Blog development

Filed under ramblings • Tagged: Ramblings

I’ve been setting out some goals and related practices for the blog. Getting systematic about it.

It’s really powerful to see the WHY I’m doing all this, and then directly below it the HOW.

HOW is broken up into goals, “reach 100 subscribers”, and then an associated practice to get me there. In this case there would be a few: “sharing daily”, “adding first email capture content” etc.

This helps to keep things focused, and ensures that my actions are helping achieve the goals that push me in the direction I want to go in.

Writing a blog takes a lot of planning. I am well organised, but it is still a big, ongoing challenge for me. Most mornings there is just an overwhelming amount of possible things I could be doing: 20 different drafts, ideas for longer guides, paid content, blogger outreach, social media… That’s why I’ve tried to prioritise meditation and my 700 words above all else.

They ground me and get me writing, no matter what. And now that I am publishing some of these writings, it helps me hit my goal of sharing daily pretty easily.

I heard about the term “blog development” today, and I know there are a few things I need to work on there. I really need to crack running Ghost locally so that I can make edits to the theme myself.

That will allow me to customise my layout to include more email captures, and to present my content in a more structured way. Currently the home page is just a chronological list. It looks nice, but I want some kind of written map at the top of the page that outlines the main topics: eating well, meditation, getting things done, mental health, alcohol (free), etc.

Each of these can link to topic pages which list my favourite blogs for that topic, curated and ordered according to importance and impact. It’s often quite hard to find the best posts on a busy blog, so I want a reader interested in mental health to be able to click straight into that topic and then see my top 5 posts for them, along with any other content in that area (i.e. my blog post for Mind, email courses etc)

Once I have that structure in place I think I’d be ready to get a designer involved. The goal and focus of the blog will be clearer, and the brand should be more forthcoming. I have some saved images and designs that I like the look of, and I’ve also thought about using a ‘greek’ theme, emphasising the harmony of body and mind, cultivation (and love) of wisdom, physical training, critical thinking, and that unified, holistic approach to living the Good Life.

The terminology and approach is unique, unlike the very worn out, imported Eastern approach to self-development. If you’re a designer who’s reading this… 1) how did you get here and 2) want to give it a crack? Get in contact.

My other focus at the moment is finding a daily/weekly routine to try and structure the blogging. 700 morning words has been my best move forward in that direction, but I’m still trying to figure out how to balance blog drafts, edits, and work on longer pieces of content. I have 17 tabs open to figure out how other bloggers do it.

Each time I read one of their blogs it gets me really excited about streamlining and improving this process. Sharing my ideas and experiences with a growing audience, providing value and opening up new doors.

The process of blogging is continually surprising and unpredictable. The people who come out of the blue to chat, the random offers from readers, the new authors and books that I learn about. It is continual discovery and growth, and I love it.

Where will the blog be in a year? I have no idea, but I am building some routines and rituals that will keep me pointed in the right direction, and from there it’s just a case of showing up each day and sharing what I can. Simple, really.

(The annoying thing about having a goal of writing 700 words is that sometimes you naturally finish 10 words short.)

—Dan Bartlett
10 Oct 2018

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