• What's the point?

    Apr 12 2006

    What's the point of this site? Well, the Big Picture is an outlet for me to write about my greatest passion: the Internet, the direction it's moving in, and the way it is changing the world. But at the same time, I work as a web developer, so this is also my forum for sharing different problems and tricks I come across, as well as touting the benefits of web standards and best practices.

    The result is, I have articles like Setting a form field to null or undefined and Let's get personal on the same site. This means that people who don't do any JavaScript coding have to put up with my technical articles. And people who just want my tips and tricks have to put up with my, let's say, fluff articles.

    Luckily, these both roughly fall under "The Future of the Web". If I started posting pictures of cats, or investing advice, or whatever, I might get more complaints. But even under the blanket of "The Future of the Web" I have some thinking to do about my target audience.

    I don't really write the techie articles for regular readers so much, they're more geared at people searching the web on, say, "setting form field null javascript". Nor do I write the fluff stuff geared at search engines; they're mostly for the regulars.

    So how do I solve this apparent dilema? I could create multiple RSS feeds for categories. I could spin off a second blog. I could drop one of the topics altogether. Or, I could just ignore the problem and let people skim over the topics they have no interest in.

    Well anyway, I haven't solved the problem yet. I've thought about these options, but I haven't decided what I'll do. But I'm aware there is an apparent identity crisis looming.

    How do you deal with identity and branding, and evolution over time? Do you put much thought into this before creating a site or blog, or do you just let it evolve over time and define itself? Where would you like to see this blog go?

  • Comments

    1. Joe at 12:47pm on April 12, 2006

    Hey Jesse,

    I didn't see any complaints in comments anywhere, so you must have gotten an E-mail from someone.

    I think it is 100% up to you what you do, it IS your site.  Don't worry too much what one person says.

    If you get too many complaints, or you start losing readers, then you worry.

    On the other hand, if you have enough of a variety of subject matter, you may want to consider starting another Blog on different subject(s).

    As they say... "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time".

    BE YOURSELF,

    Joe

    2. Jesse Wilson at 1:33pm on April 12, 2006

    Hey Jesse - you've already got:
    -  a personal blog, where you talk about your friends and experiences, and
    - a technical blog, where you talk about JavaScript and some issues.

    I've got the same setup, and it works good. Any further segregation and you'll starve one of them! The best I can suggest is to adding tags to your posts, such as 'javascript' and 'ideology'...

    3. Liz Strauss at 4:47pm on April 12, 2006

    Hi Jesse,
    A blog grows and changes over time, just as the owner and the readers do. Sometimes you have to stop to rethink your brand that's true, but sometimes you don't.

    Blogging goes through cycles during the year you know when folks seem to lose some interest--we're just coming out of one now. Look back over your posts through your stats and see which ones people are going back to, that might give you some information.

    Also, what are you really passionate about. When you wake up, what do you want to write about? That's the best choice you can make. It show up in your writing most and readers find that fun to read.

    Feel free to email me if you want to talk.
    Liz
    Successful Blog

    4. Joe at 5:16pm on April 12, 2006

    Hey Jesse,

    Listen to Liz, she know's her stuff.

    I wrote a small post on my blog regarding this and a post Liz wrote.  Somehow, they fit together.

    Good Luck,

    Joe

    5. Jesse Skinner at 4:02am on April 13, 2006

    Thanks everyone for the advice.

    @Jesse - yes, you're absolutely right. I'm only pumping out like 2 articles a week here and hardly any on ninjaguy.. :) Maybe tag-based RSS feeds are the way to go.

    @Joe - thanks a lot, and I appreciate the article too. I haven't actually gotten any complaints, I guess I'm just imagining what people might be thinking.. I should probably stop that..

    @Liz -  thanks for the great advice. The problem with looking at stats is, my JavaScript stuff is the most popular..but writing about JavaScript isn't really much fun. You're right, I should just write about what I'm excited about, whatever that is at the time.

    6. The Ultimate Groupie at 10:42pm on April 15, 2006

    This is my take on it, gathered from surfing A LOT (on average 300 per day) of other people's blogs.

    Scenario 1: It is a techie blog, and it is useful to me.  I look around for the information I need, then I look something personal about the author.  I don't find anything, then I move on with the useful information I received from the blog.  Will I come back again? Maybe yes, maybe no.  Most likely, it is "no" because I don't feel obligated to.

    Scenario 2: It is a techie blog/personal blog.  I find useful information, I read the personal articles, and I feel a sense of connection with the author.  Will I come back?  Yes, because I feel an obligation.  Mostly, it is because I feel a sense of connection with the author.

    Most of what I read online is a combination of information (based on a key topic) plus personal opinions.  I am not sure if this is what others do, but it is what appeals to me.

    7. The Ultimate Groupie at 10:48pm on April 15, 2006

    Also....

    I just took a look at the comments distribution. 

    There is more interactive communication between you and the readers on your personal articles, where the Javascript ones, although popular, lack discussion value.  Perhaps, this is another reason to keep both topics in your blog?

    8. whinwebworks at 10:04pm on April 19, 2006

    nice

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