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FeelGooder: the Backstory Behind My Newest Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of November 2010 Case Studies, Featured Posts 0 Comments

Earlier this week I launched a new blog: FeelGooder. This post will give some of the backstory behind it (expect another one next week with more).

feelgooder.png

What? Another blog? Are you crazy?

One of the most common reactions I get when I mention that I’m starting a new blog is something along the lines of, “How are you going to fit that in?”

Two months ago I wrote about the process I’d gone through to hire Georgina Laidlaw to work on content development and strategy for me. One of the reasons I expanded my team in this way was to create for myself some head space to dream and develop new projects.

You’ve already seen some of these rolled out (the Free Getting Started Blogging course (with over 5000 participants already) and the soon-to-be-released ProBlogger Academy).

I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed having a little extra head space over the last month to dream. It’s led to all kinds of ideas, collaborations, and opportunities (as well as a little more life balance). It’s been one of the best things I’ve done in the last few years of blogging.

Another long-term goal that I’ve had is to run a blog on a much wider niche than my previous blogging endeavors. FeelGooder is that blog.

What is FeelGooder?

Let me start by saying that what you see of FeelGooder today is very much a stage one of where I’m hoping it’ll go. I’ve described what we’ve done so far as a “soft launch” but perhaps a better description would be that it’s FeelGooder v0.1 (beta), and that my hope is for it to expand well beyond what you see on it today.

As I describe in the Welcome to FeelGooder post a couple of days ago, the blog’s focus is pretty wide. In some ways it’s niche is Life (how much broader could you get?). It’s a bit of a departure from my previous blogs, which were quite focused (on topics like Blog Tips, Photography, and Twitter).

I’m under no allusions that such a broad niche will be easy, but this is something I’ve always wanted to do—partly because it connects with where I’m at personally, partly because of my own values and passions, and partly … just to see if I can pull it off.

The goal is to produce daily posts that are a mix of information (tips, guides, help), inspiration (stories, uplifting, and hope-filled articles), and interaction that will help people better experience the richness of their lives.

The blog will initially focus upon five topics:

  1. Health: fitness, diet, emotional well being, and more
  2. Relationships: family, friendship, romance, etc.
  3. Work: careers, entrepreneurship, and developing skills for the workplace
  4. Finance: tips and stories to help look after the hip pocket
  5. Social Good: sustainable living, generosity, and making the world a better place.

In time, these topics will expand (and I would like to see some of them splinter off into more targeted topics, too).

What’s the business model?

Another departure for me with FeelGooder is that I’m launching it without any type of advertising. That’s not the model I want to use here (at least, not initially).

Long-term ProBlogger readers will know that my focus of late has moved a little to incorporate monetizing my blogs by developing my own products. I’m not giving the ad game away, but I see growing opportunities in the development of products (so far this has been around ebooks, courses, and membership sites).

FeelGooder is a bit of an experiment for me on this front, and I intend to develop a series of FeelGooder products to monetize the site. I’m not completely closed off to the idea of other forms of monetization (including advertising) down the track, but at least initially I’d like to experiment elsewhere.

Having said that, monetization is not my main focus at this point. My initial focus is more around:

  1. developing quality content
  2. building an audience
  3. building community.

In my experience, monetization comes more easily once you’ve got those other three elements in place. So while I’m certainly thinking about monetization and the possibilities that might emerge there, I’m not currently putting a great deal of energy into that.

What do you want to know?

I hope that sharing some of the backstory behind this project has been of interest to you. Next week I’d like to continue looking at this case study by talking a little about some of the logistical elements of the site, including the design process, some of the thinking behind the editorial strategy, and some of the lessons I’ve learned.

I’d also be happy to answer as many other questions as I can about my strategy and the processes I’m going through with FeelGooder. So if you’ve got anything you’d like me to cover, please leave a comment below and I’ll attempt to get through as many of them as I possibly can.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I am in amazement that there are no comments yet so I am going to really let you have it!

    I heard of your blog, ProBlogger, from Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income. He highly recommends you. And I kept thinking in my head “where have I known this Darren Rowse guy from?” It was driving me up a frieaking wall for days!!! I finally opened my personal email and there you were, Darren Rowse at Digital Photography School. I had been enjoying your emails and photo blog for over a year when I found out, with much happiness, my fav digital photographer BLOGS! And he is THE blogger.

    I am overjoyed to be part of your initial readership over at Feelgooder. And I am happy you are following your dreams. Best wishes, Darren, you have opened up new worlds for me and you deserve to succeed on the internet but more importantly in life.

    I didn’t let you have…lol.

  2. Hi Darren,
    Well, I am a bit surprised. I know you as the guy behind ProBlogger, DPS and Twitip. All are related to technology. And at once, out of nowhere, you launch FeelGooder. Surprise for me!
    I will be joining you there.

  3. Sounds good to me Darren, I think people are going to eat this up bro..becasue if you suggest it then many people will follow you..good stuff.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  4. Hi Darren,
    That is very interesting to hear about FeelGooder. I am happy for you that it is a project you are really passionate about.

    My story is a little similar. I originally started off with a personal development site related to my professional speaking http://www.TheWonderTechnique.com and over time what I learned opened up another opportunity to share my knowledge on how to promote a wellness based business. This opportunity lead to the creation of the site http://www.GrowYourWellnessBiz.com Then recently another off shoot of The Wonder Technique site is my site dedicated to helping people find organic food inexpensively. I even have a green living site on the go with my wonderful wife and family.

    I am sure you have lots to share on FeelGooder since you appear to be creating a quite an impact on the world.

    Thanks for all your sharing.
    David

  5. Hey Darren,

    It’s great to see that you successfully outsourced a large part of the operational business of your blogs.

    There’s always been this “you are not scalable” attitude in blogging, and I’m glad you’re showing that there is a way around that.

    In addition, you make the benefits visible to all of us, by launching new products and a great new blog :-)

  6. That is a lot to cover in a blog, I will watch it and check it out though. Good luck!

  7. Sounds like a great idea Darren… the five topics to focus on are “right on” – especially when it come to inspiration and “hope filled” stories. We need more of that especially in the times we are currently living in.

    ~ Kudos!

    Donnie

  8. It sounds like a wonderfull blog idea. I wish I could pull something like that off. :)

  9. You have a track record for success, I am sure this one will be too! Your ideas sound similar to mine on my new blog, but my focus is a little different, helping people define their priorities and learn to live by them, thereby avoiding stress and anxiety that can come from a fast-paced life. I will defintiely visit you at feelgooder!
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/quest-for-a-balanced-life/

  10. Interesting concept for someone in your niche. I have been toying with a new blog niche myself and about to launch it. I will head on over to yours and get the reading…

  11. I think its great to expand and launch various sites, as long as you build your team of workers.

    My niche site “A Sitting Duck” has reached a peak now at 25,000 loyal readers. I’m sure it will increase but I made the leap to register “Candy Skool” this week which will be a membership site for people that want to learn flash animation.

    If the readers are there, just do it!…

    Thanks

    David Edwards

  12. Since it’s a broad(ish) range of topics, I’d be interested in seeing how you monetize the site moving forward…

    In your follow up posts, it’d be nice to see what your process is like in terms of setting goals and measuring growth (what kind of statistics do you look at).

  13. I’m sure that the site will be a success, as you put a lot of efffort into your projects. But whatever made you choose that domain name? Surely you could have spent a few dollars and come up with a nice name.

  14. I have checked out FeelGooder.com and its interesting. But this backstory does help in figuring out what your new blog is all about. I love the fact that your niche is life.

    As a matter of fact, I have been testing posts with temporary blogs since January and this post actually helped me figure out what I want to do with launching my second blog, a personal blog. Now of course I just have to figure out a new name, using BrianVermette.com just doesn’t work for me, I prefer something memorable and short.

    And FeelGooder is memorable too. Good name.

  15. It’s a killer idea. Most of us go through life trying to keep “good feelings” anyways right?

    That’s what happiness is about right? Feeling good and helping others feel good? You hit the nail on the head with this one.

    I don’t like the blog layout so much but I’m in love with the logo. The logo is really cool.

  16. Great stuff. My blog does exactly the same. No advertising – had a nice backstory (created relevance and legitimacy) and now I sell my own products, run cources do consultancy. Im not making enough to be full time (I have a family) but im halfway there. Allowed me to switch to part time work.

    Good luck will watch with interest.

  17. Darren, I feel better already! I like the design of it and the idea behind it. Whether to subscribe or not isn’t even a question!

  18. Darin;

    Congratulations with your new blog.

    One thing I would like to hear and ultimately see played out, is your marketing strategy for this site. How are you going to build readership? How are you going to build a following? I saw you speak at Blog World a few years ago and you went through some of your strategies for DPS which I found helpful, but I’m curious what your strategies for this site are as it seems like a much harder site to build because the niche is so broad.

    Ashley

  19. Darren,

    I’m a big fan of ProBlogger, and of your work with Chris Garrett as well. I’m also a fan of Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits and mnmlist. It sounds like some of what you’re doing with Feelgooder could overlap those sites, which is awesome because it’s wide open territory and we (readers in general) have plenty of interest in it.

    I’ll definitely subscribe for all the reasons above. My only question is what your thoughts are on accepting guest posts, and if you’re interested, how do I apply?

  20. Hi Darren,

    I love the new direction. It is pretty broad, but it offers the opportunity for a lot of collaboration and cross-over with other bloggers. Can’t wait to read more!

    Cheers,

  21. When people take care of their health (topic #1), then topics 2-5 sort of take care of themselves. I’m being a bit glib (only a bit) but definitely believe too many folks are unconscious about their health (1 in 3 adults are categorically obese, for example) so here’s hoping your efforts help move the dial. We need a paradigm shift, for sure.

  22. Silvino says: 11/20/2010 at 10:17 am

    may i say it’s not a great surprise if we think about your “livingroom” with “a space for life” ..how long? :) or even more recently the darrenrowse.com ..we could already see there those topics you mentioned, though in a more personal perspective.

  23. Congrats Darren. I follow you on Problogger and Twitip. I would like to learn more about how you manage writers and the story editing process. I have a site with a dozen writers and each post involves a multistep process involving different people (write edit review promote) We currently manage this outside wordpress on a google site but we are currently assessing plugins. With such a wide range of subjects you will have a lot of writers to manage. How do you do this in practice?

  24. Very interesting article, I have trouble keeping up with writing new content for my websites, saying that I have to deal with a number of articles every day, so it can all get a bit confusing.

    I’d love to see a article on how you organise all of your blogs/the info behind them, like all of the backups of posts, databases etc. )

  25. A personal development site? That is awesome! A successful man like yourself will have much to share. Look forward to seeing it evolve.

  26. As a person who loves to write on a variety of topics, I hope to get to a point where this is feasible to me someday, being able to write on such a broad range of topics does sound quite fun and personally rewarding.

    But until I refine my writing a bit, I’ll stick to focusing on more specific niches, currently I’d like to expand a blog about the emergence and surge of usage in Tumblelogs, and (much like your TwiTip site) tries to help users get the most utility out of them.

    Until I’m able to operate such a large, genre defying blog, I wish you the best on your new project.

  27. Sounds like a nice project and sustainable one with you behind it Darren. Looking forward to connecting with you on that blog as well.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot com

  28. Hey Darren,

    I have to say, your timing is impeccable. I could really use a feel-good in my life right now.

    You see… I just got fired. (Read the story: http://www.passivejourney.com/what-to-do-when-you-lose-your-job/)

    I’ve been documenting my journey into a lifestyle supported by passive income, and I really enjoy it… but when a blow like this happens, it can knock the wind out of the best of us.

    Thanks for the new resource and for all you do. It really is appreciated by the community here.

  29. A good way to grow this Blog rapidly is to make it run on multi authorship. Well, that’s just a suggestion.

  30. Darren,

    I think FeelGooder sounds like a great idea, and it was really valuable to see you spell out your thoughts and strategy in this post.

    While I’m still relatively new to blogging, I have come up with some different ideas and I currently maintain a few different blogs. Even I get a similar “are you crazy” reaction when I announce plans to start a new one.

    I think it’s all about setting an editorial calendar and sticking to it. If you post once per day M-F on one blog, which many people do, it’s really not much different than posting once a week on five different blogs, as long as you are organized.

    And if you have varied interests, it’s good to have more targeted niche blogs to help build a following. You have obviously taken this idea to great success, so it will be interesting to see how you with this broader niche project.

  31. Barbara says: 11/21/2010 at 8:12 am

    I love the name Darren – I’m feeling good just looking at it! With you behind it, I reckon it will become a household name – especially in view of the fact that you will be writing about different aspects of life – plenty to write about there, and people are always interested in that subject.
    Count me in as a follower on this one too mate, and good luck!

  32. I really like what you are trying, I was thinking of doing something like that when I first started out but then learned about targeting a specific niche.

    I was going to have a blog all about me as opposed to just a couple of sides of me, so all my interests would be on one blog but I could never focus with it as I was thinking about everything I was doing.

    I am now concentrating on one blog about my online marketing and blogging journey. I will be starting other blogs for the other areas of my life and then one day create a kind of umbrella site that covers all of themas they are updated with its own unique content as well!

    It’s a long plan….;)

    Looking forward to following your new adventure!

    Simon

  33. Darren,
    It’s been awhile since I’ve visited your blog, but it’s nice to see that you’re spreading your wings and following your passion. I believe your new blog will send out good vibes out into the world. We need it!

    I’d like to know what challenges you face trying to maintain multiple blogs. Do you rely on contributors to create most of the content?

    I think I remember you saying that at the very beginning of your blogging career, you had many blogs, but you decided to focus on Problogger. What kind of advice do you have for someone who doesn’t quite have all the financial resources to hire moderators or writers but owns multiple blogs?

  34. Mukesh says: 11/21/2010 at 5:11 pm

    Dear Darren,
    I wanted to start something similar with the help of a friend who has immense talent to be the agony aunt. Things kept coming up and I could never work on that idea. You have again motivated me to start something. I am already feeling good. Thank you.

    Regards,
    Mukesh

  35. You’re singing my tune with this new blog, Darren. :) This is my area, and your five themes parallel mine. My site is about 6 weeks old, and I’ve had my moments of doubt that I’ve aimed at too broad a target. Your project is making me feel better about my intentions with what I’m doing. :) Thanks.

    I love the title! I’ll be rooting for FeelGooder.

  36. Hi Darren,
    I have enjoyed seeing the work that you have done online, as it is interesting and full of information that the readers can use. I have found that one blog leads to another, I already have two, and two more in my head. It is probably the same for the mechanic who has a few cars waiting to be rebuilt, and put back on the road. One good idea just leads to another.

    As a person with the skills and connections that you have, there is such huge potential for internet, and I am sure that you will find ways to use this platform for motivating, informing and connecting people for any topic that you choose. We all have things we feelgood about and encouraging people to discover what they are most capable of, and combining their efforts with others for the good of the community is my particular passion.
    I look forward to reading your posts.

  37. Since everything you touch seems to turn to gold, I have no doubt this new blog will be a great success for you! Good luck!

  38. Seems you have choose a blog in a very competitive niches with highest CPC payouts out there. Anyway, I wish you all the best with your new project!

  39. Hi Darren,

    I’m delighted that you’ve decided to start your new Feelgooder blog and not just because I’m looking forward to reading the posts.

    You see, my business is almost identical to Feelgooder. I have a blog, which is only one of the resources I provide to my community. I’ve approached my business model from the opposite end of the spectrum – build the monetized products first. I’m not saying my way is better than yours – just a different approach.

    Why am I so pleased you’re starting what is effectively a competing blog?

    1. It’s great to be able to learn from an expert. You are a world renowned blogger, with a huge following so I will be watching and learning.
    2. The more people there are doing a similar thing, the more demand it creates.
    3. It gives me another forum to submit articles and (hopefully) be published ;-)

    As others have commented, everything you do seems to do well so good luck to you, for both our sakes!

  40. Good Luck Darren,

    Looking forward to seeing your results

  41. Hi Darren,

    I like the information you have provided here and I love the new direction. It offers the opportunity for a lot of collaboration and cross-over with other bloggers. Can’t wait to read more!

    Cheers,
    KK

  42. Darren to be candid i’m short of words. You’re such a terrific guy. Your movement marvels me. Running four blogs together at the same time and churning out quality contents is a great deal of work my friend. Sincerely, you’re up to the task.

    More Success.

  43. The beauty of having a wide-niche arena is the space – you’ll, literally, never run out of ideas for posts. How can you when they’re all around you, right? Best of luck, Darren. I have no doubt you’ll have massive success!

  44. I am so looking forward to this blog. I will definitely join you there.

  45. Interesting concept and puts us going in opposite directions. I have the blog that I first started with several years ago that covers everything and have, in the last couple of years squeezed in other blogs that were more focused, more niche so as to take advantages of opportunities to monetize. It is hard to monetize a blog that is wide and varied without any kind of focus. Kudos to you for giving that a go.

  46. Oh boy, Darren Rowse is moving into the Finance, Health and Relationships niches!! That is very scary :) People, you do realise of course that those are THE most lucrative niches out there (aside from Make Money Online, he’s got a big slab of that already!) All I can say is, “Guru’s, read and tremble!” I don’t believe his motivation is purely financial and also don’t doubt that these niches will be approached with the same quality and integrity Darren invests in everything and he will be wildly successful, not to mention rather more well off as a result of this project! More power to your elbow, Darren, I say. That is leverage at it’s best!

    • It’s interesting that you’d identify these niches as profitable because that side of things is yet to really enter my mind in much detail. You’re certainly right though – they’re profitable spaces – I guess instinct has led me in that direction. On the flip side of the profitability factor is that they’re highly competitive spaces – so we’ll see how it goes :-)

      • True, very competitive, but I think also there is room for everyone, especially someone with a new take on things. There is a lot of scamminess in these niches, it will be refreshing to see them get the Rowse treatment :)

  47. Darren,

    I personally think this is a great idea. And not necessarily because I respect all your work but because I know you will bring a uniqueness to the rather broad topic. Sure, it’s a competitive space but when you add your own points of view and dynamics then it equates to what I call “Competitive Advantage”. I feel very confident that you can make FeelGooder a success far beyond Beta.

    And perhaps, because you have the other blogs that are successful financially, it’s not so bad to relax and enjoy a blog without worrying too much about how it will monetize until the time presents itself….that’s probably a very “zen like” way of viewing this instead of a business view but everything’s eventual.

    –shane

  48. Richard Gibbs says: 11/23/2010 at 11:15 am

    Darren and posters,

    A good blog with some great ideas…thanks to all. I new to this, so can someone elaborate on ‘guest blogging’ ? Does one request from the blog owner the right to post an article,or what?

    Thanks to all for the comments

  49. That is Great Darren. The beautiful brand , theme and color.

  50. Hey Darren, congrats on the launch of Feelgooder and best of luck with your new project! I’m excited to become a regular follower and join in on the journey. It’s thanks to you that I got into blogging, with your book Problogger providing all the inspiration. Just over a year on, there’s a long way to go but things are moving along nicely. Thanks again and best of luck to you in your new venture!

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