in General

BrainFuel is not for sale however feel free to make an offer

I’ve watched over the last couple of years as several bloggers have built up websites and then sold them for a small to even large return on the investment of (mostly) time.

Yaro Starak recently purchased SmallBusinessBranding.com for a price I’d guess is below $5,000 although I could be wrong (he doesn’t say). He writes his thoughts on the purchase on this web site. I actually learned about this reading ProBlogger which is another site I follow.

Have you ever thought of doing something like this? I’ve got a few ideas for some of my sites and have ideas to improve a site I own and move it towards a point where it might be attractive as a purchase. It’s just an odd reason to build a site. I mean, don’t people usually put their own personality into a site? If I were to prepare BrainFuel for sale, for example, I would almost have to take the fun and witty posts out and leave only the web business and site review posts. Who wants to buy a personal site?

Incidentially, I know at least two people who think this is what I should do here on BrainFuel (take out that personal touch). That’s besides the point though, and won’t be happening.

One thing I’ve noticed that is especially true on the web is that a specialized and highly focused web site can be amazingly successful. Sites about narrow topics dominate in both number of steady readers and in their overall rank and money earning potential.

So, my question for you is this: If you could spend 100 hours of your time in the next year and build a site like Small Business Branding and thought you could sell it for around $5,000+ would you? Then why don’t you. The key is to specialize and just choose a very specific topic. Be the expert and specialize.

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  1. I don’t know. Publishing, from an authorship standpoint, is such a personal thing. The whole brand of blogs, especially, I believe, is not wrapped up in the design or the logo, but the voice of the author(s) and, in the case of highly visited sites, the comments.

    Take CSSVault for instance. Has that site been the same at all since Paul dumped it? It does the same thing it always has, and surely the dude that took it over is just as qualified to highlight the sites he personally enjoys just as much as Paul was, but the personality has been taken out of the equation. Because of that, it’ll never again enjoy the success it had previous.

    To look at it differently, the same when 37svn tinkered with taking down comments. However, they were successful in that change. The noise level was becoming a distraction to their brand, so something had to be done, and it appears they were successful in getting the control back. However, part (most?) of the critical success of 37svn is thanks to the comments and discussions which occur there. To have left the comments off would’ve completely destroyed that site in no time.

    In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen one site that went on to greater success after being purchased and run by someone else or differently. They’ve all kind of taken a tumble and fell off the planet of aggregators.

    I might sell a blog because there’ll always be a fool out there willing to separate themselves from their money, but I would never in a million years buy one.

    In the case of blogs, it’s not business – it’s personal.

  2. Good points, Mark. I agree with everything you said. If someone wants to pay me for a site I’ve built I’m all ears. However I see little value because it is the personal brand that makes these types of sites work.

  3. i think the real question hinted here is how will the users react? just like cssvault, will users stick around? blogs are personal not only for the writer but for the reader. a good example is dooce — all she does is write about her kids and weird marrital stories, yet she has TONS of readers. take her out of the equation and you’ve got nothing.

    that’s why i think 9rules has begun assembling such a wide variety of sites. i’ll read about anything if the writer is compelling and i like their personality.

    if i’m an active reader of a site that’s sold, i’m feeling a bit sold out, you know? all these blog figures are measured in terms of $/subscriber or $/hit. that’s selling me out, and i’m less inclinded to stick around once that’s happened..

  4. What you said makes total sense, Jason. These sites are selling out the readers.

    To a lesser extent, I’m willing to bet it’s about the existing content, the domain name, the design, and the search rankings.

  5. Hi Guys – yeah you are quite right about the issue of blogger personality and losing existing readers because they feel sold out or were fans of the blogger, not the blog.

    In my case with the purchase of Small Business Branding I expect that I will lose some hardcore Michael Pollock fans, but hopefully bring along a bunch of new readers that are Yaro fans.

    I will grow the site by creating content. The topics I cover won’t be interesting to all of Michael’s old readers so again I will probably lose some people, however as I’ve learnt people gravitate to good content and interesting honest personalities – I think I provide both and Small Business Branding will benefit from my input. It will change and not be the same site as it was, but evolution can be a good thing.