Maximizing Value from Under-Monetized Assets: Revitalizing Underperforming Websites for Maximum Profit

Running a website is tough work. You spend countless hours creating content, optimizing for search, and building links, only to look at your revenue numbers and wonder why they aren’t higher. This is even more frustrating if you plan to sell the website for a profit or, even worse, if you’re stuck with a recently purchased site you have to bring back to life. 

Fortunately, an underperforming website isn’t a lost cause. With the right strategies, you can transform your under-monetized website into a lucrative revenue stream and sell it for a tidy sum a few months down the line. And below, we’ll show you exactly how to do that. 

Identifying Underperforming Assets

The first step in revitalizing an under-monetized website is to conduct a comprehensive site audit to identify areas for improvement. This involves thoroughly evaluating the site’s design, content, functionality, and overall user experience. Key areas to assess include:

  • Design and usability: Is the site visually appealing, intuitive to navigate, and optimized for mobile devices? Poor design can drive visitors away.
  • Content quality and strategy: Does your content effectively engage users and align with search intent? Thin, outdated, or irrelevant content can harm SEO and reputation.
  • Technical SEO health: Are there any crawlability issues, site speed problems, or other technical roadblocks impacting organic search visibility?

Beyond the qualitative evaluation, you also need to analyze key metrics that reveal how your website is truly performing in terms of attracting and engaging its audience. Some essential metrics include:

  • Traffic sources and volume: How much traffic does your site receive, and where does it come from? Is it organic, paid, or social?
  • Bounce rate: What percentage of visitors leave after viewing just one page?
  • Average session duration: How long do visitors tend to stick around?
  • Revenue per visitor: How much revenue is your site generating per user?

Tools like Google Analytics can help you track essential visitor metrics, while SEMrush and Ahrefs can assess SEO performance, perform competitor analysis, and allow for easier backlink management. Armed with this data, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions for maximizing your website’s revenue potential.

Strategies for Revitalizing Underperforming Websites

Once you’ve identified the areas where your website is falling short, it’s time to take action. As we mentioned, there are a myriad of reasons to pay attention to, so your specific approach depends on the combination of factors at hand. Most commonly, they come in the form of: 

Identify Profitable Niches

If your current niche lacks consumer demand or is overly saturated, consider pivoting to a less crowded one. Focusing on an audience-driven, profitable niche ensures you’re building on solid foundations. This can aid you by:

  • Establishing trust that resonates stronger: Simply put, niches without much competition mean limited sources for the audience and any good site they find, they’ll cherish. 
  • Boosting your authority: Everyone’s a generalist, and specializing gives you a chance to stand out. 
  • Making it easier to establish relationships: Less people competing means more reasons to stick together. This can result in various benefits, opportunities and collaboration. 

For starters, you must conduct thorough market research to identify high-value niches that align with your website’s strengths and audience interests. However, make sure you don’t pivot too far. What do we mean by this?

Well, if the website is about finance, focusing on invoice factoring and business lines of credit is logical and somewhat expected. But if you suddenly start covering cybersecurity news, the measly traffic will drop even further, and even a Google penalty might ensue

Next, study the top-ranking competitors in promising niches. Are there any content gaps you could fill? Are there market trends that might be creating new opportunities? In particular, you should jump on trends before they become hypercompetitive.

But most importantly, be prepared for failure or trends simply fizzling out. Remember the metaverse craze, and how everyone wanted to rank for metaverse and VR-related keywords? Exactly. 

Improve the UX 

Did you know that just a 10% increase in UX-related expenditures can result in up to 83% more conversions? Yes, it turns out that you don’t need an outrageously expensive content strategist to give that underperforming site a much-needed push. 

Poor UX is a major culprit behind high bounce rates and low engagement, with a whopping 88% of people being less inclined to return to a site after a bad UX. Prioritizing UX overhauls should, therefore, be a top priority when revitalizing an underperforming site.

The first UX element you need to work on is your site design and layout. A clean, visually appealing design goes a long way in making a strong first impression and keeping visitors engaged.

Next, you need to improve your site speed and mobile responsiveness, as smartphones account for a majority of global traffic. Optimize images, leverage caching, and streamline code to provide a fast, smooth experience on all devices and connection speeds. With over half of web traffic coming from mobile, a responsive, mobile-friendly website is a must-have.

If the site involves resource-heavy services, then investing in dedicated cloud hosting might be a necessary expense if you want to achieve >99% uptime and ensure excess traffic doesn’t bring the site down. 

Finally, incorporate user feedback when improving your site’s UX. Tools like heatmaps, session recordings, and on-site surveys provide a goldmine of UX insights directly from your users. Identify points of friction and make data-driven tweaks to improve usability and reduce abandonment.

Refine Ad Strategies

While ads are a significant revenue source for many website owners, poor ad implementation is one of the top reasons why websites often fail to maximize their full earnings potential. 

Here are some key steps for refining your ad strategies:

  • Leverage the right ad networks: Not all ad networks are created equal. While popular options like Google AdSense and enable you to display relevant, high-paying ads, you should also explore premium ad networks in your niche for potentially higher CPMs.
  • Optimize ad placements: Where you place your ads makes a significant difference in click-through and engagement rates. Perform heat mapping to identify hot spots where users’ eyes gravitate. Experiment with different positions on your website, such as within content, sidebars, and header or footer areas. Strategic placement can significantly increase visibility and engagement without disrupting the user experience.
  • A/B test ad formats: Despite its intricacy, split testing ad formats and positions is a powerful way to identify what works best for your audience. Test different ad sizes, styles, and locations to see which combinations yield the highest performance. Use analytics tools to track results and make data-driven adjustments.

Enhance Your Content Strategy 

If better ad placements and a revamped UX didn’t do the trick, you’ll have to face the reality of your content simply being not good enough. By this, we mean: 

  • The content isn’t SEO optimized and it doesn’t rank
  • It’s optimized but for the wrong keywords 
  • The format isn’t readable enough (unreadable font, no visuals, blog posts are too long, etc.) 
  • Not enough variety in terms of format 
  • The content is AI-generated, plagiarised, shallow or outright provides no value whatsoever 

At the end of the day, your content strategy might be failing due to any combination of the reasons listed above. Hence, there’s no single way to get rid of the issues and optimize the strategy overnight. 

However, you can always start by observing what works for your competitors. Analyze their articles, posting frequency and observe the chronological development of their strategy. What works? What post or change resulted in a big uptick in traffic or SERP rankings? 

The worst-case scenario is that you’ll simply have to pivot to other keywords for your newsletters and blogs. But before you make any permanent changes, ensure that you’ve run enough tests and have tangible proof of the new approach working.  

Optimize Your Website with Extra Features

Driving traffic and engagement is crucial, but at the end of the day, revenue hinges on your ability to convert visitors into paid customers or subscribers. Optimizing your website’s conversion points should thus be a top priority when revitalizing an underperforming asset. However, this goes beyond reworking your website copy or battling the causes of cart abandonment

Plain and simple, you need to further improve upon what’s working. For a legal website, this might mean adding a fine-tuned AI chatbot to a landing page, with information about, let’s say, personal injury law and services. Sites involving signatures and more lucrative deals could do well with digital signature integrations, extra security and advanced data encryption. 

It all depends on what your target audience is looking for and, of course, whether such investments are worth it for you. 

Preparing for a Lucrative Exit

For many website owners, the ultimate endgame isn’t just revitalizing an underperforming asset but positioning it for a lucrative exit through an acquisition or sale. After implementing strategies to maximize revenue and traffic, you’ll want to properly package and negotiate a good price for your now high-performing website. Before that bank transfer hits your account, you’ll have to: 

Showcase Value Drivers

Buyers evaluate acquisition targets based on key metrics like monthly revenue, traffic volume, email list size and growth trajectory, especially if it’s a SaaS website, but you should go beyond just showcasing these value drivers. To fully convince buyers, you must tell the whole story—not only about the metrics, but how different CRMs, backup solutions, AI assistants and other tools played a part

What this means is conveying the effort and strategy it took to even implement, let alone properly execute your successful strategies. 

If you’re using pen testing software, talk about the tangible results it provided and the vulnerabilities it helped patch. Likewise, it would be wise to keep Microsoft 365 backups of all key contracts, documents, infographics, and everything else that’ll help sway the buyer. 

Showcasing these details and numbers is satisfactory, but telling the story behind them and leaving the data accessible to the future owner is what can set you apart from other selling parties. 

Assemble Clean Financials

Potential buyers will want to scrutinize your profit/loss statements, balance sheets, traffic sources breakdown, top channels data, and more. Ensure this financial reporting is organized, up-to-date, and able to withstand due diligence. 

Even if you’re fully honest and benevolent, but some data is incomplete or without tangible proof to back it up, buyers might second guess their decisions and renege on their initial desire to do business with you. 

That’s why it’s paramount to have this prepared in advance, and verified by a licensed financial expert who, ideally, has experience with website sales. 

Negotiate Skillfully

When engaging buyers, aim to have multiple offers on the table to create competitive tension. Understand your website’s determinable value, but also portray its future upside potential. Likewise, before you step into any negotiations, reinforce your willingness to walk away unless the right offer manifests.

There will be low-ballers, fake SEO experts who’ll try to devalue your data (why do they want to buy the site, then?) and other grifters, so it’s important to be patient and comb through offers regularly. Eventually, serious buyers will emerge. 

Wrapping Up

Revitalizing an underperforming website asset requires a well-thought-out approach, but the potential payoff is immense. Through a strategic approach and some improvements to things such as content strategy, UX, extra features and conversion funnels, you can breathe new life into a stagnant digital property.

With painstaking revitalization efforts backed by organized documentation and a strategic exit plan, you’ll be positioned to command a much higher valuation and premium from motivated buyers. The result? A lucrative, well-deserved payday as an entrepreneur.

Nahla Davies is a software developer from NYC and has worked as the lead programmer at several major technology companies whose clients include Collibra, UpGuard and Netflix. Nahla has worked with enterprise clients around the world developing RegTech protocols and best practices, as well as working with sovereign governments acting as a key contributor for notable public projects like DCOM. These days Nahla shares her insights and expertise through a number of publications, and you can keep up-to-date with her insights at Follow Nahla on LinkedIn.

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