Checklist: How to Check a Website Before You Buy It

Buying a website is similar to buying a business. It is a great way to start making money without having to deal with online platform planning, development, testing, bug fixing, etc. Purchasing a ready-made site is a practical approach for commercial projects, online stores, and online news outlets. However, to make a smart investment, you need to do a full-fledged check of a website before you pay money for it. In this post, we will talk about the main features and things that you need to keep an eye on when investing in it.

Basic Site Features

Before you run a full SEO technical audit of the site that you are going to buy, you should check its main characteristics. The check should be focused on the following four parameters:

●  Domain/site data — make sure that the domain zone of the site is suitable for your purposes and that there are no problems with page indexing. If you see that the site is small, but there are many pages in the index, it most probably has issues with duplicates. Although it is possible to fix the problem, we recommend that you look for a different solution. Apart from the above, the platform age, rank, link, and content quality, as well as site engine are of high importance as well; 

●  Traffic — it is one of the most critical parameters of a well-performing website. It is impossible to get a stable income from a website if it doesn’t have significant traffic. That’s why it is so important to check how many people visit an online resource every month, what country they come from, what devices they use, and how long they stay on the “target” platform. Although quantity is significant, quality is of greater importance. That’s why it will never hurt to keep an eye on site conversion rates;

●  Income (actual/potential) — if you buy a ready-made website, consider the following metrics: channels and sizes of income, payback, possible income levels, and expected investments. Be ready to invest money in the site you buy. It rarely happens that you purchase an online project that you can run in one go. We recommend that you plan the project budget in detail to predict its profit. So check how much is my website worth and compare the value with potential benefits that you can get from it;

●  Seller reputation — If you’re buying a site directly from a dedicated software development company, the following instructions come in handy. Make sure the contact person actually owns the domain. Verify domain registration data — check whom the site is registered to. Do not be lazy to check customer reviews about the company on a dedicated forum or ask company managers to provide you with a list of customers who have already purchased websites from them.

Some of the other essential things to dive into are the site security check and backlinks. Make sure that it has no problems in Google Search Console, has a low MOZ Spam Score, and has never been hacked. When it comes to the analysis of backlinks, we recommend that you get raw data on the total number of backlinks.

Check how many of them are dofollow-/ nofollow-links as well as the number of backlinks from .gov/ .edu domains. Seasoned SEO experts also recommend checking a trust rate of a website that you want to buy. Being a complex indicator that demonstrates the level of trust of search engines to this site, a site trust rate significantly affects its positions in SERP. Use MozTrust, Majestic Trust Flow, Majestic Citation Flow, and Majestic Topical Trust Flow to have an idea of how a particular site is treated by search engines.

How to Make Sure That You Buy a Site at a Reasonable Cost?

The price of a site depends on many factors; it varies greatly depending on the main goals, features, and performance specs of an online platform. However, in most cases, the website cost is determined by the main five factors:

  1. Labor costs — This is the time spent on site designing, development, testing, and bug-fixing;

  2. The cost of the work of specialists — Different designers, programmers, SEO specialists, and QA engineers may charge different rates. All these determine the project budget;

  3. Site uniqueness — This implies both the originality of the content on the site and the uniqueness of the entire project as a whole. The latter refers to the visual side of the project, the presence of business-specific functionalities, such as an ROI calculator, modeling feature, etc.;

  4. The average price rate of a company you purchase from — The more popular the developer is, the more it will charge.

  5. Company reputation — A seller providing a solid guarantee and 24/7 support (project maintenance) will charge a higher price.

The above criteria will help you compare price/ quality and understand whether an online platform is worth the money it is sold for. To determine how much money you need to buy a site, you need to determine the purpose of the deal and the business segment of the project since each niche has its own prices.

Buying a ready-made website is usually more profitable than ordering development from scratch in a web studio, but this has many nuances to keep in mind. The seller’s price will be lower, but you take full responsibility for the site. Also, do not forget that the site requires constant maintenance. Keep in mind the costs of site promotion and advertising — both when creating and when buying a ready-made website.

Experts Recommend…

Before buying a site, you need to check the seller or the company that owns it and find out all the details about the deal. Check the website for filters, indexing, ranking by search engines, determine if any improvements/ fixes are necessary. You will also need to analyze your purchase goals and opportunities and remember that any site will require additional efforts and investments in its advertising and promotion to generate maximum profit.