Today I want to share one last way to let your blog go to round off our 10 part series. It’s something that has at times almost brought my own blogging to a grinding halt – taking on too many projects and stretching myself too thinly.
There’s a fine line between:
1. diversifying your blogging interests so as to have a number of income streams to help ride out the downtimes that most blogs suffer from
2. having so many blogs on the go that they begin to suffer as a result of you not being able to dedicate your focus to them.
The Argument for Diversification
I’ve written on numerous occasions about how it is smart to diversify when it comes to blogging for money (for example here in my 18 Lessons I’ve Learned about Blogging post). Diversification makes sense on a number of levels including:
- Multiple Blogs (wise because most blogs go through highs and lows in terms of traffic, earnings, search engine ranking etc)
- Income Streams (not putting all your eggs in the AdSense basket)
- Non Blogging activities/income streams (looking outside of blogging to find other ways of supplementing your blogging income)
Diversifying your interests is a smart move – ask any financial advisor and you’ll find the advice will almost always be to hedge your bets and invest in multiple areas so that when one market goes down you don’t lose everything.
The Problem with Diversification
While I do believe that it’s smart to diversify – there are some risks with the strategy. The main problem is that you run the risk of spreading yourself too thinly across your blogs.
I learned this the hard way in my first couple of years of blogging for money. I saw what I could achieve with having a single blog and decided to multiply my efforts by blogging on up to 20 blogs at once. The result was poor quality content, stress and strain and eventually blogger burn out.
The more I gave myself to do the less time I was able to dedicate to any one activity – including the producing of engaging, useful, interesting and unique content. The flow on effect of this is that my earnings in this period didn’t raise anywhere near as much as I’d hoped.
What I ended up doing was to hire a blogger to take on one of the projects that I was running, to kill off the majority of the rest of my blogs and to focus upon two blogs (ProBlogger and DPS). In doing so I saw immediate results. The blogs I was able to focus all of my blogging energy upon literally exploded as a result of the improvement in content, the extra time I was able to dedicate to interacting with readers and my extra energy levels which renewed my passion for the topics I was writing about.
Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thinly?
There are a number of areas that I see bloggers (including myself) spreading themselves too thinly including:
- Multiple Blogs – I find two blogs is enough for me – at b5media we have a few bloggers who handle more than that, but there comes a point where their blogs suffer if they add more.
- Social Media – it seems that every day a new social networking site starts. If you were to accept every invitation and engage fully on every one of them you could easily spend your whole life on these sites.
- Reader Interaction – you can never do enough interacting with readers right? Well actually you can. There comes a point where even the very worthwhile task of interacting with your readers can distract you from your core task – the producing of good content.
- Multiple Income Streams – there comes a point where if you add too many different ad networks, affiliate programs and other income streams to your blog where you can be spending too much time administering them. Optimizing ads, tracking results, chasing up payments etc – it all takes time. Sometimes focussing on just a handful of income streams makes more sense than experimenting with too many at once.
Now before I go any further let me stress that the above activities are all good – but they CAN be responsible for you spreading yourself too thinly. I do think it’s wise to have more than one blog, engage with social media, interact with readers and experiment with new income streams…. but not at the expense of your core blogging activities – particularly the writing of content.
Tips for Overstretched Bloggers
If you are like I have been at different times in my blogging ‘career’ I have a few questions to ask and tips for you:
What is Important to You? – I think it’s crucial to constantly be asking yourself this question. Identify your goals in blogging. What are you trying to achieve? Once you’ve asked this take a look at how you spend your time and identify which things that you’re doing take you closer to your goals and which are not.
Where is the Energy? – Identify where the energy is within your different activities. What is working and what isn’t? What is producing fruit and what is greedily sucking your time and energy without any benefits? I’m a big believer looking for points of ‘energy’ in my life and putting more focus upon them. For example when I realized how I’d spread myself too thinly with 20+ blogs I picked the two or three that worked and killed the rest.
Set Yourself Deadlines – When I start new projects I generally have a deadline in mind when I would want to see results by. If i don’t see at least some signs of life in the project at this point I either kill off the project or work out how to approach it differently so that I’ll see the results I need.
Streamline your Processes – what things do you have to do that you’re inefficient at? I always knew how much time email was sucking out of my day but did nothing about it for years. The extra pressure that my inefficiency in this area of my business cost me was stupid and meant I was stretching myself further than I needed. Reinventing my email processing system gave me extra time.
What other processes suck your time? Perhaps it’s email, perhaps its reading RSS feeds, perhaps its social media, perhaps it is an activity like moderating comments? How can you streamline these important but time consuming processes?
Outsource – There has been a big focus upon outsourcing lately (Tim’s The 4-Hour Workweek might have had something to do with it). I don’t outsource much of my blogging activities but do see the sense in it. I currently have help with comment moderation and have taken on a few writers at DPS which has helped me tremendously. Do keep in mind however that outsourcing means managing others which can take even more time away from you in the short term while you get people set up.
Be Ruthless – My last tip is to echoe the thoughts that I shared in my post on how to be a Ruthless blogger. While it can be hard to let go of blogs that don’t work or to cut out activities that suck our time the fact is that for many bloggers it is these things that stand between success and mediocrity.