By far the most profitable days of my career have been the days when I sold websites. I’ve sold several different sites since my first sale in 2010, and these lump sums are always exciting.
Selling a website or blog can be a great way to improve your financial situation, but selling at the right time is extremely important. You don’t want to sell too early and miss out on the chance to make even more money. And you also don’t want to hold on to the site too long and watch the value decline.
I’ve had a few friends over the years that sold sites for 10-25% of what they could have sold it for just a couple of years earlier.
I don’t want that to happen to me, so I’m always watching out for signs that it might be nearing the time to sell a website.
Selling your website is a personal decision. Factors related to your family and career will impact the decision, so you can’t take anyone’s advice (including mine) without putting it into the context of your own situation. This article is intended to be a guide to get you thinking, but not to tell you what is best for you, because only you know the details of your own situation.
Be sure you read the first post in this series: Pros and Cons of Selling a Website or Blog
Signs That You Shouldn’t Sell Your Website Yet
If these things apply to you, you may be better off waiting to sell your website or blog.
1. The Current Value of Your Site Wouldn’t Justify the Time and Effort You’ve Put Into It
Building a successful blog or website takes a lot of time and commitment. And typically it will take months or even years before you start making decent money with the site. In order to get the maximum value when selling a site, you’ll usually need to wait long enough for your efforts to pay off. Wait until you’ve turned the corner and made the site a success before selling and you’ll get a much better price for it.
2. There are Other Monetization Methods You Could Easily Tap Into
One of the best ways to increase the income from a site, and increase the amount that you could sell it for, is to add other streams of revenue. Building an audience is usually the hardest part. Once you have that audience built you can implement multiple monetization strategies to make a lot more money.
Some monetization methods are easier to implement than others. If you’re not making any money from affiliate programs you should give that a shot before looking to sell your site. There are possibilities as an affiliate in just about any niche you can imagine. Other sources of revenue like sponsored content and display ads can also be pretty easy to implement and may significantly increase the value of your site.
As an example, I sold a website/blog in 2013. Six months before I sold it I decided to see if I could increase revenue from the site by focusing on affiliate marketing. At the time I was making very little as an affiliate, maybe just an occasional web hosting referral commission here and there. In six months I was able to add $10,000 in monthly revenue to the site by simple adding affiliate links in existing content and publishing a few posts each month promoting products as an affiliate. I took the total monthly revenue from about $15,000 per month to $25,000 per month and was able to sell the site for $500,000. My only regret was that I waited so long to focus on affiliate programs.
3. There are Opportunities to Use the Site to Launch a New Project
There may be some situations where you want to use your existing website/blog/email list to help springboard the launch of a new project. If you’ve got an idea for a new project that has some cross over with your existing audience, getting that new project off the ground quickly would be much easier with your existing audience.
Let’s take a look at a fictional example. If you have a travel blog with an established audience you could launch a separate website where you curate travel deals from other websites. With your existing audience of travel enthusiasts you could quickly get this new site moving with some promotions to your email list and some mentions in your blog posts. If you were to sell the blog first and then try to launch the other site you would have to start from scratch. So before you sell a site think about other projects that you could start to leverage your audience before selling.
Something you’ll want to consider here is that many buyers will want you to sign a non-compete agreement when you’re selling a website. From my experience most buyers are willing to work with you and allow you to continue existing projects if they don’t directly compete with the site they are buying from you. Keep that in mind, and when you do look to sell, be up front with buyers about any other related projects you are running or intend to start.
4. You Haven’t Given Much Thought to What You’ll Do After Selling
Getting a lump sum of money is great, but in order for it to be a good move you’ll need to be able to replace the income from the site. If you haven’t given much thought to what you will do for income after you sell the site, I would recommend waiting until you have a solid plan in place.
Signs that You Should Consider Selling Your Website
And here are some things that may indicate it’s time to consider selling.
1. You’ve Lost Interest in the Site or Topic
All of us have interests and passions that change over the course of time. Maybe you started a website or blog a few years ago and you were really into the topic at the time. But recently you’ve lost interest, and running the site has become more of a chore.
If you’re no longer interested in the topic I would recommend that you consider selling it. I know I don’t enjoy running websites on topics that have no meaning to me. Most people aren’t very good at growing sites that don’t interest them, so if the site is going to go downhill you may want ro sell it instead.
2. You Feel Like You’ve Maxed Out Your Potential with the Site
There may be times when you feel like you’ve taken a site as far as you can. Sometimes growing a site any further may require more time and/or resources than you have or are willing to spend. At this point your site probably has a decent value so you may want to consider selling it to someone else who will be able to take the site to another level.
Last year my wife and I sold an Amazon-based business because we felt like we had taken it as far as we could. In order to grow the site we would have needed to add more products, and we were already carrying as much inventory as we were comfortable with. So we sold the site to someone else who was willing to have more money tied up in inventory than we were.
3. You Need to Free Up Some of Your Time
Running a website takes time. Maybe you have another project that needs more of your time and something has to give. Or maybe for personal or family reasons you don’t have the time needed to run the website.
The worst thing you can do is let the site slowly decline because you don’t have enough time for it. A better option is to sell it before it declines.
4. There are Other Things You Could Do with Your Time that Would Be More Profitable
Just because a website is making money for you doesn’t mean that it is the best use of your time. Maybe you have something else you could do with your time that would be more profitable.
5. The Lump Sum of Money Would Be Important for You
There are plenty of scenarios where the lump sum you get from selling a website would make a huge difference. Maybe you need the money to invest in another business. Or maybe you need the money to buy a house or something personal. Regardless of the reasons, if you need a sum of money, selling a website is one way to get it.
Remember, Each Situation is Unique
I don’t want this article to come across as if I’m saying you definitely should sell in some situations and definitely shouldn’t sell in others. The factors surrounding your unique situation will help you to decide what is right for you. The things mentioned in this article are only intended to be general recommendations, and to help get you thinking.