From experience it’s safe to say that starting your own online travel business from scratch can be incredibly difficult. You need to put in a lot of hard work for it to pay off and you could be waiting at least a year or two before earning a decent income from it. The key is to remain persistent with it and work hard to ensure steady growth. In order to achieve steady growth you need income, to achieve income you need traffic and to get traffic you need to promote your business. The only problem is that promoting your business can cost a lot of money and it can be really time consuming. That’s where Flippa comes in. Flippa is essentially an online auction site where people go to buy and sell their websites. It is crucial to know exactly what you’re looking for and what to avoid so here is our guide to what you need to know about evaluating and buying a travel website on Flippa.
Questions to ask yourself before you get started:
Are you looking to purchase an already established travel site or a starter site?
At Flippa you have the choice to buy established sites and starter sites so it’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re looking for before you start analyzing anything. Already established websites are sites that have been around for at least 3 months. These sites are typically earning some sort of income and receiving a satisfactory level of traffic. On the other hand starter sites are completely brand new websites that have no or very little online traffic. These websites will usually be receiving no revenue and they will be less than 3 months old.
Starter sites are really good for you if you have a budget available for marketing purposes. You will need to spread the word about yourself and get people talking about your new travel business. On the other hand established sites will have a head start as they have already achieved some level of kudos.
What is your budget?
Obviously starter sites cost a lot less than established websites. Usually they sell for prices starting around £20 whereas established sites will go for a lot more. Prices vary depending on how established the website is, their reputation, their average traffic and their monthly revenue.
Which kind of site are you looking to purchase?
This is an important question to ask yourself as you need to know what your business model will be. Think about whether you want to sell accommodation, travel services such as flights, car hire or a combination of both. You might even want to run a site that is purely content based such as a blog site with forum posts. There are thousands of ideas out there so be sure to thoroughly think about it and don’t rush anything. Do your homework and you will be in a much better position to make a decision. Try surfing through the travel websites offered on Flippa and take a look at all the different ideas to get a better idea of what you want to do.
Which platform & hosting do you require?
You have to decide on which platform & hosting you are going to need. WordPress is highly recommended as it is a really simple platform to update and it’s generally really easy to work with. Hosting is really important and there are dozens of web hosting companies available to choose from. We currently use eukhost.com with prices from £5 per month which we’ve found to be reliable and trustworthy. In the long run if you start getting large volumes of traffic to your site you might need to upgrade to a higher specification web hosting package.
What to look out for on Flippa:
Duplicate websites: This is something you really need to watch out for as there are lots of duplicate sites being sold. Do some checks before committing yourself by searching Google to look for similar or identical sites. Stay away from these types of sites They simply aren’t original and you will struggle to stand out. To be honest you will just be another duplicate which is something you definitely don’t want if you are aiming to be successful.
Plan Beforehand: You definitely need to beware of the marketing strategy that’s behind the website you are planning to purchase. It’s common for websites to state that they have a fantastic marketing plan to ensure you receive plenty of customers. However if that was the case then they certainly wouldn’t be selling their website in the first place? That is why it is crucial to have your marketing strategy planned out before you buy anything. You can’t just assume sellers are always telling the truth, it’s a sad fact that some of them are simply trying to take the money and run. Therefore it’s important that you read through our guide on ‘How to purchase a site on Flippa’ below.
Get in contact with the seller: Make sure you ask the seller all of the questions you have before buying from them. For example if it is an established site then you should ask the seller to provide proof of revenue and traffic. This will give you a good idea of your ROI and whether or not it’s worth investing money into. Don’t just take their word for it, get the cold hard facts and make sure you are on the ball. A good tip to always remember is don’t listen to their “projections”. Only buy an established site if it is earning good income and receiving lots of traffic at the present time. Projection means absolutely nothing, especially if the site is under achieving after being up and running for over 3 months.
How much is it going to cost on Flippa.com?
For every site that sells on Flippa you must pay the 10% success fee which is worth bearing in mind.
How will you be paying?
You will need to know exactly what payment method to use as Flippa offers 3 standard choices to choose from. You can choose PayPal, Flippa Escrow or Escrow.com. All of these are completely safe payment methods, however if your budget is exceptionally large and you plan to spend a decent amount of cash then you will be better off using the escrow method.
How to purchase a travel site on Flippa:
To make sure you understand the pros and cons, please take a few minutes to read through this step by step guide on how to buy a website on Flippa. This will keep you in the right frame of mind and hopefully stop you from making any unnecessary mistakes.
Step 1. Begin the search
The first step involved in this process is to begin your search for the website you want to buy. While not essential you make use of the Flippa mobile App available from the App store. This makes it much easier to browse through the sites on your mobile than it is on a desktop. From the website you can start from the page https://flippa.com/websites and search for the keyword ‘Travel’ to get the largest selection of sites available in the travel sector. You can then filter your search options easily and also add websites to your watch site to help narrow down your choices.
Step 2. Get all the research done
After narrowing your search down and placing some sites on to your watch list you should focus your time on reviewing each one of them individually. So what do you look out for when reviewing the websites?
- Current traffic it receives: This is the first and most important thing to monitor. Traffic is the foundation of any business and there is no point in buying a site that gets no traffic. However you will also need to check where most of the traffic is actually coming from as many sellers exaggerate their traffic by paying for traffic through foreign services. It’s common for people to go on websites such as Fiver to pay for traffic. However it’s a complete waste of time as most of the traffic comes from India or Pakistan and none of the visitors are going to convert into sales. You can usually tell if someone is carrying out this activity as you will notice spikes in their traffic from day to day. Stay well away from these sites and their seller. A recommended resource for checking website traffic is Spyfu.com, while their full service is quite costly, they have a number of free tools that will give you a useful overview of your target sites.
- Review the current income: As previously mentioned it doesn’t matter what the projections are or what the seller is saying it has the potential to do. All that matters is how the site is doing right now and whether or not it is bringing consistent cash every week. Don’t go near websites that have inflated sales as these are probably fake too and completely paid for. Genuine revenue is not easy to verify but try to look out for sites that have made a consistent income for at least 3 months. For sites that claim to make large incomes of over £1000 per month check that this has been consistent for at least a 6 month period. It is possible for sellers to have paid for traffic to artificially boost revenue figures.
- Do a search on Alexa: By searching on www.alexa.com you will get some of information and it will provide you with an Alexa score. The lower the score the better so stay away from any that don’t score well. As a general rule if the site claims to get more than 10 thousand visitors per month, then its Alexa ranking should be at least 200,000.
- Complete a standard back-link audit: By performing this audit you will be able to see exactly which type of links are pointing customers in the direction of your website. The best way to do this audit is to head over to MOZ Open Site Explorer at https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/. From here you can simply type in your URL and instantly get a list of back-links. This will not be a 100% complete list but will give a good indication of the sites pedigree. Avoid any sites that are flagged as having excessive numbers of spam back-links as this could lead to you receiving a penalty from Google at a later date.
Step 3. Make an offer
If a website has passed all of the previous tests and audits then it has met the criteria. You are now ready to place your first bid on the website. Depending on how popular the website is with other users you may need to put on a good fight to win the site. Almost every website advertised will also have a reserve on them so make sure you meet this minimum requirement.
If someone puts a bid in when there is less than a minute left don’t worry! There will be an hour extension added on to the auction to ensure the site is bought by the highest possible bidder and not due to a time frame.
Step 4. Purchase the site
Hopefully you didn’t end up in a ruthless bidding war with someone because you can end up in a frenzy and end up paying far too much in the heat of the moment. Nonetheless when you have won the auction you will now need to put your money on the table. If you refuse to pay after winning the auction then it is likely that legal action will be taken against you. Therefore it is important to know exactly what you are looking for and stick to a budget. The fee must be paid one way or another so don’t make life more difficult than it already is.
Step 5. Move the website
You are now at the very last hurdle so don’t fall here! Make sure you move your new site to your web hosting account as it isn’t worth trusting sellers who promise free hosting. All they want is money and it is crucial to remember that. As previously mentioned there are dozens of web host providers to choose from but we currently use eukhost.com and found it to offer a reliable and dependable service.
Also be sure to move the domain name over to your own domain account.
Hopefully now you will be in a clearer mindset when it comes to buying websites on Flippa.com. Remember that Flippa has the ability to really fast forward your business so it’s important you do your research beforehand. You can find some real bargains on Flippa but also find lots of duds. The best aspect of Flippa though is the fact that you will be up and running in no time. Along with this if you buy a site that is already receiving a decent amount of traffic then you can start making money in a short period of time.
To get started make sure you follow this guide completely from start to finish. Don’t let anyone talk you into buying something you’re not sure about and never forget that your own research is all that counts. Forget about projections and “potential” as well, just concentrate on how a site is currently performing and if you have any doubts just walk away and check out the next one .