Selling a blog may seem a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be so difficult or stressing. Perhaps what you need is the right system to assist you in selling your blog.
There are 3 basic steps to selling a blog:
- Collecting Blog Stats – This is stuff that buyers will ask for AND information that will help you establish what your blog is worth.
- Blog Valuation – Sellers often put too high a price on their blogs and this puts buyers off, but by knowing what to count you can quickly come up with a price range that will be acceptable to you and the buyer.
- Finding Buyers – Your target audience (buyers) will depend on your niche and how popular your blog is. Knowing how to go about finding the right buyer can mean the difference between selling at the right price and coming away feeling shortchanged (or not selling at all).
So let’s get started.
1. Collecting Blog Stats
The first thing you must do is to collect some basic information about your blog – and at the very least dump it in a folder and prepare a .zip file that you can email to any prospective buyers (or site brokers).
So what information do you need?
- Monthly earnings (including breakdown of how much each revenue stream (AdSense, direct ad sales, Kontera, TLA, etc) earned) for the last 3 months minimum (6 months is better). At this point collecting screenshots as proof of earnings would be a good idea as well.
- Monthly traffic (unique visitors – in Google Analytics they call them absolute unique visitors) for the last 3 months, minimum (once again, 6 months recommended). Screenshots required here as well, although you could also provide access via your Google Analytics account.
- A brief summary of site audience and demographics – who are they, what do they do, how much do they regularly spend in this niche (and what for).
- A quick summary of your search engine rankings, especially for any keywords considered valuable in your niche.
- Site age (not just domain age).
- Key backlinks – if you’ve got multiple links from DMoz, a link from BBC, links from top blogs in your niche, other press coverage, etc – make a list.
- Site expenses (per month) – apart from domain, hosting and marketing costs, factor in the cost of your own time as well as of any bloggers that work for you / contribute.
- Feed subscription stats
- Anything extra that a site owner must know and could raise / decrease the price of a business (bad reputation in the niche, low earnings per click for the niche, new features that have been developed but not marketed, etc).
All this will take 15-30 minutes to put together.
2. How Much Is Your Blog Worth?
There is one universal rule in any transaction – the buyer thinks that he’s paying too much, and the seller comes out talking about ideas and potential and complains that the money offered is too less. Both sides are right, from their own perspectives.
So do you work out what a blog is worth? Note that if you’re going to run a public auction you will also need to decide a ‘BIN’ price (‘Buy It Now’ price) and starting bids.
How to value your blog? There are different ways of doing so, but a quick n dirty formula would be like this:
Blog Value = 2 x Estimated Yearly Revenue + Blog Premium – Running Costs
That’s a ridiculously low multiple – in the real, offline world businesses and stocks sell at a 10x multiple, not a 1x or 2x multiple. The reason behind such low multiples online is because sites usually have a lot of risk attached to them – they may be too dependent on the blogger’s personality, on one single revenue stream, on a fading gimmick, etc.
You can ramp up that multiple by developing the site’s brand (and not your personal brand), by developing multiple revenue streams, building a blog that doesn’t rely solely on search engines for traffic (and has a active community) and timing your sale so that the blog hasn’t peaked as yet in terms of its niche attraction.
What is ‘Blog Premium’? It’s a lump sum designed to cover the value of the domain, the content, the blog design / code and any extra value based on the community surrounding that blog.
Here’s a quick tip for setting a BIN and a starting bid: use different multiples for both of them. For example, I’d use a 4x multiple for the BIN price (a price I’d be comfortable selling the blog at) and a 2x multiple for a starting bid (low enough to get people started on the bidding).
In the end, remember that a) you’re probably asking for too much and b) you’ll be lowballed to the 7 hells. As my namesake says – you need a thick skin, so deal with it. Not every blog sells according to the expectations of the seller.
3. Find Buyers
How do you find buyers for your blog? If your blog is a leader in its niche, most times you can get away with doing a post on your blog and offering the basic info, and you’ll have a stream of emails from interested buyers.
It doesn’t happen like that most of the time, so you actually have to go out and do some legwork.
There are four routes to selling your blog:
- Announce it publicly – on your blog, on sites like Performancing, on domain auction forums like SitePoint, etc.
- Approach blog networks – it helps if you already know someone, but IMO if you have a good idea and offer something that the network does not already have, you’ll definitely pique their interest.
The problem that may arise here is that blog networks will probably want to ‘hire’ you as well – which may work for some people but for someone like me I’d rather have a clean break from my blog than sell out and then keep writing on it. If you already have guest contributors you can approach one of them to take over the blog.
- Talk to people who you think might be interested – quite often you’ll find that even if they’re not interested they may know someone who would be interested. Depending on how your social networking skills are in your niche, you may have a lot of success using this method to find the right buyer for your blog.
- Hire someone to sell your blog for you. To be honest, if you can bring in an expert who will find buyers and negotiate a good deal, why not go for it? Yes, you’ll have to give this person a cut of the deal, but as long as you factor that into the price, you’re good to go.
If you do it publicly, brace yourself for public criticism of your blog from people who have no or little interest in buying your blog. They may be right (in which case you need to get back to work and fix things) or they could be merely misinformed – but criticism will definitely come. Even your readers could attack you (verbally) for selling out.
There’s no substitute for experience here, so my advice is to a) read up as much as you can about selling blogs and make sure you get advice the first time you sell out or b) hire an expert to manage the process for you. Option B works well because you can learn a lot from a broker, although your blog will need to be of a certain value to be worth a broker’s time.
At the end of the day, if you want to get the right price for your blog, you need to understand how blog buyers think (and if you’ve bought a blog or two, that experience is even better).
I’ll cover that in 3 Keys to Buying a Blog (goes up on on Monday), but for now I’d be interested in hearing what you think sellers do when planning to sell a blog. Anything I’ve missed?
I’d also be interested in hearing your personal blog selling experiences, as I’m sure several people here have bought and sold blogs.