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The Importance of Quality Design On Site Flips

Tue, Oct 14, 2008

Blog Flipping

Maybe I’m just a snob, or (more likely) there is a huge problem going on right now with novice site flippers.  Have any of you Sitepoint trolls (like me) noticed the overwhelming amounts of junk that are littering the marketplace lately?  Newbie site flippers are jumping in to the Site Flipping arena feet first, and they are never going to make a dime doing things their way.

There are more crap sites on the market now than I’ve ever seen before, which is a good thing… for the rest of us.  These novice site flippers are going to burn themselves out by churnining out junk site after junk site that doesn’t sell, and doesn’t appeal to the buyers at the marketplaces their targeting.  Why is that good news?  Well, for one, the marketplace is SATURATED… let me clarify because I’ve been on record saying the complete opposite.  The market is saturated with junk, this is true, but the number of junk sites outnumbers that of quality by at least 10 to 1.  Know what this means?  If you are making quality sites, you are cashing in right now with the influx of junk.  So, while I don’t feel that the market is saturated as a whole, I do feel that there is too much junk out there.

Junk sites just make the quality sites that I, and many others that read this blog and belong to Blog Flipping Blueprint, create more valuable.  For example, I had a site that I sold recently that went for $3,100.  This site was worth about half that, and that’s fully what I expected to get.  Did I somehow snag a noob that couldn’t value a website?  Nope, I sold it to “National Lampoon”, the humor giant.  They obviously know their stuff, so how did I get double the value for this site?  It was quality.  And like it or not, quality is always worth paying for, especially when there is a marketplace full of junk.

I can’t wait for more and more of these novices to try to peddle their crap in the marketplace.  The people that make quality sites are only going to make more and more money.  When you look at crap sites all day, once you find a valuable one you are 100 times more likely to go after it, no matter what the asking price (within reason).  Are you following along?

The quickest and easiest way to improve value in a site flip is by using quality images.  From the header all the way down to having images within each post.  If you are trying to sell, you have to add some curb appeal. Don’t skimp on design… there are other ways to cut corners and save money, but cutting the design budget is almost always a no-no.

One of my favorite stories just happened recently.  A reader (who will remain nameless) emailed me and told me about a site that he listed on Sitepoint.  This was the third time he had to relist it, because he got no bites the first two times around.  So he asked me, “What am I doing wrong”.  The content was great, the domain name was solid, and the on page seo was wonderful.  He was asking $250 for this site, and it was about 30 days old.  Those of you that follow me on Sitepoint know, that I get $1,500+ on 30 day old sites, over 90% of the time.  So what was his issue?  Design.  The theme was free, and it looked like a Wordpress 1.5 theme.  Old, poor coloring, and a plain text header.  It was awful.  I informed him that if he got a professional header, changed themes, and then added an image to each post on the front page… he’d get double or even triple his asking price.

I’d like to tell you that this story has a happy ending, and it does, just not for the seller.  He refused to listen, relisted it a 3rd time… no bites and then he comes back to me with another email.  “Will you buy this site for $100?”… Absolutely!  I changed themes, added images to the 40 posts that he had on the site (all were 500+ words, and commissioned a professional looking header design.

Needless to say, I listed the site shortly after I bought it.  I put about 2 hours of work in on the site, and my total costs were around $180 after Sitepoint listing fees, and the purchase of the graphics, and the site itself.  48 hours later, the site is listed… and three hours after that - SOLD!  I’m happy to report that I sold that site for $2,000.  Maybe he should have listened?

Moral of the story, sell quality.  The market can be saturated with junk, and quality sites will always make you money.

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19 Comments For This Post

  1. Matt Says:

    Great story!

    It’s always amazing at how many people ask for advice - and then are unwilling to follow it, even if it comes with someone with your level of experience.


    Bryan Clark reply on October 15th, 2008:

    Thanks Matt, I appreciate the vote of confidence. It’s kind of gotten to the point where I wonder why I bother giving advice. Most don’t listen. And then I get a few people like the ones in Blog Flipping Blueprint that not only listen, but take off and run with my ideas… they are the reason I still give advice!


  2. Ryan McLean Says:

    Holy crap!
    You are a genius.

    Remember me…the guy who bagged out site flipping? Well I still read your blog and I am going to learn all I can before I try and attempt another site flip because I seriously do not know enough to make money from it. I don’t know how to program or how to buy pictures for my sites.

    Great article and great to see you got so much money for it


  3. Bryan Clark Says:

    Hey Ryan, of course I remember you. Glad to see that you are keeping an open mind, and are ready to give it another go. That’s what I’m talking about! Kudos to you.


  4. Nota Bene Consulting Says:

    As a fellow sitepoint troll, I have to agree with this post! There is so much shite being peddled on the market place right now. There are bargains to be had though as people seem ever so desperate to make a sale and your example goes to show that with a little effort you can turn a tidy profit.

    When will people learn??

    @ Ryan: Good to see you back too - was it your honeymoon?? If you have not already, try the siteflipu forums which has some great reading. Once you start to make a profit then get involved with the blog flipping blueprint. For those willing to follow advice, it’s brilliant!


    Bryan Clark reply on October 15th, 2008:

    Thanks Neal. Glad to see you around, been wondering if you had been eaten by big foot or something.


    Nota Bene Consulting reply on October 16th, 2008:

    Not big foot, but something has been eating me! I am being consumed by work at the moment so slipped off the radar a little. Working my way through it and will be around a bit more shortly.

    Appreciate the concern!


  5. Phil Says:

    I’ve been looking through the market place recently as I’m pretty close to selling. This site flip I’m doing now is my first and I’ve learned a bunch of stuff from ‘Bryan’ and ‘Nota Bene’ in the process. The site I’m about to sell wasn’t that great a few weeks back for many reasons, but one big reason was the design. Since then I’ve got a premium theme, sorted out the graphics and made sure the template is set up correctly. I’m pretty sure this is going to help to increase the price. In fact, I don’t think it would have sold at all before. This article makes a good point of the importance of design.


    Bryan Clark reply on October 15th, 2008:

    Can’t wait to see how you do on the flip Phil!


  6. jbsjp Says:


    I just ran across your site, and I have to be honest, off all the MMO sites I read regularly, I find yours to be truly informative and find your interaction with your readers outstanding!.

    I got into the MMO arena a couple of years back trying to flip domains, made some money, but was not my thing, I’ve been trying to learn building websites and have been intrigued with flipping sites, needless to say, I find your blog very informative.

    I still haven’t had the ball*s to flip a site yet, but I’ve got a couple of sites that I’ve built and slowly learning the process!.

    thanks for your hard work!.


    Bryan Clark reply on October 15th, 2008:

    Thanks buddy. I’m glad to help, now let’s hope you do the rest and take that first step! Make sure to come back and let us know about your successful first flip.


  7. Forest Says:

    Hey Bryan,

    I have had a problem myself of neglecting the design on projects of my own. I design for clients very often and work hard to try and get it right…..

    I just need to get the right mindset for my own flips and lucky for me, I will never have those design costs unless I am looking to get a site completely outsourced.

    I have no doubt my site flipping will get better and I will find my niche…. hence the particular excitement for me about the next blue print.

    Excellent article, and I pity the anon seller…. oh well at least they have learned and they can recreate the original success with the addition of good graphics.


    Bryan reply on October 23rd, 2008:

    Forest…it’s funny because I know the work that you do, and I think it’s great! As a fellow designer, I think we tend to view our own work and see that it can always be improved upon.

    I know that when I launched I was very excited about the design, but now I’m getting to the point where it’s time for a change.

    Keep at it…you’re doing great!


  8. Trent Brownrigg Says:

    Wow good job on taking the $100 site and turning it around into a $2000 sale. I wish I could do that! I am still learning about site flipping and don’t really know how to get the big bucks on a quick flip yet. I’ve been making money online for over 5 years but site/blog flipping isn’t something I have ever gotten into until now.

    With that being said, I have a site that I think is worth at least $50,000 and maybe even as much as $100,000 - or more. However, like I said, I am novice at site selling so I don’t really know. Would it be ok if I emailed you and asked you what you think I could get out of the site and a few tips for doing so?


    Bryan Clark reply on October 15th, 2008:

    Absolutely Trent


  9. Forest Says:

    Hey Trent,

    I would recommend joining the blog flipping blueprint and joining everyone on the forums… you will get Bryan’s advice and some other pro’s too.


    Bryan Clark reply on October 15th, 2008:

    Yep, we’ve got my advice and advice from two other site flipping pro’s. The forums enough are worth the price of admission! And they are about as active as any forum I’ve ever seen. Great group of guys!


  10. Doer! Says:

    Hi bryan,

    Have been reading your blog for past few weeks. You and suitj make quite a pair.

    Like previous poster, I’ve been making living online for more than 4 years now, but yet to dive is site/blog flipping. I’ll get your Blog Flipping Blueprint ….that should give direct access to your suggestions and advice right?

    While I’m eyeing to start in this field with smaller blog flips, I’ve blog+membership site which I think will go for big dollars. Can I get your suggestions/help to sale it (willing to share a percentage even) after I become Blueprint customer?


  11. Annie Says:

    Hi Brian

    Question about your Flipping Blueprint book.

    Is this for newbie flippers?

    I’m kinda in the middle..intermediate, not a newbie for sure.
    How detailed are the information on your site flipping process?



  12. Kate Anderson Says:


    Great post, and I absolutely agree.. Let them keep throwing in trash, it only helps those of us who really put in the time & effort.

    I am also noticing a trend with new flippers outright copying/cloning/ripping other sellers, including myself.

    If you look at and compare it to one selling on there now,

    It’s frustrating but nothing motivates me more than this kind of nonsense..

    Great blog, btw, glad I finally found my way over here =)


  13. SuiteJ Says:

    LOL@ switching up the “saturation” opinion. I know, it’s been much worse lately!

    It’s definitely worth the extra time on design if you want to make sales. Even small things can make a difference. I use the same theme as several others, but I try to put a little something “different” into the mix.

    High quality photos also make a huge difference (as you said). Personally, I often will use/buy professional stock photos (I have tons of stock now, but they’re only $1.00 each if you don’t have any). When I tell that to some, they complain about “spending more”, but if it helps make a sale, then it’s worth it. I’d rather have an extra $20 of expenses and make sales as opposed to not selling at all. That original $20 will only go to Starbucks anyway. lol

    Ooooh Bryan, I could go on for another 8 paragraphs, but I don’t want to write a book in your comments, so I’ll leave now.



  14. REP Says:

    I’ve been reading with interest the recent announcements re premium WP theme developers going open source. In your opinion, what effect (if any) will this have on site flippers? Will it reduce the cost of using quality themes in flipping projects? Or will it mean that more flippers will start using better quality WP themes, so that it will be more difficult for site flippers to differentiate the sites they’ve developed from others? Or will it have not effect at all? Or is it too early to tell?


    Bryan Clark reply on October 16th, 2008:

    Not sure that it’ll have much of an effect at all. I don’t think themes sell sites, but they make the site look more attractive as a whole.


  15. Rajaie AlKorani Says:

    Hahaha! Your post cracked me up!

    I’m sure if the guy that contacted you read this post, he’ll be crying all night!

    Oh well, we all learn from our mistakes.


  16. Allyn Says:

    Great post. THe idea of “curb appeal” is right on.
    I am seeing that “balance” is the key. A good balance or looks, good content and traffic seem to be what drives the success.


  17. Proxy Nations - The Best Updated Proxy Directory Says:

    Great post :), where would I “contact you” for a personal question? And maybe you can blog about it later.


    Bryan Clark reply on October 18th, 2008:

    You can use the “contact me” form above.


  18. Agustin Graham Says:



  19. Jon Williams Says:

    And.. its even better if you can design things yourself to lower the bottom line. Cheers.


1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1.   Creating and Selling a Site in 30 Days | Flipping Easy Says:

    [...] Also, there has recently been quite a bit of discussion that the market is saturated and/or that the economy has reduced the number of interested buyers for younger sites. To put it bluntly, I believe there will always be a demand for high quality, profit producing websites. Site flipping has been growing more and more popular over the recent months and unfortunately, I think many of the new recruits are focusing more on quantity, rather than quality. [...]

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