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Why We Decided To Split Our Blog In Two

As readers of our blog have likely noticed, we have greatly increased our blog posting frequency over the past couple months.  We hoped that this renewed dedication to blogging would help our inbound marketing efforts with better organic search rankings, increased inbound links from other blogs, more exposure across social networks, greater mind share, and a larger number of subscribers.

Thus far, our efforts have been extremely successful in almost all of those facets.  We've seen our organic search traffic more than triple, reached tens of thousands of new people, had our posts linked to from dozens of other poplar blogs and publications, experienced an increase in traffic from Twitter and other social networks, achieved some recognition as a leader in jQuery techniques, and more.  However, our subscriber count has stayed rather stagnant, with only a slight increase of about 15%.

At first, we wondered if perhaps our increased frequency was causing people to unsubscribe?  Quickly, we recognized that many of our favorite blogs also post daily, so we doubted that frequency was a deterrent.  Also, upon looking at the Feedburner statistics, we saw that the main issue was a lack of new subscribers rather than an increase in unsubscribers (at least that meant our current subscribers were enjoying what we write!).

We then took a look at our actual blog content to see if we could gleam any insights from our actual writing.  It quickly became apparent that our posts varied, almost exactly 50/50, between Internet marketing topics and in depth web development techniques. 

As a non-developer, I can attest to the fact that no matter how interesting I found a marketing post, if it was sandwiched between posts about smarty image resizing and jQuery calendars, that I likely would not subscribe to that overall blog and would rather just hope to stumble upon it again sometime in the future.

By not focusing our blog on a specific niche, we were losing out on building our subscriber count for people interested in only that specific topic.  However, while we certainly wanted to increase that subscriber number, we couldn't sacrifice one of our niches, as both are important to our company and its continued growth. 

Half of our business is with folks who look to us for programming expertise and use our CMS for designers and ad agencies.  While the other half is with end-clients who come to us for our Internet Marketing and web design knowledge to build and leverage their own web presences.

That is when we came up with the solution to divide our blog into two separate blogs: an Internet Marketing Blog and a Web Development Blog.  That way, all of our new organic and inbound traffic would land on the blog that most interests them, be able to browse that niche's content, and have the ability to subscribe to just that blog.  Also, understanding that there are some renaissance men out there, like Joel, who are equally interested in development and marketing, we'll allow people to continue to be able to read and subscribe to the "Full Blog."

We're interested to see how this experiment evolves and it if it affects our subscriber count and perhaps even our inbound links, as people read more links when presented with a full blog of related content to digest.

Now, what you've all been waiting for: if you want to specialize your feed from us, feel free to choose from below.  Thanks for your continued support!  Let us know your thoughts on this strategy in the comments and if this change is likely to affect whether or not you subscribe.

Internet Marketing Blog Subscription

Web Development Blog Subscription 

For more information on business blogging, check out our series on blogging for business.

Comments

Warren Davies's avatar
Warren Davies

Im thinking of doing something similar....Its been a few months since you split now, how has it worked out?

I see you did this through two parent categories, so both blogs are technically one blog, but with separate feeds. Is that correct?

Your topics are very similar though. I want to split from "psychology in general" into a blog for psych students and one called "performance psychology". But my domain is called generallythinking, which is only really relevant to the first blog.

Do you recommend I keep on this domain but split the blog as you have done...or get a new URL for the performance psych blog?

Many thanks for any help you can offer on this one!

Clay Schossow's avatar
Clay Schossow NMC team member

Warren,

Thanks for the comment.

It has worked out well so far. Since we have launched it, a quarter of our overall subscribers now subscribe to just a single feed rather than the entire blog. We think this has allowed them to get more specified news and taper drop off.

You raise a really great question. I would recommend splitting them into two separate blogs with unique URLs. This will be slightly painful for the one with the new URL, as you will lose any SEO credit, however, I think itll be worth it in the long run. However, if you already have some good student content w/ some inbound links on your current blog, when you create the new one, 301 redirect the valuable content to the new URL, so you are not starting totally from scratch.

The reason I think the separate URLs are a good idea for you is that you have distinct goals with each blog. We have two distinct audiences, but the same ultimate goal: gaining their business, that is why we keep both at the same URL.

For you, I would separate both into separate sites w/ relevant URLs (something with "student" in it could really help for SEO around that niche) and then populating with relevant content.

Hope that was helpful and let me know if I was unclear or confusing. Thanks again for the thought provoking comment!

Clay

Warren Davies's avatar
Warren Davies

Clay,

Many thanks for the response! Absolutely right, although the two blogs are on the same topic the goals for each are very different, and therefore having on separate URLs will allow the culture of each to develop accordingly. Very good point.

I have been looking for suitable keywords for the student site, but there does not seem to be any psychology specific ones worth targeting, and the more general study skills keywords seem high-competition. Given that, I may stay on the current blog for the student site, and focus more on offline marketing around uni campuses for it.

But anyway, thats something Ill look into more deeply another day before deciding on. But youve answered my original question, which I was completely stuck on, so a thousand thank yous for that!

Warren

Clay Schossow's avatar
Clay Schossow NMC team member

Not a problem! Let me know if you have anymore questions in the future,

Clay

Matt Kinsella's avatar
Matt Kinsella
Writing posts more often is definitely something I need to do and I was interested to read at the beginning of this post that your dedication to this has produced results all round for you so I will be doubling my efforts now that you have inspired me!

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