My Blogging Experience
As the author of two blogs (three if you include my Art Business blog that I discontinued and repackaged as a book) I have some idea of the commitment involved but have yet to turn either into a profitable business. The combination of this blog and my Animation and Video blog earns me enough monthly income through Google Ads to buy myself lunch at MacDonald's once a month (some months I make enough to treat a friend to lunch too).
Which is a nice little, once or twice a year, bonus payment from Google but I could do a lot better if I actually tried.
You see, this blog isn't really focused on earning money. Its purpose is to feed my writing itch. As a result it covers a broad range of interests that I don't write about often enough to keep many readers coming back for more.
My Animation and Video blog, which I started more than two years after this blog, actually earns the bulk of the income and has surpassed this blog in both overall views and industry credibility (of which this blog has very little).
Originally, I started my animation and video blog to showcase my own GoAnimations and to show how they were created. In the process I offered tips and advice to other GoAnimators through my own experiences. Since then the blog has expanded to include my work on different animation platforms, along with reviews of products, featured animators and other things related to animation and video creation.
It's precisely the narrow focus on Animation and Video that attracts more regular readership. Whilst not every article will be of interest to everyone, readers come across enough frequent articles of interest to consider subscribing to the blog.
The narrow focus has also helped the blog to be listed on two separate Top 100 animation lists including; Top 100 animation sites every animator should follow and Top 100 Animation Sites You Need to Know as a valuable resource (the industry credibility factor I mentioned earlier).
I'm also getting approached more and more by companies to promote their animation and video related products through the blog. Even more recently companies have been paying me to write about their products or providing me free copies of their software to review.
There in lies the first lesson about starting a blogging business. Focus your blog on a specific interest.
With that in mind, late last year I had the idea to create a blog website focused around digital art and animation. Two areas I have a very strong interest in and could probably continue to blog about in my animation and video blog, with no need to start a new blog.
However, my Animation and Video blog (have I mentioned that blog often enough yet) is too intertwined with my own personal projects which I love to write about. It could never be a business independent of me without phasing my personal projects out of the content.
My idea is to create a stand alone industry blog that can evolve and grow into a business that could be sold as a going concern one day. It won't be reliant on myself or my own work to generate content.
As a model for what I have in mind, take a look at the site Empty Easel, which has grown into a resource covering all aspects of creating and selling art using, mainly, traditional art mediums (painting, drawing etc.).
The First Step
As a first step to actually doing something beyond the idea I've registered the domain digitalartandanimation.com (at the time of writing this link will take you to a parked URL page). It looks like a long domain name but, in my opinion, is easy to remember. Which trumps keeping the name short if it's not memorable - especially if your longer domain includes all your key major words.
I did try out a number of other ideas for domain names, none of which were particularly shorter or as easily remembered. People are just more likely to be typing 'digital art and animation' into a search engine. Since search is likely to be the way people will find the site initially, it makes sense that the domain name clearly states what the site is about.
Incidentally if you do search for digital art and animation (click the link in the previous paragraph) you'll notice the majority of actual sites are educational institutions promoting their courses or sites limited to either digital art OR animation, not necessarily both. Which I think suggests there is a nice little gap for an independently run industry site and could make it easier to achieve first page ranking in search results.
I'll leave it there for now. Next post I'll do a little more research and maybe start thinking about the site's structure and content. I'll also need to figure out how much income the site needs to earn in order for it to be a viable business.
In the meantime, feel free to steal my idea and set up your own digital art and animation blog. Actually, I'd prefer you didn't but I'm just putting it out there since, by blogging about the process as it's happening, I'm taking a risk. There's always room for competition though. Good luck!