Build vs. Buy
There are good arguments for both building and buying an Amazon Affiliate or other Internet websites.
Involvement – By building your own site, you will be involved in every aspect of your new site.
Cost – It may be cheaper. If you have discipline and don’t buy lots of shiny objects (themes, plugins, keyword tools, courses, etc.) it will be less expensive. But you should put some value on your time too.
Learning – By building a site you will make mistakes, fix them and learn how to do it better the next time.
Time to Market: When you buy a site you can hit the ground running.
Focus: there are many moving parts in an affiliate site including hosting, WordPress setup, plugin and themes, keyword research, content marketing, on-page SEO, link-building. Buying allows you to focus on content and other ongoing requirements rather than technical issues.
Cost – You know your costs upfront.
Again good reasons for either build or buy in this post we will focus on how to buy an Amazon site, where to find them, how much to pay and what to avoid. There is also a good article debating building or done for you sites at Doug Cunnington’s Niche Site Project that is worth a read.
Selling a site? See our guide to selling your website
Types of Amazon and other Affiliate Sites for Sale and Where to Buy
There are many places to find an affiliate site for sale. The first decision you need to make is if you want to purchase a site that has a history of sales or one that is just pre-built and ready for your new content. A site that is not generating revenue will be much cheaper and you will have more choice of niche. There will still be risks though that the niche will not work. Good keyword research and great content will minimize this risk but not eliminate it. Buying a site with revenue will be much more expensive and require more due diligence.
Types of sites — No Revenue
There are times when you just want to start with a leg up. It takes a long time to build a site, create baseline content, and start ranking keywords. If you purchase an existing site you have a headstart.
Auto-blogs and PLR
Don’t bother with auto-blogs and PLR sites where the same content is resold to many buyers. They are cheap for a reason. These cookie-cutter sites are just get-rich-quick schemes that rarely work. They have no organic search value.
Built for You
Built for You sites will allow you to select a niche that you are interested in. They will do the keyword research and verify that the niche is right-sized for a new affiliate site. Not so broad that you will be competing with large sites with teams of writers yet not so narrow as to have no searches or buy-side interest. They will help you find Goldilocks niches. After the niche research, they will create the WordPress website and the initial content. Typically 5000 to 20,000 words of content. Some provide email list magnets like e-Books.
Pre-built sites are complete sites with 5k to 20K words of content. They should include the required about, disclosure and other standard pages. The niches have been vetted and verified to be a good SEO opportunity.
Pre-built and Aged
Pre-built and aged are like pre-built but have the advantage of being 6+ months old. Google puts new sites in a “sandbox” when initially created. There is a trust factor that must be overcome and pre-built sites attempt to pre-empt that. This means new content should rank better than the same content on a brand new site.
Vendors of Built-for-You Affiliate Sites
There are many to choose from. Best to stick with companies that have a track record in the affiliate space.
HPD – Human Proof Designs is a leader in this industry. They create quality sites and have a strong support organization and active community.
Brandbuilders – Barndbuilders followed closely on the coattails of HPD. They are a quality vendor with well-regarded support.
Prosociate – Well that is us 🙂 We work hard to make you successful and provide a close touch type of experience. We want you to succeed and will go out of our way to help you make money online.
Revenue Generating Sites
These are sites that are generating sales and commission. Of course, the higher the revenues and profits, the higher the cost. Generally, expect to pay 30x-40x trailing 90 days monthly profits. Of course, there are many factors that would come in to play; traffic quality, traffic trend, sales trend, seasonality, Medic or other Google search risks, age of the domain, domain name, etc.
Empire Flippers have listing requirements and do due diligence to verify the data provided by the seller. They let you know if PBNs are involved in the rankings. You may overpay a little but you will not be ripped off.
After Empire Flipper, FE International is a good choice for a safe purchase.
Flippa is the wild wild west of online business sales. They do have an advantage over brokers in that the community will push back on valuations that make no sense.
There are many business brokers in the marketplace for purchasing websites. Business brokers are sharks. The used car salesman of the business world. Not a bad thing, particularly if you are selling a business that does not meet Empire Flippers requirements. But use extra caution, brokers represent the sellers. There is no obligation to vet the information or check for PBN’s etc.
Buying directly from the owner of an affiliate website is often the best value. You can find groups on FaceBook like Website Flippers that act as an informal marketplace for buying and selling content websites.
How Much Should You Pay
No Revenue Sites
The Built for You sites should be valued at the cost to create them. There is no earnings multiple to calculate making valuations simpler. The primary difference between the sites is the amount of content including any e-books or other marketing deliverables. Additional charges will apply for aged sites, premium domain names and hosting or other ongoing services. The experience and track record of the seller is also a major factor.
Revenue Generating Sites
Sites that have earnings are trickier to value. Given that these sites are much more expensive care must be taken. More due diligence is required. Generall,y these sites sell for a multiple of the average earnings for the trailing 90-120 days. They should have a minimum of 12 months of earnings. The earnings trajectory is particularly important. A site that has declining sales should be approached with caution.
For all of the transactions listed above, you have no representation. Brokers, M&A websites, direct sales – all represent the seller. So even those like Empire who do vet the websites and have listing standards are working for the seller. At Prosociate we have a buyers agent service. We have bought and sold over $1,000,000 USD technology sites on our own. We will help you find a site that meets your goals, provide a due diligence report and negotiate the price.