Friday, July 08, 2005

Blog Focus?

You may or may not be familiar with Shane over at Wesley Blog. It's an excellent blog, even if I don't agree with everything he says (but who agrees totally on anything?). Anyway, he's been profiled at Locusts and Honey and has this advice to beginner bloggers:

The first thing you should ask yourself is if you really want a lot of readers. That sounds silly at first, but some people look at their blogs as personal journals, and they may not want hundreds or thousands of people stopping by daily. Family and friends are usually who they’re targeting. But for those who do want to reach as many people as possible, I recommend finding a niche that no one is covering, one that you’re passionate about, and give it everything you have. General political and religious blogs are a dime a dozen, but well-done specialized blogs are a rare find. When I started Wesley Blog, I could not find a blog by a United Methodist that focused almost exclusively on Methodism. So I started one, and I wasn’t afraid to spend a few bucks on marketing it. (Otherwise, no one would have ever known about it and I would have gotten bored within a week and shut it down.)

The middle part is the part I'm most interested in. While I didn't start this blog with ambitions to attract a huge readership, I have been quite amazed at the level of traffic here over the course of General Synod. This suggests to me that to some extent people are looking for (or at least during Synod were looking for) some uniquely UCC voices as Shane suggests people have been seeking uniquely United Methodist voices. Anyone who has been reading this blog over the course of the past several weeks have already encountered numerous UCC-specific posts. While many bloggers listed in my blog list on the sidebar idenitify as UCC, only one or two of them to my knowledge have an intensive focus on UCC-related items.

Perhaps this is where Philosophy Over Coffee is headed. Maybe that's the niche that it needs to address. What I don't want is for this to be an endless presentation of news items and commentary. I'd get bored with that, as others might as well. But if there is some way that this blog can speak to items facing the church and the United Church of Christ in particular without the article & response, article & response format, then I'd gladly be more intentional about shifting the focus.

Or maybe I've already achieved that and don't need to change anything.

Hm.

2 comments:

John said...

I teach classes in blogging, and the way I explain successful blogging to my students is this: to gain traffic, you must be able to answer this question "Why would complete strangers want to read your blog?" That pretty much eliminated personal journals except for very talented writers.

So unless one has the ability to become the next Instapundit or Kos, it is wise to find a micronice and fill it.

Realizing that I have little actual talent for writing and analysis, I chose the niche of Methodist meta-blogging. So I came up with the Methodist Blogs Weekly Roundup, and the Blogger Profiles. Neither require much ability, just work. After diligent work, I have acquired a large number of regular readers.

Monk-in-Training said...

I like your blog just as it is, and I am not UCC, but Anglican. :)