honest, I didn’t achieve it for quite a long time. In fact, it’s only just been recently, in the last three years ago or so.

So, because I was constantly flipping websites, I kept getting close to my goal and then dropping back down.

Matt: Yes, you were getting the passive income up to achieve that goal. Setting up your first passive income goal is a great idea.

“One of the things we set as a benchmark for all our students is to set your first $1,000 a month.” – Matt Raad, eBusiness Institute

Then you might start stepping it up to $3,000 – $5,000 a month etc.

It’s interesting to hear that many people we speak to have been doing this for a while. They all say that their initial passive income goal is around $3,000 – $4,000 a month. That’s the financial freedom number for a lot of people.

Joe: Exactly. And that was my thought, “What can I live on without needing to do anything?”

Matt: So, you realised you could pretty comfortably live off $3,000 – $4,000 a month?

Joe: Yes.

…Joe now comfortably makes over $8,000 from selling websites

Matt: And through the process of flipping these sites, you had some amazing success. I remember one of them you sold for $8,000, and you were pretty happy about that because it was a lot of money to you back then.

Joe: Well, of course. If I buy a site for $1,000 and I sell it for $8,000, plus all the profit in between, that’s pretty good!

Matt: Fast forward to today, you probably think, “$8,000, well, that’s just normal.” You’re selling sites for that amount all the time.

Joe: Well now, selling a business at $8,000 would be a small business for me to broker.

How can you achieve a higher sale price when selling a website?

Matt: So, what’s happening out there in the market, Joe?

What are some of the cool tips that you’ve seen work really well for people in terms of monetising sites? You were sharing with our students earlier a cool little strategy that you’ve noticed.

Joe: If your plan is to build (or buy) and then sell it quickly, a strategy that can be thought about would be leaving some room for opportunity for the buyer (i.e., some room for growth).

That way, when you go to sell it, the buyers will see, “Oh, well, it could be earning so much more.” And occasionally, they will overestimate how much that potential is and offer you more as a result of that.

As an example, say you build an Amazon Affiliate business that’s monetized with Amazon Associates, but you don’t put AdSense on there. You’re only using the one monetization method. Typically, these will sell for higher multiples because it’s very easy to just put AdSense on there and instantly add 20% more revenue.

Obviously, that’s not always going to be the case. It’s not always a sure-fire way. For example, if you prioritise user experience over profit, you wouldn’t put AdSense on there because then you’re just collaborating the page.

But as a buyer, if you are trying to make a return (you want profit), then putting AdSense on there means buying the business for an investment and trying to make your money back quicker.

And so, having that opportunity-growth option there for them is a super quick, easy win, and can mean that the multiple can get super high.

Why using a website broker will help you to increase your profit potential when selling a website

Matt: So, that’s something that you’ve observed doing all these deals, like lots of deals. This is really important advice for our readers. It’s why you need to speak to a broker (particularly someone like Joe) if you’re selling a small site, and thinking, “How can I maximize my sale price?”

So, what Joe’s saying is if you’re going to do a quick flip (like what he used to do), then just monetize it with one monetization method – like Amazon Affiliate offers or Adsense. You’ve noticed they tend to get much higher multiples?

Joe: Yes. The other thing about those is that they are much simpler.

Matt: That’s true.

Joe: It’s easy to take over, you’ve only got one set of things to transfer over.

Matt: So, from a buyer point of view, they go, “This is cool. I can buy this; it doesn’t matter what the multiple is. At least I know I can fix it.”

Joe: And it’s beginner-friendly as well.

Matt: That’s a really cool tip.

How to maximise your website profits and prepare for a future sale

Matt: On the other hand, if you’re someone like our typical students holding these passive websites for assets, what would you recommend? Would you stick both monetization methods on there?

Tip 1: Increase Monetisation Methods

Joe: If you’re going to hold it for a long period of time, you want to be making as much as you can from the content and the traffic you’re getting. So, you should be putting AdSense on there in addition to affiliate offers. You want to maximize your profits.

To be honest, in most cases, that’s also a good approach to have when you’re going to sell it. If I can see that it’s quite under monetized, I will often tell clients, “Maybe you should work on it a bit more, add some things, and then come back to me in a few months when the profit’s higher.”

Matt: Would that be one of the quick turnarounds that you do for people to get their sites ready for sale? I know it depends on the situation…

Joe: Yes, I have done it before.

Matt: And have you seen it work well?

Joe: I had one example where the site was clearly under monetised. It was literally full of review articles about products that were getting traffic, but they weren’t even linking through to Amazon. So I said, “Come on, you should fix that first and then we’ll sell.”

That’s more of the obvious thing we see, and you can still come across these for sale all the time. Instead of coming to me, if this person just listed it themselves, well, that’s something that anyone can pick up. So, they’re out there.

Matt: Yes, the deals are out there.

Tip 2: Clean Up Website Content

Matt: And for our reader out there, the most standard fix ups that we recommend is around content. What are your thoughts on fixing website content?

Joe: Other than the obvious of just creating more content, it’s also important to go through the content that’s already on the site and audit it.

Match up popular articles with Google Analytics, and see which ones are performing well. Sometimes you can combine articles and increase the traffic on the ones that are performing well quickly and easily.

Matt: And then it’s just adding ongoing content.

When you look across all these sites when listing them, you see all their expenses. 9 times out of 10, is it just content?

Joe: Yes, if it’s a content site, the main expense will always be content. Unless they’re writing it themselves.

Matt: Well, now there’s a trick. You need to ask the seller about that. That’s a really good website due diligence process that you need to check – where are they getting their content from?

Why Joe Burrill prefers to work with content websites

Matt: So, content is super important. And Joe, you are like us; we all love content websites. I know you sell content sites and E-Commerce sites as well. What are your thoughts going forward into the future of content sites?

Joe: Well, if the trend continues, it’s just going to keep going up and up until it matches traditional businesses. Maybe even be beyond that.

It’s difficult to see. No one has a crystal ball. But I know that content sites have always sold more than E-Commerce businesses.

Matt: That’s a good point. And for anyone starting out, you would say stick to the basics, just like content sites?

Joe: Well, what you teach is pretty much spot on. I mean, that’s my experience. So, of course, that’s what I’m going to recommend. They’re easier to run than E-Commerce businesses as well. There are fewer headaches, and you don’t have to worry about advertising campaigns.

The sale price of content site multiples is increasing…

Matt: In terms of the multiples you’re currently seeing in the marketplace, what’s the standard you’re selling a website for?

Joe: Obviously, it depends greatly on the quality of the business. But assuming it’s just a basic average quality, we’re looking at between 25 and 35x the monthly profit. Yearly, you’d just multiply that by 12.

That’s essentially what you’d be looking at. The one that I mentioned before that sold earlier today sold for 48x.

Matt: That’s because it was sold through Joe.

Joe: It’s a good business as well. That helps.

Matt: By the way, when I looked at it, my first comment to you was, “Oh, wow. The buyer actually got a good deal on that. That’s a good site.”

Joe: Of course. And it had diverse revenue streams, good traffic, and was in a good niche. It ticked many, many boxes.

Matt: I think for both the seller and the buyer, that was a really nice outcome for that particular listing. And it was a great niche. Like you said, it ticked all the boxes, so that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for.

How to make it a no-brainer for the buyer to pay top dollar for your website

Matt: So, there’s one big, final tip to share, Joe. For all our readers thinking of selling their content site, a big strategy is to bring on the writer as part of the sale.

“The easier you can make it for the buyer to take over the business, the better the outcome” – Joe Burrill, Just Website Brokerage

Joe: Anything you can think of to make it easier for the buyer is going to increase the amount that you sell your website for. That could also be something like increased support.

One example I gave recently was to offer 10 articles (or a month’s worth of articles etc.). That just makes sure that the buyer has that first period of managing the business sorted. Then they can take it over once they feel more comfortable and see the money’s coming in, etc.

But yes, of course, if you’re selling a content site, one of the things you need is content. If the buyer has to go and find a content writer, that is a barrier to being able to operate the business. Obviously, it’s harder if you’re the one writing the content, but like I said, you can then do the whole “I’ll offer you 10 articles as a bonus.”

Matt: It’s about adding massive value to the sale process by providing ongoing content for the potential buyer.

How to contact Joe Burrill for your next Website Sale

Matt: Hopefully now, you can see the importance (and the power) of using a broker like Joe, who’s a legend at doing this. He knows all the best strategies for getting maximum sale price for websites, particularly in that sweet spot of up to $50,000 – $100,000.

It is a hot market right now for content sites in that price range. So, if you’re thinking of buying or particularly selling a website in that space and you want to speak to a great broker, speak to the world’s best here, Joe Burrill. And how can people contact you, Joe? If they want to get a hold of you.

Joe: The easiest way is to just go to my brokering website, which is justwebsitebroker.com. And if you’ve got a website you want to sell, I typically sell businesses that are earning around $300 per month profit on average, and above of course.

Matt: That’s your minimum size.

Joe: If you’re a buyer and you’re interested in just seeing websites for sale, I have a list that you can join as well on the website. You can sign up there. I don’t sell all of the businesses I list on Flippa, so you’ll also get access to the ones that I sell privately through the list.

Matt: Awesome. It might be an alternative way to find some great private website deals as well.

Thank you so much, Joe, for coming on today to share some insights about buying and selling websites with our audience.

Joe: My pleasure.

Learning More About Buying Websites on Flippa

To learn about buying websites on Flippa, read these articles:

If you want to talk to Joe Burrill about your website buying and selling needs, you can contact him at Just Website Brokerage.


Matt Raad
Matt Raad

Matt Raad is a website investor, Angel Investor and leading educator on Digital Asset Investments, and is recognised as the Australian expert in buying, renovating and selling profitable websites and businesses. Find him on Facebook, LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.