This is a guest post by my friend Hesham Zebida, owner of FamousBloggers.net. Hesham runs a popular multi author blog. Find him on Twitter @FamousBloggers
Hesham runs a Thesis site ThesisAwesome.com and very popular multi author blog and we have had a couple chats on the good and bad of blogging this way. So I thought this would be a great post for bloggers to see what it REALLY takes to run a multi author blog.
It’s a LONG post – But if you ever wanted to run a multi author blog, then you need to read every word!
I was getting ready to fly from Houston to San Francisco, when I got a Twitter DM from my buddy John asking if I can guest post on his blog. I know that I have a very tight schedule and I shouldn’t make any commitments, but what to do? I like the topic he suggested a lot, and it should be easy for me to write, this means I can’t say no!
Good things happen!
I found out that the best time to write this post was actually during my flight, so here you go, this is a 37000 feet high blog post.
Clear your mind, and get ready, you are about to discover how I’ve managed to run a multi-author blog and you will judge by yourself whither blogging is meant to be a single player game or not.
I hope you will enjoy the story and find it useful. Let’s start with the good stuff first!
Running a multi-authors blog – The Good!
1. Interesting connections
2. Tons of natural backlinks
3. More traffic and more money!
4. Business opportunities
Let’s expand the points I’ve mentioned above:
1 – Interesting connections and relationships
I started to make great connections with other bloggers in the blogging niche once I started my multi-author blog, I actually started to connect with them before starting the project, and at the time of launching the blog I was had a great blogging team.
I’ve invited many people to participate in the blog, but only a few responded to me, I consider them the best. It has been great relationships, and I really can’t thank them enough for their great and continued support, so I must state here that I am open to whatever they need as I own them a big time.
As soon as we started to blog together as a team, I started to invite more fellow bloggers to contribute with us. The blog received an amazing amount of quality content, and we were able to easily update it every day, this was a big boost to my blog ranking, and it started to grow rapidly.
2 – We’ve gained huge amount of backlinks in no time!
As we continue to contribute together, many others started to join us and guest post for the blog, I believe they didn’t want to miss the opportunity of getting their content published with us since it was a great way of getting exposure by writing for an active blog. The blog became more popular.
More people started to notice the blog, there were more registrars, more guest posts in the queue waiting to be published. The blog began to receive 100% absolutely natural backlinks from here, there, and everywhere!
I mean what would you do if you got your post published on another blog?
Probably the default answer is “tell my friends”, and this is exactly what happened with us, everybody was sharing their guest posts with their friends and their own blog readers, and again this helped the blog to grow more and more as we received more natural backlinks.
3 – More traffic and Money
There is no doubt that multi-author blogs can attract more traffic, this is exactly what happened with me after a few months of starting the blog. I remember my average traffic was 3-4 times more than other solo blogs.
We all know that traffic equals money. That’s how I could make a full living from running the blog, and I keep wondering what could happen if I was blogging alone!
This also made me think of how to give back to those awesome bloggers who stood beside me all the way, and how I can help them make money as well, this is how the idea or running a blogging contest came into my mind, I was able to attract many sponsors and organize huge blogging contests to award my blog community.
4 – Business opportunities
This is the real cool part of the story, it all happened when I discovered interesting business opportunities while managing the blog, it’s really great to work with others who share same goals but with different ways, this is how we learn from each other.
During this journey I was able to connect with real people who became more than friends , we started to work together as partners and in more organized groups, we’ve used all the power we have got, and shared the benefits together.
I became a believer of Guest blogging!
I spend most of my time towards managing the blog, and to me; guest blogging is a gift from heaven, it’s obvious that a big part of my business depends on it. Maybe you are thinking that most my profits is coming from FamousBloggers.net, but that was true before I started another project and put all my experience into developing a very special and unique blog skin for Thesis Theme, I call it the BlogSkin.
Running a multi-authors blog – The Bad!
Like anything in this world, multi-author blogs are like a coin, it has two faces, I’ve talked about the beautiful face, and now it’s time to explain the ugly one!
1. Extra work on your shoulders
2. Lake of quality content
3. Big responsibilities
4. Extra cost
5. It’s getting boring!
1 – Extra work!
It’s not easy to manage a multi-author blog, it takes a lot of real work. If I talked about this all day it won’t be enough, and I don’t want you to feel I am over reacting!
Starting from designing the blog to match guest blogging requirements so you don’t have to ask yourself why guest blogging is not working for your awesome blog, then connect and keep in touch with all your guest bloggers, reply to all their emails and answer their questions, then it comes about editing and formatting the blog posts (don’t expect you will not put your hands on it), then again promote this content on social media and social bookmarking site once it goes live, and so on…
This work will eat your time especially if you are updating the blog on daily bases, so it’s extremely recommended that you don’t do it alone. The next point will explain this more.
2 – Keeping the quality
Most of the bloggers who register to your site to guest post or those who email you asking for publishing opportunity don’t really care about your blog. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all of them are the same, but what I am trying to say is most of people will not care to submit good content. Only a few of them really deserve the opportunity. So prepare yourself to deal with some internet jerks who will waste your time.
3 – Big responsibilities
You might think what the heck, I will invite other bloggers to guest post on my blog, then I will get tons of content and life will be awesome. This happens only in theory, but in reality is quite different, there are many dimensions you have to think of.
For example, guest articles are not owned by you, you are just hosting it on your blog, so you can not delete it or disappear it from the blogsphere whenever you want. I personally deal with content with care, I think of it as if I am the central bank and other bloggers trust me so they deposit their best content in the bank, and it’s your responsibility to protect it and keep it up. Usually banks don’t shutdown between a day and a night, they must return people’s money in crises.
So, if one day you wanted to shutdown your blog or stop this business, people could look at you as a criminal, well.. I would think the same! Unless you really have no choice.
Anyways, my point here is you are not free to go just like that, you must protect peoples content and keep it up and available for everyone as long as you can.
4 – Extra cost
This could be a big topic to talk about, and I really don’t want to dig deep in details, I just want to share the expenses of running a multi-authors blog,
For example, most bloggers, I am one of them, started their blogs on a cheap shared web hosting plan, they didn’t expect that their blogs will get enough traffic to crash the server, some of them – including me- didn’t even think about it, and haven’t made a plan to avoid the crash!
It actually happened to me, and I faced big problems with my cheap shared hosting plan, the blog reached almost 750.000 page views, and probably it will hit the million views by the end of the year, so I had to move the blog to a VPS, now I pay 10 times more to keep the blog up and available for everyone.
Another thing that might be a big challenge to a multi-author blog is making sure the content is written properly and it has no grammar or spelling mistakes. In this point you will feel the need to hire a pro editor or a copy writer, it’s just a matter of time till you discover it, especially if you are not a native English speaker like myself and you just decide to edit the guest posts by yourself, I was doing a big mistake actually, and it didn’t make sense. I figured out that I need a native editor to edit all posts before publishing, which means more cost added to the bowl.
That was a big challenge to me as I can not afford to hire a full time editor or copy writer, so I tried to connect with a few people in my social circle trying to find someone I can rely on. I heard once that Darren Rowse is having an editor at ProBlogger, so I asked him for advice and I had two questions.
The first one was: Do you check guests posts before publishing? and Darren’s answer was a simple “NO”, he doesn’t check anything anymore, his editor is not really an editor as she doesn’t do the editorial work only, but she is also responsible for publishing and communications, so this is how he has free time to manage his other projects.
In my second question: How do I find an editor for my blog? The answer was: Try to connect with local bloggers who might be interested! But why local? Darren explained it to me, the idea of having a local blogger or editor is actually to be able to meet with him/her face to face to discuss the business as you will put a very important asset of yours in the hand of someone else, so you must be sure that he/she can do the job and build a bridge of trust between both of you.
As I mentioned before, this could be a long topic, so I will cut it short. I just want to make sure you got the idea, planning is your best friend to overcome challenges and grow your business, so give that a higher priority, and always look forward.
5 – It’s getting boring!
Yep! I was having all the the fun you can imagine, my blog readers were enjoying the blog, but now after a year and a half of blogging, I started to feel that my blog readers are getting bored, even me myself.. I got bored and I lost my passion, I need a crazy idea, I want to find a way!
This is why I decided to take this 3 week trip to California followed by one week road trip in the South. I want to be a way from computer, visiting new places and driving a car on a very long road, I need to find my passion and generate fresh blood for my business!
What after a year and half of blogging?
I hope this post helped you to get the idea. You start with planning the future or your blog and think of it as a business, so you better have a good plan, after that get your hands dirty for a few months of hard work, then at the end you will have to hand it to someone else who can manage it as your business grows and free your mind to develop new awesome projects!
The results were great, the return exceeded my expectations and I am so proud of it. If I had a time machine and I could travel to the past, I would choose to build a multi-author blog again, and again!
Now it’s all in your hands!
You decide if you want to start a multi-author blog or keep the solo dance!