Preparing Your Website Business For Sale

Steps to prepare your website business for sale.

Many sellers describe their business opportunities as having great potential and upside that should justify a higher selling price. We regularly find ourselves explaining that buyers don’t pay for potential or what is referred to as ‘blue sky’ – unrealized financial expansion and profitability. Buyers will tend to focus on current and past results and look at the future potential as a supporting reason to make an offer based on the actual existing fundamentals. Rather than having to explain the potential growth opportunities that may be derived from the implementation of the ideas, we recommend to sellers to implement as many of these ideas as possible prior and during the sales process. This eliminates the need to “explain” what can be done to harness growth to the potential suitor, and also provides a clear signal that the seller is still evolving and growing the business under contemplation to purchase. Furthermore, it means a new owner does not have to incorporate these elements themselves after the sale while dealing with the potentially steep learning curve typical in the transition period – 3-6 months after acquisition.

Like selling a home or a car, take time to make the necessary repairs and tweaks before you sell and you will realize more money in the end. Just as you would wash, clean, paint, repair and add on nice features to make the sale more attractive for your car or home – the same applies to selling your website. Take care to do the following and potentially add the these features to your website business to make it more attractive to potential buyers:

  1. Firstly, Fix and clean up any bad links, grammatical errors, etc and bugs on the site if necessary
  2. Give the website a new look – update the graphics , color scheme, layout so it is more up to date with the web 2.0 community expectations
  3. Add the new features such as newsletters , community forum , or blog
  4. Implement an affiliate program and affiliate marketing campaign to attract strong relevant affiliate partners
  5. Implement a SEO program – either in-house or hire a professional SEO company with a strong track record to assist
  6.  Refine and/or implement a targeted PPC (pay per click) advertising campaign to increase traffic, conversion and sales. Look at adding hundreds of keywords and phrases that are very specific and convert well. Google’s new keyword tool is excellent – https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  7. Seek out new vendors and add more products and product lines that have synergy within your niche.
  8. Get a toll free # – if applicable and make it readily available throughout the site.
  9.  Add new selling channels – partner with sites like amazon.com , shop.com , bizrate.com etc so you tap into their millions of customers in their databases.
  10. Write compelling and useful articles about your niche that is unique – become an authority or an ‘expert’ in your niche
  11. Post a “in the Press” link on the site and emphasize any and all PR the website has been given and add contact details for other journalists etc.
  12. Submit press releases about your business that have a hook through online services like PR.com and PRweb.com

If sellers initiate some of these strategies they will find the selling process goes smoother because they have made their business more attractive without the need to explain what should or could be done. Let the business speak for itself and it will sell much quicker than if you have to attach a ‘story’ to the sale. The net effect of these implementations will likely help the trend of the business to continue growing rather than flattening out or going into decline because of seller neglect and a more robust internet business.

David Fairley is President and Founder of Website Properties.com. Having started Hamocks.com, Strollers.com and Drums.com as an early e-commerce entrepreneur, David's 25+ years of experience in the internet and Website Brokerage industry gives him a unique and experienced outlook on all things internet.