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7 Things to Consider Before Buying a Website

by Louise W. Rice
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While it’s easier now than ever before to get online and create your own website, there are many reasons to consider purchasing an existing one. If you are interested in buying an already established website for commercial use, here are some of the main things that you should consider.

Platform

The first thing to consider is the platform the website is built on. Content management systems WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are the most popular platforms today, along with other web building and web hosting services like SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly. Along with these popular template-based options, there are also lots of professional websites that have been built using code from scratch. Figuring out the platform is crucial because it will affect many of your decisions including costs, access to experts, design flexibility, and more.

Target Audience

Before buying a website you will need to know how to properly assess the value. One of the main ways to do this is to look at the target audience. Does the website have an established and clearly defined target audience that it is reaching successfully? If this is the case, does the existing audience match or complement the audience you are hoping to target with the site?

History

The history of a website or domain has a huge impact on its current and future chances of success. Before purchasing a website, one of the most important things to do is get access to detailed historical information and analytics reports, including information on the design and development history, the domain age, Google penalties, growth trends, and more.

SEO

Optimizing a website for search can be expensive and time-consuming, so if you want to purchase a website, the best option is to buy one that has already gotten excellent SEO results that have been established for a while. Consider the keywords and phrases that the site ranks for and make sure that they match with your target audience. And, think about the current SEO situation and how likely you are going to be able to sustain it over time.

Workload

It’s crucial to think about how much work is going to be involved in running the site in its current state. Spend some time talking to the current website owners about how much time they put into running the website, what roles they have in it, and if they hire any outside help for any aspects of running the site. If the current owner is currently taking on a role that requires skills you don’t have, spend some time researching how much it will cost you to replace that.

What Works Well

If something’s working well on a website when you decide to buy it, then it’s probably best to keep it that way. Discuss what’s worked out so far – and what hasn’t – with the current owners so that you can get a realistic idea of what can stay as it is and what might need to be overhauled.

Financials

Last but not least, it’s important to check the website’s financial information, as purchasing a website that is not making any money now, and does not have any realistic plans to turn a profit in the future, is only going to be a waste of your money. Spend some time reviewing the site’s financial records and look out for a solid business strategy, a consistent cash flow and smart decision-making.

While just about anybody can build a website from scratch these days, buying a ready-made website with an established customer base can be a profitable investment when you know what to consider before making the decision.

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