For 16 years, I tried to combine my personal and professional lives into one blog (“website” for the first 10 years). I combined my various professions into that one blog, too. It got so broad and wide-ranging I called it Daniel Greene’s Blog-o-rama. Why did I do this? I figured I was a Renaissance man and I should embrace it. Why splinter myself? I wanted integrity. Also, when I created my website in 1996, it was all I could do to write the HTML and CSS for the pages on that site. Then, even when I transformed my site into a blog in 2006, it wasn’t easy to maintain more than one blog. Over the years, however, blogging platforms like WordPress have made it easy to create any number of blogs and manage them all in one place.
A number of factors led me to split my blog into several blogs. One motivation was that I found a blog called StreetLeverage focused solely on interpreting. There is nothing personal about the blog; it is written by several bloggers, and is purely professional. It began publishing in August 2011, and it seemed to be having great success by the time I found out about it in February 2012. I felt a twinge of healthy competition, because I wanted danielgreene.com to be seen as a professional blog about interpreting and translation, and I realized I needed to change things to make that happen. I wanted people to be able to follow my blog, never having to be put off by irrelevant posts. In order to draw people to my blog as a professional resource, I realized there had to be a greater draw than just me and my name. As a friend and colleague of mine told me:
I read your blog because I am interested in you — because I know you. I don’t mind if you write about interpreting and photography and singing and technology and personal things, because those are all activities that make up you. But I read blogs like streetleverage because I know that every time I read it, it will be about interpreting. I know I can count on it to be about one thing. If I didn’t know you, and I saw your blog posts on things other than interpreting, I would probably stop following.
Knowing that I wanted my professional blog to be focused and credible, I registered the domain terptrans.com and renamed my blog TerpTrans. DanielGreene.com is the same blog; the URL just resolves to TerpTrans. Now my blog is specialized and professional, and all of my non-interpreting content is on other specialized blogs. I put all my photography onto photography.danielgreene.com, all my singing and signing videos onto singingandsigning.danielgreene.com, all my communications & media articles onto messagesandmeans.danielgreene.com, and all my personal reflections onto beingreene.danielgreene.com. It’s not a matter of hiding things away; rather, it’s about giving the visitors to each blog an experience that is reliably consistent.
If I could give two words of advice to someone starting out blogging, I would say specialize; then diversify. If you want to write about a wide variety of things, start with one. Pick a good blogging platform such as WordPress that you can grow with. Focus your blog on one specialty and blog about that so you can create credibility and gather followers. Then, if you find yourself wanting to write about more than one thing, create another blog! It’s easy and free (and domain names are reasonable too). Take it from someone who lumped everything into one blog for 16 years — it makes more sense to specialize. Each of my blogs is now earning a following of people interested in the subjects I write about, and I am finding communities of others who write about the same things. It is better to diversify than amalgamate.