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 as a broker.
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 was 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 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.
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:
- The URL of the business.
- Date the business was started.
- Date the business first made money.
- Monetization methods.
- Average net profit (per month) over the last 3/6/12 months.
- Website tracking installed.
- The niche/industry the business is in.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.