Written on April 5th, 2005 at 01:04 am by Darren Rowse

Network Blogging vs Individual Blogging

Pro Blogging News 3 comments

In comments of my previous post linking to Weblogs Inc’s $100,000, one of my readers (Allie) wrote:

‘Darren can you do some comparisons on your blogging approach as a single blogger and what Weblogs Inc is doing? My suspicion is that youíll be earning less overall but have a lot less expenses so are probably earning more than them in a sense. Would I be right in suggesting this?’

I initially posted my answer in comments but as its rather lengthy and has already generated some interest via email I thought I’d post it here also (with a few minor modifications). Here’s what I wrote earlier:

Nice question Allie - you’re asking an age old question between two approaches of blogging - individual blogger vs network blogging. Let me say right up front that I’m cool with both approaches and strongly believe that they are both valid and can be very very profitable if you work hard and give it some time.

Whilst I’ve gone the ‘individual’ approach so far I am exploring networks with a couple of friends with the Breaking News Blog Collective which is fun. Whilst it is slowly growing its not making as much as my individual blogs are at this point however (probably because I’ve been at them longer).

Anyway - to your question which seems to have two parts:

1. You say I’m probably earning less than Weblogs Inc - I would agree with that statement although am not privy to their exact earnings. The post I refer to from Jason indicates they’ve earned $100,000 in 7 months from Adsense - this is more than my own total earnings for the last 7 months from Adsense - mine are around half of that rate - its around the $50,000 mark give or take a few hundred dollars. As Jason indicates the first few months of this period earned less than the last few as things have grown most months.

2. You guess that I probably have a lot less less expenses - Again I’ll say I have no real idea of what their expenses are except for what Jason says in his post - however I can say my own expenses are close to nothing. I have some net access costs, hosting costs (I have a great deal and its very little), a laptop and a few design costs (again I have a great deal where I do work for my designer in return for services rendered). I work from home so my overheads are tiny. In comparison to Weblogs Inc’s 9 full time staff, 70+ bloggers etc I guess my expenses are pretty small. My income is almost completely profit.

So at present I’d say your suspicions might be accurate Allie but only if we just take Adsense into account. Remember Weblogs Inc have other advertisers which contribute who knows how much income into their business. Whilst I also have other income streams I suspect theirs are considerably higher.

It is also well worth saying that the individual blogger model has some limitations which largely revolve around time. 1 person blogging hard can only fit so much into each day - two can do double, three triple. There is a ceiling to the hours I can put in and the amount of blogs I can keep running - Weblogs Inc can do so many more if they keep adding bloggers. In time they should earn a lot more than i do unless I add authors too.

So which is better - network blogging better or individual blogging? - I guess it comes down to an individual’s preference and thinking about who you are in the equation, what skills you have and what you want to achieve from your blogging. Each method has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Individual Blogger - obviously the advantages for the individual blogger are that they:

- have complete control over direction, design, creative decisions, editing etc
- have less administrative expenses (not sending out cheques each month, managing authors, recruiting new authors etc)
- have less overheads (I’m guessing here but my overheads are pretty similar to what I’d be spending to live in my home and have net access)
- have 100% of earnings

It isn’t all rosy however - individual blogging has its disadvantages which include.

- having a more limited skill set (you have to be a writer, editor, vision caster, marketer, media buyer and seller, PR expert etc)
- having a more limited resource base (I sometimes wish I had the grunt power of a large network of writers and sites to point traffic to each other)
- having more limited time (as already mentioned there is only so much time in a day - its 1.21am as i write this - feel my pain)

Network Blogging on the other hand has its own advantages - which are obviously largely the opposite of the disadvantages of the individual method above including:

- more manpower hours
- larger skill set available
- larger scale

Network Blogging’s Disadvantages include:

- sharing income
- more logistics and admin
- less control

Financially I suspect a successful network will be more successful in the long term for the owners of the network than an individual blogger doing it by themselves.

Ok - its way to late for me to be writing this - apologies for my rambling, I’m off to bed friends. I’ll let you all set me straight in comments while I catch some Zs. I’ll write a little more tomorrow on the topic if this gets any interest.

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