Taking all the necessary steps to prepare your website for sale is a must if you have any hope of attracting customers. Adequate preparation is also important if you want the best price. That’s certainly no news because buyers of any business always need some convincing to part with the cash – and that is done when you prepare all the stats and supporting documents before you try to sell.
Here’s an outline of the things you must get ready first before selling your website.
Gather the Stats
Buyers want to see your website stats first to be able to determine whether or not it would be a worthy investment. You must therefore sit down and compile all the facts about your website for presentation. These should include a history of your website traffic, traffic sources, sales, earnings, etc.
Put in as much information as you think is necessary. But make sure you give more emphasis to the important details – unique visits, traffic sources, and the value each visitor brings to your site. These are the stats that are directly tied to its profitability, which is what the buyers are interested in. Claims of any earnings should be supported by these facts and the additional documents (if required).
Your stats are also the main material to be used in website valuation. So getting them in order is important to you so that you can make an estimate of your website’s worth. To the customer, it’s the key to determining how much they would be willing to offer.
Check Your Legal Position
Selling a website is the equivalent of selling a business. At some point, therefore, you’ll be asked to part with the relevant legal and financial documentation of your site. These may include: Documented revenue, expenses and ROI, due diligence, disclaimers and notices, appraisals, trade references and any other legal documents that may be required.
You can’t afford not to check your legalities – iron out the wrinkles first, or they will be the deal breakers. Check to see if all your contracts and licenses are transferrable – the affiliate or advertising account, web hosting contract, advertising contract, software license, content license… If all these are in place, then nothing should come to haunt you later.
Clean Up Code and Content
Housekeeping (tidying up) is a must for your website to be passed as “clean and fit”. Remove scripts, forms and pages that don’t work or are no longer necessary. Have some personal photos uploaded on the site? Remove them. By having a custom 404 page and a .htaccess file that redirects between the non-www and www URL versions of your site, you are demonstrating to the buyer that you do pay attention to detail.
However, don’t make any significant changes to the design and content of your site as this could get the buyers suspicious. They’ll start to wonder why you made those changes just prior to selling – and they’ll be concerned that such changes could affect the site’s search engine rankings. Don’t change the domain or switch servers – they’re wary of this – and most of all, don’t alter the monetization methods at this point.
Create an Information Memorandum
An information memorandum is a selling document that outlines the information and facts about your website. Prospective buyers need it to be able to make a fair value assessment of your website and what it’s worth. A typical information memorandum should cover the sections as outlined below:
- A confidentiality clause
- General overview of the website
- Products and services – an explanation of the revenue model of the website
- Business operations – the requirements for running the site on a daily/weekly/monthly basis
- Traffic – a summary of the traffic to your site, including sources
- Financials – Revenue, profit, loss, asking price
- Profit and loss – this should be profit a profit and loss statement prepared on a spreadsheet
In preparing this document, website brokers (if you’re dealing with one) also include a client interview that seeks to answer all the questions that buyers are likely to have. Kind of like a FAQs sections, to minimize the number of questions that buyers will raise about your site.
By taking these steps and preparing all the necessary documents in advance, you’ll save yourself – and the buyer – a lot of time. You’ll also ward off any embarrassments that would undermine your business model and become the deal-breakers.