So, for a while now, I have been watching Sitepoint, and other places where you can buy and sell sites. I have also watched as numerous sites I know well have been bought and sold, and there is one major thing I have realized: on average, a site will lose up to a third of its traffic after being sold.
I know this is a generalization, but from what I have seen over the last couple of years proves to me that I am right, especially where blogs are concerned.
Most blogs are focused around a certain person or persons running the show. They post on the site, deal with advertising, and design. As a reader, you build up certain expectations and when a site is sold, all of these expectations crumble as the new owner always does something different with the site.
So my first piece of advice to a potential blog purchaser is to make sure that you factor in this drop, as pretty much nothing you can do will stop it from happening, and the stronger the personality of the original owner, usually the greater the drop in traffic.
An example being Paul Scrivens’ sites. The guy has a very strong personality, and a certain style of writing, but even more than that, he has fans that follow him around, and are interested in what he is doing. As soon as he leaves a site behind, a certain group leaves as well, and there is nothing the new owner can do other than hire Paul to write more articles on the site they have purchased.
So does that mean you shouldn’t buy a blog? Well, of course not. Buying a blog, even one with a strong personality can be a great business move, and allow you to access an audience you might have missed before you purchased the blog, but make sure you factor in this drop, and make it part of your plans.
When purchasing a blog, make sure you have some promotion methods in place, some big ideas, and some powerful writers to help carry the site through the transition, and remember, the more you change, the more you can expect the original audience to go somewhere else. It is a very hard business issue that is more apparent in blogs than pretty much any other type of site.
I would love you hear your ideas on other dangers you’ve experienced in buying or selling a blog, and if you have bought a blog, was there a traffic dip, and how did you combat it?