Yesterday I gave an introduction on opening new blogs to strengthen one’s ‘home domain’. These personal-niche blogs revolve around topics that you can easily write about: hobbies, health conditions, musical interests, video games, and so on.
The concept is that these “personiche” blogs require initial effort but don’t need to be frequently updated thereafter. As the months go by and you hammer away at more serious and time-intensive problogging jobs/projects, these blogs slowly get strong in terms of Google PageRank, traffic rank, and monetization power…and so does your whole domain.
With disciplined SEO and great content right off the bat, each of your new blogs can get Google PR 3 or 4 in the next PR update (5 is doable, but difficult to achieve when these blogs are merely ‘auxiliary’ rather than the backbone of your problogging). If my understanding is correct, the Alexa traffic ranking service lumps together traffic for all the subdomains, and every blog that contributes traffic to your home domain’s rank helps a lot.
Aside from using blog monetization systems that partly depend on your PR and traffic rank (e.g. Text Link Ads), your highly targeted blogs can have good Adsense CTRs (a discussion of what makes a good CTR can be found at Darren Rowse’s site).
After six months or so of opening a couple of new blogs, you might be looking at a home domain that has an increased traffic rank and gives you a steady stream of income from multiple sources, even if your efforts on each “personiche” blog have tapered off.
In my experience, monetization is not the be-all and end-all. When you link your good-PR blogs to new domains/projects, the PR juice can spur the growth of the latter. I believe Google regards links coming from the same domain with less weight than those from multiple domains, but still, it’s better than none. An example: my subdomain blogs helped me and my teammates place high in the Philippines’ first two SEO competitions. They also helped put a couple of new, start-from-scratch domains in the search engine results fast.
Last (and maybe the least important for the income-minded), having a diversity of blogs under your home domain (or home ‘portal’) makes you more human, more interesting in the eyes of your readers. This is great especially if you’re looking to build a strong online persona.
For the past year or so, I’ve unwittingly carried out this technique on my own domain, which is also home to my two main sites. I won’t link the niche blogs here (that’d be too much self-promotion). Instead, here are the topics I chose:
Health — I’ve been suffering from asthma since childhood. I decided to share my experiences on an experimental blog; experimental, because I just wanted to see if a new rarely-updated blog can have good search engine referrals. I’ve written less than twenty posts for the blog, yet the earnings are more than enough to pay for the next few years’ hosting and domain expenses.
Hobbies — The moment I bought my first airplane miniature model, the first words that popped into my mind were, “Blog It!” I blog about every model I add to my collection, as well as my wish list. Less than a hundred unique hits per day, but the monetization is turning out to be decent (not wildly successful).
Books — I love fantasy, sci-fi, and history books. I picked one genre of the three, then created a blog. Funny thing is, I never got around to ‘formally launching’ it, much less writing content. But believe it or not, search engine referrals do trickle in (due to some SEO I did a few months ago), and visitors sometimes click on the ads. Rare clicks, but no doubt, once I get around to writing actual blog posts, the site can contribute some food on the table.
Video games — You see, I’m a huge fan of a 1998 space-sim game that never attracted mainstream fans but earned a small cult following. I created a blog that has more static pages than posts. The jury’s still out on this one; small cult following translates to few visitors, with only a few ad clicks.
Last but not the least, here are seven steps you can follow when creating “personiche” blogs to strengthen your home domain.
1. Identify the topics you can write about with ease. It’s either you’ve mastered these topics already, or have the burning desire to explore and learn more about them.
2. Do some keyword research. Run some blog searches (e.g. Technorati, Google BlogSearch) for competitor sites or related posts, and see if the advertisements displayed on those pages are targeted enough.
3. Deploy the blog. My favorite choice is WordPress, which is very SEO-friendly in my opinion (do change the default permalinks, though!).
4. Do the preliminary SEO. Optimize the site by choosing a good blog title, adding meta information in the HTML code, configuring the WP permalinks, and so on. If you have existing blogs, add the new blog to your blogrolls.
5. Initial burst of content. Five posts over two weeks and a few more timestamped in advance (to be automatically published in the future) are a good start. Make sure these posts are keyword-rich and interesting, with your own writing tone and voice.
6. Further SEO. Armed with good content (and better with a good blog design/theme!), submit the blog and its feed to directories, build links from related sites, join a blog carnival, and so on. You can also write short articles on the blog’s topic with a link to your blog, and submit them to the many free article directories out there.
7. New content, now at your own pace. Have some free time in between your major problogging projects? Squeeze in some “personiche” posts.
Rinse and repeat.