A growing trend is to purchase a website business off of ebay with the hopes of buying the infrastructure of a real online home business. The truth is, that many of the sites that you may buy are only going to make the guy you sold the site money and not you. Kinda like the old story about send me ten dollars and I tell you how I got rich - by people sending me ten dollars.
Our primary store on ebay sells business websites. Typically these are spin offs from sites we already now are profitable from our own experience. We have also bought at least a half dozen sites over the past few years, almost all of which have not worked out very well for us. Here is why.
The overwhelming majority of websites on ebay are simply script sites. These sites are what we call in the industry cookie cutter sites and are of little value. Let me give you an example. I bought a site called the Reminder Station from a seller on ebay in the spring. The idea sounded good, and online website that reminded people of their important dates. I could include my advertisements in it and the domain was a good one. So $100 later, plus monthly hosting, I get this website that from the start doesn’t work right. I set up a test account and it didn’t send me a message, which of course meant that no one else received their reminder either. I have a freelance associate of mine that does script debugging and had him have a look at it. His report - the site was hooped. ( that is code for really messed up ) So I email the seller who promises me he’ll fix it, but as it turns out, he is nothing more than a reseller with no knowledge of MySQL data base structure or php programming. He bought the site from some membership business that gave you sites to resell and I got stuck with it. I spent nearly $500 fixing it and finally it works properly.
So how do you avoid running into the same problems ?
Typically you are looking for websites that are fully coded and work properly. Test all their functions before buying and ask lots of questions. Remember that once you buy the site, you’re on your own.
Also, if you are interested in a website business and find one you like. Do a search on the key words of the site you like such as TRAVEL WEBSITE and see which sites come up. Chances are, you will find a much better deal for a way better site.
Before you buy a site, give serious thought to how you are going to promote it. Getting traffic on the web is harder than you think and without traffic, even the best idea in the world is worthless. You need to be able to generate traffic to make it work so consider the cost ratio of getting a visitor to your site.
I always get a kick out of the websites that have the table showing the profit potential. You know, the ones with 5 sales a day will make you so much money. Let me tell you, making 5 sales a day is very, very hard. Heck, making 5 sales a month can be hard. Don’t by the way be tricked with supposed earnings. I know of a seller that shows his sales from all of his websites as coming from just one site. If in doubt, ask for real proof.
The most important thing to remember when buying a website is to only buy quality. Don’t get caught up in the sales pitch. If the site isn’t a crisp, top of the line professional site, you are never going to make a dime from it. After all, no one is going to part with their money for a site that does not instil confidence no matter how good the idea is. The internet is the great equalizer, and a professional designer can build a site as good as the designers at Microsoft can. So why settle for anything less.
Beware of hosting costs as well. A trick of hosting companies is to sell a low cost site just to get you to commit to a hosting contract. At $20 per month for hosting, a $10 buy now site will cost your $250 after hosting costs.
Once you buy a website, you need to optimize it and get it promoted on the search engines. Do you research and figure out who is the at the top of the Google and Yahoo rankings. Do you have the site to get to the top.
Remember, as with any product on ebay, it’s buyer beware. Do you homework, and research before you buy. If you have any questions, or are concerned about a site you want to buy, feel free to contact me and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can with my advice.