October 31, 2014

What I’ve Learned from Starting a Second Blog

About two months ago I launched Traffikd as my second blog, in addition to my primary blog at Vandelay Website Design. I started Traffikd so I could cover some different topics outside of web design. My experience with the primary blog has taught me volumes about what it takes to run a profitable blog as well as how to market one. I still have a long way to go, but I felt that I would enjoy writing about many of the things I am learning. As a result, Traffikd is essentially a side project, at least for now, but still an important part of my long-term plans.

Launching and maintaining a second blog has been exactly what I expected in some ways, and in others it has been a real eye-opener. I’d like to cover some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout the process, although they are not all necessarily things that were surprises to me, rather just observations in many cases.

Something must/will take priority

When working on multiple projects at one time, ultimately one of them is going to become a priority over the others. In my case, as I said earlier, Traffikd is really a side project for now. Although it is a side project, I had intentions of putting much more effort into marketing and growing the blog than I have been able to do. In fact, a high percentage of the posts that have been published to date were written before the launch. I knew time would be tight, so I made sure that I had 2-3 months worth of content prepared in case I simply didn’t have time to write.

Because of the leg work I did prior to the launch I have been able to post with about as much frequency as I had planned. Unfortunately I haven’t had opportunities to do some of the things I wanted to do to promote the site, like writing guest posts to grow inbound links and drive some traffic.

I believe that even if I had planned on spending an equal amount of time on each of my blogs, one of them would wind up taking priority over the other. Readers who have run multiple blogs can share their opinions on this issue, but my guess is that this happens to most bloggers in the situation.

Growing a blog with limited time is difficult

Finding time to write for two blogs (plus some freelance writing) is difficult, but finding time to do promotional work is even worse. Content creation still fits into the schedule, but many other things don’t. During the first few months of my primary blog I was very active commenting on other blogs and writing guest posts, sometimes as many as 4 or 5 a week. I still write for other blogs, but now it is on a freelance (paid) basis, so I’m not building links and making the rounds to a lot of different blogs to get exposure. Traffikd has grown over the first two months, but certainly not to a point that I am satisfied. Most of the subscribers have come as a result of my primary blog or through finding the site via social media (primarily StumbleUpon).

Growing a blog without marketing is difficult

As I already mentioned, my efforts at Traffikd have been limited to writing posts and responding to reader comments. That’s it. Content is obviously critical for growing a blog, but if people aren’t seeing it does it really matter? I’m not saying that no one is reading, there were over 20,000 visitors in the first month, but the audience that is being exposed to the content here is far lower than it could be with a few hours each week dedicated to marketing the blog.

StumbleUpon loves new sites

Most of those 20,000 visitors in the first month came from StumbleUpon. I consistently check on thumbs up and reviews at both of my blogs, and although I am no algorithm expert, I can say with confidence that the thumbs up and reviews received at Traffikd during the first week had a greater impact than I have even seen on my blogs. As a new site, it was the first time that each stumbler had given a thumbs up, and I believe this is a factor in how much traffic SU sends. My advice to you is to take advantage of this as much as possible when you start a new website or blog.

People who already know you are quick to subscribe

While I didn’t gain hundreds of subscribers instantly, I know that many of my friends from the blogosphere and regular readers from my primary blog subscribed right away. This is a huge advantage from starting a second blog once you’re established, and it’s definitely something I was hoping for. In fact, the day I launched I emailed a number of friends just to let them know about the new site and to say that I would love to have them as a reader. Many of you reading this post got that email, and I thank you for your support!

Upkeep and maintenance takes time

When you start a second blog you are doubling the amount of time that you’ll spend responding to comments, checking email, analyzing stats, upgrading WordPress, installing plugins, etc. It all takes time. Unfortunately, every blog that you add will increase the amount of time you spend on these activities. They’re certainly not bad things, but for must of us time is very limited.

Diversity is fun

Although I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to focus on this blog, it is still been a lot of fun already. I really enjoy writing about some different topics and interacting with more readers. Now, if only I could increase the number of hours in a day.

What’s Your Experience?

How many blogs do you run? What have you learned through the process?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

13 comments

  1. Talking about stumbleupon, that is how I found this site. I didn’t know you started a second blog Steven. As if I didn’t see enough of your posts all around the web you go and start a new blog. I’ll keep an eye on this. You got some dedication to be taking on even more work.

    I think one blog is enough for me. Marketing seems to take 70% of my time at the moment.

  2. Your so right about one taking precedence. I have multiple blogs, but I would not say I am running any of them successfully. Blogging, SEO, and family seem to be the activities that I find my time divided by. Blogging being a sideline, does seem to take the back seat to the other two.

  3. Hey Steven – as someone who is currently looking at starting a couple of new online “Lifestyle Entrepreneur” projects I really appreciate your write-up here.

    I for one have enjoyed your new blog!

    Mark Hayward
    Lifestyle Design Consultant

  4. You should try SiteHoppin too, we are in the beginning stages so you might benefit by switching to SiteHoppin. We are giving away 5,000 Beer Credits to anyone who closes their StumbleUpon account and starts SiteHoppin.com.

  5. Hmmm Beeeer Credits…homer like….

  6. Yup…homer style…Simpsons…burp…

  7. Vinh,
    Thanks for letting me know how you found the site, I appreciate it… I think 2 blogs is enough for me.

    Adam,
    Yeah, I think there comes a point where you just spread yourself thin. You gotta have priorities though, and family is always a good choice.

    Mark,
    Thanks, I’m glad it’s helpful.

    SiteHopper,
    I’ll check out your site, but I’d be a fool to close my account at SU.

  8. Lol…well you don’t have to of course. We only give you Beer Credits if you do… “reverse marketing”.

    Cheers~

  9. I find it hard frankly to spread myself out. I tend to be only able to, and only want to, concentrate on one thing at a time.

    I feel there is so much to do just for one blog, and especially for me as I am really trying to get mine off the ground, as well as make a name for myself RE my Freelancing, spending time on anything other than this really does not sit right. Would be nice to be able spend time on different projects, but I only feel I am letting the other one down if I keep moving from one to another.

    I don’t particular like this way I am, but since trying to spread myself about, I find it just does not work.

    I admire those that can do it successfully, I really do. Maybe once I am more comfortable with my own site and my business, then maybe then I can look to tackle some projects. The frustrating thing is that I have many ideas of Blogs and sites, just not the time or ability to do them.

    You talk about the promotional side to two blogs… I mean just one is totally time consuming, I can;t imagine being able to do what I currently spend a lot of time doing, twice over. Just would not be possible without sacrificing the quality of another.

  10. For a moment there when I started reading, I felt you were going somewhere with it, in terms of saying you are giving up one blog as its too much.

    Glad you are not, as I love them both. Actually just starting to spend more time over at your other one. Just need time to really take it all in, as you offer so much valuable stuff.

  11. well i have a lot..
    http://www.blogger.com/profile/00942851700449538153
    8.. in that link, but I have more..
    the one that I post.. are about 6
    and its a beautiful experience..

  12. Graham,
    I think sacrificing the quality of one blog to start another is not a good idea in general. I wanted to start this blog a while before I did. I really don’t spend much time anymore marketing my primary blog. My time is mostly spent writing now that I have a somewhat respectable audience. Since I spend less time marketing I figured I would have time for the second blog, which I do, but I just don’t have as much time as I would like.

    Nitos,
    Wow, that’s more than I’ll ever have.

  13. WHilst out running along the river with my dog i was thinking about your article. Sad I know, but I tend to do my best thinking when running, only that i can never remember the ideas as i dont have anything to write them down with, unless i take a pad or phone, which i would rather not do.

    Anyway, I guess all this depends on the type of blogs you are doing. I had it in mind it was serious blogs all the way, which is the basis of what i initially thought. However, I do have several low key blogs, couple of Tumblr blogs, a typepad blog etc. All these are mostly personal or just for fun, and dont need any maintenance at all, especially the Tumblr ones. Just post and thats that.

    It’s when you are doing something bog time in say WP, and all the maintenance that goes with it. This is what I would have a problem with.

    I actually enjoy my other blogs as I know I dont need to get overwhelmed with them, and especially with Tumblr, its post and thats that.

    So having a 2nd or 3rd blog all depends on your motives in whether its going to be stressful or not.

    Guess I stated the obvious, but my initial comment was not totally accurate in hindsight. :)

    As you were.

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