We’ve talked about several aspects of website due diligence here on the blog, especially relating to researching the seller and their claims. It’s easy to forget the more technical aspects of buying a website, and to leave all technical questions to the end of the sale, but technical due diligence deserves time and effort. After all, you wouldn’t buy a car without first having a look under the hood!

Website Due Diligence Questions for Everybody

Buying a custom site might mean you’re a little bit out of your depth. Here are a few basic questions to ask before buying a site:

  • First things first: are there broken links or images on the site? Is it generally in good condition, or has it fallen into disrepair?
  • What coding language is the site written in? Are you familiar with that language, or can you hire someone who is?
  • If you’re unfamiliar with the technologies used, can you verify that there is ample support online for issues that may arise?
  • How reliable is the site’s hosting? Ask the seller for uptime reports, and look up the host’s reputation in reviews.

Avoiding WordPress Woes

Many websites bought and sold on Flippa are WordPress sites. These sites are fairly straightforward to use and modify, but there are a few things worth checking out:

  • Ask the seller for the name and designer of the theme used and for a sample of the code
  • Ask for a list of all plugins used on the site, then research unfamiliar plugins. If any of them seem to be unsteadily written, have replacements at the ready.
  • Ensure any premium themes or plugins were legally acquired. Check the licenses to ensure you can continue using them.
  • If you’d like to modify the site, how much development time can you expect to spend on the site? Would you be better off hiring someone to make a few tweaks to the site?

Help is out there!

Buying a website with a few unfamiliar elements can be a fun challenge, as it forces you to learn new techniques quickly.

Here are a few resources that can help you bring your technical skills up to scratch:

  • The WordPress community is known to be helpful and inclusive. Have a look at their support forums  and at user sites like WPCandy and WPLift.
  • Flippa’s birthplace, the SitePoint Forums, is a treasure trove for technical advice. Go have a look!
  • If you’re more of a visual learner, you’ll like the courses at Flippa’s sister company, Learnable.

What technical due diligence questions do you ask when buying a website? Let us know in the comments!