The Seller: Look at who is selling the site. Do they have good feedback. Have a look at what else they are selling and what they have recently sold. You will get an idea of how prolific and professional they are. You can also see if they continually sell the same kind of web site week in week out. Check out their claims and how believable their sales pitch is.
The Web Site: There are generally two kinds of web sites for sale the Template and the Unique Site.
Template Sites are standards sites that are quickly produced with just a different domain put to them. You can recognize them if they have one or more of the following characteristics:
* New domain name. Quickest way of finding this out is to do a whois check to find out when the domain was first registered.
* No PR check the PR of a site using the Google tool bar. A PR0 site has not been around very long and certainly has not been heavily marketed.
* No links. Check the domain on marketleap.com
* Not in any search engines. Enter the domain name into the major search engines to see if it there or use marketleap.com
* Affiliate only sales. There are many sites that are built around one affiliate option. If the affiliate is a major site you are going to be competing in a very crowded market place.
* Drop ship sites. There are many of these advertised usually as no need to hold stock etc. Again a very crowded market place.
* One product sites - usually an ebook. You need to have variety to establish a successful business.
* A similar site is for sale from more than one seller or over more than one month.
* No Web Logs available. A Web log showing regular visitors from a variety of search engines and other links is very useful.
* No checkable sales figures available. Some sites are shown with copies of payments that can be found on many other web sites.
* Suggested earnings if you sell so many products a week. There is a common pack of template web sites that provide this example in their accompanying sales letters. Common sense states that you will not sell lots of products in your first few months of business. Similarly sales pitches that provide unreasonable income predictions. You will find that the established internet marketers are very careful to include legal disclaimers on their sites.
* Copies of existing businesses. All the sales, success etc of the existing business, if they are true, belong to that web site and are the result of much marketing and hard work. Therefore they are not transferable to a new web site. What is transferable is the skills and knowledge of the seller but they rarely come with the sale.
Things to be wary of:
* Established site just means that the site is up on hosting. It does not mean it has been there for some time or sold anything.
* Sites that show a lot of visitors that are plainly from one place are usually as the result of traffic packs or placement on a traffic exchange program.
* Article only sites also called AdSense sites. Yes these are a good start for your new business BUT Google is cracking down on sites put up only to attract advertising and clicks. Your business needs to be much more varied than just relying on one income source.
* Submitted to thousands of search engines. This is useful but many of these search engines are of little value just bringing floods of spam. The major search engines do not generally send their spider bots around after just one mechanical submission. They now require much more of an enticement.
* The insistence that the site remain hosted with the seller. Whilst this may be convenient it does hold you hostage and may mean the loss of your site in the future. Similarly many sellers make their money from high cost hosting.
Unique Sites have been established for some period of time, have existing traffic, links and sales. They appear in the major search engines and have natural traffic from these entries as well as from articles, PR etc. For these qualities you should expect and be happy to pay a premium but you will get an excellent start to your internet business.
One last note: If you do buy a site, make sure that the domain is transferred to your name and registration account.