It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants to be a blogger these days.  And why not?  Blogging is a fun way to make extra money and it doesn’t require a lot of overhead expenses so you can get started even if you’re on a shoestring budget.

But starting a blog from scratch is a lot more work than most people would think.  You’re starting off with absolutely no audience.  No one knows you exist and no one is looking for you.  Despite what Field of Dreams would have you believe, people will not come just because you build it.

So many bloggers who have the capital to invest are taking a shortcut and buying an already established blog rather than starting one from scratch.  But before you go ahead and start buying virtual real estate, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to buying a blog.

Pros to Buying an Established Blog

You get a built in audience of engaged readers.  If the previous owner was doing things right you will already have a good number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and RSS subscribers.  That helps alleviate some of the frustration of churning out articles for a blog that no one knows about yet.

You get a head start on content creation.  Hopefully the blog comes complete with dozens or hundreds of articles and you just have to keep the momentum going.

The search engines are aware of you.  When you start a new blog, search engines like Google and Bing don’t even know you exist.  It takes time for them to find you and then learn to trust your content enough to rank you for various search terms.  Getting a head start on that process is a big plus.

Cons to Buying an Established Blog

Traffic could disappear the day after you buy it.  Recent Google updates known as Panda and Penguin have sent many sites to the bottom of the search engine rankings.  If you had just paid good money for a blog only to find its traffic slashed in half you will be experiencing serious buyer’s remorse.

Valuations bordering on the insane.  Bloggers love their blogs almost as much as they love their own children, and they place unrealistic prices on them.  An objective buyer doesn’t care about how many hours you spent tinkering with the header or trying to get the wording just right.  They only want to know how long it will take to get back their investment.

If you’re going to buy a blog you want to make sure it has a steady stream of income.  And not just any type of income.  You want it to be income that you can recreate.  That means that private advertising deals worked out by the previous owner are not worth much.

If you decide you want to buy an established blog make sure you do your due diligence and thoroughly go through their traffic and revenue reports.  And make sure you have a plan for it.  Ideally, if you want to earn money online, you’ll find an under-valued blog that just needs a little love and monetization help to turn it into a powerhouse.