Thursday, October 09, 2003
Given that I already have two blogs, why a third blog? Is this insane?
Well, maybe the whole concept of blogging is insane, because I'm providing the world with valuable information and entertainment, and getting nothing back in return. But once you accept the fact that blogging is a normal hobby, then it's not insane for me to have a third blog.
My first blog was MatchStation.com - Webmaster's Blog. Originally, I had planned to put up articles about dating on my free personals website, MatchStation.com, but it turned out that I had nothing to say about dating, and a lot to say about other stuff. So somehow I wound up having a blog at MatchStation.com where I posted whatever I felt like saying.
Because maybe three or four people a day visited the MatchStation blog, and probably once they got there they left without even reading anything, it seemed like the effort was kind of futile. I wanted a blog that people would actually read. So I came up with the idea of the Gold and Silver Blog. The Gold and Silver Blog provides frequent updates of interest to gold and silver investors. Basically, I find interesting articles and editorials on the internet related to gold and silver investing, and I add in my own small (but hopefully highly insightful) comments. The Gold and Silver Blog is updated daily, so gold and silver investors have an incentive to come back every day to see what's new.
Maybe only one person in ten thousand might be interested in reading a blog like the Gold and Silver Blog. But for those one in ten thousand, there really isn't any other blog quite like it. With over half a billion people living in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe, South Africa, and Australia (the places where my traffic seems to come from), potentially the blog has 50,000 readers, which would make it a fantastically successful blog if they all ever managed to find it.
The numerical example above demonstrates why it's important to have a narrow niche in order to have a successful blog. Ironically, by maintaining a blog that appeals to everybody, you actually appeal to nobody. The more narrowly defined your topic, the stronger your appeal. With over half a billion people surfing the internet, even an extremely narrow niche can attract a very large readership.
The least appealing of all blogs is the "personal journal" blog, where people write about their personal lives. Most people on the internet have little desire to read about other people's personal lives, yet by maintaining such a blog you are competing against 90% of the blogs out there.
Despite the budding success of my Gold and Silver Blog, it is not 100% satisfying. There are other things I want to write about besides gold and silver, but I'd also like people to read them, which is not happening with my MatchStation.com blog. So therefore, I've created this new blog, The Calico Cat. At The Calico Cat I will post entries relating to economics, business, law, politics, and current events. Yes, this sounds pretty broad, and I know I'm going to be competing against a lot of blogs out there. Most of the 10% that aren't personal journals fall into this category.
Although it will be tough, the number of quality blogs on these topics is actually relatively slim. So I think I have a chance at achieving my desired readership of at least one thousand visits per day.
I'm using the domain name calicocat.com because I happen to own that domain name and I don't know what else to do with it. It's way too cool of a domain name just to give up. Yet I haven't figured out how to make money with a cat related domain name. About 13 people a day visit calicocat.com by just typing it into their web browser address bars, so without even a single inbound link to this blog, I'm guaranteed a higher readership than my MatchStation.com blog.
When it comes to naming stuff on the web, people generally take two routes. The first is to find a name that's related to the topic of the website. For example, a blog about law and economics might be called The Law and Economics Blog, and the domain name might be econolaw.com. (Although it's usually not "cool" to put the word "blog" in the title of your blog--a rule that I have proudly violated with the Gold and Silver Blog.) The second naming route is to just come up with some name that people will remember, even though it has nothing to do with the website. Google and Yahoo are great examples of names that have nothing to do with anything at all. The Calico Cat falls into this latter category.
Also, very sneaky here, I will capture the attention of hundreds of people daily doing Google searches for calico cats. Some of them will see The Calico Cat come out on top of the search engine results and click on it. Instant visit. Will they stick around and read anything? I don't know, but if 10% find something interesting, I could quickly gather a pretty big readership.
MatchStation.com used my own (very simple) blogging software that I wrote using ASP.NET. It gets the job done, but it lacks features that people expect to find in blogs, such as reverse chronological order posting and permalinks. Without an industry standard blog, it's harder to become a bigshot in the "blogosphere".
With the need for standard blogging software, I've chosen Blogger, which is now owned by Google. Is Blogger the best blogging software out there? Probably not. I'm sure there's a lot better. But I've gotten pretty comfortable using Blogger for my Gold and Silver Blog, and Blogger lets me host the blog with my own domain name at any hosting company I want. Blogger also gives me complete power to edit my blog's HTML template and thus create an attractive blog. Now that Google owns it, I anticipate that more features will be added, and eventually Google will find some way to charge money for it. Whatever they will charge I'm sure it will be affordable. After all, most of the bloggers are high school girls and college students, and these types aren't going to pay lots of money for blogging software.
So what will happen to the MatchStation.com blog? It will remain, and it's where I will post all my personal stuff and my photographs. The stuff that people who find The Calico Cat probably wouldn't be interested in reading.
So to summarize the difference between my blogs: (1) The Gold and Silver Blog will be updated daily, and mostly with short posts related to gold and silver investing. Occasionally where will be some more in-depth analysis posted. (2) This blog, The Calico Cat, will contain longer posts, sometimes even rants. There will be more linking to other people's blogs. It won't be updated every single day, but it will be updated every single week. The posts will be related to business, economics, law, politics, and current events. (3) The blog at MatchStation.com will contain posts related to everything else, including my photography and thoughts about being a webmaster. I have no obligation to update that blog at all. I'm allowed to go three weeks between updates, or update it every day. It's however I feel.
I made some follow up comments about this post: