Reader Poll: What kind of posts to include in the main blog roll?

Reader Poll: What kind of posts to include in the main blog roll?

I’ve been tinkering with the way I’ve been writing, trying to maintain balance between “keeping track of my thoughts” and “posts that are still accessible to a general audience”. My assumption is that some posts appeal to some people, and they are OK with just ignoring the ones that aren’t interesting. This is not the way to build audience, but then again making big numbers has never been my focus. I write to think, basically, and if what I write is useful to just a handful of people I am content with that.

That said, I really don’t know what readers are interested in, and it just occurred to me that I could just ASK. This is kind of a new thing for me; I get really uncomfortable with it, assuming that asking is unwelcome or not socially acceptable. I might get this from my late mother. It’s something I should get over, I think.

Here’s my question:

How can I write about varied topics in a way that is not inconvenient for readers?

Followup questions:

What mix of topics have you found most appealing?

Does the feed / blog page need any reorganization so you can more quickly find the topics you are interested in?

There are off-limit suggestions. Please reply in the comments below, and I’ll try adjusting my mix of articles to better-fit those preferences for a while to see what it’s like! This website has been a mess for a long time, and I want to fix it.

Thanks!

11 Comments

  1. Katie 5 years ago

    I guess I fall into the category you mention in the first paragraph. I subscribe to your rss feed, and just skip or skim the ones that don’t interest me. This doesn’t bother me at all.

  2. Wes 5 years ago

    Keep doing what your doing…

  3. y0mbo 5 years ago

    I just wrote my own blog post about personal branding, and like you, I ended up with more questions than answers. Asking your audience is a good call.

    I read your posts because of the unique perspective you offer. You aren’t afraid to iterate in public and that is very inspiring. I don’t think your blog would be yours if you took out the “thinking out loud” parts. It is in the thinking posts that the nuggets of genius are discovered. I can’t give you a pattern for how I glean ideas out of your posts unfortunately.

    One thought: If you want to parse out your thoughts for other people, maybe you could use a sidebar or section at the bottom of a post to list out what you see as actionable items anyone can use.

    I’ve been reading your stuff for years. Thank you for consistency in posting over the years and for sharing your thoughts whether you perceive them as good news or not.

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 5 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

    y0mbo, I like your idea of using a sidebar or section at the bottom of the post to list out the actionable items. Like a callout? I’ll give that a try.

    On the Facebook page, someone mentioned that she had similar problems with her own blog on Blogger, and added that the service has a search plugin. This got me thinking that maybe search-directed use of the Internet really is the new model, even for blogging, and that is the reality. If I really think about it, perhaps the challenge for me then is actually not one of content mix, but instead is consistently-delivered quality.

  5. Nicole 5 years ago

    Ditto rss feed. Ditto keep on keepin on. Ditto unique perspective. I guess I’m in it for the org tools, and whatever else.

  6. Avrum 5 years ago

    I enjoy reading about your thoughts and innovations vis-a-vis productivity tools/ideas. Whether that was sharing your reflections about one of M. Forster’s workflows, or reviewing a book… you never seemed to pander to popular vote or opinion.

    Most importantly, your wonderful and useful design aesthetic inspired me to create my own worksheet/workflow. Interestingly, things are working out so well in this area, my interest in productivity talk has diminished. Sorry Dave – you’re too good :)

    Still, I would be interested in reading about how people are using your forms. The hacks, modifications, etc., they’ve made, and your response to these changes.

  7. KTJ 5 years ago

    As a yearslong reader of yours, I’ve really been fascinated with your journey and how you’ve grown as a creator over the years. The stuff I love reading most is just updates on what you’re working on, what you’ve tried, and what you’ve learned. I always at least skim every post on your blog, though I might go away for a few weeks and then read a bunch all at once. Some of them I’ve bookmarked to come back to again and again.

    One way to satisfy your varied audiences might be to have multiple feeds. I know you were running WP multisite for a while but weren’t happy with the resulting headache. I personally would just subscribe to the “all posts” feed. One method I have seen on other sites that works for me is to have one feed for “feature” articles where you go in depth into some topic in a way that is meant to be consumed by others, and another for all the other miscellaneous personal stuff.

  8. Al 5 years ago

    Hi Dave, just keep doing what you are doing… :)

    I skim read sometimes and other times read the whole thing.

    The idea of an action list I think is cool. Perhaps there are more meta elements like this that could enhance the articles.

    As ever reading your posts make me reflect on my current issues and inspires me.

    Al

  9. Lynn O'Connor 5 years ago

    Ditto to some others’ comments. I’ve been reading you for years, and I seriously identify with you. When you write for some weeks about being paralyzed, or not making headway, I’m like “me too, me too.” Your ongoing experimentation fits me perfectly. I may skip reading you for a few weeks, and then catch up all at one. I continue to download and fool around with your forms as they evolve.. Dave I really like your thinking, your ups and downs, maybe because it’s so much like me and its great not to feel alone. And I use you, your forms, intermittently as needed –like this very week I saw I’d been stalling, procrastinating because this trimester I’m teaching a course that;s unpleasant to teach. So it was back to the drawing board and I do this every time i get into that state. Up comes Emergent time tracker (keeping track of what I’m doing gets me flying over a block, I rarely have to go further than the first three or four hours with 15 minute “bubbles.” The minute I start using that form, things start happening. So I when I’m lying around, disinterested in multiple things I have to do, out comes pomodoro, out comes emergent time tracker, out comes ETP –what size I use depends upon my mood or whatever else I’m using at the moment –and zoom, I’m moving ahead again. That’s the practical –well no, wait, “one project for a week” –there so many ideas you come up with that help a knowledge worker like myself get moving again. I think you aren’t going to know until “Later” what part of what you do in your blog ends up being most important. Just keep on moving and see what happens. Those of us who have been with you for years now really are obviously here for a reason. We aren’t going anywhere, and it’s not like we don’t have anything else to do. Hope that answers your questions, from my perspective.

  10. flight16 5 years ago

    I’ve been reading your blog on and off for many years. The productivity articles are how I found you, but I find your personal articles interesting, too. I enjoy reading everything you post.

    I wonder if discoverability and navigation of projects/experiments couldn’t be improved. For example, when I found a few articles on microtasks or the living room cafe, I wanted to read everything. I did find the tags at the bottom of the post, but upon visiting your site it wasn’t clear to me that you even wrote up a series on this topic. I had to read through the blog and notice a series of posts and click the tag link. Maybe a project/experiment/series list with brief 2-sentence summary to serve as a table of contents into your blog?

    I like how open you are, especially in the last 12 months, with your goals, procrastination, experiments, successes, and failures. For example, the microtask experiment. I also enjoyed reading your unrelated post about tea. If it was purely a project blog, or purely a personal blog, I feel like it would lose something. I hope you keep that mix, because I think that is part of what makes your site unique and keeps me reading.

  11. Author
    Dave Seah 5 years ago

    Thanks for your additional feedback, Nicole / Avrum / KTJ / Al / Lynn / flight16!

    Reflecting on the feedback, the impression I have is that there might be something about sharing experiences and thoughts in a form that lends itself to one’s own reflection. That it isn’t so much the topic matter, but something about the way I share what I am doing to break down these problems? Secondly, I’m hearing that navigation that helps link related articles together in an easier-to-follow way would be helpful.

    I think I have a much better sense of the foundation of what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it, thanks to your feedback. Thanks, everyone! We should all get together sometime and have some coffee and cake! :-) Anyway, the foundation of the blog will continue to be the inquiry into process. I think I can add on diverse subject matter still, but if I can help reveal the greater patterns AND create useful collections of related info that’s easy to navigate, that would be a big win too.

    Perhaps if I am more explicit about how everything is related, that may make the mix of topics seem less random to new readers as well. The hook I use could be something general like, ‘this is how I think people think and act based on that thinking’ to start. It is the foundation of design, interactivity, workflow, and so on.

    I think I can also adjust the comments section to encourage people to share their own experiences. I think we all benefit from the additional stories that people leave in comments, because it’s hard to know how other people think differently than ourselves about the same process.