If you could turn an Amazon affiliate website that is producing a few thousand a month into a six-figure paycheck, would you do it?
This is exactly what you can do if you decide to sell your profit-producing website and it’s exactly what a seller did with us over at Empire Flippers.
I’m going to give you the details on how this seller was able to get $190,000 for his Amazon Affiliate website on our marketplace and how you could do the same.
By the end of this post, you will understand the exact process it takes to take a profitable website and sell it for a big pay day.
What You Will Learn
- Why the platform your Amazon Affiliate website is on matters
- How to prepare your business for sale
- Negotiating with potential buyers
- Why to do and how to run a Buyer-Seller conference call
- Ways to maximize selling an Amazon affiliate website for the most profit
- Why using a business broker can significantly help you in selling your business
The first thing to note when selling websites is that the platform and monetization really does matter. You need to have something that is easy to hand off because a well-established site will be much more attractive to a prospective buyer.
For example, WordPress is a platform almost everyone understands. In fact, 22% of US registered domains run on WordPress.
If not, there are plenty of free resources and tutorials out there to make anyone a WordPress expert pretty quickly. In addition, the monetization method for this site — the Amazon Affiliate program –– is pretty simple to grasp.
Using Amazon Affiliate as a monetization strategy is even easier for people to understand than other affiliate programs.
Almost everyone in the world is familiar with Amazon’s brand and can instantly relate to the fact that Amazon has built a very trustworthy name that people respect and buy from.
If this Amazon Affiliate website had been built on Joomla – this site would be a lot harder of a sale, though not impossible.
The reasoning isn’t only because Joomla is less reputable; it simply isn’t used as widely as WordPress, so fewer people are familiar with it.
Whatever platform you use, the key is to make sure the business you’re trying to sell has systems and processes in place to make it as plug and play as possible.
Once that business starts creating a proven track record as a solid profit earner, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of the systems you’ve built and sell the website for a big payday.
Some of you out there might be shocked at this idea and thinking, “Why would anyone sell a profitable online business?!”
Well, the reasons are as varied as why anyone would sell anything.
This business in particular was pretty hands-off, as many Amazon Affiliate websites are, but there are always legitimate reasons for wanting to sell one’s business.
These might include taking that big lump sum of cash and investing it into real estate or into another online venture, or just going on an extended, exotic vacation.
In fact, we’ve done an entire podcast episode on this subject if you want to learn more about the different kinds of seller profiles that exist.
In the case of this Amazon Affiliate website, the seller wanted to take the influx of cash from the sale of his site to invest in offline real estate. Considering the price he was able to sell it for, that cash could be the start of several investment properties, or enough to pay off an entire house.
Not a bad deal for an Amazon Affiliate website!
The Road To $161,500 In Net Profit In Less Than 110 Days
The Amazon Affiliate website was in the home and garden niche and had been created just the year before the sale back in 2014. The first month of the new year, the seller listed with us and submitted the website to our internal vetting process.
The website itself had one big piece of content reviewing multiple items in their niche. Every item then led to its own individual review to gain more search traffic.
Within the main piece of content, they deep dove into common issues that people have with the products, how to fix certain small problems, how to do proper product selection and overall the biggest benefits of choosing the right product for the task at hand.
This highly optimized piece of pillar content sat just under 3,000 words and then was supported by articles in the sidebar that each were between 500-800 words on their own with 22 pieces of content altogether.
The sidebar of the WordPress site was filled with several buying guides, along with their top reviews of various products within the niche that sat around 500-700 words each.
All of this led to having an extremely high quality content website that did more than just pass traffic through an Amazon affiliate link, but actually offered solid value to the readers who are looking at making a purchase of these high ticket items.
Through the vetting process, we gave the business a valuation, listed the website on our marketplace, took in deposits, negotiated with prospective buyers and eventually helped the seller and the buyer to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.
Earning $161,500 in 110 days is a pretty amazing feat for almost anyone, especially when you consider that this website was making just over $10,000 a month WHILE it was listed with us.
Not too shabby.
Preparing & Listing The Amazon Affiliate Website For Sale
A crucial part of the value you get at Empire Flippers is the confidence buyers have in our vetting process.
In this case, as in every case, we ensured the site was properly valued so that both seller and buyer got the fairest deal possible.
Assessing Analytics & Income
As a preliminary step, we had the seller forward their Profit & Loss statements (P&L) for the business and screenshots of both traffic and earnings.
However, we don’t just rely on screenshots. Instead, we actually log in to their traffic analytics accounts and earnings accounts.
This seller used Clicky Analytics instead of Google Analytics. While Google is better known, Clicky is still a highly regarded analytics company.
As the website was built on a Private Blog Network (PBN) in an effort to appeal to Google’s ranking algorithm, it has done quite well in search rankings.
The nice thing about PBNs is that the website will rank. If it ranks and the content is good enough, the website will often start earning natural links from the exposure.
As you can see below, the Clicky Analytics were solid with the traffic maintaining a steady pattern.
Obviously, traffic is only part of what we look at in the vetting process.
Where the rubber meets the road is the earnings.
Since this site was monetized via an Amazon Affiliate account, it was an easy task to verify the earnings from the site.
The seller used a specialized tracking ID for this website specifically to keep all the earnings organized.
This was their last screenshot before the sale of the site. It shows the Amazon affiliate commissions sitting at just over $11,000.
Here is the P&L that the seller submitted. This shows us a good overview of where the website started, where it was at the time the owner was interested in selling and any trends we needed to be looking into during our vetting process.
You might notice we haven’t included the hosting and domain renewal fees, as these are fairly negligible. Also, you will notice no costs for content in here.
The reasoning why is because the seller had left the site alone for several months, adding zeros pieces of content and just letting the current organic traffic to bring in more and more sales as the rankings went upwards.
As we dug through the vetting process for this website, our agents came across a discrepancy.
It appeared someone had been attempting to create a copycat version of the seller’s site. Using Copyscape, we found that about 61 percent of content was copied from the content the seller had on their website.
The content was brand new and contained some obvious copy and paste content theft from the seller’s website. This duplication of material presented a real problem, as it’s well known that Google’s ranking algorithm doesn’t like duplicate content.
Our agents suggested that the seller either contact the domain owners of the websites that had copied him (we provided the names easily enough with a simple WhoIS search query) or revise portions of his content to make it more unique.
Ultimately, the problem was fixed easily by revising some of the content.
When asked what kind of support the new buyer would get from the seller, the seller was willing to give 30 days of email support.
In addition, the new owner suggested a price of $150 a month for link maintenance to the new owner to keep all the PBN links the exact same.
This expense was worked into the final valuation of the site as well.
Negotiating A Price
The final valuation for the site was given with a listing price initially at $85,234.20 using a 12-month average of the site’s earnings. This pricing was due to the seasonal nature of the website’s traffic and income which made its productivity less consistent.
However, the seller argued for a three-month average to be used instead because links had been added over the preceding 12 months that had stabilized and increased the site’s productivity.
He felt, therefore, that the preceding three months were a more accurate reflection of the site’s value.
Upon further vetting of the website, our agents determined the seasonal fluctuations were minimal. Ultimately, the three-month average better reflected the site’s stability and earnings.
Taking all this into consideration, Empire Flippers listed the site at $185,098.60. However, this was not the end of the negotiations.
The seller also pointed out that given the high volume of traffic and sales the site moved through Amazon, the buyer would be able to instantly increase all of the earnings on her already existing Amazon sites because the buyer’s newly acquired site would push them into the highest Amazon Affiliate tier of 8 percent.
This is something to keep in mind when you go about selling your site, or when buying sites.
If you buy several Amazon sites, they can all work together in pushing you into that next tier of affiliate commissions which is always a nice bump in revenue.
As time went on, it became clear that the seller had been correct when they stated there would be very little seasonal fluctuation to take into account.
In fact, the website kept trending upwards over the next couple months. Empire Flippers readjusted the listing price until the final listing price on our marketplace was $205,305.80.
On the Market
During this time of increasing revenue, more prospective buyers appeared. Some submitted deposits and were therefore allowed to take a closer look and check out the website’s viability.
One of the reasons a deposit system is used on our marketplace instead of a Letter of Intent (LOI) option is because it allows more buyers to do due diligence at once instead of having to waiting for an LOI exclusivity to run out (which is typically 30 days).
An LOI can drastically increase the sales cycle, so deposits are our preferred method.
The other benefit to the seller of our deposit system is that people who put down money to see these websites are typically serious buyers.
This isn’t the case with an LOI which allows fraudsters to PhotoShop their bank account statements, fill out the LOI and see whatever website they want in order to copy its successful model.
With the site listed and legitimate buyers’ interest peaked, we moved to the next part of the process: cutting a deal.
Negotiations & Closing The Deal For A Big Payday
The serious buyer’s first point of contact was with our deal agents using the Zendesk ticketing system (a customer support software we use to help manage all customer service conversations).
This method of contact protected the seller’s time while allowing Empire Flippers to field any low-level questions and move the serious buyers towards a potential sale.
Fielding Concerns About PBNs
One thing that concerns many sellers is whether their website will be devalued by using a Private Blog Network (PBN) to rank the site. This is understandable since a minority of buyers are hesitant to buy websites that have PBNs attributed to them.
While it is understandable to be extra careful buying websites built off PBN services, this was a case where the seller actually built his own PBN to rank this site along with other money sites in their portfolio.
One of the offers the seller made to potential buyers is that he would be more than happy to keep the links pointed towards the website for a small monthly fee. This cost was also put into the total price of the website as an expense.
If you are wondering what to do in a situation where a potential buyer looking at your business brings up questions about the PBN you used, our seller’s response might be a perfect answer when you decide to sell your own business.
The screenshot below is the seller’s response from our Zendesk ticketing system to the buyer. All of our communication is done via Zendesk to keep everything neatly organized for us and to keep the sales process going smoothly.
Check out the response below:
As you can see, this prospective buyer asked some good questions and the seller gave some very good answers.
By virtue of ranking on the first page of Google for keywords, the seller was able to garner more attention from other website owners and scored natural links through a combination of exposure and high-quality content.
This diminished the need for the PBN links overall and as time went on for the website the PBN links would become less and less important to the actual rankings of the website.
This question actually came in from a different prospective buyer right as the deal was starting to close with a buyer that had some serious intention.
An initial offer was made for $190,000, which was $25,000 below the asking price but still $5,000 above the initial listing price we had it listed on our marketplace.
Buyer-Seller Conference Call
This led to a buyer-seller conference call.
These calls are crucial in negotiations for sites above the six-figure range.
While many sites below the $50,000 mark will sell almost “automatically” due to the large pool of hungry buyers, sites above $50,000 and into the six-figure range require a more intimate sales process.
That is exactly why we facilitate these buyer-seller conference calls.
Our deal consultant reaches out to the seller to set up a time for them to get on the phone with the buyer. Before the call takes place, the deal consultant coaches the seller on anything they need to know about the buyer, such as the buyer’s goals or personality type.
The deal consultant is always present on these calls to make both the seller and the buyer more comfortable and to mediate between the parties.
Managing The Unexpected
One thing that the prospective buyer was concerned about was whether the domain was clean.
It turned out that the domain was actually used before the seller registered it for their Amazon Affiliate website.
Upon further research, we found out that in 2005 and 2006 the domain was once used as part of a “Parked Domain Monetization Method.”
Basically, this was an old school way of making money from ads displayed on parked domains that had no real content, but because of the domain name there was a bit of direct traffic from people actively typing in that domain name.
This was a pretty hyped-up strategy back in the mid-2000s, though very few people find themselves doing it anymore due to there being so many better ways to monetize a site property.
The seller confirmed that the domain was new to them and fully under this control since December 2013 and due diligence revealed that the domain itself was clean of anything unsavory as far as SEO goes.
After this initial concern, another issue came up regarding the buyer’s dealings with the Amazon affiliate links. They wanted to make sure the seller would transfer all affiliate links over to their Amazon account.
Normally, this process can be pretty tedious for both the seller and the buyer, but since they were using our brokerage we were able to mitigate the frustrating process of migration.
Our deal consultant stepped in and informed the buyer that our agents are specifically trained to migrate sites over from an old owner to a new owner.
The migration service included changing out all affiliate links to the buyer’s account along with pushing the domain to the new owner’s registrant account and hosting account.
Closing the Deal
Thanks to the buyer-seller conference call, the buyer and seller were able to get to know each other, which put both parties at ease and made them more open to proceeding with the deal.
The buyer in this case was a very strong candidate and our deal consultant advised the seller to agree to the $190,000 offer.
The seller agreed and a purchase agreement was signed by both parties.
Empire Flippers began migrating the site to the new owner.
Post-Sale Transfer & Turnover Process
From here, we opened a new ticket and our migration specialists began the transfer of the site to the new owner.
They gathered both the buyer’s and the seller’s hosting login details. Since it was an Amazon Affiliate website, our agents also instructed the new buyer on how to set up an Amazon Affiliate tracking ID code specifically for this website in their Amazon Associates account.
Due to the site’s high traffic volume, the seller used a VPS hosting solution that the website received from Google. The seller recommended that the new buyer continue to use a VPS and create a new registrant account as the specific domain registrar that the seller was using.
Since the seller’s hosting situation was unusual, the seller helped out by migrating the site hosting to the new owner.
In addition, since the seller decided to keep the PBN they used, the buyer negotiated a deal in which they could continue to rent the links on the PBN pointing to the site.
This was included in the expenses of the site and was set up by using a recurring credit card payment on the buyer’s side.
Ultimately, the site migration was a complete success.
As the brokers of these deals, we do our best to represent both sides and make sure both parties walk away with a win-win situation. We are always glad when one of our buyers tell us something like this:
And let the money flow is exactly what we did.
Since the buyer was comfortable with the migration and had reported correct traffic numbers and earnings, we released the funds to the seller for a grand total of $161,000 after our brokerage fee.
That is over three times the average income a US citizen earns in a year. Not too bad for an Amazon Affiliate website and remember, this is just ONE site.
This seller actually had several sites in the pipeline, positioning all of them for their own individual paydays down the road as they ranked, gathered traffic and began to be successfully monetized.
How To Sell Your Amazon Affiliate Website For Maximum Profit
If you’re wondering how you could copy this seller’s success, you should follow the rules below.
The very first step for successfully selling an Amazon affiliate website is making sure you track ALL expenses. Keep these separate from personal expenses.
These expenses might appear in the form of content, in the form of buying PBN sites, renting out links, or a myriad of other ways.
It is extremely important to be clear on what kind of expenses your website is producing so that a future buyer can be aware of what it took to grow the site and any ongoing costs that they will have to pay once they take over the website.
In addition, you should maintain a monthly Profit & Loss statement (P&L for short). This is just good practice and will let the potential buyer to see the trajectory of the website in a quick snapshot.
While it is a big hassle to go back and create a P&L, it is an easy endeavor just to make updating a P&L spreadsheet part of the monthly work you do on the website.
(Plus, watching the profits displace the losses is an inspiring thing that will increase your drive to work on the site.)
Along with keeping a solid track record of earnings and expenses, you should have some kind of analytics installed on your website from day one.
This could be Google Analytics or if you lean more on the paranoid side, you could use a third party service such as Clicky to track how many visitors your site is getting every month.
The more data you have on this, the better because a buyer will be very interested in any dips or increases in traffic and obviously having this data will allow them to see if your website is overall trending upward or downward month after month.
Speaking of dips and spikes of traffic, when you see fluctuations in your analytics, ask yourself why it happened. Did you try a new advertising method?
Did you pick up brand new links? Or is the website just doing the Google Dance?
It is important to have explanations for these as many buyers will be curious.
Not having the answers to these could be the make or break question depending on the buyer. It is best to be prepared — keep an Excel spreadsheet of the dips and the spikes with just a brief explanation of why it happened according to your analyses.
Just like the P&L statement, this is easiest to do by just staying on top of it and noting these spikes or dips as part of your monthly work on the website.
It will be a lot easier than having to go back through all your analytics at some later date and trying to remember what happened on that specific week or month.
Collecting all of this data will help you sell your business at a higher multiple more quickly. At the very least, you should have three solid months of good earnings and traffic.
Of course, the longer the trend of solid earnings and traffic, the better your website is going to sell for on our marketplace.
The next thing you will want to implement on your website is a form of systemization.
Systemization is basically taking every task you perform on the site and turning it into a repeatable process.
For example, you might have a certain way you hire content writers for your site. Write down this hiring process, what you look for in the article, or even brief outlines of different types of articles (such as social clickbait articles, SEO articles, how to, etc).
The more you can put systems and processes into place, the more attractive the business becomes.
When a buyer is looking at a potential business, especially one they may not be familiar with, it is best to demonstrate as many plug and play portions as you can to make that buyer feel more comfortable with their investment choice and confident in their ability to run the site effectively.
Finally, while you certainly can sell a website privately and avoid a brokerage fee, it is not recommended (and I’m not saying that just because of my obviously biased opinion).
There are a lot of pros to using a broker that many sellers don’t realize until they try to sell a website on their own — which can be an incredibly frustrating process if you are not familiar with how deals are structured.
Here are just a few benefits of using a professional business broker that understands online businesses:
- Buyer Reach: Most private sellers struggle finding buyers and often they are unqualified buyers that just give them low ball offers. One difference we make for our sellers is that we have a list of over 30,000+ potential buyers.
- Negotiation: This is a problem that ails a lot of sellers and can seriously lower the price at which they do end up selling their business. A trained deal consultant that sees hundreds of deals is going to be able to represent you far better.
- Migration: Not all brokers do this, but it is something that we take care of at Empire Flippers for our customers. Migration can be an incredibly tedious process what with changing all the affiliate links, hosting, etc.
- Security: Having a third party overseeing the deal, especially one that is trained and experienced with online businesses, can help avoid a scam or an underhanded deal.
- Time: Selling an online business for a big payday is not exactly a quick or painless process. One reason the seller of this particular Amazon site chose us is because their time is at a premium. We took that burden off the seller.
Those are just a few reasons why using a professional broker can be extremely helpful in aiding the sale of your site.
Hopefully by this point, you are pretty pumped about the idea of selling your own Amazon affiliate website or other online business.
As you can see, there is a lot of profit to be realized up front with an asset sale like this and there is a hungry market of online business buyers who are prepared to spend well into the six-figure range.
If you are ready to see how big of a payday you can get for your website, the first step is to find out what your website is actually worth.
No worries. We already built a tool to help you with this that you can use totally free of charge.
Click here for our free valuation tool and see what your website is worth.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, there is a lot of moving parts when it comes to selling an online business. You need to make sure all the loose ends are tied up, that your traffic is good, that you can legitimately verify your earnings and so much more.
Then there is the whole marketing portion of the sale – something most sellers simply do not have the capability, skills or experience to pull off. That is especially true for higher end sales like this one that are in the six-figure range.
One of the big benefits of using a good broker is that these frustrations are eliminated for the seller. A good broker can make your business look attractive, help you make it professional with documentation and most important of all help you with the actual selling portion.
A professional brokerage is going to have ways to weed out tire-kickers from real, qualified buyers that can actually purchase your business.
As you can see, selling your Amazon affiliate website or any website for that matter can lead to a huge payday.
Where you literally earn 20-30 months worth of income all upfront, without having to wait around and worry that your Google rankings might fall off the chart or any other worries that keep us online entrepreneurs up at night with fear and stress.
Many of our sellers have become repeat sellers because of all this and like this seller – they too have seen the money flow from the fruits of their efforts.
When you are ready to cash in on your business in a big way, you can check out the exact steps this seller went through to list his site with us by clicking here.