After I announced on Monday that I was selling my blog, I received a flurry of “Deb, how do I sell my blog?” type emails.
To be honest, this whole thing happened really quick and I don’t know if my pointers are the norm.
However, I do know this: If you want to sell your blog, you have to have a blog worth selling. I guess it’s one thing to create a blog, it’s another thing to create a blog someone wants to own.
The Real Estate Aspect
I like to say web properties are like real estate. It can be just as hard to give up a blog as it is the family home. If you care for your blog and keep it in good condition, if you protect your investment, you can make an incredible profit. If it’s nothing more than a domain or property that you own, and no care is taken with its maintenance and upkeep, you won’t get a very good price. Though I didn’t blog with the intent to sell, I knew eventually it would happen. Every decision I made on behalf of the blog was made with potential buyers in mind. (In addition to the needs of my community.)
If there’s one area in which I failed miserably in the past year, it’s in the curb appeal. The blog network I just sold is ugly. It grew so much over the years it got cluttered. It was also heavily monetized and some folks don’t like to see that so much. If I didn’t sell I was going to do a complete re-design and overhaul for a cleaner look. I’m sure that’s what the new owners will do.
When writing for the web ten years ago, I didn’t realize how much consideration people put into domain names. If I did, I would have snatched up a few domains that are now quite popular. I learned that not too many people are willing to buy a subdomain – and even a .blogspot domain can lower a popular blog’s resale value. Personal names are also not known for their resale value – unless the name is that of a celebrity. I don’t know who else would want deborahng.com but another Deborah Ng.
People like short domain names, if they’re available. They should be easy to remember and easy to type. Even though we bookmark and view blogs through our RSS readers, there are times when we’re away from our laptops and still would like to check in. If we can’t remember the blog’s URL, we might not be able to do this. There are lots of nitpicky considerations, for example, misspelled words don’t work if your blog is spelled correctly because everyone will misspell your misspelling. Plus there are SEO considerations if you want to go that route. Domains should also be reflective of the content and niche so the confusion factor doesn’t kick in.
“Content is King” is something I’ve heard since the first day I started blogging. Ten years later, some argue as to whether or not content is still king, but I think it makes a big difference. If you don’t write, don’t write well or throw up any old post and hope someone will read it, it shows. When you take the time to write the posts people want to read and research the topics they want to talk about, it shows in your traffic and your comments. Whether or not content is king this week, it’s important to know that content makes a big difference in the kind of traffic you get , the amount of revenue you bring in, and the kind of sale you eventually make.
A Few Other Considerations
The people who invest in blogs and websites, are generally buying because they’re hoping to get a return on their investment. Advertising or membership dollars don’t pay off unless the blog or website has the ability to bring in a ton of traffic. Mind you, there are sales every day (usually via auction) for domain names only or small websites, but they don’t bring in major deals. Those who earned six figures or more for sale of a blog not only had thousands of pages of content, but plenty of search engine traffic, uniques, and subscribers.
Community support drives a blog. Some of the amenities that helped to sell my blog were that we have a 3,000+ strong FAcebook group, 10,500+ subscribers, a newsletter and active participation from the community on all the networks including the blog itself and Twitter. A blog doesn’t usually get 100 or so comments on the first ever post and it’s hard to get that kind of community support for an unknown blog. Buying a blog with an established community means much of the work is already done. The new owners will have to ensure the same level of quality to keep the same community, but at least they’re not starting from scratch.
Advertising or revenue can play a major role in determining a blog’s sale price. Again, the buyer wants a return on his investment. If you regularly earn upwards of several thousand dollars each month with your blog, and are willing to provide the proof, you can sell for a decent amount of money. Many sellers sell for a year’s revenue times two or three years.
If your blog is at the top of the search engine rankings for several key terms, there will be definite interest.
Some of the other factors that helped to sell my blog included lots and lots of link love from other blogs, awards & accolades, rankings in the various directories and social media love.
Is Your Blog Worth Selling?
The decision to sell a blog isn’t easy. I sold mine after five years of blogging each day and it’s still very difficult for me to consider someone else will be running it. Though I had no plans to sell before now, I did realize early that this should figure into my blogging. Even if you have no plans to sell your blog for 20 years, always keep the resale value in the back of your mind. If you want to sell your blog, you have to have a blog worth selling.
Would you sell your blog? Why or why not? What would it take for you to sell?
Prepping Your Blog for Sale
When you’re ready to sell, you want to be sure your blog appeals to potential buyers. Though there are several ways to do this, there are three areas a potential buyer looks into the most.
1. Traffic: Obviously, the more traffic your blog has, the higher price you will receive when you sell. Most buyers will ask for proof of traffic so if you’re on a downward spiral, it won’t bode well in your favor. When I made the decision to sell, I worked hard at building traffic for several months in order to appeal to buyers. I studied search terms, gauged the needs of my community,posted content two to three times a day and promoted the heck out of my blog and its content.
2. SEO: If your blog reaches the top of the search engines, you’ll attract potential buyers. Though my blog had been at the top of many important search terms for several years, I continued to use those keywords and phrases to stay at the top. This doesn’t men that I wrote spammy SEO copy, because I didn’t – my community always came first. However, freelance writing blogs are a dime a dozen and I knew it was only a matter of time before I was dethroned from Google’s top spots.
3. Revenue: If you want top dollar, you’ll have to be taking in a decent amount of revenue. Serious buyers want ROI action. I had a heavily monetized blog which helped my bottom line. If you’re selling a blog or website, revenue is the single most important factor in determining a price. To prep for sale I built relationships with several private advertisers and now the new owner has continued those relationships. I also worked on other revenue streams. If I didn’t earn at least several thousand per month in revenue, my blog would not have been as attractive to potential buyers.
Everything else such as community, subscribers, and bells ans whistles are gravy on the proverbial potatoes, but it’s those big three details that matter the most.
Determining a Price for Your Blog
My biggest dilemma in selling my blog was in asking for and receiving a fair price. I did a little research on the subject and while there are a few links available, truthfully there’s not much out there that gives step by step details in regard to how to sell a blog. Fortunately, I have a friend who flips blogs and web properties on a regular basis and he was able to advise me through the process.
- Private sale is better than a public auction for a blog the size of mine. The folks who buy and sell websites at auction or mostly doing so with smaller properties or domain names and the bids are lowballs. So, I reached out to the people who have inquired about buying my blog in the past. I also reached out to a few webmasters and network owners who might be interested.
- A rule of thumb is a year’s income times two or three, plus monetary consideration for search engine rankings and daily traffic.
- The amount of money spent on the blog each year is also a factor. For example, I paid ten bloggers and a webmaster, plus various guest bloggers. This amount doesn’t figure favorably into the bottom line.
- I had a price in mind, but also asked for two appraisals. The appraisals put the blog at a lower price than I originally intended, but a lot more than I expected to receive – if that makes any sense. I sold my blog at two years income, plus extra consideration for the search engine rankings and other amenities including a large Facebook group, 11,000+ RSS readers, a newsletter and more.