They say everything has a price. This is particularly true on the web. In the last 10 years we have seen internet monsters like Skype, PayPal and MySpace change hands. The majority of low to mid level blogs tend to sell on the auction website Flippa. The good news for bloggers is that compared to other types of websites, blogs seem to sell for a very good price. This is not a reason to sell your blog, just something to bear in mind if you have thought about selling yours.
When is the right time to sell?
I strongly believe that it isn’t worth selling your blog until it has at least a few thousand subscribers and it is making a decent profit every month. As I have said many times on the web, the most difficult part about developing a blog is launching it and getting the first one thousand subscribers. This can sometimes take a few months but in some cases over a year but once you hit this target things to start to move more quickly. Your subscriber base and traffic will grow exponentially as you have more readers to share your good articles.
Very few blogs make more than $1,000 profit per month with blogs less than one thousand subscribers unless they are using the blog to market their own product (e.g. membership area, course, eBook, consulting etc), therefore you should only sell if you really need to.
Reasons to sell early:
- You have started a new project/job and you can’t devote the time to your blog
- You don’t enjoy running your blog anymore and working on it has become a major chore
- You feel you have taken the blog as far as you can take it
I can understand anyone who wants to sell for any of the above reasons. When I sold Blogging Tips over a year ago to Zac I felt a little fatigued. I had written around 800 articles on the subject of blogging. In the last six months of running the site I was mostly writing news related articles and reviews as I was finding it very difficult to give advice about blogging – I felt that I was repeating myself over and over. Also, after running the website for 3 years I believe I needed a new challenge.
What I would say to anyone who is considering selling their blog is to take some time over the decision. Speak to some fellow bloggers and ask them for their honest advice. Ask yourself if you are selling too early and think about ways you could grow traffic and revenue over the coming months to get an even higher price. Try and think long term. Blogs are a great platform to launch products and services and other blogs. Will you be shooting yourself in the foot by selling early?
Automate Everything – Take yourself out of the equation
If you have decided to sell your blog then you need to begin to think seriously about what sells and what doesn’t. Many buyers are looking for a project that doesn’t require them to work full time therefore if you are the sole writer for your blog, potential buyers need to take into account that they would have to write full time on the blog or hire someone full time to write for the site.
Wherever possible, I think it’s wise to take yourself out of the equation. Multi author blogs tend to sell for a slightly higher price because when the site is transferred over the new owner just has to make sure all the writers keep up their good work. Due to this, multi author blogs will attract more buyers and as a result, the auction will have more bids.
You may not want to go down this route if you are the sole writer for your blog as if you hire a few writers to replace the work you do, your profit margin will decrease anyway (thereby eliminating any deficit from a reduced bid for a one writer blog). It’s a valid point and one that I take on board, though it’s no surprise that most successful blogs (other than personal blogs) have many writers.
Bottom line, if you can automate the site and reduce the hours buyers will have to spend running the site, you will attract a lot more sellers.
Make sure your blog is profitable
You need to make sure your blog is profitable for one reason only: to get a good price!
It’s very difficult to get a good price for any website if it isn’t turning a good profit. If your blog is successful and has a lot of potential but isn’t making a lot of money, you will get a lot of people interested as your site will be undervalued (website flippers, other bloggers etc). You don’t want to cut yourself short though so if you make the decision to sell your blog, you need to ensure that your blog is profitable.
- Advertising Inventory – Potential buyers will base potential future earnings on the money you have made over the previous year. Have you maximized the banner sales on your blog and sold all ad positions? If not, it’s worth blasting out a few dozen emails to suitable advertisers and ask if they want a special deal to advertise on your blog. Remember, the more revenue you bring into your site over the next few months will increase the final value of your website considerably. So make sure you have did everything you can to make a profit.
- Remove Deadweight – A few months before selling you should eliminate any expenses that aren’t justified. If you are not getting a good return from marketing your blog via SEO, text links or banner advertising, you should cancel the advertising deals. Likewise, it makes sense to part ways with writers that aren’t pulling their weight. If the quality of an authors articles have got worse and worse over time, it makes sense to thank them and part ways. This may sounds harsh but if their articles aren’t contributing to your blogs growth, you are throwing money down the drain. Please bear in mind; if your expenses go down, your overall profit increases, so remove any expense that isn’t justified.
Create the pitch
When you list your blog for sale you need to spend some time writing a good pitch. It can make the difference between selling your blog and wasting your time with time wasters.
In the pitch you should:
- Explain why the blog is so great and what a potential buyer could do with it in the future.
- Explain why you are selling. I may not seem particularly relevant to the sale but lots of bidders always think there’s a hidden agenda, so it’s worth explaining your reasons for selling.
- Be completely honest about every aspect of running the blog.
- Provide complete traffic and profit and expense stats and have evidence to back them all up.
- Give some sort of indication of what sort of price you are looking for. Setting the reserve at the lowest price you will accept can stop a lot of time wasters from contacting you.
- Explain what type of payment you are willing to accept. I recommend PayPal under $500 and direct bank transfer or Escrow for anything higher.
- Note where the domain is registered and if you will help with the transfer of the site.
To get an idea of what a good sales pitch is I recommend browsing the ‘just sold’ auctions at Flippa. It should help you see what the pitch looks like for sites that are selling.
I have always believed that more information is better. Give as much information as you can and you will get less questions and more serious bids. If you do get questions, it’s worthwhile answering them publicly and adding them to an FAQ section in your sales pitch.
My advice to anyone who is considering sell their blog is to take your time and think over your options and then decide what is best for you in the short term and the long term. If you decide that selling is the best option then try and give yourself a month or two to prepare your blog for sale. During this time you will want to reduce expenses and increase revenue and attempt to automate some of the work you do.
Finally, it’s important to create a good sales pitch when you list your blog for sale. Tell the world why they should buy your blog, why it has so much potential and explain how they can take the blog forward.
If anyone is thinking about selling their blog and wants some impartial advice about the decision, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you make the right decision.