Having a clear and consistent focus is critical to your blog’s success. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. It’s why people subscribe.
Let’s say you have a blog about web design. Readers find your blog, they like the content, so they subscribe. But then you publish several posts that have nothing to do with web design.
Why will your subscribers continue to read your blog when you’re giving them content they didn’t sign up for? If you publish content that people didn’t subscribe for, they may unsubscribe. You might get lucky – but can you afford to take the risk?
2. It helps your search engine ranking.
In this example, we’ll assume you have a blog that reviews digital cameras. You write 20 camera reviews and each post gets lots of hits from search engines. People search for cameras and find your reviews. All sounds good, right?
Now let’s say you write 10 off-topic posts. The previous posts should still rank well for cameras, but your home page may start to lose ground in search engine results.
This is a big mistake. Sure, some people may reach your site via a specific post, but the home page is a way of getting people through the front door, and it’s likely to be your “best presented” area with new and popular content being easy to find.
It’s a no brainer really. Don’t harm your search engine ranking by continually writing off-topic posts. (Ironically, this rule is broken by blogs who show you how to improve your position in search engines!)
3. It’s what you know.
Regardless of your opinions on subjects that aren’t really connected to your blog, don’t get out of your depth. Even if you’re well-versed in the subject at hand. If you really want to do that, start another blog.
4. It keeps your blog in a specific category.
An off-topic post every now and again might be acceptable to your readers, but going off-topic on a regular basis will result in your blog becoming a “mixed bag”. If that’s what you want, go ahead, but trying to do a lot of things well can result in you doing a lot of things badly.
I think your blog is much more likely to be found in a blog directory if you have a specific category. The catch-all categories are a bit of a mess. Then again, maybe you want to hide your blog…
5. It challenges you to be creative.
Even the broadest topic can be hard to write for sometimes. But not sticking to your focus can make you think it’s OK to write about anything and everything.
When your topic no longer matters, it’s all too easy to resort to pointless, useless, boring, throwaway posts. At that point, blogging becomes a bad habit rather than a productive exercise.
6. It helps to hammer home your message.
If every post is the same, it’s going to get boring – but sometimes it can be useful to revisit previous topics with a fresh outlook.
Keeping to your focus allows you to reinforce the messages you first mentioned in previous posts. It also means you can put forward your arguments to those who may have missed your post the first time around. For the people who read the original post, maybe they’ll like it even more this time. Make sure they do.
7. It gives a sense of continuity from one post to the next.
I’m not a huge fan of “anything and everything” blogs because they seem to lack a natural flow from one post to the next. Not every post can follow on from the last, but sometimes you have to write one post before you can write another – especially if you’re writing tutorials, or a series.
Continuity allows you to write information-rich articles without having to compress everything into one uber-post. You can always split your posts into smaller posts if they get too long.
8. It makes it easier for you to link your posts together.
Even if you’re not writing a series of posts to be read consecutively, you can link to earlier posts to prevent massive tangents that may detract from the topic in hand.
I think this is a good way to write blog posts that shine. But you see, if I’d written about all the other ways to write blog posts that shine, I wouldn’t be staying true to the focus of this post – and I’d be missing an opportunity to write more about posts that shine in a separate post. If I hadn’t already done so, of course.
9. It allows you to become an authority in your niche.
Two bloggers start writing about self-improvement. Blogger A writes a few posts every week on self-improvement, with an occasional off-topic post. Blogger B starts by writing one post every day on self-improvement before running out of ideas after three months. Then he publishes contests, news about forthcoming WordPress releases, and other assorted posts that are unrelated to self-improvement.
Assuming that both bloggers have a good writing style and promote their blogs in similar ways, who do you think is more likely to attract readers who want posts about self-improvement?
Note: Any similarity to bloggers living or dead is purely coincidental. Not that I’d expect anyone to be called “Blogger A” or “Blogger B”.
10. It suggests your blog will be around for some time.
Too many off-topic posts can quickly become a turn-off for readers, and drive them away. This means fewer comments, and can increasingly make you feel like you’re talking to yourself. As a result, you may start to wonder if it’s worth continuing to write new posts.
Blogs that publish posts with a consistent focus are much more likely to attract long-term readers. These bloggers embrace the community by writing compelling content that is both engrossing but also leaves people wanting to add their views. A strong focus that you stick to is vital to maintaining a blog for a long period of time.