Spring Cleaning My Blog: You Can Help and Receive Earthly and Heavenly Rewards

Spring Clean Inbox

It’s Spring, a good time for change.  Rather than begin with the big stuff – like cleaning my room or improving my work ethic – I thought I’d spruce up my blog.  And I’d like to invite you over to help.  Here’s three things I have in mind –

1) My current tagline now reads “Writing about writing (and other writings) for writers and those who want to write better.” 

I chose it when I wanted my blog to recruit aspiring writers (looking to teach writing).  It’s pithy and has served well from an SEO perspective, but my blog has evolved more into a space to reflect on good writing (rather than teach it) as well as good theology.  I am not now looking to teach writing, but humanities (and possibly communications).  So, I think I’ve outgrown my tagline.

I’ve thought of a couple potential replacements –

Meditations and musings from a middle-aged Midwesterner.

God is “I am;” therefore, I just think (and blog).

I look at these and think, “Close, but not quite.”  Neither are effective from an SEO standpoint.  The first conveys the diversity of the blog, which I like, but seems a little too self-deprecating (I’m not thrilled about being middle-aged or a Midwesterner).  I like the philosophical twist of the second one, but it’s a little theologically heavy-handed and some of my best readers are non-Christians (and I want to reach a secular audience).

So what are your thoughts?  What tagline do you think captures what you’ve found here at A Way With Words? 

2)  Some upcoming regular features…

While I have occasionally embarked on series of posts, I have more often simply blogged about whatever was most on my mind that day.  I’m happy to say I’ve sustained a discipline of blogging daily (with few exceptions) – and some days I have as many as 4 posts.  But my blogging lacks structure and I think it’s time to impose some.  Here’s a couple of my ideas –

Mondays with Merton – My two posts containing Thomas Merton quotes have been received very well.  I hope to travel next week to the “Thomas Merton Center” at Bellarmine University in Louisville.  With the wealth of his writings and access to people who know them well, I have an incredible amount of resources to draw on.

Friday Flashback – It may seem a little early to be doing “blog retrospectives” from posts that were published less than a year ago, but I do have several decent pieces that show less than a dozen hits I’d like to polish up and feature now that I have a more regular readership.

Perhaps you have other ideas?  What features would you like to see?

3) The look of A Way With Words…

I must confess I am not a visual artist.  Yet, I appreciate beautiful images and recognize the value of a blog that attracts readers visually.  This is where I can use the most help.

How can I best feature A Way With Words such that it will appeal to the regular reader and attract new ones?

I am eager to hear your responses to this query.  So eager, in fact, that I am going to put some money where my mouth is (or where my fingertips are, as the case may be).  If you submit ideas to me that effectively improve my blog, you will receive…

1)  A (modestly priced) e-gift certificate to the establishment of your choice.

2) Credit (with a link to your blog) on my “Why I Write” page (the most viewed page on A Way With Words).

3)  A crown in heaven (though I can’t guarantee this one – if we’re both there and I have access to a crown to give away, I’ll do it).

image above “Spring Clean Inbox” from  Brooke Peoples in Let’s Get Down to Business!

12 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning My Blog: You Can Help and Receive Earthly and Heavenly Rewards

  1. I’m glad you’re thinking of redecorating. I think a new visual theme would serve you well. I can’t suggest a specific one but when I changed mine, I did some research (i.e. google) on the various free WordPress themes (which ones had what features), then I tried a bunch of different themes out. You can do a preview to see how your blog would look without actually changing anything. It all depends on what features you want, and you can research that too. Good luck. I’m excited to see what you come up with!

    • Yeah, I would definitely prefer something for free. I will do some research myself and maybe try a few new ones out and invite comment.

      Thanks for chiming in and I hope you find whatever emerges here to be appealing.

  2. It is the quality of indytony’s writing that brings me back to this site on a regular basis. My favourite posts are those where you discuss writing, grammar and style and others in which you reflect on your personal journey through life, So, for me at least, “A Way With Words” should be the primary focus of each page. I would remove some of the “noise” from the top and bottom of your pages. The category headings at the top can be moved to the right margin, where they will be just as effective but less intrusive. Keep the top of each page uncluttered with your title and very little else. The tags at the bottom are important to you but not so much to your readers, as they’ve already decided to visit and read your work. And colour, I would add some colour, as it is autumn in my hemisphere. Start first with a background colour and then later experiment perhaps with an image or two for your masthead. Good luck with your way with words…

    • Your compliment on my writing means a very great deal, particularly consider the source.

      You can be assured I will continued to reflect on my life journey, particularly as I shift gears in my professional writing toward completing my spiritual memoir, which I’m now calling – “Delight in Disorder: Meditations from a Bipolar Mind”.

      I also like the idea of doing away with most of the words on the page that are not my own (categories, topics, etc…) and adding something colorful.

      Thanks again for your kind words and helpful recommendations.

  3. “I blog, therefore, I think I am.”

    Love the theme day ideas. I don’t do this (yet), but have friends who do, and I find it’s very successful for them. (Are you sure you want to limit your Mondays to just one person?) It could be called Monday Musings or some such thing, leaving a broader spectrum at your fingertips… However, I do like what you’ve got there.

    Visually…just generally…some colour? An eye-catching photo banner? Either way, if the writing’s good, they will come. ;0)

    • Thanks for commenting and offering recommendations.

      The tagline is catchy, but doesn’t quite grab me as “The One”.

      You may be right about not limiting myself to Merton on Mondays. While my two posts about him have been received very well, and he has a wealth of writings to draw from, knowing my eclectic tastes in writers, I’ll want to feature others as well.

      As for color, dark green is by far my favorite. I’ll look for a way to integrate that. And I was thinking either a photo or a work of art. I just need to be mindful of copyright infringement.

      Whatever changes I make, I agree the blog should live or die with the writing. And I’m fairly confident in that arena. After all, I have “A Way With Words” 🙂

  4. If I think of a smart, witty title I’d be only too willing to let you have it and you could donate the “prize” to charity :-). But as you can see from the title of my blog, that’s not likely to happen soon. I quite like “God is I AM therefore I just think (and blog)”, but I appreciate why you’re reluctant to use it. Finding a good title for a blog is no easy task.

    All the so-called experts say, “when choosing a blog name it should: Describe your blog, It should be easy to remember, It must be equal to the domain name. Who knows 🙂

    • Yeah, I’ll have to mull this one over some more. I’m glad you like the “God is I AM…” line and I may still use it. The more I think of it, the better it sounds. And “God” is consistently my top tag topic that draws people to my blog. “Writing” usually comes in second or third.

  5. Hi Tony

    Taglines are tough. Not something you just conjur up in a post response. Hmm. I do agree with yourself and others that you could go for a different theme. Do you host wordpress software on your own site or use the wordpress server? You had way home adjustability and flexibility if you host the software on your own server. You are quite limited if you go on their server and don’t want to pay for premium.

    Something I learnt in doing my crowdfunding campaign is that the internet populace is hungry for media. Words are everywhere. They want more. Audio, images, movies. Even just for the sake of having them. Do a post as a video instead of written for example. I do a ‘Commander’s Log’ podcast to supplement my website and newsletter.

    I think you would benefit from a image header and a background image. Have you seen my site lately? Adding a few layers like that (I think) makes it more intriguing that pure white (though I can kinda guess why you went that way). If you want something god/heaven related, An image that pops into my head is the beginning of that movie about the girl that was killed and watched her family from heaven as they dealt with the aftermath. Bright clouds, soft pastelle colours, that would be a good backdrop.

    I’m sure you can come up with something on topic as an image for the header.

    Anyway goodluck, and you know where to find me if you want to grill me some more.

    Good luck!

    -John

  6. Hi Tony,
    Since you asked, I think a new blog theme that’s a little less “academic” looking might spruce things up. The font size on your current theme is really small, and thus can be difficult to read. Something that’s a little more aesthetic.

    Taglines are tough. Definitely smart to keep God out of it. Could turn off a lot of potential readers. Religion (and lack of) is a very personal choice and readers don’t want to feel as though they’re being preached to.

    I do like your first tagline you posted above – meditations and musings. I think it captures the essence of your blog. What if you used this as a starting point, leaving out the alliterative “middle aged” and “Midwesterner”? Something like: meditations and musings about life and writing.

    • Thank you for dropping by and leaving your comments.

      I like your recommendations on the aesthetic look and appreciate your perspective on “God” (though, as I said, “God” seems to draw more people to my site than any other tag).

      As far as “meditations and musings about life and writing.” I don’t know… it seems too generic. And I’d like to have a “hook”.

      Oh well, I’ll do some experimenting based on your comment (and others) and see what feedback I get.

      Thanks again,
      Tony

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