How I Sold My Niche Blog for Big Bucks

My name is Israel. Most of you may recognize me from Fat Man Unleashed, my weight loss blog. I recently sold a niche blog to a major company. I told John about it and he asked if I could put together a guest post on how I went about it. So, here goes.

For starters

I don’t make sites to flip them. I build, or buy when possible, sites that I pour a lot of passion and work into. This sale just happened to come about and the stars aligned for this transaction to occur. It was really a perfect situation. You can go read about how to flip sites/blogs somewhere else, or even on John’s site. But this isn’t about that. This is about working hard at something and it paying off.

What Site Did I Sell?

The suspense must be killing ya right? The site I sold is http://www.PrisonBreakCrazy.com. It’s a fan site that chronicles and follows the Fox television show Prison Break.

Who I Sold It To

I sold the site to FirstOnMars.com. It’s an awesome site that let’s you watch tv online and customize the experience. I had been thinking about developing different sites around TV, but when I saw First on Mars I liked it a lot and thought it would be cool to work with them to develop it. I’ve sold them the site and will help them develop their product. How great is that?

The Back Story

Before I tell you how I sold it, it’s important for you to know some back info on how the site came about. About 2 years ago, maybe a little less, I was looking for a site to buy and take to the next level. I search all over Digital Point, SitePoint, and asked a few online buddies if they knew of any sites I could buy. Nothing really came up. That’s until I hopped onto SitePoint one day and saw a listing for Prison Break Crazy. It was making a killing via Google Adsense’s Firefox affiliate program and was listed at a decent price. Underpriced actually. The site was making several hunded dollars a day and was listed for only $6000. So I did my due diligence and purchased the site. The site was ranking highly for several key terms and had over 90% organic traffic.

A couple of weeks later, Google banned Adsense ads on the site and all the money I had accumalated had been lost! I was devasted. I was out my $6000 plus I was out the few thousand that had been in the Google Adsense account. Man was I pissed. I had used my credit card to finance this investment. Remember John’s post about using credit wisely…

So I petitioned Google to allow my back in. They refused saying that I was violating their terms. Although I had written proof from the previous owner’s Google Adsense rep allowing Adsense on the site, I was not let in. For a few weeks I was depressed about the deal. I couldn’t get a refund from the buyer and I couldn’t make any decent income from the site.

Time went by and I started realizing that the traffic was there. It actually rose over that time. Like John says, when you have traffic it’s just a matter of monetizing it fully. That’s when I started experimenting with different companies: Adbrite, Yahoo Ads, Amazon, Linksahre, Intelitex, etc. They all performed poorly compared to Adsense.

Then I found an affiliate program that produced results immediately. In that 2 week span I made all my money back! I was ecstatic. Over time I added more ads and the site continued to flourish. I then redesigned the site, asked Google to tell me what I needed to clean up, and did so. They approved me to run Adsense. Things were working great, still are.

I worked my butt off from the time I bought the site to the time it made a lot of money. I spent hours redesigning the site, marketing it, producing content, etc. I busted my booty! Keep that in mind.

How I Sold It, Going Out on a Limb

That was the back story, now onto the how I sold it. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a company I had never heard of. They wanted to know if I could do a guest post or some sort of cross promotion. Being that I run Fat Man unleashed, Health Ranker, and few other projects, I simply told them that I had no time but that they were free to guest post on my site. They responded immediately. It was a major push they were making to promote their new site. I was more than happy to use their guest post since it meant that I would get free content up and I had been neglecting the site due to a new project.

Within a day they sent me over the guest post. I posted it. Like I said above, I had started a new project. I need some money to persue this new project so I figured that I needed to sell one of my sites for start up capital. That’s when I decided to go out on a limb.

I sent them an email mentioning the fact that I wanted to sell the site. I figured it wouldn’t hurt. They responded, once again immediately, with interest. I was blown away at how simple that was. We then began talks about traffic, revenue, etc. I sent them over all the details. They responded with an offer. I countered, they countered. I accepted. Simple as that!

How Much Did I Make

Part of the deal is that I can’t say how much I sold for, but man was it a good deal. It didn’t hurt that I know a few things about marketing/web development too. As it’s part of the deal. It’s hard to put an exact value on the deal as their was cash and stock. The cash component has an earn-out component too! It’s just too hard to put a dollar value on it. But if First on Mars is sold, I’m going to be very happy. πŸ™‚

Moral of the Story

I learned that I work best when I focus on a small amount of projects and bust my butt on them, not having 1,000 spam sites that I don’t watch over. It works for some folks, but not me. As much as I’d like to be able to do that, I just can’t.

So, do what you love. I did. I love tv, I love health. I do those things online… The rest follows. Right?

So how did I sell? I asked someone that I had a relationship with if they were interested. It’s that simple. No major secret sauce here. It’s pretty simple. A lot of the readers of this blog will realize how simple these things are.

Just do it.


59 thoughts on “How I Sold My Niche Blog for Big Bucks”

  1. Great success story!! I’ve always wondered why sell a site if its doing well – I would figure that the continued growth potential would far outweigh the price of the sale

    I’d be curious to know the answer to that!

    1. People’s reasons would differ but I’ve sold sites in the past because:

      1. They haven’t fit with my overall goals
      2. They need someone with more expertise than I have
      3. They just become not that much fun anymore

      1. Fair enough! All seem like very valid reasons!

        1. There are times when you need cash. When you need that cash hard enough you often sell your best project… you can’t sell crap, right?

          Who would buy a site that doesn’t make any money? (yea I know, many would, but for a lot less…)

          Cheers,
          Alex

    2. Great to see that you have earned a great sum of money, but when it comes down to these posts, you know that pretty much ALL of us want to know how much you sold it for because that is what interests us the most…

      -Mike

  2. Very cool story of success Israel! Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us and good luck with all your future projects.

  3. plin says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. This is very motivational for bloggers out there.

    I am fairly curious on how did you get Google to insert you back into Adsense. A friend of mine got banned a few years ago and he still hasn’t been able to get his Adsense account enabled. In fact, the second time he wrote to Google they removed his page from the page rank.

  4. Chef Patrick says:

    No offense but everyone has a different idea of “BIG BUCKS”. Can you at least give us a range, was it above $10k, $20k?

    1. I don’t think it’s the money that really matters in this case. Yes, “big bucks” is subjective, but maybe you should focus on the moral.

      1. Chef Patrick says:

        The moral is what, focus on a few sites instead of 100’s. If he is talking about a strategy then the results are part of the education. Everyone values their time differently.

    2. Mike says:

      Well, if he bought the site for $6K and did a lot of work on it, he is not going to get excited about $10K or even $20K. I would guestimate around $50K

      1. Maybe with some stats we can have a better figure.

        How many uniques per month?
        How many pageviews?
        How much revenue per month?

        Interesting will be to know?

  5. KeyOfGrey says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice knowing that success happens with good ol’ fashioned hard work!

  6. C. Flowers says:

    Great stuff Israel! I’m curious as to which affiliate program produced for you before you had your Adsense account reinstated. I have been trying out the various ad programs you mentioned above, and they really haven’t been producing the way I would like. If you could let me know what affiliate program worked for you, I’d greatly appreciate it. πŸ™‚

    1. Jonk says:

      Check out the website – the advertising that works best is obviously going to be right there.

  7. Sohail says:

    Now how did they allow you to place adsense on site again? i mean did you reapply or Google contacted you?

    1. MaXsiM says:

      Yeah, that’s exactly what i ask myself too.

      And why haven’t you redesigned the site directly after it was blocked by Google Adsense?

  8. Jonk says:

    top story mate. Inspires me. You’re going to make Sitepoint go even crazier!

  9. Greg Ellison says:

    Nice story and congrats on the sale. Keep up the great job. Greg Ellison

  10. Pheak Tol says:

    Good story to help motivate those that are just getting into this area of trying to flip sites, or build and expand online.

    even tho the morality of the story is not based on the money, it would be nice to know the range of the sellout

    but in conclusion the morality behind the story that you’ve shared with us is to be proud and passionate of what you do, we can put it in other words as well, but thats just my quick breakdown =]

  11. Flyssy says:

    Great and inspiring post. I also believe that it is better to build up sites with value rather than a hundred spam sites

  12. I would agree about selling even when it’s fun. Sometimes you have to admit that a certain subject is no longer all that fun to deal with. It happens all the time all over the internet. Some of us have gone out on a limb when we created blogs as subdomains on our own family domain. Such blogs can’t be sold no matter how succesful they may become.

    http://www.blunck.dk/blog
    http://www.blunck.dk/earning-money-online
    http://www.blunck.dk/effektiv-marketing
    http://www.blunck.dk/france
    http://www.blunck.dk/loves-apple-mac
    http://www.blunck.dk/recommends/pda

    ….and a few more. Just showing a list to prove the point. πŸ™‚

    However, on the other hand, they have all been created knowing full well that when I no longer wish to maintain any of them they will die just as suddenly as they came about.

    But as long as it’s fun it’s nice to serve readers with some mighty good content – earning some money for the tip jar. πŸ˜‰

  13. Mike B. says:

    Great story and it is good to see things worked out for you. Just out of curiosity, why did Adsense block you?

    @bookerx3

  14. Dot Com Dud says:

    I wasn’t sure if a TV show blog could be successful as I’ve been toying with the idea of creating my own for awhile. This post shows me it can definitely be worth it, thanks for the inspiration and well done!!

    1. It also depends on the show though. PB is a pretty high-rated show.

  15. Great guest post. I really enjoyed reading this. Congratulations on the sale. It just goes to show that if you have a great domain name and create something of value then you can certainly see success.

  16. Great post, very interesting read

  17. Did well considering the show got canceled.

    1. Israel says:

      the show just got canceled recently. the end of the show is this year, but that doesnt matter. there will be way more opportunities for the site to prosper. I’ve tested out just about everything, every angle and it works.

      having a negative mentality is what defeats a lot of people. just try.

  18. VeRonda says:

    You know, this was an awesome post!… Seriously. And the one thread is “just do it”… It’s the “doing it” where a lot of folks stumble. I don’t want to be one of them, but rather someone who has an awesome story to share…

  19. dining says:

    Love this comment: “I do those things online… The rest follows.”
    Congrats!

  20. Good story about success, I am glad you did not give up, its the only way to win, never to retreat and never give up.

    I still wondering How much? Can you tell us at least how much percent were your revenue from the sale?

  21. Raitis says:

    true story-great to hear a good niche site!!! I can imagine Google traffic typing “prison break” in search!!! full of content-a true fan site!!! I also am amazed about Google AdSense “term valiations”. I was first kicked with my 30$ in it. They “saw term valiation”. πŸ™‚

  22. Edgar says:

    Nice post. You given me hope.

  23. SEO Tips says:

    Congratulations sounds like you have had a nasty ride but came out smelling of roses so to speak by the end of it. Excellent news well done πŸ™‚

  24. SEO Tips says:

    http link for Prison Break site doesn’t work πŸ™‚

  25. Pahn says:

    I always ought about this idea when I was just starting to blog,, I just hope I can contract a company someday with one of my site

  26. Rahul says:

    Quite an interesting post indeed. Cheers for you achievement. Hope more stories like this come out too.

  27. I have never sold a website before.. Maybe I need to give it a try now.. I have many websites which I don’t need anymore.

    Thanks for the tips FatMan πŸ™‚

  28. Dean Saliba says:

    I’ve only sold one site before and that was a football message board that I sold for about Β£1,500. I sold it simply because it became too big and I had other projects and it was costing me money as ad revenue from it was poor.

    Thanks for sharing your story. πŸ™‚

  29. Well it happens you build a site with no planes to sell and someone offers you a price you can’t turn down….good work

  30. Scorpiono says:

    Great story you have there, I’ve sold my first website at SitePoint for $10,000 USD as well.

    I’m curious how you made the 2nd petition on Google, the one you got approved, which email have you sent the information for the 2nd since they block you after the first petition.

    Also could you share the affiliate system you used?

    Best of luck in everything,
    Scorpiono from Scorpiono dot com

  31. Guru says:

    I have also sold a few of my earlier blogs to one gentleman. We got in touch with each other through DigitalPoint forums. I was then managing (struggling!!) 6 blogs but I didn’t have enough time to devote to my blogs. Also I was not getting enough revenue from them wither. So when the opportunity came, I simply jumped at it and I got a decent price (equivalent to $400) for all of my 6 blogs. Two of them were PR3, two were PR2 and rest were negligible… I am happy that I got rid of those stuff which I couldn’t devote much time and were draining my energy a lot.

    Later I again started new set og blogs, but this time with WordPress. Let me confess, WordPress is simply awesome. My site (Life is Delightful) is becoming popular in short span of time. But I am still not getting enough revenue as expected. Can someone please help me growing my revenue?

  32. Andika says:

    great story. I like the “simple” part of the story. after all, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. right? πŸ™‚

  33. James says:

    Hey nice article and a good overview of exactly just how much work it takes to make money online. The good thing is the fact that you don’t have to work for a boss!

  34. Dan Stack says:

    Lemons into Lemonade, good stuff!

  35. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    First of all, Israel, congratulation for the successful! You have a really good experience and I believe that you’ll be doing better in future. Turn your time to money!
    Actually I was thinking to sell my site too, but I didn’t know how to start and where to sell. So, I just keep my site. πŸ™‚
    Anyway, congrats Israel!! πŸ™‚

  36. That was a good story. Congrats to you. And “Prison Break” just happens to be one of my favorite shows.

  37. john says:

    How inspiring, bragging about buying and selling a website about a crappy tv show.

    >> not having 1,000 spam sites that I don’t watch over. It works for some folks, but not me. As much as I’d like to be able to do that, I just can’t.

    What a shame you can’t, but I’m sure we’ll all be enriched by whatever you do next anyway. Make-money affiliate links? Blog template reseller ads? Weight loss pill commissions? The world is your oyster! Let’s not waste our precious time here on Earth and come to regret it later.

    Money, money, money.

  38. Interesting story, people often forget how well niche sites do. In the end selling a site is all about proving steady income. The longer your site has been producing steady income the more you can get for it.

  39. “…So how did I sell? I asked someone that I had a relationship with if they were interested. It’s that simple. ”
    It just shows that good networking is that important. You may not realize it until something good comes out of it. It therefore pays to build a good community of friends from the very beginning of your blog.

    Peter Lee

  40. Carol Oon says:

    Hi Israel,

    I like yr post, thanks very much for taking the trouble to post here … It certainly encourages me. πŸ™‚

    The fact is you never quit! I like yr attitude. Keep up your good work! πŸ™‚

    I love to quote what Norman Vincent Peale says :

    β€œThe person who has the philosophy of the new beginning is the person who will never continue tto associate with his failures … Never hang around with your failures … Never talk about them … Never think about them … Walk away from them – no matter what they are. Never settle for a failure.”

    Thanks for encouraging us. I wish you success!

  41. fher says:

    Sounds interesting… Maybe Is should try it! Working with this is challenging… Hmm. I’ ll try,

  42. Rajit Khadgi says:

    cool story .. i wonder how much you sold the site for …. you mentioned that you make 6k in two weeks of time just from affiliates .. how much could you have made if you’ve worked a lil more …. again can you secretly mail me how much you sold it for .. the suspense is really killing me …

  43. Great story! Never thought much about selling a site, but it makes sense… realistically, one person can only juggle so many projects at a time.

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