Selling A Site: What Should I Know?

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Hey All,

I’m about to start the process of selling my first site.

I have an interested buyer and currently putting information together about my property.

Im curious about what to include and how to present the information so I can maximize the offer.

does anyone have a template or example of how they present the value of their property to potential buyers?

right now I have basic excel sheet showing monthly income and expenses.

Ive provided information from GA, page views, organic traffic

Ive provided information about all my social channels like followers/impressions etc…

Ive provided email list info: subscribers, open and click rates.

lastly, what should I know or look out for?
i.e typical multiples I should see in an offer, pit falls etc….

Im hoping this could develop into a resource for those of us about to sell our first site.

Thanks
 

Ryuzaki

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You've got most of the info it seems.

Depending on how much income and expense data you have, I'd also compile it into useful averages and even graphs for the Last 6 Months and Last 12 Months as well as the full historical views. This way it can be easier to see if it's trending upwards, declining, or holding steady. L6M or L12M will be what determines the base number your multiple multiplies.

In this same fashion, a chart showing your publishing schedule over the last 12 months, 3 years, since the dawn of the site's time, will be of interest to the buyer.

You'll want to gather up any standard operating procedures and contacts for VA's, writers, developers, graphic designers, etc. to pass along. This also includes their rates, salaries, and anything else you'll be passing over.

Any existing but unused keyword research, future and past content briefs, a master file of login credentials (email providers, CDN, social profiles, analytics, ad networks, affiliate networks, etc.) to anything needed will suit you well. I keep a master spreadsheet with different sheets on it for everything so that when it's time to pass it all over, it's done easily.

Any screenshots or read-only access to dashboards to actually see the revenue data is helpful. You'll have to prove all this in due diligence anyways.

Multiples are still at around 36x as a baseline. You can deduct some points for a steady website or declining website, and possibly add some for one that is trending upwards in traffic and revenue. 32x - 40x for your basic affiliate / display ad site is a good expectation.

If you have a killer backlink profile, sending information from Ahrefs like a screenshot of their overview, a screenshot of the dofollow links arranged by highest DR first, and export all the backlinks, etc... anything you can to tip the scales in your favor and justify a better multiple should be done.

You'll want a story of WHY you're selling it. Be honest. "Other projects took off that demanded my attention and I lost interest in this one and am afraid if I don't maintain it won't be worth much to anyone, and I want to see my baby continue to grow in good hands." "I want to buy a house." "I want to invest in my new ventures." Whatever it is, it's a good enough reason, but they will ask.

Have explanations ready for buyers that due unbelievably in-depth due diligence. They'll know that you got hacked two years ago for 1 week. They'll want to know why traffic dropped for a week because you accidentally removed the Analytics tag. Why did indexation drop by 100 pages after you did some content pruning? Why were you posting to social media but not engaging beyond sharing your posts? Why did the nameservers change to a different server a year ago? All that stuff. If you can write a timeline of events for the site, that's good and even offers an opportunity to build an honest narrative about how hands-on you were.

Did you pay for a custom theme? Note that. Did you do or pay for a site speed optimization? Note that. What plugins are you using? Are any on a subscription basis? Are any grandfathered in with an API key you can share? Is there any other 3rd party stuff the site leans on they should know about?

What company holds the domain? Do you have the .com/net/org trio to pass over? Who's hosting? What's that cost? What about copyrights, intellectual property, etc.? Photoshop projects and templates? Video templates?

Basically, anything and everything you encountered and can think of can be used in a prospectus that you pitch around. But don't give away the sensitive information without sending them a non-disclosure agreement to sign first.
 
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Aim for x45 if you’re trending upwards. Personally I will be listing at x50 for a display content site later this year.
 
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Thanks @Ryuzaki that is Gold!

I’ll be making some notes on this.

I didn’t even think about providing a list of my best backlinks ! I also have a bunch of unused keywords and briefs, images, graphics I could share to add value.
 
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Aim for x45 if you’re trending upwards. Personally I will be listing at x50 for a display content site later this year.
Multiples like that seem to good to be true.

The site been pretty flat and a slow decline, but still very profitable overall.

But it cant hurt to aim high and have them negotiate if they feel it’s not worth it.

Any pitfalls or traps in the process I should be looking out for?

Maybe tricks buyers will pull to pay less?
 

Ryuzaki

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Any pitfalls or traps in the process I should be looking out for?

Maybe tricks buyers will pull to pay less?
Don’t let them act like their intended future investments are equivalent to your seller discretionary earnings (meaning their expenses aren’t yours and yours may have been different). It’s not up to you to eat their future expenses when you won’t get a return from them.

Watch out for crap like them trying to make you eat a non-existent broker fee because they had to do due diligence.

Sweeten negotiations only if you have to by offering to pay their half of the escrow fees. Don’t be afraid to walk away and negotiate for a month or longer. Be performative in meetings if you need to. Get loud or offended, etc. Whatever seems like it’ll play right at the time.
 
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Multiples like that seem to good to be true.

The site been pretty flat and a slow decline, but still very profitable overall.

But it cant hurt to aim high and have them negotiate if they feel it’s not worth it.

Any pitfalls or traps in the process I should be looking out for?

Maybe tricks buyers will pull to pay less?

I sold multiple sites at an average x38 around 2 years ago so I think you need to adjust your expectations or you are going to get reamed by a sharp buyer.

I would get the site into an upward trend before selling. I am sure I could have got x42 on my biggest if that was the case.

Beware of buyers taking it to the 11th hour, showing funds, getting all your SOPs and details and then pulling out. It is very common as I understand it.
 
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Beware of buyers taking it to the 11th hour, showing funds, getting all your SOPs and details and then pulling out. It is very common as I understand it.

I think they ask for the SOPs after the money is transfered now. Makes sense
 

secretagentdad

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Only way you will ever really get a multiplier outside 2-5X is if you can demonstrate some sort of strategic value. If you're being valued for strategic reasons like market access or exceptional branding performance the number you're seeing has nothing to do with earnings anyway. You didn't raise you're multiple per say you had a cashflow biz worth something in a normal range multiple + something else of tangible value. There' isnt really some hack you can do to get a free lunch valuation boost.

Nay saying aside, if you're looking for a dart to throw to try and raise your liquidation price you can try all inning a premium content offer. If you can successfully push a paid news letter, content locker, book, saas or even jobs board you have something notable. Being able to get information rent of any kind tends to imply you have got some sort of strategic position you can point to as part of the value of your business. Even if its just strong brand performance.
 
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Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I included as much as I could and sent off the information to the interested party. I’ll let you know what they come back with. Very excited!