North X East
10 Tips to a Successful Blog Sale

10 Tips to a Successful Blog Sale

So you have finally decided to sell your blog. It was a difficult decision – but nonetheless, your mind is made up. You wrote up a nice advert and listed it on a well known site marketplace. Then what? Here is my list of 10 tips to follow in order to make sure things go smoothly.

A month or so ago NorthxEast went up for sale, and today I’d like to introduce you to its new owner – Cameron Low. Cameron is a fellow Australian (amongst other things, he also happens to be a web-designer, share investor and accounting student) and has been managing the blog for the last two weeks while we changed over all the ins and outs of WordPress to his servers. Though I’m sorry to see NxE going, I’m confident that Cameron is going to take good care of the blog.

Making the Sale

Having sold my first blog I thought I would write up some of my thoughts on the process and how it went. First of all you might like to know that the site sold for $8,200 over on Sitepoint, though at various times people offered up to $10,000 through private messages. There was about 45 bids all together with about 30 of them coming in the first three days, followed by a long gap and most of the remaining in the last three days.

Overall I thought it was a good sale, given that the blog had little revenue I wasn’t expecting the sale to go as high and was pleasantly surprised. The process was smooth and happily the buyer – Cameron – is a really nice guy who has made the transition easy.

Here are six tips on selling :

  1. Generate a Little Hype
    The perception of popularity makes a big difference to the perception of worth. Do you remember how in high school the ‘it’ girl that every guy drooled after tended to become even more popular because she was popular with other guys? I don’t know much about psychology, but I do know that when seemingly everyone is talking about something it seems to increase in worth. With the NxE sale happily there were quite a few blogs that linked up to the auction and because the bidding started low, it felt a little like a bidding frenzy at times. I think this helped drive the auction a little higher than it otherwise might have gone.
  2. Link to the Auction
    Whether or not you can get others to link to your auction, you should definitely link up to it. My post on NxE drove many readers to see the auction, comment and bid, helping drive the price.
  3. Sell on the Up
    Somebody said it was odd that we were selling right after a majorly popular post, but in my opinion that is the best time to sell. While the blog is on a high, buyers see it in the best possible light.
  4. Be Honest
    NorthxEast isn’t exactly what you’d call a big earner. In fact it’s a pretty, damn, poor earner given the audience size. But this didn’t affect the sale in the way that I thought it might. I believe that being honest and straight up about your blog and all it’s flaws, gives buyers the reassurance that there are no hidden suprises. The truth is on the much bandied about ‘valuation’ method of multiplying a blog’s monthly earnings by 10-15, NxE should have been worth $175 x 15 = $2625, but evidently people really value blogs differently. Either ways being honest didn’t hurt the sale process and I think it’s really important to be forthright.
  5. Let the Market Decide the Value I was asked repeatedly for a Buy-It-Now price on the sale, but frankly if I had done that I would have lost a lot of potential income. I say this because I had been expecting the site to go for $2000-3000, setting that BIN would have been a disaster (although I might not have realised it). Perhaps it was simply my ignorance, but in my case anyhow not setting a BIN was a very good idea.
  6. Offer to Stay on and Help the New Owner … For a Time
    This is something that I didn’t actually do in the auction, but I think would have boosted the asking price a little. During the auction a few people asked for me to stay on and help the new owner to varying degrees. One person asked for a 1 year commitment of posting monthly, given that the blog isn’t even a year old, that’s obviously a bit silly. But having said that offering to potential sellers to stay on a little after the sale gives them the assurance that the transition will be smooth.

This is a special note by the editor (Cameron) to blog buyers. Do not forget about tax. When purchasing this site, I totally forgot about the possibility of tax on the purchase. Because of Australian Taxation Law, there was a 10% GST (Government Service Tax) on top of the final price. I only found out about this after the auction ended. This could potentially be very devastating if you are bidding on the edge of what you can afford. Luckily for me, I still had some money left over.

Keeping a Blog Steady

When you take over a blog it’s very easy to kill your own investment with some bad decisions. The blog Wisdump is an excellent case study into how not to handle a blog sale. The site which was the blog of one of the 9Rules founders was sold twice in a short space of time and lost at least half its readership in that time. Fortunately Cameron has shown that he’s not going to do any such thing and posting around here has been much the same as ever over the last fortnight.

Here are some pieces of advice on changing blog ownership:

  1. Don’t change anything on the blog at first
    Unless you are buying a site specifically to fix it up, it’s generally a bad idea to change anything immediately. With a site like Wisdump, there was already a winning formula and changing that led to readers leaving the blog. This is not to say that you shouldn’t ever change anything, just not in the first weeks after the ownership has changed.
  2. Ask the old blog owner to stick around for a while
    Change is always easier if the lines are blurred, so asking the old blog owner to stick around for a few posts is a good way to make a steady transition between writers. This is probably harder for cheaper blog sales, but I know that in this instance when Cameron asked if I would post once or twice more, I was quite happy to given that the sale price was so much higher than I’d expected!
  3. Try to keep the same writers
    Running on from the last point, if there are other writers, it’s worth trying to keep them around. I know that Cameron has already hired Leo’s formidable talents for NxE and is planning on continuing guest contributions as well. Keeping the same writers keeps the same feel and ensures the blog continues its growth.
  4. Introduce changes incrementally
    Change is inevitable, but it’s best done incrementally. If you try to add a new posting schedule, new writers, new design, new topics and so on all at once, you are going to alienate some of the existing readerbase. You might attract new readers, but why alienate old readers unless you have to. It’s much better to incrementally change your new asset and keep the old readers and attract new ones.

In any case I wish Cameron all the best with this blog, and I’m sure I’ll harass him to let me guest post every now and then for old times sake! Thanks to all the readers who have commented and offered their support since NxE started back in February!

Liam Cavanagh

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