When A Great Blog Title Is Pointless

imagesI’ve been blogging for a long time. And in recent years, as I’ve become more professional in my approach, I’ve learned important principles which can helping grow a blog, from some wise, experienced and successful writers.

Some of the key principles they advocated, outside great content, was professional design, and ‘building a platform’.

I won’t lie, these ideas are good in principle There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a great design and wanting to grow a blog. In their place, these concepts are really useful.

But for me, it has seemed at times great design and platform building, essentially a focus outside of the content (ie: aesthetics), had become the point.

And I kept finding myself asking:

“When did aesthetics become more important than our art?”

After all, wasn’t the main point to simply create great, honest work, and share it with the world?

It’s so easy to get distracted by external matters like how a blog looks, whether it will attract people, having the right design, making sure we’re giving away free e-books, and even having catchy titles for our posts.

And whilst those are important, if the content is crap, it’s going to make no difference. People won’t come back. They may not even finish reading.

As writers, and artists, our number one priority should be creating great work. Making sure all the work we share with the world is our best, most honest and authentic work. That’s ultimately what will bring people back.

The Purpose Of Aestheitcs

imgresNow don’t get me wrong, aesthetics are important and we must pay attention to them, because they do draw people in, make your site more attractive, and your work look credible and professional. Ultimately, they can allow your work to help and inspire more people.

The point is, aesthetics aren’t the point.

Aesthetics might draw people to your blog once. But they aren’t what will keep them coming back. (you can tweet that)

What keeps people coming back, is quality, honesty and integrity of the work.

And that’s the type of work which matters.

Ultimately, great work with crap aesthetics is always better than the opposite. Though of course, the ideal is you have both.

Think of the artists & writers who’ve impacted you most. If it’s anything like my experience, it was the quality of the content, together with the honesty, the integrity of the work, which impacted you the most.

Not the aesthetics.

So make your priority creating great work. Honest work. Work which is birthed deep inside your heart, motivated by your passion, your calling, and what’s going on inside of you – not of selfish ambition, ego, and obsession with status and wealth.

And don’t rest until it’s the best it can possibly be. Edit it. Rewrite it. Delete parts or all of it, and begin again. Make your work the best it can possibly be. Then, communicate it, ship it, in the best way you can. Great design. A catchy title. Easy on the eye. Accessible. Professional. Well designed.

But always keep in mind, aesthetics are merely the entry way. They are what allows the great work to do it’s job – to have an impact on people and transform lives.

So begin with creating quality, honest, authentic work, and making it the best it can be. Because without that, no amount of good branding, communication or promotion will make a blind bit of difference.

Are you with me?



Question For Reflection:

Have you ever focussed too much on aesthetics, and less on quality of your work?

Share your story in the comments below!



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(Picture Sources: nobadlanguage.net / ebscart.com)

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  1. Angela Lacey on June 15, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Highly important, yet incredibly difficult on a daily basis.

    • James Prescott on June 15, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Completely agree Angela – really difficult in practice.

      • Angela Lacey on June 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        However, as my blog is primarily a spot to drop my poetry, and not that many people does it see, that really doesn’t apply to me.

  2. Sara @ The Holy Mess on June 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    So true! At the end of the day, good quality content matters. The package helps people find it. I know I’m guilty of spending too much time on the fluff. Finding balance is necessary and challenging.

    • James Prescott on June 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Yep, it’s a tough balance Sara, we just have to keep on trying to navigate it. Thanks for your comment!

      • kenna44cat on June 16, 2015 at 2:52 am

        What about SEO? Wikipedia says, Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results.

  3. Elyse Salpeter on June 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I agree, honesty and integrity is key. People these days know when you’re “selling them something.” You have to find a reason for them to come back.

  4. lisajey on June 15, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I used to have catchy titles, and found that as long as the title made it somewhere into the actual content, it really didn’t matter what the title was. That’s why I have some titles that say “Maybe this will stick…” or whatever… It’s about the content, even for gaining readers. If you have good content, people will read. Period.

    • James Prescott on June 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Yep, I agree, good content does find it’s own reward. Promotion, marketing, good design are all helpful, but ultimately it’s the content which keeps people reading.

  5. Scott Bury on June 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I’m with you. How does the saying go – “putting lipstick on a pig”?

  6. Onisha Ellis on June 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Behind good content, a blog needs to be easy to navigate for me to continue reading. It can be gorgeous but if I can’t find what I am looking for, I won’t spend time on the site.

  7. Mary Harwell Sayler on June 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    As Christian Poets & Writers our work relies on trust – first our trust in God and His Word then our readers’ trust in us. Thanks, James. I’ll highlight this on the Christian Poets & Writers blog – http://www.christianpoetsandwriters.com.

  8. Diane Rapp on June 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    We sometimes get caught up in marketing and lose our focus. Why did we become web designers, tweeters, cover artists, and bloggers? If you lose yourself in all the peripheral stuff we must do to sell, sell, sell, then you might as well get a job and forget writing. I retired from running a business to follow my dream of writing. Thanks for making me think about where my focus should remain.

    • James Prescott on June 15, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Spot on wisdom here Diane, totally agree. And thanks for the encouragement, so glad the post spoke to you.

  9. RebekahLyn on June 16, 2015 at 12:12 am

    What is pleasing to one eye is not to another. Getting bogged down in trying to please everyone can drive a person crazy.

  10. mnicholeh on June 16, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Great post James. I do think aesthetics is extremely subjective and we can’t please everyone. For me, I like consistency, so once I get it the way I want it, I tend to leave it that way. I fall into the trap of needing to update :/

  11. DiVoran Lites on June 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I like your post very much. It is something we all need to hear. There are so many techniques to marketing, and you’re right, you really don’t get far without using them or as many as you can or as many a your publicist will use in your behalf. That’s true in every walk of life.
    On our sites (oldthingsrnew.com and rlb.com) we try hard to have something beautiful for every post. We all have great cameras and wonderful photos, even old ones that are sometimes appropriate. It doesn’t take much to include them in our blogs. We also use original art. It takes a few more clicks to make the posts beautiful, but we love doing it, so it’s all a happy project for us.
    However, James, you are absolutely correct in saying we Christian writers need integrity and honesty more than anything else. We need to be just folks assuming others are better than we are as the Bible says. I’ve been called down for being pretentious, and though it hurt at the time, I’m so glad someone called me on it. It has set me free as they say, free to be me. It’s fun discovering who God really made me to be. It’s fun communing with Him in order to find out.
    Thanks for this post. I love reading about writing blogs and this was a goody.
    DiVoran Lites

  12. ANNIE EVE on June 17, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Good point, James, it’s the difference between look and life. What makes the difference is life flowing from our heart and from our writing. I don’t have all the skills to make the most beautiful blog but I can do something that reflects my values. Authenticity is the point. Beauty is connected with truth and love. I don’t want to waist my time comparing with others. Blogging is not about fashion ! But I want to learn how to improve my blog. That’s why I am joining this community right now. 🙂

  13. Rahela Vukušić Druško on November 20, 2015 at 9:07 am

    This is AMAZING! I was so many times more in researc (seo, design.. ) then in writing. I fully agree with you. We should make an honest piece and share within the world. We should remind ourselves on this every time we get stuck. Have a nice day! Rahela xxx http://www.raheladrusko.com

  14. jada s on August 9, 2016 at 1:17 am

    When I est. my blog I just wanted to write. I could have & still could care less about the visual impression, but it seems to matter to the masses.
    I wasn’t even thrilled to pen an “about me.” I’ve likely re-written it 100x.
    I am with you on this 100%. I admire words & impact, not the costume they’re dressed up in.


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