Think Twice Before Buying a Turnkey Website: What You Need to Know First

Think Twice Before Buying a Turnkey Website: What You Need to Know First


You may be tempted to take the easy route and buy a complete, ready-made website rather than building one from scratch. Turnkey websites, also known as "done for you" or pre-built sites, promise an easy way to get an online business up and running quickly. However, there are some important things to consider before buying a complete website. In this blog post, we'll look at the pros and cons of buying a turnkey website versus building your own.

Pros of Buying a Turnkey Website

It's Quick and Easy

The biggest advantage of buying a ready-made website is that it saves you a tremendous amount of time and effort. With a turnkey website, the initial setup work is already done for you. The domain name is registered, the site is designed, and the products or services are already added. You don't have to spend time learning how to code or design a site from scratch. You can get your business online almost immediately.

Established Authority and SEO

An existing, ready-made site often has more authority and better search engine optimization than a brand new website. The domain likely has some age to it and has accumulated backlinks organically over time. This can give you a boost in search rankings right off the bat.

Potential for Passive Income

Some turnkey sites are essentially ready-made passive income streams. For example, affiliate marketing or dropshipping sites can be purchased with existing traffic and product listings in place to start making sales right away. With the infrastructure already built, it takes less effort to maintain and manage these types of "hands off" businesses.

Cons of Buying a Turnkey Website

Lack of Customization

With a pre-built site, you are limited in how much you can customize it to fit your brand. The domain name, site design, products, and content are already determined for you unless you want to rebuild parts of the site. So you may be stuck with a look and feel that isn't ideal.

Hidden Issues

While turnkey sites appear polished on the surface, there may be hidden issues underneath like bad code, spammy backlinks, or product listing errors. Unlike building a site yourself, you don't know how well optimized or structured a ready-made site really is.


Ready-made websites can be expensive to purchase upfront. The cost will depend on the niche, revenue generated, authority of the domain, and other factors. But you will likely have to pay thousands upfront, which can be a barrier for some.

Maintenance Required

A turnkey website isn't entirely "hands off" once you buy it. You still need to maintain and update products, create new content, respond to customers, and keep the technology updated. So while it's less work than building a site, you can't completely buy a passive income stream without continuing to invest time and effort.

Things to Look for When Buying a Turnkey Website

If you do decide to purchase a complete website, here are some things to look for:

  • A niche you are passionate about - Don't just buy a site because it is profitable. Make sure it aligns with your interests and expertise.
  • Consistent, long-term traffic and revenue - Ask for traffic and financial records to see healthy growth over time.
  • Positive online reputation and reviews - Search online to see what customers have said about their experience.
  • Clear documentation - Get all passwords, account info, and operating manuals to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Responsive support - The seller should provide technical support and advice for a period of time after purchase.
  • Good site authority - Domain age, backlinks, and search rankings boost organic growth.
  • Mobile friendliness - The site should be optimized for mobile devices which drives most traffic today.
  • Clear financials - Understand where revenue comes from and what your costs will be.
  • Up-to-date technology - Make sure the platform, plugins, and integrations are current and not outdated.

The Bottom Line

Buying an existing website can allow you to get your business up and running faster than building one yourself. However, doing thorough research and due diligence is crucial to avoid purchasing a website with hidden problems down the road. If you take the time to find a quality turnkey site that fits your niche and budget, it can end up being a smart investment. But buying the wrong ready-made site can turn into a headache. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before purchasing a complete turnkey website.