Should you stick with one blog or launch multiple websites?
My quick Google search didn’t turn up any studies or polls, so you’re getting my opinions only. No double-blind scientific studies. Sorry!
We can all agree that either extreme is counterproductive. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket. But you also don’t want to be stretched too thin.
We can also all agree that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. A tech-savvy blogger building a full-time income stream will be more comfortable launching multiple blogs than a newbie.
Since I can’t be all things to all people, let’s niche down.
If your goal is to build a full-time income stream from blogging within 1-3 years, should you begin with a single website? Or several?
Well, How Many Websites Did I Start?
First, let me tell you what I did.
By the end of my first year in blogging, I owned 9 domains.
Now, not every domain was assigned to an active website.
- One was a parked domain with a redirect.
- The other was assigned to a simple one-page portfolio website.
- Another was my failed/hibernating personal finance website.
- One of those websites I had purchased in July 2021.
If you were counting on your fingers through that list, that means I launched five active websites within a year. I’m a contributor to all the websites, but I’m only the primary author for three.
So why did I launch so many websites within a year?
Two basic reasons.
- I wanted to earn a competitive full-time income within 2-3 years. I could either grow A) two websites to $3,750 a month or B) five websites to $1,400 a month. I chose Option B as a hedge against risk, even though it would require more upfront work.
- I’m a cyclical person. I abhor doing the same thing every day. I definitely suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome. I knew I couldn’t stick with one topic for a year. So I gave myself the option to work on several topics that captured my fancy.
What I Learned About Launching Multiple Blogs at Once
Would I have done anything differently?
Well … building up 6 websites within a year was a bit much. There’s no question I spread myself thin, and one website in particular really suffered. During any one week, I could only ever focus on three sites at a time. So I wasn’t just juggling; I was also cycling. It was a constant revolving door
On the other hand, it was a tremendously valuable crash course. And because I have multiple websites, I can benchmark one site against another. That’s really valuable data.
In hindsight, what would I have changed? What flubs did I make?
- Six websites is too much. I feel best managing 3-4 websites. I’m still going to keep all six going, but I’ve definitely flattened my growth curve.
- I underestimated the work an ecommerce website would require. I’d stick with info blogs until I could dedicate several uninterrupted weeks to launching an e-commerce site.
- I should have launched each website on my own. I wasted about $500 on one website in outsourced content before I admitted my writers and I just didn’t share the same vision.
- I’ve contracted with more writers to produce content, and I’ve drastically simplified one website from an e-commerce site to an info blog. I’ll resurrect it as an e-commerce site in the future with a content marketing arm.
- I’ve also starved the temptation to start even more websites – and believe me, I have ideas!
How Many Blogs Can You Theoretically Maintain?
Conventional advice goes something like this:
Conventional Wisdom: You should begin your blogging career with ONE blog. After a year, launch a SECOND. And so forth.
That’s what Income School preaches, and as you probably know, I’m an Income School fan. So I’ll wholeheartedly agree that most people should listen to that advice and stick with just one blog for 6 months to a year.
But even though I knew sticking with one blog was the smart choice, I just couldn’t do it.
When people start blogging, their wheels start spinning. “Hey, I like to cook, to trail run, and to binge-watch Spanish soap operas,” they muse. “I could make a blog for each of my interests and monetize my entire personal life!”
That’s great, Ms. Polymath. But do you have time to grow and maintain all those blogs?
I’m going to plant my flag in the ground and say that a person can’t churn out words for 8 hours a day, every day. Not if you want the words to be any good, that is. Our brains just lack the bandwidth.
If you’re a prolific writer, you might be able to average 4,000 words a day.
“But Andy, I can crank out 1,000 words an hour!” you protest.
Well, great, so can I. But I can’t crank out 1,000 words an hour plus editing plus images plus publishing. And sometimes, you’ll be conducting original research or data analysis. And you still have the rest of your work to do, like site design, promotion, team management, etc.
So 4,000 words is 2-3 posts a day. If you can sustain that for 5 days a week, that’s 10-15 good, solid articles a week.
Now, here’s another rule:
- For growth: You should publish 2-3 posts a week, per website.
- For maintenance: At a minimum, you should publish one post and overhaul one post a week, per website.
Let’s assume an overhaul takes half as long as a new post. Once you crunch those numbers, you realize that one prolific, full-time blogger can only grow 3-6 blogs or maintain 6-10 blogs. And that’s a best-case scenario, one that would burn out most people.
This assumes you’re building niche sites, not major authoritative sites. If your goal is to become THE spokesperson for, say, venture capital investing, then a single authority site can easily consume 100% of your time!
I’m also going to argue that if you struggle with the tech side of blogging, you’re in for a world of hurt. Multiple blogs means email aliases, API keys, spreadsheets and file organization, expense accounting, etc. Managing multiple blogs requires pretty solid technical skills.
What’s It Like to Maintain Multiple Blogs
- 1 blog: Your blog is your baby. You can shower it with love and watch it grow up. If it goes prodigal, though, you’re left with nothing.
- 2-3 blogs: You can either split your time 33-33-33 or make one the dominant blog. Best if the niches are complementary, not supplementary. This is the Goldilocks zone for most part-time bloggers, but many full-time bloggers also stop at 2-3 websites.
- 4-5 blogs: If you’re doing most of the writing and maintenance yourself, this is the extreme limit for a part-time blogger, and I don’t think it’s sustainable without getting help. However, it’s totally doable for a full-time independent blogger to maintain up to 5 active niche sites.
- 5-10 blogs: You’re in the Big Leagues now! I’m assuming you’re a professional, full-time blogger with a small army of independent contractors to assist with content production, editing, web maintenance, search analysis, and social media management.
- 11+ blogs: Are you even a “blogger” anymore? Or do you spend all your time managing a team of contractors? You’re essentially a Blogger Silent Partner.
Andy’s Rules for Managing Multiple Blogs
If you’re going to go against the grain and launch multiple blogs, like I did, then here’s my advice:
- Copy and paste your web design platform. Use the same WordPress theme and plugins on every site. I mostly use Hello Elementor and Elementor Pro, but I also use OceanWP theme or just Gutenberg.
- Stick with each site until you have at least 20-30 posts published. Front load every site with content! Once a site has 20-30 posts, you can start to juggle it.
- Get good hosting. Dedicated hosting is best. And similarly, get good plugins, like ShortPixel and WPManage.
- Write the first 5-10 posts yourself. Don’t outsource the content until you’ve been there, done that. I wasted about $400 on one website before I admitted the outsourced content just wasn’t what I was looking for.
- Balance complementary and supplementary websites.
- Complementary websites target a different demographic, different niche. They’re the best for diversification, but they require new search analysis, new affiliate partnerships, etc.
- Supplementary websites target a different topic within the same general niche. They’re great for multiplying your market presence, but subject to the same failure modes as your other site[s].
- Publish at least one new post every week. Follow this rule religiously. Hire people if you have to. Don’t backslide! Your blogs are counting on you!