Case Study: How Copyblogger Shifted From Blog Publishing To Product Development

Have you noticed how Copyblogger is moving from a ‘traditional’ blog to a solutions provider offering web marketing tools? Some people feel that Copyblogger should have stuck to its roots and built a better blog, but I’m not so sure.

As they say, “To stay in business, you need to be in business.”

What Copyblogger’s currently doing allows it to scale, integrate, and increases its capital value.

How many blogs can you say that about?

Web Business Models: Which work best?

Let’s back up a second. Most ‘blogs’ struggle to make money.

Why?

Their business model relies on revenue streams that are often beyond its control.

The three most common forms of revenue generation on the web are:

  • Advertising
  • Services
  • Products

Advertising is the one most start with.

It’s very easy to add Google Adsense to your site. However, you need a phenomenal amount of traffic to make a genuine living from it. Trust me, you really do. And anyone telling you otherwise is telling a porky.

  • Services are fine but they’re hard to scale. There are only so many hours in the day. You can’t service clients in your sleep. Try it!
  • Products are the most difficult to develop. But the most lucrative… if you get it right.

 

What’s interesting for me is how Copyblogger developed a path that allowed it to escape from the blogging thread-mill and create something more substantial, with more value, and less dependency on web traffic.

Using your blog as a platform

If you go back to when Copyblogger started, it was like most blogs except that it identified, isolated and owned its niche very quickly. It grew incredibly fast.

This allowed it developed educational tools, such as Teaching Sells, which appealed to its readers.

However, the problem was scale.

Teaching Sells was/is limited to a number of subscribers. My understanding is that it’s run every year, sells out, and then re-runs the next year.

But wouldn’t something the sells 24×7 make more money?

Developing Complementary Solutions

Copyblogger moved into product development a few years ago with the Thesis Theme. This is probably the top-selling premium WordPress theme.

For different reasons, Copyblogger separated from the Thesis Theme developer and created their own offering – The Genesis Framework.

What’s interesting here is that what started as a copywriting site began to offer products that complemented their readers’ needs.

Copyblogger started to develop web products, built upon a strong brand name, that helped bloggers, ie their army of loyal readers, to be more successful.

At the moment, it offers three main products:

  • StudioPress for Blog Design
  • Scribe for Web Traffic
  • Premise for creating Landing Pages

Scaling

The advantage of having this suite of products is obvious:

  • Affiliates help spread the word and create more sales.
  • It’s less dependent on weaker business models, such as advertising which has taken a huge hit in the recession.
  • It can integrate these products with other partners
  •  Upsell opportunities can be realized by selling premium and enterprise versions

Conclusion

Here’s another way of looking at it. Take a look at the AdAdge Power 150 and see which of the sites in the top twenty you’d like to own.

  • Which sites have the best opportunities for revenue generation and licensing?
  • Which sites can be scaled, i.e. build other products upon what’s already there?
  • Which sites can expand into other verticals and industries?

Most sites cannot scale, have few independent revenue streams, and are vulnerable to competition.

What’s interesting about Copyblogger is how it’s building for the future. Instead of building a better blog, it’s building a better business.

What do you think? Is Copyblogger making the right move? Has it abandoned its roots? What do you think it will do next?

Download these MS Office and Apple templates today

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan