There are actually many different ways you can sell a WordPress blog website, but in this article we are going to specifically cover the quick and easy way to sell a blog to someone else directly, without using any intermediary/broker services that often charge exorbitant fees and make you go through a process that can take several weeks.
Here are some scenarios when it might make sense to sell in a blog in this way:
- You’re only selling the blog for a lower price and you just want it done quickly, without messing about with brokers who often withhold funds for up to several weeks before releasing.
- You are annoyed at the high fees that brokers and intermediaries often charge, both for listing and selling websites.
- You just want to sell directly to a buyer instead and cut out any middlemen.brokers.
- It’s a friends or family sale and you don’t even need a broker, because trust is no issue.
- You need money from a sale urgently for expenses, investing etc.
- You’re giving the blog away to someone else for free or next to nothing (we’ll also cover the transfer process).
There are ways to sell a WordPress blog more quickly and informally if you fall into one of these categories.
Although the steps can vary a little, here is the general process for selling a blog directly without intermediaries:
- The buyer initiates the funds transfer (confirm with screenshot)
- Unlock the domain with your registrar.
- Begin the domain transfer process with your registrar.
- Confirm domain transfer once funds received.
- Give WordPress login credentials to the new owner.
- Transfer over website files from host to new owner.
- This can be done using UpdraftPlus or FTP server
- Transfer over any linked email and social media accounts.
- Delete website off your own host once transfer is complete.
We’ll go into the process in much more detail (step by step) below, but we’ll get some important caveats out the way first.
Some Precautionary Warnings
It should be said that this is definitely NOT the recommended approach for all WordPress website sales. It’s suited much more for low key, lower value sales and website transfers between known or trusted people.
Here are some situations where this method could make sense:
- They are family or a close friend and you trust them.
- Can be done with others as long as they are genuine in their approach.
- There is trust both ways in the process. They are willing to send money upfront and you immediately begin transferring the domain and website files over to them, or vice versa.
- The website is not selling for a large amount, to point where if there was a problem, you’d accept losing the money and/or the website. It wouldn’t be the end of the world for you.
I actually wrote this blog post because I had a successful sale of one of my blogs doing it exactly this way. The buyer was completely trustworthy and genuine and so was happy to send money upfront with good faith that I would immediately transfer everything over to him (which I did). I got it all done within one day (including funds received), so it was great .
However, please be sure to read below:
Disclaimer – Regardless of all the above points, you still use this method entirely at your own risk and are responsible for any losses incurred if you make a poor judgement in terms of who you trust. If there is any doubt whatsoever (however, small), don’t do this and skip to the section at the bottom on selling via brokers instead. You follow this method at your own risk.
Step #1 – Sort Out Transfer Of Funds
The first thing is to sort out payment for the website. If you are transacting in the same currency at both ends (eg. dollar to dollar), there isn’t a problem usually – just provide bank details as necessary and you are good to go. Skip to the lower part of this subsection for steps.
However, if it’s a cross currency transaction (eg. Dollar to Euro), then traditional banks can charge hefty conversion fees, so if this is an problem for you, consider using a multi-currency account service that allows you to receive money into checking accounts in all the major currencies for lower fees (links are referral links):
- TransferWise – Available in most countries, allows accounts with local details (so they act just like a local bank account) in US dollar, GBP, EUR, CAD and AUD to receive funds.
- Payoneer – Another multi-currency account option. Checking accounts with local details available in USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD and others.
- See our article which compares the two services in more detail.
Using one of these services, you can often effectively create an account in the same currency that the buyer will be paying in and give these details to them, to avoid (or reduce) the fees. You can then transfer received funds back to your local bank account, again usually for a much lower fees than a traditional bank. Same currency transactions with these services are mostly free.
However, check carefully whether 1) These services are available in your country and 2) What certain accounts can and cannot receive and 3) How much accounts can receive if it’s a larger amount. Sometimes it’s same currency transactions only, and sometimes from the same country/area only. Check the rules carefully. Some accounts are not available to users in some countries.
However, once it’s all sorted, you can handle this one of two ways:
Option #1 – If the buyer trusts that you will transfer everything over, simply ask them to send the money directly. Ask them for a screenshot of the transfer so you know they’ve sent it. You can then either wait for the funds to clear before moving onto the next step, or while you are waiting for funds to clear after being sent, you can begin the process of transferring domain ownership (it can often be reversed if there are any problems)
Option #2 – If you trust they will pay, you can begin transferring the domain over to them (see next step), and ask for payment once you’ve started the process (pending) or it’s complete. Domain transfers usually have safeguards built into them so that they still need to be approved after being initiated, so if there’s a problem with payment, you can reverse it. Make sure you have the funds though before confirming anything fully.
Doing it this way, one of the parties usually has to take on some initial risk (either the buyer sends the money and trusts the seller will begin transferring everything over, OR the seller begins to transfer the domain and trusts the buyer will pay). You’ll have to sort out between you who does what first, but if the trust if there and process works, you can save yourself a lot of time and fees versus using brokers.
Step #2 – Transfer Domain Ownership Over To New Owner
Whether you’re transferring your domain over to the new owner before or after payment, the process of handing over your domain to the new owner is the same.
Here’s the process for GoDaddy (it’s very similar for other registrars like Namecheap or Namesco):
- Login to your GoDaddy account
- Head to the section on My Account…Domains
- Make sure the domain is unlocked from the settings.
- Click on the Domain you want to transfer.
- Scroll down and select either “Transfer domain to another GoDaddy account” or “Transfer domain away from GoDaddy” as needed.
- If the buyer is also on GoDaddy, the steps are very easy – just enter the buyer’s email linked to their GoDaddy account and their Customer number (optional), and they receive an email which they need to confirm. The transfer then begins and is usually very quick (24 hours or less). You may also receive a final confirmation email to confirm the transfer.
- If the buyer is with a different registrar to GoDaddy, then the process is a little more complex. You usually need to get an EPP code from your registrar which they need to put in on their end to start to transfer. Moving domains between different registrars can take up to 7 days.
- If there are any problems with payment, see here for cancelling a domain transfer.
Important – Be sure not change any key contact details for domains soon before transfer, as in some cases this can lock the domain and prevent it being transferred for up to 60 days. Open up a live chat with your registrar if you’re unsure how to proceed here. Sometimes you can get around this by unlocking the domain first, but talk with support before changing anything to make sure you can still move it.
See here for useful links:
Also be aware that some domains must be registered under your name for at least 60 days before being transferred. So you might not be able to transfer if you’ve only just recently got it yourself.
Step #3 – Give WordPress Login Credentials To New Owner
Once your funds have cleared and the domain has been transferred, you can then give the new owner access to the actual WordPress back-end of the website.
Here’s what they’ll need:
- WP login page – standard format – https://websitename.com/wp-admin
- Username/Email – The one connected with the website.
- Password – Password you used to login to WordPress back-end.
It might be a good idea to change the password before handing over, by going to Users…..Profile on the left hand side menu of WordPress. You can set a new password under Account Management:
The new owner can then change it from there as they wish.
Step #4 – Transfer Site Files To New Owner
This can be the trickier part, but there are actually different ways of doing this. If you’ve already given the WordPress back-end access to the buyer, then this can actually be done from their end.
Method #1 – This is what I used. If the buyer has access to the website, then you can simply instruct them to download the UpdraftPlus backup plugin, make a backup of the website as it is, and then re-upload to their own hosting service.
The new owner would login to the website, install and open up UpdraftPlus, and begin a backup:
Once it’s done, create a folder and download all the files (there are 5 categories) to it:
Then they can open up a live chat with their host to make sure these files are correctly uploaded to their hosting cPanel.
Method #2 – If you are confident using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) services, you can also simply download all the websites files off your host’s cPanel and send them to the new owner through an FTP server. They then upload to their own host’s cPanel. I haven’t done it by this method yet but it’s there if you’re confident using FTP servers.
There are also other methods for transferring website files to another host. Open up a live chat with your host to explore options if you need to.
Step #5 – Transfer Over Any Other Related Accounts
Once the domain and main website are fully transferred over, you can also hand over any ancillary accounts linked to the websites, such as:
- Any emails connected with the website/blog that you won’t need anymore (especially useful if the Google Analytics is connected to them)
- Any social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc)
- Any connected YouTube channels if that was part of the sale agreement.
Again it might be a good idea to change the passwords before you hand them over, but be careful as there might be some verification issues if the other person starts logging into an account you hand over to them from a totally different IP thousands of miles away.
Accounts may be locked so make sure there is a way to get verification codes to them if needed. You can make sure linked verification email/phone numbers are ones you or them have quick access to so any verification codes can be sent between you easily to verify accounts if they try to login from a different location to you. They might need help with this the first time, but once it’s verified from their end and you don’t login to the account again, it should be fine.
Step #6 Delete The Files Off Your Own Host If Needed
Depending on how you transferred the website files in Step #4, you might also need to delete the files off your own hosting once the new owner’s got the website backed up and fully installed at their end.
Check they’ve got everything sorted after a few days and then login to your own host’s cPanel, go to File Manager or similar, find the website files under directories/sub-directories and simply delete all the files off the server as long as you’re sure you won’t be needing them anymore.
Again open up a live chat with your host if you need help with this.
Selling Your Website Through a Broker Instead
If you decide this more informal option isn’t for you and you want to sell your blog through a more formal channel to ensure everything is done properly and you get paid, then you are better off using a brokerage or escrow service instead.
Here are some examples of brokers who can handle the sale for you instead, but do charge a fee:
- Flippa – Excellent for selling websites, they’ll connect you with buyers but do charge both a listing fee and a sale fee (success fee).
- Motion Invest – A broker specifically set up to sell blog websites like this one. You might sometimes be able to get them to buy it off you directly for a lower multiple (Direct Buy Offer – zero fees but needs to meet very specific criteria), or sell to others through them (Marketplace Offer – more common but they charge a 15-20% success fee to accommodate this). Very hefty fees using the latter – would put me off personally but it’s there as an option.
- Escrow – escrow.com is a middle-man service who will handle the sale of the website so that everything is fair. They receive funds from the buyer and release them once you’ve transferred the website fully over. Useful for larger sales where you want to do everything carefully, but again do charge some hefty fees (3.25% of sale price plus transaction fees).
- Empire Flippers – Another good site for selling websites, but again fees are quite high (see here).