how to buy a website

Are you wondering how to buy websites online? Many businesses choose to buy an existing website or online business that is already generating a profit instead of starting from scratch. Many business owners know how to start their own business website, but aren't sure how to buy one! If you are looking to purchase an existing website, check out our step-by-step guide to buying a website and avoiding common scams. For more information on marketing services and resources, contact the experts at Profitworks now! 


Why Should I Buy An Existing Website?

This world of business is extremely competitive. Did you know that 80% of businesses fail within the first year? Starting your business (and your website) from scratch can take a lot of time, effort, energy, and know-how.

Not every great business owner knows all the ins and outs of creating and running an attractive and user-friendly website. Purchasing an existing, established website will cost more upfront, but means you can skip many of these steps and jump straight to making a profit.

Websites go up for sale for a number of reasons -  an owner leaves the business, needs to make quick extra cash, or is ready to retire. Whatever the reason, business websites go up for sale all the time! If you're interested in purchasing one, check out the how-to-buy guide below. 

Keep in mind that buying an existing website is not the same as buying a domain name. When people refer to buying a domain name, they usually mean buying a brand new website and domain. It is more like buying the rights to the name of your website (for example, is a domain name). Buying an existing website is a more complicated business transaction between a buyer and a seller that includes buying an existing domain. 


How To Buy A Website - A Step By Step Guide


If you think buying a website is right for you, don't miss out on this step-by-step guide! Buying a website doesn't have to be a complicated process. These simple steps from First Quarter Finance will put you get well on your way to purchasing your dream site! 


Step 1: Figure out how much the website is worth 

Unfortunately, websites don't come with an easy-to-read price tag! You will have to figure out how much the website you've set your eyes on is actually worth before you make an offer. You want to ensure as quickly as possible that you can actually afford the site before dreaming about something that is just too expensive. 

Simpling typing into Google, "How much is [website] worth?" will not yield any reliable results. First Quarter Finance recommends using site worth tools, such as Keep in mind that even when using the most accurate tools, you might not yield perfect results. It is also recommended that once you figure out a relatively accurate monthly income number, multiply it by 10-20. That number should be your offer!


Step 2: Contact the owner and discuss the terms of your agreement

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Once you have done extensive research and have your fair offer in mind, it's time to contact the business owner and try to make a deal. Most websites will have a contact page right with a contact form, it may be easiest to contact right from that page.

If a direct email address is listed, you may choose to write an email. Either way, ensure your email is professional, you include relevant contact information, and ensure that you make it clear that you are a serious buyer. 

If the owner agrees to sell you their website, you will also need to discuss the terms of your agreement. This process could be quick, or it may require some back and forth. It's important that you both leave feeling comfortable and satisfied, so take the extra time to work through any potential problems right away! 


Step 3: Exchange multiple pieces of contact information

As a precaution, it's a good idea to exchange multiple pieces of contact information, such as alternative email addresses or phone numbers. If you are communicating through the website or to a company email address, if the sale goes through, these contact points could become disconnected! To keep the website-buying process as smooth as possible, ensure you exchange important contact info as soon as possible.


Step 4: Ask the owner to send you all files and databases

Buying a website includes gaining access to, well, everything! When the owner sends you over all of this information as well as all related files and databases, you know they are a serious seller and are not trying to scam you. If you run into problems at this point in the transfer, such as the owner refusing to send you important files, you may need to step back and reconsider the sale. 


Step 5: Pay for the website

You will have come to an agreement with the owner about what, how, and when to pay. Many transactions are two-part, meaning there is the first payment after one step, such as gaining files. Then, there is a final payment after everything is complete. Many business owners choose to pay via online sources such as PayPal or 


Final Steps 


After you have made your first payment installation, there will be a lot of technical steps you and the business owner must follow in order to transfer over the website to you. Gaining the domain is the most important. See below for these steps. 

  • Get the owner to unlock and assign their domain 
  • Get important login information from the owner such as: EPP code and login credentials for the CMS  
  • Use the provided EPP code to gain access to the domain and add the site to your host
  • Lock the domain 
  • Update all Whois information - this is a legal and necessary step 
  • Once you have access, ensure all of their previous ads are off of the website
  • Takeover or create a new Google Analytics account - ensure you remove previous codes 
  • Ask the previous owner if there are any related social media accounts or subscriber lists and if so, get login information

Once you have done all this and you can confirm that everything is working as it should be, you are free to release the final payment. At that point, congratulations, the website will be officially yours! After this step, you can customize the website and change any design details you may want to implement to help with even more conversions. 

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How Can I Avoid Scams When Buying A Website?


 Just like buying anything online, you need to be careful to avoid scams when buying a website. Some of the most common scams include:

  • Not getting your website - Tools such as PayPal were never really designed for purchasing non-physical items such as a website. Even sites such as Escrow, which specialize in domain transfers, only focus on the domain, not the entire site. Unfortunately, scammers will take full advantage of this. Some scammers will let you pay and then vanish. You may even receive a nice zipped up file, only to realize there is nothing of use inside. 
  • Misrepresenting data - Another common scam occurs after everything seemingly goes well. Payments go through, sellers are quick to send you all the necessary information...but where is all your traffic? Scammers often misrepresent data and statistics, making their site seem full of relevant traffic when in reality, it is not.
  • Page rank scam - Did you know that page ranks can be faked? It's best to never rely on page rank alone when buying a website to avoid these types of scams. 

So, now that you know about all of these scams, how can you avoid them? Neil Patel on provides some great tips on avoiding website sale scams. See below to learn how to keep yourself safer! 

  • Do extensive research - Research will be your best friend when buying a website! When you are in talks of buying, ensure you double check things such as website traffic via a third party, such as Google Analytics. If you suspect that numbers are off, trust your gut and continue researching.
  • Don't focus on page ranks - As mentioned above, page rank scams are common. If you become too fixated on page rank, you may find yourself dealing with a scammer. Neil Patel recommends looking at a cached version of the website to see its true ranking. 
  • Look for growth potential - When you buy a website, you want to ensure that it has easy growth potential. That generally means buying a website with an already large number of active monthly users - usually at least 100,000.


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