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One Blog Many Cateogories or Many Blogs?

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William (a reader of ProBlogger) asks: I have so many diverse hobbies and interests that I want to start a blog about, plus I’d also like to make some $ through AdSense & the likes.

Am I better off having one blog site with multiple categories or multiple blog sites highlighting specific interests?’

Great question William and one that I think more ProBloggers would do well to think through.

One of the common ways that many bloggers start out in their entrepreneurial blogging is through a personal and very general blog that covers many topics of interest. It makes sense in many ways – it’s simpler to have it all in one place, to manage one set of statistics, one design, one set of readers etc. Most blogging platforms seem pretty well set up for this as they allow categories to be created for each topic being covered.

Whilst it might seem easier to manage one blog on many topics it doesn’t always make good business sense to do so.

After a year of blogging in this way myself I began to notice a number of things that made me consider a new approach:

  1. Some readers became disillusioned with the blog – My blog had four main themes and different readers resonated differently with each one. A few readers shared my diverse interests in all four areas, but most came to my blog to read about one of the (or at the most a couple of) topics. A number of regular loyal readers became disillusioned with my eclectic approach to blogging and gave up coming.
  2. I felt guilty about the variety of topics – I’m a pretty impulsive guy who tends to get into something for a while in a big way and then move onto something else. As a result my personal/general blog would go through identifiable stages. For a while the posting would focus upon the topic of politics, then there would be a burst of writing on the topic of blogging, then there would be a few weeks of reflections on spirituality etc. Knowing that my readers were disillusioned by this approach I began to feel more and more guilty about my impulsive bursts of activity on topics. As a result I’d o out of my way to post on things just to keep some balance, even if I didn’t really want to write about certain things.

In the end it all got a little too much for me to bare and I decided to splinter off my blogs into niche topics. Not only did this solve my problem of disillusioned readers and a confused and guilty me (it was quite a relief) it made good business sense to focus upon niches or specialty blogs rather than a big general meta-blog.

Whilst there are blogs out there that successful on a business level with a general or eclectic range of topics the majority of profitable blogs that I’ve observed have a defined niche that they are targeting.

The success of this approach can be explained on many levels:

  1. Loyal Readers – Niche blogs develop a loyal readership who bookmark or follow the blog via RSS because they know what they will get there.
  2. Specialist Authors – Authors of these blogs have the freedom to really focus upon a topic and don’t feel guilty about doing so. This can lead to increased quality and depth of articles.
  3. Build Credibility and Profile – Blogging on one topic alone can build your profile and perceived expertise on a topic or in an industry.
  4. Good for contextual Advertising – Ad programs like Adsense seem to work better on sites that are tightly focused. You’ll get better targeted ads and many believe will attract higher click values.
  5. Good for Search Engine Optimization – Search Engines like sites that are focused on one topic, that have multiple pages on the one theme and that are integrated sites.
  6. More posts – I find that I post more if I have 10 blogs on 10 topics rather than 1 blog on 10 topics. There is only so much you can write on a blog each day without overwhelming your readership. On my old general blog I tended to post a maximum of 7 or 8 times per day – if I did any more than this readers couldn’t keep up even though I had plenty more to say. Now I have 20 blogs – I post less on each one (most get one or two posts per day) but overall am adding more content/pages than I used to. The more posts you are able to add the bigger your sites are and the more potential entry points you have for readers from Search Engines.
  7. Attract Advertisers – Niche blogs are usually more attractive to private advertisers or sponsors who are looking for content to place their ads on that is relevant to their product or service.

My approach to blogging has been along the lines of Niches for the past 18 months.

Since I moved to this approach I’ve gone from 1 blog with 1000 pages that had around 900 daily visitors and earned just a few dollars per day to having 20 or so blogs with over 11,000 pages with 25,000 daily visitors that earns a few hundred dollars per day.

Of course there are other factors that have led to this growth – but if I had to narrow it down to one factor it would be the niche blogging as a key. – I hope that answers your question William.

Darren Rowse is the founder of ProBlogger.net, a blog about the many ways of adding an income stream to blogs.

Darren owns and writes a variety of blogs including Digital Photography Blog and Camera Phone
Zone
. He is also a co-founder of the Breaking News Blog Collective.

One Blog Many Cateogories or Many Blogs?
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