Tips for Tumblr Writing Help Blogs, Round II: Primary Blog vs. Side Blog

soulsearcher24 asked: I’ve gotten a lot of feedback so far, and a lot of people actually suggested a side blog. Why would you suggest making an entirely separate blog? I’ve found a lot of benefits to making it a side blog, but some advice on the other end of the spectrum would be greatly appreciated. I also want to thank you for that link; I’ll certainly keep it in mind while I work on my own writing blog.

There are pros and cons on both sides of the debate here. Should a writing blog be a primary blog or a side blog? We think the answer to that depends on the blog in question, so we’re going to tell you want we think then ask other writing help blogs how they do things and hope that they’ll take a break from being awesome and share their thoughts.

From the Blog Management page of Tumblr Help:

A primary blog is the first one you created when you signed up for Tumblr. It gives you full use of Tumblr’s social features, including Follow, Like, Reply, Ask, and Submit. You cannot, however, enable password protection or add multiple users.

Unlike your primary blog, additional blogs can be password-protected for privacy, and you can add multiple users to create and manage posts. Additional blogs, however, cannot follow other blogs, like posts, ask questions, or submit to other blogs.

So, let’s ask some questions. The answers to these questions will dictate what type of blog you’ll end up having.

  • Do you want to create a community around your writing help blog? If so, you’ll likely want to go with a primary blog. It’s not impossible to create a community around a side blog (FYCD is a good example), but it can be more difficult to brand yourself because of this next question…
  • Do you want to be able to ask your followers questions directly from your writing blog’s url? From a side blog, you cannot ask, submit, or reply on a post from a blog you follow. If you want to talk to people as your writing help blog, you can only do that if it’s a primary blog. And speaking of communication…
  • Will you need to have a second form of communication with your followers? If the answer is no, you could probably go with a side blog. However, on WriteWorld, for instance, we use our email to communicate with our followers. Followers send their creative writing for critique to our email, contributors email us articles, and our admins communicate and manage documents and articles via our email account. We also have around ten other accounts on various other websites (such as Tinychat, Grooveshark, and Skype), all of which are connected by our email account. Trust us, it’s handy. 
  • Do you want to separate your personal follows from your writing help blog’s follows? If so, then you’ll want to create a new primary blog. You cannot separate the blogs you follow on your personal primary blog to feed your ongoing obsessions with the Hunger Games and Doctor Who from the writing blogs you follow on your writing help side blog.
  • Do you want the blogs you follow on your writing help blog to know that your writing help blog is following them? Yes? You need a primary blog for that. Otherwise, those blogs will see your personal blog following them, not your writing help blog. Unless you’re besties with that blog (see: C from WriteWorld and Evvy from FYCD), they probably won’t recognize you.
  • Do you want other admins and/or contributors? We manage our affairs via email, deciding who will answer what ask and editing our articles there or on Skype before we post them, but many writing help blogs with several admins are run on a side blog. This makes total sense, and we wish it were possible for a primary blog, except that…
  • Are you planning on being anonymous? WriteWorld is a writing help blog run by anonymous writers (because of reasons). Our anonymity is vitally important to us, so having a primary blog with one password that we all use to sign on and do our work as a unit and without divulging (even to each other) our identities has been and will probably continue to be the most effective way to run our blog. If you’re not planning on being anonymous, then a side blog won’t be the same hindrance to you that it would be to us.

Do any other writing help blogs want to weigh in on this?

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