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Brainstorm 10 Ways to Expand Your Blog [HOMEWORK]

In this post I’d like to share a simple exercise that helped me to grow ProBlogger beyond being just a simple blog {image by deserttrumpet}.

How are you planning on expanding your blog?

brainstormYesterday as I was going through some files on an old computer I stumbled upon a brainstorming document that I’d written 4 years ago about this very site – ProBlogger. I wrote it almost exactly 1 year after I started this blog.

In the document I’d set myself the task of brainstorming a variety of ways that I could expand ProBlogger beyond being just a blog. While I knew the idea of a blog helping bloggers to make money from and improve their blogs had potential – I also knew that there was potential to build something more successful and profitable by going beyond just having a blog.

For this task I gave myself permission to dream big and to come up with things that I may never implement.

Here’s some of the possibilities that I’d jotted down:

  • ProBlogger Forum/Community – where readers can interact with each other – possibly a forum
  • Job Boards – a place where bloggers looking for work can find jobs and where advertisers can find bloggers
  • ProBlogger Training/Speaking – develop training modules to do with groups of bloggers
  • ProBlogger TV – a video section of the site
  • ProBlogger Shop – selling merchandise but also tools for bloggers
  • ProBlogger Services – a consulting service for bloggers
  • ProBlogger Ad Network – an ad network for bloggers to join to make money from their blogs
  • ProBlogger Books – self publish a book about how to blog for profit – perhaps a downloadable book.
  • Start Related Blogs – starting blogs on topics related to blogging (SEO, different platforms etc)

There was a lot more in the list (in fact there were about 40 ideas) but these were the first on it. I wrote a paragraph or two on each idea – fleshing it out with extra details.

Of course there’s a variety of things that I’ve done and not done with these ideas:

  • Some became a reality (Job Boards, Writing the ProBlogger book and starting TwiTIp for example)
  • Some I’m still planning on doing (our Community Section will hopefully launch next week)
  • Some I tried and abandoned (for example I tried a shop where I sold T-shirts for a while but it never really worked)
  • Some I evolved into other things (the TV idea evolved into semi regular video posts)
  • Some I plan to do in future (those ones are in my secret file)
  • Some I’ve never done and probably never will try.

Whether I’ve done all of the things that I dreamt of back then doesn’t really matter….

What’s important (to me at least) is that I put some time aside in the very early days of my blog to dream, brainstorm and come up with ideas of how to take my site further than it was.

Your Homework

Today I’d like to invite you to do this type of exercise for yourself.

How might your blog look in 4-5 years time? Create a list of 10 ways that you might one day expand your blog.

OK – I know this seems like a pretty crazy task for some of you because I know for a fact that many ProBlogger readers are just starting out and are still in their launch (or even pre-launch) phase – however I do think that this type of exercise can be helpful even if you don’t do much with the ideas you come up with.

For me this type of brainstorming has not only led to concrete ideas and plans but even just the process of dreaming has inspired me to keep growing my blogs. I also think that having some bigger possibilities in mind can sometimes help you to shape your blog in the here and now.

So open up a document or grab a pen and paper or a whiteboard and start to dream and brainstorm about how you might one day expand your blog.

While I don’t want to limit your brainstorming by giving you too many ideas – you might like to think about some of these:

  • different mediums you might like to add (video, forums etc)
  • other related blogs you could start
  • services that you could offer
  • new categories that you could write about
  • new sections of your site that you could add
  • new features that you could offer readers

If you’d like to share some of what you come up with please feel free to share some of your thoughts in comments below.

In the coming weeks I’m going to share a variety of ways that I see blogs expanding that I hope might give you a little further inspiration on this topic – but in the mean time do the exercise for yourself and see where it might lead you!

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. Wayne Key says:

    Great post!! Brainstorming is probably the highest value project that you can undertake for your blog or for any project that you value enough to think about. Stephen Covey says alot about it in this Focus training programs, but I have to say the most help I have ever gotten to assist with brainstorming is over-caffeination!

    Thanks for the reminder that we all need to take time to think and dream.

  2. Lisa B. says:

    I’m a born entrepreneur, so at the same moment I came up with the idea for my blog, I also envisioned it becoming much more.

    1. SurvivalMom logo wear & products
    2. podcast
    3. publish a book
    4. publish a series of e-books
    5. look for ways to get media attention
    6. produce short videos

    Since I homeschool our kids, the podcast will have to wait, although I love the idea of communicating verbally with an audience. It comes from my many years as a trainer. I’m currently working on developing a logo for not only my blog but a line of products also.

    Last month I was interviewed by a journalist from a national news magazine, and I hope to get some local attention soon via a news radio station. As soon as that darn logo is finished (anyone know of a good, cheap graphic artist??), I’ll be able to do more with publicity.

    Publishing a book is my ultimate dream. For now, I’m working on refining my writing skills, which has been an interesting project since I hadn’t written much of anything since grad school. I want to start with e-books, though, and add video segments to my blog as well. I’m about fifteen years behind in the world of technology, so that has hampered my progress, along with limited time.

    Thanks for this assignment! It reminded me of the bigger picture than just posting a blog entry every day or so.

    http://thesurvivalmom.com

  3. Dave Doolin says:

    I have found that my best ideas come when I’m doing something completely different than what I am thinking about.

    For example, driving to the beach often results in useful ideas I can implement when I get home.

    I should go surfing more often!

  4. This post as well as all the comments got me thinking about what I want my blog to look like in the future. I want it to have a larger readership, but most of all a better platform. My blog is on blogspot but with it’s own domain. I would like to host it on my main website and use WordPress functionality. It seems like such a big project and many questions come to mind. What about all my old posts? Who will I get to do the techie stuff. Anyway, it got me thinking and that’s what matters.
    Thank you, Suzanne

  5. Sol says:

    A forum search of work is interesting. The bloggers who are lawyers can make a forum for advice.
    Many things can be added to a blog and make it grow.

  6. I recently decided to change my blog to a magazine style, I am much happier with this design as it makes older posts more readable and accessible. I am trying to keep my content truly unique but some of it can be difficult to absorb for readers. Thinking possibly training or webinar in the future but really struggling to find the time for everything some days. I’ve already written the book and really don’t know if I could have written a book and blogged at the same time. Honestly Darren you must be very focused and productive.

  7. This is a great idea!! I am always thinking of ways to make my blog bigger, better, stronger. I think this is a good way to see the possibilities and potential for my blog. I am a college student, single mother to a one year old, and part-time freelance writer… finding the time to focus solely on my blog is a challenge right now for me as well.

  8. DoktorThomas says:

    Mentioning of places to go and sites to visit is easy. Providing insightful links is compelling. Surprised you did not… rarely have anything but praise for this blog. Continue on…

  9. rajput says:

    Your article reflects the very same list that I have done some 3 months ago on May 24 but in different order. When I started my blog, I wrote a “Power 25 list” which includes those things that wanted be to do to expand my blog. But still now, I am working on the list to ascertain which one to do first and which one to do next.

  10. Tanya says:

    It’s funny, blog-brainstorming is actually something I do all the time. I’m always thinking of ways I can improve or ideas I have for the future. This is a great post.

  11. Rolex says:

    yes, I think that’s important in order to attract some creative ideas. It’s also a great assignment for me and other bloggers too. Thanks.

  12. Gin says:

    A secret file? Now that sounds fun. I have a visual of a semi dark room n somebody with eyes looking side to side, wiggling ears n holding a file really close hovering over a vault. :) It’s great to be able to review plans made a while back and rediscover them but don’t you find yourself adding new items to the list too, lol.

  13. web offer says:

    yes I really need to set a specific time just for this with no distractions

  14. THanks for sharing this article. Anyways, do you want to earn money online? Try this stuff and start getting rich! This is your chance now. Ever asked who is the World’s RIchest Man? See it for yourself :)

  15. Master B says:

    Hi Darren,

    Just today, I feel so tired doing stuff online. But I knew I have to sustain my effort. It’s crazy to think that I can harvest by only blogging for like a month or two. I have bunch of ideas of my mind on how to expand my blog. Currently there is this one I’m trying to pitch. I havent yet seen anything similar to the idea. But I donno if its gonna work. The only thing forbid from right away jump on that pool is that, I feel i havent got much time yet. I donno whether it is “time” that restrict me or something else.

    Here, I am struggling with so many things beside time. My slow internet connection, my slow runner computer. With that limitation I have to manage, at least till I earn enough to fix all that. I am like a turtle walking one step out of time with hour counting. It devastating and yet I still have a dream to fire me up.

    Thanks for sharing this to us. I realize now, that even pro blogger like u, once a dreamer like us, and human being that begin all from scratch.

  16. Lee says:

    Organization would be another idea of improving the blog. By organizing blog items into sections where they become relevant to each other one can achieve very significant traffic increase. Regards.

  17. vga-kabel says:

    Darren, this is really sound advice and I never really understood the importance of setting goals for your business or blog until I read this today.

    Goals or in your case a dream brainstorming session can help you take your vision from exactly that vision to reality.

    Of course sometimes what we envision as our long term end result often takes a different shape than what we originally set out to achieve. I had that happen when I set out to blog about my adventures such that they were in Paint Shop Pro and also when I set out to blog about weight loss and wellness. … Read More

    Now my goal is to become an internet services consultant and use all of the skills I have amassed over the last 6 yrs or so to help small business owners and beginner as well as intermediate individuals navigate the net in a less hostile way than I had been initiated into.

  18. Keli says:

    Good information. The ladies of boissuq.com are working on building a brand…with any business you should establish a brand that can be built upon.

  19. Yael Ernst says:

    Yet another wonderful post- and just on time! :)

    Thanks Darren.

    Yael

  20. It’s amazing how powerful writing down a vision can be. A great way to decide what you do and do not want to do. And… a great way to see how far you have come after the fact.

    Planning out one’s business is one of the most important things entrepreneurs can do but far too often the thing that is done far too infrequently.

  21. MrWes says:

    Loved your ProBlogger book. Just passed my 100th blog milestone. This post is just what I needed as I look into my blog’s future.

  22. moonwalker says:

    slowly i got my best result when i got my first earning in blogging

  23. Hi Darren, Very impressive article. I have been bloging for almost 6 months and I liked the way you made me get thinking about my blog for the next 4-5 years. I read the whole article twice and focused on the ideas that you gave for your problogger. Thanks

    Have you got any articles or posts on how you went on developing your blog from day one and what changes have you done on problogger from the beginning till today?

    Would love to know what is in your secret file though LOL?

    Thanks and keep coming with good stuffs like this.

    Jay

  24. This is a very interesting approach — I set yearly goals for my business however, I have never approached … Goal setting/brainstorming for my online blog so to speak.

    This is a great assignment!

    This coming weekend I will spend one hour brainstorming all the different ways that I can expand on my website blog.

  25. umar says:

    How to Expnading is really much difficult task

  26. this is such a wonderful post! just in time! ^^
    I’m also thinking how to expand my blog, and this is just the answer!

  27. dannytan says:

    I’m new to the blog scene. These are some good tips. It’s been really overwhelming so far, but it’s been fun at the same time.
    Two Voices | Two Guys

  28. Hi Darren-

    This was really helpful, I have been blogging for a few months and felt like I was running out of things to talk about. This helped a lot and I feel like I have a lot more ideas now.

    Thank you!