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Renaming eMomsatHome to SparkPlugging [Interview]

Renaming-Sparkplugging

Regular readers of ProBlogger will be familiar with Wendy Piersall from eMomsatHome.com. I’ve watched Wendy establish a presence with her own first blog and then in more recent times expand it into a small blog network of 7 blogs.

A few weeks ago she emailed me to talk about the rebranding and naming of her blog network. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a little of her journey of grappling with this new process and am really happy to be able to officially announce that eMomsatHome.com is now….((insert drum roll here))….

Sparkplugging

As I post this Wendy and her team are rolling it all out (still a few little touches still to go – these things take a little time to transition).

Wendy asked me if I’d like the scoop of announcing the new name and I suggested that we take it a step further and that she allow me to ask her a few questions about the process of switching names. She agreed and here’s my mini interview with Wendy.

Why did you feel the need to change your brand’s name?

Since I started eMoms at Home initially as a hobby site, I didn’t really think of the long-term consequences of naming a site that excludes half of the human race. I started noticing it as a problem very early on, about 5 months after I started. I had a lot of dads and non-parents frequenting the site. But I also had people say things like, “Oh, I didn’t pay attention to your site because I thought it was only for moms”.

I thought that I could build up the brand enough to overcome the initial limitations, but recently at the SXSW conference, it just became painfully clear that we had completely outgrown our name. People flat out told me they would never have read our site based on our name – even though they admitted that they had an active interest in our content. I could now see that ‘eMoms at Home’ was actively holding us back from further growth.

Can you talk us through how you went about making this change?

Understanding our Audience
Quite honestly it was an extraordinarily difficult process. At first I came up with several names around ‘parents’, and when I asked for input from our readers, the feedback was fascinating. Many of them weren’t parents, and even those that were parents didn’t want to come to a ‘parenting site’ for their business information. I hadn’t expected that at all. And it made the naming process 100% more difficult as I realized this wasn’t just a naming issue, but the site needed to entirely reposition itself to truly serve our readers needs.

So I took a step back from our site being a site for parents in business – which was not easy for me personally, because I’m very proud of the work we have done to help working parents. But in order to really serve our readers, I realized that we needed to position ourselves as a resource for people who use the internet and technology to create flexible work for themselves – both parents and non parents.

Domain Research Hell
I hadn’t looked to purchase a domain name of this magnitude of importance for 2 years. It was astonishing to see just how much the domain squatting industry has been built up in that time. I found hundreds of potential names, yet all were taken and had made for AdSense sites on them. I think I spent over 100 hours on domain research and brainstorming.

Another factor is that our audience, while extremely experienced in business, doesn’t really have a standard ‘label’. They don’t really consider themselves ‘home business owners’ nor do they consider themselves ‘true entrepreneurs’. They are a vastly diverse group of amazing people that kind of fall in between those two stereotypes, and call themselves things like “author, blogger, consultant, freelancer, moonlighter, marketers, or tech geeks”. I couldn’t really choose one one of those names, because any of them would be too limiting.

More below the screen caps…

Sparkplugging

Finding the Right Metaphor
So the quest for something brandable and metaphorical began, and it was excruciating. I emailed nearly every marketer I knew asking for help and advice, including you, Toby Bloomberg, Susan Payton, and Marla Tabaka, my business coach. PickyDomains offered their help, and I also found WordLab, a free naming forum. All were extremely helpful – none came up with the right name.

Finally, after probably 10,000 page views on Thesaurus.com, I came upon the word Sparkplug used as an adjective, “A person who makes things happen”. Immediately I knew I had found my metaphor. At that point, I just had to find a good domain with some version of that word in it. That took another week, and I had to stalk a few domain owners to try and get them to sell their domains. In the end, I was able to purchase our domain from the owner who was going to let it expire in about 60 days. And we are now Sparkplugging – Thinking Big in the New Work at Home Generation.

Now that you’ve made the decision to make the change, can you tell us about your plans to transition from the old brand and name to the new one?

I already had plans in place to add new blogs to my blog network in March. The naming process delayed that project, and all of us were happy to get that name picked so that we could get back to doing what we do best – blogging.

I pestered Aaron Wall and my Twitter followers quite a bit for information on how to manage creating accurate 301 server redirects, because even my very experienced developer had never moved a site of our size to a new domain. I’m pretty confident we’ll be fine, but I do anticipate taking a hit in traffic from Google for a while.

An unexpected casualty of this process was that I didn’t know what to do with my own blog on the network with this new name. I never liked that my blog was the same name as the site – I thought it was confusing. But in order to continue to be the ‘flagship’ blog of my own network, I realized I couldn’t be focused so much on Moms anymore, which again was difficult for me personally. I really was only able to be OK with that decision by adding a blog to the network specific to work at home moms, because helping moms start a business is just so near and dear to my heart. I found the perfect person to do that, Kelly McCausey. She’s a very well known WAHM and I was thrilled to get her involved. And my own blog will be named Sparkplug CEO and shift focus a bit to be more entrepreneurial, especially because I’m thinking of doing some much bigger things with the site under our new name.

So right when we change, we’ll be launching the first two of ten new blogs we’re adding to the network, The Home Office Organizer & Believer in Balance. Then to keep up our momentum (and keep people coming back!), we’ll be launching 2 more blogs a week for the following 4 weeks. Of course, we’ll do things like contests, press releases, and hit our word of mouth efforts heavily as well. Plus we’ll put a huge focus on rebuilding links to the new domain. Giving up our Technorati rank is admittedly a blow, but obviously what’s best for the company comes before anything like that.

Honestly, I feel like I am in very uncharted territory. I know that The Mining Company changed their name once upon a time to About.com, but I haven’t seen any large blogs do anything like this. So as much as I can prepare for it, I know full well that I’m going to be totally learning-as-we-go. Many people in the blogging community have offered to help spread the word and I really don’t think that we could pull something like this off without the support of our readers and peers. Overall this has been both a rewarding and humbling experience – and I couldn’t be more grateful for my authors, my friends, and my colleagues who have helped us grow to this point, and who will be there for us as we change.

Ultimately it’s really an honor to be a resource for our community, as I’m sure you well know, Darren. :)

Network Blogging Tips

Do you blog for someone else? A blog you might want to subscribe to is Network Blogging Tips written by bloggers Jennifer Chait and Deborah Ng (both experienced bloggers blogging in blog networks).

“Here we’ll share tips, advice and ideas for those who blog for someone else. We’ll offer commiseration, jobs tips and even occasional leads.”

Disclaimer: Both of these bloggers are bloggers at b5media (the network I co-founded) – however I never realized they were doing this til I saw David blogging about it.

A Strategy for Building Niche Focused Blog Networks

Yesterday on the preview call for Six Figure Blogging I was asked about starting multiple blogs. I mentioned that if I were going to start a blog network afresh today as a single blogger that I’d probably do it focused around a single niche rather than starting focusing upon numerous topics with numerous blogs.

This isn’t to say that starting a blog network with a wide focus on many topics can’t work – at b5media we’ve managed to grow to 315 blogs on everything from Tax to Bags to College Basketball to MTV Reality TV – however starting a network with such a wide focus is a challenging thing and to kick something off around a more focused niche has some distinct advantages.

Advantages of a Niche Focussed Blog Network

  1. For starters having related blogs means you can cross promote and leverage the traffic from one blog to promote another
  2. Secondly it has some advantages for selling advertising directly to advertisers. If you have two blogs on completely different topics it’s virtually impossible to sell ads on both of them to the same advertiser but if you have two blogs with similar reader demographics it doesn’t take much to upsell advertisers to run campaigns on both.
  3. Thirdly – it can help with your SEO to be interlinking related sites.

How I’d start a Niche Focused Blog Network

1. Work hard at building a blog with a good profile and traffic base on a single focused topic

One of the mistakes that I think some bloggers make is that they bite off more than they can chew in the early stages. They hear about some of the big blog networks and think that the key to success is to launch with lots of blogs. While it might be impressive to launch with 10 or 20 blogs, unless you have an established team and serious time on your hands you’re setting yourself up for a nightmare when it comes to keeping them all running. You’ll also probably spread yourself too thin and never really develop any of the blogs to their full potential.

If I were taking this approach I’d pick a topic for the first blog that was reasonably wide and that had scope to be broken down further later. I would work hard on this first blog for months (probably 6 or so) before even thinking about launching more blogs. The key is to build it to a point where you can use it as a springboard for further expansion.

2. Leverage the First Blog

nce you have an established readership I would then begin to think about how to leverage my first blog’s profile and traffic to start a second blog. This second blog should relate at some level to the first either in terms of topic or demographic. Let me flesh these two options out a little more.

Topic – By topic I mean that the second blog should relate to the first blog’s niche focus. It could do this in two ways.

Firstly it could either pick up one of the topics that the first blog covers – perhaps by taking one of the categories of the first blog and expanding it into a blog focused upon that specific topic (see image below). An example of this here at ProBlogger would be if I were to start a second blog on the topic of SEO (a topic I touch on from time to time in my SEO category).

Blog-2

The second way is to pick a related topic to the first that isn’t really gone into in much detail on the first one. There may be some overlap but it’s limited. An example of this here at ProBlogger would be if I were to start a blog on ‘Video Blogging’. I’ve never really written on this topic but I’ve done a little video blogging and there is a definite cross over in terms of topic.

Related-Topic-2

By choosing a topic that relates to the first blog (using either of the above methods) you’re more likely to be able to draw some of your existing readers into your second blog.

Demographics – the second way to choose a topic is to think about the type of reader that you already have reading your first blog and to pick a topic that might appeal to them. This is in effect what the Gawker blog network has done. They’ve started a series of blogs that share a certain demographic (young, largely male, edgey readers). So blogs on gadgets, porn, tech, cars, gaming etc have done well for them as they’ve been able to cross promote – not because the topics really relate but because the audience shares numerous interests. Lets illustrate it visually:

Firstly we have the first blog and their readers:

Demographics-1

And next the second blog is added and rather than the topics overlapping we see the second blog targets a similar kind of reader.

Demographics-2

Whether your second blog relates to the first by topic or demographic (or both) the key is to think about ways of cross promoting the two and drawing readers from your first blog to your second. In this way you give yourself a head start.

Another example of this is Wendy’s eMomsatHome network of blogs. Wendy started out as a single blog but in the last year has added 6 blogs to her network. All of these blogs relate to one another in terms of both topic and demographic (she’s targeting online working parents).

3. Extract Yourself from Your Blogs

It’s not easy writing on more than a single blog. At one point in my own blogging ‘career’ I was attempting to write on 15 or so blogs each week. Let me tell you, this is not sustainable. It’s just not possible to provide quality content on that many different topics – even if they relate to one another. At some point you need to find a way to extract yourself from your blogs and to work with others so that you can expand. This might happen while you still have one blog – or it might happen after you’ve started a 2nd or 3rd – but it needs to happen before too long or you’ll hit a ceiling of what you can achieve.

If I were starting out again I’d attempt to bring on a second writer (or more) as quickly as possible. Hiring writers is a topic for another post (here’s something we’ve published previously on the topic of hiring writers) but it doesn’t have to be that hard. I recently advertised for bloggers for my photography blog on my own blogger job board and had 50+ quality applicants within a day or two. It was then a matter of choosing those that I thought fitted best and negotiating conditions with them. It takes a little while to get everyone settled and working well but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and has allowed me to spend more time on other tasks.

4. Rinse and Repeat

The more you blog in a niche the better you get at identifying new potential topics for blogs. This comes through interacting with readers, listening to their questions, watching the trends in your niche and watching what other blogs are starting up around you. As you do this you’ll begin to see other topics that relate to your current blogs and reader demographics. When you notice them and if you feel you have the resources to kick start another blog – do it. Once you’ve started a few you will find that the process for starting up will get easier and you may be able to use some of your current writers on new blogs (at b5 we find that using our current bloggers can be good because it means we don’t need to retrain from scratch – however you don’t want to stretch them too thinly). The key is to launch blogs that relate to your current ones in some way so that you get that kick start we talked about earlier.

In a sense what I’ve described is what I did in my early days of blogging by going from having a Digital Camera Review Watch site to adding Digital Photography School. In doing so I was able to promote DPS to my existing readers and newsletter subscribers and launch with a thousand or so daily readers pretty quickly.

This strategy is also quite similar to what b5media has been doing with our ‘channels’ or ‘verticals’. While we’ve gone wide with quite unrelated topics we’ve also grouped them together in channels under the leadership/editorship of ‘channel editors’.

Further Reading: Last year I wrote a post on How to Launch a Blog Network which bounced off a post that David wrote on the topic. In that post I told some of the story and lessons learnt in the development of b5media. Hopefully between that post and this one there will be some help for those starting out on the blog network journey.

Blog Networks and How They Pay Bloggers

It’s always interesting to see how different blog networks pay their bloggers.

Valleywag today has a post on Gawker’s new blogger pay structure – they’re moving to a system where their bloggers are paid based upon traffic levels. It’s a smart way to go – we’ve been doing a similar system (base pay which is based upon how long you’ve been blogging with us plus traffic bonus) at b5media for a while now.

I think it’s good because it guarantees a minimum level of income that a blogger can expect to earn in a month but gives incentive to write the type of posts that get traffic.

Other systems that I’ve heard other blog networks using include:

  • Payments Per Post – a flat fee per post (I’ve heard of anything from a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars per post – depending upon the blog, topic, blogger profile and post length)
  • Revenue Share – where the blogger earns an agreed upon percentage of their blog’s revenue (I’ve heard anything from 20% to 80% splits)
  • Revenue Share of Certain Income Streams – where the blogger takes a % of one or two income streams and the network takes other income streams (for example a blogger might take 80% of AdSense revenue and the network takes the other 20% plus any other income from the blog). Another variation on this is where the blogger is allowed to use affiliate programs and the network takes advertising revenue.
  • Traffic Payments - some networks pay purely on traffic levels – a CPM model (ie blogger is paid $X per 1000 page views)
  • Flat Monthly Fees – the blogger is paid a certain amount per month if they reach certain posting goals.

I’m sure there are plenty of other blogger payment models used in other networks (there are plenty of variations and combinations of the above too). I’d love to hear of others you’ve heard of or used.

How to Launch a Blog Network

Blog-NetworkLast week David put together a great list of 46 Things To Do Before Launching a Blog Network which might be worth a read if you’re considering going the network route instead of just having your own blogs.

As I read his post a few comments on his list come to mind. Let me attempt to add a little of the wisdom accidental learning that I’ve gleaned from the process of being involved in the launch and growth of b5media. Let me pick up a few of the areas that David writes about (there’s more in his post that I won’t cover):

Points 1 to 4 – Money

You don’t actually need a lot of money to launch a blog network – however it does help and it does accelerate the growth significantly. I don’t remember the exact figure but when we started b5media the founders each put in around $200 (it could have been a little more or a little less). We decided early on that we wanted to not put too much into it but would grow it gradually as we went and put any profits back into the company.

This worked well for us – we each put in the skills we had and were able to get things up and running reasonably well with just a few hundred dollars. We did already have some profile between us and called in a couple of favors – but we only ever added to that few hundred dollars once more (again with $100 or so).

Having said this – after a year or so we took on $2,000,000 investment and the money certainly didn’t hurt – in fact it accelerated our growth incredibly. So it is handy – but not absolutely essential to have a lot of. I guess the key take home lesson is that if you don’t have a lot of money to accelerate your growth slowly but steadily and to not expect to take any money out of the business but to invest it back in. Also – devise a blogger payment system that doesn’t pay out more than you receive if you don’t have cash reserves.

Points 5 and 6 – Goals

Good advice here from David – we’ve set Goals all along the journey. These goals included how many blogs we wanted to have, setting deadlines for different projects, setting goals for income etc. Going through the process of seeking Venture Capital took this goal setting to a whole new level. You should see some of the models and projections that Jeremy (our CEO) put together in the lead up to landing investment. It was a lot of work – but even just in the preparation stage and the thinking strategically about where we wanted the company to be in the years ahead was a great learning experience and something that helped us grow in and of itself.

I think David’s point of putting people around you to help you achieve these goals is important too. We did this initially as a team – but involving VCs helped a lot with this too. We’re also exploring ways of doing this with others outside the company too (we should have an announcement on this in the coming weeks).

Points 7 to 11 – Blog Overview

One of the keys to launching multiple blogs is to develop systems to help you do this. We now have around 270 blogs in the network (we’ll hit 300 in the coming months). Launching one single blog (and then managing it) can be an overwhelming enough task – but doing it with hundreds in just a few years is a real challenge and means you must have procedures in place around design, recruiting bloggers, launching the blogs publicly etc.

I won’t pretend to understand how our tech team does it – but they have streamlined the process so that a blog can be up and running quickly. We have a procedure for our Channel Editors to follow in recruiting bloggers. We have things that need to be done before launch by bloggers and have systems in place. We have systems for maintaining blogs so that we don’t have to make individual changes on each blog if we want to make tweaks – but can instead manage it all centrally. We have processes that streamline blogger payments. (I could go on)

This doesn’t just happen (we are still tweaking and streamlining things) – but the earlier you start to put procedures like these in place to help you automate processes or at least cut down the work needed the less work you and your team will need to do. Without doing this you’ll end up hitting a ceiling of how much you can do and won’t be able to continue to scale things up!

Points 12 to 14 – Hosting

Hosting is critical to a blog network (or even a single blog). When you scale things up it becomes all the more essential that you have good systems in place. Again – this is not my area of expertise (you’d have to ask Aaron our Director of Technology for more details) but it’s something we’ve worked hard on and dedicated significant resources to.

I always remember Jason Calacanis talking in the early days of Weblogs Inc about hosting issues being the major challenge. Most blog networks go through patches where they struggle with it – we’ve been no exception. I think one of the keys is to keep ahead of your growth and to have a system in place that will not only handle your blogs current traffic – but their future traffic (and a little more, in case three of them land on the front page of Digg simultaneously).

Points 18 to 21 – Advertising

Thinking about how you’ll monetize your blogs is obviously something you’ll want to put significant time into. In the early days for us this was almost exclusively with AdSense. It didn’t take long for us to realize that while AdSense converted reasonably well on some of our blogs that it didn’t with others. We began to explore other options including YPN (Yahoo’s version of AdSense), Text Link Ads and a variety of other ad networks. We also began to develop relationships with other ad partners, look at selling private advertising etc.

The key is to quickly realize that there is no one ad solution that will convert on every blog and to experiment, tweak and track how different ones work for your blogs.

We also took on an ad sales team to help us sell ad space directly to advertisers. This is key to scaling things up to the next level.

Points 25 and 26 – Graphics

I don’t think that each blog in your network needs to look completely unique – however it is important to have some elements that are. This is a balancing act – but one worth thinking through. Most of the blogs in our network have the same template but all have their own logos and color schemes. This enables us to make changes quickly to templates across the network but give each blog it’s own brand and look.

I guess this depends somewhat on how many blogs you’ll have in your network. If it’s a small network it probably is less important to have standardized design.

Points 29-31 – Writers

Finding quality bloggers is essential for a blog – or a blog network. We’ve learned a lot about recruiting and managing bloggers and I have no doubt that we’ll continue to learn a lot more.

A few random lessons:

  • Know what You’re Looking for - advertising for bloggers and taking anyone who applies doesn’t work. Define what you’re looking for and don’t take people on who compromise this too much. There’s more work in having to let a blogger go than in holding off for an extra week or so to find the right person. Read more on some of the lessons I’ve learned Advertising for Bloggers
  • Don’t change the Rules too often – while the systems that you set up will never stay the same – changing things around too much too quickly is unsettling for your bloggers (this includes payment systems, the tech side of things, procedures etc).
  • Create Community and Add Value - some of our bloggers would probably blog for no money simply because they enjoy the community aspects of b5. Add value to what you pay people where you can by creating ways for your bloggers to connect, running internal competitions, offering training, having newsletters etc. However – also keep in mind that not all of your bloggers are wired this way for community – forcing them into it can be frustrating to both you and them.
  • Look for more than just Writers – recruit people who are not just good writers – but people who have more skills and experiences to bring to the table. I personally look for previous examples of where people have been successful at building things up, people who know how to promote themselves, people who are willing to promote and market their blogs rather than just put content on it. Finding those that go the extra mile will often lead to great blogs.

Points 36 to 38 – Domains

Picking domains is something that we’ve put a lot of time into. It’s also something that we’ve always had fun (and fights) with. Like David writes – picking domains is important. We have taken different approaches with them but ideally it is memorable, good for SEO (keywords can help), says something about the topic, isn’t too long, doesn’t have hyphens, is a .com and is catchy/brandable. Having said all that – sometimes it’s impossible to get everything you want and a less than ideal domain isn’t the be all and end all.

Points 39 and 40 – Workflow

I’ve already touched on the importance for good systems. They’ll help you scale up, improve internal communication and cut down a lot of work. We’ve used a variety of different internal communication and management tools including Wikis, internal forums, tools like Basecamp and internal mailing lists (we use Google Groups to manage many of these).

In terms of blogger workflow – we tend to leave this up to bloggers. Some use blog editors, others prefer to work in the back end of WP etc.

Point 41 – Management

It’s so important to have a good team in place – particularly if you’re looking to really scale things up. We started with a group of pretty experienced bloggers as our founding team – but soon realized that while we had skills and experience in blogging that if we wanted to grow that we’d need to fill in the gaps in our combined skill set and also hire people to help manage the workload.

In addition to hiring bloggers we’ve hired numerous others including administrators, tech team (including WP experts, code ninjas, hosting gurus, designers), ad sales team and a variety of other managers. At last count I think we had 14 staff (mostly full time) and there are more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Yes having a team this large costs – but it is also the reason we’ve been able to grow so quickly.

Point 45 – Statistics

This has been something that we’ve grappled with since we started (ie finding the right tool to measure our traffic and other metrics).

We’ve used a variety of tools including server side stats and some custom made tools.

The reasons for knowing metrics are many:

  • They help in the selling of ads
  • They contribute to how much we pay bloggers
  • They are important in reviewing blogger performance
  • They identify trends and point out possible new directions

Don’t just measure traffic – look at other things like how much bloggers are posting, how many comments they might generate, incoming links etc.

Point 46 – Exit Strategy

When it comes to having an Exit Strategy I think it’s worth to have one in mind – however the key is to build a profitable business. Whether you want to sell it down the track or whether you want to build it to enjoy the profits – the key is to build a business that generates good income.

Concluding Thoughts

Wow – that turned out to be quite the epic post!

A few random concluding thoughts:

  • Blog Networks Can Be Big or Small - starting a blog network may sound like a massive task after reading some of what I’ve covered above – but really it can be as big or small as you like. While we’ve built a network with hundreds of blogs – I guess a network is really anything more than 1 blog :-)
  • Networks are a lot of work - having said that they can be small – many people mistakenly believe that they are easy to run. While I hear some talk about starting a network as simply having lots of people write for you – multiplying the content produced and therefore the income earned – keep in mind that you not only multiply the content – but other things including expenses, logistics of managing the blog, keeping bloggers happy etc.
  • Verticals and Leverage - if I were starting over again today I would probably tackle a single vertical. While we’ve done well targeting everything from business, to entertainment, to technology to video games – I think the way of the future for blog networks will be much more around more tightly targeted niches. Probably the best way to do this is to start with a blog that you currently have and to add another that is on a related topic so that you can leverage the traffic, profile and credibility you already have to launch the second blog.
  • Successful Blog Network are Built on Successful Blogs - if I had one piece of advice for an aspiring blog network owner it would be to start by building (or acquiring or partnering with) a successful blog. I’ve seen a number of blog networks attempt to start 20 new blogs from scratch – only to find that they had nothing to build them on.

I’m sure much more could be said on the topic – but before this becomes coma educing (for all of us) I’ll leave it at that and hand it over to you for your comments and reflections on blog networks. Again – read David’s original post on the topic here.

PS: The graph above is actually a picture of the b5media blog network created with this website graphing tool.

SXSW BlogNetworkCamp

If you’re going to SXSW in a couple of weeks and want to get together with some other bloggers to talk blog networks you might be interested in the BlogNetworkCamp meetup that b5media is hosting.

Topics under discussion:

  • Better ways to pay bloggers
  • Infrastructure requirements of a growing blog network
  • How to sell ads in today’s online ad environment
  • Challenges of 2007
  • Ways to collaborate (or not)

I won’t be there but Jeremy and a few other b5′ers will be and I’m sure they’d be happy to have you along no matter what size your blog network (or potential one) is.

b5media Hiring Ad Sales Manager

If you’re an experienced and well connected online ad sales person and are looking to work for in a growing new media business then you might be interested in this job over at the b5 site.

Even the ‘Big Boys’ Call It Quits At Times

I was just doing my rounds of other digital photography blogs and discovered Weblogs Inc’s offering in the niche has closed up shop (although it hasn’t been moved to their ‘retired’ section of their network list yet).

I have to say I’m not too surprised by the move – from what I’ve seen the blog never really found it’s place in the wider niche and looking at their stats the seven months that the blog has been active haven’t put it among the most trafficked blogs at WIN (although ironically this month will be their biggest).

It was always a blog that wrote good quality content but that never really stood out as being terribly unique or ground breaking.

The blogger from the blog, Andrew Barrow, reports in comments that it could have been to do with the lack of response in their numerous calls for new bloggers.

I generally advise bloggers to go a little longer than 7 months to see how a blog goes (particularly in terms of Search Enginge rankings which can take 12 months to really settle) – but I guess in the scheme of things at WIN an underperforming blog is more trouble than it’s worth to maintain (sometimes it just comes down to business sense which I can understand having retired some of my own poorly performing blogs).

I wonder also if it’s difficult having a related blog living in the shadow of a blog like Engadget which has such a presence in the tech blog scene.

As usual with their retired blogs WIN are keeping this one live as an archive (and it’s archive will continue to generate some income for as long as it remains online via SE traffic).

b5media Seeking Business Bloggers

Just a quick announcement for those of you that are looking for an opportunity to blog as part of an established blog network – and get paid for doing it.

b5media is currently seeking business bloggers to join its new business channel.

We’re open to being pitched ideas for the channel but have a list of suggested topics that might get your juices flowing a little:

  • Giving Back & Community Involvement
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Recruiting/Interviewing
  • Venture Capital
  • Taxes
  • Small Business Advertising/Marketing
  • Word of Mouth Marketing
  • Press Releases & Business Writing
  • Law
  • Office space (Leasing, Real Estate, Scouting Property, etc.)
  • Web Hosting
  • Home Businesses
  • Freelancers (Business of, getting clients, etc.)
  • Business of Blogging/Blog Marketing

As Jeremy writes in his post calling for bloggers – we’re more than interested to hear your own ideas for business blogging topics also as it’s a large field with plenty of potential.

Jeremy’s written full details of who b5 is, how we operate, what we’re looking for and how to apply at b5′s home page.

Disclaimer – I’m one of the co-owners of b5 and ProBlogger.net is part of the network.