I understand you wanted to buy an existing blog. What were you looking for, and why?
Last year we started hunting for a blog for sale that we felt excited to try and grow. You can listen to the original announcement of that here.
The specific question of why an existing blog instead of starting from scratch is a great one. There were eight primary reasons that I felt this was the right choice for us in particular.
- A base foundation of content
- A base foundation of traffic
- Existing writers guidelines
- Existing writers on contract
- A foundational PA and DA score
- Existing backlinks to build from
- A bit of current revenue
- A direction defined
Let's break those down.
My Secret Weapon: SEMRUSH
Why did a base foundation of content matter?
I wanted something that already had content to get me started because if you've ever started a blog, then you understand that getting started is one of the hardest things to do. We tend to overthink it. We tend to get stuck. I wanted to buy an existing business, and that's what it came down to with this project.
If I had started from scratch, then I would feel a lot more attached to the website than I do now.
That doesn't mean that I am not highly invested in success. I am. I spent hard-earned cash on this website, so I am highly interested. However, I am not emotionally invested with the content itself in the same kind of way.
Because I bought an existing website, I see it more as a business than a personal extension of myself. So what that means when you break it down is that I will have no trouble passing this website on to a team of writers and starting the next one.
To give an example, I can't even imagine the idea of passing I teach blogging on to someone else.
A base foundation of traffic
A base foundation of traffic mattered with this website because this is not a vanity project; this is a business.
For example, if I were going to open up a Subway, I would want to know that the Subway store is located in a place where people would come and buy the sandwiches. Because the truth is sometimes you don't know if something is going to take off you can do everything right and the website still not click for whatever reason it just doesn't work.
So I wanted to buy something that had some proven track record of traffic. I am on a 24-month plan, and I didn't want to waste the first 12 months trying to figure out if it was indeed proven or not
Existing writers guidelines
I love writing tutorials but never before have I written writer's guidelines, and they may sound similar, but there is a difference. Going back to the Subway example when you buy a franchise, so to speak, you are partially buying the recipe and, you are buying their method for doing business that is proven. I wanted to buy a business that had a proven track record of success or at least headed in a proper direction of success and that they had that process written down.
Existing writers on contract
One of my areas of concern with buying such a website was that I would end up with the website that has some decent content and then no idea where the writers were. That is why one of my first questions was will you connect me with the writers on this project. They were willing to do that, and that brought me a lot of comfort in buying this website. Because that meant that I had a writer who had been on the project since the beginning so she could guide me and help me figure out what I wanted and when I wanted it.
Now as it turns out, I am actually doing a lot of the writing myself at this point. We can dive into that at a different time. As a note, we are also about to hire a full time staff writer. We can share more about that process after it is done as well.
A foundational PA and DA score
What is a PA score?
Page Authority (PA) is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). Page Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. (Read all about it here on MOZ)
What is a DA score?
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). ... Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and number of total links, into a single DA score. (Read all about it here on MOZ)
Now let me talk about this briefly. I made a decision for good or for evil that I will not spend my time seeking backlinks. I can't tell you that this is a good life decision, but I can tell you it is the decision that I made. Backlinks may be the most critical ranking factor for Google. However, to me, seeking backlinks is a lot like being in sales, and that's just not me. I've tried, and it doesn't work. So with this website, I am testing a personal theory that if I provide super excellent and helpful content, people will naturally backlink to the site.
Is this a bit of a cop-out? Yes, of course, it is!
However, I also believe that every single method that is taught about how to get backlinks unnaturally is something that Google is figuring out and will eventually squash. Every time we try to hack Google, Google fights back.
Existing backlinks to build from
Well just as I stated before backlinks do matter a great deal. This is why I needed to know that the website was capable of getting backlinks. And whenever I used some tools to analyze the backlink structure of the site, there weren’t a lot of spammy links hardly any at all. The website had quite a few backlinks. This was just another sign that this website had a lot of potential.
A bit of current revenue
There is a magical mix of getting the content and the revenue right. This means that you have to have your audience clearly defined and that you need to understand what they need and want. This is a tricky process that can take a lot of trial and error.
With seeing this website making even small amounts of revenue, I knew that the audience formula was headed in the right direction. This was a positive signal for our purchasing decision.
A direction defined
Having the direction of the website clearly defined meant that I didn’t have to think about it. I just needed to sit down and execute. Going back to the Subway example, I didn’t need to figure out the sandwich recipe. I just needed to build the business. This was quite helpful for us.
Alright so those are the 8 reasons why I wanted to buy an existing website. I hope that this helps you think through your next blogging decisions. Always remember your why when you are making business decisions.