This past week, I launched my second site, Ash in Fashion. I created it because I wanted a place where I could share content that didn't resonate with my audience on my original site, and a place where I didn't feel overwhelmed with content options. It could be a place where I could explore alternative ways to monetize. It's also a chance to start over– to build a place with the past four years of knowledge at my fingertips, instead of learning as I go. And the name hit me– and I thought it was too good not to use 😉
Maybe you, too, are the point of wanting to start your second site. Maybe you want to jump in to a different niche all together, or you want create a network of sister sites (I consider mine two sides of the same coin–or girl). These are some things that I've had conversations about myself with since the launch:
The hardest part about launching a new site, and the most important part, is creating a feasible posting schedule for myself. It was hard managing one site alone (along with my full-time-plus job), so I want to make sure that I actually CAN generate content for both. This is why I've begun by challenging myself to create an editorial schedule– guidelines for myself to post to each site twice a week (3 times if I have a weekend sale or links to love post going up). I only need to produce one post a day in order to stay on schedule.
I'm using Problogger's Guide to Your First Week Blogging (great for inspiration!) and several regular series from Dramatis Personae that fit Ash in Fashion better, like OMG Shoes! and features on Indie Designers. Since these series were shopping oriented, they're a natural fit.
Hopefully, by segmenting recurring series , this will help manage content more easily, as it gives me a more clear vision of what each site is about.
Everyone has mixed feelings about branding, how much of it you should do, and whether you should at all. Whether you're for or against it, we all do it to some degree. This past year, I started to move towards making Dramatis Personae LOOK more like how I feel. Vibrant. Playful. Mischievous. Colorful.
Those are all feelings and moods that I want to translate over to Ash in Fashion, because the new site is built just as much on those aspects of my identity as Dramatis Personae is.
So I ask myself: do I build the sites so that they mirror one another and that people know that they're at a corresponding site? How do I keep a brand image consistent and avoid confusion (because I think they might be)?
If you're starting a second site, you may want to consider using some kind of similar feature–whether a banner, a color palette, or layout so that people visually know that they're at your site. Or are they so two vastly different sites, that you want them to have no connection to one another? Because that has to be a very deliberate choice, too.
This has been one of the most humbling and challenging parts of releasing a new site. I'm lucky because I have an existing site, with existing audience, to launch from. Regardless of a built in audience though, I still have to build up an audience the old fashioned way– and these are what I've started with.
- One Integrated Twitter Account. Rather than building a twitter account for each site, and starting over, I'm using my Twitter account as a hub for both– and reaching the same audience for both. This also helps, because I don't feel overwhelmed to manage another account, only for it to get neglected.
- A New Facebook Fanpage– And Starting with my Friends. With my new site, I'm not going to be shy about promoting it to my friends and family. So when I decided to launch the page, I started with adding all of my friends to it. Within 24 hours, I had almost 40 people.
- Commenting, Commenting, Commenting. I don't believe in leaving thoughtless comments. But I am challenging myself to leave more thoughtful comments, and linking to the new site. By sharing an email address for both, my gravatar still shows the icon for Dramatis Personae. It's my goal that the icon lets the blogger know it's me, while the link shares my new site. Visual recognition and direction to the new site.
- Interlinking between the sites. Each site has a link in the navigation bar to the other site. Eventually, I may create a banner over to the site as well. Because both sites are designed to complement each other, there's the opportunity to interlink between the sites on with relevant posts. Why create great content on two sites if you don't think that the readers from both could mutually benefit from the posts?
Because of my hectic work schedule, I've found over the past year that my community engagement and participation have waned more than I like. Sometimes I feel like an outsider looking in, and for someone who LOVES the blogging community, that just doesn't cut it.
The creation of a new blog gives me the opportunity to jump in to fashion blogger memes— Bloggers Do It Better, Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, & more– with gusto. These are a great way to create content for your blossoming site and build relationships with a whole new crop of bloggers. Similarly, the IFB Links a la Mode roundup is a great way to participate with your new site; it's a great way to give back to other new bloggers by sharing the week's LaLM.
In the week since I've launched my second blog, I've been thinking about all of the above things. That's just the beginning of this new journey! A new niche will provide new challenges and different opportunities. Ones I hope to keep on sharing!
If you've launched a second site, what advice do you have? And be sure to check back soon, as I'm hoping to have advice from some of my FAVORITE bloggers about how they launched a second site, and what advice they have to share, too.