One of the most exciting parts about starting an online business is the potential for growth. More and more business is being done online, and this means there’s a lot of money to be made if you’re willing to work for it.
Furthermore, there are lots of different ways you can grow your business. Search engine optimization and social media are two of the most prominent, but there are other ways. For example, you can acquire other websites. This will allow you to expand your reach and access new markets, and it can also help bring in a big boost to revenue.
However, if you’re going to try and grow this way, know there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Here are some tips to help make sure you’re doing this in a way that supports your overall business goals.
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Aim for Businesses with Relevant Audiences
One of the benefits of owning additional websites is that you’ll get access to new audiences. You can use this access in a couple of different ways. For example, you could include conversion content on your new site that pushes people towards the products or services you sell. Or, you could promote your original website, using the new one to drive new traffic and increase sales.
However, no matter which approach you take, it’s important the site’s audience is relevant to yours. If you’re running a business that sells hiking and camping gear, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to acquire a site that is tailored to the cybersecurity/tech niche.
But things won’t always be quite that clear. When looking at sites, try to think a little more abstractly. And work with site owners. If they are looking to sell, then ask them for information about their audience. While the content they produce or the products they sell might not be in line with your business, their audience’s demographics might be. It can never hurt to ask.
Only Pay What the Site is Worth
One critical component of making smart website acquisitions is the amount of money you spend on them. Often times people will greatly inflate the value of their website to the point where it doesn’t make smart business sense for you to purchase it. You need to make sure you can recover your investment at some point.
Familiarize yourself with the process of selling an online business. The starting point for any valuation is usually multiplying yearly revenues by 2.5, but there are many other factors to consider, such as future growth prospects, brand strength and business systems and processes.
It may be smart to work with a business broker. These individuals specialize in the buying and selling of online businesses, and they will help you find websites that are viable investments and that fit in with your budget. Typically, business brokers will have a roster of sites they are trying to sell that you can choose from, and they help facilitate the sale process, making sure everything is fair and accurate.
Look for Turnkey Sites
You can never forget the purpose of buying sites is to grow your business. You’re not trying to grow someone else’s. So, when considered sites to buy, make sure you consider how much work it will be to keep things going. Ask yourself the following questions when looking at a site:
- How does it make money?
- How is content created?
- How is the business administrated?
- Will some of the site’s current staff stay on and keep working?
Then, once you have the answer to these questions, ask yourself how hard it would be to replicate these activities once you take over. And also do your best to calculate how much it would cost. If you need to drain resources or time from your primary business to tend to the new site you’ve purchased, then this move stops making sense.
There’s no precise formula for determining if the work needed to maintain the new site is worth it. But performing a cost-benefit analysis is a good start. Try to calculate how much more money you’ll make by adding the site’s activities to your business and compare this to the additional expenses you’ll need to incur. This should give you a good idea as to whether or not the site is a worthwhile investment.
Consider SEO and Social
A post about growing an online business would not be complete without mention of search engines and social media. As such, it should come as no surprise that you need to pay attention to both when you look at sites to buy to grow your online business.
For social media, just consider what kind of presence the site has. And try to determine if you could leverage this into enhanced engagement for your business. What kinds of things does the site post about? And what is the response from the public? How would you incorporate your business? You’ll know a good fit when you see it.
Regarding SEO, just consider that this new site will become a new source of links for your business in two ways. You’ll likely link out to your business’ website, and then you can also use the new site’s network to find new link building opportunities.
Ask yourself what the authority level of the new site is and what types of links you could attract by adjusting the site’s content to promote your business. Just remember that when it comes to SEO, link quality is better than quantity, so make sure the new link opportunities the site generates are really going to support your business goals.
Start Growing Your Businesses by Buying Websites
As you can see, buying websites can be an effective way to grow your online business. And if you keep these points in mind, you’ll be able to make smart decisions that will help grow your business to new heights.
Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service. He has been working in eCommerce for over ten years, and he has started, bought, grown and sold several online businesses in that time. As a big supporter of the freedom and flexibility provided by working online, he likes to write about his experiences so that others looking to do the same can have quality resources they can use to succeed.