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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Website Flipping: A Great Sideline for Freelance Writers

Today I'm very pleased to bring you a guest post from my online friend and colleague Russell Smitheram.

Russ is a young, up-and-coming freelance writer in South-West England, but he also makes a valuable sideline income buying and selling websites. I'll let him explain in his own words...

* * *

One thing you can say without fear of contradiction about freelance writing is that it's an unpredictable way of making a living. You can be stacked with work one month, but have only a couple of articles to write the next.

That's scary when you rely solely on a writing income, especially when you have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and rent/mortgage payments to meet. Unfortunately, though, that's the reality when you are trying to establish yourself.

So what can you do when your writing work goes quiet? Well, it's time to think outside the box. Many writers I know have a sideline income that they can fall back on during quiet times. And, of course, during peak times the sideline income is still working for them, so it's cream on top, so to speak.

The sideline income method that I've adopted and use today is one that I'm going to share with you here. It involves writing a short e-book, putting up a simple one- or two-page sales site for it, and selling it as a package on a popular online website marketplace.

It does help if you have a little knowledge about domain names, hosting and the like but if not, don't worry. You can always outsource the technical aspects, which will leave you with the best part - the writing!

Depending on the package you put together, you can generate anywhere from $250 to $500 or more per website. Not bad for a few hours work! And once you've mastered the process, you could end up churning out 2 or 3 per week with ease.

Here's the step-by-step method I use and recommend...

Step 1 - I select a popular topic (the more popular the better) and write a short e-book that solves a problem.

Step 2 - Once I have written the e-book and decided on a good title, I register a domain name that will be the website address. Always register a .com name because they fetch a much higher price as opposed to .info, .net, .org, etc. (When choosing a domain name, try to include the name of the e-book.)

Step 3 - Once I've registered the domain name I write the sales copy that will go on the website's homepage.

Step 4 - I then go to and hire a freelance web designer to create a simple two-page website with a graphic header and footer. You'll need a site that contains the sales letter and a download/thank-you page that will contain a download link for buyers. You shouldn't have to pay any more than $50 for a good design.

Step 5 - Once you have the website created, it's time to put the whole package together. You can either do this yourself or hire a freelancer to do it for you. You'll need to add your sales copy to the homepage, add a 'Buy Now' button that links to your PayPal account, and upload the files to your hosting server.

Step 6 - Now you have a complete money-making website that you can sell as a business-in-a-box type package. Website flippers (people who buy and sell websites) love sites like these, because they can buy them, market them, increase the site's revenue, and sell them again for 10 to 20 times what they paid. Go to and put your e-book sales site on the market! You should be able to fetch at least $250 for a website package like the one I've laid out here.

Note: You can use templates and free website builders to get your site running, but you won't be able to sell them for such a good price because the design isn't unique. It's the uniqueness that people are looking for.

This might seem like a lot of work for $250 minimum, but - believe me - once you have mastered the process you will be able to sell websites whenever you want. The more popular the topic, the more bids you'll receive, which typically ups the price.

I like this process, and it's great to know that I can earn a quick $250-$500 whenever I need to.

I hope this guest post may have opened your eyes to the money-making possibilities of website flipping. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment underneath this post and I will answer them personally.

That's all from me today. Thank you for reading, and I wish you all the best with your writing.

Russell Smitheram

Russell Smitheram is a freelance writer, web marketer and website flipper. He is also CEO at Spire Five SEO, and has a website property portfolio that consists of 27 established sites. To learn more about buying and selling websites for profit, visit How To Buy And Sell Websites to get started.

I'd just like to add my thanks to Russ for a very interesting article. It seems to me that website flipping is a field ripe with possibilities for freelance writers. If you don't want to create an e-book sales site from scratch as Russ describes, for example, you could buy a site from Flippa, use your writing skills to polish and broaden the content, and sell it on for profit. Or, of course, you could keep it as a money-spinning piece of virtual real estate for yourself! This is certainly something I plan to look into in more detail myself in the coming months.

Main Photo Credit: A Turkish Bazaar by Stuck in Customs on Flickr.

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Blogger Ash said...

I am both intrigued and slightly daunted by this one- but would love to have a go.
I am currently having a go at building my own website with google sites. I am using a template on the first go, but I am finding it frustrating as it's not as flexible as I'd hoped with changing the content and layout (although I may be doing it all wrong).
Websites and blogs are very much a 'learn as I go' method with me. However if you have any further advice on website design (or if an idiots guide is available anywhere on the web that you'd recommend) I'd be really grateful.
Thanks in advance!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Russ said...

Hi Ash!

Personally, I use Moonfruit ( to build my websites, including the type of website talked about above.

Moonfruit is a drop-and-drag website builder that is both easy to use and flexible.

My SEO website at was built on Moonfruit platform.

It contains pre-loaded templates that you can use right away or you can create a site from scratch, like I do.

Moonfruit is totally free and contains no advertisments or the like. However, there are optional upgrades you can purchase such as your own domain name, more bandwith, more pages etc.

Have a play with Moonfruit and let me know what you think! I'm sure you will enjoy using it and you'll be surprised how easy and flexible it really is!

Just for the record, I've never used Google Sites before so I'm in no way putting it down or claiming it's rubbish so by all means use what you feel works best for you.

I wish you all the best with your new website and if you need any pointers or advise I'm happy to do so.

Also, if you do try your hand at the above website flipping method do let me know how it goes!


8:31 PM  
Anonymous Kimkay said...

Great post! It's amazing the kind of opportunities available for freelance writers. This is a fantastic way to supplement the sometimes erratic writing income.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Russ said...

Thanks, Kimkay.

I appreciate your kind words!


6:22 PM  
Anonymous Rohi said...

Hi Russell,

Thanks for the great advice.


1:37 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Why stop there and just flip websites? Flip websites to offline businesses! Its a new, mostly untapped market where you can make $1000's per website with a little effort.
I'm selling a course at the moment on the nitty-gritty of this side of flipping and have had great results.
If you're interested take a look at
The 2nd installment will also be out soon.
See you there!

5:37 AM  

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