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The Anatomy of a Blog

11-1 StaticPaul Chaney has a good post titled Ten Things To Do Before You Blog in which he gives…four… things to do before you start a blog (six more to come in a future post). He’s writing more about business blogs than entrepreneurial blogs like most readers here seem to run – but I particularly like his second tip:

Consider is its core message. What are you going to write about? What topics will be covered? What “tone” will you give the blog? Are you wanting it to be warm and humorous, or more straightforward and informational?

You approach will largely be determined by the audience you’re attempting to target. Obviously, when writing any blog your primary consideration needs to be your readers, at least the readers you hope to attract. They will have the most bearing on the nature of the content and the way it’s presented.’

I think this is crucial in all types of blogs. Too many of the blogs that I follow don’t seem to have a consistent core theme. I’m not arguing that you can’t post on a variety of topics and even go completely off topic from time to time – but I think it’s important to have clear in your mind (and your readers mind) what the vast majority of posts on your blog will be working towards.

With this in mind you can actually begin to build into your blog threads of conversation that build upon and support one another and move your readers towards an objective or goal.

Heart Beat – For example here at ProBlogger.net the core theme or objective is to help bloggers make money from their blogs. This is the heart beat of my blog.

Skeleton – Once I identified this theme I had something to begin to build towards. Around the them I constructed categories (or sub themes if you like) that I felt would help me expand my overall theme. In a sense my categories are the skeleton which holds everything together. They remind me of my goal and give me a structure to work towards it from.

Muscle and Flesh - With categories mapped out I put flesh and muscle on the skeleton with daily posts. The daily posts break down the categories into bite sized chunks. In them the rubber hits the road and I communicate the practical advice that I’ve found to be helpful in achieving the goal for myself.

Here endeth the anatomy lesson

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Allen Heat says:

    Hmmm..Nice..here are mine:

    Heartbeat- My personal passion to design and create graphics

    Skeleton- My Graphic Designs database: over 40 packs, and over 150 designed pictures were uploaded until now for free download.

    Muscle and Flesh- I always post atleast once a day, and try to be as interesting as possible…when i look at my post, at my designs…i say
    “i’m proud of you Allen….i think” lol

    Heat

  2. Josue says:

    What do you do when you have a “personal” blog? My main theme is my Christian journey. But a very important category is “pastoral life.” Other categories are devotionals, parenting and misc.

    Should I split my blog into several blogs with consistent core themes?

    Would you (Darren or the other readers) mind giving me your opinion? Thank you!

  3. Josue: The extent to which you apply Darren’s (very good) advice is entirely dependent on your ambitions for your weblog. I never wanted to do more with my blog than have an outlet for my enjoyment of writing and a place to discuss my wide variety of interests. I post on subjects ranging from web design and development to religion and spirituality, from movies and pop culture to politics.

    I have consistent traffic numbers that I’m satisfied with (average of 6600 hits per day from 1100 visitors per day from Jan to Jun, according to Urchin statistics). I have a core group of people who leave comments pretty regularly, and I’ve learned new things from almost every one of them. I’m happy with these things, and I wouldn’t change them. However, for someone who makes money from their blog or who otherwise blogs for business reasons, the stakes are higher and the choices are different. That, I think, is where Darren’s advice really comes into play.

    As someone aspiring to a career in freelance web development and consulting, I read ProBlogger for insights into using blogs for business. When it comes to personal sites, however, I think you’ll get the most out of your blogging experience by simply following your gut/heart/inspiration. It sounds like that’s what you’ve been doing, and if it’s worked for you I wouldn’t change a thing.

  4. Brainshrub says:

    A good way to flesh out your site is to attempt to get listed on the DMOZ. The DMOZ is a human-edited directory; you have to be very clear about what you are attempting to accomplish and state why your site is unique for the category you are applying for.

    The DMOZ is a kind of simple website business-plan that forces applicants to think through what the overall message of their site will be.

    If you can’t describe what your site is about in under 30 words, you should go back to the drawing board.

  5. Darren,

    Thank you for this superb post. Oh, and I also found your book excellent too.

    Although the contents of my blog all fall under the theme of yoga, I have 3 very distinct categories:

    1. Info about my classes;
    2. Yoga Q&A articles – about yoga in general;
    3. Articles where I make recommendations of projects or other resources.

    The audience for category #1 above just wants to come in, get the info they need and leave. For these people, the posts in categories #2 and #3 are likely just noise that gets in their way.

    The audience for category #2 is possibly interested in browsing around or discussing for the sake of learning.

    The audience for category #3 is looking for a product to solve a particular problem – such as a book or DVD that will help their particular stage of yoga practice development.

    Looking at it like this, it seems best to split into 3 separate blogs.

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