Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Website flippers: Looking to make a quick buck..

A nice little article on the International Herald Tribune about how some people will buy websites on the cheap, spruce them up and then flip them to make a quick buck.

Dave Hermansen did not own a bird or a cage when he bought, an online store, for $1,800 three years ago. He simply saw a Web site that was "very, very poorly done," and begged the owners to sell it to him. He then redesigned the site, added advertising and drove up traffic. Last December, he sold it for $173,000.

This process is done usually through re-coding so that it will have better search results when being searched through Google or Yahoo. This process is known as "search engine optimization" or SEO. There are complete companies dedicated to this now as it is so lucrative to land your website in the top spots on the search engines.

Creating the value, though, is the tricky part. Many Web site flippers said they begin by tweaking a site's template and making other superficial changes like adjusting fonts, colors and type sizes. After that, they manipulate a Web site's structure, coding and presentation so it shows up more prominently in Web searches.

In an era when Web use is increasingly search-driven, making sure people find your site makes all the difference, Hermansen said. "Once you beef up traffic, everything else just happens," he added.


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