When it comes to valuable websites, we're guessing everyone can name the heavy hitters: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo.
But how do you know how much your site is worth?
Do you consult with an oversized rodent who peeks out of his burrow once a year and announces which sites rank supreme? Maybe there's a wizard at the end of a yellow brick road who'd be willing to tell you (as long as you snuff out that pesky witch first). How 'bout that psychic from Long Island -- you know the one with the crazy fingernails? She be able to tell you, right?
Actually, there's no need to hitch a ride to Punxsutawney or click your heels for Oz.
Want to know how much your site is worth? There's an app for that.
A few years back Aykut Pehlivanoglu, co-founder and CEO of Turkish software company PB Bilism, and his business partner came up with Worth of Web, a website value calculator. Website owners can simply type the URL of their site into a search bar and the site offers free estimates of traffic data, price, revenue and overall worth.
"There are companies whose businesses are just evaluating websites. However, these companies are generally working with high-profile clients, and they estimate figures for multi-million dollar transactions," Aykut said. "That's why we developed Worth Of Web. Anyone can use it for getting easy-to-reach and free estimates."
Perhaps more important than knowing how much your site is worth is using that information to improve your site. Aykut recently offered his thoughts on how to increase your site's value:
What factors go into determining a website's value?
The most important factor that affects website value is traffic. When I say traffic, it does not mean just the mere number of your daily visitors. You need to have a loyal audience. You should provide a great user experience will have low bounce rates, high pageviews per visits, long visit times and happy returning visitors.
The second thing is being an authority in your niche. Translated for the web: you need to have high-quality, relevant backlinks from other authoritative websites. This means high Google PageRank.
Social media is another important factor to check. If you have something people talk about a lot, your website value will eventually skyrocket.
Why is knowing your site's value important?
Lord Kelvin said "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it."
Like every other ranking mechanism you used, you need to measure and record your website value in time. That's how you can track your progress. Also, if a potential buyer comes to your door, he/she will ask for a variety of data regarding your website. You need to prove your passion, your love and your progress in time with real stats.
What's the most important variable a website owner should focus on in order to increase it's value?
Everything will change about SEO, internet marketing and web development, but one thing will be constant: user experience. Unless your visitors leaves your website with a smile on his face, your website has value only to you. I know you see it like your child, but that's the reality.
What are some ways a business owner can increase her site's value?
As I said, focus on great user experience to increase overall value. User experience includes creating "king" content, providing user-friendly interfaces, making it search-engine friendly and using error-proof coding, and everything else in that matter. Readers can follow our blog to get daily tips on how to increase their websites' value: www.worthofweb.com/blog
If a business owner owns a valuable website, is it wiser to sell or to keep the site? When is it a good time to sell the site?
I guess there is no formula to this. Also, this is the question every successful business owner has -- not just website owners. For example, we see that Worth Of Web is getting more popular every day and we've considered different offers for us to sell it. But we feel we have much to do in order to improve it with our own ideas and management, so we say no to these offers. I think owners need to think like artists think about their pieces of art. Unless you feel that you put that "final touch" on your masterpiece, you need to keep sharing your vision with the people that like your project.
How should a website owner approach price negotiations with a buyer?
I think the attitude must be somewhere between a realistic approach and an emotional approach. One side of the owner needs to calculate everything with the stats in hand and the other side needs to come up with an emotional price tag. If you stay too much at the realistic end, you can underestimate your value. If you fly too much to your emotional end, the buyer will say that you are crazy.
An easy formula for deciding: Find the mean of these two values.
What are the most important lessons we can learn from the most valuable sites on the web?
Some of the most valuable sites on the web today include Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, Yahoo, Baidu. and many more. The main thing I see is that all these websites fill one particular niche and they fill it very effectively. Also, we are talking about huge corporations here. Now they are bigger than we can imagine, so it will be wiser if we check their startup stories, because these stories are closer to the experiences we have when we first establish a website. I suggest all readers check the case study video articles we prepare about these popular websites and their founders: http://www.worthofweb.com/blog/category/case-studies/
What are bad habits of the least valuable sites?
One thing I see (and I made in my first attempts) is that people try to have a website that includes it all. When you visit such a website, you feel like you have reached Yahoo, CNN or BBC but with one difference: it is a cheap copy. You can't provide so many things, and you know what? You shouldn't. Create original content and create that in a very focused niche -- which you are passionate about -- for a very targeted audience.
The second thing is not being persistent. Everyone starts with special powers at the beginning and posts thousand articles to their blog. However, when you check after one year, there is no update since then. Keep your enthusiasm, don't give up posting fresh content. Here's a little tip: both users and search engines love fresh things.
In addition, to provide a great user experience, you need to have great design for your interfaces. After all, you have 7-10 seconds for a visitor to evaluate if he or she needs to keep looking or needs to click that little red cross to close the window. You can reveal the mystery of life itself in your content, but people will ignore your website if it looks like a painting by a five year old.
Learn more about how to improve your business website on Business.com.