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How to Sell Your Website

Creating a valuable website is a labour of love. It takes a lot of dedication, insight, and skill to build up an online presence that moves audiences and brings in profits.

Today's Internet offers no shortage of monetisation opportunities, which readily turn virtual currencies like page visits and conversions into hard cash. 

In South Africa, properly monetised websites are an attractive business model, whereby you can pursue a topic which intrigues you and earn money through your interest and knowledge of it.

If you have built up a successful and valuable online presence, it has probably taken you a good deal of effort - Now might be a good time to cash in and make your hard work pay off handsomely!

Sector overview

According to BussinessTech, website businesses in South Africa are booming thanks to a variety of factors.

The technical thresholds for creating and hosting your own website are lower than ever.

This enables you to craft a domain name and an online presence that matches your vision and business goals perfectly for negligible time and monetary investments.

Once your website is online, it immediately has the potential to be seen by a significant portion of the population: 69 percent of the adult South African population own a smartphone, and the percentage of households with at least one personal computer is also growing steadily.

Given that the technical barriers are dropping, the major challenge you face is to create a website or a service that speaks to a large enough population segment.

Running a successful website in South Africa also entails certain legal obligations, such as the Electronic Communications and Transaction Act, which governs the amounts and kinds of information you must provide to web customers as well as the information you collect from them, or the Protection of Personal Information Act, which covers online privacy.

If you handle any payments, choosing the appropriate payment methods and complying with eCommerce VAT regulations is also a must.

Though numerous, these rules are hardly unfair or burdensome. This is another reason South African eCommerce enjoys a steady climb.

Valuation: What is your website worth?

Once you have reached the point of selling your website, the major question revolves around the price.

There are no fixed formulae for website valuation - this leaves you a good deal of playing room for negotiation and making the case for your business creation's big worth.

Here are some important factors to consider going into the valuation stage:

Your web traffic and page rank are of central importance when determining your website's worth.

A healthy number of unique monthly visitors, a good reputation across the major social media channels, and high-quality content and/or service are essential to a competitively priced web domain.

If you are at the point of planning to sell for profit, you can take all these as given.

The systems you have developed for running your website are another meaningful valuation criterion:

  • How easy is it to maintain and update your online presence?
  • How much of that maintenance is automated and how much of it depends on creative human input?
  • How extensive and hands-on/off are your traffic acquisition channels?

Satisfying answers to these systemic questions bring your website valuation up.

Preparing for the sale

Once you have a sufficiently clear idea of your website's value, the time to prepare for the actual sale has come.

This means getting all your papers and licences in order, determining what happens to any technical equipment associated with running your website, and amassing as much detailed statistics about your website's traffic, growth, and reach as possible.

Such a high level of preparedness will immediately demonstrate to potential buyers you are a serious partner who is trading a high-quality product.

Another important aspect of preparation is your own mental and psychological readiness to let go of your 'baby'.

Even if you started your website with the clear idea to sell it one day, coming to terms with that might prove difficult.

Get your head in the right place before proceeding!

Where to find the right buyer

Passing your successful domain to the right buyer is crucial for your commercial and personal wellbeing.

If your website is truly significant, you should entrust a broker or an investment bank with the task.

And regardless of the process, look for a buyer who matches your level of passion and expertise.

The sale should 'feel right' and make you richer as well as prouder than before!

Paulyne Antoniou

About the author

Paulyne as Head of Content has produced regular videos and editorial for many years with small businesses, franchises and industry professionals.