Merging the Offbeat Families archive into Offbeat Home & Life

We're coming up on two years since Offbeat Families stopped publishing new posts, and what an interesting ride it has been.

Traffic increased substantially after the shut-down, thanks to an aggressive and weirdly successful Facebook strategy. By September 2014, traffic was back to its pre-shutdown levels, and then it increased again when we merged the Offbeat Families Facebook page into Offbeat Home & Life's page this winter.

families lifetime traffic

The Facebook merge felt like a big deal but was actually really easy and seamless and in retrospect made ridiculous amounts of sense. In the months since, I've realized that I'm ready for the next logical merge, which is folding the old Offbeat Families' posts into the Offbeat Home & Life archive. This means that offbeatfamilies.com will cease to be a freestanding domain — all the posts will now live at Offbeat Home & Life.

Very little will be lost in the move. We'll have redirects to point all the old URLs to the new post locations. I can't say that nothing will be lost, because over the past year or so I've slowly pruned back the Offbeat Families archive from 2400 posts to about 1800… clearing out posts with dead links, dead photos, and dead content. (When I say "dead content" I mean stuff like advice posts that never got many answers, or site announcement posts announcing things that stopped mattering years ago. Honestly, I'm impressed so much of the site's content has aged so well, but it's not surprising that there were some duds in there…)

There are tons of advantages to merging the content:

  • Consolidates Offbeat Families' remaining traffic with Offbeat Home & Life (the site we're still actively marketing and selling ads on)
  • Gets Offbeat Families' older posts in front of Offbeat Home & Life's current readers
  • Avoids promoting a retired site/brand
  • Improves the search engine value of Offbeat Home & Life
  • Streamlines intrasite navigation on all Offbeat Empire sites
  • Avoids confusion from new readers about why Offbeat Families looks and acts differently

Plus, there was always some weirdness between which content went on Offbeat Home & Life, and which went on Offbeat Families and this FINALLY resolves that 2011 clusterfuck. Now Pimp My Nursery will be tucked in with Offbeat Home's decor content, where it belongs. In some ways, the sites never should have been separate.

This week, Kellbot will be testing and then executing a full migration of all the offbeatfamilies.com content into offbeathome.com, and setting up redirects so that all the same old links will still work. (No link rot here, NO SIR!)

Honestly, I'm guessing very few people care about or even really notice this shift… Half of Offbeat Families' traffic comes from search engines (and search engines will find the same content when it lives on Offbeat Home & Life, benefiting THAT site's metrics), and most of other half comes from Offbeat Home & Life's Facebook page (where we'll still be linking those same "greatest hits" posts, just in their new location).

But you know me: I like to be transparent about what I'm doing and why, so here's more than you ever wanted to know! HA.

Any questions about this, or any other Offbeat Empire stuff?

Update June 25, 2015

All done! All offbeatfamilies.com posts now live at offbeathome.com/filed/families. Farewell again, Offbeat Families. It was a long strange trip.

  1. I just want to tell you that I adore you, and your transparency. I learn so much about online publishing from you.

    16 agree
    • Agreed! Even though I'm mostly just a lurker, I picture you as a wise internet/business guru who is teaching me so so much all the time. I totally see reading Empire at work as work-related research!!

      2 agree
      • I'm an occasional reader. Offbeat empire is the site that I check most frequently, because I love the transparency. And then it gets me to see what I've been missing everywhere else.

    • Aww, thanks you guys! If you have any topics you wish I'd write about, lemme know. For the most part, the Offbeat Empire site is just little announcements and shit… but if you have specific questions, I'm always happy to ramble. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. (1)thanks for letting us know! Even if it's minimal, it's awesome to see inside the mechanics of the site. Oftentimes, we "on the outside" just get a AND HERE'S THE NEW THING! and never really know why that happens. This approach I've always found refreshing and helps me understand internet business models on the whole (because the discussions you have here are had elsewhere, even if the reasons or philosophies are different).

    (2)Is there concerns about mommy wars, histrionic drama comments increasing with the blatant link in? I assume that with that fold-in, that the recommended other articles will also fold in more OBH content. I'm not sure if that's actually curated or algorythmed (word?? is now!).

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    • Is there concerns about mommy wars, histrionic drama comments increasing with the blatant link in? I assume that with that fold-in, that the recommended other articles will also fold in more OBH content. I'm not sure if that's actually curated or algorythmed (word?? is now!).

      The comments on all offbeatfamilies.com posts were closed when the site was archived, and posts will remain closed on those posts, even once they're on offbeathome.com.

      The merge DOES mean that Offbeat Families content will be bubbled up into Offbeat Home & Life's recommended posts tools. I see this as a good thing, as it gets those older (but often still awesome!) posts in front of the current readership.

      The mommywars commenting is mostly on Facebook these days, and I worried about that a LOT when I merged the two FB pages. Interestingly, offbeatfamilies.com parenting debates that happen on Home's FB page are good for offbeathome.com… the parenting bickering engagement bolsters the algorithmic momentum of the page, ensuring that more people will see the non-Families content that's posted.

      Basically, old Offbeat Families' mommywars posts feed Offbeat Home & Life's current traffic.

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      • Good things are good! Thanks for unpacking that a bit for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate it!

        I tend to forget that Hate Reading is still generating positive things. It's a good reminder that all buzz generates traffic.

        Keep exploiting! I'll keep to the village here because I <3 this place ๐Ÿ˜€

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        • Yeah, the sad truth is that Facebook's algorithms reward drama, trauma, and bickering. While I don't feel comfortable catering to those base human emotions more than is necessary, I can't deny that people arguing over parenting stuff bolsters the engagement that propels the NON-bickery stuff into people's newsfeeds.

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  3. Sounds like a good move! I enjoyed the content coming from OBFamilies even though I am single and don't have any kids – interesting reading is interesting reading.

    So I will be one of those who don't have a problem seeing kid/family related material on OBH&L.

  4. Will the tags be migrating as well? Will it be possible to find OBF content based on the tags on the OBH page?

  5. A month later, here's how the merge has impacted Offbeat Home & Life's traffic. Orange is pre-merge. Blue is post-merge:

    Now, that huge spike is because an Offbeat Families post from 2012 went super viral last week. That's obviously an anomaly, but the moral of the story here is that now Offbeat Home & Life gets to benefit when those old Families posts randomly go viral. This helps us sell more ads on Offbeat Home & Life, which keeps the site sustainable.

    All 'n' all, this merge was a screaming success. Yay for change!

    5 agree

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