On Minimalism, Blogging, And Being Human

I’ve been blogging for several years. I’ve been a minimalist most of my life. It took me awhile to see how the two could come together. I’ve reached that point. Still, this leads to further questions. How do minimalism, blogging, and being human all fit together?

As a blogger, I’ve been told repeatedly to learn SEO. (SEO, Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s un-paid search results).

It’s only been in the last year that I’ve really begun to understand SEO. It’s also been in the last year that I’ve slowly moved toward making my blogs more minimalist in appearance. I’m discovering something: SEO and minimalist design are not always compatible.

Here’s What SEO Experts Are Telling Us To Do

  • Create headlines with focus words or phrases.
  • Repeat those focus words or phrases 10-20 times in your post text.
  • Create big in-post headings with the same focus words and phrases.
  • Use pictures in every post.
  • Create numbered lists in posts.
  • Use simple language: Stay away from words over two syllables and sentences over twelve words.
  • Include several outgoing links in your post.

Some of these SEO rules started to bother me. What if I don’t want to repeat the same phrase 10-20 times in my post? What if I don’t want big in-post headings? What if I want to write more intellectually and use big words and long sentences? And furthermore, I can’t be the only one who gets tired of numbered lists.

A Little Human Interaction

About a month ago, I tweeted The Minimalists and Joshua Becker of becoming minimalist with my dilemma. Here’s what happened:

Me: How do we justify SEO and minimalism? SEO requires bold headings and too much repetition. Any thoughts?

Joshua Becker: The reader and his/her experience is always the first and most important concern – Readers are better than rank.

Joshua Fields Millburn: SEO? Is that a British pop band? Never heard of them.

Something clicked about these responses. They’re both very sincere and human. One serious, one humorous, but both are heartfelt and honest.

Sometimes it’s easy for bloggers to forget who our audience is. We focus too much on numbers instead of human beings. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with this aspect of blogging. However, I’m discovering that blogging as a minimalist changes that whole equation.

Minimalism is a beautiful thing. Minimalism is art. Minimalism is architecture. Minimalism is design. Minimalism is music. Minimalism is human. It’s fully human, even when we use technology to discuss it. Here’s why: Minimalism is the answer to millions of peoples’ immediate concerns. It’s also the answer to many of our environmental concerns. Minimalism touches people both at home and at work. Minimalism has the power to change lives. I truly believe this.

I think Jesus would agree.

So What Does This Mean For Hip Diggs?

Will I change the way that I’m blogging? Maybe a little, but not much. I’ll use less repetitiveness. I’ll have less numbered-list posts. I might not include a picture with every post. I’ll worry less about SEO in general. 

After all, SEO is only a strategy. You, my readers, are real human beings. My goal is connect with each one of you in the best and most simple way possible. I want to share the things that I’ve discovered about simple living with you so that your lives may be improved. One thing I’ve discovered is that machines and programs can never replace human beings. Simple living begins in the human heart. Will you join me on this minimalist journey?

See All Posts


James Ewen
Articles: 362