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How to buy the right website
Protecting your investment money
- June 3, 2010, 1:13 pm | Buying and Selling

On any given day, you can find 100 to 200 new websites for sale.  The website types run the gamut - from old and established sites, to brand-new niche sites, and everything in between.  With a little due diligence, you can help ensure that your money will be well spent, and you will receive a nice return on your investment. 

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Increase your ROI from buying websites by investing your time into researching the site's attributes.

You can find many tips on the Internet that will help you make better buying choices when it comes to purchasing websites through auctions and other sources.  Here are just a few more ideas for you to consider before you make the purchase.

These ideas are based on my own experience from buying and selling websites over the past 10 to 12 years.

One of the first things I look at when purchasing a website is its PageRank.  This is particularly important when you are considering buying an established website.  

Although it is difficult to determine exactly how and why Google established page rank for a particular website, you can still get a fair idea by using the link: function in a Google search.  However, I have found over the years, where PageRank has played an important role in search engine traffic and ranking, that PageRank can be a volatile asset.

Just because a site for sale today has a PageRank of 4 does not mean that it will maintain a  4 PageRank over the next few updates that Google makes.

There can be many reasons that cause PageRank to fluctuate, or simply fall to a PR of one or two.  On the more devious side of the equation, it might be that the seller of the website has linked to it from a few of his or her own websites.  After the sale, there is no guarantee that those links will remain.  It may require several hours of research to give you a clearer picture of any loss of links resulting in lower PageRank that you may encounter.  I find many website sellers adding links from their high PageRank websites in an attempt to inflate, artificially, the page rank of a site they are attempting to sell.

The weight that you give PageRank when deciding what you are going to offer for a website will determine how much risk you are willing to accept.  Of course, it is important to note that a high PageRank website for sale that has legitimate links being credited to it does have a lot of value.  So you want to be sure that you are not disregarding that asset out of hand.

Another issue to consider when purchasing a website is related to the traffic the seller is reporting.  Is the traffic report verifiable?  Is there a peak in traffic one or two months prior to the listing of the sale?  Where is the traffic coming from?  And is there any guarantee that the traffic will continue after the sale is completed?

One of the best ways to determine the accuracy of traffic reports to a website is to look at the referrals.  If a seller can provide you with traffic stats, providing you with the referrals is a simple task.  That way you can determine exactly where the traffic has come from.  

Organic traffic, the traffic that comes from search engines, is the best traffic you can ask for.  However, if you see traffic coming from a website, you need to determine how the visitors are coming to you.  Are they coming from an advertisement?  Is the ad free, or is it a paid ad?  And how much will that cost you?

If you know what you are looking for, traffic stats will tell you everything you need to know about a website, whether it is successful at getting traffic, or whether the traffic was artificially established to increase the price of the site.

Trying to ensure that you receive a good return on your investment requires work.  It is unfortunate that there are those out there who look to take advantage of buyers.  So as a buyer you need to be aware of these issues, and others you might find while educating yourself about buying websites.

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