Can You Have a Multi-Interest Blog?

by Laura on September 13, 2010 · 10 comments

Recently, we received a question from a reader about how how to handle blogging about different interests. The reader asked:

“Do you think it’s best to keep the two separate if they are mutually exclusive? Or do you think it’s better to lump everything together since it’s *your life* and your blog is a reflection of that? I suppose it depends on how you’re looking to use your blog, but I’m just looking for other opinions. “

Great question.

It’s a question that I’ve routinely asked myself since I started blogging. And I definitely think the answer lies in how your different interests relate to each other and, ultimately, in WHY you are blogging in the first place. Here’s how it works out for me…

I blog about fitness (exercise and food), style, and living in the crazy and exhilarating Caribbean island of Trinidad on my blog. They might seem like disparate topics or completely unrelated to one another, but to me, they are anything BUT.

I started my fitness routine about nine months after moving to Trinidad, after spending nine months eating enough delicious Trini food to make me gain enough weight that I felt, in fact, as if I were gestating twins.  Then Trinidad carnival — in all its beaded, feathered, teeny-bikini glory — came around, and I realized I wanted to be a part of that. I’m going to be honest: to do that, I wanted to look hot — hence I started exercising. Once I started exercising (initially for vanity reasons), I started to love my new fitness regime — and to love all the new sewing possibilities this newly-toned figure of mine had to offer. The more I got into fitness (and races, and new workouts), the more I got into sewing, the more fun I had in my kitchen, and the more stamina and perkiness I had to do stuff here in Trinidad (Yes, it’s true! Try lugging 50 extra pounds around in 95 F heat and you’ll see what I mean).

I learned to do different things with my food, my body, and my sewing machine, and I learned a lot by viewing this new home of mine with those new fitness-and-style eyes. For me, style and fitness and Trini living are all inextricably connected. I just can’t talk about one aspect without somehow mentioning or alluding to the others, and if I didn’t admit to that, I’d feel like my blog posts — and the view you get of me, my reasons, and my motivations — would be incomplete. So I blog about these separate yet interconnected parts of my world because they interest me, and because I value the connections that these interests allow me to make with others.

In some ways, though, what I blog about is less important than the fact that I have something TO blog about. On a purely selfish basis, I blog about these things because I could go on… and on… and on about them (and trust me, I do). I blog because I love to write, and I want to write. Writing is what I do — both for pay (in my non-blogging-job) and for fun (the blog). If I were interested in bicycle parts, or building model boats, or painting, I’d be blogging about those things, because I blog to be a better writer. I write so I can share my experiences with others, but I also write so I can make sense — better sense, different sense — of my world and the things that I’m drawn to. And I write because, well, otherwise, I would never, EVER shut up.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I blog about different interests.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I worry sometimes about having such different interests on my blog; I wonder whether it might confuse people or might cost me some readers. I’ve also toyed with the idea of having separate blogs for my separate interests, but at this stage, I don’t think that’s the right way for me to go (and I don’t know if it ever will be). I’m also very careful about maintaining a balance between mindcasting and lifecasting, which is more challenging when you write about a few different topics.  Example: I could write a post on how terrible the traffic was yesterday when I went into the city to run some errands, but readers would care more if I wrote a post on how crazy and ridiculous — and often hilarious — Trinidad driving is, because that’s a post about Trinidad life as much as about my life.

For me, it ultimately boils down to this: to have a multi-interest blog, you have to be confident that:

  1. Your audience will want to read about your life and your perspective.
  2. You will be able to make all those parts of your life relatable and interesting, as much as you can, to your different audiences. That’s the challenge — and the responsibility — that I constantly grapple with.

What do you think about multi-interest blogging–can it work?  Do you blog about different topics and, if so, how do you handle it?  Do you like reading blogs that discuss different topics and do you have any great multi-interest blogs to suggest?

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{ 8 comments }

Lisa September 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I think blogging about a lot of different things is GOOD. You attract more people that way. I started blogging this year AFTER I lost over 100 pounds. But my blog is about weight loss–essentially how I did it. I also blog about weight maintenance because I’ve kept it off for over 2 years. I am not just one thing–I’m the sum of everything I do. I swim, I bike, I run, I hike, I don’t really cook but I try, and I love wine. :) If a reader is just starting their weight loss journey, I think my blog appeals to them because it INSPIRES them to keep at it. I did it, so can they! If a reader doesn’t like running? That’s okay–I do tons of other activities that are just as fun and healthy.
Lisa´s last post ..Fixing a Disasterous Dinner

Angela September 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I totally agree – you can blog about many different things.

For my blog, I took a page out of The Pioneer Woman’s blog and have different pages for each category. My blog is set up so that you can subscribe to one page or all pages, depending on what interests you.

Lori September 13, 2010 at 9:09 pm

You know, I just posted about this on my own blog, about finding focus and not really sticking to a particular topic after all these years. Sure, the ongoing theme is “healthy lifestyle” and all that, but sometimes I rant on politics, sometimes I post poetry for my friends, sometimes I just relay something funny that happened to me. Does it work? I’m not sure, which is why I’m contemplating a return to something more themed and then start using the categories/tags/different pages more often if I want to do more topics.

I enjoy multiple-topic blogs. If I don’t dig the topic of the day, it won’t stop me from coming back.

On the other hand, it’s my oldest blog; after I married I started a family blog (chateaudelmulsoff.blogspot.com) and then recently I started a local eating blog (homegrownnibbles.blogspot.com). Those three just seem to belong in different categories. The family one probably is only humorous and interesting to those who actually know me in real life. Nibbles and Chateau are definitely one topic blogs. Family and local eating.

Different blogs = different formats/requirements/gut feelings. I say it just depends on the blogger and the “point” of the blog.

Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter September 13, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Great post! I think blogging just about one thing can get a bit boring. I like knowing a bit more about the blogger than just fitness. Or just their eats. It’s nice to see a bit of variety that is just them.

Mrs/Dr T September 14, 2010 at 6:37 pm

It’s funny, I was quick to conclude that blogging about many things is the way to go. My blog covers many topics, I like other blogs that cover many topics. But then there are some blogs that I follow where I am frustrated by “off topic” posts. For example, I love looking at design blogs but get immediately turned off when there’s a random post about one of their kids losing a tooth or their husband doing something silly, etc. Maybe the question of multi-interest blogging works better for some topics (health and wellness) than others (design)? Maybe it’s just me that feels that way?
Mrs/Dr T´s last post ..What Do Experts Recommend as the Best Diet for Losing Weight

Rose November 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I agree — I have a very multifaceted website, and I also blog about separate things (I do have some separate blogs, but I try to tie those together as well), but I am of the belief that everything in life is connected, and I enjoy trying to share these connections with others as well. For example, odd as it may seem to some, for me, food and fitness are closely related. I love good food, I love working out, and keeping my body feeling great. So I like sharing ways to do this with others. Thanks for your insightful post, and I’ll try to check back again soon!

JustBtheblog April 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hi Laura, I’ve been looking for inspiration and advice on this subject – your advice is brilliant and just what I needed. I love your explanation about the different strands which make up your own blog (and I took a peek, really enjoyable read) so I’ve decided to use my blog for all the various aspects to my life because as separate as they may appear, they form a whole – me! :-)
JustBtheblog´s last post ..The Frenemies – or – Having friends who don’t like me

Donna B. April 12, 2012 at 5:57 am

Got here because of my own quandary about this!

I have an old website in my full name, a local politics/nature blog, my cartoon blog, my political cartoons blog, and my chocolate cartoons blog! I know it’s too much. I might combine my political and general cartoons, but I think the people who follow political things might not like that… It’s okay that the food one is separate, however.
Donna B.´s last post ..Not your ordinary taco, amigo.

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