The market for buying and selling websites is huge and it is rapidly growing. Therefore, there are a lot of brokerages that pop up now. So, which is the best website broker?
Finding the best website broker
Being a website seller, I know how hard it can be to sell off one of your sites. While I’ve gotten used to selling my babies, I know exactly how important it is for a website seller that the website ends up in the right hands – and especially important is that you get a good valuation on your baby.
Nowadays we at Hekkup only sell sites via our waiting list, but this is only possible since we are lucky to have a group of buyers that like our way of building websites, and want to grow their own website portfolios with them.
I sold my first website in 2015 for $88,920 – which is a huge deal for a 17-year-old like I was at the time.
It was my first ever affiliate website and I got very lucky with the timing and the niche I chose. Anyhow, that’s for another story. Let’s get into what a website broker is, and what function they have in the sale process.
What is a website broker?
A website broker is a person, or a company, that help to connect the seller of a website with a buyer of a website, and they get paid a commission once a deal is settled (and usually a listing fee as well).
Therefore, they have an incentive to close as many deals as possible.
Here’s some things they do for a seller:
- Give the seller a valuation estimate to aim for
- Collect all necessary details for the buyer to do a proper due diligence
- Market their website (using their preferred channels)
- Present the website for the buyers
- Draft & present offers to the seller
- Help the seller negotiate with the buyer(s)
- Keep the sellers’ confidentiality
- All necessary paperwork
- After-sales support for both buyer & seller
Do I really need to use a broker?
The short answer is yes.
Of course, you can go and try and flip your business to every Tom, Dick and Harry but you most likely won’t get anywhere, and if you do you should consider setting up your own brokerage!
These website brokers provide an integral service to every webmaster, utilising their large client base to achieve sales. This is something most people just won’t have access too.
On top of the client base website brokers have access too, they also tend to achieve higher sales prices for digital properties than most people could achieve trying to self-sell. This is down to the properties often being vetted by brokers thus ensuring that the website is exactly as described, and any revenue claims are authentic.
All this ensures a safe environment for buyers and sellers alike with the vetting process providing additional confidence to the buyers whilst the escrow service used by website brokers also adds an extra layer of financial protection help shielding buyers form fraudulent activity.
Selecting a brokerage
When choosing the best website broker for you to sell your digital property, ensure you research in depth the brokers’ history. This well help you in avoiding potential scam brokerages who lure in customers with massive valuations and promises of quick sales.
When brokers overvalue your digital asset and promise you a sale by tomorrow it’s almost always too good to be true. I take that back, it’s ALWAYS too good to be true!
There is a reason brokers feel they can get away with this and it’s usually the fact that you have to pay them a massive fee upfront to list your website. This in turn causes you to remain loyal to that broker as you will most likely never see that money again and so your best bet is to just stick through it. You can avoid finding yourself in one of these scenarios with simple steps such as reading reviews online about the broker in question. Chances are if they have tried to lure you in, they have tried to lure other people in also who may or may not have something to say regarding their experience.
Something else you should look for when selecting your broker is the level of customer service you receive and the extent to which they are willing to go to answer questions.
Good customer service is always a MASSIVE plus. It is a testament to how hard they are working at securing your business and usually means that they will work equally hard to sell your website! Personally, I suggest asking a few questions via email, live chat and potentially calling them to assess the level of support they are willing to provide. If it’s inadequate simply disregard them because chances are they will do an inadequate job when selling your website.
Number of properties listed
The best website brokers also tend to have a large number of digital properties already listed. This gives an indicator as to the credibility and success of the site in question.
Think about it. If a website has a ton of listings its bound to be doing something right as it usually means it’s getting repeat customers, just like any other business that is successful.
On top of this brokers that have a large quantity of sellers also tend to have a large quantity of buyers. This is because brokers with lots of listings tend to become the go to place for buyers due to the fact that they have a large variety of options for buyers to search for. This ultimately results in more people viewing your listing, giving you a higher chance of conversion. This is ultimately an adaptation of supply side economics. The principal whereby an increase in supply will cause a subsequent increase in demand.
Although the above mentioned are the main things to look for when selecting your broker, you should also take into account how they value confidentiality. For those looking to sell a larger website or digital property this could be a deciding factor which determines which website broker receives your custom and which doesn’t.
Although there is no fool proof method of determining how well the website broker in question will value your privacy there are certain steps you can take to attempt to find out.
One of these steps is simply googling whether or not the website broker has had any data breaches recently. This will reflect the amount of security they place protecting the back end of their platform. Another would be contacting support and directly asking them how they protect confidentiality. Those that take confidentiality seriously will outline exactly how they do so, making it a big selling point for you to use them.
Top 3 Best Website Brokers 2020
1. Empire Flippers
So, why is Empire Flippers our number one pick?
The answer is simple: their track record, and the countless of reviews and testimonials about Empire Flippers is testament to how well they perform as a website brokerage. They go the extra mile in supporting you selling your website helping them achieve such glowing reviews.
One thing to bare in mind however is that Empire Flippers mainly focuses on higher end digital properties that already have established revenue. This is good for those with a money site as it has established itself as the frontrunner in regards to attracting consumers to buy pre-existing website businesses.
As a result, it has a large network of people it promotes your website too thus helping you get more listing views and an increased chance of conversion.
Empire Flippers has great support and is generally accurate in its’ valuations. Ultimately, they help you determine the final listing price however it is always a good idea to do your own research as to how much your website is worth and speak to as many different brokerages as possible regarding your valuation.
Empire Flippers operates on a fixed fee basis and charges $297 for the first listing and less than $100 for every listing after that. Although we warned against the fixed fee model above, we are confident in Empire Flippers ability to sell websites! It may even save you money if your site is valued high enough!
2. FE International
Started in 2010, FE International has come a long way as a website broker. It was founded by Thomas Smale, a familiar name if you have spent sometime on internet marketing forums like BHW.
The process of listing a website is very similar to other platforms. However, buying a website/an online business is not as easy as Empire Flippers or Flippa. This is understandable because they deal with businesses in the mid five to mid-seven range.
The funds are managed through Escrow hence ensuring the best protection to both buyers and sellers. Few documents like Letter of Intent (LOI) and Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) is required to go forward with the purchase.
These documents may seem like a hassle but it adds to the transparency of the process. A fee of 2.5% (up to $1000) is levied on the buyer to cover some of the administrative costs. In addition to this, 1% Escrow transaction charge is split between buyers and sellers.
There is no listing fee for sellers unlike other platforms. A small fee will be charged only after the sale of the business. You will have to maintain exclusivity and not list the business on other platforms.
Overall, FE International provides a secure and transparant platform to buy and sell websites making the second best website broker.
Flippa joins in at number three being one of the largest marketplaces online for buyers and sellers. They offer an affordable yet good service with prices ranging from just $25 up to $250 as a one-time fee to list your digital property. Do keep in mind however that Flippa also take a 10% commission on the final selling price of the website potentially drastically increasing costs.
Unlike Empire Flipper and FE International, Flippa hosts a wide range of websites from start-ups to domains to existing businesses with thousand in monthly revenue making it ideal for those who may not have a proven track record of revenue.
Flippa’s pricing structure also ensures that they have an incentive to sell your website at the highest possible price due to the 10% cut they take from the final sales price. The more you make, the more they make therefore it is in their interest to keep you happy.
Their customer service reflects this with them replying to support tickets extremely quickly and answering any and all questions in depth.
Their pricing structure also ensures that those with low valued assets have the opportunity to use them with the starting price for listing coming in at just $25. This is of course just a listing fee and you don’t get the same level of sales support as you would with their $200 or $250 packages however it is a nice starting point for those getting into the website flipping business or those looking to get rid of a semi-valuable domain name they haven’t got around to using.
How much should I sell my website for?
Before I show you the best website brokers of the year, it is advisable that you get a clear picture of how much your site should be listed for. Too high and it will simply turn away potential buyers, too low and you could be short-changing yourself out of considerable sums of money.
The main thing to keep in mind when pricing up your site is that the market rules, your site is only worth what a buyer is willing and able to pay. No more, no less.
The price you will achieve will also depend on the type of website, affiliate and adsense sites tend to achieve a higher multiple in comparison to ecommerce sites however there are always exceptions to this rule.
As a rule of thumb, an adsense or affiliate site can expect to achieve between a 24 and 30 times multiple on monthly profits. This is dependant on numerous factors: Have the sites rankings been stable? Is its revenue consistent? How long has the site been live? How long has it achieved the current level of turnover and perhaps most importantly is the monthly revenue growing or declining?
Sites that have a long history of profitability with stable and consistent levels of revenue could potentially achieve more than the 30 times multiple I mentioned earlier however this is rare, despite becoming more common in recent times.
Fear not, many brokers provide a valuation service, helping you to ensure you maximise the sales price they believe you can achieve on their particular platform.
I would however urge you to beware of the so called free online valuation tools. These often provide a wildly different valuation to what you can expect to achieve on most marketplaces.
This type of valuation tool often uses pre-determined metrics to arrive at a valuation drastically inflated, often they then try and upsell you packages promising to sell your website, domain or other digital property.
My advice, get multiple valuations.
In almost all cases valuations are free, why not take advantage? Just like selling a house it is always useful to have a second or even third opinion as to what you can expect to achieve. Why sell something for $100 when you can sell it for $200 or even $300.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I get a higher valuation on my website?
Being transparent with respect to traffic and revenue data. Inflating numbers doesn’t help as there are tools to detect the traffic and most of the website brokers do their due diligence in checking the stats, so why falsify the numbers? It only does more harm than good.
2. Should I re-design my website before selling it?
Good question, we have seen that good looking and easy to navigate websites sell for a higher price. Having said that, re-design makes sense only if you are generating revenue from the asset.
Also, you will have to ensure that the URLs remain the same during the re-design/re-structure, otherwise you may end up hurting the current rankings resulting in revenue loss.
3. What is that one thing every buyer must remember?
You are investing a sizeable amount of money and are going to grow the asset even further. You will have to look into the scalability of the project. Can I broaden the website with more niches? Can I cover more articles by extending the keyword research? These are a few of the questions you must ask yourself before buying any website