Merging Two Blogs - I Did It and Lived to Tell the Tale

6 years ago

I have been blogging for almost six years.  When I started I had your standard early ‘00s blog named Dilly Dilly – I chatted about what I ate, the news, my relationship with my husband, memories from childhood.  I started a blog to look busy at a job that didn’t give me enough work – I didn’t have any goals, I just liked to type and I liked to write.

After a couple of months, I decided to create a second separate blog about fashion advice – Wardrobe Oxygen.  I had ideas after my decade as a personal shopper and retail visual merchandiser – I knew certain wardrobe basics could work for any woman, be she a size 2 or 22, 21 or 71 years of age.  A few months after that, I started a THIRD blog where I started chronicling my daily outfits (My Wardrobe Today).  I chose to keep this separate from the fashion advice blog so that the advice would remain timeless and readers wouldn’t be swayed by my own personal sense of style.  Over time, the daily fashion blog took over my generic first blog; I shuttered Dilly Dilly and chose to instead manage two fashion blogs.

Six years later, both blogs have gained quite a loyal following, and have received some press and recognition.  With recognition comes responsibility – promotion, advertisers, maintaining clean and current templates, accurate links, and quality images.  Blogging in 2010 isn’t how it was in 2005 – no longer can you get away with a “Minima” template and a url.  One needs to give a professional look, brand oneself, keep up with the Sashas and Jessicas.  Maintaining two blogs was becoming a full-time job.  Unfortunately I already had a full-time job – one I liked and wanted to keep.

After much thought (and surveying of current readers) I decided to merge the two fashion blogs.  I decided to keep the advice blog - it had existed longer, had a more unique name, and had been better branded by me over the years.  Not only that, I knew it had more subscribers, and by surveying my blog readers (thank you Survey Monkey), I was able to tell that a good percentage of subscribers to my advice blog also were subscribed to my daily fashion blog.

Though I had custom templates and domains, I never left Blogger as my blog platform.  For once, this was a good thing as that Blogger has the capability to export one blog and import it into another.  I did my homework and read of many bloggers who did this with success, and the issues they encountered along the way.  I created a hidden Beta testing blog and tried this import/export process.  Success!

I contacted all of my advertisers on My Wardrobe Today and informed them about the merge.  I didn’t know exactly when it was going to go down, but informed them it would happen prior to the start of the New Year.  Some advertisers had pre-paid for a period of time, others were month-to-month advertisers.  All but one advertiser responded within a week – one asked to cancel her month-to-month ad with me, the rest were fine with the change in URLs and one even purchased two more ads!

I was most concerned with my BlogHer ads – I was part of the BlogHerAds network ONLY on My Wardrobe Today, not Wardrobe Oxygen.  I contacted BlogHer and they quickly got back to me letting me know that if I re-submitted paperwork with the new name and url, and made sure that all posts on Wardrobe Oxygen adhered to their guidelines,  I could move the ads to Wardrobe Oxygen any time I wished.  Whew!

After looking at my Google Analytics, I decided to do the merge on a Saturday night during holiday season.  I saw that over the years, this was the slowest period for traffic, and I knew that if something went wrong, I had all day Sunday to fix it before the rush of traffic on Monday morning. 

I prepped the week beforehand by deleting any draft or superfluous posts on the daily fashion blog, ensuring all posts had proper titles, and tagging all of the posts with "My Wardrobe Today" – the title of that blog.  I also created new “About,” “Links,” and “Advertise” pages for Wardrobe Oxygen, making them appropriate for a merged blog and including content and links that I had on the old blog.

Saturday night, my husband out with friends and the baby fast asleep upstairs, I armed myself with a big glass of red wine and started the process.  The export took about five minutes – a file saved to my desktop.  Then the import.  This took about fifteen minutes (you accumulate a lot of posts and comments in five years!). 

Once it was finished… it looked great!  The posts were in chronological order, all posts from the old blog transferred over looking the same, still with all of their comments.  I deleted the old “About,” “Links,” and “Advertise” pages, and published the new and improved versions.  I also made a tab at the title of the blog titled "My Wardrobe Today" where I linked to all posts that showcased my personal style or were from the previous blog.  I then went to the old blog, deleted all posts (yet kept the export of the blog JUST IN CASE), and left one post redirecting all folks to the other blog.

I considered doing a giveaway to celebrate the occasion (and to really bring in the traffic), but decided to do it more organically and hopefully get a slow but loyal increase of followers.  Instead, the week that followed, I spent a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter encouraging readers to subscribe to Wardrobe Oxygen, and fellow bloggers to update their blogrolls.  I also trolled my blog, looking for links back to the old blog and replacing them (this is an ongoing process). 

I also spent a lot of time visiting other blogs.  Blogs that were in my two blogrolls, I visited them and left comments so they could see I was still in business and hopefully visit my new and improved blog.  Those who linked to My Wardrobe Today, I would visit them and comment so they could see my new URL and hopefully update their blogrolls. 

Looking back at that first week, the merge didn’t seem successful.  LinkWithin wasn’t recognizing the new posts, if I Googled keywords that always brought people to My Wardrobe Today, it didn’t pull up either blog.  The search features on my blog (Google Search and the Blogger toolbar) didn’t find keywords in imported posts, my traffic didn’t increase, I lost a couple subscribers, and even received some hate emails about my bad sense of personal fashion and their disappointment in the change in the blog.  I didn’t even want to LOOK at my Alexa score or Google PageRank.

However with time, everything improved.  It took a bit over two weeks to have Google start recognizing the merge posts, though I am not nearly where I used to be.  LinkWithin and the search functions on my blog needed a bit over two weeks to start recognizing the merged posts.

And the traffic began to pick up.

I was hoping for a couple hundred more hits per day, as that most people who read one blog read the other.  However after two weeks my traffic doubled.  I also had 50 more followers via Google Friend Connect, and 250 more RSS subscribers. 

The merge has been lucrative in regard to advertising revenue.  My BlogHerAds payments have doubled, Google AdSense and ShopStyle have doubled, and I am getting more from Amazon Affiliates.  I haven’t seen any bites since the merge in regard to independent advertisers.  That could be due to the time of the year, or it may be due to temporary loss of recognition by Google.  However I am not frustrated, and believe that with the New Year will come new advertising and sponsoring opportunities.

I merged two blogs, and I have lived to tell the tale.  Wardrobe Oxygen still has some growing pains, but nothing I can’t work with.  I believe the New Year will show that due to this merge and my work since the merge, my blog will end up bigger and better than ever!

Alison Gary is the author of Wardrobe Oxygen and Me & Emerson Elaine.

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