Thousands of previously-owned websites are bought and sold every day on the Internet. Sometimes they’re good deals, but often they’re not. Before you purchase a previously-owned website, there are seven important questions that you should ask both yourself and the seller:
1. Why is the website being sold? This is the first thing that you should ask. There could be a very good reason why the seller is selling. For example, the seller just doesn’t have the time or money to properly promote the website. Or there could be another reason entirely. The point is, you’ll never know the reason unless you ask. Also, one of the criteria that Google uses to rank websites is their age. So the older the website, the better.
2. Does the domain have a good reputation? This is important. The last thing you want to do is purchase a domain that has a closet full of skeletons. Building a successful online business is tough enough. Trying to overcome someone else’s bad reputation will make it even tougher. If the domain doesn’t have a good reputation, don’t touch it.
3. Do you have above average knowledge about the topic of the website? If you aren’t familiar with the subject matter of the website, then how can you possibly succeed with it? Always stick with topics you know about and are comfortable with – not just for your sake, but for your customers as well.
4. Does the website have a good number of relevant backlinks, and a decent PageRank and Alexa ranking? Backlinks, PageRank and Alexa ranking are important, and are three of the criteria that Google uses to rank your website. While not having backlinks, PageRank and Alexa ranking are not necessarily deal-breakers, they are important.
5. Does the website have lots of relevant content? Again, this is important. Google places a great deal of emphasis on relevant content. The more relevant content the website has, the better.
6. Does the website have a newsletter or mailing list? How clean is the list? In other words, how often has the list been cleaned of bad e-mail addresses and unresponsive recipients? Also, is the list included in the purchase price?
7. Will the seller provide support after the purchase? Even after the site has been transferred over to you, there may still be a few minor details that need to be resolved. Make sure you find out how long the seller will provide support after the purchase, and get everything in writing.