Flipping a WordPress Website

I was asked recently how someone could “flip” a WordPress website.  Flipping a website is a term used to indicate selling a website you have created to someone and delivering to them everything they need.  The end result is that someone else now has full control over a website you created.  In a traditional old school website this would consist of zipping up all of the HTML files, sending them to the buyer to install on their server, and transferring the domain name.  WordPress (being a CMS style website) is a little more complicated.  This article will endeavor to walk you through the steps to “flip” your site.

  1. The first step of course is to find a buyer.  There are a number of websites dedicated to connecting website owners with buyers.  A couple are:  Flippa.com and WebSiteBroker.com
  2. Once you have a buyer you need to deliver the goods.  With a WordPress website, the meat of the site is held in a MySQL database.  You will need to create a file that has all of the information from the database.  On your WordPress dashboard under Tools there is a link labeled Export.  Selecting this will allow you to create this file and download it to your computer.
  3. The other thing that the buyer will need to setup their copy of the website are all of the files that make up WordPress, the theme and the plugins that present the website.  I recommend that they do this by doing a fresh install of WordPress on there host.  You would provide a them the theme that you used and a list of plugins that you used.  They can either install the same theme and plugins or change them as they see fit if they want to give the website a fresh look.  Their choice.
  4. Once they have this new installation of WordPress ready, they would go to Tools / Import on their dashboard and import the database file that you had previously exported.
  5. Assuming they used the same theme and plugins their new site should look the same as your old site.  Now the faithful followers of your old site need to be able to find it in the new location.  When the buyer setup their hosting, they were given a couple of name server addresses.  You need to go into your domain registration control panel at whatever registrar you used and change the DNS Nameserver records to point at the buyer’s addresses.  There are usually two so that there is a backup if the primary nameserver is don for maintenance.
  6. Almost done.  The last (but very important!) step is to transfer official title to the domain name to the buyer.  You need to give your domain registrar all of the contact information for the buyer and inform them that ownership of the domain name is now held by them.  Once the domain name transfer is done you will have no access to the site.
  7. Once you have verified with the buyer that they are fully operation, you can go into your hosting account and delete the files from your old site.  No one can see them anymore.

If the theme you were using (like Socrates) is licensed, you will need to transfer that license to the new owner or let them know that they will have to buy a license depending on the terms of the sale.  The same thing goes with any premium plugins that you might have been using.  If you have an opt-in on the site, you will need to determine if the list is sold with the site.  The new buyer should edit the opt-in to point to whatever list management service (i.e. Aweber, MailChimp, etc) they prefer.

If I left anything out or you have any questions on this process, please let me know using the comment feature below.

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  1. Reply

    hi exceptional little blog ya got here 🙂 I use the exact design template on my own website yet for whichever odd reason why it seems to stream sooner on your site despite the fact that yours seems to have far more material. Are you making use of any individual plug ins or widgets which will speed it up? Do you think you could show the names so maybe I can use them on my blog so twilight new moon fans could watch twilight new moon online trailers and films a lot quicker I’d be pleased – regards ahead of time 🙂

      • Lynn
      • July 1, 2010

      The WP Super Cache plugin helps speed up WordPress sites by keeping a HTML version of the site to present quickly to visitors.

  2. Reply

    Very informative post, love the best way you write and I think that the data helps in a way. I don’t normally say this, but I feel this is a nice job done. Should you like to alternate hyperlinks, I would be more than pleased to supply a hyperlink again to your site. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers

  3. Reply

    Hi there can I quote some of the information here in this post if I reference you with a link back to your site?

      • Lynn
      • July 5, 2010

      That would be fine.

  4. Reply

    I love your website! did you create this yourself or did you outsource it? Im looking for a blog design thats similar so thats the only reason I’m asking. Either way keep up the nice work I was impressed with your content really..

  5. Reply

    I’m doing some research in this field and your post has helped a lot, thank you.

  6. Reply

    omgf, this blog has ALOT of “Worth”, you sure you oughta be telling these people what to do? lol, I think you oughta start charging to access this page or something (god knows I do lol)…

  7. Reply

    Great information you have there. 🙂

  8. Reply

    I really learned a lot. I appreciate the effort put into this site and will visit here more often. Thank You!

    • Georgann Canto
    • July 28, 2010

    Good post man Thank you

  9. Reply

    I don’t want to copy this website, but I actually like the template. Might you touch upon which template you are using or was this custom designed?

    • Lynn
    • July 14, 2011

    This site uses the Socrates theme. There is a link to it in the right sidebar.

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