The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ask Arlee: What kind of blog is best for me?

English: Monkeys Blogging Español: Simios blog...
English: Monkeys Blogging Español: Simios bloggeando (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         A few months ago a blogger whom I like to refer to as "Dr. Johnny" posed a question to me after he had read some of my advice on a LinkedIn forum.  Johnny Velazquez, PhD blogs at Parilla.   Here is Dr. Johnny's question to me:

Should I concentrate on a particular subject when I blog, or whatever comes to mind? Blessings.

My response:

        This is a question that I think many of us face when we consider blogging.   I've seen this work as a dilemma that sometimes keeps people from blogging before they even try it, while in other cases bloggers will begin to have doubts about the purposefulness of their blogging or disappointment about a seeming lack of interest in what they are doing.

        To blog or not to blog?   Am I just wasting my time or is this endeavor all eventually going somewhere?

        If your goal is to be a writer per se then since blogging is writing, that in itself is good reason to keep on blogging.  If you're published already or hope to have your work published in the future, then your blogging activity becomes your platform for your work and your market exposure.

        If you have some other goal in mind like expressing your beliefs, sharing your knowledge, or whatever other reason you may have, then blogging can be useful as a tool of getting yourself out into the cyber world as an expert or an enthusiast in a particular field.   And if nothing else, blogging is fun.

        So what should you write about?

       I think content depends on your goal.  I tend to go the random route and blog about what's weighing on my mind or whatever idea pops into my head.  I consider my blog an eclectic blog because it doesn't stick to any particular subject.  In some ways I may still be trying to find myself as a blogger.   At least I'm consistent in my posting and I have my platform that I can eventually use as a springboard into other realms.

       If you have a field of specialty then you may want to create a niche blog where you are a go-to guy for whatever topic you're the master of.   It may limit you, but then again you can always sidetrack now and then for reader relief and to give yourself a writing break.

       Personally, I think the niche blogs can get a little dry and redundant unless written by an exceptional writer with a wealth of near unquestionable knowledge and experience.  If you keep the material fresh and on top of trends you might appeal to your target audience and begin to attain a regular following.  This will probably not be easy and will probably require a lot of work.  But if you stick to it, this route may be well worth the effort in the long run, especially if you have books or other products to market.

     You may want to gravitate towards your personality and whatever agenda or information you want to convey to your audience.  It doesn't hurt to experiment and get reader feedback to help shape your course in blogging.  And you should post on a schedule so any readers you manage to hook know when to look for your blog posts.

      The bottom line is to blog about what interests you most.    Show the readers the side of you that you want them to see and try to make an effort to get them to like you or at least want to come back to see what the heck you'll be doing next.  Subject matter is probably less important that style and presentation.  The most interesting topic can put a reader to sleep if left in the wrong hands, while an utterly ridiculous topic in the hands of a creatively entertaining writer can grab a reader's attention. 

       Content may be king, but the housekeeper who keeps everything clean and fresh is the one who makes the castle an inviting place to visit.   Blog about what you like and then listen to your guests.  Ask questions to see what they think.   Learn to read between the lines or beyond what is said in the comment box.  If the comments are especially good then you probably have done something right in the post you've written.   Now keep doing it.

       If you aren't getting as many comments as you'd like to see then you've got to get out there and drum up blog business.   So, in answer to your question, blog about a particular subject if you wish or use whatever comes to mind when you're writing.  Like what you do and if that comes across to the reader there's a good possibility that they may like it too.   Write it right and keep yourself open to changing your direction if you need to.   From what I've seen so far, there are no set rules in blogging, but some things work better than others.    It's up to each individual blogger to find out what works best for them.

      What kind of blogging works best for you?   What kinds of blogs do you prefer to read?     Do you regularly read any blogs that you would consider to be "niche blogs"?    Did I basically answer a question with a question?

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  1. Whatever you blog about, you need to be excited about it. If you're not excited, your readers won't be excited.
    I found my topic(s)and my theme and haven't looked back. And I do listen to my readers, because they are one of the biggest reasons I'm blogging.
    Not lacking for comments, especially after Monday's post!

  2. Hi Lee .. I was lucky and found my area of interest - it is open-ended ... but I make sure my posts are unique, informative and I usually add some history and have photos - which can add to the explanation ...

    I also really appreciate the comments I receive ... I just consider myself incredibly lucky - definitely helped by find you and the A-Z challenge ... with all the wonderful blogging friends out there ..

    How Alex copes I've no idea!!

    Cheers Hilary

  3. While this is absolutely brilliant advice Lee I think that the best thing to glean from this is that it honestly depends on your goal. I love writing about anything and everything but it's different for others than it is for me, great post mate.

  4. The challenge has to hold the readers interest I agree and like Hilary say think of all the comments......everyone love comments but one has to put the ground work in first,


  5. As you said, blogging is writing! And interacting with others in the same field is important so i love the part about commenting.

    What to blog about? well this is kind of tricky for me! I love haiku, so I share a part of it. I love books and I share a part of what I like. I love movies and i speak about them. I love writing about my writing and sometimes I write about that too.

    I've considered niche blogs, but I've finally decided to keep my writing together for now.

    Blogging is preserving a part of you forever and sharing with the others. i like it! I want it, so i'm all for blogging.

  6. Whenever I'm feeling lost or discouraged or wondering what the heck I'm doing, I go back to my tagline: wanna be writer seeks place to vent, practice, and share. I started my blog to hold myself accountable to WRITE and to get feedback on what I wrote. I had NOT expected the supportive community or the relationships AT ALL. That has been a HUGE bonus for me.
    Since my blog is for practice writing, I write about whatever I want. That's a nice thing. It can also be a hard thing when you're stuck for a topic. I keep little notebooks in convenient places to jot down post ideas, and then when I'm stuck, I use one of those.
    So to help answer the question, I think one needs to figure out one's purpose in blogging, and then the content will follow. Above all, the writing should hold the readers attention. We all have different styles, but it should engage, and induce comments.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  7. Forgot to subscribe to comments.

  8. Great topic. Our IT dept has asked me to teach a class (one hour) on blogging. I'll be discussing these very things.


  9. I do like diversity in the blogs I read.

    Now let me ask you something. What do you think of this new trend I'm seeing when a post has 3 or more different topics within one post.

  10. Alex -- It's like anything we do in life. To get others interested in what we're selling we have to also appear interested.

    Hilary -- You've got a unique blog that attracts return visits.

    Yeamie -- I think goal has a lot to do with determining and then retaining an audience.

    Yvonne -- You have to give some comments so others will know how to find you.

    Adriana -- I think variety works best if it is organized and scheduled to some degree. Nothing wrong with putting diverse interests on display when readers understand what's going on to some extent.

    Tina -- You described the way my blogging journey happened. The writing will eventually find a voice and things will get sorted out from there.

    Teresa - I lot of people are totally lost on the concept of blogging, but once it is grasped it totally makes sense. This would be a fun class to teach or take.


  11. Southpaw -- Great question. I like diverse blogs, but one post starts topic hopping it can get to be a bit much. I'll usually just pick a topic and comment on that. Of course it depends on how in depth the blog post gets. If it's like news and announcements and random ideas then the mix is okay, but if the blogger gets into depth about one thing and continues on to other similarly covered topics in the same post then I'm of the opinion that this should be broken down into a post for each topic. Don't put too much on the reader's plate or you'll wear them down.


  12. I find blogging a great writing exercise, which is why I started doing it more often.

    I have two focusing (kind of) on writing, the other on just random stuff. Obviously, the one with the focus is a bit harder to come up with things to blog about than the random one.

  13. Great post and tips Arlee...I find that even though I write a runner's blog I still add in the other parts that make up my entire life so it's more diverse than just about running!

  14. Great post Lee! I like to write about different things, too. I'm not an expert of anything, but I have touched on self-publishing a lot, other than that, it's whatever comes to mind. I do suggest though, not to blog about politics or religion, unless that's what your books about. It can cause ill feelings in readers.

  15. I worry about about my blog as a platform/marketing tool for when I get published. My books are on the dark side (murder and mayhem) but I blog light, going with humor when I can. Any thoughts?

  16. Whatever one chooses to post, if it is long and in small font, I often skip it.

    And if the post is about the over-use of adverbs, I skip it.

    Posts need to be interesting, engaging.

    The CAPTCHA drive me crazy.

  17. I like to read all sorts of blogs. If I find that a blogger and I have something in common, I might even continue to read posts that I have no interest in, in order to support the blogger. A good writer can make just about anything interesting.

  18. Mark -- Blogging is one of the best creative outlets for writing that I've ever found and the possibilities are so vast.

    Running --One can get tired running and every now and then take a breather. It's good for the readers as well.

    Lisa -- Politics and religion are iffy realms that can put off many readers.

    LD - I think it's good for anyone to have a diverse background. It might be kind of scary if a person who wrote about dark things was that kind of person all the time. The beauty of blogging for platform is that a writer can show readers who he/she really is and become closer to the audience.

    Susan -- Readability is very important. I'm not reading blogs for eyestrain, I want to learn or be entertained.

    Liz -- Amen to that! I'll read about knitting if the writing is good and I don't even care about knitting.


  19. Hi Lee,

    My human and myself have never been much involved with any blogfests.

    And I know that the number of followers on a site has little bearing on the popularity of a site. We are blessed to be involved in an intimate, genuine group via our site.

    Personally, my human and myself do a lot of variety, experimental writing, if you wish. Keep them guessing.

    What we find when we visit blogs and we visit a lot, is that some are way too long and it can then become tedious. We hate to skim, but that's the way it goes. I think we keep our postings, deliberately at a fairly short length.

    And more comments on my blog? Well, considering we still comment on every person or animal that commented, I wouldn't mind more comments. However, we would probably then have to consider more of a group acknowledgement. It's all about logistics.

    A thoughtful article, Lee.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar. Who may have left too long a comment....

  20. Interesting post, Lee. Got me thinking. I chose a niche blog to start with for various reasons but I do understand the need to keep it fresh. I know I have a growing number of regular followers even if many don't comment. I find that those who do comment most regularly also have blogs. I enjoy meeting and interacting with other bloggers AND I want/hope to grow an audience outside the blogging community. Challenging but I hope doable.

  21. Hi! I'm Rachel. I'm also doing the A-Z Challenge this year so I thought I would stop by and introduce myself.

    Your blog has a lot of really good points. Personally, I talk about whatever has happened lately or what I feel is important. I've ranged from funny posts to serious posts to rants about everything.

    I think the one thing that you left out, was that people should blog about what makes them happy. If you aren't going to be happy writing it, or if you won't like your own work, then you should find something that you do enjoy.

  22. Lee,

    Good post. I don't read as many blogs as regularly as I would like to, just because of the time factor.

    I have two, as you know, one book related (sort of) and the other about whatever I decide to post.

    I do post twice a week on both, which is a challenge to keep up with, but so far I'm managing it.

    I hate reading the blogs written in tiny print and where there is no paragraph spacing, just one large chunk of text. Usually, I skip those.

    A also hate the CAPTCHA and having to register on the WP blogs to make a comment. I skip many of those as well.

    As far as a theme blog, they are okay, but I think I like the varied ones better.

    Looking forward to the A to Z this year - my posts for that are all over the place - no politics or religion though. I will never go there. There are plenty of other interesting subjects around.

    Mainly, I blog because it keeps me writing regularly and that's always practice, which is good for all of us.


  23. Gary/Penny -- I've cut back on blogfests and will probably continue to do so. Just daily commenting is almost like a blogfest in itself. Only so much time in a day for dogs as well as humans.

    Jagoda -- Like face to face networking, in blogging we'll find those with whom we hit it off and others who aren't interested in what we do. The bigger our circle the more regular contacts we acquire.

    Rachel -- Welcome to my corner of the blog world. Happy is fine, but that is not to exclude those who blog about what stimulates their thinking. I don't know if we're always talking about what makes someone happy, but rather what they feel they need to say even if they don't like what they are saying. A sort of happiness in writing perhaps, but I know what you're saying.

    Sunni -- Do you ever tell bloggers when you find a blog that is uncomfortable to read or comment on. I have on occasion and they are sometimes very pleased that I brought it to their attention and make a change. Others ignore my suggestions, but that tells me that they are probably not paying attention to their comments and just live in their own little world of blogging. Don't know what to do about that.


  24. Last night I was asked "Why do you blog", I found that a tad difficult to put into words. I am one who just follows the ideas that occur to me on any given day and I enjoy doing it. I hope people will read what I write, I wonder how long I would continue if nobody read what I said though.


  25. I am beginning to see the real challenge this April is not going to be writing some posts, but resting my eyes between reading blogs, In this post and the comments there's a wealth of information my eyes didn't rest for a second, I look forward to reading more.

  26. I definitely think it depends on both what you write and how you want to come off. As a fiction writer, I'm anticipating that the audience is fairly eclectic and personable, so I don't mind talking about my daily life on occasion.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

  27. @ Arlee - Very nice article. It contained useful information that I will keep in mind. Check out my site, I have changed the focus to be primarily about all things country, but will on occasion include other things.

  28. Jo-- I've written many things that nobody ever read. Thank goodness I now have blogging as a release.

    Ida -- Thanks for stopping in to read. There are so many great blogs and not enough time (or rested vision) to read them all.

    Sarah --I think most readers want a peek inside the lives of the writers behind the blogs.

    Daron -- Glad you stopped by. I enjoyed the new feature on your blog. You're on the right track I think.


  29. Thanks Arlee. That's is a point don't put that mountain of veggies on the plate.;)


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