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How I Sold a Niche Website for 21K with Empire Flippers

I recently published a case study around a very small niche website that generated good revenue within a short time-frame without doing any backlink campaigns. After much thinking I decided to sell this affiliate website with Empire Flippers.

Read on to find out more about this website, my reasons to sell the site and my experience with Empire Flippers.

>> Check out the website listing on Empire Flippers.
 

Why Did I Sell the Website?

As you can read in this case study, this particular website performed really well. With a strong focus on keywords, site structure and on-page SEO, this website generated 23K in Amazon income in its first 9 months. I did zero link-building.

In March 2017 however, Amazon changed their fee schedule which had a big impact on the site. Commission went from (max) 8% to 3%. In addition, I noticed quite a few big competitors popping up in the second half of 2017 which had an impact on the rankings.

Throughout 2017 though, the site still did very well and earned me a good side income. And with the domain slowly ageing, the site would still have a lot of potential for growth. But my portfolio of websites was too big for me to spend enough time on this site.

In order to get the website back up in the rankings and knock out the competition, new content had to be published on a regular basis. And I simply didn’t have the time for that anymore because my focus is on my other websites. So I made the decision to sell the website.

Why Empire Flippers?

There are several website brokers out there that you can use to help sell your website. Most Internet marketers are familiar with Flippa and Empire Flippers as two of the biggest brokers.

Option 1: Flippa

For me it was clear right from the start that I didn’t want to sell the site through Flippa. If you’re a regular visitor of the Flippa marketplace you will know that it has a lot of garbage websites for sale.

In addition, Flippa tends to attract scammers, simply because Flippa doesn’t do much vetting. What you see is what you get. Well, not really, because all too often sellers make false statements about their traffic and income.

I really did not want to go through Flippa, primarily because I simply didn’t want to deal with scammers. The other reason is that I didn’t want the site to be auctioned in public, with the domain and everything visible to the everyone. This attracts a huge amount of copycats which wouldn’t benefit me nor the potential buyer.

The other reason I didn’t want to go through Flippa is because I honestly don’t think you can get the best price for your site there. It’s cheap to list the site, but I often see sites being sold for less than what I believe they are worth. Or worse, they don’t get sold at all.

Option 2: Empire Flippers

With Empire Flippers I wouldn’t have to deal with these issues and risks. The vetting process at Empire Flippers is quite strict which weeds out the scammers and also attracts professional buyers and sellers.

In addition, Empire Flippers hides the URL from the public and can only be obtained if you’re willing to pay a 5% deposit. Again, this weeds out most of the scammers and copycats.

Sell website with Empire Flippers

 

The Process

Okay, so I decided to sell my website with Empire Flippers. Let’s go through the process step by step and see how it worked out for me.

1. Submitting the Site to Be Listed for Sale on Empire Flippers

The first step was to submit my site to be listed for sale. As I was a first-time seller on Empire Flippers, I had to pay $297 for this service. For any future listings I would only need to pay $97.

This may sound like a hefty fee, but Empire Flippers will need to do their initial checks in order to determine whether the site is legit and is a sell-able asset. It only makes sense that they want to get compensated for this service.

Empire Flippers required me to submit the following initial information about me and the website:

  1. The URL of the business
  2. Date the business was started
  3. Date the business first made money
  4. Monetization methods
  5. Average net profit (per month) over the last 3/6/12 months
  6. Website tracking installed
  7. The niche/industry the business is in
  8. Reasons for selling the business

Once I submitted the payment and answered all these questions, Empire Flippers created a support ticket on my behalf. This ticket is called a “First Time Seller” support ticket.

2. Vetting the Site

A couple of days later, Empire Flippers asked me to fill out a P&L form with accompanying screenshots of Amazon reports of the previous 12 months, or as far back as I could possibly go.

In addition, I had to answer a new set of questions with more details around the business. The aim of these questions was to get more clarity around things like link-building services, PBN’s, domain name switches, hours per week spent on the business, any employees, social media accounts, assets included in the sale, etc.

I then had to grant Empire Flippers read access to Google Analytics and my Amazon Associates account. Based on all the information provided, Empire Flippers would then create a vetting report based on which the Vetting Supervisor decides whether to go ahead with listing and for what sale price.

Luckily my website was approved at a sale price of $21,555.52 based on a 12-month average income and a 25x multiple valuation factor. My own valuation of the site was similar, so I happily gave my approval to go ahead with the listing.

Website valuation stats:
 
Average monthly revenue = $10,375.60 / 12 = $864.63
Average monthly expenses = $28.95 / 12 = $2.41
Average monthly net profit = $864.63 – $2.41 = $862.22
Sales price = $862.22 * 25 = $21,555.52
 

3. Listing the Site

A few days later the support ticket was updated with a message saying that the listing was going to go live on the Empire Flippers marketplace at 10AM that day.

I was “warned” that the first couple of hours of a listing being live would be quite busy and that it would be good for me to be standby in case of any immediate Google Analytics access requests by depositors. As it was midnight in my timezone, I decided to go to bed and just set the alarm early.

Empire Flippers closed the “First Time Seller” ticket and created a new support ticket on my behalf. This ticket is called an “Active Listing” support ticket.

Empire Flippers listing

 

4. Selling the Site

When I woke up early the next morning, the site was sold! There were no questions, negotiations, or anything else that required my input.

The eventual buyer paid the 5% refundable deposit, did his own quick due diligence and transferred the full sale price to Empire Flippers. And all that happened while I was asleep.

I was also surprised to see around 20 Google Analytics access requests in that support ticket. This means that all these people paid that 5% deposit and as such were considered serious buyers.

This actually did blow me away. I expected perhaps a few people to show some level of interest, but not that many in such a short time-frame so quickly after the listing went live.

5. Migrating the Site

As soon as the site was sold, Empire Flippers closed the “Active Listing” ticket and created a new support ticket on behalf of the seller with me included as a CC.

This ticket is called a “Migrations” support ticket and is used by all three parties – Empire Flippers, the buyer and me – to discuss the migration of the site and to keep track of the progress.

Having all parties involved in the very same support ticket actually works really well as it promotes transparency and any potential migration issues can be resolved promptly.

Hosting

The first step in the migration process was to move the website to the buyer’s hosting account.

Both me and the buyer had to provide access to our hosting accounts so that the Empire Flippers migrations team could perform the actual migration. This also includes changing the Amazon affiliate links throughout the website.

Performing the actual website migration is part of the service that Empire provides to the seller and buyer. However, if you prefer, you can also do it yourself if you’re not comfortable handing out hosting account credentials to anyone.

Domain

When the migration was done and tested, it was time to transfer the domain to the buyer’s registrar. I had already handed over social media accounts to the new owner so the domain was the last step in the migration process.

The buyer then had to officially confirm that the website was fully migrated and that everything was working as expected. The buyer then authorizes the release of funds from Empire Flippers to me as the seller.

6. The Payout

Once the buyer gave his authorization to release the funds, Empire Flippers offered me a few options to receive the payout. These options were Bitcoin, ACH transfer, bank wire or TransferWise.

I chose a direct bank wire transfer, gave Empire Flippers my bank details, and the money was received 24 hours later.

Excellent service.

The entire process, from submitting the site to Empire Flippers up until receiving the sale proceeds in my bank account, took 29 days. Not bad at all.
 
 
 
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Final Thoughts

Selling websites can be a quite a nerve-wrecking process. Unlike selling a car or a house, selling a website means everything is virtual. You don’t see or know the potential buyers or brokers. Vetting the site, listing the site, communicating with the broker and buyer, migrating the site, receiving the payment, everything happens online.

This is convenient of course, but it can also create a degree of uncertainty. I highly recommend Empire Flippers as a broker. They communicate open and clearly, the process is streamlined and, most importantly, the funds are processed in a safe manner, for the seller as well as for the buyer.

 

Selling a niche website with Empire Flippers

 
AJ Mens
 

I have been running an online business since 2015 and I am using Blog Pioneer to help you achieve financial success online.

Comments 6 comments
Brian - August 9, 2018

Thanks for writing this blog post!

I have a few questions for you:

1) First, you wrote this in regards to calculating how much your website was worth:

“Average monthly revenue = $10,375.60 / 12 = $864.63”

I’m a little confused. Are you saying that your website made $10,375.60 per month? Or that’s how much you made for a full year, and thus you divided $10,375.60 by 12 (months) to get the average monthly revenue?

If it’s the latter, I understand. But if it’s the former, I don’t understand, so I just wanted to clarify.

2) And secondly, again just to be clear, you gave Empire Flippers access to your Amazon Associates account, and your Google Analytics account. How long did they need access to your account? And if you owned other websites that used Amazon Associates, how was Empire Flippers able to know which site was generating which income via Amazon Associates?

3) Lastly, did any potential buyers need access to your personal accounts (Google Analytics or Amazon Associates)? Or just Empire Flippers?

4) Ultimately, how long did it take for you to transfer the website to the new owner? And if you used any security for your website, was it difficult or challenging to remove the security or firewall protection on your site in order to transfer the website?

Thanks!

-Brian

Reply
    AJ Mens - August 9, 2018

    Thanks Brian!

    1) Yes it’s the latter. I should have used brackets haha, like so:
    Average monthly revenue = ($10,375.60 / 12) = $864.63

    There’s nothing spectacular about that income of course, but the purpose of this article is to describe the selling process via EF.

    2) Yes Empire Flippers had read access to both GA and Amazon Associates. From what I remember, they required access up until the site was handed over, to make sure the listing was correct up until that point. For example, if the listing were to be live for a couple of weeks or months, I would have had to add new traffic and revenue data and screenshots to the listing to keep things recent. Hope that makes sense.

    If you have multiple sites in one Amazon Associates account, you would typically have a different tracking ID (or ID’s) for each website. Of course, this is never 100% scam proof, but the people at Empire Flippers (and buyers as well) are smart enough to see through that and to work out whether the numbers make sense or not.

    3) Potential buyers who pay the deposit get read access to GA, but I didn’t have to grant anyone access because the site was already sold by the time I woke up in the early morning (I am AUS based).

    4) The transfer was handled by EF but you can also decide to do it yourself if you prefer. So both myself and the buyer had to give Empire Flippers access to our hosting accounts. I believe it took a couple of days to transfer the site. This also included changing all the tracking ID’s to what the new owner wanted them to be. Security wise, the new owner simply purchased an SSL certificate at his host and installed it after transfer. No firewall or anything like that.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
Angie - September 24, 2018

Hey AJ,

Thanks for your awesome post!

I am in the process of selling my site through Empire Flippers. They’re going to list it today, so I’m hoping all goes well. Would love to wake up tomorrow and get a notification the site’s sold!

It’s been nerve wracking as a first time seller. But yes, the EF team is pretty awesome. I didn’t mind paying the $297 fee just to get this kind of service.

All the best,
Angie

Reply
    AJ Mens - September 24, 2018

    Thanks Angie, that’s awesome, hopefully you will get a good price. Most websites listed on Empire Flippers sell very quickly!

    Reply
Adam - October 16, 2018

Thanks AJ! Jut a quick question – did the buyer use the 14 day inspection period? If so, was it ok handing over control of your site without actually getting any money?

Reply
    AJ Mens - October 16, 2018

    Hi Adam, as soon as the domain and site were handed over and everything was set up on the buyer’s hosting account, Empire Flippers simply requested the buyer to confirm that everything was working as expected and ask permission to release the funds to me as the seller. I didn’t mind handing over control at all, because the buyer would need to have a legitimate reason to cancel the sale and not release the funds. If there is no valid reason, then Empire Flippers would always release the funds to the seller. It’s like an escrow agreement and protects both the buyer and seller. In other words, if the site you’re selling is legit, there is no need to worry about not receiving the payout.

    Reply
 
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