Selling Your Blog: What Are Blog Buyers Looking For?

Filed as Features on February 13, 2007 10:57 am

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Aaron Brazell of TechnoSailor is selling his personal blog on Ebay Sitepoint. He’s added a “Buy Now” price of USD $30,000.

I’m not sure what the future holds for him, and I do hope he will not leave his passionate and much appreciated involvement in WordPress.

Still, this got me wondering about how much a blog is worth.

In October 2005, a fun gadget tool was developed which allows you to test your blog’s value, according to a combination of Technorati popularity and ranking, along with a value equal to the “dollar ratio as the AOL-Weblogs Inc deal“, which was one of the largest blog sales at that time.

Using the tool, I decided to find out what was worth. In October of 2005, my blog was worth $80,000.00. Wow! I checked again a month later, and my blog was worth $145,651.00.

While it’s fun to make jokes about how I’m going to spend the money, this is just virtual paper, which is worth less than money on real paper. ;-)

Sixteen months later, and wondering about Brazell’s life changing blog sale, I started wondering what my blog is worth today.

It’s worth $776,807.04.

OH MY GAWD!

If my blog was a stock, you’d better invest in it cuz it’s going to split very soon. ;-)

While I was checking my own blog, I decided to check on Blog Herald. The Blog Herald is worth $964,234.32. Damn. Beaten.

When is the Right Time to Sell Your Blog?

How do you know when it’s time to sell your blog? Brazell admits he needs a change. He’s ready to jump off the cliff and sell his blog.

Many of the blogs I found listed for sale admit that the owners have just gotten bored or have too many blogs and something has to go. What would make you sell your blog?

In 2005, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger wondered how much you would sell your blog for, noting that timing is everything.

How much would you sell your blog for? How would you determine it’s selling price?

A few months ago I was offered $13,000 for Digital Photography Blog – I almost laughed when I got the email. If someone had offered me that much a year or so back I’d have jumped at it – but now I know it’ll make me that in a month or two just from its Adsense earnings. But it did make me wonder what I’d be willing to sell it for.

How much would you take right now if someone offered to buy your blog? How much would you have taken a year ago if they offered then?

Is there a right time to sell your blog? When would be the right time for you?

Many sell their blogs when they are bored or finished with them, but is that the right time to sell your blog?

The right to sell is when it is at the top of the charts. When it is doing its best. After you’ve just had two or four hits from Digg, Wired, or other traffic generating sources. When your blog is getting the most attention, this is when it has the most value and looks the best to buyers, right?

You aren’t just selling a blog, you are selling what the blog is built on: the return readers, reputation, quality content, and incoming links. When the blog is doing great, you will probably get a better price than when it is doing nothing.

How Much is Your Blog Really Worth?

What does it take to make a blog worth $30,000 or $776,807.04?

While Brazell listed his blog’s marketable assets to include Google PageRank, SEOMoz.org’s Pagestrength, Technorati Ranking, Google Inbound Links, feed subscribers, and his web traffic statistics, what are the real selling points you need to highlight to sell your blog?

I went looking for the criteria for selling and buying a blog. What makes a blog a good buy? What are blog buyers looking for?

Blog buying and selling is still a new market. Domain buying and selling has been around for much longer. Buying a domain name is similar but different from buying a blog with content. When you buy a domain name, you are buying an address, like a piece of property without a building on it. When you buy a blog, you are buying the building, too.

BloggerTalk offers Blog Selling and Buying Guidelines, specifically designed for their forum and those offering their blogs for sale or buying blogs.

The information BloggerTalk requires for their blogs for sale listings are pretty basic. They want to know how much traffic the blog gets, income sources, average income, and other economics of the blog, as well as Google PageRank, Alexa Ranking, and Yahoo and Google top keyword search results. They also want to know the date the blog was established, how often you blog, and the blogging platform.

In the discussions between sellers and potential buyers, buyers want to know where traffic comes from. Incoming links have value. Do they come mostly from Google or Yahoo search results, or from Digg, Wired, Slashdot, Engadget, or other social bookmarking and networking style services or blogs? Are there solid and long term sites or forums that link to the blog? The correct number of backlinks are very important in judging the potential earning capacity of the site.

Average monthly traffic is expected, but they also want to know when and what caused traffic spikes, and how much of the traffic is consistently return traffic, not just an average pushed up due to some Diggs.

Blogspot blogs are not permitted to be listed for sale on Blogger Talk, as well as some other site selling websites I visited. Redirected sites are also not appreciated. The reasons are not clear other than the hassles of buying a redirect. I wonder if free WordPress.com blogs would also not qualify.

They say you need to be specific about exactly what you are selling. You can sell the whole shoebox, or just the domain name. Does your blog’s sale include everything on it, including the hosting service, all rights, licenses, trademarks, and customized programming and code? Or are you selling just the content and domain name? What about retaining licenses, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights? Are you keeping the content for yourself? What are you offering for sale?

Most buyers want the “whole thing”, taking over the hosting, and everything therein. But some sellers only want to sell part of the package, retaining control over the rest. You have to be specific about what you are offering when you post that first “buy this blog” notice.

If you, the packaged “blogger”, are part of the blog sale, you need to be specific with what your responsibilities will be after ownership has transferred. Are you giving up total control, or taking a step back from the power seat and only contributing? Or are you walking away? For extremely popular personality-driven blogs, new owners often want the old folks to hang around, at least for the transition.

SitePoint also offers established websites for sale in a forum-auction format. They offer a Selling A Website FAQ (pdf) and Guide To Buying A Website (pdf).

A key point they make in establishing your blog’s value is the power of its brand:

Similar to your domain name, if your website is an established brand in its content niche that might add value. For example, there is value inherent in the SitePoint name simply because it is a well-known brand among web developers and it has a presence in thousands of stores worldwide.

They also add inventory (if available), custom programming, script licenses, and an established community (regular return readers). Syndication rights and agreements would also be included in the content and services part of the blog’s value.

Looking through the list, I see a couple of blogs stating that their blog has been “appraised”. Who appraises blogs? How do you appraise a blog for sale?

Digital Point offers Domain Appraisals. According to their Domain Appraisal Guide and Appraisals: A Guide, they recommend a 10 point system for “grading” the quality of a domain name’s marketability. For them, it’s all in the name, not the history of the site itself, though for serious buyers, that’s critical. It just isn’t important for their appraisals.

Digital Point also offers Sites for buying and selling but I couldn’t find a guide listed in their forum.

I looked all over and couldn’t find any other resources or experts who specialize in appraising blogs. So I wonder where those appraisals came from? Do you know? Are there other blog buying and selling sites?

Selling Points for Selling Your Blog

From my short research venture, here is a list of the information most frequently requested by those selling their blogs and those interested in buying them.

Not all of the information needs to be made public, but you need to be prepared to present all and any of this information if a buyer asks.

  • Domain Name: There is something in a name and the name means money. If your domain name is easily recognized and remembered, it will add to your blog’s value. Does the blog title match the domain name? Buyers take these things seriously into consideration.
  • Date Blog Established: The age of the domain is important to Google PageRank.
  • Google Page Rank
  • SEOMoz.org Pagestrength
  • Technorati Ranking
  • Alexa Ranking
  • Yahoo and Google Top Keyword Search Results: Which search terms bring in the most traffic consistently.
  • Branding: Name recognition and value.
  • Transferable Revenue from Ads: Include information on ad contracts and arrangements as well as amounts.
  • Web Traffic Statistics: Averages for the past week, month, three months, six months, year, and farther if available.
  • Recent Traffic Spikes: List recent heavy traffic spikes from mentions in Digg, Slashdot, Wired, Engadget, etc.
  • Consistent Return Traffic Levels: How many consistently return for more?
  • Feed and Feed Subscriber Statistics: How many subscribers? What type of feeds and how many are offered. Does the blog include category specific feeds?
  • Unique Visitors Statistics
  • Market Specific Content Description: Is the blog industry or marketplace specific, serving a focused group?
  • Number of Posts/Articles
  • Number of Comments
  • Demographics: Who needs this blog and returns frequently?
  • Google Inbound Links: Be honest. This is easily checked. Do not include intra-site links as inbound links. Only external sites linking to the blog.
  • Incoming Link Sources: Where are the most links coming from?
  • Inclusion in Blogging Networks and Social Bookmarking Networks: Is such inclusion transferable?
  • Email Lists/Subscribers: Does the site come with any subscribers via email? How many? How often are they contacted?
  • Newsletters: Does the blog offer newsletters? How many, how often, and what is the content? Does it soundly integrate with the blog or totally separate?
  • Forum Included: Is there a forum or discussion/chat area included in the blog? What are the statistics and assets associated with the forum?
  • Press Coverage: Some blogs and bloggers are now becoming sources for news as well as news themselves. Have the blog been featured in recent news stories or reports? Is it frequently quoted or listed as a resource in news stories?
  • Events Associated With the Blog: Are there any special events, conferences, or regularly scheduled events associated with the blog and expected to continue? Has it consistently participated in the Blog-a-thon or reported on an annual technology conference?
  • Sponsorships: Has the blog sponsored events or programs or other business entities or blogs? Is it affiliated through promotion, reputation and business relations with other commercial entities?
  • Inventory of Assets: Web page design, Plugins, comments, written and image content, audio and video files, programming files, downloadable content, archives, and related content and code are included in the sale or not?
  • Inventory of Intellectual Property: Copyrights, licenses, customized programming code, trademarks, etc., are included in the sale or not? What are the agreements for transferring the licenses? Handling renewal fees, etc.?
  • Host Server Agreement Transferable: Is it included or not? Describe hosting agreement and features.
  • Syndication Rights and Agreements: How syndicated and to whom.
  • Your Participation After Sale: Will you stay or leave, share control, give up control, continue to participate in some way. Outline specifics for your involvement, if any.
  • On-site Content Used and Referenced by Off-Sites: Does the blog host images, Plugins, scripts, tools, or other content for use on external blogs or sites? How is this maintained?
  • Unique Content: Is the content unique and original or mostly link lists and blockquotes?
  • Current State of the Blog: Is posting ongoing and current or old and dated? What is happening today with the blog?
  • Posting Frequency: Has a pattern been established for post frequency? Do readers expect content published on a regular basis? When?
  • Content Freshness: How “timely” is the content? Does it go out of date quickly or is it long lasting?
  • Competition: What is the blog’s competition and how does it measure up?
  • Blog Authors: Is there only one blog author or multiple bloggers contributing. How will the sale impact them? Do they come with or not? What are the rights to their content? Are the copyrights transferable?
  • Non-competition Agreement: Will the blog seller be restricted from creating a similar blog in the near future after the sale? If so, how long is the restriction? Or no such agreement will be made?
  • Use of Inventory After Sale: Can the new owner use the same program, programming code, and content? What are the long time permissions, fees, and agreements that need to happen to permit such use?
  • Blocks or Blacklists: Has the site ever been listed on any spam blacklists or blocked in any way? Explain why and how it was removed from the blocks and lists.

Have I left anything off you think should go into the list?

Have you sold a blog or are you considering selling your blog? What do you think are the most important points you would need to make if you were to sell your blog? What would make your blog appealing to buyers?

Even if you aren’t considering selling your blog, do you know the answers to these questions? Might be worth investigating your blog’s value by answering them. If you don’t like the answer, consider putting a little more effort into change the answers.

UPDATE: Technosailor’s sale has been cancelled, and the announcement offers some interesting insights I’ll be discussing later. Stay tuned.


Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on .

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  1. By Tony Hung posted on February 13, 2007 at 11:20 am
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    What a fantastic post!
    I’d love to hear what other people have sold their blogs for, however.

    Cheers
    tony.

  2. By J. Angelo Racoma posted on February 13, 2007 at 12:20 pm
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    This is a great guide, Lorelle. I’d like to add one thing about the blog authors. There’s also the “brand” factor with the blog authorship. Sellers and buyers would have to consider whether the blog’s readership would still stay on once a blog has transferred ownership, especially if new authors will replace the old ones.

  3. By Liz Strauss posted on February 13, 2007 at 12:37 pm
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    Thank you for this. It’s a most useful document, fresh and new conctent, all in one place. I’ve not seen it anywhere before. Great work!
    Liz

  4. Help for Selling your Blog - Sales Entrepreneur .netFebruary 13, 2007 at 3:37 pm
  5. By Jim Kukral posted on February 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm
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    Big point to make here. Think about what you’re branding. What I mean is, I’ll never be able to sell http://www.jimkukral.com. But I could sell my http://www.asktheblogger.com down the line. You can’t walk away from your name :)

  6. By J. Angelo Racoma posted on February 13, 2007 at 4:38 pm
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    Jim,

    That is unless you share a similar name with another person/entity, and you’re willing to sell. I own racoma.net and racoma.com.ph. But there’s a company somewhere in Europe called Racoma, Inc., and they have racoma.com. Guess who’s more search-engine friendly, though!

    Cheers.

    Angelo

  7. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 13, 2007 at 5:01 pm
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    It was really interesting researching this article. There used to be (and still is) an emphasis on “brand” as the domain name. There is money to still be made in hot URLs like iloveipod.com, firefoxonfire.com, or ilovewomen.com. Any combination that “sings money”, as one person explains, is still hot property whether or not there’s content on the site. You own the domain name, you got something to sell.

    Selling blogs, however, is still a new industry. There was literally nothing out there to clearly define what makes a blog worthwhile to buy.

    Without a doubt, branding and personality go a long way in a blog’s income generating potential. That’s why I put emphasis on branding and the issues of “do you go with your blog”. If you don’t, then what is lost. If you do, how much are you worth? That’s a very hard question to answer, isn’t it.

  8. By Aaron Brazell posted on February 13, 2007 at 5:40 pm
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    Thanks for the writeup, Lorelle. Just to be clear, the blog is not for sale on ebay. Only my boss ever did that. It’s on auction at Sitepoint.

  9. By David Krug posted on February 13, 2007 at 6:30 pm
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    Who would ever want to sell a blog. That’s like selling a used shoe. Good thing there is a market for anything.

    Btw,
    When I go to value sites I used the Krugometer.

    3 times monthly income divided by Pi times age of site in years.

    Really works well.
    Thus The Blog Herald would be worth $Income/PI x 3.27 and so on.

    Seriously just made that Krugometer deal up but its about how I figure the value of a site. I also calculate momentum and a few other things.

    I should post more about this tommorow. :)

  10. By David Krug posted on February 13, 2007 at 6:32 pm
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    That places sites ive sold at like 2 dollars. My concept is flawed.

  11. By DofAM posted on February 13, 2007 at 8:04 pm
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    I think it would be really hard to actually command value for the blog. Really what you’re buying is the author, and her/his intellectual property. You’d almost need them to continue blogging for an extended period of time to ensure continuity.

    I think Wonkette is an interesting example of this. The new Wonkette writers have gotten a rep. for being much nastier than the original team. That’s not good.

  12. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 13, 2007 at 8:22 pm
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    Some bloggers become their blogs. They are the driving force that brings the people in and keeps the blog going and income flowing. Replacing those types of blog(gers) is hard.

    Other blogs are their content. Written by one or more bloggers, the content on the blog keeps the blog going and income flowing. Much like Blog Herald.

    This begs the question: Is a blogger-driven blog saleable? Or only content-driven blogs?

    How would you change the above list to accommodate the differences in determining the value of selling the two types of blogs?

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  14. By Bogdan Lebu posted on February 14, 2007 at 10:49 am
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    very well researched post.

    and i think that all that you listed there has not the same importance to each buyer. different buyers may have different reasons to buy a blog, a website!

    but to use all of what you wrote under “selling point” to build a tool to evaluate a blog is a great idea!!! and the buyer should be able to assign different weights to different “selling point” according to his interests!!!

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  18. By Easton Ellsworth posted on February 14, 2007 at 4:17 pm
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    I love your posts, Lorelle. I think I speak for a lot of commenters here when I say that I don’t remember ever reading a post of yours that I didn’t really enjoy.

    I think it’s great that some blogs are able to sell for so much money. Sometimes the blogger themselves is probably the most sellable aspect of a blog – that is, they might make more money by selling their services as a blogger than by selling their actual blog(s) – it just depends on the topic and nature of the blog, I guess.

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  20. By Barbra Sundquist posted on February 15, 2007 at 3:45 am
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    Excellent, well-researched article. This one’s a keeper. Thank you.

  21. By Hyderabadiz posted on February 18, 2007 at 5:45 pm
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    We are having a screen shot event of all Hyderabad metro bloggers’, in April. Hyderabad bloggers are spread all over the globe.

    FYI. We are trying our best to gather as much cooperation as possbile (I mean for the required sound and the fury, show and tell, look and feel of our true colors).

    Do you have a logo for such special events in the blogosphere? Or, does Blog Herald support such events–that seem to be local in geographic sense, but in fact are global by its scatter?

  22. By Tony posted on February 19, 2007 at 4:39 pm
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    Hey there,

    Hyderabadiz — email me anthony{dot}hung{at}gmail.com and give me the details.

    Cheers
    tony.

  23. By Philip Liu posted on February 20, 2007 at 3:05 am
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    After I heard with disappointment that Technosailor was no longer being sold to viable candidates, I posted an article over at my blog about my thoughts. Your list is great Lorelle, but I would argue that at the end of the day we should be more analytical using criteria and quantifying those with a value.

  24. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 20, 2007 at 7:46 am
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    I would love to see an analysis with measurable criteria for determining the value of a blog. I totally agree. Yet, I had so much trouble even figuring out this criteria due to the lack of information on the web, how long before someone comes up with a non-biased, competent appraisal method?

    I say bring it on!

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