This post on ‘flipping’ or selling your blog was submitted by Patricia Mayo from the soon to be released ComHacker.org.
image by xdjio
Here’s a news flash: blogging is really hard work. You research, you write, you network, you Digg, you Reddit, you Twitter, you… you get the point – every single day – and for what?
$14.82 in your AdSense account, that’s what. Well isn’t that just gee-golly wonderful.
Then again, maybe you just blog for fun, and count yourself among the second largest majority of bloggers reading ProBlogger. In that case, you definitely want to keep reading – because flipping your blog can allow you to just write and forget about everything else.
Sell Your Blog’s Soul
One very unheard of way to increase your blogging income is – quite startlingly – to sell (or “flip“) your blog. Granted it is usually (not always!) a once-off shot at income, but here’s the good news – the going sale price for blogs is 12 to 24 months of projected income.
Quite simply, you get to haul in up to two years’ income from your blog without blogging for those two years – and your message stays intact.
The reason your core message stays intact – most of the time – it really isn’t beneficial for an investor to drastically change your blog. I say most of the time because what you think is your core message might not be what the investor or search engine sees as your core message.
Your blog’s age and content are valuable assets to an investor – it’s already indexed, with readership, a long tail, and all the basic trimmings. Most of the time, the reason a blog’s growth gets stunted is not because of something wrong with what it has, but rather what it is missing.
Usually investors are keen on this value and will use your blog’s content as a launching pad, rather than a scratch pad. My point is, the big changes aren’t in the message of your blog – so whatever you hoped to achieve with your blog will only be bolstered by selling it.
Big Benefits to Former Owners
Rest assured, your special baby blog will be taken care of quite well.
There are many different kinds of investors; some are individuals, some work as a team, some buy for keeps, others to sell again – but almost all have a vested interest in the growth of your blog.
From my experience, as a team leader who buys sites with the intent to re-sell, I have yet more good news for you. Should you ever miss writing for your blog, investors will often let you continue to contribute – and share the new and improved revenues with you.
For a share in the re-sale price, you could help promote the blog too, but this is entirely optional. You read that right – you don’t have to promote, at all. This means you can just blog, and forget about all the promotional nonsense that typically goes along with the whole problogging gig.
In essence, flipping your blog is even better than joining a blog network – because even writing for a network you still have to promote your blog… tirelessly promote your blog, and for peanuts per month.
You can pretty much negotiate anything you want with an investor – after all, you have all the power before money exchanges hands. Dream up your ideal situation, and shoot for it.
Ramping Up for Sale
Especially if you don’t want to or aren’t sure you want to sell your blog, the time is now to start preparing your blog for sale. The most imperative business strategy is the exit strategy.
Here are a few key elements you want to improve upon to increase your sale price:
- Long Tail Value – Long, keyword rich posts will bring in long tail search results. This is one of the first things an investor looks at, and often the last if it’s good enough. However I don’t recommend you pre-date these posts, especially if you’re selling to me – because I check ;-)
- Clear, Simple Focus – If you can describe your blog in 20 words or less, and include all your categories and keywords, you are in a prime position to sell. Super-focused, odd-ball niche blogs tend to do best because rarity creates value.
- Infrequently Updated with Strong Readership – In most cases, the last thing an investor wants to do is try to keep up with a daily-post-pace while attempting to develop a stronger reader base and income. Try gradually decreasing your post frequency while increasing your post length and see how well that works for your blog- it just might increase your readership.
- Hands-Off Value – Investors absolutely love any site that has something driving traffic which requires zero maintenance, like a script providing proxy access to sites typically blocked by corporate firewalls, or anything of the sort. Special deals with other webmasters (which will transfer with ownership) are great assets too.
- Proven Social Media Campaigns – If you find out what networks (Digg, Reddit, StumbledUpon, etc) respond best to your kind of content, you can quickly add a great deal of value to the sale by disclosing your findings in the sale listing.
- Proven Ad Network Campaigns – Again, if you find out what ad networks convert best on your blog, and what kind of advertising has worked best to drive traffic to your blog, this too can be a big value bacon bringer.
- Proven Product-Based Monetizing – If your blog has been especially successful with affiliate marketing or product-based strategies for acquiring revenue (such as selling your own ebook, or is attached to an ecommerce site), then you can pretty much demand just about anything. A lot of investors specifically look for sites they can use to showcase their own or their friends’ products.
- You – Yes, you. With content-driven sites like blogs, one of the biggest problems investors with an intent to re-sell have is providing more, frequent, and valuable content. Often they resort to buying articles, or even worse, using free-for-all articles to update the site, because the last thing they want to do is write it themselves. Their specialty is marketing and revenue strategies – not content development. You can make your blog much more attractive simply by offering your services in return for revenue sharing.
You also want to look around at the forums listed below to see what is currently in demand. These trends tend to last a while too, so even if you research now, chances are that niche will still be hot when you’re ready to sell.
Of course, if you want to sell quick, ignore all of the above and leave lots of room for improvement. Your blog is liable to get snagged up in less than a few hours if the right person sees an irresistible price attached to a fixer-upper.
Negotiation Tips and Cautions
Once you have a buyer on the hook, you want to be first and foremost prompt. Being quick to respond will give you a significant edge – it gives the investor less time to doubt his desire and look for other opportunities, and more time to admire your professionalism.
However, some investors are quite savvy. They will try to swindle you and say your blog is worth much less than what you are asking. Do your research and find out the current market price for blogs like yours. Know that you are right and have proof ready.
If you don’t want something to happen to your blog – don’t assume it won’t happen. Ask of the investor’s intentions and plans, and get it in writing. This especially includes things like hosting and domain transfer (oh, did I mention you won’t have to worry about hosting anymore?).
You would be surprised what some people do to content. I consider blogs sacred, but there are quite a few blog “chop shops” looking to assimilate your blog into their directory of articles for sale. Please don’t let this happen – I hate seeing bloggers’ blood, sweat, and tears go to waste like that.
Of course, common sense also applies. Don’t accept personal checks (escrow is best). Don’t accept payment plans. Don’t accept barter without a written, printed, and signed contract. And don’t leave your real address, phone number, and other private information in your whois lookup while the site is for sale.
Remember, by posting your blog for sale on the forums below, you are exposing yourself to the sometimes questionable ethics of internet entrepreneurs. Never underestimate what they can do with your information. Check DNS Report and DNS Stuff for what shows up – because they will too.
However, here are a few “definitely do’s” for your blog for sale listing:
- Make Yourself Highly Available – Set up temporary accounts if you like, but definitely provide easy ways for investors to contact you (within the realm of the forum’s rules, of course). Be it through email, IM, Twitter, or whatever mode you prefer, make sure you can be reached and conversed with quickly.
- Ask Questions / Make Demands Up Front – This is debatable, but most investors like to close deals as quickly as possible. If you have questions for potential investors, such as what they intend to do with your content (hint hint), go ahead and ask them in your blog for sale listing.
- Give All of the Stats – Link to screenshots of your revenue-producing, traffic-producing, and other measurable results of value (with private data blacked out). Link to complete dissertations on campaigns that worked for your blog. Notice that I said “link” – you want to keep the blog for sale listing simple and clean.
- The Subject is Key – You want to make it as painless as possible for your potential investors to find value in your blog. The subject should include any key information that is missing from the general view when you look at the overview of all blog for sale listings at a site. Before an investor clicks to read your listing, they should know it’s a blog, for sale at X amount opening bid and X amount “buy it now” (or “BIN“), PR rank, and what your topic / focus is.
- Highlight Special Features – If you have any unusual hook-ups with other webmasters, any linked ecommerce or other hands-off scripts, or want to provide content after the sale, definitely play those up and let the investor know just how much time those things will save ;-)
- Highlight Room for Growth – Here’s where your laziness really pays. If there are things you have always wanted to do with your blog but never had the time or patience, or you know of something that could be done to improve the blog – do, definitely, talk about them in the listing. Investors like seeing sites with room for improvement in areas they can handle, and it only helps to make opportunities for growth as obvious as possible.
- Feed the Ego – Step 1: Correctly identify the big players in the biz by taking a look at their profile and other posts on the forum. Step 2: Let them know you recognize their notoriety and offer your extra-special helpfulness to this VIP.
Before you post that blog for sale listing, don’t forget to have a look around the forum and see what is currently going on and what questions are being asked. The more you can preempt concerns, the more time you can save, and the quicker your blog will sell.
This includes performing a Xenu test on your site for broken links – because that is one quick way for an investor to debunk your blog’s value and get a lower price. Another really simple tip – Google yourself and get rid of any poor references before an investor does it and kills your reputation.
You also want to make sure that you post the listing just before you become wildly available so you have plenty of time to answer questions
Where to Sell Your Blog
Well you can start by emailing me ;-) Actually, in all honesty I’m not looking right now (I already have enough on my hands), but here are my favorite webmaster forums and other great locations to put your blog up for sale.
Don’t go crazy though – be selective and pick the top 3 or 4 you think would get top dollar for your blog. These are free to post and are typically for sites under five figures: Craig’s List, v7n, Loot, Aardvark, SiteOwners, and WebmasterTalk.
There are many, many more over at Experienced-People.co.uk, including great paid-to-post forums better suited to higher-priced blogs (with another favorite of mine, DNForum) but they are largely UK based. The ones I have listed are more globally focused.
Of course, you can also post on sites like MySpace Classifieds, but since it is not very widely used (and exceptionally difficult to post in multiple cities) you might just want to stick with the tried-and-true focused webmaster forums.
Last but not least, pay attention to forum rules, and follow them. Best of fortune in all your endeavors, and I’ll see you on the flip side! :-D
About the Author
Patricia Mayo is a SEO ghostwriter and Internet entrepreneur, specializing in acquiring sites in need of some TLC, developing them into flourishing value-packed community hubs, and flipping them for a profit. Look to ComHacker.org, launching soon, for always fresh practical tips you can apply to improve the effectiveness of your online presence and presentation. You can also follow on Twitter at Twitter.com/mayobrains, or contact her directly at mayobrains at gmail dot com.