(Note: This post is a guest contribution by Jock Purtle from Digitalexits.com Read more about him in the author bio below the post)
Whether you’ve realised it, or not, selling your successful blog can set you up for a huge payday.
To ensure you get the highest value possible for your blog, there are a few key tips that you should start implementing now.
To get the best price, you need to make the blog more attractive to higher-end buyers and be able to justify a higher asking price.
To give you an idea of what’s possible, take a look at the Huffington Post acquisition that AOL made. They paid 315 million dollar to buy the business, which started out as a small blog with a single writer.
While your blog may not be worth $315 million, you need to realise that you are holding onto a valuable asset.
If you’re thinking about what’s next for your blog, and putting the possibility of selling it on the agenda, you’re going to want to start thinking more like an entrepreneur and less like a blogger.
Thankfully, it’s not that difficult.
Here are some quick tips to take your blog to a higher level and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
#1 – Find The Right Mix
When it comes to operating your blog as a business, finding the “right mix” is critical to your success.
Buyers aren’t purchasing blogs because they can’t build the same thing on their own, they are doing it because the blog has already been established. You have done the hard work already.
You have attracted the audience, dialled in the types of content they want to see, and have figured out how to distribute that content to bring more visitors on a regular basis.
This would take the buyer far more time to develop on their own, and likely cost far more than what it would cost them to buy your blog from you.
That means you need to start thinking about the types of companies that may be interested in purchasing your list of readers – because that’s exactly what they’re buying.
What types of content strategies can you put in place now to continue dialling in that audience? How can you serve them better and help them solve problems that they’re having? How can you get more reach out of the content you’ve created?
Have you started focusing on building an email list? How can you grow that list even larger before the sale? Are you using proven search engine optimisation strategies? Does your content currently rank? Can it rank even higher?
These are all questions you’ll want to ask yourself and address before you list the blog for sale.
#2 – Start Building Trust
As a blogger, your job is to establish trust with your readers by using your voice and creating content that resonates with them.
You’re going to need to make sure this content still resonates with your visitors long after a buyer has taken over the blog. If they run the risk of losing your readers when they buy the blog, they’re not going to be interested in submitting an offer.
Your reader’s trust is critical and one of the most valuable resources you can sell to your buyer. In some cases, you may be able to maintain an active role in the blog after you’ve sold it, if it means that your buyer can maintain the level of trust you’ve built.
This is something that many bloggers don’t realise – they can continue collecting a paycheck even after they sell the blog. Your buyers will happily pay you to continue building on what you’ve already created, because they will generate even more revenue from having you onboard.
To help you understand what I’m talking about, look at TechCrunch. Michael Arrington left the business after AOL purchased it, which caused the readers to begin losing trust in the business.
AOL had to fight to rebuild that trust, and it cost them quite a bit of money to do.
Readers came to TechCrunch because of the information it provided. They stuck around because they had developed a trusting relationship with the people that owned the site. AOL wasn’t able to transfer that same level of trust once they acquired the business, and it cost them.
Buyers will think about this possibility whenever they’re considering your blog as an acquisition strategy. This means you’ll need to develop that trust with your readers every step of the way.
Figure out how you can help them, what they need from you, and how you can deliver it in a way that not only helps you now, but makes life easier for your buyer after they buy the blog from you.
This may also mean that you need to create stipulations, to protect yourself. Ensure your buyer maintains the same level of standards and integrity that you’ve had while building the readership.
#3 – Define Your Competition
Your blog needs to stand on its own in a competitive landscape if you expect to get a large payday from a buyer. That means you need to figure out who your competitors are, what advantages you have, and what your competition is doing well.
Buyers will look at your blog and then look into your competition. It’s important for you to figure out who those competitors are and address any potential issues before you begin looking to sell.
To help you understand what competitive research looks like, let’s examine a few different blogs.
WiseBread is one blog that provides content around living a frugal lifestyle. They focus primarily on distributing content and obtaining high search engine rankings.
Man vs Debt is another blog that provides education around the personal finance niche by creating authentic stories of how they’ve helped people get out of debt and become more financially aware. They hold credibility because the author has gone down the same path.
Budgets Are Sexy helps their readers by giving them personal finance tips and adding a bit of flair to their content. The author has been seen sporting a mohawk and making sure their content is down to earth and easy to consume.
With these three examples, you can see how each of them are able to compete in a highly regulated, highly competitive industry by being unique and attractive to their target audience. These are both traits that buyers find appealing.
Take a step back and think about how your blog is unique. How could you describe the relationship you have built with your readers? How can you differentiate yourself in the eyes of your buyer?
#4 – Test New Revenue Sources
Investors want to buy your blog for one very specific reason: to generate revenue for themselves or for their company.
When it comes to blogging, there are two primary strategies you can use to generate revenue – either selling advertising space to other companies or by promoting their products and services as an affiliate.
If you want to make sure your blog is worth the most money when you decide to sell, you need to want to show your buyer that your blog has generated consistent revenue month after month.
To do this, you’ll want to start testing different revenue sources. Figure out which type works best with your audience, and which type generates the most revenue for the least amount of work.
If you don’t already have a list of advertisers reaching out to you wanting to buy ad space, start by finding affiliate products that you can promote. You can also look into developing a digital product that you can sell to your readers and keep 100% of the revenue.
#5 – Prepare Yourself
Even though you are selling the blog, your buyer will usually ask you to take a management role in the blog after it’s sold. You’re probably going to continue running it the way you did when you owned it.
While some things may stay the same, your buyer is a different person, and will likely have different goals for the blog.
That means, even though they have kept you on to help with the blog, you may be asked to do and say things that you may not have said and done when you still owned the blog.
Their philosophies are going to be different than yours, so you will need to make sure you are flexible. If you’re asked to do things that are against your own standards, you may need to reconsider maintaining your role in the blog.
Ready To Sell?
None of this is rocket science. It is practical advice you can use to not only grow your blog but also make it more attractive to a buyer, if you ever decide to sell.
The end result will be a successful blog that will have genuine interest when you feel the time is right to move on.
Jock is the founder of Digital Exits. He has been featured in Forbes and contributed to numerous websites and podcasts. He specialises in appraising and buying/selling online businesses and enjoys helping other entrepreneurs do business online.