Behind the Scenes of AppStorm with Collis!

Here at Envato we’re pretty famous for building a lot of successful blogs, like this one! We’ve done quite a few now, so last year I decided other people might find our techniques and systems useful. Today I’m really happy to announce my new book How to Build a Successful Blog Business which is a step by step guide to doing what we do, and it comes packed with case studies for our blogs including Mac.AppStorm!

The book covers everything from picking a niche to hiring staff, monetizing to building traffic. Like all my books it’s very practical, but I think the best part is the case studies because they include things like our income and expense graphs, detailed backstories about how our sites came to be, and much more. To give you a taste of what the book is like, I thought you might like to read a little part of the case study about AppStorm:

Extract from The AppStorm Case Study

… Most of our projects begin with a search for a domain name. For me personally, having a name makes things feel a lot more real. Unfortunately finding a good domain name that is still available is hard work!

Fortunately this time I managed to persuade my little brother to think up and check names for me! From a huge list of 50 or so available combinations of “App” and something, we chose AppStorm. We were only able to acquire the .net name but it was memorable, short and immediately suggested a nice little logo design with a lightening bolt!

Almost a year later using the domain brokerage service, we did finally manage to acquire the .com at a price of $3,000. This was quite a lot to pay for a domain name, particularly for a fledgling brand, but we decided to invest the money to protect the site’s long term brand.

It’s always best to have the .com domain as so much traffic goes there despite however much effort you put into marketing alternate endings. Hopefully one day finding a good domain name will get a little easier, but for now it seems we’re stuck with spending a lot of creativity and occasionally having to pay large sums for names that someone is sitting on.

Planning a Content Roster

With the domain name located, we set about creating a provisional plan for content. Since the site was about Mac apps it definitely needed reviews as its staple fare. I knew that lists in the style of the original “45 Essential Mac Apps” post were great traffic draws, so we made “Roundups” one the top categories. Finally for Mac users looking to get more out of existing software, we added the category of “Howto” for guides and tutorials on using great apps.

I also contacted the comic strip artist NC Winters who illustrates for FreelanceSwitch to ask him to put together a weekly cartoon strip. I’ve found that these comic strips give a site some character and help them stand out amongst the crowd. While not every blog needs a comic strip, I do think it’s always important to have an individual voice and style.

Finding an Editor/Writer

My experiences with FreelanceSwitch and Psdtuts+ had taught me that the most important person to hire for a new blog is the editor. In this case I was hoping to find an editor/writer to produce content initially and then slowly bring in other writers to supplement their own contributions.

After posting a job ad on our own FreelanceSwitch job board, an extremely talented young man named David Appleyard applied. As one of the content editors at the well known Mac site: TheAppleBlog and a web entrepreneur himself, David was a perfect fit and one of the most fortunate things that could have happened.

Since David lives in England and I’m based in Melbourne, everything happened through email. I wrote out a detailed brief for David explaining the rough content roster I thought would work, how we might organize the site, what expectations were for him and so on. David sent his suggestions back and we made a few adjustments. Notably David introduced the idea for adding “howto” content. …

Extracted from How to Build a Successful Blog Business, by Collis Ta’eed


Read More Extracts

You can read more extracts from the other case studies over on Nettuts+, Psdtuts+ and FreelanceSwitch (the other sites covered in the case studies). You can also read a sample chapter by heading to our sales page for the book.


Get the Book!

You can learn more about the book, as well as find out what top100 bloggers like Darren Rowse from Problogger and Daniel Scocco from DailyBlogTips are saying about it over on the epic sales page that we’ve constructed! Get Blog Business!


Also: Envato Birthday Bundle 2010!

And while I’m here with news about my book, I thought I’d also mention that next month we’re running our annual Envato Birthday Bundle for 2010 and it’s going to be EVEN bigger than last year with over $400 of value selling for just $20! Find Out about Envato Birthday Bundle 2010.

So watch out, it’s going to be a big August!