After much thought I decided to merge two blogs to BradGibala.com. Both blogs were on separate domain names – WorkoutJourney.com (health and fitness) and TheTop10Reasons.com (little bit of everything). You could say I was merging three blogs since those two ended up here.
Why I decided to merge blogs came down to simplicity.
WorkoutJourney.com was one I had put a lot of time and effort into over the years. It was the sole reason as to why I had success as a Beachbody Coach.
TheTop10Reasons.com was one where I wrote about my time as a mortgage banker along with some politics and randomness. It was more about the format and writing to lists.
To simplify a bit more. The main reason I consolidated those blogs is because my name was all over them. So why not own it? Being serious here. I was the author on both of those blogs. It made sense to put it on my name.
Why Not Sunset The Blogs?
Sunsetting is the concept of letting them go. You don’t shut them down nor do you sell them. You let them do their thing and that’s it.
TheTop10Reasons.com was sunsetting. I had not written to it since 2011. With that, I felt the content was still relevant. Throwing it out was not necessary.
WorkoutJourney.com hit a creative roadblock. Most of the blog was about me using Beachbody workout programs. Thing is, I was not trying new ones nor did I want to which meant I had nothing new to write about. Sure, I could have written fake reviews of PiYo, 21 Day Fix, Country Heat, and T25 but I did not want to do that.
Doing one workout (or none at all and just watching) and then writing about the entire program just to get traffic to the site is a fake review.
I can spot those fake reviews all over the internet and from time to time will call them out. For me, I prefer to do an entire program, share my before and after photos, and write an in depth review.
My sweet spot of Beachbody workouts are P90X, Insanity: Asylum 1 & 2, Body Beast, and the occasional yoga workout from other programs. Thats it.
To continue down the path of being only a health and fitness blogger I would have to turn into a Mark Sisson level of health and fitness blogger and write about the micronutrient levels of blueberries. No thanks.
Its been three months since I merged the blogs and I’ve already felt a new sense of creative freedom. No longer am I squeezing myself into a specific niche when it comes to creating content. This is what I should have been doing all along.
I have published 8 new posts since merging and it reminded me of the days when I liked to write. The best part is I wrote about whatever I wanted to write about. Instead of only writing about health and fitness I can silo or categorize my content now.
Why Go With A Minimalist Theme?
The theme I used on WorkoutJourney.com was awesome at converting back in the day with static spots for ads and text links (which people clicked) above the fold. Peoples viewing habits changed over time and sales did not convert as well.
People were done buying P90X, Insanity, T25, and Body Beast in dvd format. Many had gone to finding ways to illegally download or buy used copies on Craigslist or eBay.
Ads for those workout programs were linking to the dvd which no one was buying. Data was telling me those banner ads were just taking up space. Heat maps were saying no one was clicking on them too. Why clutter up the blog with ads to something no one is buying?
I cannot blame them as the dvd format is basically dead. It was a good run for me though. Its all about Beachbody On Demand now. Shakeology ads never converted well and were more a follow up type of sale.
TheTop10Reasons.com had a basic Genesis WordPress theme with big bold ads within the content, on the sidebar, and above the fold. It was a little over kill. People stopped clicking on those too.
Maybe it’s because I’m almost 37 and am tired of the fluff. But for some reason I have really enjoyed reading blogs which incorporate minimalism. Aspects of minimalist blogs include little to no ads, no sidebars, no social media icons, a simple logo, and clean navigation.
Conventional blogging wisdom says to have a successful blog you need sidebars and ads if you want to make money. I don’t think that’s true.
Monetization of minimalist blogs is done via links within the content, maybe a “Shop” or “Recommends” tab, and through building an email list.
Thinking this out a little more I realized I have never clicked on a Google Ad, Facebook Ad, nor have I clicked on a blogs social media icons. If I did it was by accident. When WorkoutJourney.com was converting sales it was through text links.
There’s a reason why people still buy books. You get lost in the writing. Think about it. How many books do you own that have sidebars or even pictures. Very little I bet. Well, unless you’re a kid or its some sort of cook book.
And that’s the direction I am starting with. Letting the content speak for itself. Even if it sucks. I can always make changes in the future.
What About The Traffic?
Before merging – WorkoutJourney.com was receiving 71 visitors a day in December 2016. What might be best to compare is January – March 2016 where visitors were 175, 142, and 124.
TheTop10Reasons.com was averaging 9 visitors a day in December 2016. Jan – March 2016 average daily visitors were 21, 20, and 18.
Adding up daily visitors from both blogs gives me 196, 162, and 142.
Average daily visitors to BradGibala.com:
Jan. 2017: 104
Feb 2017: 63
March 2017: 63
Much less than anticipated.
To be fair I really have not been writing all that much these past couple of years. To see I am receiving any traffic at all is encouraging. Search engines want to see new content and I have not been giving them any for years.
I have read it takes six months for the search engines to de-index the old sites, re-index the new content, and then figure out how they want to rank it. As of today, WorkoutJourney.com and TheTop10Reasons.com are still showing up in search results in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. That means the old content has not fully de-indexed.
Will update in July.
This is what I had in mind when merging. Write good content it will rank. Simple as that. The site does not have to be about one topic.
That’s how I am approaching BradGibala.com. Start everything here and link out. If the content is created by me than it might as well be here.
If I come up with a product that needs a site of its own then I can create a mini site with a link from BradGibala.com.
There are no product ideas that need a site of its own just yet. There are a number of half written articles saved as drafts waiting for me to finish.
I Can Always Go Back Too
If for some reason I want to go back, I can. All of the content is still on both of those blogs and is being forwarded with a 301 redirect. Removing the redirect takes a minute to do and those sites would be live again.
There is a strong chance I might go back and clean up some of my older articles from TheTop10Reasons.com. The content is good but long winded. Some of it I may even delete.
When I started blogging I was only interested in making money online and that is what I did. I am still interested in making money online but am more conscious about how to do it.
Do I really need three separate domain names when one will work? Lets not forget about the costs associated with renewing domain names and hosting.
Whats funny is I started TheTop10Reasons.com to make money and WorkoutJourney.com to journal my progress with P90X. Turns out you can make way more money online sharing your story for free then you can by trying to actually make money. Weird, huh?
It is not about growing the blog for me. Blogging is something I like to do. I do not think of myself as being a creative type but somehow I feel blogging lets me do that. If the blog grows because of my content then great. If not, then my kids will have documentation of how sucky their dad is at being creative.
Much like life you start out with a direction in mind and then it changes. Thats just how it is. And thats what happened.