So you find a blog you like and the author is ready to sell. You both agree on a price and you are now set to make the transfer. Wait! As is the case for any good business transaction, you should have a contract including several clauses:
– The price of the purchase.
– A non-competition clause (at least 12 months)
– What is being included in the transfer (rights over old posts, design, template, established network, an updated list of main advertisers, etc.).
– How the transfer will be done (when the payment must be completed, what will be transferred first, etc).
– An “after sale” agreement covering the duty to answer back the new owner’s questions during a specific delay.
– The payment method.
Once the contract is signed, you can now proceed with the transfer. I personally prefer going through escrow.com to complete the payment. They are a bit more expensive but they hold the money in trust until the website transfer is completed and satisfies the new owner. This is a safe way to ensure that both parties will be happy at the end of the deal (you want to make sure it is a win-win situation).
Other pre-transfer precautions
I would suggest to mention to the seller that the transaction details must remain confidential and to discuss on how the sale will be announced to readers. Your bread and butter comes from your loyal readers, you don’t want to upset them at the first contact.
In GLBL case, we decided to let the author write a “goodbye” post where he was explaining his reasons why he sold and thanking his readers at the same time.
A few tricks for a smooth transition
Once that you are in control of your new blog, you want to make a smooth transition for the readers. They need to get used to you and you need to get used to them. So here are a few things we did to make sure it was a success:
#1 Ask for pre-written post from the original author. This helped us maintaining the same writing style and diluting our own articles gradually.
#2 Organize a contest with giveaways. Readers love to win prizes, therefore, we offered a iPod Touch along with 2 gift cards at Amazon. To enter the contest, the reader had to say what he likes about GLBL or what he would like to read about. This was giving us a real good idea why GLBL was so popular and how to keep our readers happy.
#3 Read the blog to adapt your writing style. It is obvious that you can’t copycat perfectly the author but it is interesting to know what readers expect in term of topic, length and style (polite, trash, conventional, funny). You can slowly turn your post towards your own style but you are better off doing it after a few months ;-).
#4 Adapt! We have made a few mistakes in our first articles and we corrected them to make sure we don’t go sideways. You will obviously face people that are not happy with the situation. You just have to listen to them and decide if you want to take their advice or stick with your own direction.
Overall, after 6 months, Gather Little By Little didn’t lose much readership as our RSS feed shows about the same thing and our traffic didn’t drop either. However, it took us this 6 months to operate the transaction smoothly. The Blog didn’t grow in term of traffic for the past 6 months. When we look at other websites, they all have increased their readership and daily traffic. This is to show you how hard it is to put on someone else’s shoes when he has been running in them for the past 3 years!
If you have any questions about brokering such deals, please feel free to comment or send me an email!
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