At Amy Scott’s recommendation, I took a look at Abraham Piper’s post on 22 very simple ways for a new blogger to improve. I didn’t expect much, having been disappointed many times in the past by the vacuousness of most such posts, but this one was pretty good. It included one suggestion I’d learned on my own (use informative titles), one that I had just adopted after reading an article by Jakob Nielsen (create an informative About page), a few that I’d never thought of before, and one that I have just been thinking about recently (categorize your posts accurately and specifically).
You might notice that a common theme among the three suggestions I list above is that they all make a weblog more useful to a reader. For awhile now the goal for my posts on this weblog is that they be useful to the reader, as opposed to entertaining or provocative or manipulative or argumentative or exhortative. And lately I have been thinking about expanding the scope of this weblog, turning it into something that more comprehensively explores the various things that matter to folks who are just getting started on homesteading or who want to explore what it means to go in that direction.
So it’s been much on my mind that, even though the individual posts on this weblog might be useful in themselves, the weblog itself is getting increasingly difficult to use as posts are added because they aren’t really organized in any significant way. A few months ago I added a Useful Posts page, gathering the posts I’ve made that I thought were most likely to be helpful to people. But even that in its current form (post titles gathered into a few groups) is still pretty feeble, leaving it mostly a mystery to the reader what any particular post might discuss. So I am currently rewriting that page, adding brief summaries that I hope will help the reader decide whether a post might contain what they are looking for.
I’ve know about categories for awhile, but wasn’t persuaded that they were worth the effort. Now that I’m worried about usefulness, though, I think I need to give them a try and see if they turn out to be helpful. Besides, it wouldn’t hurt me to spend some time thinking about what I’ve just written and figuring out what if any interesting topics are addressed therein. I’ve abandoned more than one post after writing it, just because I’ve decided that it wasn’t worth my readers’ time. Assigning posts to categories may help me filter out more of those.
As time permits, I will also go back and assign categories to existing posts, at least the ones I think are worth searching out.