Tips for a Successful Web Site Auction

I have seen many unsuccessful site auctions recently, and most of those can be attributed to insufficient information being published by the seller. A good site description will make potential buyers feel comfortable in bidding on your web site. The more you can tell a potential buyer, the more potential buyers you will have. And, of course, a larger number of bidders will naturally raise the selling price.

Bidders are willing to pay more for a well-documented site, because they are more comfortable that they will be able to avoid hidden surprises after the purchase. Here are a few tips to help you create a winning auction for your web site:

State Your Revenue
The simple majority of website buyers are looking for revenue-generating properties. State your revenue numbers up-front and you won't have to deal with a steady stream of questions regarding those numbers during the sale. List all of the sites revenue streams, including AdSense, YPN, Commission Junction, and Link Sales. If a revenue stream (such as a link sale) is scheduled to end at some point, document that point. For sites costing over $500, be prepared to show proof of revenue for the previous twelve months. For sites costing over $5,000, be prepared to show proof of revenue over the previous three years.

List Your Obligations
If you have traded or sold links, those links should be maintained. Document this for the prospective buyer.

Set a BIN Price
Set a BIN (Buy It Now) price, and make it a reasonable one. Many buyers will ignore auctions without a BIN price. A BIN price which is too high will discourage potential buyers because they will believe that you are not negotiating in the proper range. A BIN price which is too low can cost you considerable lost revenue. If your site sells for BIN on day one, you set your BIN price too low!

Set an Auction End Date
All seasoned web site buyers will ignore an auction with no set end date. In addition, a set end date raises last-minute interest -- which is where prices really go up.

Set a Starting Price
Setting a starting price informs buyers of the low-end of the price range for the web site and makes them much more comfortable in placing a bid. Remember, you know more about your web site than any potential buyer.

Document Outbound Co-Op Weight
Many buyers are looking to buy web sites with significant weight in the Digital Point Co-Op. If your site has 500 or more pages, put the Digital Point Co-Op on it so that you can tell potential buyers how much Co-Op weight they will receive.

Document Inbound Co-Op Weight
If you are pointing Digital Point Co-Op Weight at the website, this will boost the Page Rank, traffic, and revenue of the web site. Document how much Co-Op weight you are pointing to the site and how long you are willing to maintain that arrangement after a sale.

Document Links from Other Sites in Your Private Network
If you have links from your other web sites pointing to the site you are selling, document those links. Tell prospective buyers how long you will maintain those links after a sale.

Mention Your PageRank
Mention your PageRank, to save everyone from having to look it up. The easier you make it for a prospective buyer to place a bid, the more bidders you will have and the higher the final closing price will be.

Mention Your Page Count
Document your page count in each of the major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

Document the Registration Date
Document the date your domain was registered.

Document the Technical Requirements
If the site is built upon a CMS, document the CMS. If the web site was built using a script, mention that script. If the site can only run under Unix, document that. Do the same if the site can only run under Microsoft Windows.

Document the Bandwidth Costs
For download, graphics, and proxy sites, document the sites bandwidth usage and what you are paying for that bandwidth. Concerns over the cost of bandwidth discourage many bidders from those types of web sites.

Place AdSense on the Web Site
Even if the web site has never used AdSense before, place AdSense code on the site to show to bidders that the site has not been banned from AdSense.

Document Rights Which You Will Retain
If you intend to retain the right to use the content of the web site elsewhere, document that. Do the same if you intend to resell the web site content again. On the other hand, if you are selling the web site and exclusive rights to the content -- mention that too. That can significantly raise the price of the web site.

These tips should help you to receive maximum value for your web site. These tips will also help to prevent a stream of warning messages from potential buyers from derailing your auction thread. In addition these tips are designed to prevent misunderstandings and the resulting loss to your reputation which will arise if a buyer becomes uphappy after a sale. Best wishes on the successful sale of your web site!

About the Author

Will Spencer is the author of The Internet Search Engines FAQ, Buying and Selling on eBay, and Entrepreneur Support.

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