I need some reader feedback. I mentioned a few months ago that I was thinking about redesigning the site. Nothing drastic, mostly the header and perhaps change up the categories some. I didn’t do anything with the redesign, but it hasn’t escaped my mind.
The feedback I’m looking for goes beyond that, though. Ever since starting the site back up I’ve been looking for a direction to take it. The site “redesign” is a reflection of that uncertainty. Preparedness itself offers its own direction and identity, but preparedness blogs are now a dime a dozen. When I started this site there were only a handful (maybe two handfuls) of us bloggers discussing the subject on a regular basis. Things were different then.
Perhaps why I’m still having difficulty nailing this down is because I don’t consider myself a traditional survivalist. If I try to write as one it feels false. I know the definition of a survivalist has changed, and preparedness has become more mainstream, but, for example, where many survival sites dive into political matters that readers seem to enjoy, I don’t. The reason for that is I suspect my politics differs from the politics of most of my readers. A generalization? Perhaps, but I’m a political moderate. I don’t like the extremes of either party, and traditional survivalism is largely held by people of the far right. I get along fine with far-left or far-right people, but public policy is an important issue to me, and I can get too easily fired up about the subject, so I try to avoid it, at least here.
Yet avoiding a subject that makes up so much of who I am also leaves what feels like a personal void in my writing. Politics, and ultimately public policy, is how we collectively work together to make the world a better (or worse) place. I have always had a strong social/public service ethic. In high school I had a teacher say to us that the purpose in life is to do our best to leave the world a better place than when we came into it. That line of thinking has never left me, in fact, it has guided some of my life’s major decisions – what to study in college, how to spend my time, what to do for work, etc.
Can I incorporate public policy matters into the blog without moving into the alienating, hot temper driving subject matter? I think I can, by covering more news topics with commentary, offering policy suggestions, promoting community involvement and solutions, etc. But – is that interesting? Is it more the “how do I prepare and protect my family” posts that interest people most?
Another subject is time. I have precious little of it. I’ve always been plagued (blessed?) with having far more interests than time available to pursue them. Preparedness and writing are both interests, but there are other imposing realities. I have two young children that take a lot of my time, both out of necessity and out of choice. I know that life is WAY too short NOT to spend a significant amount of time with them. I also don’t live in a travel trailer (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Blogging isn’t my livelihood. I have a mortgage and a full-time job. My wife has gone back to college taking a few night classes, which means some nights it’s just me and the kids. After doing the dinner routine, getting them to bed, cleaning up and conversing with my wife when she gets home, writing the next day’s blog post becomes less fun and more like a chore. That’s not what I want it to be.
Those of you that have written guest posts have certainly helped lighten my load, but unlike some other sites, I don’t have piles of advertisers offering up free gifts that I can give away in non-fiction writing competitions where readers get to write all the posts for me. Frankly, I’m not sure that’s the best approach even if I had free gifts to give away. I suspect people come to this site, because they’ve found something they like in my writing. If I posted others’ content all the time it might be a reason for people to stop coming. That being said, I think it is important to offer different voices once in a while (so write a guest post for me ;-)).
If you’ve read this far, you’ve done it because I’m guessing you enjoy the blog. It’s YOUR feedback I want. I must be doing something right, because traffic is slowly, but steadily growing. Not as much or as fast as I’d like, but so is life.
Here are my questions for you.
1- What are your favorite types of post I write? What are your least favorite?
2 – How frequently should this site get updated? Is 5 days a week just right, too much, or too little? If it was an every other day schedule would you be less inclined to visit?
3 – How many “survival” related sites do you visit? Is SHTF Blog one of many you read, the only one, or one of a few? If it’s the only one or one of a few – why? What makes this site worthy of your time?
Your answers to these questions would be appreciated.
– Ranger Man