In Selling Your Blog: What Are Blog Buyers Looking For?, I gave you some tips on what to consider when selling or buying a blog. It would be helpful to find a mathematical formula that looks at domain name value plus domain age plus commercial value plus traffic stat plus…and then multiplies it by the unexploited earnings potential – but as far as I’ve learned, buying and selling a blog is still a guessing game.
I featured the For Sale sign on Aarron Brazell’s Technosailor blog. I anxiously followed the sale to find out if it was possible to sell a personal blog and how it would all turn out. Weren’t you? Unfortunately, it was canceled.
In the cancellation of sale notice, Aaron Brazell had some brilliant observations on his experiences
selling not selling his blog.
The public sale is canceled. Several folks have inquired on Skype and by email regarding the status of the sale, and unfortunately, public interest has not coalesced. This is disappointing for me, though it does give me some insight that I’ll share.
* The site is not properly monetized…
* Perceived value is in the eye of the beholder…
* Private is always better than public…
* Value is found in the blogger…
This is exactly what I found in my research. If you are considering a future blog sale with your blog, his lessons are ones you need to learn before you put a For Sale sign on your blog. You need to know what goes into the selling price and value of your blog, and what doesn’t.
A Potential Money-making Blog Means Proving Earning Potential
If your blog isn’t making money, that doesn’t mean it will make money in the future, even if the right monetization techniques are used. Brazell admitted that he hadn’t exploited all the income possibilities of his blog. He assumed that the traffic stats and other factors would be enough indicators that his blog could make money. In the serious world of buying and selling blogs, conditional “coulds” don’t mean much.
Unless your blog has a track record of income, serious income not nickels and dimes, it hasn’t proven it has the potential to make money.
New owners don’t buy blogs because they think they can turn it around into a profit venture. This isn’t like buying a run-down factory, throwing time, money, and specialists at it, raising its value then reselling it for 10 times the original buying price. Anyone can start a blog, and with the right know how, they can make money with it. The skills for turning a blog into profit don’t require a used blog. They can do this with a new blog, too. So what incentive and value does a used blog offer them?
A used blog comes with a history. It’s not just a history of articles and blogger(s) reputations. It isn’t even a history of page rank and traffic levels since Google’s search engine algorithm takes into account a blog ownership transfer. It is a history of code, programming, Plugins, design, bugs, poor coding, bandwidth stealing gremlins, and more. To fix it may require some serious under-the-hood expertise. It may also involve ripping and tearing it apart to make it “right”.
Repairing what is broken can take a very long time and a lot of work digging through unfamiliar code, playing guessing games at why the blogger used this and that when there was this other thing that would have been better available. Starting right fresh from the beginning and doing it right takes much less time.
Why should someone invest their time, money, and energy into a used blog? Especially one without a history of positive cash flow? And how do you put a value on that?
It’s Your Blood, Sweat, and Tears
The time, money and energy, nights up sleepless or crying over your keyboard, banging your head against the desk, throwing your mouse across the room, hours prowling support forums and blog articles looking for solutions, mind numbing hours spent staring at code…none of these things are reimbursable in the sale of a blog. Whether it took ten minutes or two years, the history of the blog’s development does not figure into the market value of the blog.
What buyers are looking for is income producing blogs. They don’t care how much work went into it. Many have bought blogs that were created with generic templates or the Default WordPress Theme. If it isn’t making money and doesn’t have the potential to make even more money, then why bother?
Many start a blog to learn about the process behind it. They get caught up in the minutia of bits and pieces of code and twisting things around to make them look different and to get the “right” look. In the end, it’s still just a bunch of code and you can’t get reimbursed for the educational process of building your personal blog. You don’t have receipts, time cards, or any way of really proving the value of blog building, and even if you did, how would you put a value on it?
As Brazell found out, you can’t put a price on the pain and suffering of your personal blog development when it comes to selling it. It just doesn’t count.
Selling Your Blog Privately or Publicly
Brazell admits taking his blog’s sale public was a mistake. “I received derision and ridicule by onlookers not interested in bidding, but interested in making sure everyone else knew how they felt.”
There will always be those who are mean-spirited. Still, he invited comments and criticism when he made his sale public via his blog and the auction site. He admits that the people who contacted him privately were professional and fair, but the trauma and drama of putting your blog up for sale in a very public way can bring a lot of attention, often unwanted.
So how do you offer your blog for sale privately?
You can use BloggerTalk, SitePoint, or other website selling services to list your blog “quietly”. You don’t have to name names or point to your blog. You can list the information and request all inquires be made privately.
There are a few experts in blog buying out there. Do some research and contact them directly.
There are a lot of blog and tech conferences you can attend to meet with other bloggers and blogging industry moguls. Talk to them about your interest in selling your blog. You never know where a connection may lead.
Before you do any of these, go through the list of criteria for selling or buying a blog and make sure you have a fast and accurate answer to all of those questions. A perceived confidence in the marketability of your blog will go farther than a lot of “um, I don’t know”.
A blog can be started up in only a few minutes. So trust me when I say that blogs are a dime a dozen. You may think your blog has buying potential. The rest of the buying public might not think so. Be willing, as Brazell did, to walk away and consider this a lesson learned.
And the lesson is: Research first. Know what you are doing before you do it.
The Blogger Counts
Your blog is successful because of “you”. Without you, there is no blog.
This is the truth. You made your blog and your blog made you. You two are intertwined. Separate you from your blog and what is left?
Selling a personal blog is much more difficult than selling a multiple blogger blog. A blog with many active bloggers keeps the wheels churning with ideas and content. Look at the recent sales of the Blog Herald. A group came with the sale, not an individual.
Who would buy Lorelle on WordPress? Or my blogging friends Abhijit Nadgouda, Edrei Kamigoroshi, Michael Hampton, or Mandarine? What about Liz Strauss, Tony Hung, and the other wonderful bloggers on Blog Herald with a blog of their own? Who would buy their blogs?
Without these energetic and dynamic personalities running their blogs, would their blogs still have value?
Bloggers are their blogs. A buyer knows this. They want to buy a blog with a marketable blogger, not just a marketable blog. If the blogger goes with the blog, then there is more money to be made. Otherwise, its empty shoes are too big to fill.
Consider this. If you decide to sell your blog, and stay on because the blogger goes with the blog, how will that impact your earning potential?
Yes, someone else may make the “big” decisions about various income generating techniques and avenues, as well as deal with problems with the blog. And they get all the money. You just get your “share” after the sale.
Let’s see. You get into blogging because you want control over your voice. You want to be heard and you want to be heard your way. Now, you want to sell your blog but keep blogging, while giving up control. Hmmm. Can you really do that?
Still, I Want to Sell My Blog
Considering all these things, it is still possible to sell your blog. You just have to look at the facts, not the emotional cloud.
Look at your blog as a buyer would. Some very important criteria a buyer will want to know about your blog includes:
- Domain Name, Age and History
- SEO Page Rank, Pagestrength, and other search engine and social bookmarking ranking scores
- Transferable Revenue from Ads
- History of Income Producing Revenue
- Web Traffic Statistics
- Inventory of Assets and Intellectual Property (and Rights)
Go through the full list and honestly fill in the information about your blog. Then look at all the information as it if was a sales promotional package. Would you buy that blog?
If not, and selling your blog is still your intent, you now have a list of things you need to start working on, don’t you?
As we start learning more about the value of blogs, we need to determine what goes into the selling price of a blog. What determines it’s value? What makes it attractive to buyers?
Blogs are beginning to become a commodity. As the marketplace grows for buying and selling blogs, the criteria will develop based upon facts and figures not assumptions, conjecture, or wishes. The issue of separating the blogger from the blog will be a huge hindrance, but I think the value of the blogger and the blog may meld in an interesting way as more bloggers consider selling their blogs.
Expect to see the most money made on big business style blogs, blog magazines or ezines with a stable of bloggers rather than solo bloggers.
Are you thinking of selling your blog? Are you blogging with that in mind for your blog’s future? How does blogging with selling your blog in mind change how you blog and how you run your blog?
Or do you think that a blog without the blogger has much chance for a sale?
What do you think the qualifications for selling a blog should be? Do you think you could come up with a mathematical formula to determine the sale value of a blog?
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.