Does your blog serve your readers? Does it serve you? Is your blog able to find the sweet spot in the balance between serving both?
Those are the questions Darren Rowse asked today in his video post Who Does Your Blog Serve? The Secret to Sustainable Blogging. If you’re a blogger I highly recommend watching and then thinking about how well you achieve the balance in your blog.
The question might seem obvious. Of course your blog needs to benefit your readers. If it doesn’t you’ll soon have no readers. Your blog also needs to benefit you or you’ll soon lose interest. What’s not so obvious is how well you do both. How well do you balance the benefits to readers with the benefits yourself? Blogging is a conversation and it takes more than one to have a conversation.
Darren’s questions seemed like a good opportunity to ask myself if I was doing a good job maintaining that balance. And while I can answer how well this blog benefits me I need your help in knowing how well it benefits you?
Am I Serving You?
This is a question I ask myself a lot. From time to time I’ve directly asked you things like how you’d like to see comments handled here, but mostly I look to see which posts get read most often and which generate the most comments. Neither is a foolproof way of determining if the blog is benefiting you.
So instead of trying to guess I’d like to ask you directly what can I do to serve you better?
A few ideas I’ve been contemplating are:
- Book Review – I read a lot of books and thought why not review some that are on topic here.
- Q&A – Would you be interested in a weekly question and answer post? You could email me (or I could create a form) wit you questions about seo, marketing, design, development, etc. and each week I could pick one or two to answer.
- Site Review – This was suggested to me a long time ago. The idea would be to submit your site for analysis and I would write either a single post or a series of posts on how to improve your site.
Are any or all of the above appealing? Are there any specific ideas you’d like to see me implement?
When I choose topics for posts I’ve naturally tried to choose things that interested me and also hopefully interested you. I try to stay within any of the categories I use in my This Week In SEO posts, though I’ve certainly gone off topic here and there. Do you think there’s a good mix of posts? Are there topics you feel are over represented? Under represented? Are there topics that haven’t been covered before, but you’d like to see?
Am I Serving Me?
For the most part yes. I enjoy writing here most of the time, though there are times I wouldn’t mind a few days off. I enjoy the people I’ve met through writing posts and comments and the relationships I’ve built and grown with many of you. I enjoy sharing what I can to help you with your sites and I’ve learned a lot about improving things here at the same time.
One thing I’m not always satisfied with is the amount of time I have to spend to keep the blog going. It’s not so much the time it takes blog as it is the time it takes away from the things I need to do to create revenue I do have to eat and pay the rent each month. I used to have AdSense running on posts, but decided to drop them several months back. The revenue they were bringing wasn’t worth what I felt they took away by being there.
I’m not thinking of bringing AdSense back, but I’ve been mulling the idea of adding affiliate links where appropriate. For example if I do add a book review section each review would likely link to the book on Amazon. How would you feel if I added some affiliate links? Would it make a difference if I explicitly pointed out they were affiliate links, maybe by placing (aff) next to the links?
How would you feel if I did advertise again? Would advertising through text links be ok? Would banner ads be too distracting?
At some point I’ll most likely have to monetize this blog more in order to justify the time I spend working on it, but I’d prefer to find a way to do that and still serve you well.
If you don’t mind spending a few minutes to help me understand how I can better serve you and in the process still serve myself I’d appreciate it. If not have no fear. I’ll still be working on the question and thinking of ways to improve things for you and me. I consider this our blog and want to know what can be done to make it better for all of us. Thanks.
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