What Should We Write About?

Two hats
Photo by Dave-F

Do you wear a lot of hats running your business? I know I do. The many hats I wear is reflected by the many topics I cover here on the blog. As part of my year end re-evaluation I’m thinking it would be better to keep the blog more focused, which begs the question what should I write about?

A few months ago Chris Garret asked what is your blog about really? The point of Chris’ post was that your readers determine what the theme of your blog is by responding to certain posts more than others.

Consider what you believe you write about, is that the same thing that attracts people to read your blog? By not writing about what they expect, are you letting your audience down and reducing your appeal?

When I first launched this blog I saw any topic that related to running your business online as fair game. From the design and development of your site to marketing and seo and all points between. I later added posts specific to blogging into the mix. But what I’d like to know now is what do you think this blog is about? Which posts have you enjoyed the most and which would have been best left unwritten? What do you see me doing well and what do you think could stand some or maybe a lot of improvement?

Basically why are you here and what brings you back? When you do come back what are you hoping to find?

I have my own ideas for the direction I’d like to see the blog go and I’ve had a couple of emails from people who’ve let me know where they’d like to see the blog go. Now I’m asking you where you’d like to see it go.

For the moment I’ll hold off on sharing my ideas and await yours. I can’t promise I’ll be able to please everyone, but my goal is to make the posts here more useful and enjoyable for you.

Chris turned his post into a meme. I’ll keep from restarting the meme as one recently passed through here, but feel free to ask your readers some of the same questions. I think and hope the answers will be somewhat enlightening.

I’ll leave you with the same two challenges Chris posed to his readers

  1. Tell me what you think this blog is about
  2. Ask your audience what they think your blog is about!

As bloggers we often tell others what we think they should do. Turnabout is fair play so now you get to tell me what I should do and if you’re up for the challenge ask your readers to tell you what you should do.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

7 comments

  1. I often ask my readers to tell me what I should write about, or what I should do while I’m contemplating a certain decision I need to make for the company. They always have good advice, and I’ve used a lot of their suggestions. After all, people who read our blog are also our customers. The best way to do what they want us to do is to ask them and then do what they tell us. Within reason of course.

    As to what you should do, I tend to like your posts about writing and blogging best. You write well, and have some good insights, so I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say. I know, that’s pretty vague, so I’ll give it some more thought and see if I can come up with something more substantial.

  2. @Kristine – I’ve asked a few times with mixed success. The comments I’ve gotten have been good, but there usually haven’t been as many as I’d hoped I would get. I do think it’s a good idea to periodically ask your audience what they want. It’s the most direct way of finding out.

    Thanks for for being willing to take a look through some posts. No rush. I know it can take time.

    @David – Thanks for the compliment. I definitely will write about something that keeps me interested. I wouldn’t be able to continue if I didn’t. What makes it hard for me is I have a lot of interests and I wonder if writing about to many different, albeit related topics, might be leading to less subscribers.

    My plan would still be to write about the same topics, but push some of those topics out to other blogs in the form of guest posting. I could write more about blogging here for example and give seo posts to another blog and posts about design and development to yet another blog.

  3. Not that this is a helpful answer, but I struggle with that, too: I hate confining myself, but I know that making my topic clearer has helped readership. I’ve found it in business networking, as well: it’s hard for even well-meaning people to help you until they can define you or your work to some degree.

    On the other hand, I find I have a couple of highly technical posts in the making (algorithms and such), and I’m wondering if I’m writing them for me or for my audience (and, if I’m writing them for me, how my audience will respond).

  4. We’re sharing the same thoughts Pete. I’m thinking I’ll still write about all the subjects I currently write about, but having a little more focus would be helpful to readers. Posts that don’t fit as well with the theme I can offer to other blogs.

    With the technical posts you can always try one out and see the response you’ll get. I don’t thing one post will turn anyone away, but it might turn out your prefers that kind of post. The only way to know is to put it out there and see what happens.

  5. I read this mainly for marketing info and tips … especially with regards to the internet.

    Interesting question. My last post went a bit against the grain, and an upcoming one – possibly the next – is a nature story for Christmas. I’m hoping my readers will be understanding this time of year.

  6. Thanks Forrest. I do intend to keep the marketing theme regardless of how else I focus things.

    I think it’s ok to write something different every so often. It can be a problem if it happens too much, but the occasional post that differs is fine to me. I’ve seen the 80/20 rules used, which in this case means to keep at least 80% of your posts on topic. I’m not sure you need to put a specific % on it, though.

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