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The State of the Darren-Sphere

Posted By Darren Rowse 8th of September 2009 Case Studies, ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

In this post I’d like to give an update of the different sites that I work on, how they’re going and what I’m working on with them.


3 questions that I get a lot are:

  1. You seem to do a lot of ‘stuff’ – can you give me a quick overview?
  2. I know you from (insert blog/social network name here) but today discovered you also are at (insert blog/network here) – what else do you do?
  3. How is your business going – you used to give us income updates – can you give us another update?

As a result today I want to create a post that attempts to summarize all of the activities that I’m actively involved with these days (ie it doesn’t include about 30 blogs that I have previously owned or blogged on which today are dormant).

I’m not going to give an income update as such except to say that revenue from my blogging related activities remains well into the Six Figure bracket (annually) and that each year since I’ve started blogging as an income source has seen it grow in healthy increases.

I hope that what follows is of use to those who’re interested:

My Blogs

These days I own three active blogs. They are visited collectively by around 2.8 million people per month, subscribed to via RSS and email by around 480,000 subscribers and have social media network between them of around 110,000 people. Let me break it down from largest to smallest:

Digital Photography School

dps-logoDPS has enjoyed continued growth over the last 12 months. While finding advertisers has been a little difficult in this climate (although we did run a very successful campaign with Lenovo earlier in the year) I’ve seen increases in income as a result of more effort in affiliate promotions but also AdSense and Chitika.

I have seen a bit of an increase in expenses though as we’ve hired a number of writers as well as a community manager for the forum area.

Redesigning the site, adding new areas for cameras and post production tips and getting onto Twitter have all helped to grow DPS. The future looks really bright for this community – I’m particularly looking forward to the release of the communities first products (two ebooks) later in the year.

  • Monthly Traffic – 1,960,612 Visitors viewing 6,571,151 pages (based upon the last 30 days – Data from Google Analytics)
  • Subscribers – 311,813 (made up of 200,000 newsletter subscribers and 111,000 RSS subscribers)
  • Forum Members – 60.644
  • Twitter Followers – 16,074 followers
  • DPS on Facebook – 2,277 fans



Traffic wise ProBlogger’s growth has been less spectacular than DPS but steady.

The release of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook earlier in the year was an amazing learning experience and a profitable venture.

The Job boards have also continued to grow both in terms of ads being listed and also traffic/subscriber numbers. It’s certainly not my biggest earner but it’s a daily income that has risen and that is quite passive.

The main income streams from ProBlogger have been direct ad sales (we’ve been sold out for a long time although I’m told we have one slot open at the moment) and healthy affiliate promotions (I’m lucky that there are so many quality products related to this blog).

In the coming weeks ProBlogger will expand with the launch of ProBlogger.Community.

  • Monthly Traffic – 531,804 unique visitors viewing 866,093 pages
  • Subscribers – 123,000 RSS Subscribers
  • Newsletter Subscribers – 29,890 (across a number of different lists)
  • Twitter Followers – 76,273 followers
  • ProBlogger on Facebook – 15,242 fans
  • ProBlogger Job Boards – around 2000 RSS subscriber



My newest blog and seeing a steady growth. Written mainly by a group of guest posts TwiTip has done fairly well. I’m about to launch a redesign of the site which will give it a more professional look but also add some great new features.

Income has been a little tougher on this one – mainly due to my lack of time to actually go after advertisers. Having said that – I’ve run a couple of affiliate programs that have done pretty well (still room for improvement though on the ad front).

  • Traffic – 256,430 Visitors viewing 326,484 pages
  • Subscribers – 21,512 RSS subscribers

Other Interests

I try to be active on a number of social media sites, networks and maintain an interest in a variety of other projects including:

Looking Forward

In the next few months there are a number of new things that will add to this list (because I have so much spare time):

  • ProBlogger.com (a community site for bloggers)
  • Two new ebooks for Digital Photography School (I’m working on two which will hopefully be released before the end of the year)
  • Possibly another ebook for ProBlogger – working with another blogger on this
  • A New Site with ebook – I can’t say too much about this but I’m looking forward to collaborating with another blogger on a new site that will relate to both ProBlogger and TwiTip.
  • One more Bigger Secret Collaboration with a couple of other bloggers – Hopefully with an October launch

All in all I’m fairly busy. While there are opportunities arising every day or two that I could do more on if I had the time (or if I decided to hire a staff) I’m attempting to keep things relatively contained (you might not think so from the above list but it’s the tip of the iceberg of what I get asked to do).

All in all it’s a fun business to be in, a profitable way to make a living and it does still give me flexibility to spend time with my family, friends and community groups that I belong to – doing the things that are important to me.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. You really are dong a lot of stuff. I do wonder how you manage it all, like managing yourself must be something you have to be strict about.Congrats anyway on all that you’ve done, a lot of bloggers only hope to do this much as well as myself.

  2. It is incredible what a machine you are for creating good content!

  3. Well I think the lesser the better, it helps you to focus more.

    Of course its better to start with one first then slowly when you are getting good traffic and earn money, then focus on other niche blogs.

  4. woooow so many things i wonder how you manage your tasks. let us know how you can do sooo many things at a time

  5. Jeff H. says: 09/08/2009 at 1:49 am


    Excellent post! Looking at your overview, this is where I am shooting to take my blog business within the next year or two. I am still currently stuck in the mud, because my main web site is a static web site. I have been planning for a long time to make the necessary changes, but due to lack of funding and timing constraints, I have not been able to achieve this goal.

    As of last week, I decided to heck with it. I am going to implement all the changes myself, since I to have an I.T. background. What was a $1,000 budget, is now a $100. I FINALLY found a template I am happy with, so if all goes well, I should have the new design up by October 1st. So at long last I can start building my blogging empire. You are truly my BLOGGING MENTOR!

    The good thing I have going for me is that through Aweber, I have over 20,000 subscribers (these are my combined mailing lists), over 500 twitter followers and a few friends on Facebook. I truly believe once I convert my website into a blog and implement the strategies from 31DBBB (the website version, but I will be buying your e-book version next month) I will have a very popular website!

    Thanks again Darren!

    Jeff H.

  6. Looks like you have a lot going on, Darren (as always). I’m looking forward to ProBlogger.com and the new projects you’ve alluded to.

  7. It’s interesting to note how many different ventures you have going at once. I think it’s really part of the key to success to have multiple ventures working together. Great work, Darren.

    Soon I’ll be catching up with you.

  8. We heard it loud and clear that Darren is running more than one blog or website, that way he is making cool money online.

    The number one secret to making money online is to own more than one blog or website and push them all to the top, but listen carefully if you are not able to manage one blog then………………………..whatever.

  9. Always good to hear about what’s going on with one of my favourite bloggers. I have Problogger the book and my girlfriend bought me the 31 Days book at the beginning of the month and I am trying to work my way through it!

  10. With this kind of schedule and success, i’m surprise you’re not blogging about personal development ;p .

  11. That’s a lot of work indeed:)
    Keep up the good work.

  12. It’s exciting to see a lot of new developments. Congratulations on your continued success. I’m personally attempting to get more into developing other sources of income than my own writing business, as school takes over the majority of my time.

    Thanks for sharing your story/state. :)

  13. You have all great ideas for new blogs and sites.

  14. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for all of the great content and this info! It’s fascinating and inspiring at the same time! All I can say is that you must be a fabulous time manager, and also extremely disciplined to get all of this done from home. Thanks for being the perfect example of what can happen when people engage their brain with their creativity and their motivation!

  15. Patrenia says: 09/08/2009 at 2:56 am

    I have one question: How do you manage it all????? I am a wife, mother and hopeful beginner blogger. I am having a HARD time managing all of this. I’ve seen others with the same question, so I guess this will be a great post idea for you.

  16. three blogs, all leaders in their niche !! you are a blogging legend !

  17. Darren you’re the man. I find it difficult enough to manage one blog.

  18. This is good inspiration for me to get a list of all my holdings up to date!

  19. Well this disclosure certainly give us boost to our motivation. Its really nice to see that you plan ahead and you have everything well placed. ( I understood when I saw your computer desk)

  20. True. It is nice that you have successful blogs. But, I am curious what led to the others being dormant? Was it lack of advertising, readers, or passion?

  21. Great, Darren…Thanks again for the inspiration.

    BTW, are you still doing your physical fitness program?

  22. You seem to be doing great. Speaking to over a million people a month if quite amazing. So far i’m in the low thousands still….

  23. All Your Blogs Are Gems. Amazing Work.
    This Really Needs Lots of Time.

  24. Very interesting :) So cool to see someone being so open!

  25. I think you’re a great inspiration for others in setting a shining example of success is obtainable in the blogosphere including myself and appreciate you sharing your world with us. Thank you. :)

  26. Do you have day off sometimes with such tight schedule ? :)

  27. It really amazes me what an inspiration that you and people like you have become. I mean, when you think about it – why would anyone want a status update on another person’s life? Aren’t we supposed to be busy enough with our own?
    But it is people like you – kind enough or SMART enough to share your knowledge – that helps and inspires others to grow.
    Keep up the great work, man. And as always, thank you for sharing!



  28. I enjoy all three blogs–been reading problogger since your first son was born (that’s how women remember dates for things). :)

    Anyway, I’m always impressed at the guest posts on twitip–I’m not sure how much editing you have to do over there, but the writing feels consistent even though the voice is of many people.

    And kudos to your site designer for dps — it’s visually appealing. As a photography site should be. :)

  29. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Sohail and Patrenia – it’s a combination of putting in lots of hours, a little outsourcing (I have help on some admin as well as having writers creating content) and discipline.

    Jeff – sounds like you’re on the way – now knuckle down and keep pumping out great content

    Nicholas – yes I’ve always tried to diversify my income – however I think it’s still possible to really focus in on one thing and do it really well and still have success.

    BigSis – I have my days when I’m good at time management – and other days where I’m not. I guess it’s about working consistently over time :-)

    Carl – I let the other blogs mainly because they were on topics I was not really interested in. I went through a phase a few years back where I tried to pump out as much content as possible on topics that I thought would be profitable – the problem was that I didn’t have a real interest in the topics and found it hard to sustain them all as a result. The flow on effect was not getting a regular readership which led to them being unprofitable – so for all of those reasons I let them go.

    Bruce – unfortunately I’m not. I need to get back into it though.

    Vilmis – I take the weekends off. I do a little work (half an hour) on Saturday morning and work on Sunday nights for an hour or two but the weekends are completely off. I also try to take at least a couple of week long vacations a year.

  30. Nice round-up of all things Darren Rowse on the web. Perhaps we’d see other pros do the same thing and report on their status.

    Though I have a feeling it would be some sort of ‘brag-fest’ but I know most pros would be decent and humble enough for this to turn out into something healthy and professional, which makes it all the more exciting!

  31. Absolutely STOKED to be a (small) part of it, D, Thanks. It has been brilliant watching dPS grow on a daily basis! It has had its ups and its downs – mainly ups, and with such a great community – we will continue to grow it and help many more people start to enjoy and love photography like we do.

    Sime // dPS Community Manager

  32. Thanks for the intimate insights Darren. What would you say is the tipping point in terms of readership, subscribers etc, for a site to start turning a decent $ ?

  33. Wow! The number of things you manage is impressive.. Multiple blogs, alliances with advertisers, ebooks and publications, tie-ups with other bloggers, founding ventures, media.. I think the next thing you should write on is how you manage all of these things together, and as successfully as you do :)

  34. Nice overview Darren, interesting to read this.

  35. Darren – great recap; it’s always great to peak behind the curtain to see what the wizard is up to!

  36. congrats and i hope that you will continue to inspire people Values Reviews, Business

  37. Darren, you said that you have more than 20 blogs, I don’t know how you did this every single day. I think that you must be a superman. If I am you, I don’t think that I could handle so many sites.
    Thanks for telling us about your other sites, I think that since I love your this blog, I will love the others, keep good working :).

  38. Your blogs are very cool. Congratulations :)

  39. Congratulations Darren.

    I noticed that on the DPS blog, you have a great visitors to page-views ratio. Does this mean that the bounce rate is significantly lower on that blog when compared to the others, and people tend to go from one post to the other?

    Any tips on lowering bounce rate?

  40. Reading this post, I feel you are really working hard! Wow. I am sure you are having fun as well. Great.

  41. I agree with everyone that what you’re doing Darren does sound like a lot, especially when you put it all on paper (or in a blog post). But I’m thinking that you must have a steady and consistent routine that you stick to. And when we do have a plan and a routine we can accomplish more than we think we can, as you’ve displayed in this post. You also must have a great support system (friends, colleagues and mentors) in place. Congrats on the success and I look forward to seeing the new blogs in the fall.

  42. Thanks for the summary of your activities. You must be super busy. Do you work 14 hours a day?

    I was surprised that you said you didn’t have a staff. Do you just hire people to help you when you need assistance, such as redesigning a Web site?

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  43. Well Darren! Another inspiration and time to expand on http://www.money-era.com/2009/06/problogger/

  44. Shit! You must be a very rich guy (or blogger?)!

  45. You are great

  46. You are great. Simply awesome, congrats on your success!

  47. Hi Darren!
    I really like this topic , as most of the new bloggers like me will definetly find useful from this.
    I am also from one of them who is looking for an good traffic on my blog http://www.clickblogging.blogspot.com.
    Its really having an
    good stuff to refer and implement these things on my blog.
    Thanks Darren once again for such post.

  48. Can’t wait to see what your new secret project is Darren. I’m sure it is something like the next Twitter.

    All the best,


  49. From the stats it shows your popularity. Don’t you get stressed handling soo much work load??

    I would be interested in reading a article on how you manage this huge amount of work.

    Typhoon a.k.a Sushant

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