If you’re thinking about blogging with another writer – not guest posting, but starting a new blog together – my advice will help you partner with another blogger. I’m embarking on two blog partnerships this month, and have learned several important things about co-blogging (or even writing web content for an online magazine or organization).
The most important first step is to blog about something both you and your partner actually care about.
“Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart you feel others should care about,” said Kurt Vonnegut. “It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”
If you’re embarking on a blog partnership, make sure you’re writing about a topic that both you and your co-blogger care about! This is key to starting and sustaining a healthy, long-lasting, successful blog.
What to Consider Before Co-Blogging With Another Writer
Consider your blog partner carefully. Are they an experienced web writer or blogger? Do they understand search engine optimization, blog marketing, networking, Twitter for writers, WordPress basics, and writing for online readers? Do they have time to commit to a regular blog post schedule? Are they dependable, and can you envision working with them for years? Before you co-blog with another writer, make sure you’ve at least thought through these questions. Even better: talk about these questions with your potential blog partner.
Figure out what both writers bring to the partnership. What unique skills or talents do you bring to the table? And what about your co-blogger – what does he or she offer? Try and be as specific as possible about your roles. For example, your co-blogger could be responsible for maintaining the blog’s plugins and database backups, while you focus on responding to comments and chatting on forums. The idea is to find and express your unique strengths and capabilities.
Create a blog partnership agreement. Your agreement doesn’t even have to be signed by both parties, as long as it’s been emailed and accepted by both. A blog partnership agreement should describe both bloggers’ duties, the payments both bloggers will make, and the opt-out policy if one blogger needs to break the blog partnership.
Don’t forget about the costs of operating a blog! If you want to earn money from your blog partnership, you’ll want to put ads on your blog. If you put ads on your blog, you’ll need to line up a web host. I started with HostGator, and was mostly pleased with their service. Then I switched over to SiteGround and am even happier. I think my blogs run fast enough…though I haven’t tried other web host providers, so I have no basis for comparison. But the point is that there are some operating costs associated with starting and maintaining a blog. You and your co-blogger need to decide who pays for the operating costs, and how that person will be repaid.
Learn the most basic blog building tips – together. I’ve started five WordPress blogs (three from the Quips and Tips series), and I still review the basic blog building tips before I start a new one! 10 Tips for Starting a New Blog for Writers is one of my favorite articles to review – it reminds me what I learned from starting my first blogs.
Decide on the WordPress or Blogger theme or skin. Deciding the basic layout and structure of your blog can help make or break its appeal to readers. Sit down with your blog partner and decide what are absolute must-haves for your blog (eg, categories running along the top of the page, an “About” box, columns on either side of the main text versus two columns on one side, etc). For help, read Tips for Choosing the Best WordPress Theme for Your Blog.
Be prepared to put your time and energy into your new blog. Co-blogging doesn’t mean you’ll do less work. It’s not a free ride – but it does mean your blog has the opportunity to be twice as successful! For that to happen, you and your co-blogger both have to commit a certain amount of time and energy. If you already have a blog (and a job), read 8 Tips for Maintaining More Than One Blog for ideas on keeping your workload manageable.
If you have any thoughts or questions on blog partnerships, please comment below. And, if you’re already a co-blogger, I’d love to hear your best and worst moments!