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Buy an old website or develop something brand new?



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Buy an old website or develop something brand new?

For a couple of days now I'm contemplating if I should buy an already established website or develop a brand new website myself and start from scratch?

Some of the benefits I find in buying an already established website:

  • The boring part if already done - I tend to lose myself in the details when I first start a new project, this is why so few of my projects actually become a reality. I tend to abandon them half way thru;
  • The only thing it probably needs is fresh content;
  • The amount of work put into it by webmaster who sells is probably way bigger from a value point of view compared with actual prices the website is selling at;
  • It may have some traffic - You won't get any with a fresh new site;
  • It may have some authority or backlink - You need to start building them with a new website.

Some of the negative aspects I find about buying an already established website:
  • There are strong chances you are buying someone else's mess. Let's face it if the website was doing well it wouldn't be on sale in the first place;
  • The website's niche may not have money making potential, hence this is why the website is up for sale;
  • If you are not a coder you can't evaluate any potential bugs that are present in the website;
  • Buying a website is messy, the domain needs to be transferred and getting everything hosted on your hosting company could be a pain in the ass;
  • Because this is not your original project, your "baby" so to speak, you may find that you like enthusiasm working on your new acquisition, therefore, the project may be abandoned or sold again to another webmaster

So here are the hard facts from my point of view. Which would you choose? Do it yourself or buy an established website?

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MasterA

It depends on the type of website and what you want to get out of it. If the market is quite saturated, then it will probably be a good idea to buy an old website because it will take too long to start your own website and be competitive against others in the market, You also need to think about the potential of the niche and how much you want to/can invest into the project. If you want to save money, then coding something from scratch might be a good idea but if your competitors are offering their website for cheap, then maybe it is better to acquire an old website. Personally, I prefer acquiring old websites because they already have build a good foundation and I will not need to start from scratch. However, the general rule is assess the general situation before making a decision.




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anwebservices

Buying established website can be a pain, but you can do some research before you buy, to minimize risk, check authority etc... BTW transferring domain name and website contents to new hosting is not that hard at all, unless the website have really huge database. if website you buying is in niche you can work with, then it could be real shortcut to success.

Developing new website takes a lot of time to come up on horizon, unless you spend big amount of money in promotions, SEO etc...

I know it's tricky sometime to make decision, but i would probably go for established blog if the price is right




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Everett

If I was ever in the market to purchase a website here are the factors that I would look for before purchasing:

  • Is the website banned on Google, or banned by Adsense?
  • Is there quality backlinks?
  • How many spam backlinks does the website have?
  • How many users per day does the website average?
  • If the website has Adsense, how much on average does the website earn?
  • How much content does the website have?
  • How much quality content does the website have?
  • How many subscribers does the website have?
  • How popular is the website itself (Alexa, etc)
  • Does the website have on site purchasable products or services?
  • Does the website have social media pages (facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+, etc)
  • Is there any BBB reports from the website?
  • Is there any negative consumer reports?
  • Has the website been involved in scams in the past?
  • Has the domain been registered before, and then registered again?


Yeah, a lot of checkpoints but it seems to work. You always should do a lot of research before buying a website, even if you're not paying that much for it. People often list things for sale when there is either issues, or if it's basically dead (low traffic, no ad revenues)




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idealmike

Great checkpoints Everett! I think one of the most important things when buying an old website is to do your basic checks on that site. Making sure the traffic and earnings claims can be backed up and verified. It's not enough to just go by screen shots like some naive people do as screen shots can be faked. If possible, get access to their Analytics. Heck, do teamviewer screen share if you can and get access to their Adsense channel for that site. A quick look in that will show you if their claimed earnings are their actual earnings. But more than that, doing these other checks as well, background history checks for example can help you see a bigger picture of the site in question. From something as simple as searching that domain in Google and seeing what comes up (and not just on the first couple of pages). Even checking it on Wayback machine to see what else that site used to have on it in the past before it was what it is now. I've done this on sites I've been interested to buy before in the past and dug up some damning things about it that the seller didn't tell me. I've also used it as leverage to get that same site/domain for a cheaper price as well as often once you know this, and the seller knows you know it. You can use that as leverage to get it cheaper. But then that's on you if you still want it after finding out those things about it. Most times though the seller will just not sell to you and will prefer to sell it to someone less experienced in buying websites/domains so they can get as much for it as possible. I know this only through past experience of buying domains and websites.




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idealmike

Hi Cristian great topic! I'd like to go over some of your pros and cons with what I think of each if that's okay. Buy an old website or develop something brand new?

The boring part if already done - I tend to lose myself in the details when I first start a new project, this is why so few of my projects actually become a reality. I tend to abandon them half way thru;

You are not alone. A lot of people do. But that is why a lot of peoples sites end up getting sold. Because people become bored of them and don't want to work on them to take them to the next level. But if you can get passed that and stick with it, then your sites have much more a chance of becoming successful.
The only thing it probably needs is fresh content;

Yeah well it would depend on the site and what it needs. It's just part of doing on-page SEO to it. All sites will need new fresh content from time to time even if they already have tons of content on them.
The amount of work put into it by webmaster who sells is probably way bigger from a value point of view compared with actual prices the website is selling at;

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this but I don't think sites should be valued by how much work the original owner put into it but rather by how much traffic it's getting and how much money it's earning. Buy an old website or develop something brand new?
It may have some traffic - You won't get any with a fresh new site;

Yeah well it depends on the site itself. Some sites only need a little work done on them to get them ranking higher for things. Some might need quite a lot of work done on them. Some sites rank straight away but some take longer.
It may have some authority or backlink - You need to start building them with a new website.

Yep, but that's like any new website whether you buy it from new yourself or buy an existing site.
There are strong chances you are buying someone else's mess. Let's face it if the website was doing well it wouldn't be on sale in the first place;

That could be true. But it doesn't neccessarily mean that's the reason the site is for sale. There are many reasons why people sell their sites. It could be that they haven't had the time to keep on working on it and have bigger fish to fry. Buy an old website or develop something brand new?
The website's niche may not have money making potential, hence this is why the website is up for sale;

That could also be true. But it could also be that the seller doesn't know how to take that site to the next level or again, doesn't have the time to put it into practice
If you are not a coder you can't evaluate any potential bugs that are present in the website;

Well that's true but that's what error files and php error codes are for.
Buying a website is messy, the domain needs to be transferred and getting everything hosted on your hosting company could be a pain in the ass;

Hmm not really, once the domain is pushed to your account (whether NameCheap or GoDaddy or some other registrar) there's not much more you have to do other than update the Nameservers to your own Nameservers. Then all you need to do is create the addon domain / directory on your server, upload the site files and import the database and do any tweaks that need doing and that's about it.
Because this is not your original project, your "baby" so to speak, you may find that you like enthusiasm working on your new acquisition, therefore, the project may be abandoned or sold again to another webmaster

Yes that is true. But that would be why you need to do your research on that domain/website first before you buy it to make sure you understand what the ins and outs of it all are and what it is you'll need to do either keep that site ticking over or take it to the next level. But you should really consider that before you set out to purchase it so that you don't buy it and then get bored of it and then sell it on again.

And that's my answers to your pros and cons to buying old websites. I personally think that if you can buy an old website at a great price. You're already 10 steps ahead of new websites. There is much less ground work to do and you just have to build on top of what is already laid. Where as a new website you'll have to do all the ground work and foundation laying before you can even get to that level. Sure there are some negative aspects to it and you have to do your checks, but overall, there's a lot more positives for buying old sites over new ones. Buy an old website or develop something brand new?




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Lynne

I'm not sure I would buy an old website, not unless I have some expert check it out first. Why would someone be selling a website in the first place? Especially if it is cheap, I would just be suspicious.

I guess that perhaps someone has an old website and can't be bothered to keep working on it, but I can't help saying you just don't know what that person did with that website.

Personally I actually enjoy the whole process of setting up a new website and doing everything myself. Yes I agree some of the tasks are a bit tedious and it does take some time to get traffic coming in... but that is also part of the fun and excitement of working online. All those cool milestones like getting your first organic visitors.




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vinaya

Unless the website is backlisted or performed illegal activities (spamming, scaming, selling illegal stuffs etc.), buying an old website is better compared to developing a new website. If your website is new, it will take months for search engines to recognize it. If you are using a new domain for your new website, it will take also take a long to time to get indexed on search engines.
On the other hand old website is already receiving good traffic and ranked in Google. When buying an old website, you should always consider the domain name. Domain name is important, therefore the website should have good brand-able domain name.




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Corzhens

Maybe I will have to make an in depth study of the old website first before I decide. What I’m pointing at are the resources that that old website may have that can give instant profit like the quality backlinks and the effective keywords. Of course, the negative or downside should also be considered. When the study is completed then the costing starts if the price is good or not. Developing a new website entails a lot of work and it takes a lot of time before it can turn in a profit.




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