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Blog Struggles: Changing Your Blog’s Focus

Blog Struggles badgeLast week, I covered the definition and benefits of having a focus on your blog, and then gave you some tips on discovering your blog’s focus by examining and studying the clues your blog currently contains. Today, I want to cover how to change your blog’s focus now that you’ve found it, as part of this ongoing series on Blog Struggles.

There are several ways to change your blog focus. You can do it suddenly, or slowly. It’s up to you, and the amount of shock you want to put your readers through.

You also have to be prepared for consequences.

The consequences of changing your blog’s focus are:

  • Your readers might not like the “new you”, or at least, the new subject matter.
  • You will lose readers.
  • You might anger some readers.
  • It will take time for readers to adapt.
  • You will attract new readers.
  • It will take time for search engines to find and re-index your blog posts.
  • Your page ranking may change.
  • The change may not be fast enough for you.

While changes to your blog may happen overnight, the response to that change may or may not happen as fast. It takes time to recover when you make changes to your blog. Word has to spread. Search engines have to index. Searchers need to search. Just be patient.

Another unexpected consequence of changing the focus of your blog will happen within you. You will feel a lot of fear, anxiety, even a little paranoia. It’s normal. All are energy caused by change. In time, the energy will also change and you will begin to be excited, energized, and even a bit euphoric with the positive feelings toward your blog and your subject matter.

It’s just part of the process.

Changing Your Blog to Match Your New Blog Focus

Here are some things to consider changing on your blog as your blog focus shifts.

  • What Are Your New Keywords? To help searchers find your blog and its new specific content focus, create a list of keywords and search terms used to describe your new content. Add these to your blog however and wherever you can to help it get found.
  • Blog Title: Does it still identify your blog’s content? What would be a better, more descriptive, blog title? Does it say what you now want it to say? If not, change it.
  • Post Categories: Go through your categories and change them to better reflect your changes. Use recognizable and easily identifiable keywords that match your new blog content and focus.
  • Blog Design: Does your blog’s design and Theme need changes to better improve its recognizability? The changes could be as simple as changing colors, or could be more involved and require changing graphics and layout. Research other blogs that cover your subject and see what they look like. You don’t want to look like them, but you want to resemble them, as they are the ones with the answers and you want your blog to look like you now have the answers.
  • Post Titles: Start writing new post titles with good keywords and search terms, but also go through your past blog post titles and consider changing them to better match your new blog’s focus keywords and descriptions.
  • Post Content: Go through your past posts and consider changing them to better match your new post content. Don’t throw them away. Edit them to match the new focus for your blog. Even posts about unrelated subjects might be reworded in their content as well as in the title towards the new subject. If you can’t make them match, put them in a category separate from the rest of your new categories. They still might bring in traffic, and you could pick up a reader or two. You never know.
  • Start Writing From Your Heart: Make every new blog post be filled with the passion you have for the subject, as well as keywords that help your blog be found. Be sincere in your content presentation, and make the content yours, not just quotes and references from others. Your sincerity and passion for your subject will show naturally. Let it happen.

For the most part, make this a natural transition. Since the odds are that you have already been blogging about your passion, now that you are conscious of it, you may find most of your comments and highest traffic came to the posts that dealt with your blog focus. Since readers are already attracted to what you want to blog about, why shock them? Just keep giving them what they want.

If you need to make changes to your blog’s format and style, then do so slowly, maybe one change a week, so your readers will grow accustomed, or might not even notice, the changes.

How to Announce Your Blog Changes?

I’m often asked if the blogger should make a public announcement about the changes in their blog when they change their blog’s focus. I have several answers.

  1. If you’ve already been blogging about the subject, even unconsciously, do not make an announcement. Just keep blogging, sticking to your new narrow focus.
  2. If you feel inclined to warn your readers of the changes, don’t make a big public announcement. Tell them in a story that matches the form and style of your old blogging style.
  3. If your change involves drastic changes to your blog’s look and form, warn your readers at least a week in advance. The changes may interfere with their navigation and familiarity with your blog which can be upsetting and bring a lot of questions, questions that need to be answered in a blog post announcement which describes the changes to the content and navigation.

Maintaining Your Blogging Focus

Your blogging focus and passion may shift and ebb with time. It’s natural as you hone your blogging skills and expertise in the subject.

You may also make a mistake, and you may fail. Don’t judge yourself a failure too soon.

I’ve met many bloggers who were ready to give up after a year of blogging, when suddenly someone noticed their blog and linked to it. Traffic shot up. Three months later, she is still the talk of the town, so to speak, and her traffic numbers keep going up.

I’ve also met those who thought they were doing the right thing, went out and bragged about it to everyone, got a lot of traffic and a lot of attention by beating their own drum, only to find out after six months that they were bored with themselves and their blog’s content. They couldn’t find the enthusiasm nor energy to keep up the blog’s new focus. Their readers keep wanting what they had to offer, but they didn’t want to hand it out any more.

I recommend that you start slowly to see if this is what you really want to put your energy into. It’s like turning coal into a diamond. It’s one chip cut away at a time.

Blog Struggles: Blog Focus Series

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

7 Comments

  1. Posted October 23, 2007 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    nice.. and very much , on time.. I was trying to figure out.. how to when, what all things to change etc…….. u answered most part of it… do you have some tips on how to evaluate the change in blog focus.. a periodic review.. on the traffic generated ? or search engine terms change… etc etc ?

  2. Posted October 23, 2007 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I had to laugh — somewhat bitterly — as I read this, because I have changed my dang blog around so much and so suddenly that it wasn’t until recently when I picked a focus and stayed with it that I retained any traffic or subscribers. The hard lesson I learned is that if you want to change, implement it in small, incremental steps where possible.

    I’m in the middle of some big changes at my blog, but I’m following a plan so as not to mess things up or freak people out. The content has been shifting slightly, but mostly undergoing big improvements. The design has changed little so far, but that will come later. Easy does it. Thanks for the great tips, Lorelle!

  3. Posted October 23, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    @dinsan:

    Review of your blog focus? If you are blogging to make money, you need to learn how to align your market with your blog, but if you are blogging your passion, which can make you money, your blog’s focus is your passion and you will know the moment you drift off the tracks. THAT I will be blogging about soon. Stay tuned.

    Michael Martine: Luckily, I understood my purpose for blogging back in 1994, though it has evolved, which also evolved into different blogs, but the original continues. And yes, I know about doing the dance. We all dance it until we master the steps and then stop expending so much energy, moving with efficiency across the dance floor, with grace and ease…I’m still working on the grace part. :D

  4. Posted October 23, 2007 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Rather than change my blog’s focus I have started a new one; similar points and emotions apply.

    I haven’t even mentioned it on the old blog to see whether people find it anyway.

    An additional fear with doing it this way is that you may neglect the old one, which is not really doing your readers justice. At least I’m not in it for the money.

  5. Posted October 23, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Interesting post Lorelle, it’s inspired me to redo one of my blogs! Now if I can only learn a bit more PHP to modify the template, then I’d be all set. :-)

  6. Posted October 23, 2007 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    @Julia:

    You don’t have to learn PHP. You have to learn WordPress. :D The WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users, is your source for all things WordPress – making it easy to do whatever you want so you can get back to the content.

  7. Posted October 24, 2007 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    well, I am both I would say.. I was blogging on wordpress.com for 2 years .. and then moved to self hosted. Once I am on self hosted, I added ads too, just to meet the hosting costs.. :)


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