Understanding the difference between ‘Resources’ and ‘Blogs’

When you are planning a new blog, the first thing you do is define your purpose. Why are you blogging?

Once you answer that question, a rough image starts to build your mind about how your blog would be like. One of the key distinctions at this point that you’ll be making is figuring out how much of your blog is going to be a traditional resource (timeless content) and how much of it is going to be a blog (updated news and a collection of (almost) daily thoughts).

To make things clearer, suppose that we are setting up a blog on … dating advice. Notoriously tough niche to get into but considering the ultra-popularity of it, why not? After you select your topic, you move on to the content that you are going to put up on your blog.

And here’s the rub – there’s only a finite set of topics (basic or advanced) that you can talk about and give advice on in any niche. You may go deep into subthemes but on the whole, there’s a limited amount of foundational topics that you can start off on and write about.

And these topics can be covered in a finite number of articles – 100, 200, 300, maybe 500 – depending on the size of your niche.

Sidenote: I would expect some strong opposition on this point, and it’s warranted. Yes, if you want to, you can write an infinite amount of content on any given topic. However, in a realistic setting, and keeping in mind that because you’re setting up a blog to make money for it, you would have chosen a relatively ‘tight’ niche and not something as generaly as technology (if you have, then it’s a different process and I promise to discuss that angle further in the next post). In such a case, you have a limited number of things that you can talk about. You might want to rewrite them and add new slants to them, but there comes a time when you run out of new topics to talk about and therefore you have to back through your list and find those new slants to freshen things up with.

So immediately your blog now has two different orientations when it comes to content. On one hand, you have this ‘resource’ need to fulfill and quite definitely your blog needs its flagship / timeless content if you want it to become an authority blog.

On the other hand though, there’s a need for the conversation to be kept going, for readers to be regularly engaged and for the blog to do more than just inform. Your blog is not a just a book or a means to archive knowledge, it’s a conversation as well. So you’ll be balancing the need to add resource articles with the need to discuss the latest developments, valuable information on other blogs, fostering debate and discussion, etc.

For timeless niches (topics where last year’s knowledge is not “out of date” – self-help is one example of a timeless niche), the balance tilts towards ‘resources’ and away from the ‘what’s happening today’ type of blogging – and as a result your approach to building that blog should be different as well.

Just because you are using WordPress does not mean that you should be updating your blog with fresh content every 12 hours. You could (in the case of timeless niches, you SHOULD) follow Nick Wilson’s advice on building ‘Self Sustaining Blogs’, establish a foundation for your site by writing 100-300 articles on your target keywords and topics, and then using both reader feedback (as Nick suggests) and ‘regular’ updates via blog or mailing list (always good to capture email addresses and build a targeted list) to keep your blog going forward.

It may happen that after the initial burst of content (which can be pre-written and/or taken from ‘private label rights’ services such as PLRPro), you only need to put up 1 blog post a week, and that too in a roundup format discussing what’s happening in the world and on the Internet with respect to your niche.

Bottom line – learn to differentiate whether your chosen niche is biased towards ‘resources’ or ‘fresh updates’, and structure your blog accordingly.