Early on in my blogging career, I was planning on starting my own blog network. I thought that I knew better, and could do much the same as what Darren Rowse had done by making some niche sites, and writing on them. I was so naive that I thought I could turn a profit on the sites in less than half a year.
I named the network Digital Life News. I set up a bunch of blogs under different sub-domains all with the same main design. I was planning on targeting the Canadian market, a group that hadn’t seen much attention in the blogging world, and I thought I had what it takes. I was quickly proven wrong. I had ideas, a great domain and passion, so what was missing?
It seems like such an easy thing, but I didn’t think about the long term, and I didn’t have the patience and really the persistence to make something like this work.
Had I really sat down, and thought about each step of the process in greater detail, I would have seen that it could take me a year, maybe more before the network was making more than the cost of hosting the sites, and even then it might take a long time before the network was recognized in the community as worthy of attention. I would have also seen that I should have focused on a few niches, rather than casting a wide net.
I was planning on doing it alone, and as I mentioned before in Starting a Blog Network, no one is an expert at every skill that starting and managing a blog network requires.
I couldn’t write on all the niches I had planned, at least not at the quality level that would help grow the network. I wasn’t very good at monetization nor at managing others. I actually hired a friend of mine that was tech savvy at one point, but I couldn’t pay him enough, nor was he really interested in writing about the news and information that he found, and thus, he stopped after only a month or two.
I should have found great people that were interested in blogging to help me, which leads me to my next two points.
I didn’t really know anyone in the blogging community. I knew Darren, and a few others, but I wasn’t constantly talking with them, nor was I someone they came to talk to. I didn’t have anyone that could help me get the word out about what I was doing, and without being able to properly network, I could tell early on, that I was quickly losing momentum.
I have learned this skill more and more over the last two years, but I am still no expert. I shift between being someone that likes to stay quiet by myself, to wanting to be the center of attention. This has been something I have always struggled with.
I knew people that were amazing at networking, and I should have found ways to network with them. They could have passed around my name, and what I was doing, making my network much more of a success.
One thing that some networks need is seed money. It was something my blog network needed badly as more than anything else, I needed money to hire writers to create content. I also needed money to create buzz through contests, or advertising on other sites. All of the things I needed to bring my network to the masses required money, and that was something I didn’t have.
Had I more friends interested in writing, or maybe more of a celebrity clout, I could have forgone the money required on writers for the starting phase, and if I had better networking skills, I could have maybe secured some advertising or items to run a contest from other sites or businesses, but alas that wasn’t the case.
Closed Up Shop
So after a few months of running it, and doing the best I could, I closed Digital Life News, as a blog network. I currently use the name as my business name. I learned a lot through the process, and found out that I belonged more as someone one or two steps from the top of the blog network hierarchy, rather than top dog.
I still believe that anyone can start a blog network, and I think that most can be successful at it, but if you don’t have the proper skills, talents, or friends, then you better have the money to find people that do.
Hopefully, a few of tidbits from my experience will help you avoid your blog network failing.
Originally posted on July 22, 2007 @ 10:42 pm