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Same Niche, Different Blogs: Why Not?

Sara-OstThis guest post has been submitted by Sara Ost from www.healthbolt.net and www.marksdailyapple.com.

Do you find yourself dreaming about writing posts that aren’t quite the right fit for your current blog?

The dilemma: you have a successful blog with a specific style and you want to depart from it and express yourself in a new way – but without confusing your readers. You can run two (or twenty) blogs in different niches; but there’s another option, as well. Why not start another blog in the same niche, but to suit different tastes and share your thoughts in a different way?

I run two very successful health blogs. They’re in the same niche – health – but the audiences are worlds apart and the purposes are totally different. Though running two popular blogs takes a lot of work, by doing both this year, I’ve also happily been able to invest more of my day in doing what I love – writing – and cut back on some of the drier pay-the-rent work. So, I want to encourage you to think about the possibilities of a second blog – but in your current blog’s niche. Overlap? Over-extension? Run out of material? Not necessarily! Drawing from my personal experience thus far, here’s why you might want to give the same-niche double-blogging a shot:

Experimentation and Learning

There’s no reason you can’t experiment with a new tone or style of post at your existing blog, but if you’ve already established a certain brand and community, it’s risky to serve up a novel post. A few misfires may not be a big deal, and that’s how you learn. But if you’re consistently finding that you have additional post ideas you’re passionate about that you know won’t really suit your existing blog, maybe a second blog in your niche is just the ticket. You can always let your readers know about your second blog, of course, and ask for feedback. The reason I think a second blog might be better in some cases than experimenting on your existing blog is because passion just works. Why reign it in cautiously on your current blog or test it out only occasionally when you could let loose with your spirit? If you’re going to experiment to learn, why not really experiment?

Expression

The more we learn and read and blog, the more the ideas flow, right? Blogging takes the mind in new directions and expands both the depth and breadth of your interests. And sometimes a first good project serves to lay the groundwork for your best work of all. How will you know if you don’t try? At any rate, it’s my opinion that your current blog will improve as a result of doing a second, namely because running two projects helps you to detach a bit and see the bigger picture – you might work a bit less on each, but on the positive side, you’ll make more objective decisions and focus on what’s important. There’s also the good possibility that your second blog may take off unexpectedly now that you’ve got a comfortable grip on blogging. Maybe it’s time to express yourself in a new way and see just how far you can go.

Income

Why not earn more from sharing what you already know and care about? Now that you’ve got the know-how, and the network, and the community, extend your experience and try something new. You might just make some extra cash much more quickly than the first time around. You’ve already sunk all that energy into your first blog; why not get a further return on the investment of your personal equity? There’s nothing wrong with promoting yourself on multiple platforms if you’re investing yourself authentically and providing useful or entertaining content.

Productivity

Running two blogs (or more) forces you to think about what is really important (do I really need to check stats for the tenth time?). Although you might think two blogs in your niche would be harder than one, in my experience, it improves efficiency, focus, and productivity. If you go for a second blog, plan your posting frequency, type, and length before you start, then stick to it as best you can.

Downsides

There are several downsides, as mentioned. One of the so-called “immutable laws” of marketing is not to over-extend (e.g how many new types of Coke do we really need?). But I prefer to think of working on multiple blogs in a similar category as a sensible way to invest your energy: it’s diversification! You have the opportunity to really maximize the value of testing this way (translation: faster learning, better traffic). You will work more, but you’ll learn more, connect more (especially nice if you work from home), and probably earn more income doing what you already like, too. That’s just my experience – but maybe it could work for you, too!

Sara Ost writes and runs www.healthbolt.net (the #1 health blog on the web (as per MedGadget) and edits and contributes to www.marksdailyapple.com (#38 of the top 100 health blogs).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Sara says:

    Well, in my own case, not usually, because the two blogs have very different bents. MDA is focused on alternative health and deals a lot with nutrition and prevention. Healthbolt is more focused on unusual health and body news. So I would suggest that if you try out two blogs in the same niche, they should be different enough so that you feel motivated about being able to express different aspects of your blogging subject, rather than it feeling like a chore. ;)

  2. Bruce ALlen says:

    I’ve thought about this before. I have a few blogs, but my most successful one deals with sports media coverage, I post in that blog in a very straightforward, no-nonsense style. There are times I’d like to inject a little snarkiness into it, but I know there would be a segment of readers that would not like that. Why not create a second blog where I can be sarcastic and snarky and not worry about offending the no-nonsense fans?

  3. I agree with Michael, it’s an interesting idea while I’ve mainly read about bloggers (Darren, for instance) who have more than one blog but in different niches. Gives us something to think about, thanks!

  4. Sara says:

    Bruce, yes, it does feel good to let off some sardonic steam. ;)

    Thanks, JoLynn.

  5. MarkS says:

    I visited Healthbolt.net/de/, where a “german” version is offered and it is very funny, because the automatic translation is absolutely stupid! Don´t use this tool, no german native speaker will understand it.

  6. Andy Merrett says:

    I find being able to write on similar topics on more than one blog is useful, as it opens up more material and yet the research is potentially easier as you’re using a lot of the same sources to find news and opinion.

    And there’s nothing to stop you using the same news story in two different ways to suit the readership or specific subject. Simply copying could cause a duplicate content policy, but writing an article in two different ways doesn’t. It may even help the creativity of your writing in general.

  7. Jasia says:

    I’m doing this very thing. It isn’t working as smoothly for me as it seems to be working for you. My primary blog is about genealogy and I’ve been authoring that one for just under 2 years. A few months ago I started another blog, this one about creative genealogy… things you can do creatively with all the information you’ve gleaned in the course of your genealogy research. Same audience, little different direction. The two blogs aren’t in competition with each other except for my time. From the beginning I have planned my schedule for posting (I’ve been reading pro-blogger for a while now ;-) and tried my best to keep to it. Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered writing any faster so I end up writing less for my genealogy blog so that I have time for my creative genealogy blog. I thought having the additional pressure of the second blog would more or less force me to become more effecient (like you suggest) but if I rush, my writing suffers.

    The problem seems to be that when you’re starting a new blog you really need that quality content to establish yourself. So I’m putting in a lot of research time to write those original, quality posts. Of course I do that for my other blog too but there I alternate with “passing on information posts”. But I can only skate so long with that until my readership numbers go down. The more time I put in building one blog the less I can put into the other. It seems obvious now but it seemed so plausible in the planning stages. And the additional time pressure of writing a second blog (even though I’m passionate about the topic) makes it feel more like a chore and not so very fun.

    I’m not sure having two blogs in one niche are any less work than two distinctly different blogs would have been. It doesn’t feel that way to me.

  8. Thanks for the reply Sara. I see what you mean about the different angles now. :)

    I suppose a part of this would be making sure your niche is large enough to afford such differences.

  9. Yan says:

    Hmm… I don’t mean to be harsh but aren’t you upping up the ego train when you declare your blog the #1 blog on Health on the web? I’m a medical student and nowhere have I found a ranking system showing your blog #1 on the whole web!

    And for a health blog, there are mostly posts about morning news fix on the blog.

    I find the post interesting but I really dislike people claiming that they are the number #1 blog in something. Let others do the talking for you if you are that good.

  10. Tim says:

    Excellent post, thanks Sara. I have a question that may be basic for you experienced bloggers, but for a newbie (my first blog will be up by the end of the month) still has me perplexed. Is it better to use one domain for both related blogs; as in kidshealth.healthwatch.com and seniorhealth.healthwatch.com, or completely different domains? I see advantages for different domains right away, but I wonder if there are not branding advantages to having two (or more) successful blogs operating under one parent domain. Anybody have thoughts on this?

  11. Sara says:

    Yan,

    The #1 ranking is based on a few different measures (see Darren’s Medgadget link above). The Morning News Fix is a regular feature my readers enjoy, but I understand if it is not to your tastes. :)

    Tim,

    Hmm. That’s a great question. You’ve stumped me! :)

  12. Good post! I especially liked that you seemed rather honest throughout. Good stuff sara!

    -Terra
    http://www.BetterForBusiness.com

  13. Orderer says:

    So Mark’s Daily Apple is not Mark’s alone, eh?

    Nice post, never really thought of having more than one blog to convey different kinds of images. In your case though, it’s not like you maintain two blogs on your own, its just that you contribute to both, so I see how it makes more sense.

  14. tanya says:

    I’m doing the same thing right now. I’ve authored a healthy food reviews blog for the last 2+ years and a few months ago I started a fitness blog, mostly with high protein food reviews and workout playlists.

    @Jasia: The workout playlists on my 2nd blog take an enormous amount of time – and at first I slowed down posting on my main blog, so I feel you totally. What works for me is writing every post on the weekend (or as close to it as I can get). Plus less sleep. At first I thought the less sleep was temporary – but I’m finally getting used to it because I don’t think I’ll ever get back to sleeping as much! Also if you can find other people to contribute articles (I actually pay others per review).

    During the week, I finish up any posts that need finishing, comment and do all the other things required to run successful blogs. Still fine tuning the process though. Good luck.

  15. Outfit says:

    Hi Sara,
    Thanks for the great advice. I think this must be a common problem – or opportunity, really!! I think most writers have both a serious and light side and want to express both technical and more adventurous viewpoints. I’m in a fairly serious world of inspiring women, and as I have a lot of corporate clients, I need to present viewpoints that don’t have me slipping out the side door during workshops. But I also want to have honest insights in my blog and look at the real-life barriers and success stories. I’ve started to get around this by developing a “Naked Inspiration” category in my blog, devoted to my more flamboyant thoughts.
    Simone.
    http://www.outfitinspirations.com

  16. Brad V. says:

    Great post Sara!

    I write about literature and writing, which is a HUGE subject, so my blog could easily be divided up into a few different niche blogs. But I’m just starting out right now and learning the ropes. My blog is gaining in readership, but down the road I’m certainly open to branching out!

    Thanks!

  17. Chuck says:

    I would have to politely disagree that this is a wise path except for those with a lot of personal self-discipline, a deep pool of knowledge of their subject, and the skills to communicate it.

    I have problems with “niche” blogging or site building by people who don’t have a legitimate personal interest in a topic anyway…but I see a lot of blogs, and based on what I’ve seen, few bloggers can sustain ONE blog with solid, helpful information, much less two.

    Darren, of course, is one of those who does this very well…but I suspect that even he has to fight off a burnout factor with multiple posts per day.

    Form my own personal experience, as well as that gained from observing others, I have come to believe that bloggers should blog ONLY when they have something to say that hasn’t been said before in the way they are going to say it (i.e., where is the added value?…otherwise, just link to the original blog that inspired you in the first place). And I believe you can cover different aspects and even writing styles and approaches just about as effectively by using categories within the same blog.

    To me, one of the saddest things to watch these days is people scrambling to inform others with a base of knowledge and perspective for which they’re not qualified or truly interested…simply because they believe they can make money doing it. This love of the “make money online” concept can only lead to a bad place in the long run.

    Instead, I believe we need to look to “help people online” with a unique, valuable presentation of information…and, once you’ve established that people care what you have to say (i.e., you are succeeding in helping them), THEN you have a vehicle by which you can (hopefully) make some money.

  18. Jeremy says:

    This isn’t in regards to the idea of two blogs in the same niche, rather it is the idea that one blog preps you and makes you a better blogger for the next.

    If you have two or more things that you are very interested in, and you are more of an ‘expert’ (or there is a bigger audience) in one, you might want to hold off and start a blog in a niche where you aren’t such an expert.

    Why? When you finally get around to the thing you are best at, you’ll know what to do – you will do a much better job.

  19. Markiting says:

    I agree with your points . Posting a niche topics on second blog would be more useful . Thanks :) I learn and blog .

  20. Alan Hocking says:

    I started six months ago with two blogs.

    One a light hearted look at an expats life on the Costa Del Sol and the other dedicated to Timeshare sales and marketing solutions.

    I have recently put the Light hearted blog on hold while I concentrate all my efforts on the Timeshare sales training blog.

    My decision was based purely on time and readers demands. But it’s nice to have my other blog for the times when I just want to write about something light hearted and family orientated.

    In hindsite I personally should have waited until I had established the sales training site first then started the light hearted blog when I had more time.

    Hindsites a wonderful thing and what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone.

    Keep Blogging Fun

  21. Tim says:

    I understand and agree that keeping two blogs can be a lot of work but in my case I think it makes sense. First, I am a professional freelance writer, which can’t hurt. The blogs I intend to start are on two types of collecting; American military edged weapons, and gambling collectibles. (I’ve been collecting over 40 years so I won’t run dry for a while) While the readership will certainly overlap some, many civil war sword collectors will be bored by posts about vintage bone dice. So my problem is, do I start a collecting site with two sub-blogs, or two totally independent blogs with different domains? The more general domain probably costs me some SOE early on but I could see adding more collecting blogs to the general brand if it caught on. I want to start with the right domain and have parked names for both options.

    And Chuck, I agree that a blogger should be passionate about what they write, but I believe it is possible to write well, and passionately on a number of well chosen subjects. Darren is one example but by no means the only one.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. I need to settle on what domain to start with. Darren’s blog and the reader’s comments have taught me a lot in a short time. I really would value your opinions.

  22. velqn says:

    I think that it is possible to maintain one blog with different topics it is all about the enthusiasm of the blog`s owner.

  23. Z. Glass says:

    I am sooooo glad you wrote about this. Ironically, I just decided this morning (prior to reading this blog) that I need two completely different sites for my “25 Reasons Why” book series I have been promoting. At first, I tried to introduce both books (career & relationship books) at the same time, and I believe it confused my audience. Now (as of this morning), not only am I dedicating two completely different websites, but I am also using two different blogs… twice the work, but it may pay off.

    Thanks again!
    Z. Glass
    http://www.25ReasonsWhy.com
    Author of: 25 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You! and more…

  24. Marc Eilbeck says:

    nice idea sara!

    at the moment I barely have enough time to run one blog! I think having 2 would make it too difficult for me right now. Its one to look at in the future for me.

  25. Sara says:

    Everyone, thanks SO much for all your insightful and interesting comments…means a lot to me. Lots to learn :)

  26. Jan says:

    After a request from Medgadget.com I changed the URL of my weblog from Medgadget.nl to Medblog.nl. You can find a monthly update of the ranking of medblogs on this weblog.

    It would be very nice if you would change the urls in the article from medgadget.nl to medblog.nl. But if you don’t change them the visitors will nevertheless automatically be redirected to the right page.

  27. This is a great post. After reading it I’m strongly considering launching a second blog in the same niche, which could be done with little effort.

    Having been a former marketing pro, I’m quite familiar with Al Ries’ “immutable laws” along with his whole body of work. That immutable law refers to extending a brand, as in your example of spreading the Coke brand too thin. However it doesn’t mean a company can’t launch another brand, say Coke launching Powerade. As a matter of fact Al Ries recommends this approach (checkout his book Focus).

    So for example you could do create a blog called BlogWars to cover defensive PR in the blogosphere and build the BlogWars brand without issue. But if you created a “Problogger Blog Wars” blog, it might dilute the Problogger brand and confuse people…

  28. Naveen says:

    hi,
    This is really a good thought on the way of posting blogs , i have earlier posted the blog on the relevant content on which i am working, still no one posted a comment, hope i will start the way you have recommended