Numerous blog advice articles and posts recommend establishing a blog with a very narrow focus or niche. If you’ve read some of my posts you already have noticed that I can write about a variety of different topics. Quite frankly, what I’ve written is still much more narrow in scope than the number of topics I’ve thought about writing on. The result is that my updates have been more on the sporadic side and even though I started posting at the beginning of this year I feel I have yet to hit my blogging stride. My “voice” isn’t entirely captured in the writing and I haven’t even yet linked to this blog when commenting on other blogs or participating in forums, feeling instead that this blog isn’t ready to be introduced to the public.

I’ve held back because it has been difficult to focus on one niche. Would such a focus mean that I’d have to miss out on all those other topics I am still interested in learning about? The Internet is a wealth of information and one can easily get lost in the mountain of reference materials. I’ve found myself reading, reading, and reading rather than writing.

But this is my personal blog. Those who know me nod vigorously when it is suggested that I am eclectic. I enjoy learning about a multitude of different things. It is who I am. Rather than almost censoring myself to avoid writing a potentially unfocused blog about random ideas, I think now it is better to simply write. If there is a certain topic I do write at great length about that topic could break off into its own dedicated blog.

Until I let those internal shackles go and write, I won’t discover that focus. Besides, writing about different topics doesn’t necessarily mean that overall the blog would become something too random or scattered. It reflects who I am. I can be considered eclectic but I haven’t been described as unfocused. If a topic emerges as one I can write at great length about, it could perhaps break off onto its own dedicated blog. But those ideas can only be discovered if I do take the time to explore them and write about them.

A funnel of ideas. Writing unrestrained by topic. For the time being this is the direction the blog will take. Don’t worry, I’ll refrain from sharing play-by-play accounts of doing the laundry.

What about you? Do you find yourself worrying so much finding the perfect subject matter you end up muting your online voice? Do you feel confident that you have found that niche? How did you choose this niche?

For the first couple of months, I had been treating categories as tags. In general, a post should fall under one category but may be assigned multiple tags. I did classify those early posts into multiple categories. I’m going through now to reclassify those respective posts into single categories. Since it is early enough in the life of this blog to fix everything up, I think it’s worth taking the time to properly classify all the posts. Once it’s done I’ll post back with an update.

I recently installed the Akismet blog comment spam filter. As of today, Akismet has already filtered out 57 spam comments. The blog does have 1 comment thus far, although that doesn’t really count since it’s simply a trackback. That’s not unexpected, though, since publicizing the blog has yet to commence. Thanks to effective spam filtering I have one less blog administration task to worry about.

If you use WordPress you can download the Akismet plugin. Not on WordPress? Akismet is also available on for various other systems and platforms.

Although I have yet to begin publicizing this blog, a couple of spam comments have already popped up. Thankfully, WordPress (the engine which powers my blog) held these comments in moderation. In future posts I’ll get into why I chose a self-hosted WordPress solution.

If spam comments are already rearing their ugly head, I chose to implement a stronger spam control feature now instead of later. Akismet is a highly recommended plugin. It is installed automatically for WordPress versions 2.0 or later, but if for some reason it isn’t you can download the official plugin. If you use WordPress and haven’t activated Akismet yet, then take a couple of minutes to activate it now.

If your WordPress blog is the freely hosted version hosted by WordPress.com you are already using Akismet and don’t need to do anything else to protect yourself from spam comments.

If, like me, you host your own blog, you need to do a few more steps to activate Akismet. Essentially, although you have a WordPress blog already you need to establish an account with WordPress.com and use the API key which comes with this account. In response to user requests, now one can open an account without creating a separate, to-be-unused blog.

  1. Sign up for an account with WordPress.com (you can opt for a sans-blog account)
  2. Activate your WordPress.com account
  3. Ensure that Akismet is installed and listed in your blog’s Plugins
  4. Find your WordPress.com API Key – you can get either from your welcome email or from your My Profile page
  5. Activate Akismet in your blog
  6. Enter the API Key when prompted
  7. That’s it! Now spam comments will be filtered!

Personally, I will join the ranks of those who would prefer not having to create an account with WP.com just to use its API key. I would love to one day see a way of creating one’s own API key. Until then, this is the method to follow. But for an effective but free solution for controlling spam, I won’t be picky!