Why I’m Rebelling Against Branding

This was originally published January 30, 2017.

I’m about to completely revamp my website. Branding experts will likely cringe at what I’m about to do, but so be it.

Being an author and blogger is stressful. Non-writers may not realize this completely, but there are thousands of people out in internet world who study and analyze what makes a website “click worthy”. There are also thousands of people out there who want to help you become your own brand, who guide you on getting your name out there, and who give their advice on how to build a social media cult of followers. (Yes, recently I actually read an article that referred to it as a cult).

We are told that if there is any hope that anyone will read our work, we have to market ourselves and our writing. We have to increase our SEO (search engine optimization…in other words, fight to make your website pop up first on a Google search). We have to create a personal brand to greet the world with.

I’ve researched, studied, followed “expert” advice. But what hit me the other day has brought that all crashing down.

I went to the front page of my blog, a Christian blog mind you, and all I saw was a huge picture of my ugly face.

Why do I say it is ugly? Because it isn’t Jesus. It’s Jenny Wright.

Why as a Christian blogger did I create that graphic and make sure I used a web template that would feature it across the header? Because I was following the advice of a supposed blogger guru who is a Christian. It came out of a genuine desire to want to spread the message of Jesus and the insight that God is giving me. I mean, if God is giving me all this stuff to write, I need to do my best to get it out there and be read by as many people as I can.

So I did the branding thing. I tried to make the website be the front for the Jenny Wright brand. I flirted with turning my titles into clickbait. I rewrote my posts so that their SEO would be higher. I promoted my writing on social media and used social media as a tool to try to get people back to my blog.

Doing all this, though, did three terrible things to my blog:

  1. It wore me out and made me hate blogging, which meant I no longer had the desire to share what God was speaking to me.
  2. It broke with what my readers had come to appreciate about my work…my realness and honesty.
  3. It put me at the front instead of Jesus.

So, dear readers, I apologize to you. I apologize for letting this get in the way of serving you. I apologize for not posting regularly this past year. I apologize you had to see a giant picture of my face every time you logged in. And though it may take a few weeks, I promise you that, God willing, I’ll fix these things and get back to what you all appreciated…a real and honest look at living the Christian life.

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