Book Review: The Website Investor by Jeff Hunt
I’m gearing up to purchase a website for my next investment, and in addition to my research online, communication with lenders and discussions with Kate, I decided to read The Website Investor by Jeff Hunt.
I think I paid $16.99 for the book and I’d say it was worth my money. There’s not a lot of info out there on investing in online businesses/websites, so this book put my mind at ease while I pursue my next deal.
Author: Jeff Hunt
Jeff Hunt is the only website investing expert I’ve found online. I found him twice without realizing it was the same person.
I’ve come to believe that online business offers quite possibly the best cash on cash return of any investment that’s out there right now. And because of that I’ve been studying up for the last 3-4 months.
I first came across Jeff Hunt when I found some of his videos on YouTube. It’s the first YouTube channel I found of someone doing (more or less) exactly what I wanted to do. He was basically just sharing his story and experiences for free on YouTube, and it was legitimately good content.
Then, completely separately, I was looking for books to read on investing in websites/blogs, and I came across The Website Investor. I didn’t know if it would be any good, but again it was the only book I could find that was covering exactly what I wanted to learn more about. So I bought it and read it.
Hunt doesn’t have a huge presence online or really anywhere as far as I can tell, but he does seem to be the leading expert in buying websites for profit who’s offering helpful content online.
The book takes a chronological path through the process of finding, buying and managing a website. The book is easy to comprehend, and there are some case studies along the way of sites that Hunt actually purchased (or decided to pass on).
Finding websites for sale
You might have noticed that the first stop in my website buying journey was to find everywhere online that I might purchase a website. I’ve actually found a few more places since I wrote that article, so I may have to update it soon.
Hunt starts in the same place. The book was published in 2015, so some of the marketplaces he lists are no longer. But most of his deals have been through Flippa, which is still the biggest player in the market.
Finding websites for sale is pretty easy, but the real work (much like buying real estate) lies in the due diligence process. Now I had already read several articles on this specific topic before reading The Website Investor, so to be honest, most of this was review for me.
But, one thing that Hunt talks about that I hadn’t seen elsewhere is verifying numbers from multiple sources. If you buy through Flippa then you’ll be sifting through lots of junk sites and scams. Verifying numbers from multiple sources was one of the biggest weapons against falsely documented sites.
Evaluating future potential
Another topic in the book that I’ve never seen covered in detail online, is evaluating the future potential of a site.
Sure a huge part of the due diligence process is verifying all the revenue and expenses claimed by the seller, but it’s also important to get a feel for what the future of the business could look like.
The book has a huge list of potential low hanging fruit that could help immediately improve the profitability of just about every online business model. Very useful resource.
In real estate it is said that you make or lose money based on what you pay for a property. I believe the same is true in website investing.
Hunt walks through the concept of multiples (of average monthly income) and the system he uses for determining the multiple he will pay for any given site.
The negotiation phase
This is where I really started learning new things. Lots of online resources go into depth about the due diligence process for buying a website. There are a handful of resources that helped me learn how to value a website. But there’s basically nothing about the process of communicating with the current owner, agreeing on terms, and then actually transferring the property to the new owner.
Transfer of ownership
This is another topic that the internet doesn’t have much to say about. I think the book does a good job of stepping through the process of transferring site ownership and I feel much more comfortable now.
You can have other people do the dirty work of transferring all the files, though I didn’t find it clear WHO exactly can do that for you. Either way, I thought this was a valuable section.
Running the website
Honestly, there was some good information in this section about scaling by delegating as well as making small improvements over time by measuring various things. But the reality is I lost interest because I haven’t bought a site yet.
I’ll probably need to come back to this section after I actually make my investment, then I’d imagine I’ll find some value.
Selling the website
This was another section I didn’t really care about. I’m trying to buy a site, not sell one. And I intend to keep the website I buy. It’s an investment, and I hold my investments for the most part.
I think for completion’s sake it was important to have some info for the selling side. And you might get some good insights as a buyer as well. You can see what types of things sellers are doing to make their sites as attractive as possible and get the highest price.
My Reaction: Solid Resource
Overall, the book was very solid. It covers every aspect of buying a website. From finding websites for sale to the due diligence process to the running of the website after you buy it. I thought the book gave me everything I needed to feel confident moving forward with my first website purchase. And I intend to do that over the next few months.
Jeff Hunt does a great job of covering almost every business model you can think of and making sure every investor has the basic information they need to get started.
My only criticism is, that even though the book does offer several small case studies, I wanted more depth and detail at times.
Because the book covers so much of the process, it sometimes fails to capture the finer details
If I’ve learned anything in investing, it’s that no matter how many books you read, podcasts you listen to, or even real people you talk with, you learn the most when you actually take action.
I’ll be keeping this book close by as I go through the actions of buying a website.
I’ll review the corresponding sections each time I start a new part of the process.
An important part of becoming a successful investor is studying the words of those who have succeeded before you. If you want to invest in websites and other online businesses I haven’t found anything better than The Website Investor.