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Is One the Loneliest Number? Starting a Second Blog

You’ve got a lot to say — is it time to start a second blog? Ask yourself these four questions to figure out whether it’s time to expand your blogging empire.

Blogging is addictive — “I’ll take a minute to finish this post” hurtles down the slippery slope past “I’ll skim the Reader for an hour ” before skidding to a halt in front of “I’ll spend two hours commenting, preview 47 themes, start four drafts, and stumble to bed at 2am.” Compounding the problem, blogs are like potato chips and tattoos: many people find it difficult to stop at one.

Is starting a second (or third, or fourth) blog a good idea? You already have an audience, so you’ve got a head start — but you already have an audience, so you might be spreading yourself thin.

If you’re not sure what your next move is, these four questions can help.

1. Do I have content for a second blog?

Maybe you normally blog about your experience moving from a big city to a small town, and are posting about gardening more and more. Does this dilute your blog? Is it time to start a gardening blog?

This depends on whether you simply enjoy talking about gardening or have the focus and passion to build a robust new blog. Think about how an all-gardening blog would be different — or not — than what you publish right now. Take a look at popular gardening blogs; are you excited about a project like these?

Then, take a look at what you’re blogging now. Do your gardening posts feel like clutter? Do your regular readers seem disinterested in your gardening content? Do you have many posts you’d like to write, but are holding back?

If you opt not to announce the new blog, no harm done — now you have a collection of finished posts to weave into your current blog.

Action time! If you think it’s time to become a franchise, test the hypothesis by blogging on your new topic privately for 30 or 60 days.

  • It will give you a sense of how much you have to say about the new topic.
  • It’s a real-world test of whether you can devote energy to two sites.
  • It builds a cache of posts, so you can launch your new blog pre-filled with resources.

2. How much do the audiences overlap?

A big chunk of the audience for a blog on rural life might be excited about gardening. Maybe your audience consists of rural homesteaders, or city friends who live vicariously through your pumpkin patch.

If there’s overlap in the audiences of your current blog and the new one you’re considering, it might not make sense to split them up — you’re just putting an extra step between your readers and the thing they want (more of you). If they’re very different, and your city friends’ eyes glaze over when you write about different kinds of manure, a second blog may be the way to go.

Action time!  If you’re not sure what your audience wants or how they’ll react to change, you’ve got tools:

  • Create a short poll or ask them to leave a comment about what interests them.
  • Test the new content by creating a new weekly feature for your gardening posts. You can gauge your audience’s interest, and readers who aren’t interested can skip those posts.

Chances are, your readers are drawn to your unique voice, and they’re just fine reading the odd post about staking tomato plants mixed with your musings on small-town life. Maybe not, though — so do some digging and find out.

3. Do I want to write a new blog, or do I want something shiny and new?

Some of us just want to write, and the setup is a necessary evil to having a blog. Some of us love creating, designing, and playing with layouts more than actually keeping up a whole new blog. Which one are you? Are you excited about writing the new posts, or about starting something from scratch?

If “new and improved” is what excites you, you can also suggest your setup and design services to other bloggers, like the folks looking for feedback in the Community Pool. Indulge your love of makeovers while giving back to the blogosphere!

Action time! If you just want to write, or the impetus to start a new blog is really about wanting a blog do-over, try:

  • Guest posting on other blogs, or writing one-off posts for other websites — all the blogging, none of the administering!
  • Giving your blog a makeover. Blogs are fluid and flexible in both content and layout; if you want to rebuild, just do it.

4. Do I have time?

The road to an empty, inactive blog is paved with great post ideas. Many of us find it challenging to devote as much time as we’d like to one blog: to crafting great posts, perfecting our design, engaging on other social networks, and reading and commenting on other blogs.

Can you do this for two blogs? If you want your new blog to be separate from your first, can you handle two posting schedules, two communities, and maybe two logins, Twitter handles, and Facebook Fan Pages? Does all this drag down the actual content you want to publish, or do you thrive on the chaos?

Action time! Remember when we suggested blogging private for one or two months? Do that. Really. The best way to see if you can maintain two blogs without either of them suffering, one of which will need more tending to grow, is to write two blogs.

  • If New Blog is going strong at the end of the month, throw open the doors and tell the world.
  • If New Blog shrivels on the vine after a few weeks or Current Blog stagnates, pull down the shades and head back to the drawing board.

There are lots of bloggers who have more than one blog, and all their bloggy gardens thrive. Great ideas aren’t enough, though; they need great execution. That takes time and energy, so be honest about yours.

If you maintain multiple blogs, we’d love to hear what prompted that decision, how it’s going, and any tips for managing more than one site.

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  1. Hi Michelle, your post caught my attention because after running an English food blog for a year I decided to start another food blog in German. Both are going well, and I also feel equally dedicated to each one. Sometimes I blog to both on the same weekend, other times I alternate.
    After another year I got hooked on photography, and started a photo blog. I immensely enjoyed going a new blogging route with that one, and after yet another year I started a second photo blog. The 4th one sometimes feels like a little stepchild, because I don’t post there as regularly as on the other one. My decision for a 2nd photo blog came from having so many pictures, and I felt you can only show so much of the same thing on one blog; I had lots what I call picture leftovers that were just sitting on my hard drive. I recently discovered a few fun photo tools, so I tend to edit my leftover pics and post them on the new photo blog.
    It’s not as time consuming as I at one point thought it might be. And as long as you have fun doing it, it’ll never feel like hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And as long as you have fun doing it, it’ll never feel like hard work.

      +1. Great point.

      On your decision to create two photoblogs — one for your “overflow” — I see how that might work. For me, at one point I had a primary blog where I posted my very best images in photoessays; but then I had other images that didn’t fit in those posts, or weren’t quite as “good enough,” yet I still wanted to share them. I suppose my two portals were: one for polished photoessays, and the other for casual, fun photoblogging.

      (I’ve since combined everything into one place.)

      But overall, I like your strategic thinking — having a critical eye on what we post is important.

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  2. Number 4 is my biggest stumbling block. Though my primary blog is about writing, I love researching science and set up a second blog to write about that http://2012andallthat.wordpress.com/ but the subjects are so time-consuming and intense that I do not have the time to devote to it that I would like. I post about once a month on that one.

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  3. I started my second blog this year only in which is dedicated to creative writing for which I mostly wanted Indian audience and WordPress is not a preferred destination for Indian audience hence I created my new blog outside but I still maintain my personal blog here. :)

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  4. Yes, these things are addictive, but maybe worse than potato chips. I do like when I have several drafts going at once that for one reason or another are not working and then one day it all comes together and … Bamm! you publish like four blogs on the same day. What a rush that is?

    Yes, definitely more addictive than potato chips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did this for a while… with bursts of posts. Now I try to take advantage of the “Schedule Post” feature. So I can be productive when I can be productive, but the posts show up on a more regular-looking schedule.

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  5. Great post… I wish I’d thought about lining up private posts for a while before jumping in on a second blog! Though, I am happy with the second one, and the way I am integrating the two (one is purely the fiction story I am writing, the other is my more traditional blogging-blog). It allows me to have extra content for those who jump over to the fiction-blog (and get some new readers as well that are only interested in that) and a different layout for the story — but still keep the readers/activity and fun that I had going on my first blog.

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  6. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a little while now. The blog I started a year ago is more about my expat experiences in Mexico, while I would quite like to do something more related to the things I write, videos and photography – I just can’t bring myself to start from scratch at the minute, I’m half hoping that some of the audience I already have will enjoy my newer stuff and a piece about expat life from time to time.

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  7. Thanks, that’s good food for thought. I’ve been thinking about the topic threads in my blogging and whether I should separate them…..I’ll ponder a bit more and try your suggestions. Cheers….

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  8. This is such an excellent article, and exactly what I’ve been needing. I do maintain two blogs at present, but sometimes it can be time consuming, as each blog post takes me parts of two days (at least) to write, edit, mull over, compile pics for, etc…before hitting that scary ‘Publish’ button. I have been contemplating a third blog, for a specialized interest, but I like your idea of trying it out as a private blog first. That also supplies the fun of endlessly trying out new themes!

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  9. Good post. I wish it had gone up a few weeks ago. I created a second blog mainly for prompts and challenges etc as I was posting 2 or 3 times a day on main. But I have found that still use my main blog and one that one has been neglected.

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  10. I don’t have multiple blogs, I mean I have just started this one and it is a large mouthful already, but maybe when I get into the hand of it I could have two blogs! Good luck to anyone who does.

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  11. this is great. especially for me… i just began blogging and it feels good. of course i’ve only posted once, but i will definitely take some of ticks to help me on this new thing i’m trying. thanks!

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  12. I have not been at this for all that long–around 2 years–but I found that as time went on the content became naturally bifurcated. Around 1/3 of the posts–the longer ones–were on eLearning and the remainder were about items that arose from my personal life. Around six months ago I decided to undergo “WordPress mitosis.” One blog became two. I created a new blog and imported all of the personal items over to it.
    My readership was never very great and, yes, it has diminished significantly as a result. Some did choose follow both, some stayed with the original and some went with the new one.
    Frankly I am just fine with this. My blog exists as a place where I gather and develop my own thoughts. It is not a vehicle whereby I expect to become famous. By dividing the topics I feel that, overall, the few sincere readers I have (as opposed to the serial likers that many love to accumulate) will be exposed to less unwanted noise from me. And for me, the curator, the whole thing just makes more sense.

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    1. I love your vocabulary – “bifurcated,” “WordPress mitosis.” Made me smile :-) I agree that you have to be prepared when starting a second blog – not everyone who follows your first is going to follow your second as well. Definitely something for folks who are seeking a large following to think about.

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  13. I’ve been thinking about creating a second blog recently about my art and inspirations, kind of a supplement to my Etsy store; but I have also been nervous about the amount of content I’ll be able to produce. I’m definitely going to privately post for a while and see how it feels. Thanks for the good reminder that I don’t have to expose myself publicly right away :)

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  14. These are fantastic ideas – I particularly like the idea of blogging privately for a month or two to see how realistic it is.

    I currently maintain two blogs, one of which is my hub – http://andreabadgley.com – and the other is a spinoff – http://andreareadsamerica.com – that began as a reading project on my first blog but I eventually developed it into a second blog. It had become a self-contained project that I wanted to give more form to than I could give it on my main site. The second site is for a reading project, Andrea Reads America, in which I’m reading three books from each US state. Before I made the second site public, I posted about 8 weeks worth of project-related posts on my main blog. When I decided to make the leap to starting a second site, I transferred the content post by post to build up a readership while I got comfortable with administering two sites. I then set up an editorial calendar (ish) for each one so that I gauranteed at least one post per week on each blog.

    Over time, when I realized I was not going to have time to publish deep thoughtful essays on both blogs every week I added a serial, Favorite Friday Quotes, on my second site, and have also opened the site to guest writers through a call for submissions. Curating and editing contributions has expanded my blogging life in a way I hadn’t anticipated – I love the experience of working with other writers and showcasing their work.

    Moving the spinoff to a second site allows me to maintain a sense of whimsy on my main site, titled Butterfly Mind because of my inclination to flit. I love that it isn’t overwhelmed by my reading project and that my reading project has its own home that can serve as a resource for American lit lovers.

    Wow. That got kinda long. I probably should have posted this on my own blog. I’m happy to see this topic on The Daily Post though and wanted to share my experience of having two. I was scared to take two on at first, but I’m thrilled that I did.

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    1. I love some of these ideas to keep things alive when balancing two blogs. Starting to work on some “Quotes of Note” posts, and toying with the idea of guest writers (probably a LONG way down the road, if I’m really honest with myself).
      Thanks for sharing what’s been working for you :)

      Like

    2. Love your ideas of adding a serial for Friday quotes, and opening your blog up to submissions.

      I also haven’t been entirely sure what was behind “Butterfly Mind” — but I love your quick description (“my inclination to flit”) and it makes total sense!

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    3. LOL about “butterfly mind”! That’s how I’ve been describing myself for years. If I’d been born a little later, I probably would have been diagnosed with ADD. I can focus well enough to make my living as a copyeditor, but I’m happiest when I’m flitting from one thought to another and making connections that most people don’t see.

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  15. Thank you so much, Michelle!
    I’m the proud (shiny object prone) owner of three blogs. I was very nervous as I approached your questions knowing that I should have taken time to answer them in the first place. Oopsies!
    That said, it turns out I wasn’t too far out of line. My second blog addressed those pieces of clutter you described (it’s just for photography and poetry). The third blog addresses something I didn’t quite find in here.
    My third blog is more about learning and honing my craft without a huge audience to watch (i.e. without my friends and family who signed up for the first blog). Sometimes, I want to write stuff, practice poetry and enter contests that would be completely out of place in my other spots. So that I’m not selfish, I opened it up to two other blogger buddies do to the same. We call it our work space and it seems to serve a purpose.
    I’m so grateful to have found WP. The user friendly platform, welcoming community and fantastic support make it fun, easy and therapeutic to manage a blog–or
    three :-)

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  16. it’s my second blog too ;) i really like wordpress – site gave me more options than for example blogspot. Hope to have time and readers – it’s all for them

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  17. What you wrote is so true… I started my second blog just yesterday! My first blog is an italian blog ( I’m italian) and it’s the place where I write about me, my life and everything crosses my mind…but I realized that there’s something about me I never talk about….So I decided to open another blog focused on this aspect of my life! But you’re right, “blogs are like potato chips and tattoos: many people find it difficult to stop at one”!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You stopped me dead on the first question because, in my opinion, I don’t have content for a second blog. All I’d be doing would be diluting my content and competing with myself. So thanks. I needed clarification and you provided it.

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  19. I really had no idea how addictive this would be when I started, but I also had forgotten how much I love writing, and that’s what’s so great about it. This is a community of writers. You can find someone with a similar sense of humor and people don’t condemn you for being human. I started a blog that is shared with my family, and it’s about my daily life as a stepmother to 3 girls. There was SO much I couldn’t say, so I started an “art” blog. I haven’t really told anyone about it, but it’s wonderful. I can post my drawings and photography and poetry, and it’s well received. Such a needed outlet. So I say one blog is for me, and one is for everyone else. And that is where I stop.

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    1. So I say one blog is for me, and one is for everyone else. And that is where I stop.

      Well put. And I like how you’ve decided on how best to separate your work.

      A fellow blogger once told me — when I struggled with what to post, and where, and when — that we are ultimately human beings: three-dimensional and unable to be presented cleanly in one place online. There’s an element of fragmentation that might be necessary, to accommodate our complexities as people!

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  20. I run two separate blogs because the topics are so wildly different. On my personal blog, I do the daily prompts that I feel I can accomplish, and I talk about some of the things that are actively going on in my life–or just in general. It’s where I actually allow my perspective on a lot of things to come to light.
    My other blog is a literary review blog, and I’ll admit that I’ve thought about separating my posts into genre blogs, but I haven’t done it because, as you said, Do I REALLY want a new blog, or just something shiny and new? I barely have the time to do the reading to post in this blog as it is, and parsing the material out into genre blogs wouldn’t be worthwhile.

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  21. A second blog for me was too much of a hassle, I decided to delete it and focus on this one. plus, a second i think would need a theme, which would require taking time from this one. i’d rather not.
    P.S. tumblr doesn’t count!

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  22. I have maintained several blogs and I will second everything written here. I urge you, if you’re thinking of another blog, to write up a month’s worth of posts for it and see if the well runs dry.

    It does take commitment; there are times I’ve felt to throw in to towel on the whole works because blogging (and commenting and answering comments) takes so much time. (I don’t even attempt Facebook & Twitter.)

    My first blog was a catch-all for my writings: articles, personal, opinions, poetry, haiku, fiction, devotionals. After six months I set up another blog to post my poems — and other poets’ works — on that one. And I was content.

    Alas! There are some strong voices out there saying your blog needs to focus on one theme–and I listened. I started another blog to post a weekly “devotional thoughts”. Then I started another blog, Tree Top Haiku specifically for haiku.

    A few months later my cousin decided we should get a blog going for our family history and I agreed to post on that twice a week. But I started to feel swamped, so stopped posting to the haiku and devotionals blogs. (I’d thought I had lots of devotionals ready to post and would easily be able to write more–but that didn’t happen.)

    I took a break this spring while I did some serious thinking and asking advice. I’ve made changes and believe I have the best setup now. I bought my domain name: christinegoodnough.com and made this my main blog. I’m still posting on Swallow in the Wind, my poetry blog, It’s getting both the haiku and regular poems. I don’t write enough haiku to maintain a separate blog for that.

    After another month I decided throwing fiction into the mix on my main blog gave too much of a jumble, so I redecorated my original blog, gave it a new name — Christine Composes — and it’s now a “Fiction on Friday” site. I can maintain the three blogs if I relax a bit, posting one fiction story a week, a poem every other day if possible, and several times a week on my main blog.

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  23. I can barely keep up with one blog, reading and commenting on blogs I follow. My writing does stay from my central topic. A second blog would allow me to indulge/delve into my other topics more extensiveley, but I’d only be able to post a few times a month.
    I’m trying to cut back on my social media consumption & production so that I can spend some time focusing on other areas of my life.

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  24. I actually have three active blogs!
    Two are my own and the main one shows a lot of pictures I create, and not so much writing. But what I write, I write in English. Poems, reflections, recipes, and other short stuff. You could say I paint in pictures and I paint in words. At least that’s my intention.
    I call it Words & Pics. If you like you’re welcome to visit me on: http://www.ordibild.com

    I found the theme Pictorico very good for this one, customized. And I’m slowly building up some portfolios. Post almost every day.

    The other blog I write is in Swedish, my native language, and is more about everyday life. Mixed personal, you might say. ;) Or maybe Mixed nuts… or just baloney… O_o
    Photos/pictures there as well, but the texts are the main issue. Good for my swedish friends.
    Theme: Costumized McKinley Post 1-3 times a week

    The third one is a homepage/blog which I’ve created for where I work, and are webmaster for. Also that one in Swedish. Theme: Expound.

    Ninna

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  25. I’m a two blog person! I’m a reader, writer and workshop facilitator and I blog about readerly and writerly matters on my first blog. Completely separate from this I’m editor/curator at And Other Poems (www.andotherpoems.wordpress.com) which has grown into an online, ever-growing anthology of poems featuring over 250 poets. I started a second blog because I wanted somewhere uncluttered to post my own work but I quickly realised that I didn’t have enough poems to keep the blog regularly updated. Using my contacts on Twitter and Facebook, I started asking poets if they’d like to submit to my site and my email inbox soon began to fill up with poems. I am meticulous about presenting poems correctly, I always include links to author’s or publisher’s sites in the bio and I only accept work that strikes me as strong, original and interesting. I try to post work that isn’t available elsewhere online but it might have been published in print. Poets confirm that they own copyright.

    Some readers follow both blogs, some just follow one. AOP receives far more traffic and I’m stricter about updating it – twice weekly, whereas I aim for once a week on my primary blog. It’s been a wonderful way of raising my profile in the writing community and making new contacts. I think blogging is an ideal way to showcase creative work and two blogs offer greater flexibility.

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