A good website for 10-12 times net income, not anymore.

GemI mentioned last Monday that I managed to find (in my opinion) another decent gem of a domain, this one is a full website that ranks and is 5 years old and currently not monetised at all at present which means over the last few years it has been able to do it’s job ranking and getting some natural links.

Some of you that visit forums like Sitepoint & DP will perhaps have noticed two things that have happened in the last 8 months in what is a fluid industry when it comes to buying/selling websites.

1/ Good websites can now command more than the old perceived 8,10 or 12 months x net income, in fact a really good old site with history can easily get 24 x net monthly income and in some cases more like 36 months.

2/ The really good & robust sites for sale are scarce, very rare, hence this ads to their sale price a bit. When you remove the turnkey, warez, foreign traffic, seasonal & proxy type of sites you are not left with that much.

Times have changed in the last 8 months and it is plain to see that very good established sites no longer get booted during random Google updates, if your site is well maintained and looked after and doesn’t partake in any nonsense generally abiding by the search engines codes of conduct then there is little reason to fear a sudden change in rankings.

That is not to say sites are safe from competition, just that they are less likely today to suddenly disappear, on top of that there is more communication from the likes of Google which again helps instill confidence. This stability of Google has had a knock on effect in website pricing, coupled with the lack of good valuable sites for sale prices have never been higher.

Why would anyone sell a site that made them $2k a month for $20k? - at present the usual answer is immediate debt problems or other financial woes, apart from that there is little reason for webmasters to give up sites that can generate wages for a quick payday. If you don’t have a site already that you aim to be your main breadwinner and think you can buy your way in, well the good news is, at present you still can, but I’d say buy now and buy quickly.

If that means putting a site on a credit card or borrowing then that is exactly what I would do if I were starting out afresh today, I’d spend hours each day searching & firing off emails to find sites for sale that could provide you with a full time wage, this can be done on a budget of perhaps $1k-$5k, you can still find a site out there that could provide you with a full time income within a few months of finding and purchasing it.

The best kind of sites that could do this would likely not be for sale, that means there would be less if any competition but it also means they will be harder to find.

I did this last week.

  • Time invested = 3 hours - spent emailing and negotiating.
  • Money spent = £1500 which is around USD$3000 on a single site.
  • Website present income = $0 :)
  • Website potential income =  Conservatively with some work and after around 3 to 6 months I would say it could generate anywhere from £600-£2000 (USD$1200-$4000) per month.

What I was looking for
Normally I start out with a typical search for “is for sale” and other likely terms that I have mentioned before and then I follow certain results and look for inspiration and head off in all sorts of tangents with no specific genre in mind, as I find various sites I then check Google results for their main search phrase and look for sites that are ranking well and ugly/dated etc so basically looking for a site that is:

  • At least 2 years old
  • Ranking in the top 20 for a semi-competitive term
  • Unmonetised
  • Neglected & hasn’t been updated for a while
  • Has potential to earn money
  • Lacking in on-page SEO

So when browsing sites and seeing a reference to ‘boats’ for example I would then quickly go and check the top 20 listings for ‘boats for sale’ in the UK and .com, for products or services that can be applied geographically it is worth checking country TLD results in Google.co.uk

The value of these type of sites IMO will only continue to rise in the coming months, Adsense has done a lot of good and a lot of damage to the way the internet looks and works, it had also meant that the  potential undiscovered gems are harder to find but do you know what? That makes it all the more exciting when you do!

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. Thats a cool idea. I often find my self looking for domains where the owner has done some good work but not for a while, and it is not monetized.

  2. So would you suggest to find sites like this with the Google search rather than checking DP and Sitepoint forums?

    • Yes Tomaz using all the main search engines and older directpries like dmoz are good places to look for older neglected sites. They are still out there.

  3. I have been involved on the buying end of sites for the last year over at DP & I was thinking just the same. It is getting harder & harder to find half decent indexed sites.
    I have pretty much stopped searching on dp cause of having to wade through the junk.

    I found two guys both in the UK churning out half decent sites with UNIQUE CONTENT

    One is here http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=304094&highlight=goldfishcare

    The other is here

    Both charge around $10 a page different coding styles first is basic php no design
    second is laid out slightly better but all in html both bring basic seo to the content &
    Both will write content to order if your not in a rush same price content or site.

    Both highly recomended & trustworthy.

    • Nice links Neale, I still try and go after and find old sites that already have aged links & content & some rankings but that does look a good deal on new content/design.

  4. Hi Scott,

    There are few questions that I would like to ask and I hope you don’t mind :)

    Can you elaborate more on what are the work that might involve ( such as creating content, link building , cost and etc. ) and how the web site will be earning. If there are affiliates involve, can I know what’s the commission rate per product that you are targeting to earn about $1200-$4000 per month. ( The reason I ask about this is because I would like to know if a low end/cost product niche can achieve the same results.)
    And if possible the number of UV that you targeting based on your past experience..

    Sorry for asking so many questions.. :) I appreciate your reply!

    • For the last two decent sites I found & bought they both needed a re-design, they already have content & traffic but are unloved & monetised so good for a re-design and making money from. They also already have natuaral old links hence their already good rankings so usually some small on page SEO like better title/description tags and on page keywords & internal links can boost them up further into the limelight a bit more. The one I bought last week is a classifieds site so it will eventually charge for listing items for sale, the previous one is a tourist info website for the UK and will earn from Adsense and hotel accommodation affiliate income. Depending on the niche a low traffic site can earn big money, but if the end product value is low that has a knock on effect to affiliate income and CPC. Every niche can be monetised though, people used to and still do moan about ‘tattoos’ as a topic and compain that it is low paying but I managed to monetise the traffic well through products and services.

  5. How do you guys get the ideas of what subjects/niches to look for? That “creative” part of the whole site searching/buying process is the most difficult for me - I just don’t know how to come-up with ideas that might be worth pursuing.

    • I usually just take time out and start browsing sites for sale and domains for sale and look for inspiration for different topics that I have never thought of, for example I was browsing a news site seen a feature about a UK tourist attraction so in another tab I googled the top results for something like ‘windsor castle’ (google.co.uk) and then found in the top 10 a site called Plus44.com that was neglected, built in 1997 and had many hundreds of pages with no adverts or monetisation so I made contact and eventually bought the site. I tend to always look for inspiration everyday when people talk, watching the TV, it’s not uncommon for me to rudely run out of the room when the wife is talking to me because she’s said something that triggered an idea- that would be a good site and check the top results in Google to see if there is an old site neglected that I could find/buy & restore. I just never stop searching for all and any terms, a few minutes here and there as they come up. For example ‘fly fishing’ 2nd result in google.co.uk looks a great site, letsflyfish.com , loads of info and pages, a few years old,doesn’t need a re-design but not monetised by the look of it so that would catch my eye and be worth a carefully crafted email. I remember finding yogadirectory.com which at the time hadn’t been updated since 1999 and the directory as actually broken - no links or listings worked yet and just gave errors, it was getting around 30,000 visitors a month at the time, the guy wouldn’t sell though and now its looks to have lost its rankings for some reason. Then again if you check the top site for something like ‘how to tie a tie’ tie-a-tie.net that site doesn’t look monetised but he sells a video and uses clickbank and that site makes tens of thousands a year so my email to him didn’t result in a sale, nice site though :)

  6. Strange to think a $40 investment could make long term money, thanks for the links Neale. I am sitting here right now trying to convince myself this can actually work - buy a site and earn income from it. Feels rather scary to me.

    • It realy does work :) Paitence is the Key & its a numbers game some you win some you lose. The GFC site actualy cost $100 10 pages @ $10 3 months on with a lot of redesign about 20hrs for a novice like me another $50 in links & a $50 tee shirt design its making around $70 monthly not a liveable income but a decent return on investment BTW the GFC has been one of my best buys as mentioned some you win some you lose.

  7. Other than looking at date/time stamps in the content and sitemaps, are there other tricks to seeing when a site has last been updated?

    • Hey Ryan, yeah usually the copyright notice at the bottom of pages doesn’t get updated when a site is neglected so it may be a few years old, you can also look for an old looking design and use archive.org to see if and when the site had major changes through a recent period. A toolbar plugin for Firefox called SEOQuake gives you good immediate general info when visiting a site as well like age & backlinks.

  8. I have just begun looking for sites to acquire. I have been reading Sitepoint and DP for a couple of months now. I just assumed the same garbage websites I have seen for sale there have pretty much been the norm for a long time.

    Anyway, I have turned from those forums and have begun scouring websites looking for a site that interests me. I thought I had one and the site owner asked his web designer about the selling price and it went through the roof. I’ll keep looking though.

    • Joey I’ll do a final post on finding old sites tomorrow that should really give you clear ideas & suggestions for findings sites in minutes. These will be fast and straight forward ways without having to look for inspiration so tune in 😉

  9. Great Article on different ways to earn an income online. Turnkey businesses are becoming more and more popular for newbies to the internet these days as a quick starting income earner. Those that stick at it, are making alot of success. And of course membership websites are being created all the time, and for those that work hard, are creating alot of residual income, which is what everyone at the end of the day is trying to create, look forward to reading some of your future articles


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