If you’ve made the decision to sell your website on Flippa it’s only natural that you’re looking to get maximum value from your auction. So how do you do that?

Today I want to share with you some of the best tips and tactics we’ve used to sell hundreds of sites and bring in millions in dollars of sales in the past year. A site valued at $500 isn’t going to sell for 5-figures no matter what tactics you use. Having said that, the methods below have helped us consistently outsell our competitors at prices nearly double what they’re doing.

#1 Be Descriptive

Many unsuccessful auctions on Flippa have very little information in the description. From a buyer’s perspective, if you’re not willing to go into some detail about your site it’s usually a bad sign.

You need to have a high-level summary or overview at the top of the auction copy and then use the rest of the description to dig into the details. Use headers to break up the blocks of text and point directly to the various sections in your auction copy.

#2 Attention To Detail

While most buyers will be forgiving of a misspelling or two, you’ll want to make sure that your data and statistics are tighter across the board. It’s a red flag if you’re mentioning 7,435 visits per month and then saying 9,305 visits further down the auction copy.

If English isn’t your native language, pay someone to write your copy in a way that you just plug in the numbers from the site you’re selling. It’s more than worth a few dollars up front for the extra value this can bring your listing in the end.

#3 Transparency As A Differentiator

People tend to buy from people they know, like, and trust. It may be hard to build rapport in your auction content but consider linking out to your social profiles and show you’re a “real person”.

Buyers find it scary bidding on auctions that are anonymous, so I always put a link to my blog, LinkedIn profile, etc. This shows buyers that I’m not hiding and it communicates confidence that I’m someone they can work with should there be any problems.

Since many sellers prefer to remain anonymous being transparent is a great way for your site to stand out.

#4 Stop Overselling

Buyers do have a “If it’s too good to be true…” philosophy, so stating that your $800 site could, “easily be earning $1,000 per month in a couple of weeks” isn’t going to help. (If it were true why don’t YOU do it and sell for more?)

It’s ok to paint a positive picture, but you’re much better off taking a matter-of-fact approach. Don’t focus on figures when it comes to explaining the site’s potential.

Over emphasizing figures might also low-ball the value that a prospective buyer sees in your site. (e.g Saying your site has the potential to earn $1,000 per month when the buyer sees an opportunity for $5,000 per month)

#5 Build History And Trust

If you want to sell sites on a regular basis it’s important to build up trust and a solid reputation. Just like auctions that have viewers/watchers , Flippa also has a “Watched Seller” feature. This feature automatically sends out emails to watchers a seller they follow lists a new site for sale.

We implement an “undersell, over deliver”  policy with all of our buyers which has kept our feedback 100% positive and has led to glowing reviews. Even if you only sell larger sites once every 1-2 years, build your selling history with smaller sales to get top dollar on your next major.

#6 Pricing Strategy

It’s important to understand the value of your business. For some insight, we give a general idea of what a content, eCommerce, or SaaS business might be worth to a buyer in our First Time Seller’s Guide. If you overvalue your site simply because you think it is worth that much in your heart, nobody is going to purchase the business. Investors want to make their money back within a few years, so it is rare for any business to sell for above a 3x annual profit multiple.

As for using an Auction vs a Classified listing, that is completely up to you. We often see that auctions that start at a low price, even $1, can start to generate a lot of watchers and bidders, which can result in a higher multiple sale at the end. However, if you have a high value asset, let’s say over $50,000, it might be best to list as a classified listing and let people take their time to discuss the asset with you and complete their due diligence. Placing a timeline on someone looking to spend a large sum of money can be unnerving at times.

#7 Respond Quickly

Buyers are more likely to purchase from an excited seller. If you get a message within the discussions porthole, be sure to respond within 24 hours. If you are slow to respond, the buyer will either think you aren’t serious about selling, or that you aren’t a trustworthy person. Nobody wants to purchase a business from a person who doesn’t even respond to a simple question.

#8 Don’t Sell Short During “The Dip”

You’ll get an initial burst of views when your auction goes live and then things will slow down. Way down. The middle of your auction is the dark period where there won’t be nearly as many views.

Savvy buyers know this and will try to reach out and get you to short-sell your site to them directly. If they make an offer you’re happy with, feel free to take it…but we’ve found that these offers are generally much lower than the price we ultimately get by keeping the auction going.

#9 Promote Outside Of Flippa

While Flippa will do everything they can to sell your auction successfully, it doesn’t hurt to help them out! When you’re starting your auction, your job is clear – get as many targeted visitors to your auction as possible.

Look at where you hang out online and see if you can use your authority in that space to drive interest to your auction. If you’re selling a site in the health niche and are a regular member in a health forum, consider linking to your auction in your signature. Search for related posts in that forum and add value to the conversation. This will naturally lead to more visits to your auction.

Don’t be spammy, a soft approach is best. Include your link as a regular part of your conversation and you’ll do just fine.

#10 Auction Comments

You’ll notice that live auctions have a visible count on the number of comments made. This is another form of social proof you can use to get more click throughs to your auction so we use comments to provide updates regarding earnings, traffic, etc. We also respond to every comment we receive on the auction, effectively doubling the amount of comments.

Again, there’s no reason to be spammy here. A few updates and responding to each comment will ensure your auction is interesting and lets prospective buyers know that you’re on the ball.

So there you have it, 10 secrets to selling your site for a premium on Flippa.com. Auctions can be daunting but with the best practices you can get maximum return for your site.

What strategies have you used to get top dollar for your site sales on Flippa? Have you found success with any of the strategies we’ve listed above? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Impressions

How do you switch to automatically accepting all bids? I haven’t found that setting at “manage listing”

Hey Min,

There should be an option where you can choose to automatically or manually accept/approve bids. We would leave it manual until we get towards the end of the auction and then have it automatically accept all bidders. (As the bidding war starts to heat up)

That’s important, as there should be multiple bidders and they’ll see themselves getting outbid, see the price start climbing, etc.

Very nice article. I have been looking for information on selling websites as I am an astrologer and have no knowledge of how to sell websites. I intend to sell few of my website on flippa and this article is very helpful and explains things in a simple yet effective style.

Thank You

Yeh I saw that option but what if the listing is already live? There are no options to do that anymore it is only available before the listing is alive.

In the secret #7 – 2nd paragraph – you mentioned – “For example, I may launch an auction and get a $500 bid…….. wake up the next day, and see that I have 4 additional bids under $500.”

Do you get to see how much is a bid’s worth? As a seller on Flippa for over 3 years now, I don’t see how much is a bid placed on my auction? I only get to see a new bid has been placed, but I have no way of knowing how much is the bid amount.

Is it with everyone or am I missing something here?

And if you do get to see it, why do you get a special treatment?

Hi Sunny,
I’m sure Justin can clarify what he meant, but indeed, it isn’t possible for a seller to see the amount of a bid before it’s accepted. That’s because we ask sellers to approve a bidder, not an individual bid. It is true that by delaying a bid acceptance, you might see increased bidding activity for lower amounts before the bid is accepted. Depending on your auction, it may or me not be worth waiting.

#6 is a good idea . I have two current auctions and wish I’d have read that one first! I have some bids that are above the reserve, but, with 24 hours left, the listing is not going to make the ‘most active’ I am sure of that!

They are secrets if you don’t know about them in the first place. Just like all the secrets to internet marketing, success, etc. Once you know the steps, then they are not a secret to you.
(Pal?)

Sorry, Sunny, that mention is no longer correct on my part. The sentiment holds true, though…try to stack up as many bids/bidders as you can get so that your volume of bids goes up.

Totally agree here…if you have a site worth around $1k, no amount of tactics or strategies will get that site to sell for 5 figures! Still, applying these tips and tricks can potentially add 30%, 50%, etc. to your final sales price.

We’re suppose to approve a bidder without knowing their bid? That makes no sense …. what’s the logic in that?

I agree, as i understood it we couldnt make changes once the listing was live which to be honest is a real pain in the butt.
Once a listing ahs bids on then fair enough but we should be able to alter up to that point 🙂

Anyway can we confirm about the changing bids? If we can do that can we see how?

Mick

That’s true, Mick, but I’ve seen relatively “good” content sites sell for way less than they should because the auction copy was basically empty, the seller wasn’t working to get the auction more views, etc.

In a previous life I’d done quite a few sales on eBay and became familiar with how best to sell at auctions and many of the strategies apply here as well.

Great stuff as always, Justin.

I got a chuckle out of one of the comments, regarding approving bidders without knowing their bid. Hmm, seems to me that is the whole principle behind the auction model of making sales, isn’t it? Oh well, there’s a lot I don’t understand, maybe that’s yet another thing.

My (limited) auction experience from some years back on eBay indicated a very strong correlation between the day of the week a sale ends and profit. Indeed there (at least used to be) some “Power Sellers” who were depending on “day of the week” arbitrage … just making a few bucks a sale by buying on “cheap” days and then reselling on “better” days.
Have you found any correlation between profits an days of the week sold?

That’s a great topic, Dave. The top day for traffic on Flippa is Wednesday, but we haven’t had an in-depth look at whether the day of the week correlates with a better sales rate or a better auction price. Instinct says that it matters less for higher-end auctions (where the auction is typically longer, and users are more likely to watch the auction and respond to notifications) than for small/new sites and short auctions.

Thanks, Dave!

The best analysis I’ve seen on Flippa’s data regarding the best day to start/end an auction was from Justin at FlipFilter:

http://www.flipfilter.com/blog/the-best-day-to-end-a-website-auction-listing/

Pretty anti-climactic…the data didn’t point to a winner or a positive correlation! Someone in the comments mentioned that the time of day that you end the auction is important and my gut tells me that’s true. We try to end in the AM US time. That way, if our auction gets extended (with last minute bids) it gets extended throughout the day US time.

I agree that these aren’t secrets when you know them, Justin has done a good job here for newbies on his own time, so don’t be catty for the sake of it. Not yet listed on Flippa but researching it and posts like this help. Thanks Justin.

Hi Justin,

Appreciate you’re being Sorry.

But doesn’t that mean you need to correct your words, in the blog post?

Even though the sentiments are true, but your words are misleading. And I think, it’s a primary thing to correct yourself before you publish any of your views/thoughts/facts or present yourself as a guest poster to Flippa.

@Ophelie Lechat – I appreciate you came in between and demanded a response from Justin. Now, since you have read a response from Justin (Who is being sorry for making wrong statements) – I would really appreciate it if you could allow Justin to make changes to his post OR if you could do it on his behalf.

BUT Please change that statement – AS that is misleading.

Thank you!!!

I agree. the main reason I would want to know the bid before accepting is to know if the bid would put the price over the reserve, since accepting a bid over the reserve changes our legal obligations.

Well, am planning to sell one of my website, nice inputs by you, though some were thought by me earlier only. But some points what you have given will work from buyer to buyer. Say Point #4, Stop over selling, I run a Social Bookmarking I cannot predict it to be Digg or Stumbleupon, but can given the website managers ability it can go anywhere they want to take it.

Cheers,

Hey Bumble,

I was just trying to raise the point that some serious buyers may be turned off to your auction if you position it as having unlimited (or seemingly outrageous) potential. (Even if it’s true!) There’s no reason to oversell…any potential buyers will already have an idea as to where to take the site. If you reach too high, they’ll think it’s unbelievable. If you reach too low, they’ll think it might not have the potential THEY thought it had before they read what you had to say.

You suggested to price all the auctions at $1 with no reserve.

That’s really scary for me. What if I don’t even reach the reserve and have to sell it?

And according to your experience, what’s the best practice for keeping reserve? Lower than what you expect or exactly what you expect?

Thank you for the wonderful post, @justincooke:disqus 🙂

Hey Manish,

I definitely hear what you’re saying about it being scary. The thing that makes it even worse is if you’re selling your “baby”…something you’ve devoted a ton of time, effort, and energy into. What if it doesn’t sell for a reasonable price? What if the auction goes wrong?

I have to admit that, in the auctions we’ve held, the sites we were selling weren’t hugely important to me and I hadn’t invested a ton of time into them.

Still…starting at $1 No Reserve will drive MUCH more action/attention to your auction than if you’d started at a higher price or had included a reserve…you end up losing out on a ton of eyeballs and bids that you otherwise would have had.

I just sold my first site on Flippa about 2 months ago and the most significant factor that seemed to keep the price from going higher was the amount of effort needed to keep the site going and making money. I had done all of the work on the site myself, but almost every potential buyer was not able to do the work and was interested in outsourcing, which of course means less profit and a lower bid as a result. So in addition to your tips in this post I would add that you should consider how you can make the maintenance of the site as hands free as possible to ease concerns of some potential buyers. For example, I could have put more effort into finding freelance writers ahead of time, which could have shown a more stable transition plan. Result Planet

That’s a damn good point, Trisha…

If you’re selling a site that earns $500/month, but takes 100 hours per month of your time, most will realize that they’re buying their way into a $5/hour job. 🙁

That’s the way business works though, isn’t it? If your site/business isn’t earning enough without you to be profitable or if the work required by you to keep it running is incompatible with what you’re getting paid…that doesn’t make a ton of sense…

Dear blogger, if I sold my website in Flippa, what things I have to give to Buyer. Like content, username password, etc. Pls clear by doubt and if u can mail it to this [email protected] ID. Thank you……. 🙂

There’s nothing that says you have to give away the reserve price even when potential buyers ask. Giving it away gets may get you an early bid right at the reserve price but you will lose you all those smaller lower-end bids that are required to feature in “Most Active”.

I am pretty sure it’s against Flippa’s rules to disclose the reserve price. Am I missing something?

I totally agree with not giving away the reserve price to potential bidders. You’re right on the money regarding the bids, “Most Active” section, etc.

I don’t “think” it’s against the rules to give the reserve price, though you might want to check their recent policies on this.

This is no longer possible, unfortunately.

What you can do now, however, is approve the bids as quickly as they come in. While this won’t necessarily mean a big bidder won’t swoop in and put their bid down, it will be less likely than when you have to pick from several potential bidders.

Definitely put a reserve or you may sell a domain well below its value. Recently put a domain on Flippa and the highest bid was $250. I’m glad my reserve was a little higher and it didn’t sell. This domain albeit used as a 301 redirect is a major source of traffic for another site.

I had a .com website for 2 years, never had a single visitor. My own google searches proved the site was at least half decent for search terms etc.because I would show on the first page if i typed my city or geo-locator permissions were on, and the words ‘jewelry’ and/or ‘silver’. But yeah, not a single visitor! Jewelry! its not like I was selling antique septic tanks… I am envious of all of you and wish you the very best conquering tycoon thoughts:)

– Trisha Agarwal – Judging by your appeared age….wowsa! look out for this girl, You seem brilliant. Not just the suggestion but your language, you are definitely in the right place. Keep tearin’ it up girl…. shoot for the moon!!

Hey look at my post. And now its been 4 years I am really curious how you have fared over this time. You are a millionaire I bet!

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