Skip to main content
Now building my TET.Life Store.

Creating a Blog Business: Digital Art and Animation / Part 2: Researching Competitors

Setting up a blog website is so easy and cheap it's tempting to just register a domain, link it to a blogging platform and then just start blogging. Why not, right? Everything else you can just work out as you go. That's how I started all my other blogs and look how well they're doing... (see part 1 in this series).

To summarize, I started this blog in 2004 and my Animation and Video blog in 2008. At the time of writing, both blogs combined earn me enough income to buy a cheap lunch once a month.

Let's do something a little crazy and try a bit of research and planning before launching the digitalartandanimaton.com site. In doing so, I should be able to, at the very least, earn a higher monthly income than my current blogs, a lot sooner (like years sooner).



Existing Digital Art and Animation Sites


Before you embark on any new business it's always a good idea to research what is already out there. I've heard many a new business startup say they have no competition, that there idea is unique. Which may be true in some cases but it's pretty rare. There's always someone doing something that is at least similar.

Competition is good as it means there is demand for your idea. If you can find a way to do what the competition is doing, only better, or fill a niche in the market that isn't currently being catered to then it's going to make competing a whole lot easier, so... research!


Part 1 in this series listed 4th in a Google search for
'digital art and animation'.

In part 1 I included a link to a Google Search for digital art and animation that turned up a list of mostly educational institutions promoting their related courses. Interestingly, when I clicked that link today, Part 1 of this blog series is the fourth entry on the first page of search results (keep that in mind - all the search keywords are in the heading of this series).

On this search alone I browsed through five pages of mostly colleges and other educational organisations promoting their courses. I didn't come across anything remotely like the site I want to build.

The number of digital art and animation courses is promising as I may be able to approach these organisations and offer advertising space as a possible income source.

Not finding any reall equivalent competitor with that search I decide to narrow it down a bit and search for digital art and animation blog. Once again part 1 of this series comes up as 

fourth in my search results but I also find a couple of contenders on the first page.

FIDM Digital Arts.com Blog

The digital arts blog of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising which has four different campuses located around the USA. Although 'Fashion' features prominently in the name the school and blog appear to be very focused on a wide variety of creative and digital arts.

Their blog, covers a fairly broad range of digital media creative arts but for the most part features areas of interest that relate back to the courses available at FIDM. The blog layout and design is well organized and could be a good model for my own site.

Whilst it's a very good blog, I'd say its lack of independence is holding it back from being a general resource for anyone not familiar with or having been a student of FIDM.

Digital Arts Online

Described as the UK's leading resource for creative professionals, if you haven't heard of them and you're a digital artist it was probably only a matter of time before you would. This site pretty much covers everything relating to digital arts and is definitely a direct competitor.

Digital Arts Online feels big and is owned by one of the world's leading media and technology companies. It features a wide selection of articles, guides and is contributed to by many different sources. Definitely a great resource.

Honestly, this site is something that I would aspire to be eventually but perhaps its 'bigness' can work to my advantage in the short term? Maybe my site can have a more personal connection with readers simply by being smaller and more personal. Just a thought.


This blog is partnered with Pluralsight the online, on demand learning site for technology professionals including all aspects of digital creative arts. It's very much like FIDM but its courses are not limited by geography at all and the blog covers all aspects of digital arts.

If I'm honest their blog is probably pretty close to where I'd like mine to be once it's up to speed.  I did notice that their 'Latest News' front page featured all articles from over a year ago. Blog neglect isn't a good sign.


The classic example of why having a quirky domain name can be a bad idea. Nobody is doing Google searches for 'Creative Bloq' and I only found the site through the search term digital art animation tutorials news reviews where the site was listed eighth as 'Computer Arts Magazine | Creative Bloq'.

That said, the site itself is really good covering all aspects of visual creativity that can be narrowed down to just the digital arts section if you wish.

The site is owned by Future Publishing Limited, a leading international publisher of digital media.

---o ---o--- o---

I could probably keep going and unearth many more sites through different combinations of keywords relating to digital art and animation. Of the searches I did, the majority seemed linked to educational institutions or were blogs relating to specific artists and their work/interests in the field.

I deliberately haven't looked at social community sites like Deviant Art or New Grounds as these, I feel, serve a different purpose overall despite there being some obvious crossovers.

What you do with this research is up to you. Just being aware of competitors and what they're doing is a good start.

You could insert their domain names into a website valuation tool like FreeSiteWorth to get some insights into the kind of traffic and estimated income each site is achieving. Don't take the results as fact though. At best it's an educated estimate based on publicly available stats. Only the site owners know for sure. (For my blog, Animation and Video, it says my income is $1/day... That's like crazy money! LOL  Seriously though, that has to not take into account my revenue split with Google Ads)

For the most part, I'd suggest studying competitor sites, borrowing what you think works, steer clear of what doesn't and look for some niche they may not be filling that you can take advantage of. That's what I'll be doing.

---o ---o--- o---

As the research stage of this series turned out to be much more detailed than I anticipated, I'll leave it to next week to look at my Site Structure and Content, along with Ways to Make Money.

Comments


Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for your self. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you.

Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age.

Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen.

Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an ipod, or your daughter can chat to five friends at the same time on he…

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured).

At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop, Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self. As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside.

Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme, was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2, because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below.



My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went nowhere on the char…

What If Being Yourself Isn't Good Enough?

One of my most personal public videos is a collection of outtakes edited together with my narration, read word for word, from my blog post written back on August 5th, 2007 titled Is Being Me Good Enough? I made the similarly titled video the next day.

At the time the video (which you can view below) generated some discussion in the comments and was a real turning point for me personally in how I thought about myself and how I presented on camera. It took a weight off my shoulders.


[Note that especially for this article I've re-edited and re-uploaded the video to Youtube because the last sentence on the original version was cut off by Youtube's uploader. The new version is identical other than I've added a title screen at the beginning and cropped the footage for 16:9 ratio - plus added some length to the end to ensure it doesn't get the last line cut again.]

I came to be thinking about this video again because of my latest video diaries - which I will be the first to a…

Finding Time to Skate - Swap a Skateboard Session into Your Weekly Workout Routine

A common problem among skaters dealing with work/life commitments (typically older skaters with families, careers, or both) is finding the time to actually spend on a skateboard. In fact, life in general getting in the way of skateboarding, is what often leads so many to drop out of the sport, only to rediscover it later, once everything else starts to even out.

I'm certainly in that category. Never really giving skateboarding away altogether but only using a skateboard to get from A to B, when I didn't have a vehicle, for many years. In the last couple of years I've been trying to get back into the sport properly, i.e. building up my trick list and skating for fun and not just to get from A to B.

The problem is I have so many interests, projects, paid work, and more, that I would often leave skateboarding to the end of my day. Kind of as something to look forward to. Except I wouldn't be that motivated to really improve because my mind would be fried from everything …

"You are the Generation that bought more shoes..."

"You are the generation that bought more shoes, you get what you deserve." This quote is a song lyric that I heard on the radio (my apologies to the writer and artist that it belongs too because I don't know who either of you are). It's a great line and I can only assume it refers to the apparent lack of interest today's eighteen to twenty somethings appear to have in more serious and deeper issues.

Not that I'm trying to hold myself up as someone who campaigns strongly for the greater good of human kind or that I spend significant amounts of time raising awareness of important issues. I'm certainly not a poster boy for changing the attitudes of people with too many shoes but lyrics like that do make you think.

It's at this point that I really don't know where to go with this article. Should I focus on the material nature of modern society and its obsession with having more stuff? Or should I mention a few important issues, like Human Rights Abuses,…

Filming Myself Skateboarding - Finding a Balance and a Reliable Video Editor Phone App

I like filming myself skateboarding. The problem is I'm not interested enough in the filmmaking  process to film great shots or tell a compelling story each video to compensate for my lack of ability on a skateboard.

It's not that I'm bad at skateboarding, and I understand there is an audience of people who like to watch how other beginner (or aging relearner) skaters progress. I'm part of that audience.

As much as we love watching pro skaters video parts and competition runs, for many of us that level of skating isn't as relatable as watching someone going through the same struggle we're having with trying to land basic pop shove-its and kickflips.

I recently broke the drought of not making skateboard videos for the past six months by posting a new driveway skateboard session that I filmed, edited, and uploaded from my phone. You can watch it below.



This video would have had a bit more of a story had the bit in the middle, where I gave my initial thoughts on …