Build a Blog Network from Your Mom Blog

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

If you want to expand your blog into a blog network, it will take a significant investment of time and some money to find success with it. Several aspects of running a blog network are quite different from running just one blog, the most important of which are

  • Technological challenges: Building and maintaining a set of blogs is a big undertaking; even if you could do the job yourself, you might not want to. You’ll need to decide whether you want to create separate websites, or to build multiple blogs on one website.

    You’ll need to create a consistent design across all your blogs that also allows them to be distinguished from each other. Ensuring readers can easily find what they are looking for over multiple blogs presents site navigation challenges such as how to create a search function that includes all the blogs in your network.

    Maintaining multiple blogs can get out of hand fast when all of them need updating at the same time. If you’re on WordPress, that may mean you have to update hundreds of plugins all at once instead of just one set for one blog.

    You’ll also need a way to track revenue across each blog individually, so you know which blogs are making money and whether any are losing money. You might also need to set up your blogs on a dedicated hosting server, because multiple blogs pull far more resources from a web host than just one.

    Consult with a very experienced developer who can understand all your blog network requirements and offer the best possible solution for you. You’ll want to ensure that you minimize any possible duplication of maintenance tasks, while maximizing usability and functionality.

  • Marketing challenges: Every blog has to be promoted in very different ways. Even if what you’ve learned about promoting yourself and your blog has taken you very far, it’s likely that you’ll need a higher level of marketing strategy to promote a blog network.

    Bigger businesses need bigger marketing campaigns in order to make a difference. You can’t rely on simple word of mouth and good traffic from social media sites in order to grow. You’ll probably need to advertise, do much more social media marketing, increase your PR workload, and learn much more advanced search engine optimization strategies.

  • Personnel challenges: Don’t plan on having any of your writers work with you forever, because they will all outgrow working for you someday. If you find someone who wants to continue to write for a very long time, consider yourself lucky and blessed.

    As a web publisher, you need to plan on heavy turnover with your writers: They’ll come and they’ll go. So you’ll need to have a backup plan when one of your blogs doesn’t have a writer, taking into account that it may take you several weeks to find a new one.

    On top of this, you’ll have to deal with regular managerial issues — say, when a writer gets sick, when the content you’re getting isn’t up to par, when someone doesn’t feel like writing, and when writers do things they aren’t supposed to do.

    Once a person writes for you, their actions can reflect on you, so you need to ensure you have clear writer guidelines that state what writers can and can’t do when they’re blogging for you.

  • Time management challenges: Running a blog network is a lot of work, sometimes in ways you can’t expect or prepare for. And realistically, it’s pretty difficult to undo things if you find that running a blog network is not for you.

In other words, if you’re going to launch a blog network, you need to be in it for the long haul and go all out, as they say.