Becoming PRO-fessional: what do you do when your blog doesn’t know what it wants to be?

choices crossroads

The Daily Post has some wonderful advice for beginners (like me) on sprucing your blog up and getting people to read it. The most practical takeaways (according to yours truly):

  1. You need better titles
    1. I can’t think of how to describe this need except to filch some great examples:
      1. The History of Philosophy, in Superhero Comics
      2. Henry James on Aging, Memory, and What Happiness Really Means
      3. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Little-Known, Gorgeous Art
  2. You can shorten your URLs to be more search-engine friendly!
  3. The biggest one, though, is that you should know

WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR BLOG

If you had to make a business card with the name and address of your blog (in a naturally tasteful typeset that perfectly conveys the tone you’re going for) and a tweet-sized statement of what it’s about — what would you put? “Walrus training and gourmet baking”? “Lots of my opinions on whatever I deem important”? “Literally my entire diet in Instagrams”?

Naturally, I write about this issue because it’s the one I ran most afoul of.

I started this blog with one very clear purpose: to write on issues of Christianity and cultural attitudes.

Since then, however, it’s grown to include:

…so I think it’s fair to say I’ve gone off the rails a bit.

And the reason you’re reading this is that perhaps you have too. 

what's your point?

The best blogs all have a few things in common:

  • stylish and attractive design
  • engaging, well-written content
  • a clear scope of subject

For example.

Cross-Shaped Stuff writes about practical Christian living.

Maria Popova at Brain Pickings writes about interestingness (a hard-to-define concept that nevertheless draws in millions of readers).

Life Out of the Box chronicles its authors’ quest to support education in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, and the US.

So what about you? What’s your schtick? If every topic on which you’ve written were a different color, would mixing them give you brown?  Or would they be a tasteful blend of complementary tones worthy of a top WordPress theme?

I can’t tell you what to do with your blog, but I know what I’m going to do with mine: decide on a clear, limited direction that revolves around essays (and possibly stories) that I actually produce. I think it’s time for this mix to stop looking like 10-year-old me’s spit after eating a Tootsie Roll.

NtP out

P.S. In light of this, I may in the future start separate blogs on such topics as:

  • How the history of Western thought got to where we are today
  • Awesome music that
    • is creatively excellent (without sacrificing lyrical depth)
    • tells stories that can change people’s lives (without treating the music as secondary)
  • Book reviews
  • Practices, tips, and resources that have actually made me successful as a professional author and/or blogger
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2 Comments

  1. Enjoying your blog Nathanthepaul! However I have to say I think digressing is a good thing sometimes – those subjects you’re covering that are more about you and your aspirations/struggles could be of great interest/help to others that can relate etc.

    Like

    Reply

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