What makes a blog a success? Not the famous giant "here's $100 million for your startup" kind of success, but a business that's big enough to let the founders do what they intended, remain independent and provide great editorial quality and strong communities online. Meet four publishers who've done just that in diverse topic areas: Tech, Autos, Design, Celebrities. We'll dig into why they're successful, pry secret tips out of them, hear about their failures along the way and try to use their experiences to build a recipe for guaranteed success. Or at least a way to improve the chances. These four have been at it for years (two of them for a decade now) so they've learned plenty of lessons.Of all the advice given and observations made, I especially liked Fisher's comment that blogging forums are perhaps the least monetized and least respected aspects of blogs, but absolutely the most valuable to the blog in terms of knowing what people are looking for and where to take your blog. Related advice was to participate in your forums, poll them, do surveys and basically engage your forums.
In my opinion, these bloggers - having started out with something they were passionate about, then having added other bloggers to their site - are doing the next step in magazines. Take the basics of a magazine - a specific topic, provide great content by great writers and toss in the convergence factor.
Fehrehbacher noted that what makes blogs interesting, as opposed to traditional journalism, is that they tend to take a stand, or have a particular position and voice. That's reflected by the fact that the content producers tend to be people in the field the blog is covering. The challenges tend to be the editorial process, fact checking, etc.
I found this an especially good panel because they focused on audience questions to drive the discussion, rather than Powerpoint presentations or taking most of the hour talkign about their blogs. The audience obliged with some great questions about creating content, attracting good bloggers, getting advertisers.
I also liked the fact that there was some mention of the difficulty of work-life balance. These are small business owners after all. Even though they love it, it's hard to turn the switch off - they're always thinking about the blog and growing the business.
In the end, what Friedman enjoys most about the business is being an entrepreneur. Fisher commented that the reason he does it is because he's so passionate about what he's doing.