Maybe by definition, but not in spirit.
I've been thinking a lot about BTYB / LN over the past couple weeks, which lead to the survey from yesterday (please take a minute to fill it out if you haven't already). Tonight I had a conversation about all this with Carl Zetterlund, a long time reader who is doing a segment of LN with me right now.
So, I think it's time to make some changes. Here are the problems, as I see them:
- I don't post frequently enough and we both know it. Along with this comes inconsistency. Sometimes I get in a few posts in a week, but sometimes I disappear for a couple weeks.
- There's a layer of formality between you and me. Most of my posts are more of a lecture from the front of the room than a conversation, to use an analogy.
- Life Nomadic isn't up yet, which means that most people don't even know where I am and don't get frequent updates on my travels, even though that's one of the biggest and most important parts of my life right now.
- BTYB has no real defined purpose. I think this is more in my head than in yours, but to me it's something that's important to me but doesn't have a concrete place in my life.
- I write about a lot of topics, but can't explore some of them in great detail because it would take up too much of the blog's focus (the practical aspects of living in an RV, for example).
I don't post frequently enough for two reasons. One, despite having far more (and more engaged) readers here, Life Nomadic is my priority. So every week I make sure that I have my posts in for Gadling, but BTYB gets written for if a) I happen to have an idea for a post at a time when it's convenient to write for it or b) if I've gone too long without writing and feel guilty.
Two, most of my life is traveling right now, and I feel like putting travel information on BTYB is blurring the line too much between the two sites.
The layer of formality stems from this problem a bit. When I write so infrequently I feel like I have to make my entries more polished. I know people look forward to the posts, so I try not to "waste" them by writing shorter blurbs about some quick interesting thought I had that day, or something funny that happened.
So... what to do about all this?
Here are some thoughts:
Combine all of my sites into one
Better Than Your Boyfriend, Life Nomadic, and Best in the Land, all under one roof. Probably an entirely new domain, either Tynan.net or ReallyAwesome.com.
Over the last year I've really started to get some clarity on what my passion is and what really makes me unique. I haven't quite gotten the wording down, but it's something along the lines of living life outside the box and inspiring and helping other people do the same.
When you think about it, EVERYTHING I do and write about fits into that definition. The new site will be focused around that idea. I think that this will also help build a sense of community and common purpose, which is one aspect I think we're missing now.
My attention shifts between LN and BTYB now. If I'm visiting a lot of countries rapid fire I have tons of travel stuff to write. If I'm hanging out in Panama for two months, I have less.
So instead of having two sites that alternate between getting enough attention, I'll have one that is consistent. I even have things I want to write for Best in the Land, but I don't because I'm not willing to commit to focusing on it.
Promise and Deliver Consistency
I'm going to publicly announce and stick to a fixed schedule of posting. To make sure I do this I'm going to pre-write a bunch of posts and have my assistant publish one if I don't have a new one ready by the deadline.
Carl was saying today that there are certain sites he checks because he knows there will be new posts. When he checks mine he expects that there won't be. That's sad.
I will also set a personal goal of writing at least 1000 words every day.
Have Feature Posts and Blog Posts
I'm thinking about writing two feature posts per week (the kind of stuff that gets posted now), and also writing shorter daily update style posts more frequently. Casual posts that probably won't change your life, but will keep the conversation going.
I just got a video camera yesterday, so you can also expect video posts.
Buy You an Awesome Pony
Write Short Ebooks / Guides for Niche Topics
I was inspired by Chris Guillebeau, who makes his living writing a blog with a very similar theme to mine. He has a few 30-50 page ebooks that he sells through his site. I like his approach because they're all high quality and he doesn't push them.
Some ideas for things I would write about are:
- Living in an RV
- Dropping out of School
- A collection of my best stories, rewritten with more background and detail.
- Behind the scenes stories from Project Hollywood
- Going Vegan
Obviously most people wouldn't buy most of the ebooks, but readers who are really interested in a topic would find the books valuable. Hopefully by now you trust that I do very serious research into everything I do, do it as excellently as possible, and produce very high quality work.
Earning money from BTYB is an excellent thing for you and for me. It means that I can focus more time on it, which is good for people who buy the books and those who don't.
And just in case you're worried that the books will take away from the free content, here is my rule:
If I don't write the posts I said I would in a month, on time, I will find a hilarious way to give the money away to strangers and will video and post it.
My one nagging concern is that this can somehow be considered giving up on LN, which I have committed to focusing on. In reality I consider Life Nomadic to be a major subset of what I do and what I'm about, not the superset. I will be posting more LN related content (first on my agenda is a constantly updated 2009 gear list).
After all, I'm still going to be LIVING Life Nomadic,.
How does this all sit with you?
Does this sound better than what we have going now? I think that most people read both sites anyway, so I have the feeling people will be behind it.
Some questions to consider:
- Do you like the idea of combining the sites?
- Do you like the idea of shorter informal posts mixed in with longer "high impact" ones, or is that diluting the whole thing?
- Do the short books/guides appeal to you?
- Which domain do you like better: reallyawesome.com or tynan.net?