Sunday, August 26, 2012

Penelope Trunk Says You Only Need One Blog

penelope trunk

In her well known "Penelope's Guide to Blogging", Penelope Trunk insists you only need one blog.

She writes:

Starting a blog is such a hard thing to do, so why do people keep starting new ones? I don’t get it. It’s so clear to me that the way to get the most out of blogging is to stick with what you’ve started…..changing blogs undermines your ability to get the benefits of blogging. Try sticking with the topic you picked. Try exploring the outer rings of the topic and the smack center of what’s on your mind right now. That’s where the passion and engagement of blogging will sprout.

You'll need to join the Brazen Careerist to read the rest of Trunk's post on the subject.

I respect her opinion and realize the list of bloggers who stick to a single authoritative blog is long, including some who I most admire, like Trunk herself, Seth Godin, John Jantch, and Chris Brogan to name a few.

All the same, here are some reasons I think founding more than one blog or Website is probably something you should consider.

  • The guest blogging ecosystem is strong. Fellow blogger Adam Gottlieb posted recently about all the sites out there thriving through the efforts of guest bloggers and helping them in turn create a brand and following. Obviously there is room for many such sites on different topics and a viable business model in creating them.
  • It's more like a newspaper than a personal journal. For all the examples of blogs with a single authoritative voice, there are those like Copyblogger and ProBlogger that are much more like niche publications. The goal for blog editors in this approach is not necessarily creating a single personal blog but numerous blogs on a variety of topics to which other bloggers can contribute.
  • You may want to reach different segments. From a marketing perspective, a single blog has a brand and a following. But say you have things to say or audiences to reach who are not followers of the blog you've already created. Publishing several blogs segmented to reach different potential audiences would be the logical approach.
  • It's an important part of the online publishing business. Everything I've explained above shows why creating multiple blogs and finding contributors to supply them with a steady flow of content is a viable and important emerging industry. Let's call it the online publishing business. And it will no more belong to individual bloggers, each publishing a single blog than did the traditional publishing business belong to  individual authors all with their own magazine or book publishing company.
  • Blogs are social. This is obvious simply because of the fact that most are equipped with the ability to leave comments and, of course, most blog publishing software is designed to allow collaborative blogging. Creating multiple communities for bloggers to post on a variety of topics is more natural than the idea of individual blogs, each created for one single voice (though obviously, the single voice of the blogger is prized nowadays and a very different matter.)

So, what do you think? Is the future of this medium about each blogger publishing one and only one blog or will it be one in which blogs are collaborative communities where publishers may create and administrate numerous blogs for a variety of interests and viewpoints?

By the way, I'm looking for guest bloggers here on Please let me know if you're interested.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shawn,

    Although I agree that focusing on a blog is the best advice on many cases. However, if you run blogging - and web publishing as a whole - as a business, then you can't afford to put all eggs on one basket.

    With the recent major Google algorithm updates (namely Panda and Penguin, among others), having one blog is risky. The updates smack blogs and bloggers - even to those that don't do any wrongdoing :) People are losing jobs, online business owners are going out of business.

    We do need to diversify - partly by establishing new niche blogs. using guest blogging strategy you mentioned is a good way to leverage your resources in doing so.

    Just my 2 cents :)