Maybe you want a more profitable website. Maybe you want to sell it, and get as much money as you possibly can. Maybe you don’t care about money. You have no intention of selling your website, and your goals are wrapped up in some sort of weird pride and vanity thing. Whatever your motives, we’ve got a few suggestions that should help you to increase the overall value of your website.
First, a little bit about website value. The value of any given website is, most often, determined by how much revenue it generates. Many buyers won’t care about anything but the bottom line. A profitable site could be falling apart – intensely ugly, incredibly dated, and insanely difficult to use – but it would still sell, because it’s a proven moneymaker.
Many sites you find for sale on a marketplace like Flippa are priced based on their monthly profit, multiplied by ten or twelve. A site that generates 1k in profit monthly is most likely to sell for anywhere from 8k to 15k, depending on the niche, the amount of time it demands from the owner, and a few other factors we’ll get to in a minute.
Buyers who pay for ‘potential’ are extremely rare, and that isn’t likely to happen unless you’ve developed a remarkable app or product, or you’re receiving a ton of targeted traffic (that you for some reason haven’t monetized).
If your site doesn’t generate money, it’s going to be a tough sell. But whether you’re selling an unproven turn-key website, or running a profitable, proven moneymaker, you can still increase the existing value to squeeze as much out of it as possible.
1. Maintain a modern design
This not only means embracing contemporary design trends like clean, minimalistic & flat design, but modern technologies too.
A great-looking, responsive, user-friendly site isn’t only going impress visitors: it will rank better in search engines. On April 21st, Google will start prioritizing sites that are mobile-friendly.
Better ranking means more traffic, which often means more money. And just like in real-world real estate sales, a potential, experienced buyer might be turned off if they see too much that needs to be renovated and repaired post-sale. Don’t scare anyone away with a fixer-upper.
2. Don’t keep visitors waiting
Even the briefest delay has the potential to send a new visitor straight to the back button. Website buyers will pay attention to performance.
It’s one of the most important factors in the success of a website, and one that’s often overlooked by inexperienced site owners. This not only plays into the overall user experience but, once again, the way Google ranks your website.
A lagging, sluggish site will discourage users from returning, and if you’re site is too slow, some might not even wait around to see it at all.
Websites that test the speed of your site will point to things that can be improved. A particularly slow slight might also benefit from a hosting upgrade. A $4 a month hosting plan on a shared server might not be the best choice. Consider a VPS.
3. Write for humans, not for robots
There will always be disagreements about SEO, but keyword stuffing, content-theft and other blackhat efforts will never fail to reduce the value of a website in the long-run.
If you’ve got a basic understanding of HTML, there’s no need to hire a SEO firm to ensure that your code is optimized for the search engines. Making sure that site titles and elements are wrapped in the appropriate HTML tags can make a tremendous difference to ranking.
4. Proof read, spell check and properly format your content
A website filled with grammatical errors, spelling errors, and weird formatting might end up being a hit with the search engines, but has potential to dramatically alienate both human readers and website buyers.
Re-familiarize yourself with the rules of the language. Make sure you aren’t using words like you’re and your interchangeably. The words their, there, and they’re all mean different things. Find out where the commas really go, and move, remove, or insert them.
Separate impenetrable blocks of text into readable paragraphs – even if you don’t know where the paragraph break should be. Few things are more off-putting than walls of unbroken text. I get tired just thinking about it.
5. Make sure every visitor to your website has the best experience possible
Make your site intuitive to use, and free of confusing choices and needless distractions. You should consider doing away with any element that drags attention away from your site’s content. Don’t bury menus or rely too heavily on gimmicky animations.
If your site is built on WordPress, keep in mind that many of the features built into commercial WordPress themes exist only to sell the theme to you. Those elaborate slide shows and animations that impress visitors the first time around might only serve to annoy them later on.
Too many extraneous bells & whistles will also have a negative affect on site speed. You don’t want that!
6. Get more money for traffic you’re already receiving
Consider weaving affiliate links into your content. If you can think of a product or service your readers would be interested in, there’s no doubt an affiliate program that will allow you to recommend it and earn a percentage of the sale for doing so.
You could also sign-up to an advertising network like Google Adsense. If your website doesn’t receive much traffic, Adsense won’t make you a ton of money – but remember that a site making an five extra dollars per month has the potential to increase its price on Flippa by $60-$75. That ain’t nothin’.
7. Make Life Easy for Administrators
Managing your site ought to be as painless as possible, and this is especially important if you intend to sell it.
Although it might be difficult to implement on an existing website, and not appropriate for every situation, you should consider building your site on popular CMS platforms that have large, active communities supporting them. WordPress and Drupal are great for publishing; Magento is a popular option for eCommerce.
Unfamiliar, custom codebases and esoteric server configurations will discourage potential site buyers unless there’s a very good reason for them. When possible, try not to reinvent the wheel.
8. Cut Unnecessary Expenses
Sometimes the best way to increase the profit margin of any business is to simply cut some of its expenses.
Take a look at what you’re spending on your site and decide what you can do without. Often this is as simple as moving to a less expensive hosting plan: if you’re currently receiving 200 unique visits each day, a $300/month dedicated server might be overkill.
You might also not need that subscription to Alexa, when Google Analytics will suffice. Expenses will vary across niches and industries, but there’s no need to pay for something you can just as easily do without.