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:
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.