Behind the Scenes of Nettuts 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 Nettuts!

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 Tuts:

Extract The Tuts Case Study

... Nine months after launching Psdtuts+, it was time to expand out the clearly successful formula to other types of tutorials. Beginning with web development and Nettuts+, we launched over the course of two years a total of seven more sites. Each one applies the same overall editorial concept into a different niche, with a different editor and different writers.

The plus side of this is that the Tuts+ franchise as a whole has now grown far beyond just Photoshop tutorials. The down side is that whenever our revenue looked like it was going to pass costs, we would launch a new site driving our costs up again.

To manage a suite of blogs also introduces an additional layer of complexity as you now need a business capable of:

  • Managing a team of editors each with a team of writers
  • Hiring, training and occasionally replacing editors
  • Handling hundreds of invoices from writers and freelance staff every month
  • Managing servers, installations and themes

These requirements meant we brought on first a Tuts+ manager by the name of Skellie, who was a former editor of FreelanceSwitch. Then secondly, we hired a WordPress developer named Derek Herman who took over building and managing the themes on all the blogs. Thirdly we hired a freelance and later a full-time PHP developer to manage the servers, optimize performance and handle emergencies.

Because Tuts+ is run as part of a larger startup, we have had the benefit of piggy-backing accounting, management and legal costs from our parent business Envato. For an independent blog business however these are significant costs not to be discounted.

Increasing Costs

As the network grew it also became apparent that we needed to pay our writers and contributors more. While the base submission payment is still $150, the payments for regular writers and special one-off contributors has increased so that we now pay a range of $200 - $800 per tutorial depending on the experience and fame of the author and the depth, length and quality of the content.

Similarly the additional burden of managing the growing enterprise also led to greater and greater costs as we hired more staff, more management overhead and of course the ever present hosting costs.

In fact by late 2009 our monthly bandwidth had passed 40 Terrabytes of data a month leading to hosting costs in the many thousands of dollars...

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 FreelanceSwitch, Psdtuts+ and Mac.AppStorm (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!

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