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The big dream for many bloggers is to someday cash out and get that illustrious “sunset money”.
Here’s the thing though:
You won’t have much luck selling your blog if the buyer can’t see themselves able to run the show. So it’s up to you to make sure that they can slide right in.
This means we need to be mindful of how we setup our business from day 1.
The key word in there is “business”. So we really need to start thinking of our blogs in this way.
After selling many sites with our company, Human Proof Designs, it’s been crucial to understand the following guidelines if you want to create a sellable blog.
Now this first point might seem controversial and may even come across like we don’t care about the target audience.
But it’s completely the opposite. This is actually careful consideration for your audience and also for your business.
Blogs that are attractive to investors are usually within a topic that’s easy to find writers for.
Managing writers is no walk in the park and sometimes your best writers might go “missing”.
As publishers and investors, you don’t want to set yourself up for some pain because hiring isn’t particularly fun for anyone and costs more money.
If you’re a long-time blogger and everything is personal to the topics in your life, it’s simply not going to be something you can transfer to a buyer.
While you can outsource a lot of content to sites like Contentmart, the idea to keep in mind is automation and systemization.
There are content creation tools that can help you build a turnkey operation that the new owner can easily take over.
This also means that you’d want to avoid using your name as the brand/domain name.
Related: How to choose a blog name and URL for your blog
Often times, there’s nothing more attractive to a buyer than a site with multiple contributors.
It means there’s most likely a schedule set in place and if one writer leaves, then the slack can be picked up by the rest of the team.
Some other solutions to this issue might be to create a persona or pen name and have different writers contributing as that persona.
All in all, we want something that is stable and a diverse writing team makes it easier for that to happen.
If you’d like to test this out, we have multiple writers working on our own properties and those of our clients.
Related: Should you blog under your own name or an anonymous name?
When a buyer is interested in your site, you’ll need to hand over your financials too.
Being a good business person requires being fiscally responsible too.
If you have no writing costs currently because you’re doing all of that yourself, you still have hosting costs, domain registrations, etc to be mindful of recording.
Most buyers want to see 2 years of financials, but honestly, there are plenty of sites with less history that still get purchased.
The majority of the time, an investor may make a decision based on 1 year worth of history.
The important thing is that you’re keeping track of them so why not do that from day one.
“The money’s in the list!”
Yup, I’ve just repeated one of the most overused sayings in the internet marketing world.
However, it’s true… So that’s why people say it.
An email list is known as your owned media.
Having an email list of people that are interested in one common topic is extremely valuable.
Not only can you send them emails (with sponsorships even), but you can upload the list into Facebook’s ad platform and create a custom audiences or look-a-like audiences.
If you continue to provide value to your list plus your open plus click-through rates are very high, that in itself is a very high margin business too.
Just look at HARO’s business model.
Related: 10 of the best email marketing services
If you’ve ever listened to any of the Tropical MBA podcast episodes, they always mention SOPs because it was very important throughout their business but also when they sold it.
There isn’t much that’s more useful to a business owner than plug and play processes.
Now they can hire nearly anyone and with a reasonable amount of confidence know that the job will get done correctly because of these processes.
Not only is it beneficial to website buyers in the future, but it’ll make your life as the owner easier starting today.
We’ve built tons of these internal documents for our team. Currently we’re at 152 freelancers that are working on our own sites and those of our clients.
Our methodology, that we call “the human proof method”, is based mostly on gaining site visitors through organic Google traffic.
We typically use a handful of free and paid SEO tools, which can unlock great results in that arena.
While this our usual strategy, we know and understand that secondary properties can be extremely valuable in the sale of a site too.
These are things like Youtube channels, Facebook groups, Pinterest accounts, etc.
High organic traffic is very attractive to buyers but so is diversification.
If you can work on carving out a secondary traffic source that brings 20% or more of your total traffic, then you’ll be setting yourself up nicely for an attractive sale.
Just like traffic diversification, it helps to earn income from multiple sources too.
In might even be more important than the traffic.
For example, a buyer might notice that all of your traffic comes from Pinterest with only a minimal amount coming from organic.
If the price is right then this is considered a “good deal” for them.
Because the investor would see a clear way to increase the value of the property immediately by implementing an organic strategy.
On the other hand:
You as the site owner currently want to command the highest multiple.
And usually what creates a higher multiple are things like income diversification.
Even moving away from Adsense and into other ad networks can significantly increase your revenue with just some code (see our RPM’s in this picture):
In additional to affiliate commissions and advertisement revenue, having your own product is also highly valuable.
Even an ebook that’s composed of your best content around a certain problem is something people will pay for and it’s a high margin digital product.
Let’s go over a real life scenario:
One of our investors has a site in the health niche. Much of that content is information and helps people in “how to” guides…
But a lot of it is through our reviews of physical products. Which we generally link to Amazon for.
Now the unique situation here is that the product we recommend the most, just happens to be owned by our investor as well.
This means that we can a commission from Amazon when someone makes a purchase through our link, but also get a double-whammy because the product they bought is also ours.
Related: Different ways to monetize your blog traffic
I’m guessing that you might be in one of two tracks:
You’ve got a personal blog that is hard to transition. Your blog is similar to what we talked to earlier, but missing a few key aspects.
If you’re in the second track and your site is almost too focused in a very narrow niche, here’s some advice for you.
For those in the first track, we could help you out with our early bird niche site emails.
These emails come every 2 weeks and contain a list of new niches that we’ve pre-researched from an SEO perspective and would consider worth paying attention to.
For more information, head over to our early bird page.
If you have any other questions, let’s start a conversation in the comments!
This article was written by Kelvin Mah, who is head of growth and content at Human Proof Designs (HPD), the #1 source for affiliate marketers to learn, grow, and push their sites even further. When Kelvin isn’t executing on the online tactics necessary to grow HPD, he’s hanging out with his dog and growing his own portfolio of sites.