February was one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time. My big blog is showing no signs of slowing down after hitting #1 for its main keywords, and I’ve been spending a lot of time and money into growing it out into different categories.

But that wasn’t the highlight of the month. Last week, a reader of RankXL reached out to me and expressed interest in purchasing the blog and asked if he could take a look at it.

As you might know, I’m very protective of my sites. Since they’re my main source of income, I try to keep them protected and don’t reveal much about the specific niches or keywords I’m targeting.

However, the person who contacted me was someone who is quite well known online and has a reputation for buying and selling large web properties. He’s had a few purchases that are over 6 figures (that I know of) and I thought it might be at least interesting to see what offer he had in mind.

So, I decided to go ahead and reveal the site to him and let him take a look around my analytics.

After a lot of back and forths through email, he offered me $75,000 for the site.

(I did ask him out of courtesy if I can post this info, and he agreed as long as I don’t reveal his name)

$75,000 is a very big sum of cash for me, especially to get it in one payment, but I had to turn it down. It was painful, but it wasn’t the best option for me.

Here’s why.

In February alone, the blog made just over $7000. It’s a bit down from the $8200 it made last month, but that’s not due to anything negative happening on other ends of the metrics.

In fact, traffic was a lot higher this month than the last. Traffic last month on the site was 578,827 unique visitors. This month, it brought in 779,193 unique visitors.

Adsense swings a lot depending on CPC each month. Even 2x swings on revenues even with the exact same amount of traffic are not uncommon to see. So that wasn’t something that concerned me.

Now, $75,000 is a big amount of money for anybody. And I guess the buyer was hoping it would be enough to catch my attention and hook me into a sale.

I was tempted, and I probably spent more time than I should have mulling over it and pondering on other things that I can do with it.

But I decided in the end not to sell it.

Why I Declined

So far, it’s only been 2 months since the blog took off in rankings and traffic. So it’s reasonable for him to value it around that figure because the months before that had much lower earnings.

But if I wait a little longer, the blog should be worth at least 3x that. I’ll have more months of data with high revenues, traffic is constantly growing with no signs of slowing down, and I have a bunch of content lined up for the next 2 months so it should be pretty hands off for me if I decided to step away from it for awhile.

Also, earnings this month are on the low end.

I believe that this site will make a minimum of $10,000/month in 6 months and hopefully get to at least $15,000/month by the end of the year. It’s certainly achievable judging by the rate the traffic is growing.

Would you have sold it?

Here are some points I’d like to make first before you answer that.

I don’t have a ton of experience with selling blogs like some people out there. But I can roughly estimate that with these kind of numbers and projections, I can get closer to $300,000 if I hold onto it for even a year longer. That’s 3x what I was offered.

Here’s how

1. The blog has extremely good links. The link profile isn’t made up of PBN links or other spammy tactics that can either get penalized or deleted. I did a lot of networking with other site owners and was able to get links on some of the biggest sites in my niche, and other related niches.

That increases the value of the site. It’s a long-term business that won’t get penalized or die off with a Google web spam update.

2. A lot of the traffic is search traffic. It’s not easy to grow a blog to this level of traffic through search, and buyers know that. It’s not like all my traffic is coming from a viral ad campaign on Facebook that can die off in a month after the ad is paused. This is long-term.

Again, that increases the value of the blog.

3. It’s extremely passive. This isn’t some service business I’m running where I have to trade my time for servicing clients. This is a 100% complete online business that runs passively whether I’m working or not.

4. Branding is well established. Probably not as big as the other factors above, but I think it’s important. My blog isn’t a spammy site with a keywordkeywordkeyword.com domain name. It has a very catchy branded domain and I spent a LOT of time on designing it. I probably spent too much time on design, but it does look really pretty.

All these factors should allow me to sell the blog at a multiple that’s higher than the average you see on marketplaces like Flippa. The average selling price for a blog there is around 10-20x monthly earnings.

With this site, I think I can get a valuation in the range of 20-30x.

If you consider the revenues from the last 2 months, $75,000 is only at around 10x monthly earnings.

Now do you think I should have taken the $75,000?

I hope I’ve convinced you it was the smart move to turn it down. It certainly took me some time to convince myself 🙂

Do I have plans for selling it?

Not really at the moment.

This blog has taken my online income to a new level. It now makes up for close to 70% of my current monthly income, which is why I spend so much time on it.

If I sell it off, my business would drop to about $3K per month. It’s a big difference.

Obviously, the game changes if I can get it to a point where I can sell it for multiple 6 figures.

But that’s not the case right now.

February’s Income Report

Okay, so now on to the income report.

Here’s the total income numbers for the month of February.

Blogging Income: $11,541.86

Last Month: $13,939.47
Difference: -$2397.61

February was a new record for traffic to the big niche site, but earnings did drop a bit.

It’s not something that I’m really concerned about, though. What matters is that the site is growing.

The purchased site

I stated in my previous update that I recently purchased a competitor’s blog in the same niche through a private deal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get anything done to the blog that I had planned.

I have a complete re-design of the site, fix-up of the on-site SEO, and addition of new content and page structure planned and ready to go. All I need to do is do it, but I just didn’t have the time to get to it.

This month I’ll get to work on that. It should grow very quickly once it’s up so I need to hurry up and get that new re-design launched.

What will I do in March – Deciding on my next project

I’ve expanded my blog into 2 additional categories. They’re big categories with some pretty juicy keywords so I’ll be focusing on that for now.

I have close to 50 posts scheduled for the next month. These are all completed and ready to publish. Some could make the point that there’s no need to schedule content and it’s better to just release them all at once and get them indexed.

But I prefer keeping my blog frequently updated (I have a lot of return visitors), rather than bomb it with 50 new posts at once.

So, I’m going to take some time off from that blog for awhile. I’ve worked tirelessly on it in February so I really want to work on something new.

I have 2 things in mind, and I’m not sure which one to start yet.

1. Build, Rank, Sell Strategy

The offer to buy my blog opened my eyes a bit. I did a lot of researching into site flipping after turning down the offer.

The first option is to experiment with the whole build, rank, and sell strategy of niche sites. Speaking with a few other marketers, I think it’s possible to get close to 20x monthly earnings these days if it’s a quality site.

At the moment, I have more interest in build, rank, and sell rather than buy and sell.

I’ve never built websites before solely with the intention of selling them later on. It’s always been to steadily increase my monthly income.

I’m still working out the numbers to see if it will even be worth my time but I’m thinking of starting 2 to 3 new blogs, ranking them, then selling them in a short period of time for a multiple of close to 20x monthly revenue.

The only way this can work, though, is if the whole process is systemized so that I can repeat it for multiple blogs at a time.

2. Viral site

I recently had the opportunity to work with a very big viral site. I’m not allowed to reveal its name since I signed an NDA, but you may have heard of them or seen them in your Facebook feed one time or another.

If you’re not familiar with viral sites, look at sites like ViralNova, Buzzfeed, and Upworthy. They’re sites that try to create viral posts using catchy headlines.

The site I worked with wasn’t one of those, but they’re getting 25 million visitors a month, which is insane. Going through their analytics was mind blowing.

The systems they have in place, and the metrics they pay attention to opened my eyes in a whole different way of looking at Facebook ads.

I’ve never really considered starting one of these sites since it’s a pretty big investment of both time and money. But getting a backstage view of a successful viral website got me pretty excited at the possibilities.

Which one?

I’m still deciding which one I want to work on. I think the viral site has a lot more potential to go big, and it will be more fun to work on. But it requires a lot more of my time and more money to run.

On the other hand, the blog building and selling project is much more passive. But it’s also kind of boring. I won’t see millions of visitors going to these sites like I can with the viral project, and it’ll be pretty much what I’ve already been doing.

I kind of want to start something new.

19 Comments

  • Reply
    mike
    March 4, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Hey,

    I really admire your success and wish you all the best making money online in the future!

    Based on your post here, I think you made a huge mistake showing off your site to that the person you mentioned in your post.

    Here’s why…

    The person seems to be an experienced money maker and now he knows about your niche which brings loads of money.

    He obviously wants to make more cash.

    You did not sell him your site, but since he knows the niche that person can easily create a similar site (for only a portion of money offered to you!).

    Since he has so much cash, he’ll probably do good on SEO and eventually outrank you at some time.

    You’re earning some good money now, but this may change pretty soon.

    These are only my thoughts, but this exactly what I would do if you revealed the niche to me.

    As I said before, you should never reveal your niche to others!!

    Just my 2 cents… cheers… mike

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 4, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Hey Mike, you make some really good points and it was definitely something that concerned me when he contacted me.

      You might be right. He could very well go ahead and take all my keywords and throw up a site and compete with me. But it was something I decided to do based on a potential big price sale. You can’t sell a site without revealing it.

      Knowing the niche and actually going out and doing the work and building are very different things. The buyer plays in a bigger market than I do, and buys and sells websites for 6 figures on a frequent basis. It’s much more profitable for him, at that level, to buy sites and flip rather than start one from scratch and compete in my niche. There are so many niches and keywords online, it’s not like they’re all saturated with competition and only my niche is a wide-open golden keyword.

      Also, even if he were to go out and build a site targeting my niche, it wouldn’t be as bad as you think. Niche sites don’t just profit off of 1 keyword. There’s plenty of traffic to go around through long-tail searches and as my site picks up authority, long-tail searches are rising every week. A competitor that releases a new site won’t reduce my site’s authority.

      I appreciate your thoughts, and they’re true to an extent but I think it should be fine. Unless he hires an army of people to build out 100 authority sites in my niche I don’t see traffic being affected to a point that I will notice.

      Chris

      • Reply
        mike
        March 4, 2015 at 8:27 pm

        Good points, Chris!!

  • Reply
    Brad
    March 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I totally agree with waiting and holding onto your site. One thing to consider is once the value raises over $100k it will harder to find a buyer, as Fewer buyers have that kind of free capital.

    I am shocked on how fast your website has grown, It took years for me.

    Another important factor, is never sell your company/site without having a plan for the money. What will end up happening you’ll end up spending it on stuff that doesn’t help you, and next thing you know it’s gone. I learned that one the hard way lol.

    Thanks for sharing this info with us!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 6, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Hey Brad, really good points! You’re right. At this stage, I would only sell if I needed a bunch of capital up front to fund another big project. I would probably would make the same mistake otherwise haha.

  • Reply
    Babs
    March 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I can totally understand, considering the reputation of the person that contacted you, your willingness to reveal your site to him. I had a very bad experience with a similar situation. A couple of years ago I was contacted much in the way that you were by an individual that runs a reputable online business selling actual goods in my niche that wanted to buy my site for MUCH less than what you indicate would be a fair price. I thanked this individual and told him truthfully that I’m not a marketer and that I had built the website because I was emotionally invested in the niche due to being homebound, a caretaker to an invalid and that I needed the monthly income to pay for necessities. Within a month or so I got notice that my adsense account was being dropped from the program for “spam”. I had written every word of every page myself and was very careful to be in compliance. I’ve always wondered, due to the timing, if the person wanted to buy my site who spends a LOT on Adwords was the reason my site was dropped. Be careful when big business comes knocking at the door wanting to buy; you may have no choice but to take crumbs or end up with nothing.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Hey Babs, really sorry to hear that. That really sucks that that happened, especially if they banned your entire account and not just the domain. You’re right the timing does seem a little strange. I hope everything’s okay now and you were able to rebound from it using other monetization methods. Best of luck, and thanks for the advice.

  • Reply
    Sergio Felix
    March 6, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Hey Chris, just landed on your site after reading a comment from you on the Warrior Forum. I have to tell you that even though I’ve been online for a few years, I never actually tried using AdSense anywhere.

    This is something I have always wanted to test myself because I can build up sites pretty fast and create content for them as well.

    I may not focus too much on really small niche sites either because I like to write from my persona (if that makes any sense) and I’m also bilingual (Spanish is my first language) so I’m wondering if I can have a greater shot at building niche websites in Spanish and make them authoritative enough to get good traffic and monetize them with courses or other strategies.

    Anyway, just wanted to share that this article is highly inspirational, I had no idea people were still making so much money with AdSense alone.

    Just subscribed to your site and I’ll definitely follow you on your AdSense journey.

    Sergio

    PS. I wouldn’t have sold the niche website either.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Hey Sergio, thank you for the kind words. I don’t have much experience in international markets, but would imagine that search volumes for Spanish keywords would be pretty large. Have you ran your keywords through a keyword tool to roughly see how many searches they get?

      It may be a big advantage for you to target Spanish searches since it’s a lot less competitive than English searches. If Spanish is what you’re comfortable with, definitely do some digging for Spanish keywords. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of wide open niches.

  • Reply
    Sniffer
    March 9, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    What strategy would you recommend for adsense accounts, do you have only one, or would you recommend having more than one account incase one of them got banned for some reason? Can you even set up more than one account?

    You talk about experimenting with different techniques, for example with an online movie site, but what if Google banned your adsense account for your “testing”…? Your income would be gone in a second!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 10, 2015 at 12:32 am

      You only need one. There’s no strategy involved for adsense accounts. You shouldn’t do anything against Adsense’s policies. You can set up another one under a business name if your personal one gets banned.

      SEO and Adsense guidelines are very different. My movie site, even though I’m using spammy SEO techniques, the site itself is high quality, and in compliance with Adsense’s policies. I can be penalized and lose all my rankings, but that’s doesn’t affect my Adsense account.

  • Reply
    Ahsan
    March 25, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Great post. Enjoyed and learned a lot from it.

    Question: I know the best time to place Adsense on a website is when it has ‘more than’ descent traffic, but in your case, when did you placed Adsense on this site and after how many months?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 25, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Hey Ahsan, I know the best practice is to put ads when you get traffic coming in. I usually place ads right from the start.

      • Reply
        Ahsan
        March 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

        But did you find it worthwhile to place Adsense on a brand new site? I mean what type of results did you get in the start and in what period you were able to improve the results afterward (clickthroughs, CPC & etc.?)

        I know it mostly depends on split testing and other factors but my question is regarding ‘how your ads performed on a new site.’

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          March 25, 2015 at 11:45 pm

          It doesn’t perform on a new site. There’s no traffic. It’s just my personal preference. I like to leave it up while I design the site.

  • Reply
    Harry Singh
    April 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Hello Chris !

    Thanks a ton mate! its really inspirational post for me to start again with adense earning. Although i had a very bad experience with the google adsense. But started working on it with improved strategy.

    Its being almost 2 months i am exploring forums , blogs to find out best of the best practices.

    I hope this time i will be able to build consistency with adsense business model.

    Cheers

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 12, 2015 at 12:48 am

      Hey Harry. Great to hear you’re getting back into it. Thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    Bhuboy
    January 6, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    If it was me, I also wont sell, I would prefer the continuous monthly income from your site, that will only grow overtime that to have a one time payment, and start over

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 8, 2016 at 3:21 am

      100% agree. Turned out to be the right decision 🙂

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