Follow Along While I Start Up A New Blog From Scratch (RV Blog Report #1)

Last Updated on June 29, 2020  

It has been quite some time since I started a blog from scratch. I tend to grow them big and then stick with it for awhile.

I’ve really only started two blogs:

  • PCMech.com. Started this site in 1998 and ultimately grew it into a leading computer technology blog, visited by 300,000 people monthly, and ultimately into a dependable six-figure income stream. I sold it in late 2014.
  • Blog Marketing Academy. Started as DavidRisley.com back in 2008 and rebranded to Blog Marketing Academy a few years later, BMA is now my primary business and in and of itself is a six-figure business.

So, I don’t create many blogs. But, when I do, I make ’em big and I turn them into money-makers.

Thing is, I am working with bloggers all the time here at the Academy who are starting from scratch. Sure, I can help them do it. But, it had been far too long since I’ve experienced it myself or dealt with the ups and downs.

I absolutely know that starting and growing a blog from scratch can be frustrating. That it can feel lonely. That it can feel like you’re doing a ton of work with essentially nothing to show for it.

You’re expected to play the long-game, however it can still be frustrating.

I haven’t experienced it in awhile.

Parallel to all this, I had a hobby. Something my family and I do a fair amount of…

RV Camping.

We’re not RV full-timers or anything, but I’ve estimated that I probably live in my RV for 2.5-3 months every year, if I add it all up. It is literally my second home. It just happens to have wheels on it.

I had long thought about starting up a blog about this side of my life. The idea hit me over a year ago, actually. I just never did it.

Here’s why…

A Niche Evaluation of The RVer Market

As I said above, when I bother to create a blog, I tend to do it with an eventual business in mind. When I started DavidRisley.com, I started it precisely because I had the business in mind. I brought what I knew from building PCMech to the table, grew the site fairly quickly, and had 2 products launched within less than a year. The second one ended up being about an $80,000 product launch.

But, the RV market…

I don’t really have a business in mind here. 🙂

See, the way I approach (and teach) niche evaluation isn’t purely about signs of market activity, keyword research, etc. It is about the underlying desires of the people.

I call it the transformation.

transformation

And, I ALWAYS look for the transformation. What are the people in that market looking to achieve? What change do they want to make? What is the before and after state that they seek?

Any good business is going to deliver a transformation. You’re going to take people from some before state and move them to an after state – and  you’ll do that via your product and service offerings.

Back to the RV market…

There isn’t really a transformation. The only real transformation is the purchase of the RV. Once you own the RV, you go out and use it. You’ll continue to buy more stuff, of course. And that’s about the only real transformation there is here… the desire to pimp out, fix or improve your RV.

In terms of some big overarching transformation that I could deliver on in the style I do here at BMA, I’m simply left lacking. There would be the ABILITY to go out and travel, in terms of affording it. However, that’s a transformation I deliver here at BMA, if that’s what people want to do with their earnings.

In terms of clear market activity, the RV market has all other indicators I would look for. It is a huge market. There are a lot of blogs in the space. There is a lot of money flowing around from people quite willing to spend it. And I have something to offer to the market.

It just doesn’t lend itself to information products and/or training – which tends to be what I do.

But, I’m Going To Do It Anyway

In the end, not everything is about business. The Blog Marketing Academy is going along just fine, so I don’t need this new blog to make any money.

If it ends up doing any revenue down the road, it’ll be via affiliate marketing and ads. Any direct selling I do… maybe it’d be related to what I do here at BMA. We’ll see.

In the end, I do enjoy talking about RVs. It is a hobby of mine, to be sure.

And for this reason, I spun up a brand new RV blog called RV Family Travel.

My Broad Intentions With RV Family Travel

rv

RV Family Travel was a domain that my wife bought about a year ago on a whim. Like I said, we bounced this idea around back then… just never rolled with it. 🙂 When I thought about it, it seemed like a fine domain.

I set up RVFT on my WPEngine hosting account and I set up the Studiopress framework, using the Outreach Pro child theme. As of now, the theme is pretty stock with only a few minor little modifications.

And I banged out a few blog posts to kick things off.

Now, being that I am a veteran blogger, I do intend to grow this blog. I don’t intend for this to be merely a little family blog where we casually post photos from RV trips. To be interesting to the broad market, there has to be real information found on this site.

For that reason, I will be doing reviews, how to, and resource-heavy blog posts as well.

In terms of my growth strategy…

Right now, I’m taking it quite slow and building up a small pool of link-worthy content. It is done with SEO in mind so we’ll see how SEO alone will do.

I am also planning to introduce myself to the RV blogger community and get to know them a bit. I’ve done some casual looking around and there’s quite a few of them out there. There are a few who are fairly large, then a large community of small personal blogs. The niche actually bears some resemblance to the other two markets I’ve operated in, where there is a classification of A players, B players and C players. And I intend to get out and know them and get them to know me.

Lastly, I have certainly not ruled out the idea of jumpstarting with some paid traffic. It is always the best way to “prime the pump”. At this point, it would be a small investment in the long game, seeing as I have nothing to sell and (as of this writing), not even an email list. But, my intention is to build up some small community, even if just on the Facebook page. And I’m not opposed to spending a little money on that.

You Can Follow Along

Obviously, if you’re interested even casually in the world of RVs, feel free to follow the site. 🙂 You can find it at RVFamilyTravel.com and you can connect on Facebook as well.

But, here on the Academy blog, I will blog about the experience as well.

It has been quite awhile since I’ve started a blog from scratch. I know there are many in my audience here who are in that position. So, I thought this would be great material for a blog series.

So, I will periodically update on happenings with RVFT on an RV Blog Report series. You just read the first one. 🙂

You can watch me grow this blog from scratch, for better or for worse. You’ll watch as I have my highs and lows at it. You’ll see what works… and what didn’t.


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  • Well I look forward to your new blog, and I just heard about you so I will be studying your other Blogs too. For teaching purpose, as I just started, seriously one week. But, for you with sucess you can dive into fancy themes, and stuff. Advice on any easy, free framework to start? Also, what is the best social platform to start getting track numbers going? THANK YOU SO MUCH. RV yourself to Seattle!

    Reply

  • Let me be the first to say that there’s no money in passion projects. That’s kind of how my coffee blog started, just a fun project to do in between all of my niche blogs.

    I’m looking forward to following along. I started my first blog in three years late last year, but quickly burnt myself out trying to do the same thing I did with Daily Shot Of Coffee while having a family that includes a two year old.

    Your take on things in this blog post makes me want to have a project for fun again, without putting so much pressure on myself to grow it over night into a money making business. I really miss blogging, creating an audience, networking etc.

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      I remember those blogs. 🙂 Yeah, no idea where this RV blog will go. But, BMA will continue to be my main business and the RV one a little spare-time side project.

      Reply

  • Bruce Andor says:

    Hi David,

    A couple intersecting points. One – I’m just preparing to relaunch my blog after many years of dormancy. Two – My wife and I have talked about hitting the road in an RV for chunks of each year.

    I read your post about buying your latest RV. I got a knot in my gut because I’m not mechanical. How about a “what should I look for when buying a used RV” guide or product?

    When you say you RV for 2.5 to 3 months per year, do you continue working? If so, What are the challenges?

    Location independence is a hot topic among people running online businesses. However, most of what I’ve read has been about working while travelling in foreign countries. Not much about RV’ing or camping in remote locations.

    You would be uniquely positioned to offer a course on running an online business from an RV. You could market to your existing email list or JV with tons of online marketing experts.

    Not trying to push you if it’s just a passion project, but I’d certainly be interested in the mix of RV + online business.

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Thanks for the ideas. 🙂 And, yeah, if I do any direct monetization, it would probably be a tie-in to BMA. But, aside from that, its mainly affiliate and banners.

      And, yes, I continue working when I take long RV trips. Biggest challenge is taking the time to do it (Since we’re usually in “fun mode”)… and the noise of the family in the smaller space. For instance, I couldn’t podcast from there unless I kicked the fam out. 🙂

      Reply

  • Nice work David! I think I’m going to watch your journey and hopefully learn a thing or two, good luck.

    Cheers,
    Suraj

    Reply

  • Good luck with it, David! I’ll be following…

    Reply

  • David,

    This is a good idea. But it seems it would really be better if you did as a “for profit” exercise from the beginning.

    Saying it’s “just for fun” takes you off the hook from producing result. And that’s fine if you really just want to do it for fun. But that type of blogging isn’t what any of your audience is interested in.

    It would be like going behind the scenes and watching someone build a blog about “their life” on wordpress.com or blogspot.

    If you made this a real live case study, it would have real value for your visitors and show that what you teach works … if it does. 🙂

    I know you have successful websites in your past, but the thing with that is that it can often be a case of looking back to see what worked after the fact and extracting those lessons. But would those lessons work from the beginning in a totally different space? Those are the questions your visitors are asking.

    Can you take your own lessons and build a profitable blog in this niche you’ve chosen? That would be a VERY good ongoing case study, and one that I would definitely follow.

    But it does take guts. You have to eat your own dog food, as they say, and prove that it works.

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      I do understand what you’re saying. But, I’m not doing this for the purposes of BMA or to prove anything. I’m doing it for fun. The fact that I’ll talk about it here is mainly for the purposes of content – and more in terms of traffic.

      If I were doing this purely for profit… well, honestly I probably wouldn’t bother. The RV market doesn’t pass my own personal niche tests, as I’ve said. There is no transformation I can deliver in the fashion I do here with BMA, and therefore if this was purely about money, I simply wouldn’t bother.

      This is a passion project. I hold it up as no more than that. But, if people benefit from the me talking about it, then all the better.

      Reply

  • Mark Cerisano says:

    Good luck. Have fun. Some comments: if I subscribe, am I not just subscribing to a general list? You once told me that was a stupid idea. :-).

    Also you might think about selling RVs through the site. I know a guy who sells pianos nationwide through his website.

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      It is a general list at this point. The goal was to simply have something up there. I don’t have any lead magnets yet, but I also don’t have any purpose to segment at this point. I don’t even have intentions to sell anything. So, it loosens things up a bit on how I proceed.

      Reply

  • Actually, I see all kinds of opportunities here.
    Create a physical network of contacts (show on Google maps).
    Offer RV-based “Trip-Ticks” (AAA).
    Coupons.
    Just for starters
    -D

    Reply

  • Sharron-Idol says:

    I’ll be interested to see what you and how you do with this. I’m in a difficult niche too (Indie singer/songwriter/producer.) and would love to pick up some tips.

    On another note I remember crapwire.com… I think that was one of yours too. 🙂

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Hehe… one of my… shittier ideas. 😉

      Reply

  • This is great! It is really interesting to see how someone with your blogging expertise thinks for themselves in building their own blog.

    I’m doing this is a lot f different than, I did this.

    Thanks for doing this!

    To Your Success

    Mary

    Reply

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