Evolving a Multi Topic Blog

I’ve struggled recently to determine where this blog is going and how it should be structured around the different topics. Most blogs base themselves on a single topic or theme, and this is great for keeping on track and attracting a defined audience. Most web users search for a given topic, and find a site that answers their question or has the information they need, and if the site has lots if useful information they may bookmark it or subscribe to it for future reference, and return later to read more and view new content.

This site is multi-topic one – a mix of personal stories and updates, photo galleries, some local travel and tourism, odds and ends on web development, social media and content creation all put together as I go along on my own little adventure in the blogosphere.

If I have trouble thinking “what’s this all about” then I guess a few people who visit the site do too!

This site in it’s original form began as an experiment – a place for me to write and have a mild rant every now and then. A couple of years ago I began a separate blog (“Shooting The Dragon”) for my personal photography. This soon fell by the wayside due to the overhead of maintaining another separate site requiring regular content updates, and now all my galleries appear here.

I also created a local community site (“Soqulu Central”) and that fell by the wayside too as the community, despite some enthusiasm, had no time to create any content to go on it, and my own content originally created for that site appears here too. More recently the content has expanded with the additional topics mentioned earlier.

Running a separate blog for each topic or theme is an overhead, so despite some of the drawbacks of a multi-topic blog I’ll be continuing in that vein with the goal of doing it better.

Blogging from the Bar

When you sit at the bar with a friend and chat, the conversation usually swings freely from topic to topic. Those topics may be of common interest, or one side may have a lot more to say on a particular topic and wow the other side with their insight and opinion, or amaze them with unbelievable stupidity.

Opinions may differ on other topics and each will argue their viewpoint. Throw in a healthy mix (particularly after a few beers) of off-the-cuff banter and you have a reasonable evening of chat. If your beer buddy sat and yacked on about Brexit for 6 hours (or 6 days) the evening (or week) would be rather dull – a bit like Facebook recently.

Sit at the bar for a few hours with a bunch of friends and you’ll have fun, teach someone something new, learn something yourself, and solve all the worlds problems in time for last orders. This is what we do every day in some form or another in our social circles.

When sat at the blog, my virtual bar if you like, I chat about stuff I’m interested in and readers can pick and choose what they like and ignore the rest. They can leave a comment or send me an e-mail if they’re in a chatty mood too. Also, when I get questions from local friends and business owners about how to set up a website, or a blog, or want advice on how to set up their social media and create content, I chat about that and write articles that may help – primarily so I don’t have to repeat myself to 15 different people. Some people actually read the stuff after I’ve put the effort in to write it, and that’s always nice.

Narrow topics such as “Bookshelf Building Weekly” or “Poodle Grooming for Pensioners” do attract niche audiences. “Billionaire Blogging” would attract far more. If that were my blog I’d probably call it a day after raking in the first 100 million or so and it would never achieve the grandiose claims of the title.

Bookshelf Building and Poodle Grooming conversations are short lived in my social circles, so with Billionaire Blogging also off the table this site will remain multitopic, and the new layout will better reflect that.

Migrating to Multisite and Elegant Themes

The new layout to look forward to is based on the “Extra” magazine theme by Elegant Themes as I feel a magazine style is more suitable to a multi topic blog, and easier to navigate.

At the same time the site is migrating to WordPress Multisite to easier manage multiple sites or subsites with different themes. Using Extra and its sister theme Divi the likelihood is that I can create just about any layout with just these two themes and the Divi Builder. The new FJ One Magazine site mentioned in my previous post is being built with these themes too.

So, this post will be the last post on this blog in its current form and the new one will roll sometime next week barring any technical disasters (or home disasters) sucking up my time. Along with the site migration I’ve been trialing and researching some new productivity tools – Feedly, Trello, IFTTT and Zapier – so some future posts later down the line once we’re up and running with Multisite and Extra.

Thats all for now, thanks for reading !

Jonny.

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