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Running Multi-Authors Blog – The Good and Bad

Posted by in Blogging

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 mymulti author 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!

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  • http://www.newbizblogger.com Michele Welch

    Hi Hesham,

    Great stuff as usual. I bet it’s a lot of work when you getting as many guest posting requests as you do. And yup, like you I think I would get bored quickly. I think its part of the  entrepreneur curse. 😉

    Here’s an idea for you: hire (or enroll) someone to take over the site, such as checking articles, posting them, etc, so you can start something new. Something to think about. 😉

    Ciao!

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/blog/official-black-seo-guy/ Black Seo Guy

    I’m thinking about creating a mutli blog later this year in hopes of networking with more people and plus pushing out my brand at the same time..

  • http://www.sarkemedia.com/ Sarah Arrow

    Hey Hesham
    I have 5 or 6 multi author sites, and around 100 people blogging for me on a weekly basis.
    It is a huge amount of work organising and co-ordinating each aspect of the blog and then promoting it. I find Gravity forms takes care of the guest submissions with ease (one click delete for the sales pitches and press releases that people think are guest posts).

    Also the editorial calender plugin makes life so much easier! Adding After the Deadline browser plugin also helps with the Grammar and spelling.

    The oldest of my MA blogs is 18 months as well, we have a technical officer and a deputy editor to give me a break every now and then.

    Quality is tough, and sometimes you just have to have a filler article or post because you have not got anything super-fabulous. I look at my site as a magazine, that not every article in the magazine is perfect, that each reader is looking for something different and what I may think is rubbish is often the most commented / tweeted.

    The rewards are brilliant though.

  • http://www.guestbloggingtips.com/directly-to-your-inbox/ Graham Lutz

    I think guest posting is one of the best ways to build a blog brand right now.  With the new panda updates, you can no longer rely on oldschool SEO to rank well.

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  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    It’s a great idea. Just depends what your goals are as a blogger.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Hard to stop that entrepreneur mind haha

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Great tips Sarah. Good to know their are tools out there that make life a lil easier on a multi author blog.

  • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

    You make some excellent points Hesham, and I myself touched many of these when turning into a multi-author site.  I did it a little differently though, rather than my site being just a collaboration of “guest bloggers” I hired staff and people committed to furthering the site more than their own interests.  These folks are referred to as “dragonbloggers” and each has a specialty area of writing.  (Gaming / Movie Reviews / Blogging/SEO…etc) and I made sure they had consistency and are becoming part of the site.  The last thing I want DragonBlogger to do is lose it’s identity which is what can happen to sites that open up to mass guest blogging.  I also spend hours reviewing guest submissions and some that are poor quality slip through the cracks.  I have had a reader comment on a guest article that it wasn’t up to “Dragonblogger” standards and had to apologize before.  This was embarrassing and a lesson for me to learn.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Justin you have to be aware of what is going on your blog. At the end of the day its your blog. A good GP can help a little, but a bad GP can hurt a lot.

    Multi blogger blogs are great and Hesham is killin it. But you have to decide the type of blogger you want to become before you dive into that arena.

    See you have it done right.. by hiring specific people to write about one thing.. kinda like Mashable does. Each another has his or her filed to stay in and stay up to date and blog about. To me that is the best way and a little less work since the people you have writing you can trust what they write for the most part.

  • http://smartboydesigns.com Christian Hollingsworth

    Loved this post. Great work Hesham! I loved getting an in-depth look at how you run your multi-person blog, and seeing the pros and cons. I have a lot to think about now!

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Hesham nailed it.

  • http://www.faissals.com Faissal Alhaithami

    well done Hesham! I’ve enjoyed writing for your blog more than any other blogs just an active and awesome community !! You start it right and you’re doing it right, that’s the deference between Famousbloggers and other multi-authors blogs.

    Thumb Up! for the points you mentioned and i guess good points is really worth working on the bad points.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Hesham is a great example of how to run a multi author blog.. and a nice guy :)

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  • http://syndicatedarticlespublicityblog.p-o-p-s.com Myrna

    This is an interesting concept.  Apparently, a multi-author blog helps to garner blog traffic even if the quality is uneven.  

  • http://www.thewritedesignco.com/ BillionDollarBlogger

    This is very timely as I was having a conversation with a fellow blogger about creating such a network. Now, we a guide to help make our decision.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Myrna.. to run a multi author blog you have to keep the quality up if you want the traffic to last long term,, some do that most dont.

    But if your goal is to be a go to blogger, then a multi blog isnt the way to go.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Hope it helps.

  • http://moremoo.com Adam

    Hi Hesham, inspirational story. It is great to see what you was able to achive in a year and something. I am happy that I was able to contibute to your success with a couple of mine guest posts:)

    I can imagine that once your primer goal was achieved you can get on the crossroad trying to find out new challenges and opportunities. Taking some time off is in such situation definitely the best thing to do.

    So, enjoy your trip and I believe once you get back there will be lots of new ideas ready to happen!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aneesa-Bashir/1338720268 Aneesa Bashir

    I write for a blog where we have mutli writers and we all have our own speciality in what we write on.. 
    Have considered selling your site?

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hey Michele, 

    Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it worth every single minute you spend doing it!

    Believe it or not, I worked with three editors before, but I am trying to find someone in my local area so I can get in touch face to face with him/her!

    Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment with this great advice!

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    I wish you good luck!

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    This is pretty cool Sarah, I imagine how much effort you put into managing this work!

    I actually don’t use any forms, but I ask the bloggers to register as this will create an author page for all of them which could help their ranking from a side and from the other side it saves me some time.

    We all need a break, this is what I am seeking this time! I like the way you look to your blog “as a magazine”, this makes a lot of sense to me, and by the way I follow the same idea, and I think that low content will never hurt the blog, it will hurt only the author!

    I am thinking of transforming the blog into more dynamic and try to add more automation ways for publishing, maybe give bloggers the option to publish by their own and never edit anything anymore, let the readers judge them! Not so sure this idea will succeed though! 

    Really nice stuff, I wish you good luck, and I appreciate your comment.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    That’s true Graham, and many companies and businesses started to do this already!

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    I agree with that, EXCEPT that you thinking that bad content will ONLY hurt the blogger. it will def hurt your blog too.. Since it is your blog and you control the quality of the content.. you will lose more then the blogger will.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Justin , you are a dear friend, and I remember your posts was one of the best ever on FamousBloggers.net, so thank you buddy!

    I some how don’t agree on being embarrassed from the content, you own the blog, but not the content, it will never hurt your blog, it will hurt the blogger/author.. Trust me.. It’s just an inner feeling because you are a responsible person.

    I’ve published shit on the blog before, never being hurted personally, I was feeling depressed and worried only at the beginning when someone email me and warn me about it, but then I realized it’s not a big deal!

    Don’t forget you run a multi-authors blog, every blogger will be responsible for his/her own content, you only have a partial responsibility, and of course who take care of content will be spotted in a better place. I mean working more harder to enhance content of the blog will pay off.

    That was just my personal opinion.

    I wish you good luck buddy and big success.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Big mistake publishing shit content my friend. You should know better then that. To say you don’t care or dont think bad content will hurt your blog is so ridiculous haha

    But again it’s your blog my friend.. let the shit roll and in 1 year come talk to me and we will see how well your blog is doing.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hey Faissal, 

    Actually you’ve got a very important point, I think it’s more difficult to transform a solo blog into a multi-authors blog, especially if it wasn’t designed for that reason.

    Glad to hear your opinion mate.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hi Myrna, 

    As John said, the quality is the key for lasting, or then readers will turn off your blog sooner or latter!

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hey Adam, 

    I really appreciate your kind words and sharing your opinion buddy!

    lol yeah, I feel stucked so better run a way :)

    Thanks for your wishes, and I hope I come back with a few good ideas for the future.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Nice question!

    FamousBloggers is like a home for me, so if I sale it I no longer will have home!

    So, the answer is simply no!

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hey John, 

    Thanks for the opportunity buddy, I really appreciate it.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    I think this is the difference between your having your personal name in the domain name and having a blog with a general name!

    This is the media my friend! But of course I could be wrong.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    You are welcome my friend.. You did a great job explaining the good and bad.

  • Nasrul Hanis

    Great points, Hesham.. and I’m one of your followers who learned a lot from you! I’m currently running a number of multi author blogs based on your FB model and it works!

    Yes.. one important thing that you must really consider is your relationship with your writers. Once they feel comfortable and get their trust with you – they’ll help you a lot!

  • http://www.facebook.com/latief.pakpahan Latief Pakpahan

    I remembered when the time you created famousbloggers 😉 Yes about one and half years a go. Boring, it always came to everyone, even for blogger. One thing that I want to remind you is you provide a great blog for blogging community, you have good friends that always ready to provide high quality contents. I’m sure you’ll always be happy having all of them around you.
    If you are busy enough, I’m sure many people like to work to assist you Hesham and my cheer you up 😉
    Keep the good work dear Hesham, and John you are lucky having Hesham here 😉

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Latief thanks for the comment. Yea Hesham wrote a great piece.. smart guy he is :)

  • http://twitter.com/vitalyvt Vitaly Tennant

    Cool post. There are definitely a lot of things to consider. Content is the king, at the end of the day … what you do with it is up to you!

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Thanks for the comment. Content is king, so treat it that way on your blgo and you will be fine.

  • http://www.birdsontheblog.co.uk/ Sarah Arrow

    It is a tough call when it comes to quality. I have some great bloggers who post insightful, grammatically correct posts that do nothing for the reader. And then I have other that I think “hmm, it’s ok, I will give it a go” and it goes crazy. Ultimately the reader decides and if you take too many chances then you will get hurt.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hi Nasrul,

    This is great buddy, glad to know that the FB model is working for you :)

    Keep it up.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hi Latief,

    This is really really kind of you, I appreciate it a lot my friend, and I wish you big success in your blogging journey.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Thanks for stopping by Vitaly.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001063281089 Nancy Rose

    Great article and preparing me for what’s to come. I just started including guest posts in my blog. It’s easy right now, since we are just starting. I get to read the article first, and then agree to publish. I love getting to know people.

  • http://twitter.com/sbhsbh Steve Hughes

    Congrats on building a blogging empire Hesham.  You definitely hit on some things us little guys can’t even fathom.  While the crazy number of pageviews you enjoy is a good problem, hosting that and the costs associated don’t cross our minds.  Editing can be a drain on time, and for you it’s on a whole different level.  You’re dealing with so much volume, that you a need a few set of eyes to do this work.  Again, more costs.  As you concluded, the pros certainly outweigh the cons with a multi-author blog.  Thanks for the invaluable insight Hesham.

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hi Nancy,  I wish you good luck with guest posting.
    P.S. Sorry for the late reply!

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Hi Steve, While it takes a lot of work and time to manage the blog,
    I am really enjoying the getting to know people! This is one of the
    most benefits of the whole blogging thing! I am thankful
    that earnings are covering the expenses some how :)

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