How to Optimize a WordPress Website to Sell It (And What to Look for When Buying a Website)

People buy and sell websites more often than you might expect. If you have a WordPress site that receives decent traffic and/or earns a consistent income, there might be quite a few buyers willing to take it off your hands. However, in order to catch their attention, your website will need to be running in top shape. 

By “top shape” we mean that every component of your website should be working perfectly, and each page should load as fast as possible. For that to happen, you’ll need to optimize your site and make sure the web hosting service you’re using offers everything your buyers might be expecting.

In this article, we’ll talk about what to look out for when you’re in the market to acquire a website. Then we’ll discuss how to optimize WordPress and sell your site for all it’s worth. Let’s get to it!

What to Look Out for When Buying a WordPress Website

The process of buying a website is relatively simple, particularly if you use a broker such as Empire Flippers. Via this platform, anyone with verified ownership of a website can put up a listing at any time. How much you can charge for a property depends on factors such as how much traffic it receives, engagement levels, revenue, and more.

However, as a buyer, there’s a lot more to look for when prospecting for websites beyond its number of visitors and recurring revenue. You can have a site that’s an absolute goldmine but a mess when it comes to technical optimization.

By that, we mean websites that may fall into the following categories:

  • Sites using web hosting services that don’t provide the functionality you need
  • Poorly optimized sites that take ages to load and frequently render with errors
  • Sites with lax security, which may be vulnerable to outside attacks
  • Websites with a lack of detailed or historic analytics data

It’s all too common to find websites for sale with a lot of potential that their owners haven’t been able to tap into. If you’re a buyer, these properties are often the equivalent of run-down houses you can purchase for cheap to fix up.

Once the site is all nice and shiny, you have a valuable addition to your portfolio, which you can choose to resell or to keep and earn an income from yourself. However, that’s only after you spend a significant amount of time and/or money refining it.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you’re willing to invest in a fixer-upper or if you only want to buy websites that are ‘turn-key.’ Either way, it’s important to investigate under the hood so you know what you’re in for before you put money on the table.

How to Optimize a WordPress Site to Sell It (3 Key Tips)

If you’re the person selling a website, you want to maximize your profits. To do that, it’s essential that you understand how to optimize WordPress and what elements you need to focus on. The more work you put into ensuring your website is in tip-top shape, the more money you may be able to get out of it. Here are four key areas to address before launching your listing.

1. Consider Upgrading Your Hosting Service

Migrating a website is relatively simple, but it can also be a big hassle for buyers. A budget hosting service can impact your site’s performance, and the buyer might not know that’s the problem. Instead, they may assume that you sold them a website in poor working condition.

Once they figure out what the real issue is, migrating a WordPress website involves either a lengthy manual process or contacting the new web hosting service and asking them to handle the task (often for a fee). In either case, that’s work a new website owner shouldn’t have to do.

When it comes to website performance, there are a lot of factors that can affect speed. However, for the moment, we’ll focus on hosting alone. If you’re already using a web hosting provider that offers excellent performance, you can skip to the next section.

If you’re planning on selling a website that receives a fair amount of traffic and earns you money, we recommend that you move on from shared hosting. There are plenty of hosting options that are still relatively cheap but provide fantastic performance, which can make your WordPress site look more attractive to potential buyers.

In our experience, Virtual Private Server (VPS) and managed WordPress hosting plans are the best options for growing websites. Let’s break down why that is:

  1. VPS. A VPS is perfect if you have some experience with server administration. With a VPS, you get full control over your hosting configuration, and you don’t have to share resources with other users.
  2. Managed WordPress hosting. This type of hosting service takes care of most maintenance tasks for you. That includes server and site speed optimization. This means you can focus on the day-to-day tasks of running and growing your website.

As you might expect, managed WordPress hosting plans tend to be a bit more expensive due to the type of services they offer. However, that expense can be well worth it, so you can present your website in the best shape possible and ensure buyers that they’re in good hands as far as hosting is concerned. 

2. Optimize Your WordPress Website’s Performance

Although your web host plays a significant role in overall website performance, there’s a lot more that you can do to make your site faster in preparation for selling it. If you put in the work when it comes to speed optimization, it will translate to better User Experience (UX), which in turn can lead to increased traffic and conversions.

All of that means you might be able to get more money when you decide to sell your WordPress site. Some key tasks to tackle in this area include:

  • Minifying scripts on your website. JavaScript and CSS scripts can add useful functionality and styling to your website. However, the more scripts your pages include, the longer loading timers become. That is why minifying scripts is considered a best practice.
  • Optimizing images on your pages. High-quality images look fantastic on any page. However, large resolutions also translate bigger file sizes. Optimizing or compressing images can speed up loading times dramatically.
  • Leveraging browser and server-side caching solutions for your site. Caching enables browsers to store key website components locally, so users don’t have to reload every asset on each visit. By configuring your website to use caching, you improve the experience for returning visitors.
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs are server clusters spread out in key locations across the globe that cache your website. When users visit your website, they can load your content from those servers, which often provide better response times and may be physically closer to them.
  • Using a lightweight WordPress theme. Not all WordPress themes are built with performance in mind. By using a fast theme, you can cut down loading times drastically. Moreover, a “lightweight” theme doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t get access to great features – it’s all about doing your research.

Ideally, your website should load in under three seconds. After that point, you can start losing out on a significant number of visitors. If you’re not sure how long your WordPress website takes to load, you can easily find out using a tool such as PageSpeed Insights:

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We’re fans of this particular solution not because it’s a Google product, but because it gives you a lot of information about where your website falls short in terms of its performance:

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By prioritizing the opportunities for improvement that are slowing down your website the most, you can start to see performance boosts almost immediately. If you’re not confident in your technical skills, you can always search for tutorials to show you how to undertake each recommended action.

Another option is to outsource this job and use WordPress maintenance and optimization services, which can help you keep your website running smoothly in the months leading up to a sale. Making an investment in such services could help you sell your website at a higher price down the road.

3. Secure Your Website

WordPress websites fall prey to vulnerabilities and attacks every day. The platform is such a popular Content Management System (CMS) that attackers are always looking for opportunities to exploit it. Most commonly, that means trying to brute force your login page, using plugin or theme exploits to access and load malware to your site, and even gaining access to stolen credentials.

If you’re selling a website, it’s in your best interest to keep it secure. This includes several best practices, including:

  • Using a web host that implements security measures on your behalf
  • Using a CDN that can protect your website from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Keeping WordPress and all its components (plugins and themes) updated
  • Setting up a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your site and enforcing HTTPS connections
  • Setting up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for your website

Although that may sound like a lot of work, it’s important to look at security as an investment in your website, just like speed optimizations.

Moreover, using a reputable web host should take care of a lot of the work when it comes to security. It’s becoming relatively common for managed WordPress services to offer one-click SSL setup as well as CDN integration.

Likewise, setting up a 2FA solution for WordPress is relatively simple thanks to plugins. You have options such as WP 2FA and Google Authenticator – Two Factor Authentication (2FA). Both enable you to choose from multiple approaches when it comes to 2FA implementation, which is why we recommend them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About How to Buy and Sell WordPress Sites

Hopefully, we’ve covered the majority of what you want to know about how to buy and sell websites. However, there are a few other FAQs you may have at this stage. We’ve covered our answers to them below.

How can I sell my website?

The easiest way to sell your website is to use a brokerage service that can help connect you with customers. Some, such as Empire Flippers, will let you know if your WordPress website is ready to go to market and how much you can hope to sell it for.

How much should I sell my website for?

To calculate how much to sell your website for, you can take its average profit and use a multiplier. Usually, you take average net profits from a period that can vary from six to twelve months and decide on a multiplier based on your type of business.

Where can I sell my website design?

Selling a website design isn’t the same as selling a full website. If you work with WordPress, you can offer custom themes on marketplaces such as ThemeForest or through your own website. You might also sell freelance web design services on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

Selling custom web design work for WordPress usually means developing a theme from scratch or taking one of the client’s preferences and making any changes that they need to it. In some cases, you might also sell graphic files alone, such as Photoshop Documents (PSD), which customers will use as blueprints for their web designs.

How long does it take to sell a website?

How long it takes to sell your website will depend on how its numbers look, what marketplace or broker you use to list it, what type of site it is, and what your asking price is. There’s no way to give you an accurate estimate. If you’re using a broker such as Empire Flippers, it will generally ask you for up to six months to find the perfect buyer, but the process can go much faster.

Conclusion

Getting your WordPress website to the point where it has a massive audience and makes money consistently requires a lot of time and effort. However, traffic and income alone aren’t enough if you want to attract buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for your online real estate.

If you want to maximize how much money you can get from selling your website, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Set up an analytics solution and track your earnings.
  2. Consider upgrading your hosting service.
  3. Optimize your WordPress website’s performance.
  4. Secure your website.

Do you have any questions about how to buy and sell websites? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

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Vincent Wong

Born in the UK to Hong Kong parents and married to a Malaysian, Vinnie now has a 17-month-old daughter. He joined EF to work with people who have a passion for new challenges & experiences. His prior job was as a Content Producer for Tickled Media for two years.