Top Blog Dream: Selling Your Blog for Millions

Top Blog Dream: Selling Your Blog For Millions Money Pipeline

Almost every blogger with a dream or website owner with a plan will eventually wonder what their website is worth, if it will bring in the big cash if they should wish to sell.

It’s certainly the average my top blog dream: sell blog for millions … then travel the world.

To those of us who blog regularly and love it, there’s nothing finer than the idea of being paid for your blogging efforts — to be paid in such a way that you could walk into another life.

Except I think that I would miss this torture I’m addicted to now.  Would be nice if I could travel and do this…

Recently I threw my hat into the Webby Award ring for 8 Women Dream.  We didn’t make the cut and the only real disappointment is the fact that you don’t get feedback on your website.

Really.

I’d love them to scale a response like: “If you are in the bottom 5000 and you don’t hear from us, you should find something better to do with your time.  From 5,000 to the top 1,000 you’ll get a form letter with us saying that your site could easily be a contender next year, and the top 1,000 under the nominees get individual responses with one statement on something they need to improve.”   Feedback is everything when you are fine-tuning your art, and especially if you are showcasing your art for the world to consume.

People argue that the Webby’s don’t matter because you pay to be juried, but painting competitions work the same way.  Prize money and funds are needed to run a decent awards show. Corporate sponsors have budgets. If the competition can expose you to media coverage, then I believe it’s worth it.

Plus sometimes you just have to get up off your ass and swing your bat as hard as you can, and whether 8 Women Dream was a long-shot for a Webby, or not, I had to take a chance.  I had to do what I promised myself I’d do when I started blogging. I decided that I’d begin taking risks and pushing out at the Internet and see what it throws back as soon as I felt the site was ready.

A Webby nomination would have sure thrown back big money and the press.  One step forward on the dream road. One step over to the drawing board.

If you think about it, what makes a blog potentially able to attract buyer’s with big money is probably close to what could win it a Webby. You have to get your blog to a certain point before you can make money or win a Webby. And yes, there’s big money to be made online.

blog value calculator

Michael Dunlop, of Income diary posted what blogs had sold for in his 20 Top Blog Sales – Sell Your Blog For Millions story —

Top Blog Sites That Have Been Sold for Millions:

    • 1 Ugo.com – Sold For: $100 million
    • 2 Fotolog – Sold For: $90 million
    • 3 Consumersearch – Sold for: $33 million
    • 4 TechCrunch – Sold for: $30 million
    • 5 PaidContent – Sold for: $30 million
    • 6 Tatter and Company – Sold for: $30 million
    • 7 Ars Technica – Sold for: $25 million
    • 8 Weblogs.com – Sold for: $25 million
    • 9 Livejournal.com – Sold for: $25 million
    • 10 Bankaholic.com – Sold for: $15 million
    • 11 Deadline Hollywood – Sold for: $14 million
    • 12 Wonkette – Sold for: $12 million
    • 13 Celebrity baby blog -Sold for: $10 million
    • 14 Tree Hugger – Sold for: $10 million
    • 15 Freakanomics -Sold for: $8 million
    • 16 The Consumerist – Sold for: $7 million
    • 17 World Hum – Sold for: $6 million
    • 18 Arseblog – Sold for: $5 million
    • 19 GardenRant – Sold for: $1.3 million
    • 20 Politicshome – Sold for: $1.3 million

Now that I have your attention… Bloggers look at these totals for more than just the money.  These sales add validity to blogging and they set the standard for the level of excellence all bloggers should strive for.  Even if you get there slowly, eventually the turtle wins the race.

Didn’t your mamma teach you that?

What does it take?  Well, I’ve thought a lot about this over the past two weeks and compared the Webby standards to what makes your site have value on the Internet.

8 Ways to Gain Value so You Can Sell Your Blog for Millions

1. Content (from the Webby’s Judging criteria)
Content is the information provided on the site. It is not just text, but music, sound, animation, or video — anything that communicates a sites body of knowledge. Good content should be engaging, relevant, and appropriate for the audience. You can tell it’s been developed for the Web because it’s clear and concise and it works in the medium. Good content takes a stand. It has a voice, a point of view. It may be informative, useful, or funny but it always leaves you wanting more.

Which typically means painful to you. It’s putting it out there and putting it all on the line. If you hold back the Internet will hold back from you too. You don’t get to the top of your craft by playing it safe. Chew on that.

The content should be aesthetically pleasing, easy on the eye without too many distractions. Look at the top blogs. Look at their styles. What do they have in common?

2. Structure and Navigation (from the Webby’s Judging criteria)
Structure and navigation refers to the framework of a site, the organization of content, the prioritization of information, and the method in which you move through the site. Sites with good structure and navigation are consistent, intuitive and transparent. They allow you to form a mental model of the information provided, where to find things, and what to expect when you click. Good navigation gets you where you want to go quickly and offers easy access to the breadth and depth of the site’s content.

Recently I realized that I need to get rid of the drop-down menus on 8 Women Dream. They’re difficult on Smartphones and other portable devices. You have to stay current with Internet trends and adjust the look and feel of your content accordingly. You will always be making changes to your site. Accept it.

3. Visual Design (from the Webby’s Judging criteria)
Visual design is the appearance of the site. It’s more than just a pretty homepage and it doesn’t have to be cutting edge or trendy. Good visual design is high quality, appropriate, and relevant for the audience and the message it is supporting. It communicates a visual experience and may even take your breath away.

This is where you ask, ask, ask your readers for feedback on design. And don’t take what they say personally. You want them to keep coming back don’t you?

4. Functionality (from the Webby’s Judging criteria)
Functionality is the use of technology on the site. Good functionality means the site works well. It loads quickly, has live links, and any new technology used is functional and relevant for the intended audience. The site should work cross-platform and be browser independent. Highly functional sites anticipate the diversity of user requirements from file size, to file format and download speed. The most functional sites also take into consideration those with special access needs. Good functionality makes the experience center stage and the technology invisible.

Slow site times, slow image loading, or too small font so that it makes link clicking on a phone require too much work. These are the site symptoms that kill your potential for profitability and popularity. I know, because I have made this mistake. We are right now dealing with slow load times on 8 Women dream during certain times of the day. I have to fix that. It’s my fault. You have to look at it this way if you want the big money someday. BE PERFECT.

5. Interactivity (from the Webby’s Judging criteria)
Interactivity is the way that a site allows you to do something. Good interactivity is more than a rollover or choosing what to click on next; it allows you, as a user, to give and receive. It insists that you participate, not spectate.

It’s input/output, as in searches, chat rooms, e-commerce and gaming or notification agents, peer-to-peer applications and real-time feedback. It’s make your own, distribute your own, or speak your mind so others can see, hear or respond. Interactive elements are what separates the Web from other media. Their inclusion should make it clear that you aren’t reading a magazine or watching TV anymore.

This is where video is king and all of us have to step into that cold reality, like yesterday. We’ve been bad at this on 8 Women Dream. We tend to hide ourselves from video. I wonder why that is, but if we are ever going to completely connect with our audience, then we need more video.

6. Overall Experience (from the Webby’s Judging criteria)
Demonstrating that sites are frequently more — or less than the sum of their parts, the overall experience encompasses content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, and interactivity, but it also includes the intangibles that make one stay or leave. One has probably had a good overall experience if (s)he comes back regularly, places a bookmark, signs up for a newsletter, participates, emails the site to a friend, or stays for a while, intrigued.

How much is your content shared by other people?  How active and engaged are you on your site?  Do you respond to comments in a timely manner?  Do you thank people who share your content?  You have to be honest with yourself here and look for ways to improve your content if people are not reacting and sharing what you offer.

7. Monetization (this one is from me)
In order to sell your blog for millions it has to be making money – real money on a consistent basis. Whether you have a large blog that brings in thousands of dollars and visitors per month, or you have a small blog that only generates a few dollars each month, it’s important to monetize your site. The income your blog generates is part of the equation to setting value — no different than a brick and mortar business. Eventually you need to be making money off your website. The more money you make, the higher the value.

Here are 17 ways to make money on your website:

1. Advertising Widgets
2. Affiliate Marketing
3. Cost Per Mille (CPM) Advertising
4. In-text Ads
5. Offer Live Workshops in Your Area
6. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
7. Pay Per Play (PPP) Audio Advertising
8. Product Reviews
9. RSS Adverts
10. Sell Advertising Space
11. Sell An Online Teaching Course
12. Sell Your Own Books or Ebooks
13. Sell Your Own Products Such as Cafe Press
14. Sell Your Own Services
15. Sell Your Own Tutorials and Guides
16. Sell Your Own Webinars
17. Get a Blog Sponsor

8. Traffic and Social Quan (this one is from me)
Darren Rowse of Problogger has created an equation for figuring out what your website is worth: Monthly revenue x 12 to 24 months = sale price. You need solid traffic to your site as well as a strong social media presence to generate a solid monthly revenue and build deeper relationships with your followers that drives them to purchase from your website each time you want them to buy from you.Websites that sold for millions of dollars

Let’s take that same list of top blogs that have been sold for millions and see what their social
media presence is like:

#1. Ugo.comSold For: $100 million
Facebook: Stats no longer available
Google Plus: 15
Twitter: 12,909 followers
YouTube: 399,744
Sites linking to it: 8,626,949
Visitors: 7,370 per day
Pageviews: 20,636 per day
Age: 14 years
(Site was subsequently shut-down by the new owners siting poor economic times)

#2. FotologSold For: $90 million with 32 million users
Facebook: 220,000 Likes
Twitter: 3,871 followers
Sites linking to it: 28,832
Visitors: Over 19.1 million per month
Pageviews: 3.9 billion page views per month
Age: 3 years, 4 months

#3. ConsumersearchSold for: $33 million
Facebook: 18,304 Likes
Google Plus: 135
Twitter: 3,200 followers
YouTube: 55,094
Sites linking to it: 583
Visitors: 14,960 per day
Pageviews: 31,715 per day
Age: 17 years, 2 months

#4. TechCrunchSold for: $30 million
Facebook: 605,000 Likes
Google Plus: 1,712,821
Twitter: 2,692,885 followers
YouTube: 21,848
Sites linking to it: 234,871
Visitors: 155,400 per day
Pageviews: 284,382 per day
Age: 8 years, 4 months

#5. PaidContentSold for: $30 million
Facebook: 6,955 Likes
Google Plus: 148
Twitter: 40,489 followers
Sites linking to it: 1,423,514
Visitors: 17,490 per day
Pageviews: 28,833 per day
Age: 10 years, 10 months

#6. Tatter and Company – Sold for: $30 million
Facebook: 41 Likes
Google Plus: 5
Twitter: 213 followers
Sites linking to it: 3,068,423
Visitors: 990 per day
Pageviews: 3,762 per day
Age: 5 years, 11 months

#7. Ars Technica – Sold for: $25 million
Facebook: 82,214 Likes
Google Plus: 808,464
Twitter: 516,327 followers
Sites linking to it: 4,841,301
Visitors: 67,200 per day
Pageviews: 129,024 per day
Age: 14 years, 3 months

#8 Weblogs.com – Sold for: $25 million
Sites linking to it: 2,677,921
Visitors: 2,530 per day
Pageviews: 4,048 per day
Age: 14 years, 1 months

#9. Livejournal.com – Sold for: $25 million
Facebook: 51,021 Likes
Google Plus: 349
Twitter: 15,129 followers
Sites linking to it: 328,320,302
Visitors: 383,400 per day
Pageviews: 2,127,870 per day
Age: 14 years

#10 Bankaholic.com – Sold for: $15 million
Facebook: 18,015 Likes
Google Plus: 3
Twitter: 35 followers
Sites linking to it: 79,603
Visitors: 5,445 per day
Pageviews: 8,712 per day
Age: 6 years, 9 months

#11. Deadline Hollywood – Sold for: $14 million
Facebook: 67,819 Likes
Google Plus: 263,766
Twitter: 9,706 followers
Sites linking to it: 3,863,534
Visitors: 22,080 per day
Pageviews: 45,705 per day
Age: 17 years, 7 months

#12. Wonkette – Sold for: $12 million
Facebook: 14,528 Likes
Twitter: 32,302 followers
Sites linking to it: 1,390,103
Visitors: 6,820 per day
Pageviews: 13,640 per day
Age: 9 years, 5 months

#13. Celebrity Baby Blog – Sold for: $10 million
Facebook: 1,754,907 Likes
Google Plus: 1,279,239
Twitter: 4,773,282 followers
Sites linking to it: 9,677,459
Visitors: 106,800 per day
Pageviews: 331,080 per day
Age: 18 years, 10 months

#14. Tree Hugger – Sold for: $10 million
Facebook: 154,000 Likes
Google Plus: 4,309
Twitter: 222,279 followers
Sites linking to it: 2,499,593
Visitors: 20,880 per day
Pageviews: 54,288 per day
Age: 10 years, 11 months

#15. Freakanomics -Sold for: $8 million
Facebook: 258,320 Likes
Twitter: 516,735 followers
Sites linking to it: 540 243
Visitors: 6,820 per day
Pageviews: 12,276 per day
Age: 9 years, 5 months

#16. The Consumerist – Sold for: $7 million
Facebook: 20,050 Likes
Twitter: followers
Sites linking to it: 1,011,488
Visitors: 22,895 per day
Pageviews: 54,032 per day
Age: 13 years, 4 months

#17. World Hum – Sold for: $6 million
Facebook: 3,716 Likes
Google Plus: 413
Twitter: 21,04 followers
Sites linking to it: 178,189
Visitors: 3,811 per day
Pageviews: 6,478 per day
Age: 12 years, 8 months

#18. Arseblog – Sold for: $5 millions
Facebook: 32,824 Likes
Google Plus: 9,907
Twitter: 120,839 followers
YouTube: 356,131
Sites linking to it: 140,670
Visitors:  8,250 per day
Pageviews:  18,975 per day
Age:  11 years,  1 months

#19. GardenRant – Sold for: $1.3 million
Twitter:  5,173 followers
Sites linking to it: 189,152
Visitors: 5,049 per day
Pageviews: 21,205 per day
Age: 6 years, 11 months

#20. Politicshome – Sold for: $1.3 million
Facebook: 2,036 Likes
Twitter: 31,437 followers
YouTube: 228
Sites linking to it: 751,388
Visitors: 1,980 per day
Pageviews: 5,742 per day
Age: 5 years, 5 months

What made these sites so attractive to buyers is the buzz they created in their niche and rather than having to build that readership base over several years, many large companies just prefer to find a blog that has the traffic and buzz they are looking for and offer to buy them.  The reason many bloggers work so hard at blogging is they hope that a large company will want to buy them for their traffic and Internet buzz.

It’s not impossible to make good money blogging.  Here are some examples from BubbleNews

PerezHilton.com
PerezHilton is a celebrity news blog created and maintained by Mario Lavandeira that makes $ 140,000 each month. Its main source of revenue comes from banner ads.

LifeHacker.com
Lifehacker is a blog that explores practical tips on everyday life. Managed by Gina Trapani and Nick Denton who make $60,000 a month primarily from banner ads.

StevePavlina.com
StevePavlina.com privately owned and managed by Steve Pavlina, a personal development teacher making $45,000 each month from PPC advertising and Joint Ventures.

What researching how sites create income online teaches you is how much harder you must push yourself and your work and how much more you need to do to create millions at blogging. So it’s back to the drawing board for me.  If I can’t attract a comment from a Webby judge about 8 Women Dream, then 8 Women Dream can’t be sold for millions, but I bet we could make a lot more money in the meantime and raise our value on the internet…

What about you?  What do top performing sites teach you about how well you are doing? What are your plans for making millions online?

Catherine

If you are curious to look up website values go to digsitevalue.org and enter a website address – be sure to leave off the http://www.

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Catherine Hughes, Be an Online Success

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed.
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  • Gah. Some of the age of these sites are amazing, never mind the sticker price! I love the video reminder… it’s not the video that holds me up, but the editing. I need to speed up my process to get things going out faster.

    Great idea for the generic feedback from the Webby’s. Nothing worse that not making the cut without some kind of indicator of the parameters that went into that decision.

    More great content once again Cath. Still formulating my million dollar online plan. You will be the first to know – and to offer a reality check :)

    • Yeah … I am with you on that and eyeing Steve Pavlina…we compete with him on some of our numbers… we should be developing more…

      In June… back to the drawing board.

      Catherine

  • This is great Catherine! You put an amazing amount of time and energy into this post. It is so helpful. I’m also wondering, as I read it, how much “needed information” fits into the equation. Do blogs that really take off, take off because people keep coming back over and over – because here they get something they think they need, or want. Maybe I missed it in the lineup – but good content isn’t good enough if the reader doesn’t choose to come back over and over. Right? Which leads me to wonder – what is it that makes a blog super popular? I know one answer – funny. Not the case in every blog – but some of these blogs that have humor as a theme are followed a lot. Think Twitter – and the guy who did “sh*t my Dad says” and it went wild and was even turned into a TV show. Anyway….just thinking out loud. Maybe the Webbys don’t factor that into the equation – but I think one of the reasons Seth Godin’s blog is absolutely off the hook – is due to what it offers, even more than how it is layed out. Yes ? no? Maybe?

    • Great questions and actually Webby does answer it …

      “Good content takes a stand. It has a voice, a point of view. It may be informative, useful, or funny but it always leaves you wanting more… ”

      And

      “…if (s)he comes back regularly, places a bookmark, signs up for a newsletter, participates, emails the site to a friend, or stays for a while, intrigued.”

      Think about your favorite chocolate, purse, make-up, book…. why do you love it so much? Simply put, a great website leaves you wanting more. You are intrigued.

      Seth Godin became famous from selling his company Yoyodyne to Yahoo! in 1998 for $30 million and then becomming Yahoo’s vice president of direct marketing. Once you are famous for a big web deal … you don’t necessarily have to follow any of the rules on the Internet. His TED Talk on Tribes helped catapult him to guru-like status too.

      People like Seth Godin because he’s a tech star… a tech star with a cool website…although I don’t agree with his 500 word blog posts. You can do that if you are famous like him and make it work, but I have found short blog posts don’t do as well as well-researched, detailed blog posts over 1,000 words.

      Thanks for such great questions!

      Catherine

  • ImanWoods

    This is fascinating. I think we forget the bigger picture that blogging can be a successful career. We just have to keep focus.

    • I’ll second Iman’s opinion on this. Focus is important. What an impressive post Cath. Great work!

      • It shows you what is possible FOR you my friend.

    • I am for all of us making money online… and being famous.