How to expand your blog without more blogging

Nearly 10 ways to extend your site

Struggling to think of a suitable image

When I started this post it was primarily aimed at blogs but it’s relevant to pretty much any site. Here are a few ideas on ways to extend a site in a different direction by adding new features. For the following features many are available as scripts (both paid and free), or alternatively can be coded. By adding new sections it gives you more content (almost always a good thing) and opens up a whole new attraction for existing and potential visitors.

Forum
If you have a very vocal audience with plenty of subjects to discuss a blog is not the best places to do it, adding a forum to your site could help both your audience and you. They are relatively inexpensive to set-up but do require a large amount of work to get going. The somewhat famous forum Digital Point originally began as a support area for it’s tools, now look at it today.

Directory
If you’re in a somewhat crowded or very general niche you could add a directory related sites, this can be useful to your visitors in finding other sites of interest and is also a great way of networking with fellow bloggers.

Similar sites/online shops/ physical stores
Like the directory idea but more suited to product based sites, a simple list or directory of places to buy products from (affiliate links of course). You could also do this for physical stores in different locations.

Glossary
If your in a niche with lots of jargon, acronyms or TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) you could create a glossary of explanations. I used to work at Xyratex which was a management buyout from IBM and they had some classic TLAs:

  • OAP – Optical Appreciation Panel AKA a window
  • TSU – Tall Storage Unit AKA a tall cupboard
  • WSU – Wide Storage Unit AKA a wide cupboard

In the staff handbook there were pages of these, unfortunately I can’t remember them all now so if you know of any others a comment would be cool. I do remember somebody saying “Can you get me the file from the TSU next to the OAP”, WTF!

FAQ
Do the same questions keep popping up over and over again, answer them in a FAQ.

Job Board
If you have a work related site, then offer your readers an easy way of finding or offering work. The ProBlogger Job Board is a great example of this.

Buy & Sell Section
This is an idea for product orientated blogs and sites, a section for your readers to sell their own products. You could also integrate some eBay listings to earn a bit of commission.

Arcade
Is your demographic gamers, give them an arcade to play in. We are thinking of adding a DTD section here to minimize competition πŸ™‚ .

Related Utilities
Instead of creating a mini site could you develop (or get a programmer to code it) a utility that will be useful to your current audience. The tools on Blog Storm is a relevent example here.

Do you have any other ideas, or do any of these sound suitable for your site?

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. I like the buy and sell idea – something to be added to my list of future moneymakers.

  2. I hope you haven’t gone and offended lots of coders now Al πŸ˜‰

    • I thought I was quite restrained keeping out of that little discussion, either that or I was a chicken πŸ™‚ .

      When I worked as a programmer/code monkey it never really bothered me what I was called but I can understand why it might. It’s like calling a refuge collection engineer a dustbin man πŸ™‚

  3. Did the Forum bit on my block, it was a failure. Reason was that I started the forum and the blog at the same time.

    It should also evolve and the forum should be added at a later stage.

  4. What’s a DTD? Maybe you need a glossary.

  5. In a niche hobby site you could also feature your members in some way. For instance, on my guitar site I showcase guitar players from YouTube (simply embed the video) and write a bit about them. It’s a great way to create a loyal following and it’s downright interesting for the audience.

  6. I am of the opinion that forums will diminish in popularity for many people. You can now have just as meaningful conversations through commenting on someone’s blog, and can even get a nice link out of it!

  7. Forums are definitely a lot of work, not only to get off the ground, but to keep going. A good team of moderators is a must. So far the forum I run hasn’t really done much in the way of income, but I think they are more of a long term site, if you can keep it going.

  8. I’ve had great luck with the store suggestion, and it definitely the income on some of my personal sites. I tried forums once a while back, but it took way too much work to keep things peaceful and spam-free.

  9. Thanks for this post, I have been wanting to enter the blogging scene for sometime now and the major reason being that there is so much one can learn.

    To know that you really don’t have to write posts to expand your blog is actually a dampener! But oh well, let us see.

  10. I did do the forum thing, but spam-bots found their way to it and it was really difficult to moderate, so I took it down. It’s a shame too because I was getting an audience. Maybe if I find a better software package I will put one back up.

  11. I had a similar issue and had to take down the forum on my personal blog site. if you find a good software please post it

Trackbacks

  1. […] from SMF, just landed a great article on his blog, detailing ten almost ten ways to expand your blog on the net. Out of the points listed in the article I think a forum and job board would work […]

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