Flipping niche sites can be an incredibly profitable way to make a large amount of money or even build an online business. Building content-based affiliate sites are often seen as a great way to build a safety net of passive income. This is true, but those sites can also be sold to a buyer for a large lump sum.
That can create a very high revenue business if you can consistently build and flip profitable websites. Or you can even buy existing sites, improve earnings, and then flip them.
Getting the most out of the niche website flipping business model involves a lot of hard work, a deep understanding of how the process works, and a good niche helps, too!
You can learn everything you need to know about starting and growing your own money-making niche site with this FREE Niche Site Boot Camp.
What is Website Flipping?
At its simplest definition website flipping is buying or building a website for a low price, and then selling it for a much higher one. The difference in what you spent versus what you receive is your profit.
In reality, there is much more of a process.
A website can be created or it can be bought. This often comes down to answering the classic time vs money question.
If you are going to buy a website, then a successful flip depends heavily on being able to spot a site that is undervalued or has a lot of untapped potential. Because you need to drastically increase earnings to then sell the site for a solid profit.
That means learning:
- How to spot a good potential deal
- Knowing how to quickly optimize niche sites to increase revenue
- Understanding and being able to execute on-site and off-site SEO
- Where to find niche websites to buy
- Understanding the buying/selling process
- Being able to systemize all this so you’re always working towards the next flip
This just scratches the surface, but these skills are worth learning.
What is a Niche Site?
A niche site is a website focused on a very specific topic (niche). This could be a blog about coffee, an affiliate site about outdoor gear, or an authority site about antique book collecting.
The main point is focusing on one specific topic, or a series of closely related topics, not a general hodge-podge website with a lot of random articles or keywords.
When someone says “niche site” you can also assume it is a site built to be monetized.
Nice Sites vs. General Sites
A niche site about coffee could have articles on coffee beans, grinding your own coffee, funny coffee mugs, or articles on making good coffee while camping. Different topics, but all closely related to coffee.
A site that has one article on kayaks, another on saving money on the dentist, or another random article on the top 10 board games would not be a niche site. A site that tried that would be very likely to fail, as well.
Niche sites are all about focused attention on a specific topic.
How Are Websites Valued?
The majority of niche sites are monetized with affiliate marketing, display ads, sponsored posts, or a combination of two or even all three of those options.
Niche websites that are monetized this way generally sell for between 32X monthly earnings to 40X monthly earnings.
This is the gross sale amount. There will be transaction fees and escrow fees, but this is the expected amount for a gross sales price.
The average monthly earnings is usually based on either the last 6 months or the last 12 months.
Niche Site Valuation Is Why Website Flipping Is so Profitable
This valuation method is why flipping websites can be so profitable with even just modest changes or gains to a niche site you buy.
A niche site earning $500 a month is worth $16,000 to $20,000 on average.
But a niche site earning just 50% more ($750 a month) is worth $24,000 to $30,000. That’s a huge difference.
There are certain circumstances where pricing can change slightly. Rarely does a domain name matter, but if you have an obvious high-value domain (example: beer.com or retirement.com) then that can change things.
Selling existing digital products or a dropshipping business tied to a niche site can also change the valuation.
But those are extremely unusual circumstances for a niche site. Generally the 32X to 40X rule holds for how to value a website.
For more details, check out this in-depth article with data on recent website flip exits.
Does Your Niche Topic Matter When Selling a Site?
Some people would argue that the niche topic doesn’t matter, only the average monthly income does.
I disagree with this point of view for a few reasons.
Not All Niches Are Equal
For one, some niches are just more popular than others. More site traffic often means more potential revenue. The higher your potential ceiling, the more chances there are to make a big sale.
If you’re creating a niche site instead of buying, prior knowledge or passion makes a huge difference. I know the sites on topics I know well and am passionate about are easier to work on than sites on topics I know nothing on and don’t care about.
How Can You Monetize?
Is the niche topic mostly information based? That means focusing on display ads and maybe a digital product.
Are there plenty of products? That means many affiliate options. But some topics have a wide array of good affiliate commission options at 8-10% while others you find 2% as the standard.
Choosing a tough niche to monetize means a lot of work for potentially far less pay.
What’s the Demand?
Some niches can appear profitable, but if no one wants to buy a site in that niche then how are you going to flip the site?
On the other side if you have a good niche site on a topic that is wildly popular then you have more potential buyers. That lets you throw out a premium price and be more likely to get it for a more profitable flip.
7 Best Niche Site Ideas For Website Flips
There are thousands of great potential niche site ideas out there. If you have special knowledge or expertise you might even be able to make a niche work really well that most website builders could not.
Some niches are just better overall than others. Especially when you’re looking for a hungry market of buyers when you flip.
Take a look at my picks for some of the best niche site ideas out there.
According to Health Careers, there are over one billion coffee drinkers in the world. That’s a pretty big audience.
Beyond that number, there are countless specialty coffees, independent coffee houses, and plenty of coffee drinkers who are obsessed with getting the perfect cup of morning coffee.
Coffee is a great niche site idea because there are so many different angles to take with it. There are countless products to go the affiliate route. There are hundreds if not thousands of advertisers buying display ads in the coffee niche. There are coffee drinkers looking for specific information.
You have individual coffee drinkers, coffee shop owners, as well as new customers or niche coffee brands who would love to buy a site that is already ranking for coffee-related terms.
Who doesn’t love the great outdoors? With many thousands of potential topics, the outdoor niche is a fantastic space for building a niche site to flip.
There are hundreds of millions of outdoor fans out there, and they are often passionate. Campers want the best tents. A fisherman is always willing to buy another rod, reel, or lure. Long-distance backpackers are crazy passionate.
Outdoor content sites are popular choices for seasoned investors looking for a passive online income as well as relative newbies wanting to break into making money online with a niche they are comfortable with.
The outdoor niche is a space many people are comfortable with, and there are always customers for. The big thing is to make sure you focus on a specific niche and not a general outdoor site.
A general outdoor site is just too broad with too many topics out there to cover as a broad site. There’s still plenty of room for great websites in narrow outdoor niches.
Examples of “Niching Down” in the outdoor space:
- “Fly fishing for trout “ instead of “fishing”
- “Hammock camping” instead of just “camping”
- “Long-distance backpacking” instead of just “hiking”
Pets Niche (Dogs Specifically)
Pet owners are incredibly passionate about their favorite pets. There are over 90 million dogs as pets in the United States alone. The dog niche in particular is loaded with heavy traffic, plenty of room to build sites on specific breeds, and high-paying affiliate programs.
That’s exactly the combination I want to see when doing niche research.
Niche sites focusing on a very specific breed are doing very well. There are so many dog owners that even a site on less common breeds can make large revenue.
According to the American Kennel Club there are 195 recognized dog breeds with 79 more going through the process of official recognition. Those are just pure breeds and don’t even include mixed breeds.
Multiply those numbers times 10 spots on page one of Google for each breed, and that’s a lot of potential for building a profitable niche site to flip.
There are few niches with such a huge number of very passionate online visitors along with so many excellent paying affiliate options.
Who hasn’t needed something new for the kitchen? It’s easy to overlook just how many opportunities there are in the kitchen niche. You can review items like new spatulas, non-stick cookware, or electric can openers. You can compare toaster ovens or talk about DIY kitchen improvements.
There are a lot of niche sites out there related to the Kitchen which can look intimidating at first glance, but a lot of them are quite bad. Poor information, poor writing, really lazy affiliate list formats.
There’s room for really good kitchen niche sites. They are also easy to flip for a good price because it’s not hard to see just how profitable a kitchen site can be.
Fitness Niche (Weight Lifting Specifically)
People who are in shape know the benefits of being in shape. People who used to be in shape want to get back into shape. If you’re not fit at all, how many times have your New Year’s resolutions been about getting in shape?
The fitness niche is one of those pure evergreen niches that will always be in demand. While there are a lot of areas to focus on, the demand for weight lifting content is especially strong.
Strength training is great for losing weight, getting healthier, and of course just getting stronger and looking better. It’s also intimidating to many who haven’t experienced weight lifters.
Even the cheapest weights aren’t cheap. Add a high-interest, high-demand niche with expensive products and you have a winning potential niche.
The finance and investment niche is an extremely competitive one. If you are not experienced in building successful sites and SEO you should look at buying a site that already has success versus building one in this field from scratch.
That said, finance is so competitive because it’s about money. A topic that will always be of interest. Ad rates are extremely high, affiliate products tend to have high numbers, and if you can drive paid leads, your niche site can make some very high commissions.
Because of the difficulty of getting a foothold in this competitive niche, you are more likely to get a higher valuation when flipping it.
Business-to-Business (B2B) Niche
When it comes to looking at business to business (B2B) from a niche site perspective, this becomes an umbrella term for any niche where you’re catering to a business.
This can be focused on new startups and entrepreneurs, or focusing on things established businesses care about like SEO, digital marketing, or client acquisition.
When you’re focusing on business topics you know your targets have money to spend and will be willing to spend it if you can help them to make money.
Because it’s dealing with businesses instead of individual retail buyers, many of the affiliates offer to pay out at very high rates.
These sites also have high demand when it comes to flipping. For new businesses selling a software product, a plug-in, or digital services buying a niche site that already gets traffic in those areas makes good business sense.
If you’re up for the challenge, a website flip can lead to big things from this niche.
How to Start a Niche Site?
Many website flippers like to find a good deal on a niche site then buy it, improve revenues, and then sell it for a profit. It’s a good system. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can also build a niche site from scratch.
You will want a good domain name. The days of exact match keyword domains are over, so the domain name doesn’t need to have a main keyword in it. However, it should be on a related topic, a good brandable name, and easy to spell.
If you can afford it, it’s worth considering buying an aged domain. If you can find an appropriate one in your niche, this can help speed up how quickly you can rank well in search engines building a website from scratch.
You can get a free domain name through our special Bluehost link.
Once you have your domain name, find hosting. You want something fast and reliable. There are plenty of inexpensive options out there that will work.
Our favorite that we recommend and used for our first two years of blogging is Bluehost.
Keyword research is one of the most important steps in building a successful niche site from scratch. Some keywords will be easy to rank for, some will take work, and some will be impossible.
Telling these apart will go a long way to determining how much success the niche site will have. As well as how long it will take.
Create Great Content
Google and other search engines are always looking for great content. The better the content, the better your chance of ranking. SEO is important, but it can only do so much if the writing on the blog is terrible.
On-site and off-site search engine optimization are extremely important to success. This builds the trust and authority that Google is always talking about. SEO + great content is a combination that gets your site ranked and keeps it there.
We have a full on-page SEO guide you can read if you want more information on this.
If you are doing all of these things right, the last ingredient is time. Ranking in Google takes time, especially with a brand new domain.
Where to Buy a Niche Site?
You have multiple options when it comes to purchasing a niche site. Despite the many website brokers out there, there are five options in particular that really stick out. For more details on all selling options, check out this article on website brokers and marketplaces.
Motion Invest was started to fill the gap for providing a reliable place to sell sites in the $20 to $7,000 a month range. This is a very beginner-friendly site for those selling sites, which makes it an attractive option for first-time sellers or those who had bad experiences previously.
They sell much larger, more successful niche sites, as well. There’s generally something for every price range.
Pros: They manage most of the buying/selling process to make it easy, some excellent opportunities to buy low-performing sites to flip, responsive customer service, generally the fastest payment out there.
Cons: Sometimes has a limited number of options, no undervalued sites – you need to find your flipping deals by improving underperforming sites.
FE International is a big name in the website buying and selling sphere. They are known for focusing on high-end web properties. Minimum six figures, with experiences selling online businesses in eight-figures.
Fantastic location for flipping a high-earning, high valuation website if you can build that successful of a niche site. Probably not a common location for buying a website to improve and flip.
Pros: Over 95% sale success rate, the place premium buyers go looking for six-figure plus purchases, sterling reputation in the field.
Cons: Not a lot of opportunity on the buying side of a flip, the six-figure minimum restricts deal shopping.
One of the premium website brokers out there, Empire Flippers sells a wide variety of online businesses. They have a gold standard reputation making them popular with buyers and sellers. To sell an affiliate site proof of a minimum of $500 net profit per month is required.
Pros: Over 90% sale success rate, much more accessible than FE International, their commission percentage falls the more valuable the business (and 15% is still very reasonable as the highest rate), wider range of online businesses/sites available.
Cons: Because of the vetting process it’s still a bit harder to find a good deal, better for sellers than buyers in the flipping process, can take a few months for sites to sell
Flippa might be the largest website market in the world, and that comes with pros and cons. This is a Wild West scenario. There are some great deals that can be found, but there are also a lot of scams.
You really need to do your homework to make sure the numbers you see are legitimate, and that everything is done properly through escrow. Not for beginners, but there are major website flipping opportunities here.
Pros: Many potentially good deals, the largest number of listings.
Cons: Not the same level of vetting, actual scams and fake numbers, less controlled transaction process.
Directly from the Website Owner
Sometimes direct outreach can lead to a gem. There are many people out there who started building a website, found very limited success, and then quit. Or they’re working hard and have a lot of content, but you can see at a glance why they’re not succeeding.
Sometimes using contact information just asking if they’re interested in selling can get you a response with a surprisingly low price. This is a bit time intensive but there are some true deals to be found this way.
Pros: No bidding wars or competition, a great chance at a really good deal.
Cons: Need to protect yourself when handling the sale directly, can be a headache walking a non-technical person through the transfer process, high rate of no responses.
Niche Site FAQs
What should you be looking for when purchasing a niche site to flip?
If you’re looking to buy a site, improve it, and flip it for a profit then there are several potential things to look for. A site monetized with Google AdSense is one, because just switching to another display ad network can drastically improve your income.
Look for thin writing, bad writing, or awkward writing. If a site is getting traffic and income despite that, cleaning it up could be an easy way to skyrocket the traffic.
Posts with good original research but terrible writing/organization can easily be improved for better search engine rankings.
Look for sites with bad on-site SEO like no internal linking, no headers, or a heavy slow-loading theme.
Any one of these things could make a website a good investment. If you find a site getting traffic and income with several or all of these issues, then that’s a great potential site to buy and flip.
Do niche sites still work?
Absolutely! There are many thousands of profitable niche sites online, with more being made every day. Google isn’t stamping out all niche sites. Just the really poor ones.
Do trending topics make good niche sites?
This depends. If it’s a fad or new flavor of the month, you probably shouldn’t make a niche site about it.
I’m a big fan of keeping an eye on exploding topics site for upcoming high traffic niches.
Do micro niche sites still make money?
No. At this point, Google will always go with an in-depth post from a built-out niche site over a five-page microsite.
Wrap Up: Pick a Niche, Scale, Sell, and then Repeat
Becoming really good at the niche site flipping process takes time and work, but it’s also extremely profitable.
Basically, you want to:
- Pick a niche
- Buy or build your site
- Optimize your site
- Scale-up with a lot of great content
- Maximize your monetization
- Sell your site for a major profit
- Repeat steps 1-6
That’s all you need to know about flipping niche sites. Follow the steps here, practice by repeating the process, and you’ll find out first-hand just how profitable it can be.
If you are looking for some more guidance in starting your money-making niche site sign up for this FREE Niche Site Boot Camp.
This article was written by Mushfiq Sarker who has been buying, growing, and selling website assets since 2008. His first exit was in 2010. Since then, he has done 175 website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. His free newsletter, The Website Flip, covers case studies on his portfolio of sites, website flipping guides, and exclusive websites for sale.