Blog Growth: Vertical vs. Horizontal Growth

Sunday at the museum... It's only *one hour* to see the mc queen exhibit! Yikes!

As I push to grow my blog, I realize that I've been focused on one sort of growth: vertical growth.  I want my one blog to grow bigger.  I want to see my pageviews increase, my subscribers increase, and my community expand.  It seems that most bloggers focus on this one particular style of growth.  We focus our energies and efforts on one site– what happens when that site hits a growth plateau for the long run?

 

My site has remained roughly the same size for the past year in pageviews, and has seen very slow growth in subscribers in that time.  While I'm still trying to grow my site vertically and to increase those pageviews, I'm also thinking of ways to grow my brand horizontally.

 

Horizontal growth isn't new in blogging, and it especially isn't new in the fashion community.  Horizontal growth could be expanding your blog to have a shop, setting up a second blog with a different niche or angle (or one that is complimentary), releasing a series of podcasts or ebooks related to your site.

 

A few awesome bloggers who have grown their brands horizontally are

 

The list of bloggers who have used their blogs as a spring board for creating other projects is limitless.  Few professional bloggers find success in blogging alone, especially for their own site.  There are many ways to grow your brand & site, including:

  • Launching additional sites, geared towards specific features, needs, or interests.
  • Launching products, like ebooks and podcasts,
  • Or launching shops, whether clothing shops like consignment or vintage shops, or featuring independent goods.
  • Freelance writing opportunities that are built off of your site & your site's reputation.  YOUR voice and authority are what's important in the blogosphere, and you can build up your site writing for others with that same voice.

 

In an ideal world, a blogger would utilize both horizontal and vertical growth opportunities to expand their site, and ultimately their brand.  A full-time blogger may have the opportunity to build up both simultaneously, while many of us have to focus on one angle of growth at a time.  If, like me, you've hit a plateau and you're frustrated and dejected, focusing on other ways to build up your site can be an positive and productive way to grow your site.

 

(Please note: while the terms vertical growth and horizontal growth are both economic and business terms, their definitions may be only roughly related to their use in this post.  I'm not an economist, nor do I have an MBA, but the terms are appropriate in describing, very simply, two various kinds of growth in blogging.)
Have you grown your brand horizontally?  What services, products, or opportunities have you made for yourself?  Have you seen them have a positive impact on your site overall?

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27 Responses

  1. Adiel

    This is a great post! It’s funny, it wasn’t till recently that I realized that my blog played a big role in landing me my current gig. It reinvigorated my blogging to realize that there is no limit to the things your blog can bring you.

    Reply
  2. Alisha Ross

    I love this article! I love the idea of making your blog grow horizontally as well as vertically. I think thats when you know your blog is a real success when you can branch out into other things.

    At the moment, my blog still needs to grow vertically before I can do any of your suggested stuff, but I can’t wait til that happens. I also think the extra things you do to make your blog expand, will also bring in a new number of followers.

    Great post and great thing to think about in the blogging world!

    Reply
  3. Daniel Dunt

    This is a really great post and very relative to what I’m doing currently actually! I am in the process of launching an Online-Store in addition to my blog and have also been taking part in various media and promotion opportunities with companies, along with helping some up-and-coming designers with promotion and representation; I’m now considering starting my own Youtube channel also to keep everything a little chatty. Overly a fantastic post and mentioning some very relevant topics to consider! – Daniel Dunt

    Reply
  4. Courtney

    I honestly judge my growth by the level of engagement on my blog. I feel much more confident when posts get more comments even if it takes a few days. I like writing posts that people enjoy readings. I try not to think too much about numbers because that takes away from the fun. 🙂

    Reply
  5. grechen

    thanks so much for the mention ashe 🙂
    when i decided to branch out from my original blog, it was because i didn’t want to “crowd” it with extraneous “stuff” that i felt wasn’t essential to the core of Grechen’s Closet – and i’m really glad i did.

    that’s really the most important thing to consider when growing your blog at all – if you’re going to dilute your original message too much by adding different/new content to your blog, i honestly think it’s better to start a new one.

    all of my blogs/projects are shopping-related, and most carry my name in the title somewhere, so they are still heavily branded as “grechen” sites – but they mostly appeal to different audiences.

    Reply
  6. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    This is really a great topic Ashe and it’s so true that most professional bloggers do not build businesses off of their blogs alone, but around related products and offerings.

    This is something that has been on my mind for quite sometime. My blog has developed into a full career path in SEO and Social media and I’m ecstatic about building out that expertise.

    I plan on launching my freelance marketing business officially as well as launch my online vintage store and another blog.

    For Stylish Thought specifically, I really want to grow my community and begin to offer products that help them, specifically ebooks.

    Whew, it sounds like a lot when I write it but having ST and working with IFR over the past 4 years has really made blogging and digital media my life.

    Thanks for stirring my mental pot!

    Reply
  7. Kat

    This is really interesting.. great post!

    I’d also love to hear if anybody has hired or would consider someone based on their blog, or successfully found a career through their blogging- so going further than just expanding by your own individual projects.

    Either way, projects based on blogs sounds like a great idea.

    Reply
  8. tiffany

    this is such an interesting article. i’m not quite sure if i have grown my blog horizontally, but it has definitely got me thinking…
    really good deal with the examples too!

    Reply
  9. Camille

    Right now I would like to focus on one blog. I guess that means just vertical growth. I’m thinking of growing horizontally through collaborations.

    Reply
  10. Martha

    Great post. I think for the next few months or at least until I have reached an ultimate balance I’m going to focus on growing my blog vertically, especially as my most recent foray into blogging is fairly new. However, I cannot wait till I reach the moment where growing horizontally become a viable venture.

    Reply
  11. Verena

    Great post! I just did things here and there but never thought about the theory behind it. I think it’s a good idea to be more aware of that. So thank you 😉

    Reply
  12. van025

    So much great information that I never would have found on my own. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. GawgusThings

    Great post! I think everyone falls in to the trap of desperately wanting their blog to grow vertically when they first start out, but I think the longer you blog for the more you enjoy it purely for what it is and don’t get so hung up on stats. Great advice for growing your blog horizontally here! Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  14. foodfashionandflow

    Great article! This definitely gives me a lot to think about. I never thought about growing my blog horizontally, but there is such great advice here and examples of other bloggers who have found great success doing this.

    Reply
  15. Kathrin Schröder

    Very great post! What you say is so true. A blog should grow in both directions. There need to be people who are interested in your blog, but it is definitely not all about the numbers of followers you have. maybe we could also say: the blog should grow qualitative so it can grow quantitative. If your blog is qualitative good and you post regularly new interested people come on their own…

    Reply
  16. Tina

    I just discovered Grechen’s style blog this year and got amazed by how she has expanded it. Some elements in her main blog have their own special site but they still are very much “grechen”.

    Reply
  17. dany

    such a great article and really informative-it’s very true that bloggers are consistently thinking vertical, but vertically sometimes cannot come without the horizontal effort. thank you!

    Reply
  18. Bella Q

    I love this subject, and again it couldn’t be more timely. From the get-go, I have been developing my horizontal growth- my personal style blog spun off a street style blog last October, and I’ve been doing freelance work as a writer/blogger since late last summer. The original intent was to promote an online shop, which ironically has been the slowest to grow, probably because it’s not as fun to list items for my shop as it is to engage my readership about fashion and style.

    Recently my freelance work has increased- (I now write for 4 blogs, and am stoked to begin my stint as a contributor to CBS Local) and a surprising twist has been my social media coaching which I do, working with local business and helping them set up and effective use this powerful medium of marketing, promotion and engagement.

    Reply
  19. Emi Love

    A fantastic post and definitely something many bloggers who are really involved in what they’re doing ought to consider. I currently run two blogs, my main one being mainly fashion-oriented and the second one, http://lunaticktock.blogspot.com/ , I’m still in the process of building up but is more geared to philosophizing and politics. I have a YouTube set up but am waiting to get a better camera to provide quality videos and use that as a way of merging both blogs together. It’s definitely a fantastic way to help oneself break beyond limits as well as open their self to more opportunities, both in regards to audience and future prospects for the self.

    Reply
  20. Ivonne

    As a new blogger this post was very informative. For a couple of weeks I was focused on vertical growth rather than discovering new and innovative ways to expand to other media outlets or how to intergrate my blogging skills into my career path. I loved this topic.

    Reply
  21. kimmiepooh

    A little over a week ago, I was contacted by a local magazine that’s preparing to launch next month about being the fashion editor and stylist for the magazine. Their editor was a fan of my blog and recommended me-I was SHOCKED. Last Friday we did our first photoshoot and I finally, FINALLY have stlying pics for my portfolio.

    Starting my blog was the best thing I could have ever done-I’m interested in so many things and lately I’ve been able to do so because of it. I still work hard to get my pageviews, comments, and subscribers up, but I also welcome (and am grateful of) any other opportunities that come my way!

    Reply