I have been blogging for a couple of years. I started blogging because I thought it would be a fun thing to do, and I still find it fun. However, my blog doesn’t really have much of a focus, so it doesn’t have a lot of readership. I would love to be able to focus things a bit so that I could have some regular readers so that I could get some more reader participation. Could you address finding/managing a focus for your blog? This could be helpful for people who are new to blogging or people who have been blogging but no longer feel passionate about the topic of their blog (as well as people like me). Thanks!
Blogging is many things. It is a release of tension, freedom of expression, ability to communicate thoughts and feelings and ideas, therapy, sharing, teaching, lecturing, bitching, whining, groaning, and relationships.
If blogging to you is a personal experience, it doesn’t matter who shows up to read your blog. It’s personal, so expression is more important than traffic.
If having readers is important to you, as is building your blog to increase traffic, revenue, and attention, then building your readership moves high up on your list of goals, changing how you blog and what you blog about. For most bloggers, this means you need to change your blog’s focus.
But what does that mean?
What is Blog Focus
In searching for a definition of blog focus, I found this excellent metaphor in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book, Wyrd Sisters, from a discussion between the porter and Fool of the Lancre Castle:
“There is a knocking without,” the porter said.
“Without what?” said the Fool.
“Without the door, idiot.”
The Fool gave him a worried look. “A knocking without a door?” he said suspiciously. “This isn’t some kind of Zen, is it?”
A blog without focus is like a knocking without a door.
Don’t get it? Try this.
I look at the concept of blog focus like focusing a camera. Your blog focus is where you aim your blog. It is what appears in your blogging viewfinder. In order to really see what you are taking a picture of, you must focus the camera lens on the subject so it is clear and sharp. What you want to be in focus is, and what you don’t, isn’t.
An out-of-focus blog covers every and any topic. It may provide too much information or not enough on any one subject.
A blog in focus covers only a specific collection of subjects, or if really in sharp focus, a narrow subject niche, thus the blogger becomes an expert on the subject through her blog.
Still not working for you?
Your blog’s focus is the path along which you blog. The path can be wide or narrow, but experience has shown that a narrow path tends to be the most successful.
Let’s sum this up: If you want to have consistent readership, you need to have consistent content.
While these may help you better understand what blog focus is, it isn’t always about the content. It is also about the blogger.
Blog Focus on Subject and Writing Style
You’ve heard the line that “he can read the phone book and make it sound interesting.” There are some people who can write on anything and be interesting. A blog can cover a wide range of subject matter, but when the writing style and voice is so powerfully distinctive, it becomes the blog focus, the thing that makes people stop and look, tell their friends, and builds an audience.
Dave Barry and John Dvorak are just two bloggers people love reading, even though their topics dance around the map. They are just “fun” to read and you can’t wait to see what else they are going to come up with.
Their fame didn’t come from their blogs. It came from elsewhere and is supported by their blogs. More recently, though, there are bloggers whose writing voice is so strong and entertaining, they are creating a name for themselves in spite of their lack of a specific blog topic.
This is extremely rare. Bloggers are found when people go searching, not just by word of mouth. If you have enough of the content they need for the answers they are looking for, then they will dig in and come back for more, as long as you keep answering their questions and fulfilling their needs. Start covering other topics, and they might not return.
Meeting Searchers and Readers Expectations
When you focus on a specific subject, you become an expert in the subject, whether you want to or not. You better want to.
People search and arrive on your blog expecting to find you know what you are blogging about, so you better meet their expectations.
Recently, I wanted to find a way of making Firefox change some of its default behavior. After much searching, I finally found the answers on a blog and was delighted. I thought “here is a source I can return to over and over again to help me customize Firefox more.” I dug into their blog post categories and found not another single reference to Firefox. Not a tip nor technique, other than the one I found. It was well written and answered my question, but I wanted more.
Still, I had faith so I added the blog to my feed reader. After a month, not another post about Firefox showed up, and the other blog topics weren’t of any interest. I deleted it from my feeds.
Isn’t that frustrating?
Are people doing the same thing with your blog?
Tomorrow, I’ll cover some reasons for why you should have a focused blog, then next week, on finding your blog focus. Until then, think about what you blog about and what tickles your blogging nerves – what you would rather be blogging about than what you do blog about. Whatever that is, it is probably what you should be blogging about.
The Blog Focus Series
- Blog Struggles: Why Should Your Blog Have a Focus
- Blog Struggles: Finding Your Blog Focus
- Blog Struggles: Changing Your Blog’s Focus
- How to Write Like a Wanker
- 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Blog
- How Easy is Your Writing to Understand?
- How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging
- Horse Sex and What is Dictating Your Blog’s Content?
- Do You Ever Think About What You Write About?
- Hook, Line and Sinker: Luring Blog Traffic to Stay
- Fortune Cookie Blogging
- 20 Answers to the Question: What Does It Take to Blog?
- Too Much To Write About
- Blogging Challenge: Blog About What You Know
- How Do You Know If a Blog Has Integrity?
- Echo Chamber: 10 Tips on Blogging Original Thoughts Originally
- Copy Copy Copy: You Can’t Write My Post. I Can’t Write Yours.
- A Blog Anniversary: Learning From Your Past Mistakes
- Do You Get to The Point or Ramble to the Point In Your Blog?
- Don’t Guest Blog Until You Have Content
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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.