Turnkey Websites – An Online Marketer’s Heaven or Hell?

Turnkey websites have been around for years and just as long as they have, people have been debating about their pros and cons. Of course, both sides have equally good points, but is there a way that you can pick a turnkey website which will allow you to reap all of the benefits while avoiding the negatives? Let’s take a look at each side and see if we can answer that question.

What Is A Turnkey Website?

I know most of you will already know, but for those that don’t, a turnkey website is one that is already pre-built. This website should be a completely operational and functioning site that comes with scripts, affiliate programs, pre-written content and images already built in. In essence, it is the fastest and easiest way to get a website up and running today. But is it the best?

Are Turnkey Websites an Online Marketers Heaven?

To answer that question, we must first take a look at who a turnkey website benefits the most. Of course, the most obvious answer is those who are just getting started on the Internet and may not have the time or skill set to set up and develop a website. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn how to properly develop a website on your own, and purchasing a turnkey website can eliminate that.

A turnkey site can also benefit the average entrepreneur that is just looking for a new way to communicate with their clients and branch out into the Internet. If this is their first foray into the online world and they are just looking to test the waters, a turnkey site might just be exactly what they’re looking for due to the low time and monetary investments involved. This is especially true if their real area of expertise is marketing, promotions, sales or communications.

Besides just being a first, kind of experimental site, a turnkey website can be used for many other things including backlinks. For instance, let’s say you already have a site that’s up and running; one that you’ve had done professionally or done yourself. A turnkey website can be a great way to generate links back to your main website. Not only that, you will be sending customers directly to your main site from your turnkey site.

Are Turnkey Websites an Online Marketers Hell?

Now that we have taken a look at the positive side of turnkey websites – it’s time to look at the negative.

When purchasing a turnkey website you should remember that just because it is advertised as being set up and ready to go, that doesn’t mean you will get lots of traffic and income straight away – or even at all. You will still need to market your website in just the same way as you would if you had built it yourself.

As mentioned earlier, a turnkey website will already be pre-loaded with content and images. However, if the website is sold multiple times, this content will not be unique. In order to get the most out of your purchase you will need to edit the articles and images to make your website different from the rest.

Some turnkey website providers mislead first time buyers into thinking that they can make $1000’s overnight just from purchasing a single website from them. Perhaps this is what has given turnkey websites a bad rep.

However, for those that are interested in turnkey websites, you can avoid the above pitfalls by searching for a reliable and trustworthy provider.

Things To Look Out For In A Turnkey Website Provider

  1. Avoid vendors who sell unlimited copies of the same website. This will flood the market with your exact design and content. While a turnkey is meant to be patterned on a design, it is not meant to be parroted.
  2. Look for providers that sell limited copies of each type of website. This will ensure that your unique vision and input on the site will be enough customization to make your site singular.
  3. Avoid purchasing bulk turnkey websites. Some places will offer you a discount on 100 or more websites. These sites have been floating around the web for ages and are owned by hundreds of other people. Your website will get lost in a sea of sameness.
  4. Look for a reputable seller who offers support. Make sure that there is some form of comprehensive support team, most preferably live and unlimited, that will be able to help you through any problems or questions you may have, especially if this is your first foray into the online world.
  5. If you need web hosting, make sure your provider offers it. This is an even more “hands-off” benefit for those trying out experimental sites.
  6. Look for a seller that will allow you to view and test functional turnkey sites that they provide. Most will offer a link to preview the website in advance. Play around with the site and see if it is aesthetically pleasing as well as has an ease of functionality. After all, this is what your customers will be seeing as the face of your business.

Have Turnkeys Gotten A Bad Rep?

In conclusion – are turnkey websites all they’re cracked up to be? Or is their time up in an online world where search engine rankings have come to recognize unique content as the key to being relevant?  

Let us know what you think!


  1. Lizy Kelly says

    Your post is a great debated topic here. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it.

  2. says

    I believe that it entirely depends on how you are looking at it. Turnkey websites can be a storehouse of opportunities that you can improvise and create a buzz about your brand. Or, you can opt for shaky tactics and eventually make a mess of the whole thing. Turnkey websites are there for quite some time, and they have some kind of a search index. Now it depends how you can take it ahead from there. Turnkey websites are particularly helpful for entrepreneurs who come with limited resources and strongly depend on digital and mobile media to make a mark for themselves.

  3. says

    Thanks for the comments

    @Jane – Yes – that really frustrates me when some turnkey website sellers lead their customers to beleive all they need to do is purchase the website sit back and they will be rich. This is simply untrue. A turnkey website needs to be promoted in the same was as you would do to a website you built from scratch yourself.

    I beleive turnkey websites are for those that do not have the time or skills to build their own websites – and are looking for a pre-made option and want to jump straight in with promotion.

    I also beleive you need to search for the right seller. Look for one that offers support and provides advice and training.

    @Ian – Thanks for your comment. That right there is a real success story with turnkey websites. It just goes to show that with a minimal investment of $30, some hard work changing things up to make it unique and some promotion can get you a very nice return on your investment.

    @ Advia – Glad you enjoyed the post and comments – I always like getting great ideas too :)

    @Deborah – Thanks for pointing that out about a FAQ page. In fact I don’t beleive we have one up. We will get one up over the weekend. Regarding your question – We sell 40 copies of each website. If you have any other questions before we get the feel free to contact us via our contact page.

  4. says

    Clare, I visited your site and wanted to look at the FAQ, but the link was down. Will that be back up soon? Per your comment above, I wanted to know how many copies do you sell of a given website? Thanks so much – Now that I’ve read your post above, I am quite interested in the idea of buying a turnkey site and then improving it.

  5. says

    Thank you for all your inputs. At first i wasn;’t aware about this turnkey websites… I got great ideas going on while reading all your comments.. Thank you so much!

  6. says

    Great post Clare.

    I have bought over 60 turnkey WP blogs at about $30each. My son was doing work experience with me and I had him rewrite the content, create new graphics and tidy them up. We sold the koi fish one on flippa for $1,000 and the model train one for 6 figures (after turning the ebook into a membership and charging $27/mo).

    I think they are a great way to go, but then I only target paid traffic and affiliates. I find it way too hard to rank in Google, especially with all the updates.

    Ian McConnell
    Western Australia

  7. says

    Good post Clare and timely too. It seems I get offers in my emails constantly to consider these sites.

    I agree there certainly are the pros and cons. Great for someone just starting out and wants something up and running “now’ but if something doesn’t go right? Will they know how to fix it or where to turn? Something that needs to be considered I think. There’s definately something to having some kind of background or at least educating ones’ self along the way about how things work as you progress with your site.

    For those who don’t know about duplicate content, the Google “zoo” among a number of other things that we all need to be concerned about nowadays with websites, there may be some disappointments if all they thought they had to do was buy a pre-made site, sit back and money comes rolling in. As long as some “education” takes place too and being aware of who the seller is and what is provided, a turnkey website can no doubt work just fine.

  8. says

    Hi Ros, I have a hard time understanding how a turnkey website could even rank in Google, given the lack of uniqueness. I’m not even sure that if you edit every page it would make a difference.

    It takes a long time just to understand how the Internet works and finding good wholesome ways to market your sites and products can be equally difficult.

    No turn key websites for me, but I suppose they could be useful for others as you mentioned in the article.

    • says

      Hello David

      Many thanks for your comment.

      In my opinion a turnkey website can be a cheap and easy way for a beginner to get started online. The can use it to experiment with online marketing so they can see what works and what doesn’t without spending hours perfecting the look of their website.

      Instead they can jump straight in with the marketing side of things.

      I completely agree with your point on duplicate content especially with the new Google “Zoo” updates – which is why you should always rewrite any content that is on a turnkey website and put your own stamp on it.

      You’re right turnkey websites are not for everyone – but I do welcome everyones opinion whether it be good or bad :). This way the honest turnkey providers can improve and I hope the dis-honest ones who claim their customers can get rich from the websites overnight will take note.

  9. says

    As a HUGE fan of DIY wordpress blogs, I’d like to emphasize Clare’s point about how to avoid duplicate content when buying a turnkey site…

    “Avoid vendors who sell unlimited copies of the same website. This will flood the market with your exact design and content. While a turnkey is meant to be patterned on a design, it is not meant to be parroted.”

    Your return on investment is always significantly better when you buy a very limited edition.


    • says

      Thanks Rosalind

      I am also a huge fan of using WordPress and couldn’t agree more about avoiding duplicate content.

      Many turnkey website providers sell multiple copies of the same website which means that if you were to purchase one you would have the same content as someone else who purchases the same website.

      However, I think this can be avoided if you look for sellers who sell limited copies of the website.

      I also think that if you were going to purchase one of these sites then rewriting the content and adding extra articles is a must.

  10. says

    Good solid advice … with some common sense … a website like http://www.flippa.com coupled with some solid research, a reputable seller and a plan… using a turnkey website is a good spring board. It would be wise to take a small bite first … like an affiliate site before getting into e-commerce or drop shipping sites.

    • says

      Hello Steven

      Thanks for your comment.

      I agree Flippa is a good place to find websites for sale. Although it can be hit and miss for turnkey websites – and you will probably find that you can pick up a tunkey website for a lot less somewhere else.

      I find Flippa is great for picking up websites that already have a little traffic and income.

      I also agree with you when you say that turnkey websites can be a good spring board for someone new to internet marketing to experiment with.

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