This post is all about why you shouldn’t build a blog.
Seems a little bit odd coming from a guy who makes a full time living building blogs, right?
Well, as you might have guessed there is a little bit more to it.
If you have a blog or are thinking about starting a new one soon then this post might give you a new context to the whole concept of blogging.
Let’s have a chat.
Why you shouldn’t build a blog
Okay so let’s get this out of the way.
I love blogs.
Blogging has given me a life that I never thought was possible.
But what I’m noticing is that my idea of blogging is very different from what a lot of new bloggers think blogging is all about.
So what I want to do today is share my thoughts in the hope that it might help some newcomers establish some more realistic expectations.
So why shouldn’t you build a blog?
Because you should be building an online empire.
You could think of it more as a website, or a digital community, or an online [insert digital niche] company.
We’re not just building a blog.
So what else should we be doing with our blogs?
Your blog is usually going to be your most important asset in an online business.
For me, it’s the base through which all others things (SEO traffic, sales, subscribers, etc.) flow.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing that we should be doing if we really want to start to make a full time living “from” blogging.
- Tighten up the branding
The first thing you really want to do is be certain about the brand that you want to put out there. Tightening up your brand means getting a quality logo, design, color scheme, typography and being very certain what your messaging is and who you’re pitching at. How do you want visitors to feel and think about you?
- Use a variety of content formats
Content is not just the written word. The biggest blogging based businesses are also doing podcasts, graphics, videos, downloadable guides and, best of all, useful tools that can be used by a huge segment of your target market. Different mediums are used by different people and you want to be across a lot of them.
- Make a variety of content types
This is similar but slightly different from the last one. Different content types include how-to guides vs long form content. Or step by step tutorials vs opinion pieces. It can be hugely beneficial to experiment with different content to see what gets the best results for you.
- Promote it like a company would
If you’ve ever seen a company do marketing you’ll know that it’s not usually a slap dash approach. They have a marketing team, a budget, and they think very carefully about the message and offer. Bloggers should be doing the same. Come up with more sophisticated campaigns that are aimed at achieving a very specific objective.
- Dictate what content is visible to readers
I don’t have a search bar here on Blog Tyrant and part of the reason is because I want to dictate how people flow around the site. I want to showcase the content that I know works best and provides the most value. A regular blog just has the most recent updates on the homepage – why not build out a website that focuses on your pillar stuff that really impresses people?
- Spend money and time on research and development
Allocating resources to research and development is one of the most important things a company can do. We should think about that. Finding out what customers really need, and how to deliver it best, can be a very beneficial exercise. You might find that your whole model needs changing, or it might only be a small tweak that makes the big difference.
Putting all of these things into place and our blogs start to become something a lot more exciting, comprehensive and useful for visitors. And this makes a huge difference.
Blogs that are doing more than just blogging
What I’d like to do now is show you some examples of people who are doing that little bit extra around their blog.
These are the types of websites we can emulate because they take it all to the next level and aim to create much more than just a typical blog.
1. Nerd Fitness
I’ve used this example before, but Nerd Fitness really is one of the best examples of someone doing exactly this.
These guys started with a blog but now have a forum, success stories, paid products and even a camp that literally hundreds of people go on every year. There is something for everyone.
Bodybuilding.com is another one of those websites that has been around for over a decade and has slowly grown into an absolute monster of a community.
It started with a blog (or series of articles, blogs weren’t around then…) and an extremely popular forum which supported a supplements store. Regular members obviously started shopping there.
Nowadays it has it’s own social network where people can post photos and show progress shots and interact directly with other members. There’s workout trackers and all sorts of tools that help people with their training but also help keep them on-site.
Oh, and they have over 1,000,000 members and over 14,000,000 workouts tracked!
3. Digital Photography School
Digital Photography School is the main money-maker for Problogger’s Darren Rowse. It is one of the world’s largest digital photography websites and, like our other examples, started out as just a simple blog.
Darren is a master of creating a community, and a lot of it is done through clever use of content that could otherwise be pretty run of the mill. DPS regularly has reader challenges where people submit photos, and is chocked full of resources, eBooks, forum content and a lot of different ways for people to participate.
What do I do with this information?
Now that you’ve had a skim read of this article (let’s be honest) I would recommend you sit down with a cup of tea and a pen and paper. We’re going old school…
What you then do is go through at least the three websites mentioned above and make a study that relates to your own blog. Go through and see if you can decipher any particular strategies, interesting concepts/ideas and functions that you would like to see on your blog.
Even if you find a color that you like, write it down.
It might be useful later.
We’re not trying to copy these companies – but we are trying to learn from them. When you look at people like Darren Rowse you have to realize that they have a lot to teach us not just from what they say on Problogger, but from how they actually run their websites.
Are you building more than a blog?
I’d be really interested to know whether you agree with the main theme of this article. Are you trying to build a blog that is more than just a blog? How are you creating your online empire? Leave a comment below and let’s have a chat!