This is part 1 of the Performancing Blog Reboot.
Let’s dive right into this as there’s a lot to cover today.
For the first step, we’re breaking it down to 3 phases:
- Collecting basic information
- Evaluating / measuring the good and bad
- Defining purpose, focus and audience
Let’s get started on the first one, collecting stats on our target blog, Performancing.com.
1. Collect Stats
This is a 3-part process:
- basic blog stats
- comparison with top blogs in that niche
- blog history – what the blog is about, path from launch to current state, reputation issues
Basic Performancing stats:
Daily / Monthly Uniques: 1.5k / 44k
Daily / Monthly Pageviews: 9k / 282k
RSS Subscribers: 5K
Registered Users: 42k (remove 50% for dead accounts / spam so you’re left with 20k)
PageRank / Alexa: PR 7 / 11k
Site Age: Started October 7, 2005, so that’s 1 year 9 months.
Content Count: 7000+ pages
Comparison with top blogs in the niche
There are other leading blogs in this niche (Daniel’s Daily Blog Tips, Liz’s Successful Blog, Lorelle’s blog on WordPress, Chris’s new blog, Blog Herald, etc) but I think you can safely say that if Perfomancing can match the reputation and attention these blogs enjoy it’s a good start (I say this without judging whether Perf is ahead or behind these sites).
So how does Performancing stand up to these players?
Performancing vs Problogger – no contest, Problogger wins hands down in terms of community, RSS subs, reputation and momentum. Potential-wise I’d say ProBlogger edges Perf as well, although Performancing does have the pMetrics ace up its sleeve.
Performancing vs CopyBlogger – once again, no contest – Brian wins in momentum, community, RSS subs, reputation, etc. What works in Performancing’s favor here (again) is pMetrics plus the added fact that Performancing probably has more resources to dedicate to growing the brand than CopyBlogger.
Performancing vs WeblogsToolsCollection – It’s a close one – WTC has a lot of mindshare but to be honest (no offense intended Mark) it’s core strength is that’s its the primary announce board for new plugins and themes. WTC edges it in terms of mindshare but out of the 3 top competitors I’d say that WTC would be the easiest to overtake.
In a full reboot (I’ve cut some steps out to save time here) you’d compare hard stats as well – RSS subs, traffic (estimated) and rank blogs based on community / comments ratio on their latest posts.
- Fantastic launch, chock-full of content, within a couple of months of its launch Performancing was easily rivaling ProBlogger as the leading blog ‘about’ blogging.
- ScribeFire (formerly Performancing for Firefox), pMetrics and the Performancing Ad Network were all well-received blogging tools and services that further established the Perf brand.
- Like it or not, the blog’s biggest problem was that it was branded by the ‘voice’ of Nick and Chris – any new blogger coming in / taking over would have big shoes to fill, not to mention be an experienced blogger and write extremely well.
- The protracted sale of Performancing took away a lot from the brand (for several reasons that we won’t go into detail here), and till now I’d say the blog has struggled to regain that ‘oomph’ it once had.
- Right now Performancing is moving in the right direction (rebuilding services, offering quality content for bloggers) but by my account it’s much harder in 2007 to reclaim that place Perf had over an year ago and as such there needs to be a change in focus AND an acceleration in the rebuilding process.
I’ve been a Perf reader and member for a long time so it’s easier for me to summarise the history – if you’re doing a blog reboot in a niche that you’re not so familiar with, you’ll need to get this info from the site owner himself.
So what does this tell us?
2. Good and Bad
We know what Perf’s objectives are, what it’s capable of, and where it stands now.
- Thousands of premium-grade articles on blogging.
- pMetrics – fantastic stats tool that needs better promoting.
- Established user-base (members and RSS subs).
- Mindshare – on the RSS readers / radar of many influential players in the blogging niche.
- It’s a lot harder to succeed in the blogging niche today than it was in late 2005.
- Dormant user-base / community – they’re are thousands of registered users but few of them participate anymore.
- Still talking about blogging like its 2005 – the leaders get away with it because of their momentum, but blogs that are a bit behind need to do something special / extra.
We’ve done a comprehensive job of setting the scene for Performancing in terms of where we are and what we need to do.
Next step: where to go from here.
3. Purpose, Focus and Audience
Now for the big question:
What’s the point of Performancing?
The tagline reads: “helping bloggers succeed”. It’s specific about ‘helping bloggers’ bit and open-ended about ‘success’. This can be a good and bad thing – leaving it open-ended allows the site itself to define the term and introduce various services as long as they all target the same goal. The downside is that if you have to maintain high standards in your pursuit of ‘actually helping’ bloggers – if you let up and don’t deliver on the quality of service expected of you, readers will drift away.
I wouldn’t change the tagline – it’s perfect as far as Performancing is concerned.
What I WOULD do is redefine the focus of the blog and the services / tools it looks to provide based on current circumstances and future expectations.
Blogging ‘about’ blogging is like flogging a dead horse. There is already such wealth of information in the archives of the leading blogs on blogging that most of the new stuff is just regurgitation / rehashing and eventually, a waste of time (no offense intended, mind you).
So for Performancing, here’s what I think should be the way forward:
- Get maximum value out of the archives. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Establish a high level of quality and only allow the best posts to filter to the front page. To put this in context – there are some articles I’ve written here on Perf in the last month that I wouldn’t put on the main page.
- Focus on developing tools and services for bloggers to help them succeed. We’ve had several discussions on this behind the scenes and I’ll talk about this a bit more in future parts of the reboot (still on part 1, remember?).
- Get the old members back.
Who Is Your Audience?
It would probably be better to target one segment of the blogging audience, but we like big challenges here and Perf has done it before, so we’re going after the whole niche. Having said that, you need to cater for different segments of that niche and treat newbies, experienced bloggers and fellow site owners differently (and feed them different content / tools / resources).
The newbies are still at the start of the learning curve, so for them the content will be the main draw (followed by the tools). For the experienced blogger you’ll need a different level of content (in terms of depth and topics) plus the focus would be more on the tools and services that Performancing intends to provide.
But how do you target fellow site owners? It’s something we’ve been discussing and I think that this is something that’ll happen through time and building relationships – maybe a trip down under is in order? 🙂
Next (tomorrow), we’ll talk about what Performancing can offer to its readers in terms of content, tools and services (without revealing too much 🙂 ), so stay tuned.
I’d love your feedback on this very public blog reboot, so let me know what you think.