Here's another question I've been getting a lot recently: What type of blog do you think I should have?
My answer: It's up to you. You have a couple of choices, but you can only choose one.
The Two Blog Types
There are two major routes you can take with a blog:
- Personal: You can make it about you.
- Thematic: You can make it about a subject.
Which one you choose really depends on what you want to do with your blog.
Starting a personal blog
The first presumes that there is a reason why people would want to follow you (eventually). It takes longer to develop a following (unless you're a celebrity) but is more flexible.
These blogs tend to have longer lifespans, as opposed to thematic ones.
If your blog is a place for you to share your ideas — and these ideas change over time — then keep it a personal blog. Just make sure your readers understand that this is your intent. And be sure that you brand it under your name and with your personality.
Starting a thematic blog
The second type assumes that you're choosing a topic that other people are interested in. It's easier to grow but doesn't allow you to get very personal.
Because of the nature of the content, a thematic blog can keep your audience at a distance. If you end up having a more vulnerable, “human” moment, it may come off as inappropriate for the blog. Your audience may struggle to relate (not always, but sometimes).
If you try to promote yourself or your work on this type of blog, it may come off as disingenuous or disconnected.
The good news, though, is that people tend to congregate more quickly around ideas than people. This type of blog may immediately attract a certain niche. Just be sure that you choose your topic wisely, and brand your blog appropriately.
Once you pick it, you're likely stuck with it for the long haul.
What type of blog is this?
I've decided to do a kind of hybrid. I'm making my blog about a theme that I'm passionate about (i.e. writing), but I've personally branded it with my name so that it reflects my personal journey, as well.
The limitations, of course, are the following:
- It's limited to a particular craft. If I ever stop being a writer, the URL becomes obsolete. (I'm pretty sure that this will never happen, so it's a safe bet.)
- I can't scale it. If other people want to regularly write for my blog, it doesn't work. It's my name that it's branded under. I always have to be the dominant voice. (Of course, guest posts are acceptable.)
- I can't sell it (unless you know some other writers named “Goins” out there). Of course, I wouldn't to, though.
Eventually, I'll branch out from the concentration on writing and expand into some broader topics (e.g. creativity). The “writer” part will always be a part of it, though, as this is how I approach most ideas.
Whatever I write, my writing voice will always remain consistent.
Which type should you choose?
It all depends. I have really been amazed by how much attention a blog focused primarily on a single topic can get you, so there's a lot to be said about finding a niche that you care about and writing for it.
If you're going short-term, do a thematic one. It will win you a community quickly, and in less time that you'd expect, you can sell it or give it away to the community.
If you're going more long-term, do a personal one. Focus on you, your life and your ideas; you'll be able to change the content as you change — without your audience getting too confused.
And no matter what type of blog you choose, make sure that you create compelling content and avoid the bad blog design status quo. There's a lot of crap out there; be different.
What type of blog is yours? Are there other types you've noticed?
*Photo credit: trazomfreak (Creative Commons)