The big dream for many content publishers 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 buying party can’t see themselves able to run the show. So it’s up to you to make sure that they can slide right in seamlessly.
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 a handful of sites within our personal portfolio and also those of our partners, it’s been crucial to understand the following aspects of creating a sellable asset.
1) Choose a Topic That's Easily Outsourced
Now this first point might seem controversial and may even come across like we don’t care about the connection with our affiliate sites audience.
But it’s completely the opposite. We’d actually like to cater to a specific part of the market but be broad enough to introduce people to more narrow subjects as they please.
Blogs that are attractive to investors are usually within a topic that’s easy to source writers for.
Managing writers is no walk in the park either and sometimes your best writers might go “missing-in-action”.
As publishers and investors, you don’t want to set yourself up for future pain and a narrow topic that requires too much expertise may cause you to earn less money and also spend more.
Sidenote: If you're a long-time blogger and everything is personal to the topics in your life, your site unfortunately is not going to be something you can transfer to a buyer.
This also means that you’d want to avoid using your name as the brand/domain name too.
2) Be A Multi-Author Site Or Create A Transferrable Persona
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. It also could mean there are editing processes in place too for consistency.
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 work with a spectacular group of writers who are skilled in writing conversion driven affiliate content. Find out more information here.
3) Keep Track of Your Finances From The Beginning
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 keep records on.
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 expenses so why not do that from day one.
How much profit can your blog have if you don't know your revenue and expenses.
It’s impossible to know, right?
4) Build a List!
“The money's in the list!”
Yup, I've just repeated one of the most overused sayings in the online business 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 that list into Facebook’s ad platform and promote your content and products there.
Emails have notoriously low open rates now because everyone is using it, however, it’s still just as important.
High open rates and click-throughs can be a very efficient way to run a business. Just look at HARO's business model or AppSumos.
5) Create Standard Operating Processes (SOPs)
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 extremely useful for when they finally sold it.
With SOP’s, you can hire nearly anyone and with a reasonable amount of confidence know that the job will get done correctly because of these processes.
(Your hiring process matters too though :P)
We’ve built tons of these internal documents for our team and currently we’re at 152 freelancers that are working with HPD so it’s more necessary than ever.
6) Strive For More Than One Major Traffic Source
Our methodology, that we call “the human proof method”, is based on attracting site visitors through organic Google traffic.
While this is 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 a significant amount of your total traffic, then you'll be setting yourself up nicely for an attractive sale.
7) Monetize Through Multiple Income Streams
Just like traffic diversification, it helps to earn income from multiple sources too.
In might even be more important than the diversified traffic.
Take these two situations into account, here’s the first:
A buyer might notice that all of your traffic comes from Pinterest with only a minimal amount coming from organic.
Depending on their skill sets, this 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 a simple switch (see our RPM’s in this picture):
In additional to affiliate commissions and advertisement revenue, having your own product is also highly valuable.
Let’s go over a real life scenario:
One of our investors has a site in the health niche. A lot of the content is of 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 get 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.
8) Rebalance With White Hat Tactics & Footprints
Websites that utilize white hat SEO generally get a higher multiple than their grey hat cousins.
This doesn’t mean that white hat sites are incapable of getting penalties by the way. It’s just simply that brokers are able to raise the value of a property simply because investors and buyers perceive white hat to be more valuable.
So we need to “go with the flow” and do the right thing.
This usually means weening ourselves off of grey hat PBN links before the sale of the site.
Without damaging the traffic of course!
To do this, start building white hat links now that you’ve used grey hat tactics to bring in revenue quickly. Then when your site is able to stand on it’s own because you’ve perfected your outreach and are getting links organically from your #1 spots… It’s time to remove the grey hat links slowly.
(PS. Sites with PBN links also sell all the time and quickly too. That’s because they still work!)
9) Don’t Create A Brand That Screams “Affiliate Site”
The further you can strive towards building a site that looks like it’s built for the people you serve, the better.
Avoid sites with long review articles as their homepage (we used to do this and it still works, but we know what’s better now.)
Avoid sites with exact match domains and are very long. No one really trusts www.besttoastersunder50.com
The easiest way to think about this is to look at the sites you personally subscribe to on email. They’ve obviously convinced you to join their email list and I’m guessing it’s because their site didn’t scream “give me your money and click this link!!”
I think the only caveat I’d like to make is that of point #1 for choosing a broad niche vs narrow niche.
A broad niche is easy to grow and scale, hence we chose that side.
However, one benefit with a narrow niche is that it’s attractive for bigger companies to consume and therefore easier to sell.
I guess it depends on what the niche is too! So use your best judgement or feel free to post it in our Facebook group.
In any case, we’d like to know more about where you are with your site today and if we can help you get further along.
HPD offers a full suite of services for publishers, including:
- Conversion driven affiliate content for your site
- An A-to-Z course to scale up your publishing business upon (AKA the Human Proof Method – special offer here.)
- And a ton of other highly useful services like PBN links, monthly SEO, and more!
So if any of those stand out to you then give us a try today!