At the end of November, I bought a PF website with some of my earnings from RFI. I was hoping to break even within 6 months. Now that I have, drumroll please… I am happy to present my new site, The Savvy Scot 🙂
If you are regular readers of that blog, you already knew, as I have made no efforts to hide my identity behind an alias, however, I didn’t want to share the news until the operation was profitable. Call it superstition, whatever.
Buying a blog vs starting a blog
The Savvy Scot is a UK blog, which is two years old. In the deal, I got
– An older domain. That is something Google likes, and advertisers do too.
– A PR3. When I bought the site at the end of November, Google hadn’t updated its PageRank in 9 months. It did 10 days later, in December. As advertisers were still stuck on PR as a way to determine a site’s worth, and I was getting desperate of seeing MMYW stuck with a PR0, I bought my way in.
– Established social accounts. There are about 1,500 followers on FB and 5,500 on Twitter. Building that takes time and effort.
– 300 odd posts. You can get poorly written ghost posts on Fiverr for $5. That would be a $1,500 value. Although those posts are better written, personal, already uploaded with a picture, tags, etc. so I think it is worth more.
– A list of current and past advertisers. With an older blog, getting a list of contacts is awesome. Not only can I leverage those contacts for RFI and MMYW, I can also get recurring business just by renewing existing deals.
– A money generating website. It took 6 months for MMYW to break the $1,000/month income level. This site was already generating more than this every month.
– A UK blog. There are very few personal finance blogs in the UK, mostly because the main one, Money Saving Expert, is overshadowing everyone. A few good ones include The Money Principle, Miss Thrifty or Money Bulldog, but they are few compared to the US. I am hopping to diversify my affiliate sales with UK products (that I use, remember I still have a property in the UK and do most of my banking over there) and to talk about a few UK related topics from my years over there, with post like how workers can score 32% off a bicycle to cycle to work.
It is quite interesting to compare the progress on both Savvy Scot and MMYW, whatever the purchase price was, I broke even after 10 weeks, and now both sites are bringing in a similar amount. In January, MMYW had made around $2,500 (net, when you take out 6 months of VA and staff writing costs) minus my blood and sweat for 7 months, whereas Savvy Scot has brought around $300 after breaking even, for only two months of active promotion, writing a few posts, and pitching it to my ad contacts.
Both sites benefited from my previous RFI experience and contacts. But is the $2,000 difference to work like crazy for 6 months to start a site worth it so you don’t have to buy a site? That is before putting a value to the extra content, there are 200 more posts on Savvy Scot than MMYW, or the domain age.
It is worth it if you want to have full control of your site and content. I was a Savvy Scot reader before buying the site so I know it was “clean”, but I hadn’t read all 300 posts, whereas I know exactly what is on MMYW.
It is worth it if you don’t want to spend time looking for a bargain. I got a cheap price because I knew the blogger, I trusted him when he said he was too busy to take care of the site (it could have been an excuse for “I am not making any money and my pageviews are at all time low”), and I didn’t have to spend hours reviewing the site to make sure it was a quality one. On Flippa and other web selling marketplaces, you find a ton of websites that were created with the sole purpose of being sold and flipped. I bought a work of love. Those low quality websites have fake links from link farms, sometimes a fake pagerank, and you never know what other little surprise is there. It takes days, weeks even, to fin the needle in the haystack that is a genuine good deal.
If you are looking to buy a website, a good place to start is asking around if anyone wants to sell. Many bloggers don’t make it past one year and are happy to pass on their baby for a reasonable fee.
It takes time too. I almost bought a website in February last year, but once I made my offer it got penalized by Google and lost its pagerank. I wasn’t experienced enough to know it was not that big a deal, and most importantly how to restore it, so I withdrew my offer.
There are also bloggers who think their site is worth 10 times market rate, and won’t make it worth your while.
So if you want to save time in that department, start your own website.
As an investment, buying The Savvy Scot has been great. Do you have many investments that break even after 10 weeks? I don’t. Based on RFI’s history, I am confident I can generate $1,000 a month with it for the months to come. Comparing with the 1% rule of rental properties, a house renting for $1,000 a month should be worth at most $100,000. If the house cost you $50,000, you got a real bargain. Based on my breaking even in less than 3 months, you can make a wild guess and be sure I didn’t pay $50,000 for that website.
I talked about what I think websites are worth when I announced my purchase of Savvy Scot, and explained they generally go for 24 to 36 months of generated income at most. Equivalent to your $100,000 house renting for $2,777 a month. Not bad, eh? Sure, a blog requires work every single week while your property could almost be a source of passive income, but you don’t pay property taxes on a website, or maintenance, repairs, the heater never breaks, the roof never leaks…
Now that the secret is out, on to the shameless plugs :).
Subscribe to Savvy Scot’s RSS feed and never miss another post, like Savvy Scot on Facebook and follow Savvy Scot on Twitter! Phew, that’s it. See you!
Note: Now that the website is profitable, 10% of its income will go to my Guatemalan village’s students and education projects.
This post was featured on the Financial Carnival for Young Adults, Finance with Reason, Aspiring Blogger, thank you!
Love this Pauline! Congrats on the new-to-you blog and the great progress you are making. I just bought my second website yesterday, and I’m excited to see what comes of it! 🙂
Michelle recently posted…$12,640 in January Business Income
Congrats! I am pretty overwhelmed with three, think I’ll stop there…
I figured this was your new site when your picture showed up on the savvy Scott. Congrats you’re becoming a blog mogul
Charles@gettingarichlife.com recently posted…What It Means To Be Poor In America
Thank you Charles!
Pauline – I’ve loved following this story. To break even in that short of a time is unbelievable and testament to your hard work and courage when buying a new site. I look forward to hearing more from Savvy Scot in the future! Congrats!
moneystepper recently posted…Saving for the future or “buy now, pay later”: the pros and cons
Thank you Graham, it gets much easier the third time around.
Well done, Pauline. Glad to have you on this side of the pond as well.
maria@moneyprinciple recently posted…How Tim Ferriss and skiing helped me break my financial boundaries
Thank you Maria, happy to be there.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
So awesome to see you expand your blog empire : ) My second website I’m (very) slowly working on is a health care website, so a pretty different niche. I would be interested in another finance-related website if I found the right one. I think you’re right about 24-36 months, though most businesses sell for more than that. I realize there is more risk in blogging, though, so I don’t see 24 months as unreasonable. I got an offer for about 20 months worth of income for my site in December. That definitely has motivated me to keep working on my site and improving it’s potential value to future investors.
wow that’s pretty good! I don’t know if I would sell any, 20 months is tempting but that is over 25% return for the buyer.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
I think I’d have trouble selling as well. I would want to have at least one or two other profitable websites if I was ever to unload one. The cash flow is too important right now. Then again, if I really built up a site and had solid cash flows and got an offer I couldn’t refuse…I’d probably unload it.
Anne @ Unique Gifter says
I don’t read it very often, but I had noticed the increase in posts and tweets from there! Congratulations. I can’t believe you were able to break even so quickly, that’s a fantastic return!
Excellent empire building work. I am jealous, but haven’t put even a fraction of the time in that you have. As a side note, that phrase is stupid, everything is a fraction, unless it’s 0!
Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted…The Four Principles of a Debt-Free Life
haha a fraction it is then!
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Very cool Pauline! 🙂 I think what’s best out of it is that you broke even in such a short time span – that would be difficult to do in other areas. I’m actively looking myself, but the ones I’ve found so far are a little unrealistic about the value of the site. 😉
John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted…Paying off Debt: A Year Into our Journey
I have seen that, sites with PR0 and $200 a month in income asking for $10k… it is a game of patience to find a good buy.
Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt says
Breaking even so soon is a real achievement! I read Savvy Scot before and liked it then. I think you’ve done some great things with with it already, especially with your January bootcamp series. As always, I’m inspired by your blogging progress!
Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt recently posted…The Emotional Stages of Debt: Passion
Thank you Hayley!
Thomas @ Finance Inspired says
Congratulations on joining the UK Finance blogging community. You’re right, there aren’t many of us at all, we’re few and far between. Good luck and be sure to let me know if I can ever help out with anything.
Thomas @ Finance Inspired recently posted…Why i’m going to buy 1 Bitcoin
Thank you Thomas! Looks like MSE overshadows everyone but the US are proof there is plenty of space in the niche.
Matt Becker says
Very cool! That’s a pretty awesome ROI if the monthly income keeps up. Given what I know about you, I have no doubt that it will.
Matt Becker recently posted…The 6 Biggest Factors We Considered When Choosing a Health Insurance Plan
I’m with Charles…you’re a blog mogul now! It’s amazing what you can do with a blog. You need to start a class or something =)
haha there are lots of tips right on this site but I am no expert, even with three sites.
Bryce @ Save and Conquer says
I’m always amazed at your knowledge of the world of blogging. I’ve never heard of Flippa or any other web selling marketplaces. It’s great that you’ve broken even with the Savvy Scott after only 10 weeks and can make $1k/mo from now on from it.
Bryce @ Save and Conquer recently posted…Work That Builds Character
Thanks Bryce, I learned from trial and error, and a ton of websites with great resources about blogging like smart passive income.
Congrats Pauline. The Savvy Scot looks great. just subscribed : )
Thank you Liz!
Skint in the City says
Congratulations on joining not only the UK PF community but the Scottish one! As you’ll know, the Scots are renowned as being especially savvy – come on in!
haha yes, I hope I hold up to the savviness!
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
Congrats on your new site and your success with it, Pauline. I love starting websites from the ground up, but I also like buying them. The only issue is that many bloggers way over value their sites, so I tend to stick to starting them.
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…4 Ways to Get Excited About Eating In
Thanks Daisy. You’re right, people overvalue, but offering 24 months of income for a website is considered high and is still a 50% return, if websites were offering a 5% return you would have to offer 20 years of income and still be better off than a bank account…
Canadian Budget Binder says
Good for you Pauline. I’ve chatted many times to the previous owner of Savvy Scot as I am a Brit. I was pretty sure this was your new blog as every time I read a post it had your name somewhere linked to it. I’m happy for you and I think this is perfect for you since you do most of your business from the UK. Well done mate.
Thank you Mr CBB!
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says
I was a previous reader of the Savvy Scot, but have been reading more since you took it over. I’m not sure I’d sell my blog after all the time and energy I’ve put in, but I guess if the price was right I’d consider.
Me too, but it would have to be very right. Not that I think I do wonders but let’s say your blog makes $50 per month. At what the market gives you, you’d get $500 to $1,000 stretching it. Put the $1,000 in a bank account and if you are lucky you will receive $50 per YEAR! To receive the $600 a year you would need to sell for $12,000, which no one will give you.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
I’d love to get more into this, but I’m discovering that this blog stuff (I have two) is just too much of a time commitment for me (right now), but hopefully in the future more time will open up.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Why Do We Work So Hard?
I am lucky to be able to afford a VA, otherwise it would be way more work than I am willing to put in.
That’s great news for you. I have read that blog off and on in the past and it has really good content already. If I ever did another site, I think I’d look to buy an established one. It’s so hard building up followers from the ground up. I can’t imagine I’d ever sell Eyes on the Dollar, but if I did, I would feel so much better knowing it went to someone who would continue it in a good way and not turn it into a spam factory.
Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted…Ways to Save Money on Skiing
I’d like that too if I sold my blog(s) although I’d have less trouble parting with Savvy Scot than my babies.
Right on Pauline, I liked the Savvy Scot before, now I’ll like it even more, congratulations!
Jim recently posted…The Business of Blogging ‘Three Pointers’ | Take One
Looks like you acquired some nice online real estate there 🙂 I’ve been to The Savvy Scot a few times before I didn’t know it was so well established with such a great income stream already. Congrats! Just like properties in the physical world, building up a portfolio of online assets can pay off very well in the long run 🙂
Liquid recently posted…Playing the Lottery
It ranks number 10 on Sterling Effort which has a ranking like WiseBread http://www.sterlingeffort.com/uk-personal-finance-blogs I think it was #13 when I bought, now I am trying to outrank the Money Principle :). I guess because the UK market is smaller it makes it attractive for ads, which I will not complain about! Not sure about the long run though, the web evolves very quickly compared to say real estate but since I made the money back I am fine with whatever outcome now.
Congrats on the great find! I didn’t even know that The Savvy Scot went up for sale! I used to read that one all the time. I guess I’ve got to browse Flippa more often.
MMD recently posted…So Long AAA! Lowering the Cost of Car Insurance in My House
Yea I guessed right! Like you say it was pretty obvious for anyone reading the site regularly. I just thought at first that you were some kind of ninja guest post writer who was posting stuff all over the web until I saw your other post about the super secret website, then it all made sense. Congrats and well done for making the money back already!
theFIREstarter recently posted…Calculating your Savings Rate: Debunking the Myths
Ryan @ Impersonal Finance says
Congrats! I’ll be sure to check it out. And that definitely is an awesome ROI. Best of luck (although it doesn’t seem that you need too much of it!).
Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…early retirement is actual
live gold price says
When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the thought of a
user in his/her mind that how a user can know it. Therefore that’s why
this article is outstdanding. Thanks!
live gold price recently posted…live gold price