This guest post is by Chris of www.freelancepf.com.
Just this past February I had a guest post on ProBlogger detailing the joys of: co-blogging with your spouse. Now here I am just a few months later with a new guest post about selling that site.
What happened? Why did I sell a blog I loved and got to work on with my wife, no less?
I’ll give you the hint that I still love blogging as much as ever. So why? More importantly for you, how did I sell my blog?
Too often I see people abandon their blogs when they tire of blogging or have to stop because of outside forces. If there’s just one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: even newer blogs might have some value. Perhaps even significant value. That is true even if your blog has never before been monetized.
If you ever want or need to quit blogging, consider a sale as your go-to blogging exit strategy. It’s a little more work than abandoning the blog, but the extra money should more than make up for it. This guest post is going to examine the mechanics of selling a website using my experience as a guide.
Making the decision to sell
The personal finance site I sold was my first blog. It detailed my wife’s and my struggle to pay down six figures in student loan debt. In just a few months—and with no budget aside from a Thesis theme and a dedicated IP address/hosting—I had taken the blog from brand new to more than 5,000 visitors per month. The blog was my pride and joy, but there were beginner’s mistakes I did not know how to fix. My biggest mistake was that no matter how hard I looked, I could not envision a business plan.
I kept delaying fully monetizing the site for this reason. My student loan debt made me feel guilty about partaking in such a time-consuming hobby—particularly because it was costing me money each month. I started blogging because I love to write, but I thought I would at least break even financially. in fact, I felt I had to in order to justify the expense—financially, things were getting really tight because of my student loan debt.
More importantly, I wanted to focus on starting my own freelance writing business—but I knew my old blog would take away from that endeavor. I started to look for my blogging exit strategy. Eventually I decided the best option was to sell.
Selling a blog: overview
Selling blogs is actually a fairly new concept. There are no hard rules in selling a blog, although it is generally accepted that one to two times the blog’s annual revenue can approximate the standard sales price. This expectation makes it difficult when your blog has not been fully monetized. Remember, however, that if you have a solid inventory of hundreds of archived posts—as I did—your website might still have significant value.
There are a ton of considerations involved in the valuation of a website. Some of them include the stand-alone value of the domain name, the traffic and other statistical information, the Google PageRank, other generally accepted blogging/website metrics, the blog’s yearly percentage revenue growth, monthly or yearly revenue, and the number of archived posts.
Buying or selling a blog involves negotiating skills not dissimilar to that of selling a car. Another thing to know in advance is whether you will simply sell to the highest bidder or if you will consider other intangibles such as which prospective buyer is the best fit for taking your blog to new levels. I personally sold my blog to a lower bidder because I loved her enthusiasm for the project and her writing talent. I would never fault someone for taking the highest offer, either. It’s a personal choice.
How to sell your blog
There are a number of ways you can get the word out to perspective blog buyers. There are various websites that specialize in blog sales, such as flippa.com. You can also post about your intention to sell on your blog itself, although I wouldn’t do that unless I was absolutely certain I wanted to sell.
You can write about the intent to sell on various forums to help spread the word. Perhaps the most effective method is to simply reach out to people in your blogging network whom you believe might be interested in purchasing the blog. In my case, I put out word in a blogging network I was involved in and ended up having at least three bloggers contact me inquiring as to price. I eventually sold my site to one of these bloggers.
A quick word to prospective buyers: it’s important as a blog purchaser that you verify all of the metrics the blog seller is claiming. It is important that both sides properly contract—and perhaps even put the terms in writing—so as to have a smooth transition from seller to buyer.
As a buyer, you may want to consider negotiating certain “royalties” as part of your deal. For example, you could ask for $10,000 and 10% of the blog’s profits for the next year. In the alternative you can “front-load” the deal and take all the money upfront. So, instead of the above deal, you might just ask for $12,500.00. The great thing about negotiating is that you can be really creative. Will you accept installment payments? Will you throw in social media accounts? Remember to figure out all the details up front.
Exit strategy complete … but there’s still work to be done
Remember, just because you have a contract for sale doesn’t mean that the blog is now magically in the other party’s possession. You still have to go through your web host and domain provider, and work with the seller to effect the transfer of title. According to the terms of the sale, you may have to provide the seller with various passwords, such as the one to your Twitter or other social networking account.
There is also the matter of post-sale exit strategy. I felt I owed my loyal readers an explanation. I also agreed to stay on as a staff writer at my prior blog and write a certain amount of posts each week so as to smooth the transition. This scenario is ideal for the seller and also the smoothest transition for the readership. You should negotiate these terms and the expected compensation as part of the sale of the blog.
Remember too that you could always partner up with another blogger or company and sell a percentage of your blog. Be careful in that scenario that you are selling to a legitimate “partner,” as partnership laws where you live might be more-encompassing than you would expect. You may even want to consult with an appropriate expert to see the legal implications, if any, of entering into such a “partnership” or selling your blog in general.
An exit strategy for you?
Selling your blog can be very stressful. Almost any serious blogger feels a sense of ownership or pride in their blog, and it’s not easy to “sell your baby.” However, for me, the sale has been a blessing.
The sale of my former blog has allowed me to start a profitable online freelance writing and copywriting business. Most times I visit my old blog, I don’t even feel sad that it’s no longer mine. I just feel grateful that it allowed me to start a business I love.
The other great thing about blogging is that you can always start again. I even have my own new personal finance blog. It barely gets any traffic and it feels lonely compared to the active community I sold, but in my freelance business I get to write for major blogs that have vibrant communities and I still get to visit my former blog’s readership as a staff writer.
Again, if you are thinking about simply abandoning your blog, consider selling it and potentially making some money out of all your hard work.