If you’ve come by through the sustainablog domain in the last few days, you may have scratched your head and asked “Am I at the right place?” Yep… welcome to sustainablog 3.0! After a great couple of years as a part of the GO Media Network, I wanted to try something new: namely, the blog you know along with a store featuring a wide range of eco-products. Here it is…
Obviously, this is a big change on a number of fronts, and I’m sure you have questions. So, in addition to welcoming you to the new site, I’ll try to answer some of those questions.
So, why the changes to sustainablog?
The ad sales model for online content is a tough game… even tougher when the economy’s in the tank. Banner ad space is widely available, so it’s cheap… and that means you have to create a lot of it, and drive a ton of traffic, to make the numbers add up. I’ve got a lot of respect for how well the folks at GO and Virgance have managed with this model, but I realized it just wasn’t for me… I’d much rather focus on building a loyal audience (even if that means readership growth isn’t as quick), and creating a monetization model that meets the needs of that audience. So, the short answers are financial viability and serving the sustainablog audience to the best of my ability.
How’s a store do all of that better?
It allows us to focus on products that we know green consumers (wherever they are on the “green spectrum“) will want and need. If you’re visiting sustainablog, you’ve got some level of interest in a more sustainable lifestyle… so having green products available for you at the site seemed like a no-brainer.
What can I find in the store?
Just about anything. Need to stock up on green cleaning products? We’ve got them. Want some eco-friendly clothing for the wardrobe? We’ve got the brands you expect for men, women, and kids. Remodeling the kitchen, and want an ENERGY STAR side-by-side refrigerator? Yep, that’s here, too… and much more.
How do you ensure these products are green?
By relentlessly checking our data. Our store works much like a search engine: it queries a database, and pulls back products from a wide range of retailers. Generally, this works well; occasionally, some products we’d rather not feature slip through the cracks. We keep looking… and we hope you’ll let us know if you’re surprised by something you see (or something you don’t). We are in beta right now, so we greatly appreciate (and encourage) your feedback. Feel free to email me at sustainablog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Additionally, we’ve created our own sustainablog “eco approved” label. We’ll be applying it to products that meet a set of criteria we’ve established, so you can figure out quickly which products meet a higher standard than others.
Does this mean the blog will become focused on products?
Not at all… the blog will continue to focus widely on sustainability issues and stories. We’ll link to store items when appropriate, but only when appropriate. In general, you won’t see much change in the blog content-wise.
OK, so what’s the dirt? Why’d you leave GO?
No dirt… it was simply a matter of wanting to try some new things out. Being in a blog network has a lot of advantages: mainly, someone else takes care of the technical and monetization issues. The downside, though, is that you’re relatively limited in terms of what you can do technically. I just needed a little more freedom to try out some different approaches to publishing as a business venture.
I am still a stockholder in Virgance, and have nothing but respect and admiration for the work they do. I still consider all of the GO team friends and colleagues, and don’t see that changing.
You’ve said “we” a number of times… do you have a partner?
Yes… I’m pleased to have teamed up with search engine optimization company JB Web Analytics on the new version of sustainablog. You can find out more about them at their site, and on our “About” page.
I’ve still got questions.
Send ’em along… you can reach me at sustainablog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Thanks for supporting sustainablog… we’re very excited about the new site, and hope you are, too.
This is great news, Jeff. Good luck with the transition! Fostering the community and being independent is always best.
Thanks so much, Dean! Already having a great time with the new set-up…
The blog looks great, Jeff (& JB Web Analytics)!
I didn’t read this until AFTER noticing the store. I have to say, I think the store is a great thing and was psyched to see it. Looks great, & I love the idea of having the products and the articles in one site.
Very interesting to read why you switched and to read a little bit on the financing of blogs like this from someone as experienced as you… (you can take it humbly, but I think you have a lot of useful experience to share on that).
I’m not sure if I’ve explored all aspects of the site, but think it looks great!
Look forward to seeing it evolve further.
Zach — So glad you stopped by! Thanks for the kind words…we’ve still got work to do, but we’re happy with it so far…
Your new blog template looks good. Nice and clean with a pleasant-looking layout. Best wishes on your new home and I enjoy green things so will be checking in again. Happy green Christmas to you!
Thanks so much, Cindy! Checking out your site now…
Jeff I love the look of your new blog. I just stumbled across your blog a couple of days back, so I did not see it before the change, but it is impressive. I really like the store you have developed. I am always on the lookout for new eco-friendly, sustainable products and will need to make a few new purchases soon. However, as I was flicking through your products I noticed there seemed to be a lack of one of the simplest ways to live sustainable with your laundry… Clotheslines instead of dryers! Maybe I am being a bit critical seeing you have just launched but there are really some great options for people with any living situation. I have lined up a clothesline already from a company that is all about sustainability. Check out these guys, http://www.breezedryer.com
hi jeff, love the blog… will be back soon… pls check us out at EarthDivas.com. lots of fair-trade hemp handbags… and much more. 100% of profits paid to artisans and we pay 30% above local wage rate for each item… no leather, no synthetics. started as hemp-sisters.com, but have changed focus to all natural fibers and really focusing on fair trade products. i don’t take a salary or any compensation… everyone we work with is on commission… we keep costs down to rock bottom, pay artisans as much as we can… fair trade section of site should go live tomorrow… need help to spread the word… no $ for advertising. thank you!! ed–