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Should I Create A Separate Blog?

swarlley
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Joined: 16 Dec 09
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Should I Create A Separate Blog?

On my site http://www.epicjunkbox.com I mainly focus on finding interesting, fun, and cool physical products to promote. I was thinking about adding an article section where I can share other 'epic' things that I find interesting. Things such as cool videos, life-hacks, and anything else that I think would be worth sharing.

Do you think this would take away too much focus from selling products or would this be another good way to interact with my audience instead of always just trying to sell something? It may be another way to attract new visitors by offering more value and giving them another reason to return.

If I did implement this, with my current layout and site structure, should I make an articles tab on the main menu and just post there? Do you think the excerpts should go on the home screen along with products?

Thanks for your help,
Chris
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cecille.l
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Hi Chris,

I like the concept of your site as well as the domain name. Not too happy with how it looks but that's just me being picky. :)

I don't think it's necessary to add a separate blog. You can add the post right with the image, just like what you have now.

If you want a to make the site more personal and share anecdotes and other stories on it, then a separate blog is necessary.

My two cents. Happy Holidays!


All the best,
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Cecille


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bethhewitt
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Hi Chris,

The whole premise behind being able to sell more products comes from your ability to engage with people so I think this would be a perfect approach to take, without setting up a different blog. I happen to like the look of your site and have added myself to your fanpage.

You might want to add a subscribe box above the fold so that you can email your list when you have some interesting content to share.

Beth :)
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aletta
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You could argue two ways on this.

On one hand I'd say that your site is an edgy proposition to begin with: The only thing tying everything together is the concept that it's "full of cool stuff". If you're trying to get people interested in the site as a whole, rather than just making it SEO-worthy for each individual product you feature, it really hinges on this "full of cool stuff" idea. As soon as you branch out into thoughts, videos, life-hacks and stuff, the value proposition of your site changes and it becomes harder to understand. If I don't understand what a site does, what it is for, and what I might expect to gain from returning... I don't know if I'd go back. It loses clarity.

On the other hand, you could change the value proposition of your site, and that might even be beneficial. It would become more about your personality, your opinions, and your solutions for the modern condition. People wouldn't necessarily return to your site to "find cool stuff to buy", they would come back to hear your thoughts/opinions/nuggets you've found from around the web. So it could essentially become a blog, with a side of "toys".

If you wanted the first idea, but you've got too many ideas to keep them inside, you could also use this other stuff as great fodder for a Facebook/Twitter feed. I've got companies on my feeds that talk about pretty much everything EXCEPT their products.... they build their own company personality, and people love it.
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swarlley
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and ideas. I agree with you Cecille about not being happy with the overall look yet.

Beth, thanks for following the page. I plan on adding the opt-in within the next few weeks. That will give me another way to get in touch with my audience and keep them engaged I think.

Aletta, what you wrote has been kind of floating around in my head but seeing it written helps it become more clear to me. The site's overarching goal isn't perfectly etched out yet. This is why I was wondering about adding more than just cool items that people can buy. There are other sites that do this successfully and I was thinking that I needed something a little different so that people would have a reason to visit EJB rather than the competitors.

Here is what I am thinking. Tell me if I'm being crazy or unrealistic.

EJB's goal (as of now) is to bring is people who enjoy seeing the crazy items and cool gadgets, and maybe even buy some from time to time. Besides just being a list of products to buy, EJB will also be a site that people can visit even if they have no inclination to buy something today.

They can:
Look at the cool new products and read the (hopefully) entertaining/funny mini-reviews for the products.

Read some of the non-product articles where I might share the funniest or coolest videos that I have found and read what I have to say about it. I'm not talking about just cute cat videos either. Only the Epic will do ;)

Read other non-product articles about other things that I consider epic. Perhaps tricks/lifehacks that I think are better than all the others.

My thinking is that if I can provide value and be entertaining, then people will want to subscribe and check back often. They will also be more inclined to share socially and tell friends since I'm not always just trying to get them to buy my junk.

Ok. Having read all that, what are you thoughts on this idea?

PS- I'm trying to make the site less ugly step-by-step. Bear with me please =P
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cecille.l
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Hi Chris,

I think I understand what you want to do with your site. The main value you can provide your readers/visitors is entertainment and this makes for a highly "share-able" content in social media sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter.

If I were in your shoes, I would change the layout in a magazine-style theme. I won't have a separate blog. The site itself would be a blog. I would make it a point to write one article a day sharing with my readers quirky gadgets I find interesting and helpful, funny things that happened to me or someone I know, epic lifehacks. Everything under the sun actually.

I think it can work, but it's definitely going to be a challenge since you need to work closely in the site until it gets regular traffic.

Happy Holidays! :)

All the best,
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Cecille


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tankctrlr
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I think it's a good idea mainly because a site that has a "Face" to it (your face), will have more engagement and will feel to the visitor/subscriber more like a community instead of a site that sort of publishes content anonymously and/or with a corporate feel to it.

Also sites that have many different publishers tend to get less interaction as well because each publisher gets very little exposure or time to build up rapport with readers, not as much as a single publisher can.
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aletta
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What I think this all hinges on is you being able to construct a hugely compelling online persona that people will be interested in following. This will become the thread that holds everything else together, because the idea of coming to a separate site to get access to my daily dose of epic videos and life hacks is a hard sell for me.

... Unless you were a very compelling writer who could present a new angle/opinion on this stuff, or you're breaking stuff before anyone else. Otherwise it's easier for me to just find this stuff on my Facebook feed -- harvested from Reddit or Upworthy or wherever else my friends are lurking.

I tell you what I WOULD personally be interested in seeing, though. There's a whole lot of truly ridiculous stuff that you can buy on the internet these days. Astoundingly ridiculous stuff. I'm not talking about ice cube rocks or horse head masks... although the horse head mask is coming close. I mean stuff that makes you go "Whaaaaat?!" and then shake your head and go "the internet these days..."

I'd be interested in visiting a site that could dig up this stuff from around the internet. Not just from Amazon... look for weird eBay auctions, scary Chinese stuff on Alibaba, and even further afield. Don't just limit yourself to sites with affiliate programs.

Along with this weird stuff I'd like to read a scathing review of why this stuff is ridiculous. OR a ridiculous fake review/story of how you used this product and it improved your life or solved a ridiculous problem. Eg, see the reviews on the following Amazon products:

http://www.amazon.com/Images-SI-Inc-Uranium-Ore/dp/B000796XXM/ref=cm_lmf_tit_1
http://www.amazon.com/JL421-Badonkadonk-Land-Cruiser-Tank/dp/B00067F1CE/ref=cm_lmf_tit_4
More here: http://www.amazon.com/Funniest-Amazon-Product-Reviews/lm/RM0256CJKINZJ

... The entertaining review is probably bonus credit. If you could just dig this weird stuff up from around the internet, that would be a great start.

Another angle that I would find entertaining would be a "gifts for... " angle. Like you often see "gifts for him", "gifts for her", "gifts for mother" etc. You could have those, but you could also have entertaining categories like "gifts for conspiracy theorists", "gifts for introverts", "gifts for aspiring dictators", "gifts for people stuck in the 80s", etc. This would require less writing on your part, since the joke is in the category and the selection. I'd say the more elaborate the better -- so long as you can deliver on the recommendations.

That would appeal to an audience of Alettas. Whether a bunch of Alettas is your target audience is another question though :)
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swarlley
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You have me a bit worried about creating a hugely compelling persona. It sounds like a big challenge.

I like that idea of the entertaining categories. That could draw some attention and it's funny. I don't know about trying to appeal to a whole audience of Alettas though. There is only one on this forum and I'm having a hard time making my site pretty enough to keep even that one happy! =P
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This topic was started on Dec 20, 2013 and has been closed due to inactivity. If you want to discuss this topic further, please create a new forum topic.