As people who follow me on Twitter might have noticed, I recently put 2 of my commercial WordPress plugins up for sale and successfully sold them on the Flippa website. In this post I will talk a little about the reasons for doing so and provide some tips if you are thinking of selling a WordPress ( or any other type of ) website.
Some Background about Me
I have been building websites and selling them for over 10 years, I love the process of planning a new website, building it myself and then marketing it to make it successful. I have done this with numerous sites over the years. Some sites I have sold in the past include:
- A free forum host built on phpBB that hosted over a quarter of a million forums
- A Web Design Blog with over half a million unique visitors per month
- A virtual avatar world which earned money from micro-payments and at one point had the fastest growing forum online
I have been working for myself online for many years but running the same site can become boring which is why I sometimes exit sites and move on to the next project. This is also the reason that I think creating your own product or site is better than being built on top of another, for example the ThemeForest sellers or Apps on Facebook etc. It is harder to sell and less reliable when your business is dependent upon someone else's to survive. You are also at mercy of policy changes of the parent company, look at the apps that Twitter and Facebook have killed off in the past.
Reasons for Selling
So why did I choose the point in which to exit these two plugins ?
Revenue was a few hundred dollars a month up to a thousand sometimes, so wasn't amazing but together was a nice amount. Support on each plugin was fairly low but they both required updating quite often which was a distraction for me as I had to employ a programmer to work on them and make the updates that I requested. I like doing things myself and am quite happy making themes all day but I am a web designer, not a programmer so plugins I have to rely on outside contractors. I made the decision that these plugins were distracting me from my main goals which were growing WPlift and ThemeFurnace, both sites which I could happily run on my own, so I made the decision to sell them to someone else who could maintain them more easily.
Why I chose Flippa
I have used Flippa for many years, before it even became a separate website it was the Sitepoint marketplace forums which they decided to split off into it's own entity. Since then the site has grown and grown to the point where it now boasts $108 Million in sales and $374,000 in sales in just the last 7 days. So you can see Flippa is a huge marketplace with buyers with deep pockets - there have been sites sold for over a million dollars. I believe it's the best place to publicly sell a website for the highest amount.
Tips for Preparing Your Auction
It amazes when I see some auctions on Flippa where the seller is claiming thousands in revenue per month and is asking upwards of $xx,xxx for their web property but they have hardly any information in the listing. If I'm a buyer I want to see detailed information about the site, monthly financials, traffic reports and so on.
Take a look at my listing for WPAdCenter, you will see about the site, (honest!) reasons for selling, what is included, financial breakdown. In the sidebar you will see I attached traffic screenshots, earnings spreadsheet PDF and verified Google Analytics. This is how I do all my sales on Flippa and I think it has helped me reach higher sales prices - The more info you can give about your site, the more transparent and trustworthy you will look to potential buyers.
Another important part of the auction process is good communication - answer any sales comments promptly and also reply to private questions quickly. Flippa now do an app on the app store so make use of that to get back to people quickly. Most serious buyers will want a more indepth chat so you can chat with them via Skype or a quick phone call is even better to assure them you are a genuine seller with nothing to hide.
Transferring the Sites
Once the sale is over the best way to handle the transfer is via Escrow.com. You or the buyer can initiate the process via the Flippa website and choose who pays the fees, I will always split them 50-50. You then transfer the domain to the buyer and they have an inspection period so they can move the site to their hosting etc and once they are happy they let escrow know and the funds are released to your bank.
At this stage, to save any hassle, I make sure I have prepared a document which lists all the site details as follows:
- cPanel Logins
- FTP Logins
- CMS Login ( WordPress admin Login etc)
- 3rd party Logins for any scripts, commercial plugins etc that are being included with the sale
- Overview of how I run the site
- Contact details of developers, writers, freelancers etc
- Ideas for future expansion
By putting as much information into this document as you can it will cut back on to and throw email conversations after you hand over the site.
After the sale you will need to be on hand for a little while as the new owner will undoubtedly have a few questions and I like to help as much as possible to make sure the site lives on after me. I also want all my past customers to continue to be supported as my reputation is on the line - if the site is abandoned or goes down hill that doesn't look good for me.
Try to make sure you answer any questions quickly and try to go above and beyond to help where you can - the buyer will feel satisfied they got a good purchase and leave you positive feedback - take a look at my profile - both buyers left me great feedback. This in turn helps you next time you want to sell on there as people will see you as more trust-worthy.
In the end, it's not rocket science - just by making sure you are honest and doing things properly and thoroughly from the start you can avoid any bad situations or disappointments and both parties will feel like they got a good deal.