We hear from sellers that the most exciting part of an auction is the last 6 hours, when bids come rolling in and the price goes up and up. Watching an auction go over reserve and see the bids go up is the best part of listing on Flippa!
To make it easier for sellers to monitor their listing during those exciting hours, we’re thrilled to have launched the official Flippa iPhone app.
This app is a must-have for sellers who want to keep a close eye on their auction without being tied down to their computer. The app notifies the seller each time the price on their listing goes up with a neat push notification, and prompts the seller when a new bidder sends in their bid application.
Buyers, you won’t get left out in the cold. The app sends out push notifications when your bid is accepted, when you are outbid, and when an auction you’re watching is near the end. As someone who watches many, many Flippa listings, I love receiving notifications when a great website sells.
You can download the Flippa iPhone app on iTunes. Let us know what you think!
Today’s guest post is by Johannes Selbach, co-founder and CEO of SEOprofiler.
If you’re planning to buy a website on Flippa, you probably want to know how well that website is represented on Google. High rankings on Google for the right keywords can have a major influence on the success of a site.
To make this research easier for you, Flippa has integrated basic SEOprofiler data on the due diligence pages. SEOprofiler is a full-featured SEO suite that offers competitive intelligence tool that enable you to quickly check the rankings, backlinks and ads of any site.
The basic analysis can be done quickly and easily, and, best of all, it’s free.
Let’s get started
To get a quick and free analysis of a website, enter a domain in the following search box and click the ‘Get instant analysis’ button:
The Google rankings of the analyzed website
The first panel shows an overview of the Google rankings of the analyzed website. The ranking information is available form many different local Google versions in the many different countries:
If a website has high rankings for many different keywords, it is likely that it gets a lot of website visitors. Check the keywords for which the website is ranked to make sure that you get the right kind of visitors.
SEOprofiler also displays the number of monthly searches for each keyword. That helps you to get an idea of the number of visitors that the website will get.
The Google AdWords ads of the analyzed website
If a website advertises on Google AdWords, it’s likely that the website represents an active business that is actually making money. The SEOprofiler analysis page shows the ads of the website and the keywords for which the website advertises:
For each keyword for which the website advertises, you get the number of monthly searches and the number of competing ads. That helps you to judge the value of these keywords.
The backlinks of the analyzed website
Backlinks are Google’s most important ranking factor. The more good backlinks a website has, the better the website ranks on Google. Quality is more important than quantity:
SEOprofiler enables you to see the backlinks of a website. As a member, you can also sort the backlinks by topic and you can see if the links are good or not.
The Link Influence Score (LIS) that is displayed at the top of the page is a good indicator of the quality of the backlinks. The higher the LIS of a site, the better the quality of the backlinks.
The next steps
The information above will help you to better judge the quality of a website. When you have purchased a new site, you can use the tools in SEOprofiler to further promote the site. SEOprofiler offers tools for keyword research, web page optimization, link building and link management, competitive intelligence (much more than listed above), ranking checks and regular website audits that make sure that your website gets the best possible rankings on Google and other search engines.
Flippa users can test the full version for $1 here.
About the author: Johannes Selbach is co-founder and CEO of SEOprofiler.
Affiliate Summit West is in its second day, and, judging by the #ASW13 tweets, affiliates are stronger than ever! Keeping with this theme, we’re happy to feature today’s guest post by Jim Wang of Microblogger.com on how to negotiate a better affiliate payout in order to secure a higher sale price.
We work with a lot of businesses looking to sell and one of the best ways to make your company more appealing is to have it generate more income. When you look at the sites on Flippa, which are the more appealing ones? The ones that make $0 a month or the ones that make $1,000? What about the ones that make $10,000 or more? The reality is that if your business generates significant revenue, it’s a far more appealing asset to a buyer.
One of the great things about websites and web businesses is the sheer number of revenue generating opportunities available to them. If you have a successful high traffic website, it’s very easy to start leveraging affiliate marketing to increase your revenues. If you are already using affiliate marketing, it’s very easy to negotiate higher payouts if you haven’t already.
Today we’ll spend some time discussing some time honored strategies for working with your affiliate manager and increasing your payouts so you can boost your bottom line. We’ll start with a very brief look at how an affiliate manager thinks, which should help you suggest ideas that are mutually beneficial.
Then, we’ll go over these strategies:
- How just asking for a raise often works best
- How to trade placements & promotion for higher payouts
- How setting incentivized goals benefits you both
- How shopping around can benefit your bottom line
Understand the Affiliate Manager
Let’s first understand the relationship from the affiliate manager perspective. Affiliate managers are extremely busy and they often manage many affiliates. So in order to get the attention of your manager, you need to perform or show the ability to perform. Next, they may have some flexibility in the payouts but anything extra means they need to make the case to their boss. Everything you do has to be in support of that case. Lastly, good affiliates are the ones that the manager can trust: managers don’t want to up your payout, see an increase in conversions, only to discover you were ripping them off. Build up that trust with a history of performance backed up by strong lead quality and negotiation is made all the easier.
OK, enough with the rudimentary lesson, much of which you probably already knew, and onto the good stuff. How can you get a better payout from an affiliate company? There are a few things you need to accomplish before you should even consider trying to negotiate a higher payout or more favorable deal terms with an affiliate manager.
One of your biggest challenges will be to demonstrate strong performance, either today or in the very near future. This can mean strong performance in their program, a high rating in the affiliate marketplace, or simply a reputable way to drive traffic to the offer either with an email list or an existing site. “Strong” will vary from company to company but start communicating with your affiliate manager to get the conversation started. If you can demonstrate that you are an asset, rather than a liability, the manager will be your ally and that’s the ultimate goal.
Once the lines of communication are there, it’s time to start negotiating for a raise.
Affiliate managers are always on the look out for good affiliates. With so many affiliates out there, it’s a challenge to find the ones that perform well and drive quality leads. Sometimes a great way to separate yourself is to open up the lines of communication and make your case that you will be a strong driver.
Unless you are starting a business from scratch, you have metrics you can use to convince a manager that you should get higher than the standard payout. Let’s say you have you a high traffic page on your site that is ideal for an offer. Tell the affiliate manager that you have this page, it gets thousands of visits a day, and the offer is a great fit because there’s a competing offer on that page already. If you can offer up statistics on that offer’s performance, to the extent that you don’t reveal too much proprietary information, that can be a proxy for your performance with the current offer.
Offer Better Placement
The key to getting a higher payout is to offer something in return for that payout. Think about how you are promoting that affiliate offer. Is it on a page with other offers? If so, suggest to place the offer higher up on the page in return for a higher payout. You should do the math to make sure your generate a higher profit on the page, given the move, and ensure you are compensated fairly for it.
For example, let’s say you have three offers on a single page. The first offer, Offer A, gets 50% of the clicks to the page and converts at 8% for a payout of $50. The second offer, Offer B, gets 30% of the clicks and converts at 10% for a payout of $30. The third offer, Offer C, gets 10% of the clicks and converts at 15% for a payout of $15. For every 100 visitors, Offer A earns $200, Offer B earns $90, and Offer C earns $22.50. If you start talking to Offer C, you can ask that they give you a higher payout in return for moving the offer up the page.
What would you need the payout to be to take over the 2nd slot? Assuming the clickthrough rate and conversions hold true, you wouldn’t need much since Offer C converts at a higher rate (15% vs. 10%), to beat Offer B. A commission above $20 would make Offer C in the 2nd slot above Offer B in the 2nd slot. If Offer B falls to number three, then it would generate $30, which is better than Offer C in the third spot.
Offer Additional Promotion
How do you promote offers? Is it through email? All on a page that you push organic and paid search traffic? Is it through social media? In line with offering higher placement, offer additional promotional channels in return for a higher payout. Remember, affiliate managers want to see more conversions and leads when they bump up your rate so if you can offer these up during your negotiations, they’re more apt to agree to i ncreasing your ate.
Set Sales Goals
Regardless of the outcome, whether the manager approves an increase or declines it, set sales targets for more increases in the future. Setting goals like this has two clear benefits.
First, this lets you compare your performance on a month to month basis. Are you increasing traffic to your site? Has that resulted in increased sales? How does this compare to last month? Will you hit your growth numbers? What steps can you take to achieve this? These will put you in an active mode, rather than a passive one in which your goals either happen or don’t.
This has the added benefit of helping you understand what you need to do to reach the next performance tier. The manager may tell you that an extra 10% in conversions will result in a bump in your commission rate. You can start planning your strategies for pushing to the next level because know your rate will increase as a direct result of your activity. Sometimes managers will bump your rate even if you’re close, simply because a good affiliate is hard to find.
Find Another Offer
If you have cable service, chances are you know this strategy but I suggest you tread carefully with it. Sometimes you need to leave an affiliate offer, or bump it down a few notches in your promotional schedule, in order for that company to appreciate you. If you’ve made inquiries as to the possibility of increasing your commission and the manager says he or she can’t, review your options.
Programs are always popping up and one of the many jobs you have is to review them for suitability in your efforts. If a new offer comes along that is enticing and tests well, you may want to tactfully bring that to your affiliate manager’s attention to see if there’s anything they can do for you. It’s crucial that you test it first because not all programs are equal. The new offer may be some fly-by-night offer that leaves you with a fat accounts receivable, rather than a big payout. Also, you never want to burn any relationships so be very tactful when bringing this up.
Finally, and this is similar to looking for another offer, try another affiliate company entirely. Sometimes a program is available through multiple companies and a different company will be able to give you a better payout. Be sure to do your homework and compare conversion rates, landing pages, and the rest because a higher payout doesn’t always translate to more dollars in your pocket.
These are just a few techniques I’ve used to increase my affiliate commissions and hopefully they will work well for you. Even if you aren’t looking to sell your business, when is more revenue a bad thing?
Today we’re bringing you a guest post on content marketing by one of the industry’s top names, Problogger‘s Darren Rowse. This post is a bit longer than our usual articles, but it’s well worth reading to the end!
If you don’t know much about content marketing, it might seem a strange way to try to increase website value of a site you own.
Most people think content marketing is about guest posting, and wonder how publishing content on someone else’s site could possibly increase the value of their own.
As I’ll explain here, content marketing is more than guest posts. And if you do it right—writing with your customers in mind, with a strong, consistent voice, it can add significant, lasting value to your site, making it all the more appealing for potential buyers down the track.
The good news for busy site owners is that you don’t need to do all the work yourself.
So let’s look a bit closer at content marketing, and how you can use it to your advantage.
Elements of “value” for a site purchaser
Four main factors affect your website’s perceived value: traffic, authority, longevity and profit or potential profit. Growing traffic will, hopefully, help your site endure over months and years, increasing its profit potential and the audience’s perceptions of its authority. But your ability to build traffic will depend on your ability to establish authority, stick it out through the highs and lows, and this—plus the kind of traffic you attract—will affect your site’s longer term profit potential.
This isn’t a step-by-step plan. It’s more like a web of elements all connected to, and affecting, one another.
The facts about content marketing
Content marketing is a subtle, effective way of reaching people who are in the audience for what you offer, but may never have heard of your site.
Any marketing that hinges upon you providing quality content to new readers could be described as content marketing.
This kind of marketing allows you to target audiences who are already engaged (for example, with another site that’s hosting your content). Moreover, it lets you do that in environments they’re comfortable with—like sites they already know and love, or via referrals between friends on social networks.
If you’re thinking content marketing sounds too good to be true, there are a couple of caveats.
What it takes
When it comes to content marketing, quality is what will set you apart, and get you the most attention. Don’t think you can get away with light pieces, rewritten content, or generic information.
As such, it’s important to realise up front that, like any form of marketing, content marketing will cost you—either in time or money. What’s important is to see that as an investment in your site. Because if you do it right, that investment will pay off when it comes time to sell.
Let’s look at some of the content marketing options that are available to any site looking to build a profile among the right market segments.
Offsite content marketing
Offsite content marketing involves content that you share in places other than your own website.
- Guest contributions: Many websites accept guest posts or articles for publication — like this one on the Flippa blog! This is a really big element in the world of blogging, but many industry news and interest sites will likely accept guest content too. Don’t stick to text—infographics, slideshows, and video are all great options for guest contributions.
- Guest appearances: We’re erring on the side of public relations here, but if you can set up another site—perhaps an industry news site or blog—to interview you about your site or your offering.
- Electronic newsletters/updates: Although this isn’t commonly seen as content marketing, it fits the description of providing quality content to people in a location other than on your site—especially if you get a guest spot in someone else’s newsletter! Definitely consider this as part of your offsite content marketing efforts.
- Sharing: Aside from the standard social networks, sites like Reddit and Quora let you share content with broader audiences.
How can you optimize your offsite content marketing efforts to get the biggest bang for your buck?
Tie them into promotions on your own site, share them through social media and your newsletters, and spread the word that your site’s getting exposure and attention from others in your industry.
Onsite content marketing
Onsite content marketing includes the content you publish on your blog, which will, ideally, captivate visitors and keep them coming back. It typically includes:
- A blog: It’s not a coincidence that so many business and service websites have blogs these days. They know that building authority by positioning their brands as though leaders is the best way to build a loyal following of people who advocate for them on social networks and among friends and contacts.
- Content releases:Many sites offer whitepapers, ebooks, and other content as a means of attracting readers, providing them with deep value, and capturing their all-important email addresses. This is a great form of content marketing that builds value, in that it lets you respond to really specific needs, show your skills and knowledge, and build a subscriber list at the same time.
Whether you’re looking at offsite or onsite content marketing techniques—or a combination of both—the key to getting maximum value is sustained effort.
Content marketing isn’t a one-off thing, or a month-long campaign. To really add value to your site for potential buyers to see down the track, content marketing needs to be an ongoing process.
Of course, many startups and small businesses feel they don’t have time to dedicate to this kind of sustained marketing effort. So let’s look at some of the ways you can make it happen for your site.
5 steps to make it happen
1. Make a plan of what you want to do
It’s important to remember that your content marketing efforts don’t have to be really frequent—if you want to contribute content to other sites, you don’t have to force yourself to do an article a week.
What matters is that your efforts are sustained. So make sure your plan is manageable and achievable, and that it fits within your schedule. Prioritize things if you can’t bear to take ideas off your wish list.
Now, within your plan, set out the ways you’ll cross-promote the work you’ll do.
For example, as this post is published at Flippa, I’ll be mentioning it to my own ProBlogger followers through social media. Likewise, I’m promoting some of the content marketing I do on my own site by linking to relevant posts from this article.
This is an important thing to do—don’t just expect to publish your content somewhere and hope it works out. Make sure your current readers know where they can find your material, and your new readers know where they can connect with you, your site and your mailing list.
2. Allocate times and costs and responsibilities
Looking at the plan you just made, you’ll have some idea of how much time it’ll take. In the process, you’ll probably have already thought about who will do the writing—you or someone else.
So the next step is to get your schedule out and allocate time to get the work done. Even if you’re going to get someone else to do the content creation, you’ll need to oversee the process, find places to publish (if your efforts will be offsite) and make any structural changes to your own site (like adding a blog and dropping it into your navigation).
Set a plan for the steps you think will be involved, who will do them, and when you need them done. And above all, make sure it’s manageable both now and in the future. Remember: sustainability is the key to adding value through content marketing.
3. If you need to, find someone to write
If you’ve decided to create the content yourself, that’s great: you just need to make time in your schedule to get it done.
But if you’ve decided you need help with creating content—text, images, videos, podcasts, whatever—then here are some places to get started finding help.
- A member of your team: If you already have a team—however small—they may be able to help with creating content. A VA might be able to do research, or a designer may help you with a layout for an infographic.
- Freelance websites: Sites like Elance and Odesk can be good for finding writers, but at ProBlogger we run a dedicated blogging job board that tends to suit content marketers really well.
- Google for ghosts: Ghost writing is a growing industry, so a web search for ghost writers who cover your industry, or have expertise in your field, might turn up some good options.
4. Carry out your plan
The next step is to put your plan into action. If you need help along the way, there are plenty of sites like ProBlogger that provide advice and tips for content marketing. Help is out there.
5. Track what works, tweak, and improve it
This really is the key to growing website value through content marketing.
Whatever you do in the previous steps, it’s tracking, tweaking, and improving on what works within your niche that will grow your site’s value in the long term.
What should you track? That depends on your content marketing strategy.
For a guest article on another site in your industry, you’d obviously track the traffic it generated for your site, the comments or responses the article received where it was published, and the social shares and commentary surrounding the piece.
For a whitepaper you’re publishing on your own site (and perhaps promoting via offsite content and other marketing) you’d probably track signups as a percentage of traffic overall, as well as the kinds of metrics I mentioned above.
It’s important to look at traffic—and to see if the traffic spikes and returns to normal after the promotion, or if your traffic levels retain some of that boost in the days and weeks that follow.
For offsite promotions in particular, this will give you an idea of which sites’ visitors are interested by what you have to say, and what your site offers. Then you can go back to those outlets with fresh ideas.
For things like newsletters, open rates and clickthroughs to your site should give you hints about where you can improve your efforts to engage your current audience.
But it’s also important to look at the impact of your content marketing beyond traffic. Social listening is an important way to find out how audiences feel about your messages, and your brand. Looking at responses on host sites (for offsite promotions like guest contributions) is also important as a gauge of audience sentiment and receptiveness.
If, for example, your article on another industry site got a stack of great comments and feedback and social shares, but generated little traffic to your own site, you’ll know that you need to work on techniques that entice readers of your guest content back to your own site.
After all, adding value to your site is the aim of the game!
Content marketing for website value
As you can see, content marketing is a valuable technique for adding value to your site. It gives you a connection with new visitors that techniques like advertising and search positioning can’t. And it gives you more control over your message than social media can.
If you haven’t tried content marketing, I can recommend it as a great investment in your brand, your future, and your website value.
What happens when two experienced website owners and Flippa users meet on the marketplace? One fantastic transaction! Since it’s just about midterm season in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re bringing you a case study of a site that’s sure to see a lot of traffic these days: StudyGuide.org.
The seller, Tommy Noonan, is one of our top sellers on Flippa (he’s even written a guest post for us before). He started out selling websites when Flippa was still part of the SitePoint Marketplace, back in 2007, and has been working over the last year to sell off most of his website portfolio in order to focus on his main projects, both online and off, and his worldwide travel adventures.
One of the web properties he was looking to sell was a study guide site he picked up from the original owner in 2009. The site, StudyGuide.org, was in a rather sorry state, but where others would have seen a dead site, Tommy saw a great opportunity.
“I was actually searching for potential link partners for an education-related site I had started. Through some random Google search, I stumbled upon StudyGuide.org. I noticed that the layout was absolutely horrendous, pictures were distorted and didn’t line up properly, and there was a message on the homepage from a few years ago stating there would be no more updates. But what really caught my attention was that the Alexa rank was under 200k.”
Tommy got in touch with the site’s owner, put in an offer, and purchased the site. He then set to work on re-building traffic and revenue, and rehabilitating the layout. “I had inadvertently created a process which I would repeat dozens of times on a handful of other sites I’d buy at wholesale and then sell a year later at retail.”
As Tommy was selling off his inventory of websites, he listed StudyGuide.org in January 2012 with a $1 reserve. That was a gutsy move for an experience seller, but Tommy knew that the site, which was earning just under $600 per month in profit, would quickly attract interest.
That’s where Will Swayne and Nick Schoonens come in. Partners at the online marketing agency Marketing Results, they were looking to expand their website portfolio of revenue generating websites. As Will describes it, “we were trawling around Flippa looking for websites that met our criteria of not requiring any special knowledge or skills to run, with existing revenue, and with upsale potential. StudyGuide.org seemed to fit the bill”.
Though competition was stiff (the listing attracted 68 bids), Will and Nick had their heart set on winning the auction. “We were pretty keen to win, though I have to admit the price was rising to a point where we were about to bow out. The final price definitely factored in “future potential” as it was about a 3X multiple of annual earnings,” says Will.
While the process of transferring website ownership can sometimes be tricky, both the buyer and seller had been through the process several times before, and knew just what to do. “The transfer process was very simple. I’d done it dozens of times before, so I already had a system that worked. Transferring the domain between Godaddy accounts is a breeze. Then its just a matter of transferring the files and database to the new website owner. They go through the site and replace all the ad/analytics codes and then you’re basically done,” says Tommy.
Since the sale took place, eight months ago, Will and Nick have made several improvements to StudyGuide.org: “We’ve done a few things since we took over, including changing the site over to a more manageable CMS, testing new advertising partners, adding email marketing and creating a new system to moderate comments.”
What’s next for this pair of buyers? They are looking to continue expanding their portfolio of websites, in order to test optimization strategies while making some money on the side. Check out their work at Marketing Results.
As for Tommy, he’s now down to just a few websites, including his main online project. “It feels great to be able to focus on my main project, and not have the distraction of 40+ other sites. I’m also focusing more energies on travel, learning Spanish and blogging.” You can follow his blog at TomsAdventure.com.