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
- Our own darling Jennine Jacob started with The Coveted, created Independent Fashion Bloggers, and then launched Eat Sleep Denim. She now has them under the umbrella of Coveted Media.
- Gala Darling has experimented with creating a line of iCing related items, selling her Love & Sequins podcasts series, and has had freelance writing gigs for sites like Red Bull.
- Grechen Cohen began with Grechen's Closet in 2005, and expanded with Grechens Codes, Grechen Blogs and free! grechen. She's also launching two new sites, Austin Fashion Seen and Hunt Gather Style (a vintage pop up shop in Austin) . Talk about the power blogger!
- …Love, Maegan has a super fabulous blog with her amazing style & DIY tutorials, but recently picked up the gig of being BlogHer's Style Editor.
- My best gal Miss Malaprop started her blog in 2006 with the intent of using it as a platform for opening her own shop. In 2010 she launched her online shop, and recently created Creative Business Growth, a blog for those in the creative sector, especially crafters, to receive tips on how to grow their business.
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?