After recently passing the official two year mark of blogging full-time, I realized that I had too many blogs and sold some off, thanks to my friend Ryan Caldwell. But the bug bit me again, and I found myself immediately launching new blogs, only to find once again that I simply didn’t have the time to maintain them all, nor the capital to hire bloggers for all the sites. So I pulled out my clipboard and started sketching out some ideas for blog building based on the recent advice of Ahmed, Ryan, Brett and others, particularly about working smarter, conquering a niche, tips on link building, consolidatng blogging efforts, and more.
What I came up with is a bit of a roadmap for myself. No longer will I blindly rush into a new blog, with the exception of maybe two blogs that I’m prepping behind the scenes as future blogger resources. (They’ll be announced here once they’ve accumulated some content and free tools, but I will be posting plugins, theme hacks, and techniques here in the meantime.) Back to the roadmap idea…
For me, I don’t consider a site of mine successful until it reaches at least PR5, though that’s simply one measure in a suite of metrics that I apply. That’s true for sites that I’m monetizing via ads, but in an of itself, PR means different things to different people. Still, it’s a measure I use, and it’s probably one of the more visible metrics, because of browser toolbars, etc. As a result, I believe it has invisible positive synergetic effects. It generally means your site is less invisible than it was at PR4. However, there are many PR4 sites with far more traffic than PR5.
So, given my chosen metric for defining partial success, my plan for building future sites came out as follows, tailored for my own preferences. Now, if PR means nothing to you, then the following list isn’t going to mean much either, though you should still create your own roadmap, even if you’re just going to build a single blog.
- Create fewer blogs.
Too many blogs take up a lot of time to maintain, and drain you.
Create more mini-sites and concept sites that are self-sustaining. (Less work means I can join Brett blogging by the lake, if only in essence in Toronto rather than in Virginia, where I believe he is now.)
- Get more into rich media.
While I love writing, I love producing streaming media more. I plan to slowly shift into mostly media production, which fits into my very long-term goal of being a film maker – decided upon probably over 20 yrs ago, but encouraged by the brother of a famous filmmaker I once met.
- Create more resource/ how-to sites.
This is ideal for me, from a background of being a university teaching assistant, a corporate trainer and a technical writer. And since my subject background is computer programming, math/ stats/ analysis, I plan to focus on building analysis tools that’ll be useful to other bloggers and hopefully even SEOs. For lack of a better term, I’m referring to these tools collectively as a blogmaster’s toolbox, but they’ll go beyond bloggers.
- Stay focused.
Build a new site up to PR4 before starting another project. The diagram above shows just a few types of links you can work on building, though there are a few I’ve left out (such as blogroll links, purchased links, links from free themes, etc.) Links are not the only factor in increasing PR, but they are an important factor.
Don’t abandon a new site when it hits PR4. Flesh out the other metrics to take it PR5 or PR6. That includes more subscriptions and backlinks, and continuing to add content in the hopes of drawing more comments and trackbacks. Read/ follow the advice offered here and many other sites for link building techniques. Also use your own existing sites to promote your new ones, as well as guesting elsewhere, in return for a link back. It’s really relatively easy to get to PR4 within a single Google PR rollout duration of about three months. If you plan ahead of time, promote a lot, and have solid content, you can get to PR5 in the same time. Some have managed PR6. And then you find “things” happening, that the same type of content gets higher readership and thus more comments, trackback, etc. It’s an exponential effect.
- Stop obsessing.
Don’t worry about a site earning no/little revenue before PR4, even if advertising appears on the site. Obsessing over the CTR, CPM, etc., just serves to stress you out. Focus on the content and promoting your site. If you’re going to waste your time, why not do it “visualizing” your goals. The worst that can happen is that you did a bit of daydreaming, which usually is more enjoyable than obsession. And of course, you might suddenly be inspired from your daydreaming to produce content.
So before you launch more blogs, I urge you to make your own roadmap. I’ve intentionally been specific about how each item above fits in with my own goals and desires so you have example of how to be specific for yourself. What do you really want to blog about? Do you really want to maintain 20-30 blogs like I’ve been trying to do (and failing miserably at it), or just 1-4 and making them the best they can be? Maybe you want to get into how-tos, podcasting, video or other visual content.
What defines success for your blogs? It’s unfortunate but it’s part of human nature to measure, and that means using some sort of metric, be it Page Rank, traffic, subscriptions, back links, comments, trackbacks, mentions in old media (newspapers, TV), and/or daily revenue. That’s just the way it is, but you can make your own defnition of blogging success. A roadmap will just make it easier to get there, making your goals concrete.