For those who follow the Architangent blog regularly, you may have noticed my absence from blogging over the last several months. If you didn’t notice, I’ll chalk it up to your super busy schedule involving saving the world. Ahem. Anyway, for the [five or so] people who noticed and/or care, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to and what is to come.
I’ve been known to over-commit myself, and I could tell my ‘say yes to everything‘ approach to life was taking a toll. I was feeling burnt out, uninspired and just plain tired. The number of commitments I had was starting to affect my health, and that’s when I realized I needed to say yes to myself first, then to others.. Unfortunately, it is a bad habit that many architects engage in, and I hope you’ll take notice of what your body and calendar are telling you. Is it time you took a break or said ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’?
In addition to running on blog-fumes (is that a thing?), I also knew it was time to re-vamp my website. I had built my original site on a WordPress based platform, and although I think I did a great job for a non-web-developer-person, I could tell my duct-tape approach to coding was not serving my goals very well. During the Spring I had the chance to re-evaluate my goals for Architangent, and I discovered that I was spread too thin. My initiatives lacked focus, and while my broad ambitions are still the underlying driver for what I do, I knew I needed to scale back. I needed to approach the site with a fresh perspective. During my introspective musings, I decided a few things:
– Architangent will be first and foremost a blog. Not a portfolio, not a business landing page, not a digital business card. While many of these aspects are accomplished or provided through the site, I needed to prioritize so that I could focus on what type of content I would create. Declaring the site to be a blog meant I needed to re-think the design and user experience.
– Architangent LLC, as a business, will be focused on making money through blogging ( further reflecting the purpose of the site). Some of you may scratch your heads on this one, seeing that I’m a licensed architect and I regularly have ‘side projects’ to work on. While Architangent does operate as a legal entity that provides architecture and design services, I have realized that I just can’t do it all; between my full time job at PDR, the blogging gigs I take on for others, writing for my own blog, and the design projects that Architangent generates (and not to mention building a house and volunteering), I simply don’t have time for everything. Side projects do provide a nice chunk of change, but the effort and time required to do my best for my clients is more than I’m able to devote while maintaining the other commitments. If I want to be successful, I need to focus on one aspect that has the greatest potential and benefits. For me, at least at this time, that potential lies in blogging.
So there you have it: Architangent is a blog, and it will generate the bulk of revenue for the company. Sounds great, but how do you uh…do that…exactly? I started by hiring a web developer to update my site. I spent a few weeks searching for a good fit, and found Muze development in Houston that fit the bill (winky face). After some discussions and sketches, we were off to the races designing the new look and feel. Here are the main design updates and why I included them:
– The blog page is now the landing page. I’ve realized that landing pages are over-rated. At worst, they’re unnecessary. When my goal was to provide services, (and potentially products) in addition to the blog, a landing page felt like the place to catch visitors and direct them to other pages. However, it only serves as a potentially stopping point because I’m not immediately grabbing a visitor’s attention. When the focus is blogging, this is super important – get people the content they want, pronto!
– Pinteresty style. Let’s face it. Pinterest is kind of a big deal. I want to be a big deal. Imitation, flattery, blah blah blah, I knew that people today expect a visual experience. My old site simply was not delivering that effectively. While I would love to tout the benefits of scholarly writing and include myself among the elite writers in history I have to face reality: people have short attention spans and they like pictures. Well, I’m not one to be stingy, so I’m giving the people what they want. It is also a familiar interface and hopefully, I’ll see improvements in readership and conversions.
– More images. While on the topic of visual experiences, I knew I needed to do something about the images on my site. Not only are many of my posts severely lacking in the images department, many of them are broken links or worse yet, improperly cited. I’ve read enough articles about the dangers of using images incorrectly, and I don’t want to contribute to that epidemic of “it lives on the internet so it now belongs to me”. (Seriously, it doesn’t belong to you). So, not only am I committing to including more images, I’ve committed to going back through every single blog post and updating them with Creative Commons licensed images. Whew. This will take some time, but hopefully it will improve the experience. Are you a fellow blogger? Be sure to check out this awesome site that helps you find CC images and cite them correctly.
– Advertising. This one is a touchy subject. Advertising on blogs can be a sure way to lose readers. Who honestly wants to be sold to? I know I don’t like it. However, I also realize that many of the purchases I make are because of the recommendations I get through blogs. I’ve tested several advertising methods, and my greatest success has been through affiliate programs. My intention is to provide affiliate links to great products that I’ve either used myself, or are related to the blog post I write. I don’t like blanket advertising – it’s too impersonal and leaves a bad taste. I’m looking at you, AARP. I’m not even 30. No, I will not join your geriatrics club.
So as not to completely overwhelm the reading audience, I’ll end it here with a summary recap. (How do I manage to write over 1000 words every time! Must remember: short attention spans!)
– New blog design
– More pictures, ‘sustainably sourced’
– Advertising that is relevant to you, my readers (clicky clicky!)
Hopefully you’ll enjoy the direction we’re headed. With that, I’ll commit to writing more posts with at least some form of regularity. What are some tips or tricks you’ve learned while blogging? Share in the comments below!
Written by: Brinn Miracle