The grit for this little pearl came from this Tweet from a local and active blogger, Shai Coggins about offering one of her blogs for sale:
after which ensued a discussion via Twitter that involved myself (@aqualung) Oli Young (@oliyoung) and Shai (@shaicoggins) around determining the value in blogs.
My query: was a blog worth much without the originating author? Oli's point: "it's not just the author, it's the subject and the community". Shai's thought: "Certain blogs may seem to have their authors tied 2 the blog. But, there are those that're more abt the topic/content- not author."
Thinking about this kept me awake for quite a while, and I came to the conclusion (i.e. I fell asleep) that blogs fall somewhere along a continuum between topic-centric and author-centric. Note – i don't think there's any hard delineation between the two, and having a topic-focussed blog doesn't mean the author sucks, or vice-versa.
But it did occur to me that topic-centric blogs seem more likely to be monetised in some way, and were also likely to feature multiple authors – possibly to deliberately de-emphasise any single personality involved (yes I know there are plenty of single-topic, single author blogs that aren't monetised in anyway – I'm talking impressions here).
The corollary is that monetised blogs (and especially blogs that can be sold) should probably focus on a relatively narrow range of topics and be multi-author. This not only keeps a steady flow of posting, it also builds value around the topic(s) rather than the individual so that the departure of an author is more easily survived. This applies not only to blogs selling ads or similar, but to blogs which indirectly support a business – the Redmonk blogs (while being very individual) serve to build the company's community/brand/reputation etc.
Personally, I'll admit to following authors rather than topics, even for James, Stephen and Cote. I have a few subscriptions to topics, mainly professional interest things like Enterprise/IT architecture and SOA/BPM, but even there I tend to only read those where I like the author's style and reasoning.
Warning: being in my feed reader probably means your blog won't make much money for you … but then I've always been a subscriber to Doc Searl's tenet that you get value from blogging "because of, not with" – you won't get rich in a hurry, but you can build long-term value.
BTW – if you want to know how Shai goes with the sale, she's tracking the process right there on the blog.