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#1 Lessons in Blogging, the F words : Focus

Sun 19 June 2011

, Jo Parftt, Independent writer

Jo Parfitt has been blogging badly and blogging well for four years. She shares lessons learned here with LEAP.

The first and most important thing I have learned about a blog is that it must have FOCUS. It must have a theme, a point, a purpose and it must remain consistent to that theme.

I’ve had a number of blogs in my time. To begin with, I wrote about writing for the blog connected with my publishing business. And I wrote about careers and entrepreneurship for the blog connected to my book, A Career in Your Suitcase. In many ways I had it right. I kept two very different blogs and remained focused within each. I blogged occasionally but hardly anyone visited my blogs. I got disenchanted and I got lazy. I could not be bothered to maintain two blogs that no one visited and so I rebranded myself with a new business name – ExpatRollercoaster - and merged the two blogs into one. In reality, doing this gave me an excuse to just write about anything that came into my head whenever I felt like it. The result? No one knew what I was about and very few people visited my blog. For me, having a free rein to write anything led me to write about nothing. It bombed.

Then, two years ago, I realized that if I were confused about my brand, who I was and what I specialized in, then my clients and potential clients surely were too. It was time for a rethink and a rebrand. I emerged as JoParfitt. Yes, I used my own name. I dropped writing about the career stuff and decided that JoParfitt would specialize is one thing for once in her life. I would specialize in writing and publishing. And so that is what I wrote about on my blog. I shared what I knew and I shared links and tips from other people all on the same subject, I even interviewed other writers and authors.

I stayed on topic and I made sure that my posts contained lots of links to other websites (the more links you have the higher you will ‘float’ in the Google rankings). I also used lots of appropriate keywords in my writing. Words such as write, author, book, story and so on. As I discovered that these were words people keyed into Google. Interestingly, I have also learned that it is my posts on pain and vulnerability that are most popular of all. When people visited my blog they knew what they would find when they arrived.

And, do you know what? It worked. Visitors began to rise and best of all, they knew who I was and what I could do. My business quadrupled.

It is easy to fall into the trap of using your blog as kind of ‘dumping ground’ for whatever inspires you and whatever you feel motivated to share. However, this only works when you stick to a theme and keep FOCUS.

Jo Parfitt has published 27 non-fiction books, is a journalist, teacher, editor and publisher and mentors others to write and publish their books. She has lived in Dubai, Oman and Norway and is now in the Netherlands. Inspiring and empowering people to write about what they know as memoir, articles or books is without doubt what she most loves to do. Her motto is 'sharing what I know to help others to grow’. She is well known for her books for expats, the most well known being Career in Your Suitcase. Her publishing company, Summertime Publishing, specializes in books by and for people overseas. Her live workshops for writing life story, books, articles and blogging run in The Hague and also by correspondence. You can find her blog at