It’s a good question and one that I have a few random thoughts on (which I thought would be a good addition to the blogging for beginners series):
Diversification of Income Sources – I’ve posted many times here at ProBlogger about the wisdom of diversifying your interests in blogging and the idea of multiple blogs is central in my own approach to this. While you do need to be careful of spreading yourself too thinly (more on this below) multiple blogs has been very beneficial for me and have been one of the main reasons for my own growth of income over the past three years. My own experience is that a blog’s traffic growth usually starts fairly slowly, then goes through a growth spurt before reaching a plateau where it becomes more difficult to add new readers in great numbers. At this point starting a second blog is often one good way to increase overall traffic.
The main reason that I became a believer in diversification through multiple blogs was as a result of an experience of seeing one of my main blogs suffer in it’s ranking in Google for a six week period. It struck me in this time how easily an income based around one single successful blog could disappear and I was motivated to build other blogs (and other non blogging income streams) so that if it happened again I would not be left completely high and dry.
More work - Of course a blog doesn’t run itself and to diversify your interests by adding new blogs means that you’re also multiplying the workload that you’ll need to take up to maintain them. I’ve seen a number of bloggers get sucked into taking on more than they can handle by starting multiple new blogs at the same time – simultaneously launching numerous blogs that they are the primary author for on the same day.
My recommendation if you’re looking to start multiple blogs is to stagger your launches over time. Start one up but then give yourself a few weeks to get into the rhythm of posting there and adjusting to your new workload before even thinking about your next one. If you don’t do this you run the risk of spreading yourself too thinly and the quality of your posting will suffer.
Don’t under estimate the time and energy that establishing a readership on a new blog can take – take your time.
Sub Domains or Multiple Domains? – This is one of the eternal questions that I’m asked. Which is a better way to go?
Having taken both approaches I can assure you that both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. It IS possible to take either approach and establish a successful blog. Here’s a quick list of factors to consider (these are just some of the many things that are debated by proponents of the different methods):
- Multiple Domains will generally take longer to establish SEO for whereas Sub Domains generally get indexed quicker and ranked higher IF you have a well indexed and ranked domain already
- Once established Multiple domains be be very powerful with SEO when they link to one another. This is one of the reasons that blog networks are so successful (100 blogs all linking to each other virtually ensures good ranking in Google over a longer period of time). Note: this can take a long period of time to get working for you.
- Multiple Domains are easier to sell down the track (you might be able to sell a domain with multiple blogs but splitting them up would be a nightmare).
- Multiple Domains lend themselves to individual branding of your blogs. Of course a subdomain approach can be branded well also (check out about.com for example) but multiple domains are generally simpler to brand
- Sub Domains will obviously be cheaper to run in terms of buying domains – although they are so cheap these days that it’s hardly an issue.
- The only problem with them is that they might be a challenge to manage on an administrative level (especially when you have a lot of domains expiring all at different times.
- Some believe that covering multiple topics on the one domain can be detrimental for both SEO and systems like AdSense (there’s some debate over this).
My own preference these days is much more to register multiple domains as I have a long term approach which I think this lends itself to. However I can point to a variety of very successful examples of both methods so a blog’s success or failure doesn’t depend upon this choice alone.
Targeting neighboring niches – one strategy that I’m seeing numerous bloggers using these days is to expand their blogging activities by developing new blogs on topics that neighbor their existing blogs. A prime example of this is Manolo’s Shoe Blog which is now has a range of sister blogs on topics including bridal wear, men’s fashion etc.
The beauty of expanding into similar and related topics is that it opens up great opportunities for cross promotion (someone interested in one topic is likely to be interested in a similar one) and can cut down on the amount of time and effort that is put into research (a lot of research that bloggers do is often wasted because it doesn’t quite fit within a niche – but if you have multiple related blogs more of the research can be used).
Apart from this strategy of choosing similar topics – most of the principles that I outlined in my post on How to Choose a Niche Topic for your Blog will apply.
A Suggested Workflow – In order to manage multiple blogs a blogger quickly learns that they need to be smart in how they run their operation. As I say above – the more blogs you have the more work you’ll find yourself with.
I do outline the way I operate in my Day in the Life of a ProBlogger post but in short:
- I give each blog that I write to a folder in Bloglines.
- In that folder I have a combination of RSS feeds from related blogs, bloglines keyword searches, Google News RSS feeds for keywords, Topix RSS feeds for keywords etc.
- Each day I work through the folders one at a time. I scan through them a feed at a time and open up those posts that interest me in new tabs in Firefox (up to 10 tabs at a time).
- I then go through each tab in turn. I close most of them that are not relevant but if one is I then post something on it using Ecto.
- Once I’ve finished with the open tabs I continue to go through bloglines until the folder I’m working on is empty/read.
- I then move onto the next folder.
Some folders I work through every day (and therefore post to those blogs on a daily basis) while others I have a less frequent rhythm for (every few days or even weekly).
I also have a couple of blogs that I have another blogger working on for me to lighten my load. She uses a similar workflow.
By no means is this the only workflow. I recently had a chat with a few other bloggers who told me their daily rhythms and it was fascinating to compare how we went about it. Some were remarkably similar and others were very different. What struck me is that each blogger had found (or was attempting to find) their own unique methods and while some things worked brilliantly for some – they didn’t for others (ie I can’t imagine blogging without tabbed browsing while other bloggers hate it).
It’s definitely worth trying your hand at a range of different tools and methods to see what works for you.
I’d be fascinated to know readers answers to some of these questions:
- How many blogs do you operate?
- Why this number? Are you planning more (or less)?
- How did you decide which new blogs to start?
- What’s your workflow like?