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Thinking of retiring
Could I sell my website?

 10:17 am on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I reach retirement age this year and I am thinking of running down my one of my businesses, which is website design. I am also considering offering the related website for sale. It was established in 2001 and it attracts about 2,500 highly targeted visitors per week.

I am also involved in another business so I only spent a limited time on website design. My design skills are also limited and I often reject enquiries that it generates because they are over my head. It really does have potential as it was optimised for key phrases that attract people who genuinely need websites. Because I have not been using it to its potential the profit figures for the site look lower than they could be but I feel that it would be a good opportunity to generate more business for an established company or new business for a start up.

What are the opinions on this? Would it have any resale value and if so what is the best way to market it? I am not keen on using sites like Flippa. I think I would prefer to offer directly to other companies.



 12:37 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think you are right about not advertising it directly using such services. I always think a site can be devalued simply by being put up for sale in a public way.

Directly selling it may well be the best way. You may well have people who are already interested. People within the industry who know you are getting to that stage. It might be worth putting some feelers out to gauge opinion.



 1:09 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks Mack.

I don't have anyone who is interested and outside of forums such as this I don't have any connections in the business who are likely to be able to help. I would not really know where to put these feelers. I was thinking of looking down the results in Google, away from the top couple of pages and writing to likely candidates?

It's not just about money. The website is well established and I am totally confident that it would work for another company who would be able to monetise it better than I did. It would be a waste to just let it go.


 1:57 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

>>>>. It really does have potential

Be aware that potential is the reason people will buy the site, but it's not the reason they're going to pay more for it. The purchaser realizes the return on the potential, not the seller.

Expect a price based on your current income. If you want to increase the value before selling, increase the income by realizing the potential. Otherwise expect to use the potential simply as motivation for the purchaser to buy.

I wouldn't start selling a web design business on the web, I'd start by trying to sell it locally. Call some local shops, see if they have an interest, show them the revenue and the untapped leads.


 4:51 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Approaching a business direct reveals something about your identity. If you go through any kind of broker you'll pay their fees. nothing wrong with that, of course.

I'd certainly consider researching potential suitors.

If you do sell, you may need to employ a professional, such as an accountant or lawyer to oversee the process and to protect both parties in the event of a hiccup.


 11:56 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

You won't get much unless it actively generates. As I have told more than one person whom I was negotiating a purchase with; IF the POTENTIAL is so great, then sell only part of the site and become partners.

I rarely see anyone with a brain buying a site for more than 24x monthly revenue. And by revenue, I mean, profits after labor. As in; someone claims no expenses, but that someone spent 10 hours valued @ $10/hour on something and made $150? Then revenue is $50, not $150


 10:10 am on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

You won't get much unless it actively generates.
It's not an ecommerce website that actively generates anything other than enquiries. These can be dealt with (and generated) in any way the site owner wants. I would anticipate that a larger business would take the site in a different direction and make it work better than I could.

 2:51 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

it attracts about 2,500 highly targeted visitors per week.

You'll get something, but not much. Unless your site is an extremely profitable topic, you will get lowball offers and rightfully so. However, any offer is better than putting up a closed sign and getting nothing.


 7:54 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Could you change it to a directory of web developers in your niche and put Adsense on it? Or put some evergreen content on it related to web development and add Adsense?


 8:59 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

An alternative might be to ramp up the lead gen part of the site and work out a rev share model with another firm. Give them the lead, you take 20% or something.

I do a bit of this in reverse (come of my competitors send me business for locations they can't service) and I cut them in for 50% of the profit. That way nobody complains too much about what's worth more, the lead or the actual sale/service.

I don't normally do it the other way - send them business. My site privacy policy says I don't send their info to anyone so I don't. I have called folks in areas I don't service, had a chat to advise them on what they should buy and then if they give me explicit permission I'll have a competitor call them.

Which speaks to what we've discussed in other threads. I'm concluding a sale sent to me by a direct competitor, we're both going to clear a couple of grand from one sale because it was a real specialty sale. They're really more collaborators than competitors :).


 1:33 pm on Jan 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

@greenleaves, by definition, revenue is all the money coming in. What you are talking about is profit.

From my experience of looking for buyers for a site that was under-performing last year look for some one with a business (online or not) with a related business that would benefit. The best offers came from directly approaching people in the right niche - much as Mack suggested above.

I think the lead gen idea is good. The "buyer" takes a lot less risk, so will pay more.

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