Minimalist Blogging: Creating a Body of Work You’re Proud of

Minimalist Blogging

Minimalist blogging is the process of focusing on quality over quantity. As a society, we’ve reached a point where there’s an oversupply of content on the internet. There are over 440 million blogs in the world! There’s an abundance of articles on “10 ways to do this” and “40 hacks to do that”, and I know because I’ve been contributing to this style of content for years.

While writing click-worthy headings with long lists like 30 Must-Read Articles If You’re Transitioning To Becoming a Minimalist, can be powerful in attracting an audience, I feel that people are increasingly drawn to honest, down-to-earth stories and real-life experiences. I know at least, I’m interested in this kind of content more and more. I love scrolling through Medium and reading posts that are not trying to hit a home run all the time.

Good quality content applies to all types of art. One of my favorite musicians is Frank Ocean. He rarely releases music but when he does, it’s incredible. Each track on his records has depth, layers and is powered by authentic experiences. You can tell that Ocean writes and sings only when he has something to write and sing about.

It’s much easier to write a great article or to produce a popular single, than it is to create a body of work, as in a collection of pieces, that you’re truly proud of. Good quality writing requires you to live with intentionality. That’s why I love blogging—it holds you accountable to living out your values.

So like how Frank Ocean applies minimalism to song-writing, Masa and I are applying minimalism to The Minimalist Vegan—here’s how.

We’re stripping back content that we don’t feel is essential…

 

…And we’re doubling down on content that is useful, authentic, real and honest.

Yes, despite missing out on commercial opportunities, e.g., traffic, email subscribers, book sales, we’re going to be removing articles that no longer resonate with us. Sometimes you have to be ruthless when it comes to minimalism, and it’s no different from running a blog. We want our archives to represent what we want our blog messaging to be accurately. Unfortunately, as it stands today, we’ve let some of our writing become bloated and superfluous. This is where minimalist blogging will help.

Decluttering articles will be a sure fire way to create an archive we’re proud of.

We’re going to give new life to old posts

 

Many of our posts are a few years old. While most of our content is evergreen (the content is written to have long-lasting message), we have additional information we can add to make our posts more impactful. It also gives us an opportunity to fix any grammatical errors and re-promote essential topics new readers may not be aware of.

We’re going to prune our email list

 

Writing our Slow Sunday Mornings newsletter is one of our greatest joys. It’s a place where we communicate directly with our readers about what it means to live a minimalist, vegan lifestyle. On average, 29 percent of our subscribers open our emails. Apparently, this is a solid number. According to MailChimp’s Email Marketing Benchmarks, media and publishing companies see an average open rate of 22 percent.

Even then, 70 percent of our audience is not opening our emails! This email performance is concerning on a few levels; 1) it’s wasted effort to send emails to people who don’t open them 2) we’re adding to the clutter of someone else’s inbox and 3) we’re paying to have subscribers who don’t read/open our emails.

So we’re going to audit our list and give our inactive subscribers a couple chance to unsubscribe. If we don’t hear back from them after a few weeks, we’ll remove them from our email list.

After this exercise, we should see our open rates go up, which means we’re reaching people who want to be contacted.

We’re going to stop accepting guest posts

 

With increasing commitments with our business and our book, we relied on other writers to publish articles on The Minimalist Vegan. In fact, from the 28 pieces we posted last year, seven were from guest contributors.

It’s been a pleasure having writers create fresh content for our readers. It’s also taken a lot of pressure off our publishing schedule so we would focus on other projects.

However this year, Masa and I want to challenge ourselves to write, and create recipes from the heart, consistently. We want to rekindle the spark we had in the first year of our blog, where we posted over 100 articles on our own. That’s not to say we’ll publish anywhere near that amount this year. We just feel that we have a lot more to share, particularly after the ideas that have developed after writing our manifesto book.

Focus on minimalist blogging

 

Again, minimalist blogging is about quality over quantity. Bloggers are so focused on increasing their readership, increasing the amount of content they produce and increasing their subscriber list. This desire is understandable, especially if you’re trying to make a living from blogging. Advertisers want to see loads of traffic, and book publishers want to see a huge social media audience and so on.

However, for us, we want to get back to writing honest, authentic content without the mental clutter of worrying about which post is going to take off. For us to create with freedom, we need to seek out the distractions and eliminate them. Minimalism 101 ????

2018 is the year we shift to minimalist blogging. What about you? Is there a creative outlet which has become bloated in your life? Is there an opportunity to take a step back and refocus on what you want to create and eliminate the rest? We would love to see how you can apply minimalism to your projects in the comments below.

12 comments… add one
  • Susana Vitorino 22/01/2018

    Hello! Thank you for this post…I could not agree more!
    Sometimes I forget about what I like the most…the little time I isolate myself and write, write and share a recipe, and think about numbers and traffic and followers! I understand that it doesn’t make sense without people reading and following but it can become overwhelming and breathless at times…so here is my Well Done to you…and also, your red lentil dahl is one of the ones I keep cooking and also shared with my followers because there is nothing better than that for the cold winter days! All the best!!!

    • Beautifully said Susana. Thank you for your kind words, and we’re glad the red lentil dahl has made your regular rotation.

  • Tony W 05/02/2018

    I love the changes you plan to make to the blog and your life. I may take all of 2018 to complete. LOL. I am sure you will be successful. I am inspired 😉

    • Haha very true Tony. It’s amazing how liberating it is to apply minimalist concepts to different areas of your live. Thank you for your kind words. Hope you have an incredible 2018!

  • jacqueline 27/02/2018

    I really needed this post! I’ve been trying to focus more on quality of posts than quantity and really struggling to plan which steps to take to make minimalism in blogging happen. This is so helpful, so thank you xx

    • Hi Jacqueline, so glad you liked our post! Love the design of your blog. It’s hard to apply minimalism to blogging but worth it in the end 🙂 All the best

  • Gene 06/05/2018

    Thank you for this post. I feel that this resonates with what I am currently feeling about blogging. I used to maintain a few blogs and earned through for a few years but I got burned out and feel like it’s not something that I enjoy doing anymore. I decided to create a new one, a clean slate so to speak. But I am torn as to what direction should I go with it. Should I go with what I used to do where it gives me the big bucks or should I go with what I want regardless of its monetary value? You are an inspiration.

    • Hi Gene! Thank you so much for your kind words. I like the your domain name and look forward to the launch of your site.

      It’s really hard to say. I’m not sure what you did previously to hit the point of burn out. I believe that readers are desperately wanting to read content that’s from the heart. I don’t think that necessarily means that you need to compromise your business goals. If anything, writing honest high quality content should build an audience and create more leads for your business.

      The whole idea of this post is to ruthlessly go for quality over quantity. Is that something that you want?

  • Kristen 29/05/2018

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I’ve essentially just found (read) your site, started focusing on my site, and have found myself equally concerned about the impact of attention-getting, panic-inducing blog post titles. It doesn’t mesh with my values or the point of mindfulness. So as I’ve been figuring out my footing, I recently decided to begin my own site overhaul. Four posts edited, many more to go. And I’m grateful. You give me hope that there can be a beautiful slow space out here in the ether again, where we need not worry about…everything else. XO

    • You’re welcome, Kristen!

      I’m so glad that you feel the same way we do about creating content online. You know what though, I would argue that minimalist blogging is what readers want. It just means, we all need to be a little more patient when it comes to creating awareness for our work as traffic will be increasingly dependent on referrals and shares.

      All the best with the overhaul! With simplicity, Michael.

  • Michelle 25/08/2018

    THANK YOU for this post and for helping me find the term “minimalist blogging”, which embodies so many of my values. I also follow this principle, though constantly have to defend this position (to myself and others!) because the pull to write for SEO/list growth is everywhere. I am so happy to have found this space and look forward to reading the Sunday Newsletter 🙂

    • You’re very welcome Michelle! So glad you feel the same way about blogging. Nice work on the site, by the way! With simplicity, Michael.

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