There comes a time in every bloggers life when they hit a plateau. This can happen for one of about a thousand reasons, but one of the most common is that you are just tapped out. You have done your job…expanded your network…reached just about everyone you can reach…and now you are starting to run thin on content ideas and sources of new subscribers and readers. It is a pretty normal occurrence actually, but there are answers and ways to get over that hurdle and continue to see growth through expanding your offerings.
As any business grows, it naturally flows towards other areas of any given sector and adapts to changing times. Your blog is no different. Over time, you are going to tweak your offerings to accommodate your ever changing environment. Be ready, you are going to feel a sensation of…”this is not where I saw this heading”, but…know that expansion and adapting is a good thing over time and you can end up with something much bigger than you had originally planned.
Blog Expansion: How Do I Expand My Blog?
It is time to plan your blog expansion. You have your hard hat on and you are ready to rock out a new section of blogging to keep seeing long-term growth…but where do you start and what are your options?
Expand Your Niche – The most common form of blog expansion is to expand the topic you are blogging about. I actually recommend that new bloggers pick a fairly narrow niche to see good short term results, so as you start to saturate that niche, you can expand out from that and build on your success. If you are blogging about how to grow vegetables in your home garden, it might be time to start writing articles about growing flowers or herbs in the home garden to compliment the vegetable content. The trick to expanding the content in your current blog is to have it closely related to your current content. Typically, setting up a new category and churning out the new articles will do the trick.
Add Different Niches Within Your Broad Topic – With Mountain Biking by 198, I knew I was not going to be blogging solely about mountain biking once things really started taking off. Eventually, I was going to need to expand into other cycling sub-niches to really grow and build a solid resource. But…you just can’t throw in a bunch of road and commuter content into a mountain biking site. While it may apply to some riders, it will most likely put off the mountain biking purists. So…this equaled making new sub-domains. Each sub-domain is going to look like a different site (with own ads, rss feed, etc.) but they will all be linked together under one main domain (mountain.bike198.com; road.bike198.com; etc.). Are there other fields of your topic that you could grow into? This may be a great option for you as well. Ex. see Tutsplus.com and MacCreate.com
Forum Sites – While forum sites can be difficult to start up, they can be an incredible resource in your blogging. Have you created a community around your blog that is actively leaving comments? It might be time to give your readers a place to talk about related topics in your industry. Over time, a forum site added to your blog can be a HUGE asset. Keep in mind…forum sites require a lot of work to get started. If it gets successful…it can be self managing through moderators and be a huge source of traffic for your blog.
Blog Network – Feel like blogging about something else entirely but still keep your current blog running? Maybe it is time to dial back on the daily posts, blog on your current blog a couple times a week and get started on another interest. There are many, highly successful bloggers who have created their own network of blogs that may or may not be related to each other. (oneninety8) As you see success in blogging, you learning curve for creating another successful blog will be much shorter. The trick is not to completely ignore what made you successful to begin with by following the new and exciting. You need to keep up the blog that brought you that success or you will end up spreading yourself too thin and lose everything.
As you can see, there are several options that can keep the “newness” of blogging alive and continue your expansion process to keep building up your business. Each of these options also help your readers as you continue to put in the work necessary for long term growth and a valuable resource online. Successful blogging is all about testing out new ideas and continuing to adapt your content to a quickly changing environment.
Those bloggers that continue to stick to the game plan they have on the day they installed WordPress…are going to have a hard time if they continually block out the needs and wants of their readers.
Image by Wayne National Forest