Should You Have Multiple Blogs?
One blog sounds like more than enough work. Why would anyone want multiple blogs?
Blogs are easy to set up, and WordPress seems to practically beg you to create multiple blogs with their multisite option. And while having multiple blogs sounds like an incredible amount of work, it isn’t all that uncommon. There are valid reasons to have more than one blog, and there are feasible ways to manage them.
Writing And Managing Multiple Blogs
There are five key reasons why you might want to have more than just one blog:
- You have expertise in multiple niches. You might have knowledge in multiple areas, and can turn this into several profitable blogs. For example, Darren Rowse, of Problogger, is also known for his photography site, Digital Photography School. Both sites are high traffic, and highlight his expertise. Bloggers sometimes use virtual assistants, a team of writers, or guest posts to fill their multiple niche blogs.
- You need to balance out your writing. Some bloggers have their professional niche blog where they focus their energy on building traffic and earning money, while keeping a personal or hobby blog where they can write for the pure pleasure of writing. From my own experience, I need to balance out the writing done for professional ends (traffic, money) and the writing done for my own enjoyment. It keeps me from getting burned out.
- You have a blog for yourself and as a team. You might have your own niche blog, but also have a team of bloggers that you’ve partnered up with to do another niche blog.
- It keeps your niches from wandering. Having multiple blogs allows you to keep your niche blog “pure.” You can stay on-topic on your niche blog and link to your related writing on other niche blogs without taking a detour in the post itself and creating content that doesn’t fit and might confuse your audience.
- You have very specific, multiple audiences. You may have an audience you’ve built over time on your blog. Instead of watching them fade away as your interests change, you might start a new blog, keep your old audience, and just reduce the amount of publishing on the old. You may still want that old blog and old audience.
When it comes to having multiple blogs, you need great tools to manage them with.
As you can see in the image below, I have a fair share of blogs to manage and I use CoSchedule to do it. These blogs are a mix of work, hobby, and personal blogs. A few blogs are purely for fun, meaning I don’t publish regularly and don’t lose much sleep over it. They are pure hobby blogs. If no one but my mom reads them, I’m fine with that. Several, however, I put work into as you would any good blog.
And that’s where the challenge comes in, because the same rules that apply to one blog applies to all of the blogs that I’m making that serious effort with. So, whether it’s the first or the fifth blog, I have to keep in mind:
- Regular posting schedule
- Posts on all categories
- Social media promotion of posts
- Email lists and newsletters
The simpler you can make this process, the better. Managing a blog isn’t just a question of whether or not you hit the publish button every day. It’s whether you picked a relevant topic, if you got a good headline, if it fits your categories, if you paid attention to SEO, if you have it scheduled to share across your social networks, if if if…
This complexity means that having multiple blogs makes an editorial calendar an even more urgent requirement (though I’d say they’re a must if you only have one blog, too). To put this into more concrete terms and show why you need that editorial calendar with multiple blogs, let’s use my own example as a case study so you can see how an editorial calendar makes managing multiple blogs truly possible.
Planning For An Email Newsletter
I use MailChimp to send out a weekly email of blog posts. Each separate blog has its own list, and so I automate this process by using an email based on the RSS feed of each blog. Many of my readers are subscribed to several of my blogs, and I don’t want to bombard them on the same day with multiple emails from me. This means I have to set up my emails to go out on different days and times to keep this from happening. I also know that I want the most popular blog category/topic with the strongest headline to be at the top of this email, which means that post must be the last published to the RSS feed before the email goes out.
Knowing, for example, that an email comes out on a Tuesday means that I want that amazing post with my most popular blog category to be the last item in the feed before that email goes out, so that it is on the top of the email. That takes planning.
Now imagine that with multiple blogs. Different days to remember to post the top attention-getting post. You can see how an editorial calendar is a must-have at this point. It is much easier to think in terms of which day an email is going out and which days posts must be scheduled if I have a real calendar (not a spreadsheet) to do the planning on.
Planning For Optimal Days
In the same manner, I don’t want to overload my Twitter feed with my latest blog posts from six blogs all on the same days. Additionally, I use analytics to see which days bring the best traffic for each blog (they are not all the same). That information, along with how frequently I have decided to publish on each blog each week, determines which days are publishing days for each blog.
With CoSchedule, I create post ideas as a draft so that I can drag them onto the calendar easily from the draft bin onto the correct days when I begin planning for the upcoming weeks. I can see what category and headline I’ve assigned the post, so I know whether or not it is a post to get at the top of my RSS feed for my email.
The calendar views in CoSchedule allow me to visualize which blogs have posts on Monday and Thursday, which blogs have posts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and so forth. Seeing it all laid out on my editorial calendar for each blog is the only way I can keep it all straight.
Planning For Social Promotion
Promoting your blog posts on social media is a killer. It is time consuming. Even with one blog, there are several social media networks you have to share your content on. Take that and multiply it for all of the blogs you might have and…ugh.
I use CoSchedule to optimize my usual social media planning for each blog’s social media accounts, but again, there is an even larger picture to consider once you have multiple blogs: I have separate social media accounts for some of my blogs.
There is “overlap” to some degree in that the audience of one blog would be interested in some of the content from another blog once in a while. And, many many of the same people follow several social media accounts and I don’t want to overwhelm them with a massive blast on all channels every time a post gets published.
So, I use CoSchedule to help make sure that social messages go out at different times and days, or when there is an overlap of content that I can share on several networks.
Can You Have Too Many Blogs?
Two blogs might be too many, or eight blogs might be no problem.
You’ll know you have too many blogs when all of your blogs start publishing fewer posts. You’ll know you have too many blogs when the thought of blogging, which used to be exciting, is now drudgery. You might find yourself creating too many blogs if:
- The idea of something new is enticing. Some of us struggle to stick with things. We love starting new things, but we have a hard time sticking with something and seeing it through to completion. If you know you have this problem, be careful that you aren’t starting new blogs just because you love the rush and challenge of what’s new.
- You splinter your audience. You’re not sure about your audience, or maybe you’re one of those people who think organization is about six levels of folders and subfolders, so instead of using categories wisely, you start fragmenting them off and creating individual blogs for content that could be a part of your niche blog.
- You have trouble managing one blog. This sounds counter-intuitive, but I’ve done it. You are struggling to manage one blog–maybe it’s trouble coming up with optimal categories, for example–and you foolishly think that if you just had an additional blog, that would clear things up. You could thin out your problems by diluting your blogging concentration. Again, a new blog is more to manage. Get things right on one blog before taking a shot at more.
Multiple blogs, in the right circumstances, are a powerful tool that can energize your writing and your blogging success. But multiple blogs, in the wrong circumstances, are devastating to your blogging efforts.