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.