Should I sell my website?

by Jeremy Schoemaker on May 2, 2011 · 64 comments

Lately it seems at least once a day someone emails or contacts us saying they just received an offer on their website and wonder if they should sell it or not.

Now many people will tell you its a simple as adding up its annual revenue and multiplying it by an amount. But I throw that to the wind. The asset has a value and depending on which side you are on it has quite a different value.

Let me explain.

On the buying end.

If I am buying something then I have a set price that its worth to me. I wont pay a penny more during the first negotiation. Usually I will pay less. I don’t care what people think the asset is worth to them.

The most money I ever paid for a domain was for Fighters.com. The domain broker originally was asking $250,000. I ended up paying $60,000 for it.(I had 75,000 in mind).

But more recently I purchased the domain freeseoreport.com for $250. The owner originally as asking $6500 for it. (I had $1200 in mind).

Linkcontrol.com was owned by buydomains.com and wanted $5200 for it. I negotiated it down to $1,000

Now some people will look at some of these purchases and say that I got ripped off. Some might say that I got a good deal. The bottom line is that I got it for what I planned to buy it for. The value I had placed on it (or less). and thats what this is all about.

Domains are pretty easy because you can do all the research yourself. Complete websites are totally different ballgame. Until you can get actual figures and stats from the seller its pretty much impossible to put a valuation on it.

On the selling end

On the selling side I look at things a little bit differently then most people do. I don’t really care about cash. In fact I view cash as a liability. I am not good investing money and I know that if I just put money away in a 2% savings account I am losing at least 6% on my money annually because the U.S. dollar is depreciating at a rate of 8% a year and I don’t see inflation going down anytime soon.

So now we go back to the original question – Should you sell your website for X amount?

I remember the first time I got offered a million dollars for a website. I could not believe it and wanted to sell it right away. But then after talking to a wealthy friend he said to me, “Why 1 million dollars?”. I had a hard time answering it other then saying, “But its a million dollars!”. That is not a good reason.

My answer is filled with questions. But it boils down to a simple answer.

Do you have an asset that is appreciating at the rate of the one you want to sell? If yes then sell it right away and focus on the up and coming asset. For those who do not know what an asset is it could be anything that is making you money. It could be another website, or it could be farmland. It could be a local business.

The point is don’t sell just to get money. Having money with no plan other then to say you are now a millionaire is stupid.

I know what your thinking…. Why did I sell AuctionAds.com 3 years ago when it was clearly a rising asset.

That is a good point. The company was only 4 months old and revenue was climbing at an unbelievable rate but there was 3 reasons why I sold that property.

  1. I was way over my head. At the time my company consisted of 2 employees. We were doing all marketing and all technical work. Nobody was doing customer service.
  2. We were floating millions of dollars a month and paying people all over the world. We now had to worry about things like currency hedging and shit like that. Shit I knew nothing about.
  3. The whole company was a house of cards that was riding on one card. eBay. If eBay were to ever shut down its affiliate program then AuctionAds was f’d. While I had no idea at the time that eBay would close down their affiliate program less than a year later… I didn’t like being so reliant on one company.

Recently we were offered over $250,000 for a website that is making less than 1k a month. I turned it down. While the site does not have a run rate of 10% of that valuation, it is growing like crazy and its less than 1 month old. I know a lot of people would have jumped in a minute to take that cash but this asset is appreciating much faster than what cash would.

So that was a long drawn out answer to a simple question. Hopefully it makes sense ;)

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2856 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.


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{ 64 comments }

1 Lee King

Thank you so much for this post. Thinking through the valuation and considering your other assets is a great idea that I’ll put into practice in the future…Thx Again.

2 Nisha

Yes its good to market your website as it increases traffic.

3 TrafficColeman

Selling a site can be a headache all in its self, but it comes down to whether you really want to move on or you just in need of money. Choose wisly..

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

4 sadek

Yes, selling procedure is generally long, and requires lot of effort. To sell a site at it’s best price you also have to be up-to-date about the industry too.

5 Jan

Hi
you made a very good point. A domain/website is worth what you or sombody think it is worth, not what it is making now.
i also have alitte projekt that ist making just a few $ a month. everyone is asking me for that amount an offers me about 10-times as much. i am not selling since i know with handfull houres of work i can make up to 10times – a month. i just don’t have the time….

6 mike reynolds

If I ever get offered a million bucks for anything I’m sooo going to remember this post. Someday, maybe ;-)

7 Afif

If I ever get that offer, most probably I will just fell for the temptation. ^^
Questions to Jeremy: What value do you think your site possess to be able to get that 1 million offer? Was it the revenue? Or the hype? Or any other related factors?
Thanks

8 raul

I think domain names were investment opportunity the century… you buy them for a couple of buck and sell them for thousands.

9 ExSuit

Wow. Can you share with us the recent website/business that you were offered $250K for??

10 TYCP Magazine

I can’t believe someone tried to sell you a domain that makes less than 1k for 250k. They must’ve been smoking some of Charlie Sheen’s crack.

11 RyanEWA

You misread the sentence. Someone was offering him 250K for a website making less than 1K a month.

12 Harshad

So true. Build assets… not money… if you want to be rich.

13 Fisayo @ Secrets of Entrepreneurship

This post is just in time. I want to sell my website (http://www.entrepreneurshipsecret.com). But i’ll want a buyer that’ll keep the dream. (Small business/Entrepreneurship training)

14 AM

Ebay closed its affiliate program? Then who has been making those direct deposits from Ebay into my bank account??

15 Adam

They closed their CJ program and took everything in-house.

16 CheapSites.com

That’s the key, I’m trying to find a reasonable buyer who wants to make a good return on their cash investment. The asset might be producing $3k or $5k a month in profits, but I see that as a downside.

Case in point, my main site listed above. I don’t have the patience to acquire, launch, and deal with every client that comes through the door. I invested a ton on the domain and not enough on the business. My heart is not into it, and it would be nice to see the business flourish.

Anyone interested should contact me!

17 Peter Davis

I like your thought process on this Jeremy. I’ve been operating in pretty much the same way, though I’m more of a buyer these days than a seller. If you come across anyone wanting to sell a forum, send them my way.

18 Fisayo @ Secrets of Entrepreneurship

Hi Peter. I wanted to contact you on your website but your contact form isn’t loading. I have 2 websites (1 Forum and a Blog) I wish to sell. Do contact me.

19 Free Music Exposure

I’ve been in the same boat before with some of the sites I’ve built, and I always shied away from selling because it seemed like too much hassle to deal with. Maybe 1 million is too low a bar. There’s gotta be a number where you just take the money. I don’t know what it is, 5 million? It is funny how things change when your perspective is not just about the money, throws people off too.

20 Jeremy Schoemaker

Guy kawasaki always said 3 times to sell a site:

Too Early
Just right
Too Late

I don’t put a price on things like… off if I had 5 million then I would sell it.

You have to take a TON of things into consideration.

Short term vs long term cap gains… Cashout value vs annual income etc.

The buyout number is always never really close to what you actually get… and its all somewhat relative. Not to mention the stress of a deal that is just probably someone fishing.

21 Edgar

in other words, if your broke sell and if your rich then you worry about assents.

22 Jeremy Schoemaker

umm… not really. If your always selling then your never building anything.

Unless you can use the money to pay off debt that is losing you more money then your asset is appreciating. Make sense?

23 Imagine

So how were you able to negotiate to the lower price for the domains you bought?

24 Jeremy Schoemaker

yes of course

25 Imagine

Your response didn’t answer my question. I was asking about the steps you took to negotiate the lower price you bought for the domains. How did you do it?

26 Hrvoje Livnjak

@Imagine

That’s probably the art of negotiation and things like that.. I always negotiated for the domains that at the end I didn’t even purchase : ) but the point is.. go to any broker service like sedo or buy domains or whatever.. ask for some domain and try and pimp them and squeeze their necks with that domain broker who is in charge for the domain you offer.. try making some stats etc.. that will pull the price down.. that way you will probably have a good chance to lower the price down.. one thing that they don’t do is swap.. maybe for some good domain or something but hardly i think

Regards,
Hrvoje Livnjak

27 Stocks on Wall Street

No don’t unless your getting millions.

28 Maria Kessar

I am also want to sell my website but right now i could not find a best place for selling.

29 fas

Shoe tips on bargaining when buying domain names could be helpful.

30 Seb at Pedometer watches

A very interesting post. I have sold other businesses over the years ( 5 restaurants ), but I don’t think anyone would give me much for any of my websites. $10 – $15 a month probabbly translates into a price tag of $50.00 if I’m lucky. Still, I’ll persevere, as so many of you obviously make a ton of money online.

31 codeinit

I would never sell a rising website unless I had great financial difficulties.

32 kyle

What happen to the old design of this site..I want to do soem advertising on this site Icam here haven’t been here in a long time..and seen the new design. I think its REALLY bad why the change? I still want to do some advertising with you guys but are you guys keeping this design?

33 Jerrrick

But mostly people would take the same action with you . Because that the first time to see that huge amount of money and sold it without consider much .
That why we also learn from a lesson and cause you grow faster.
Most of the website owner do not know that how much their website and domain able cost in the market.

34 invicta men's watches

“I would never sell a rising website unless I had great financial difficulties.”
I agree on that.

35 Patrick

I’ve only recently started to monetize my site. It’s starting to generate a little money, but I have no idea how to value the site.

36 Skill-Guru

Is there any exchange where people buy and sell their websites ?

37 Web designing in visakhapatnam

A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the internet or a private local area network through an internet address known as a uniform resource locator. All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the world wide web. Thanks for sharing.

38 jack steele

hi inquiring reference my web/domain how much money can i sell for thanks for reply jack

39 Jason Yelowitz

Shoe, interesting post. As you know, I broker websites, so I may be a little biased. I like the thought about selling only if you have better use of the cash. But the other reason is diversification. If you’re outside net worth is $100k and someone offers you $900k for your website, then the website is 90% of your total portfolio. That’s not great diversification. I’ve seen countless websites that were great and then plummeted due to something totally unforeseen by the owner. In those cases, the owners would have done much better to sell the $900k asset, but a different site for $400k and bank the rest for a rainy day.

40 Torry Andersenn

Best tip: “But more recently I purchased the domain freeseoreport.com for $250. The owner originally as asking $6500 for it. (I had $1200 in mind).” :-)

41 sumit@Money making guide

But sometimes you can loose money not selling your website on time. You give good reason for auction ads. If you can not handle it then its better to sell it. By the way I am also selling my website- http://moneyvisitor.com for $50000. Hey shoe look at mine website. Tell me is it the right price or you will make less bid for it.

42 Alex @ Fibroids Miracle

If you are not too greedy, selling your website is not so hard after all, it all depends on the right place, the right time…and the right buyer, I might add. As for buying a website, well, I guess it’s the same story.

43 joel

Very interesting and useful article,thanks for sharing.:)

44 Jock

Sometimes it might be better to take the money. Really depends on the situation. However i agree that if you don’t have a better place to put your money than that it is probably better to hold on. However look at Mark Cuban 4 billion or whatever for broadcast.com he didn’t have anything to put the money into, however that was one sweet deal. And if he decided to hold onto the site he would have lost a whole lotta money !

45 Seattle Insurance Quote

Shoe, awesome post. I have many sites I want to sell and wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Thanks for this info.

46 Dyshidrotic Eczema

Check out Flippa.com for buying and selling websites. I have had some luck there.

47 Free Traffic X

Free Traffic X is what worked for me. I have read tons of articles and forums and listened to hours of videos. None of those “Gurus” told me about the free Google tool to find targeted traffic. This cool technique is how I find targeted traffic easily.

48 Don Stearns

Interesting philosophy on money. How would you value a site that was making $500 per month and little chance of growth because of the niche.
Don

49 Mandy

Lots of learning from this article. right now we are going through tough phase and this really inspired us. let us see what we decide.

50 Dan

I have an affiliate site that is doing about 25k in commissions a month right now. It grows by 3k-5k every month.

I would take a million for it, but it isn’t a year old. It is only about 6 months old and the first month was like $500 and now I just hit $25k.

I would love to sell it to raise capital for another venture, but I am not sure if I can because it is only 6 months old. But the growth rate in crazy!

Any tips on how I can approach buyers in this situation?

51 william

acabei de criar meu site usando classipress nem penso em vendendo, pelo menos agora rsrsr

52 Vern

I’ve considered selling AimforAwesome.com but it basically makes no money. Could it give 1 million dollar plus buyer to a real estate agent per year? Definitely. What is that worth? Maybe $20,000. Could it pull 2 buyers per year? I think so… So is my site worth $40,000? Hard to say. It’s really tought to convince someone it’s worth even $10,000 when there is no way to prove buyers will materialize in the unique visitors to the site. However, 120,000 visitors per year must equal one buyer – right? Possibly… lol. It’s all voodoo unless you have someone confident enough they can do something with a site with traffic that has no monetization.

Another site I have nets 1,500 monthly, and has for 18 months. Year before that – 1,000 mth. Year before that – our first year – about 500 average per month. What is it worth today? Anybody’s guess… We were thinking to sell it at $19,900.

Tough to find buyers in this climate I think, but maybe as Google gets tougher to break into – sites for sale that are already well established in the big G will be more marketable?

53 Kenny

I want to sale my site fully SEO done with 1500+ daily visit ready for earning http://www.tvandshowsonline.com interested people can contact me.

54 Michael Brock

I own a very Powerful Website that Gets results http://www.lasvegascomplaints.com with Las Vegas Being a International tourist stop i get alot of hits and complaints which leads into a lot of comps some i keep some i give away lots of room for growth in all areas, making money from ads now want to try and sell it For $180000 based on Power, Growth, and Las Vegas ,its been up and running now for 3 years…..where should I start?
Mike Brock 7023722375

55 Ryan @ Trusted Site Seller

Your first step would be to get a proper appraisal of your site. In my experience, unless a site is really unique then you would be able to fetch anywhere from 15x – 30x monthly earnings.

It is never as simple as simply multiplying the monthly earnings, but its a good place to start.

56 ID Safairis

Lately i was thinking of selling my website. After considering all aspects, age, visitors, popularity, I believe it isn’t the time yet. And after reading this post, it really opened my eyes.

Shoemoney 57 Anonymous

blogriete.blogspot.com

58 Christina

I sell my website few months ago through Websitetrade.com in just $1500, However, What I see now is that the new owner turned it into very successful business and earning thousands of bucks. Just in few months the website is ranked to PR5 from PR2.
I would better say If you want to sell your website think twice about the potential of website before you sell it.
I think if we really want to sell website we should really learn how to sell website and earn most out of it.
I am now looking for some other website at websitetrade.com, which I can really turn into a successful business.

59 Gagan Agrawal

I have recently started my website. It is around 2 months old. I have started earning around 3$ per day. I spent around $1.5 Per day in its marketing. Can I sell this website? What should be the right price?

60 online marketing

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for breezsoft multan

61 Agus

scrutinize…

62 Keral Patel

As a seller most of the time I get emotional with my websites and the sale drops :( I think first of all I will have to get out of that mindframe.

63 Sarah

I’ve had a kid trying to buy my primary site – it’s a neglected blog but the I use the domain name at twitter, it’s my facebook url and I use the emails in so many different sites that I’d have a nightmare trying to update them all. The kid was upfront about not having much money so I never even haggled with him and in the end offered him an free subdomain and email addresses but he declined. Sometimes your personal identity if wrapped up in a site that selling becomes more than the value of the business done from the domain. Some things are priceless.

64 Antonio

Right here is the perfect site for anybody who really wants to understand this topic.
You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that has been
discussed for a long time. Great stuff, just great!

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