Buying a new website can be confusing, but we have put together a quick reference guide with some things we think should be considered when investing online.
What Website Functionality Matches Your Needs?
Depending on the type of business you have in mind, it is always a good idea to check that the site is set-up to handle your expectations.
If you are planning on selling your own product or service, or plan on utilizing dropshipping, check that the website is set-up to be able to properly handle E-commerce, branding and marketing.
Maybe you have already established a niche or developed a product to sell and are looking for a place to sell it, or a website that will compliment your existing business.
If you want to build professional credibility, develop your branding or are looking for a place to share your knowledge on a particular topic, then a blog or news style of website may come to mind. In this case you would want to have a look at whether the site is set up for easy and varied monetization forms to match your content, and how quick it is to publish new posts.
There are a number of key methods when it comes to online income streams, with some of the main ones being advertising and affiliate programs. Some common advertising programs are Adsense, Chitika and Infolinks, and when it comes to affiliate programs Amazon associates, LinkShare and ShareASale are among the bigger ones. Always consider your business plan and how well the site is set-up to be successfully monetized. You may also want to have a look at what monetization integrations are already active or if they can easily be enabled.
An important aspect of owning a website is how the site is managed in respect of adding new content, who will do this and at what Search Engine Optimisation practices are in place? How easy is it to add new content and can this be outsourced if you do not have the time to do it yourself?
Implementation & SEO Considerations
Depending on your plans, whether you are thinking to manage the website yourself or hire someone to do it, it’s important to consider the time and skills required to maintain the website.
Consider what technical platform has been used to create the website as not all implementations offer the same ease and versatility when it comes to content management and modifications. E.g. the WordPress platform is simple to use and offer many varied custom options.
Others such as HTML and PHP may not be as easy if you are not familiar programming. So always consider the ease of the platform and if you will be able to run the website on your own, or if you will need to hire someone to assist with modifications. Also take time to think about whether the site is fit for your skills, time commitment, plans and goals.
SEO is a heavily debated area with many practices, and it can be difficult to know what really has been done to a site. You may have heard of SEO methods which initially prove effective and later result in de-indexing and lower search rankings. However, Good honest SEO isn’t about sneaky practices, but rather about proper organisation of data in a librarian sort of way.
There are many factors that influence search engine ranking with some of the common factors being: Structured data, Schema and Rich snippets, Fast page load, Content that’s easily shared via social media, Responsive design: Content that’s compatible with multiple devices, Crawler & Bot accessible, Unique keyword targeted content, Title tags, URLs and Alt text, Good user experience via layout and design.
With these in mind, check whether the above points have been factored in, in the development of the site. You may also want to check the search terms to see what’s already ranking.
Visual appearance & Social Media
Although content is important, a visually appealing website is vital if you want visitors to have a good user experience and stay on your website. If the site is built on an easy platform such as WordPress, you’ll will have plenty of customization options, but if you don’t want to spend time updating it, consider how the current look of the site goes with your business ideas. Current media is very picture driven, so pay attention to how the site visually presents and how images match content. Also how easy is it to include future media on the site?
As you would already know, media whether pictures or videos are often subject to copyright, so it is important to be aware of the various conditions of the media used on the site you are considering. Among the various considerations, one important aspect to check is if images are royalty free or not.
When it comes to social media, we all know how powerful those tools can be when it comes to generating traffic. Check how the site has been set up, is it easy for visitors to share content on social media? And in regards to the site’s connecting social media channels, have they already been secured? In this way, you won’t need to worry about whether the names have been taken, and you don’t need to do the cumbersome work of setting them up either.
Content, Traffic & Niche Selections
If you don’t want to have to rely on expensive advertising to generate traffic to your site, it’s important to look at how well the site has been set-up for real quality traffic.
Organic traffic is generally defined as traffic that has come via Search engines such as Google and Bing, or via a hyperlink from social media channels such as Facebook, Google plus, Twitter, Pinterest etc. Traffic that is based upon visitors clicking on an ad is not regarded as organic.
One way to start getting traffic to a new site is via original keyword optimised content. Check that the site has original content and not just products, as it may be hard to rank in search engines without having to pay for advertising, if there is no quality content to display. Also duplicate content does generally not go well with search engine rankings, so ensure that the content has been checked with plagiarism tools e.g. Copyscape.
Keyword research is one of the most important activities in the search marketing field, and ranking for the right kind keywords may be a bit of a puzzle. Keyword research isn’t just about getting traffic to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. Will searchers find what they are looking for when browsing your site, and will they be happy with the information that they find?
There seems to be a general consensus that niche sites tend to do better in terms of quality traffic, so consider how the niche matches your business plan. Having a niche site plays an important role when it comes to encouraging the “right” kind of visitors.
Transfer Support & Hosting
Always consider what kind of help you will be able to receive during the sale and transfer process. Will you have a place to go to during the process and do you feel comfortable that your inquiry is being attended to in a professional and swift manner?
If you aren’t familiar with hosting, hosting is just a part of running a website. Websites reside on servers that are usually managed by web hosting companies. After purchasing a site, you’ll need to decide if you would like to leave the website with the current host and have it managed for you, or if you would like to organise it on your own and have it hosted elsewhere.