First of all I want to clear a misconception that many newbie bloggers and webmasters have: selling a blog or a website for a meaningful amount of money is not easy as it sounds.
Perhaps we have to blame the “overnight riches” stories that circulate around the web, with people who started and sold websites for tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of months. Trust me, it is very rare to see a case like this.
Another misconception is the fact that backlinks, unique content or Google PageRank will make your site appealing to potential buyers. They help, but these factors alone won’t fetch the money. What matters for website buyers are two things: traffic and revenues (with a heavy emphasis on revenues).
In other words, if you want to sell your blog or website for a good amount of money first you need to take it to a point where it receives decent traffic and, most importantly, generate stable revenues.
Here is a practical example to illustrate the point. Consider that we have two blogs. Both are one year old and have unique content. Blog One has a PR4, some backlinks, gets 10,000 visitors per month, but it makes no money at all. Blog Two has a PR2, also gets 10,000 visitors per month, but it makes $200 monthly from Google AdSense.
Blog Two has a small PageRank, but it makes a decent amount of money, so its selling price would be much higher. I would guess that Blog Two could sell for as much as $4,000 if the traffic is mostly organic (i.e. from search engines), while Blog One would probably sell for $500, if that.
If I was the owner of Blog One I would probably not sell at all, because the money I would get would be inferior to the real value of the blog. Instead I would try to monetize the traffic first, and perhaps even grow the site, and only then try to sell it.
Now back to the central question: where can one sell a blog or website. By far the best resource for that on the web is a marketplace called Flippa.com. If you remember well that used to be the marketplace for websites inside Sitepoint, and now they spun it off as a separate website.
You’ll need to pay a fee to list your site there (around $50), but it is guaranteed that your listing will be exposed to many site buyers. They have an auction system too, so if you are not sure how much your site is worth you can leave it to the bidders.
Another option would be the “Buy & Sell Websites” section of the Digital Pointforums. You won’t need to pay anything to list your site there, but the bidding system is pretty much manual (i.e., forum posts), and there is a smaller number of serious buyers shopping around there.
There are other marketplaces and forums on the web where you could list your site, but I don’t think that any of them get nearly the exposure that the two I mentioned do.
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.
How to sell
Value of Your Site
may tell you that a business is worth three to ten times your average yearly earnings, but at the end of the day, your business is worth what someone will pay for it. What would you realistically pay for your business? Ask trusted in your inner circle what they would pay.
How to Find a Buyer
There are a variety of ways to find a buyer. For starters, you can let your network know you would like to sell. If you don’t mind your readers knowing, you can advertise it on your site as well. If you’d like to be a little more discreet, like I perfer, eBay, Craigslist, and Flippa are great places to find buyers, as well as better determine a realistic asking price.
How to Sell
Once you find a potential buyer, I recommend signing a mutual non-disclosure agreement. This gives you a little peace of mind when sharing confidential information, like earnings and traffic.
A potential buyer will want to see proof of revenue from all revenue streams. Be prepared with this information. Also be prepared to share your average yearly expenses.
You’ll also need to define all the properties you are selling. Are you just selling the site, or will your buyer also receive your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts? Will you transfer your newsletter email list to them as well? Are they buying your whole business including the business entity’s name or just the assets of your blog? These questions need to be negotiated, along with your selling price, with the potential buyer.
You will also need to agree upon the financial terms. Will you require the purchase amount on the day of the sale, or will you accept it in payments over an extended period of time? Do you trust one another enough to send payment through the mail or will you use a third party ?
Once you are ready to move forward with your buyer, you’ll need to draw up a contract. In the case of my blog sales, I consulted with different business attorneys who told me how to draw up a suitable contract using for-a-fee online templates. This saved us thousands of dollars in legal fees and was a fairly easy DIY process. Whether you go this route or have an attorney write the contract for you, you will need a contract of sale with the buyer.
While connecting with a buyer, setting contract terms, and finalizing the sale may seem daunting, the most difficult and unexpected part of selling a blog was, for me, letting go. A blog can become like a lesser loved child. You birthed, nurtured, and raised it into a fine thing, but when the contract is signed, you have to let that child go.
For better or worse, no matter what the future of the blog may bring, it’s not yours anymore. You can’t control design or content changes anymore, because those decisions no longer belong to you. So instead of incessantly checking the site under new ownership for changes or reader comments, just close your laptop and move onto other projects- like creating your next blog to flip.