Property Developing - Part 2 - Preparing for contact

EmailPicking up where I left off on Monday with part 1, after being creative and using the engines to search out a website or sites that look closed or neglected and would be worth buying you can then formulate a plan for contact.

If the site is listed as ‘for sale’ then it is much easier and you can go straight to making contact, however the real gems are often not listed for sale, therefore still working with the example in my previous post of Aurora Webcam your next step is to prepare an email.

There are a few important points to remember when creating your email, a poorly constructed email may well be deleted faster than the time it took you to create it.

Subject Line:
Make sure your subject line is short and not spammy looking, mentioning the domain name often works for me but not the tld, when I receive emails if the subject line is “Tattoos By Design” that catches my attention, if it is “” that looks spammy.

WriteThe content of the email has to be short,to the point and personal.
Start with a greeting, then quickly congratulate the owner on the website. The site may be years old, it may look it, it may be an absolute travesty of design and have broken links and be eligible to win awards for the ugliest site of the year award but don’t be tempted to point that out.

That site may well have taken hours and hours of work and research and be a project that someone worked on treating it as their baby. To make contact from nowhere unannounced and put your foot in it by immediately pointing out its failings could alienate the owner so be cautious, rather than say the site is broken and ugly say that you would love to build on what they have already achieved and modernise it.

Remove Barriers
Working on the assumption that this site was loved and built years ago by an individual who cared for it building it from scratch there is always a chance that they put obstacles up that you need to be prepared for. The owner may well have an email address using the domain that has been used for many many years that they can’t even contemplate trying to start changing, if you catch the owner in the wrong mood then rather than take the time to explain all this to you they may well just say the site isn’t for sale.

You can remove that obstacle in your initial email by offering to let the owner use any existing email address for a period of time after the sale.

Firing off emails without due consideration could ruin your chances of bagging a website that could potentially offer you a full time income. Don’t be sloppy, lookup the whois and read the website to get a name so that you can start on a personal note, an example of the type of email I have used in the past with success is as follows;

Subject: ‘Domain Name’
Good morning {Name}, I was browsing your website today, which can I say is a fantastic resource!, and I wondered whether you would consider selling the domain and content.

I really like what you have done and would love the opportunity to build on it further modernising it in the process, I am flexible so if you needed to retain use of any email accounts that would not be a problem. I could offer $500 for the site however if there were any available stats for traffic that could be supplied that could certainly affect the value.

If you could please get back to me either way I would very much appreciate it,

Kind regards

It is important to put in a value even if it seems a bit low, you need to establish a starting price for negotiating later (I will also cover valuation later). I wouldn’t recommend offering a price anywhere near what you are willing to go up to, and sincerely ask for a response either way, the whole object of the post is to initiate contact in a friendly manner, removing obstacles and to get talking and quickly about numbers. Once you get a reply you then have something to work on and the negotiating can begin, you may well get a reply with a ridiculous amount to try and see if you are serious, don’t let that put you off.

I bought a site earlier this year, in the first email I offered $500, I was offered the website for $20,000 in the reply, 3 emails later we agreed on a price of $2000.

I can’t stress highly enough how important it is to take the time to read over the website, do a bit of research and compose an email with thought put into it.

BoomerangOnce that is done your ready to make contact, press Send.
The job isn’t finished there though and in Part 3 I’ll go over what happens when the email you have taken so much time and care over bounces right back at you!

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. Well that tought me a couple of things I didn’t know. It showed how my previous attemps were such failures.

    I’m gonna be using this format for my next emails

    I am looking forowrd to the valuation and how to reply

    Another good section would be how to check if the domain is good. Looking for indexed pages, history etc…

    but its an awsome article

    • Very good points Abdul, your right there are a number of things to check when deciding to negotiate further in a purchase.

      • Regarding the price

        Would it be possible to get a website using this method for around $50?

        or does it have to be $xxx?

        • I have bought a good old domain for that price, cheapest website i have bought is $200 but I do tend to get fussy, it’s always worth asking though if it looks forgotten about.

  2. That’s such a good point…creating any website, even crappy ones, is a huge investment of a person’s time, energy, and self. It’d be tempting to try and get the best price possible by bargaining like you would in a bazaar (e.g. “My epileptic grandmother could create a better website”), which would put them on the defensive immediately.

    • Sadly I did just that Jay 🙂 it is always tempting to point out the fact that its a complete mess! when trying to barter but I soon realised I wanted to buy it more than they wanted to sell so learnt by losing out.

  3. I am in the process of buying a website now, but luckily for me I know the full history of the domain as the owner designed one of my sites about 7 - 8 years ago. He has shut it down due to no time, so I am stepping in with an offer.

    I find looking for backlinks, alexa, dnscoop are all ok ish methods to see what you are buying. I know alexa isnt too accurate, but it does give you some indications and hints to what to look our for.

    • The good thing about Alexa is you can use it to compare two sites in the same genre so can get an idea of how a potential site matches up against another one that you perhaps know more about. I haven’t used dnscoop before so cheers for that link Matthew, looks like it automatically does a few things I would normally manually check so handy.

  4. This has been a fascinating couple of articles. Looking forward to more!

  5. I’ve also really enjoyed these last two articles and I feel really privileged to have somebody like Scott as a business partner, cheers Scott.

    • Aww cheers bud, it’s good that we have such different skills but have the same aims and have both done well. I’ll leave blogging info posts to you though, it makes it so much easier to type when its about something you know about and enjoy talking about or something you really want to expand into even.

  6. These are great tips. What’s so effective about your example email is that you’re not just asking for something in your email; you’re offering something valuable to the recipient/site owner, which is definitely appealing to would-be recipients out there.

    • Your right Terrell, I think it is important to be personal & offer something whilst being considerate and approving of what the owner has done, almost offering to take over the baton and carry on their good work. That seem sto be the most effective approach from what I have tried.

  7. I have been reading your posts about buying established domains and the question that keeps coming to mind is - do they really pay off? I think you would not be posting this if that was not the case. But are you using them to generate adsense type income or for resale?

    Thanks for the well written sample email.

    • Yes they do Wayne,very much so! but as with many things those that get bored and stop early can lose out. I have done this many times with success, what I have usually tended to do is monetise the site to pay myself back in full first which 1.means I am paid back and 2. gives me stats to help sell the site for a large and pure profit. I’ll maybe make a post at the end with some real examples. It is not a how to but a ‘how I did and do’ series of posts. Income wise there are a couple of models, some sites are bought and held because of the inherent value of their age and aged links and may be worth more in the long term without monetisation, most have been bought and monetised with adsense as that usually is the quickest way to get pay back and some immediate income stats but I am learning all the time myself.

  8. Great information I have been flipping website for quite some time but, the best part of the post which I liked was how to write that email to get a positive reponse.


  9. Putting URLs in subject field is amateurish, and is punished easily

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