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Will You Build or Buy Your New Blog?

This guest post is by Andrew Knibbe of Flippa.

When most of us think of blogging, we think about starting from the ground up. Having researched a niche, we search for a good domain, choose a blogging platform, apply a template, and prepare our first post…

But there are other options for the beginning blogger. One of the least talked about, and most often overlooked, is to buy an existing blog.

This post isn’t intended as a prescriptive how-to: what I’d like to do is introduce the idea of buying a blog, and talk about the key considerations that bloggers and would-be bloggers might address before they go down this path.

Why buy a blog?

There are plenty of reasons why you’d consider buying an existing blog:

  • it will already have been populated with content
  • if it’s a known blog with valuable information, it’ll have attracted backlinks, and should have search engine presence
  • it may come with a ready-made audience—hopefully, a loyal one
  • it may have a great domain name and/or a strong unique brand
  • it may already be generating an income
  • it’s all set up: rather than starting from scratch, you can simply tweak or amend the blog’s layout and design to suit your needs.

The thing to realize about buying a blog is that you’re unlikely to find a blog that perfectly suits all your needs from the get-go. The blogs you consider probably won’t offer you all of the benefits listed above, and they may offer these advantages to varying degrees.

In short: buying a blog isn’t an instant solution for those who want to start a blog, but if you choose the blog well, it can offer a number of advantages over starting a new blog from scratch.

Blog-buying pitfalls

Like any market, the blog property market has a range of pitfalls for the beginner, and buying a new blog as a way to get a head-start on a new blogging niche isn’t for everyone.

Obviously the great appeal of building your own blog from the ground-up is that it costs you nothing but time. Buying a blog, on the other hand, costs money.

The paradox here is, of course, that your time is money. If you can afford to buy a blog, you may reduce the time it takes you to reach a point where you’ve attracted a loyal readership—you may be able to monetize your blog much sooner than you would if you were starting your won blog. Basically, if you buy a good blog, you can minimize the leg-work, and fast-track your operation.

You will need some kind of budget to buy a blog. You’ll also need to feel comfortable that the blog you’re buying lives up to the seller’s description of it.

The person who owns the blog may mis-represent any of the information they give you about the blog, from its age and search rank, to its traffic levels and profit potential. You want to be able to trust the person you’re buying the blog from, and that you believe the information they’re giving you—including the reason why they’re selling.

Bloggers may sell a blog that they’ve lost interest in, or a blog that doesn’t align well with their future goals or direction. Perhaps other offline interests—family, work, and so on—have left them with no time to maintain their blog. Or perhaps they underestimated the time it takes to build it up a blog, and now they want to offload what they see as a burden to someone with a real passion for the niche.

Each of these reasons has different implications for you as a buyer, and for the blog you’re buying, so it’s important to get as many facts as you can.

Buying a blog doesn’t just take money: it takes research and care. You’re making an investment in your future by buying a blog, so you want to ensure that the choices you make are well-informed and wise.

Who should buy a blog?

Buying a blog may have greater appeal for those who have some experience in blogging, and know that they have the stamina and dedication to build the blog they buy into something amazing.

If you’ve never blogged before, you may find yourself unable to sustain blogging over a period of time, and that’s ad additional risk you’ll need to take into account if you’re investing money in a blog.

That said, blogs can be purchased for very reasonable prices in online marketplaces, though the less expensive options are unlikely to have established audiences or much unique content. If that’s the kind of thing you want to focus your attention on (rather than choosing blog templates, functionality, and so on), then paying a couple of hundred dollars for a fledgling blog with a good domain mightn’t be a bad idea.

Buying a blog may seem most logical for those who are looking to monetize their site itself, but bloggers who want to establish their credentials and authority in a particular field, engage with a certain audience, or develop their offline earnings potential with the support of good online representation may also consider buying a blog.

What you’re really looking for when you spend money on a blog is an opportunity. More experienced bloggers may be able to spot opportunities more easily, but that doesn’t mean beginning bloggers can’t see, or make the most of, opportunities themselves. Imagine if ProBlogger was up for sale—what would you change to make it better or more profitable? A site that’s underdeveloped has potential to be better.

If you can spot that potential—perhaps the site could do with some keyword optimization, regular well-written posts, and some promotion through social media as well as more niche networks—you might be able to take the good foundations that someone else has put in place and build on them to make something great.

Have you ever bought a blog? Have you considered it? What are your feelings about buying a blog?

Andrew Knibbe is the Marketing Manager at Flippa, the #1 marketplace for buying and selling websites. He blogs at the Flippa blog. Follow him @flippa.

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Comments

  1. Blog Tyrant says:

    A topic close to my heart!

    Great post. Flippa is doing so well. I absolutely love it there.

    Tyrant

    • I’ve been surveying for blogs on sale for the pass 4 months.
      Most of the blogs comes with build in autobot which does need much effort from owner.

      • dotCOMreport says:

        Also, some blog owners might not know they want to sell until they receive a great offer.

        • I guess , offers which knock the doors are only by luck.
          unless you promote some niche where your competitor would invest on your to grow his traffic.

          Hope the blogger world will change and people start treating good quality content as an investment similar to property.

  2. Ray Higdon says:

    Really interesting topic, I’m glad you wrote this, I am going to share this with a few people. I have built my own blog but know some people that would like this perspective

  3. Just make sure you do your research and look at the history of the blog growth..and it its steady then it’s a winner in some cases.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  4. Glad to see you here.
    Very interesting post andrew.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I went for the building my own blog option but having a make money blog i have talked and thought about buying a blog thats been started. The blogs i came across I believe were a either very expensive or something that could be built from scratch in a week or two. In my opinion buying a blog should only be done if you have a lot of money and are looking to buy a premium blog with a well established base otherwise, unless you happen across a bargin, you’ll be wasting your money.

  6. Thanks for the info, Andrew.

    Very interesting topic.

    Flippa is a great resource.

    • Hi Erik,

      Agreed, Flippa is an useful account.I’ve learned that the website marketplace is the same as physical.

      One must do the necessary research to ensure they don’t end being cheated.

      Some tips:
      -Never buy a website aged < 3 months, even the traffic hit thousands.
      - Ask for proof of google analytic
      -Proof of revenue (adsend/amazon and so on..)
      -Always use the Flippa extended due diligence option to cross check the sellers posting.
      - View seller Trust rating (this is provided by Flippa)

      Finally, the best time to buy is when the posting is going to end soon, because thats when all the bids could have asked all the relevant question. This will make your life easier.

      Cheers,
      GaneshMuthiah

      -

  7. Ramona says:

    I have used Flippa just to sell some of my sites. Can’t afford to pay this much for a blog, so all my sites have been created from zero. But for selling sites, Flippa does the trick for me.

  8. It’s an absurd idea. When I write a blog, it’s my passion that the readers see. It’s my writing style and knowledge. Buy an existing blog and the blog’s voice changes immediately. How can you keep loyal readers who loved the previous voice?

    • Blog Tyrant says:

      Mark you read ProBlogger and hardly any of the posts are by Darren nowadays.

      I get your drift though.

    • Alex Brooks says:

      I understand what your saying Mark, although buying a blog which already has a small reader base and some articles can save you quite a bit of time, otherwise you’d need to “get the ball rolling” yourself, which is the hardest part of blogging, IMO.

      • Thanks for the replies

        BT: I did n’t know that.

        AB: It’s funny. I find writing to be the very easy part. And I have a decent number of readers (24,000 monthly unique). It’s the monetizing that’s difficult for me.

        Regards,
        Mark

        • Monetizing can be tough, I have set up my pages for products to give the readers a look at what’s going to happen next year and hopefully to have a “running start”…

          :]

  9. I think this would be something to consider in the future. Although to build a website up from scratch is an exciting journey!…

    David Edwards

  10. building my own blog will take time, and I agree it is difficult than buying a good blog. but writing for readers with whom I build relationship from my writings is a good strategy up to my knowledge. Instead of writing for a barely known readers of a new blog.

    • HI Sakthi,

      I agree with you, specially new blogger like me where the start up knowledge is important lesson & high probability of losing the follower due to lack of knowledge in subject or different writing style.

  11. Rojish says:

    Yes, buying a blog will avoid all headaches like building a community, finding backlinks, branding the blog etc.

    But personally I love building a blog because the thrill of building something from nothing is very special and enjoyable.

  12. Broderick says:

    I’ve sold a blog, and you’re right about the opportunity. Experienced bloggers can spot the opportunity much easier. I probably wouldn’t buy one myself unless I saw a real deal, but I can see a person not really interested in blogging themselves maybe hiring some writers and using the blog for some passive cash flow.

    The challenge of building an asset up from just an idea in your head is what attracts me to blogging in the first place though.

  13. smbchamp says:

    I’ll never buy a blog… Simply because I cant write in the tone of the reader. However, if I want to make only money and the blog I am buying is a multi authored blog, then I will. I can easily hire writers and keep up the blog.

    If I buy blogs as part of my link building strategy, then thats a different story.

  14. febri says:

    build a blog from zero, i think it better

  15. Diana says:

    It never occurred to me to buy a blog. I have considered selling mine.

    I suppose if someone were to buy a blog, it should ideally already be in an area where that person has vested interest – a real estate blog owned by a real estate agent, for instance. Is there even a property listing for this sort of thing, given how ephemeral it is?

  16. HiSwat says:

    Great article.
    One of my friend’s blog which was transferred to another lost the its brand..
    It is highly recommended to know blogging before buying.

  17. Andrew,

    What a timely post! I actually am considering selling two of my blogs and I was looking at different options.

    In terms of buying a blog, I’ve got a admit that just like Diana, I had not considered that for myself, but if I can find one that is affordable in an niche I was to tackle … why not?

    This is a great post. Thanks a lot for the lessons!

    Krizia

  18. Well in my opinion, building a blog in a niche which is known to you is far better than buying an established blog on the same niche, because with a new blog you can experiment plenty of things and it wont affect your readership at all. But if you do the same in an established blog, you might lose a good number of visitors. Anyway, Thanks for writing and sharing an useful article.

  19. riaz says:

    I’ll never buy a blog… Simply because I cant write in the tone of the reader. However, if I want to make only money and the blog I am buying is a multi authored blog, then I will. I can easily hire writers and keep up the blog.

    If I buy blogs as part of my link building strategy, then thats a different story.

  20. Pete Carr says:

    Hi Andrew,
    There is another angle to this. Buying blogs that are suffering a bit, maybe lack traffic or real vision. Turn them around over a couple of months and sell them on for profit. That would be more challenging than starting from the ground up. I know because I have done it. You invest the money, then your time, you are determined to see it through.
    Very thought provoking post. Has given me some ideas. Flippa here I come.
    Pete

  21. Juan Felix says:

    I prefer building my own blog. Most of all because I like to build it from scratch. But for those, thinking about buying or selling one: would it be an idea to use Technorati ranking or Alexa Ranking to determine the value of your blog? Once you know the value of some blogs and corresponding rankings, you will be able to use these benchmarks to guide you with determining the value of your blog – Juan.

  22. randy says:

    I’m a big fan of the building, that’s because if it grow very well i feel very satisfacted, so i think i would never buy a blog.I’m not saying is bad but is just out of my personal taste.

  23. Jason says:

    This is one of those way out ideas, that sounds interesting; but I personally don’t think it will be as satisfying as building a blog from the beginning. Maybe if you were to grow the new blog like maybe from X% to 2000% it could be, but from zero to 2000% would be a lot more satisfying. If you get what I mean.

    Jason

  24. Ilka Flood says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I had no idea that it was even possible to buy an existing blog.
    Very interesting topic! There are definitely advantages over starting from scratch.

    Ilka

  25. fengzi says:

    I am more willing to build their own blog. After all blog is written articles of interest on their own.

  26. Faizan says:

    An intriguing post. Buying existing blogs is definitely an option for those who have money to invest.

  27. Mark Kelly says:

    An interesting follow-up article would be What Kind of Due Diligence should be done before buying or selling a blog.

  28. This would have been 100x more useful with case studies and examples of sites for sale on Flippa and other marketplaces. I’m skeptical that most of these blogs are worth it, particularly the ones for sale for less than $1000. And for most people, buying a blog for more than that isn’t really an option.

  29. Don Caprio says:

    I’d rather sit down tight and do the work myself. To me, the fun in blogging is doing the dirty job yourself.

  30. Tinh says:

    I love building blogs as I am not affordable to buy. Anyways, many people choose other way to buy popular blogs and build business from it :-)

  31. Jhay says:

    It was a couple of years ago when blog networks were on a shopping spree for new blogs to add to their network. B5, Splashpress, etc. It was like big companies acquiring smaller ones.

    Then it all died down and blog networks, it seems, have all faded into the background.

  32. Erin says:

    I enjoy writing and custom-crafting my content based on my own perspective. Also, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits said he is nostalgic about his early experience in the beginning when he didn’t have such a massive audience. I think that is an endearing experience. My blog is extremely small, but I’m prepared for a slow, slow battle. Having that said, I respect others who think otherwise.

  33. Nicolas says:

    Interesting post, but I do have my doubts about buying a blog…
    I can imagine this works very well for other websites, e.g. the ones that sell physical products because people often don’t care who’s actually writing the site’s content. As long as it’s about the product.
    Actual blogs, however, are read because of the content and the writer of that content.
    If ProBlogger would announce tomorrow that it’s sold and that as of tomorrow a certain John Doe will write the posts, I think that a lot of readers won’t give the new guy even a chance…

    A solution for this issue might be to slightly integrate the buyer as a fellow poster, and slowly let him/her take over the business, but this still doesn’t seem like an ideal situation.

  34. Jack Cola says:

    I might take this opportunity, maybe it’s a sign, because today I just said to myself, I am going to sell my site http://www.stunews.net, and then I read this post. Any price is on offer, just contact me on my website jackcola.org/contact.

  35. Elena says:

    This post caught my interest because I’ve never even considered buying a blog. I started my green lifestyle blog in March of last year, but really just focused more attention on it this year. I have found it to be pretty difficult to build a loyal following of readers, even though I’ve been told that I’m offering information that is helpful and needed. For inexperienced bloggers like me, these posts are really helpful. I look forward to the next post!

  36. Hi,

    Buying a blog is definitely an option that seems tempting, but I think there are a few important things going against it…

    1. You do not go through the experiences of building and growing a blog. Its difficult to explain, but these experiences teach you a lot. Its like being born as a 25 year old :-)

    2. Since you don’t experience the “building” part, you would want to buy your next blog as well. Or, if you choose to build, it would take longer.

    3. Is building a blog really that difficult? Anyone who has a blog would have gone through the learning curve, and building another blog should be really easy. Plus, if you have multiple blogs, links between the blogs make this even easier.

    4. Where is the fun in buying a blog?? It works if you are the wall street type with the sole aim of making money. but if you are not that type, creating a growing your blog gives you immense pleasure which is bettered only by parenting your baby!

    I do find some advantages in buying a blog, but as you can see, I am on the “build from scratch” side!

  37. Blogging for profit is quite a popular home working idea. It is easy to start up and should not cost you too much. In fact, a basic system can be set-up for no cost at all, but that is not recommended for the best income. A little bit of thought beforehand can be an aid, so here are some basic pointers to help you to get going and earning an income.

  38. As a matter of a fact I recently did have a look at some ready made blogs.

    Not because I currently are that inclined to actually buy any of those blogs or sites,
    just to have a look at what they present as the strong points.

    ‘Just as a way to Look
    for some new ideas and approaches…..,’

    Looking at what approach they use for approaching their customers and how they (plan to) monitize their blogs, or to look at how they (claim to) have monitized their sites, look if they already have a ‘Fan Base’ that somehow could be in alignment with the visitors on my blog(s) I actually did get a few new ideas, and I also I did have a look at blogs or sites that could possibly be complementary to my current own blogs. To look for way’s to possibly expand or to be able to offer some extra service to my visitors.

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,
    HP

  39. Chris says:

    I guess I have never considered buying a blog…… It might be a good option when I start building a site for the next niche I choose to go into. Interesting content. Thank-you for the info!

  40. rosemary says:

    I never really thought of it either..buying one but I think it depends on what you want to do with it…..for me I like the fact my blog is personal and of my own taste …..if I was looking to get into something different, maybe buying would be an option. It is an interesting idea but I will stick with what I have for now. Great post as always…..

  41. Caleb says:

    Saving up some investment capitol to buy an already proven blog is an option I wish I would have did in the beginning. Things would have been easier especially considering how long it takes to build up an audience on your own.

    I’ll definitely keep this in mind for the next major blogging project ;)

  42. Jerrick says:

    For me, i prefer not to buy a blog because it may not perfectly suite your need and it even costly.
    But in other ways as you says, i find out lot of benefit as well but it risky as well. It may given the different result as you expected if change over hand for the blog. Unless the blog really help you a lot in the short time and and suite to your business purpose. If not , please do not buy it. It can just drop down of visitors after change over the owner.

  43. seenu says:

    Interesting points to consider while buying the blog

  44. Shane Hudson says:

    I have never bought a blog but I have sold one before. It did not go well, but that was primarily due to another problem I had before that which concerned trusting someone on the internet! You can read about that at http://www.successcircuit.com/articles/the-truth-about-lonely-designs/ I do not normally post links but it is a very good read for any blogger (especially beginners).

    In fact, after reading this post I have decided to put Success Circuit up for sale on Flippa! I have been inactive on it for far too long and I read this post at the perfect time. Never sold on Flippa before, so will keep you all posted to how it goes.

  45. Manuel says:

    With the way the economy is I dont see how someone could possibly buy a website. I have to struggle to do three different jobs in order to keep my site up and running and that is just paying for the host every two years.

    I manage and maintain it all myself as WordPress is super easy to manage and maintain.

    It is harder to get it perfected at first but once you see what you want then its just a matter of time when you have a good looking site.

    Semper Fidelis,

    Manuel Perez