James Mayes

Blog: Renaming the… er… blog!

In Blogging, Personal, Social Media on August 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I’ve contributed to a number of blogs over the past year or two, but this has always been my main home.  Originally, it was a thinking space. It was here for me to play with, test thoughts, rant, share the odd personal tale. No real plan or strategy for it. It was for personal Musings, I’m based in Sussex, the rest is history.

renaming a blogSome things change.  The blog still has no commercial agenda.  I write about what I want – sometimes that gets a great audience, sometimes it dies without trace. However, I’ve found I particularly enjoy poking around with new software tools, platforms or apps and writing about what I find.  It’s also fair to say I now get invited to a few product beta tests precisely because of this.

As a result, I’ve naturally written more on those topics than personal tales or things that relate specifically to Sussex.

Should I recognise this in the title?

Arguments for:

  • I’ve had more than one person say things like “musings from Sussex? It’s a little bit jam sandwiches at the WI isn’t it?” – yeah, OK, it’s provincial. C’est moi!
  • The SEO would be better with a URL title relating more closely to the topics written about – it’s not all about reader numbers and marketing though
  • I’d likely get more referred traffic / back links if the subject matter were clearer – see above!
  • It would better support my personal brand if my name were more prominent – if people like what I write, they’ll come find out who I am. If they know me, the blog is easy to trace.

Arguments against:

  • I like the name. Social media is about transparency and honesty. The current name feels like it has that sorted.
  • Current articles already have a bunch of back links and referred traffic. Will I irritate owners of friendly blogs if I go break all those links?
  • It’s currently on a WordPress-hosted platform precisely because I don’t want technical aggravation in my life. This feels like creating tasks for no good reason!

I’m not looking to crowd-source new blog names here.  I would, though, welcome opinions on my reasoning. Did I miss something? Am I misleading myself with the arguments for the sake of sentimentality? Am I kidding myself, as per Bill Boorman‘s assertion that EVERY  blog has an agenda?

Let me know. I really do appreciate it.

  1. Hi James,

    In my opinion, I’ve read certain posts that you’ve written because the ‘content’ has intrigued me – the name of the blog has no relevance to the thoughts expressed in the post and the reason I’m reading them.

    For objective advice however, I have my marketing hat on – and this, of course, is only one opinion. I believe that all activity has an agenda – what is it you want to achieve from your blog? What are your KPIs? If you want to build a personal brand and portray yourself as a thought-leader around certain topics, then aligning the entire ‘brand’ (including blog name) with this makes sense.

    Conversely; if you wish to use the blog platform as a genuinely authentic place simply to express views and share these with anyone who is interested in a certain topic, then I genuinely believe there’s no need to change the name.

    Good luck, and whatever happens with the name, keep the great content coming! 😉

  2. James, as you know I have been a loyal follower of your blog for some time now. I don’t always comment on what you have written, but I do always walk away with this… information. I especially like it when you “blog” about topics of which I do not have experience with or knowledge of their workings.

    I don’t think you’ve missed a thing here. You write because it interests you and the enjoyment of what you share inspires you to continue writing. Have I misread this?

  3. The key is what you said in your blog “Sometimes you get great audiences and sometimes they die without a trace”.

    Why don’t you go back to all your past posts and find out the key ingrediants on why you got your great audiences and tailor that to your readers. For example I was keenly interested in your article on how great your workplace is that lead me to proactively follow up.

    So in conclusion nohing wrong with the blog, the key is in your past blogs.

    Keep em coming


  4. Sure James, sentimentality is bliss 🙂 That human emotion (or state of mind) is genuinely sincere. And there is nothing wrong with that being a reason for ur blog name.

    If the original intent of setting up your blog i.e. just to share general thoughts, may have transitioned over the years, then it is not uncommon to go in the direction of change. Might be hard …

    Agenda or not, your blog is a part of your brand, and ‘being’ on the web. If the posts or thoughts you are actively sharing (now & future) expands beyond ‘Sussex’, then a name thats broader may be ideal. One that defines you in all aspects – not just personal, professional etc.

    And in terms of back links, you can use 301 redirect in htaccess so that all links can point to similar indexed urls. Happy to help there …

  5. Don’t sell out mate. A blog should be personal and honest. Failing that, start a second blog.

  6. The content is what brings people back not what it is called. Focus on the content – if the tech reveiws are the ones that have driven the most traffic, then go hunt more down (if that is the objective of your blog of course!)
    >> And why not put a text box on the side bar actually volunteering yourself as a beta product tester?

    Maybe look at the layout around the blog where you could be more ‘obvious’ in what the blog is all about (including your strapline).

    If the content is good, people will share and comment, if it is not quite on the money, then they won’t – irrespective of what your blog is called 🙂

  7. Personally James, I like the name.

    I enjoyed the early stages of the blog, with it’s variety of content.

    It is what it says on the tin. I you’re looking for a more tech bias why not start a parallel blog?

    Mussing from Sussex is exactly what they are in their varying forms.

    The SEO argument holds some weight, but then if this blog is to be more about your personal side over the professional James, then it shouldn’t matter.

    Stick with it, I have the RSS feed tied into Outlook in the office, and look forward to the notifications of new posts when they come along!


  8. Hi James

    I totally agree with Cal (couldn’t have put it better myself).

    However (you knew there was going to be a ‘however’)…

    I’ve read quite a few of your posts now and, like Cyndy, always come away with information.

    To me, the title of the blog is more whimsical than your content (which is solid information). While the title isn’t everything, I don’t think that it does the quality of your work justice…

    Maybe that’s just me though…


  9. Don’t change the name. I like your blog because it’s educational without being patronising/corporate-y. We get a sense of you, the bloke, whereas if it was more industry orientated, I think it might seem more impersonal even if the content was the same.

    I think you need to be sure what your blog brand/identity is. That might sound a bit wanky but I did a set of rules/guidelines for my blog that I try to adhere to and it stops me thinking “oh should I do this or that”. (can tweet you the link if you want to see it)

    Blogging should be fun – and it shouldn’t feel like work. I think if you changed the name you might feel you have to be more “corporate” in your approach.

    Also if people are interested in a subject, they’ll find you, especially given you link this to your social media profiles – and also if you tag posts effectively.

    Hope that helps!!

  10. Musings… is a little gentle, your articles are incisive, the title should reflect the lack of wooliness? (sp) – on the other hand, plenty on the web strives to be aggressive, so the counter argument for not changing it is equally valid (he says from the safety of his fence seat).

    When I Google James Mayes Blog, I get this:

    ‘Musings from Sussex
    4 hours ago … renaming a blog Some things change. The blog still has no commercial agenda. …
    Posted by James Mayes Filed in Community, Recruitment, …
    musingsfromsussex.com/ – Cached – Similar’

    This part:
    ‘renaming a blog Some things change. The blog still has no commercial agenda’

    – will change each time you make a new post – why not consider making it the same every time? (about 10 words?) – this way your raw Google entry could serve as a ‘qualifying line’ – like ‘British Airways – The World’s favourite Airline, sorta thing? Without the second part, British Airways might be related to nasal passages in Grimsby? 😉


    Mayes / May Nots


    The Test

  11. OK, first off, thanks SO much for taking the time to comment. This has been bugging me for a while now, and this seemed the best way to clear my head!

    I’m minded to keep the name. It still feels honest and accurate, it reflects the personality behind the blog, and it’s inspired some sentimental stuff that will be forthcoming in a future post.

    However, there’s some great advice you guys have shared. Technically, I’m not sure how to achieve all of this, but hey, there are WordPress experts aplenty on Twitter! Particularly:

    @Andy – the beta tester – yeah, I really enjoy that stuff. Nice idea. You’re right with the strapline too, doesn’t really represent the content mix accurately.

    @Cal – you made me really consider the KPI’s. Nope. It’ll take the fun and enjoyment out of it, and that’s absolutely not what I want to achieve. Enjoying writing the posts is probably the single most important aspect to me, so that alone gives me clear direction.

    @Vic – appreciate the offer of help with the 301 redirects. Good to know it can be done, but off the agenda for the time being!

    @Bill – Like the idea of a consistent external view of the site. Just feels like good housekeeping! Not sure how one does that on a hosted version of WordPress, but I’m sure Twitter can help.

    @StupidGirl45 – Always love the honesty in your views. Again you pull out the fun aspect – and this, for me, has to remain that.

    Minded as I am to keep the name, I’m now thinking the Musings is groovy, but the Sussex part doesn’t really link well. I think that (plus the mixed UK/US readership!), I should play around with the theme at some point. I want to highlight the English source (the tech start-up scene in Europe at present, and especially London, is vibrant) so maybe an English voice against the backdrop of Silicon Valley yelling will put my sentimentality to good use!

  12. […] exercise for this blog.  The for and against, plus some really helpful comments, can be found here. Short version: the name stays, but the theme and layout could use a little […]

  13. […] exercise for this blog.  The for and against, plus some really helpful comments, can be found here. Short version: the name stays, but the theme and layout could use a little […]

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