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How Many Blogs Should You Run?

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of March 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Reader QuestionsGabu_uy asks – What is in your opinion the best strategy, a few quality blogs, or a myriad of two nickels a day blogs?

This is a question that I think you’ll find people will argue both sides of and it is something that I’ve changed my views on backwards and forward over the last few years. Perhaps this one is best explored with a little of my own story and then a few random thoughts.

When I first started blogging with entrepreneurial aspirations I did so with one monetized blog – an extension of my first personal blog – Digital Photography Blog.

While I made a lot of stupid mistakes in the setting up of that blog and probably wouldn’t set it up to run as it currently does if I were starting over, it’s a blog that gave me a taste for the idea of making a living from blogging.

Multiple Blogs
I started experimenting with advertising on that blog with the hope of covering my hosting and ISP costs but quickly found that I could exceed that and perhaps even earn enough for a computer upgrade. I didn’t really have any aspirations for much more than that in the very early days – although I still remember laying in bed at the end of the day I first hit a daily total of $10 in AdSense earnings and excitedly having the realization that if one blog could earn $10 a day with AdSense that 10 blogs could earn $100 and 100 could earn $1000!

I made the decision on the spot to roll out new sites and continued to do so until I hit around the 25 mark.

It was at about this time that I realized that my strategy was somewhat flawed (for me) for a number of reasons:

  • I couldn’t sustain the load – 25 blog is a killer to maintain, even if a lot of them are ‘newsy/link’ blogs.
  • I couldn’t sustain my enthusiasm – while I had a mild interest in all of the topics I didn’t really have what it takes to summons the energy that it took to keep tabs on them all on a daily basis
  • The traffic didn’t come – there are many reasons for this but ultimately I believe that the way to grow traffic to a blog is to have someone who has energy for the topic and the ability to write engaging and useful content – I couldn’t and the traffic didn’t come
  • The money didn’t come – some of the blogs I started did earn more than $10 a day in the end – but the majority were lucky to make that much a month.
  • The money came from elsewhere – while I developed all these extra blogs I was experimenting with other projects (like b5media) and putting time into blogs that I was more passionate about (like ProBlogger and DPS). These were projects that I had energy for and that I put more and more time into developing. In contrast to the minutes that I put into my ‘mass blog strategy’ I put hours into these blogs and the payoff was that readers and money followed.

Now I do know people who make decent money by having many many websites that they develop and let earn their pennies a day but the majority of them are not bloggers. Instead they develop small sites with 10-20 pages that they drive traffic to using arbitrage techniques. Of course there are sploggers who maintain many spam blogs – but I don’t have time for or believe in that model at all.

I guess in a sense I’m also still in the ‘multiple blog’ business by starting a blog network – but there the strategy differs to what I tried above also in that we attempt to find passionate and knowledgeable people to maintain the blogs rather than stretching ourselves and having to cover multiple topics ourselves.

These days I only actively maintain two blogs (plus I occasionally write on another one). I’ve retired quite a few of my old blogs and have found a blogger to maintain a couple of others.

If I were to start all over again today I’d do so by concentrating on building 1 blog at a time to a point where it hits the tipping point and can earn a decent income. I still would diversify with multiple sites – but would probably focus on making them all around the one vertical (ie related topics) rather than picking such a wide array of topics on unrelated niches.

How many blogs do you run? How many would be your limit? What factors would help you decide when you’ve reached your maximum?

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.
  • I currently run two and have one more in the works. the first two take up a lot of time. The only way I could see someone running more than 10 blogs is if most of them are Splogs.

  • thats funny, i just just killed to of my lesser blogs last night. naturally, because i found that having too many took away from the main one.

  • Hi there,
    I’ve just started a blog recently. Still consider new to blogging and due to my limited computer knowledge, still trying hard on implementing google adsense ads to my site. Hoping that I can join you all very soon. I have been reading your posts for quite sometime since I stumbled upon your site and have learned a lot from your sharing tips. Thank you very much.

  • raj

    What emodo said above is bang on: exponential growth. (In fact, I have an unposted Performancing article called “Why It Takes Your Blog So Long To Rank” that was supposed to go up earlier this week, and which discusses exponential growth of links and authority.)

    I made the mistake of starting too many blogs (mainly because that that was the way to go 2 yrs ago) and have tons of mediocre blogs. So now, I’m focusing primarily on one blog of my own (not including ghost writing), and have a couple of other bloggers helping out with some of my (low) income-earning older blogs. Everything else I post to once in a while – (1-3 times per month) to keep them up until I decide what to do with them.

  • Interesting. I have a full time job and blogging is just an experiment (but still I wouldn’t mind some extra cash! :))

    I think regularly updating even a single blog is difficult as long as I have a regular job!

  • Darren,

    Once again, thanks for answering my question. I actually run actively only three blogs, plus one open source project.

    Good post, and great comment discussions.

    thanks,
    gabouy

  • I toatlly agree with Jayson . Having a regular day job, it is not easy to post regularly. In a “good week”, I manage under 5 posts.
    I agree with Darren’s point that achieving a critical mass on the first blog is vital before diversifying. As far as I am concerned, I would concerned, I would start another blog- if ( and only if) my current blog makes over and above what my regular job pays.

  • I think for an “average person” (whomever that might be) two or three blogs will max one out. I currently am only truly blogging on one “main blog” and three semi-inactive ones that can’t hold my attention … so certainly can’t hold other readers.

    I do feel however that you can not discover your best niche without trying a broad range, though. As several have already suggested, try a few “experimental” blogs every month or two, prune the ones that don’t “click” and then build on the few that prove they have potential.

  • Well, there are many reasons that people wanted to create many blogs as they can. They don’t want to put too much effort and time on one thing, which they were expecting will be paid off but magically doesn’t come to them. If blogger has time to manage all of his/her blogs then it would be no problem.

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  • I currently have 1 blog, which I author myself, but I have a number of blogs which other people author.

    I agree with you when you say authoring multiple blogs isn’t the best approach, I attempted this, and it was not worth my time and research. Having other people author your blogs is a better bet.

    Many for the interesting article!

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  • I have about 10 blogs…well maybe 15 but only post to a couple on a regular (almost daily) basis and the others are only once a week or two. Darren you are right. I get almost all of my adsense and affiliate income from the one blog that I really concentrate on.

    If you wanted to have more than a couple of blogs that are successful then I think that you have to have a very disciplined systems not only for posting but also getting links, getting products to sell, ideas to blog about and all the rest of the things that are more than just the click of the post button.

  • I see this is an old thread but I’ll try posting here, anyway…

    One topic that hasn’t been covered which I would like to know about is, if you DO have multiple blogs, where do you host them all and how?

    Do you keep them all in your account with the same host?

    Or do you open up different accounts with the same host (is that possible)?

    I’m confused because I’m at bluehost and I tried to start a second blog (with its own domain), but bluehost automatically stuffs it in a subfolder within my flagship account. You’d never know on the public side: it shows its own domain and is a totally different site, but I guess the files are stored in a subfolder of my flagship blog. Is this a bad thing, will it cause me administrative problems later?

    It’s a new blog, so if there’s an easier way to set it up I’d like to make the change now. Please feel free to email me about this too (moneyenergy [AT] hotmail…) thanks.