Entrepreneurs Who Buy Online Businesses Share their Secrets

Sep 11, 2010

It should come as no surprise that more and more entrepreneurs are looking to the Internet for business opportunities, but how do you know when to buy online businesses and when to sit on the sidelines?  With popular web sites changing on a daily basis, it seems like only a psychic could know enough to buy web businesses and make a profit. But some entrepreneurs have found a way to make it work.  Here are some of their secrets.

Starting a successful online business requires at least some knowledge of the current state of the industry, and a quick method of deciding if it will work well on the Internet.  Here are some ways to get the information you need before investing.


  • A few quick searches can show you how many competitors there are in a given industry. 
  • Because you can visit the web sites of competitors, it is easy to see what they sell and how much it costs. 
  • You can quickly assess the amount of traffic a site gets by comparing their Alexa ranking or other scores with other businesses that compete in the same sector. 
  • Looking at the “page source” of a web page will show you which keyword searches the site is designed to attract.  Do a quick Google search of those keywords and see who else is ranking in these searches.
  • Are the right URLs still available?  Look for URLs that are made up of the primary search keywords first.  For example, web sites such as CheapFlights.com capture a lot of traffic from people who type in the search term “cheap flights”.
  • Discovering a void or an unmet need on the Internet is a great way to buy online businesses, but first there must be an online audience for the products.  But how do you determine if there is an audience?
  • One way to assess the online demand for a product or service is to do some quick keyword research.  A free keyword research tool can give you a general idea of the search volume for the top keywords.  If you find the traffic for these keywords is too sparse to justify another online business, then it may be time to go back to the drawing board. 

The most important piece of advice is to buy online businesses that have a defined audience in a market that is not already saturated.  Finding and serving an unmet need online is like opening the only ice cream store at a resort in a hot climate… “If you build it, they will come.”