Sensitive material on your blog; how not to alienate regular readers

Some of you may have noticed that my blog does not follow a traditional niche.

Nor do I write to a specific target audience.

So it is probably not surprising that this blog has attracted, and welcomed, a global and culturally diverse following. And, most importantly, many of you feel comfortable coming here from across all the continents to express and share your own views and perspectives on whatever topic I blab on about.

How fabulous is that? πŸ™‚

However.

I’ve been thinking about diversifying my content a little bit. 😲

Here’s the preamble of my brain’s inner workings:

I follow a few bloggers who combine an assorted variety of material on their blog. They may post the standard “empty your head into the blog” type of writing several times a week, and then supplement, or inject, a few creative pieces every now and again.

Most of them are fictional pieces. Maybe it’s a short story, or flash fiction, or some poetry, or just an illustrated fantasy, with pictures, about whatever preoccupies the blogger’s brain that day.

I love that. ❀

But not everyone does. And here’s why:

In some cases, their creative stories are what some people might classify as Not Safe For Work (NSFW).

What this usually means is that there is mention of sexually explicit content in that piece, possibly illustrated with pictures.

Here’s my take (because of course I have an opinion on that):

  • I am not offended by NSFW content, but
  • I do appreciate a disclaimer at the top of the post so I can choose my time when to click to read (or not).

For instance: not while the whole family is pestering me and disrespecting familial social distancing protocol. Ha.Β  πŸ™„

Some people classify their whole blog as NSFW, or restricted, or 18+ because the main focus of their subject matter is of topics not generally considered appropriate for all audiences. One example is blogs by single/divorced moms of a certain age (aka cougars) who are on a dating journey and discuss in abundant detail their adventures including their sexual escapades. In those cases, you know what you’re getting into when you click on any post, or their about page, because they tell you there what the blog is about.

But if you mix it up, say with regular chit chat most of the time but the odd anecdote of some erotic dream you had of a past lover, it is pretty safe to say that not everyone wants to be surprised by such sexual content without warning. Especially if you use porn-y lingo, and/or include pictures with varying degrees of nudity.

I personally have nothing against nudity, but I respect that it’s not a given that this type of content is everyone’s cup of tea.

I feel it is decent and respectable to give our readers, our followers, the choice to read, or not read, NSFW content.

This is especially important if sexually explicit pictures are included.

(I once opened my WP reader and saw a selfie of a naked woman splayed open on a blog that typically doesn’t use pictures like that. Almost spit out my coffee.)

It is important that people are given the opportunity to CONSENT to being ‘flashed’ (for a lack of better term) with erotic or sexually explicit stories or pictures.

Sound fair? I think so. I would feel awkward to push that sort of content on everyone who reads my blog. I can’t, and won’t, presume that all readers, regular and new, are of the same mindset.

So that’s the preamble.

Which leads me to a question.

How can you encompass sensitive topics in a blog like mine without alienating loyal readers who have little to no interest reading stories of that nature?

Side note: I am not offering to post nude selfies, people. πŸ™ƒ I’m just talking about romantic stories that may have some heat (!) and passion (!!) detailed in some of the chapters. Maybe use some lingo that would cause some people to spit out their coffee. πŸ™„

I have been thinking about this for some time. Which leads me to another question:

How do you feel about password protected posts?

The way it would work is like this:

The post would be published on the blog but it would not display the story. To read it, you would need to know the password and type it in.

If you use WordPress you may be aware that this is a functionality available to you. Did you know this?

I did. And I have considered using this function at times.

Here’s an example (I made one of my posts password protected to illustrate in this example):

This previously published post is no longer password protected, but if it were, you’d have to email me to ask me what the password is, then type it in to see the post.

It’s a nifty little idea, isn’t it.

I do have a tab on my blog (which you can see in the actual website but not in WP reader) where I display some of my fiction. None of it is classified as NSFW or 18+.

If I were to write, and publish, a few stories that contain content which some people would choose not to be exposed to, I could post them as password protected.

I could also compile them in a separate page (tab) with the disclaimer.

What do you think? Have you done this? Is this something worth exploring?

There are a couple of stories I’ve been working on that I would love to get some feedback on. BUT, they are not everyone’s cup of tea.

Hence, I thought I’d put it out there to you. Let me know what you think.

My email is writerofwordsetc@gmail.com

TGIF. See you in the comments.

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “Sensitive material on your blog; how not to alienate regular readers

  1. Content warnings should definitely be the norm. Although spitting out my coffee sounds like an adventure, it also sounds like a waste of good coffee. I did not know that WP had a PW protected feature. Learned my something new for the day! Full steam ahead with your plans, I say. And ahoy, matey! since I seem to have stumbled onto a nautical theme. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m up for reading adult content. I’ve never password protected anything myself but I have emailed other bloggers to read their password protected posts. It is a bit of a hassle though. Sometimes it takes a while for them to email back (especially if they live on the other side of the planet) and by then I’m not in a position to read them. I imagine it could become a real pain for you if you had to keep emailing people the password too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone else mentioned this too. I hadn’t considered that volume might be an issue…but it could be. And a large portion of regular readers follow my words from the UK which is not where I reside so that’s a 6 hour time difference to think about.

      Hm.

      Ok, thank you for the feedback. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m beginning to think password protection isn’t the way to go. A disclaimer at the top will be enough.

        I’m not suggesting I’m going to release erotica in this blog, I’m just saying I want to explore some different type of writing and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. πŸ™‚

        Like

  3. A tip from a writer of NSFW content πŸ˜‚. I would suggest from reading WP guidelines regarding adult themes (yes I did read), these lovely people are happy with adult stories but a word of caution if a blog is 100% ‘naughty’ then they will denote a blog adult which pretty much kills it, posts will no longer appear in readers etc. But mix the themes up and you’ll be OK, and goes without saying never display nude photographs which I’ve never done. 3 years of mixed content with no issues so my advice is warn the reader………. I’m under no illusion moderators have read my blog because once in awhile adult cartoons disappeared which is fine however its a fine line……

    Like

  4. I don’t like password protected stuff, but I understand your issue. I’d probably go with a warning label at the top, or a description and link to other piece, or I don’t know

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have no problem with adult content, but a warning is always appreciated because I often start scrolling through blog posts at work and the last thing I want is for an explicit picture to pop up just as someone looks over my shoulder. (This is a bit irrelevant while I’m working from home but there will come a point when I need to go back into an office.)

    That said, all I would really need is an NSFW warning in the post title so that I know to come back to that post later.

    Password protected posts also has potential but you could be creating a lot of work for yourself if all of your followers start emailing you for a password. Maybe use a single password and put it in the sidebar so that if someone wants to read the post they can just copy and paste without needing to bother you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The idea of the disclaimer is excellent. I think most people won’t be offended by explicit material–pictures are a little different, though, they kinda “jump” at the reader. I look forward to reading your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the idea of the disclaimer at the top over the other options. I think that 99.9% of your readers are adults who can easily see a disclaimer and decide to read or not. Why go to the work of doing a password. The tab for riskier posts is okay as well, but unless someone knows you have this on the blog you may be missing out on readers who would enjoy reading the slightly less familiar Claudette that we all know and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not only does nudity and explicit content not bother me, I welcome it. In fact, please point me in the direction of the naked woman splayed out, please and thank you.

    OK. I’m kidding (kind of). I think password-protected posts are an excellent compromise. You should be able to express your creativity and write about whatever you want, and then have your readers choose whether or not to engage based on their own comfort levels.

    Everybody wins that way.

    OK, seriously…link, please…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh this is timely! I just found an erotic short story I wrote a few years ago, & must admit it’s really good… but what to do with it I wondered?? So this could be the perfect solution πŸ‘πŸΏ
    I follow a couple of racy blogs by cougars (at 54 I must be one too 😘), but only one is password protected (& I just found that respectful). So yes, I say go for it βœ…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is SUCH a good post. I am of the mind that 18+ OR erotica genre does not bother me. Fiction is a place of exploration. It only irks me if what happened to you with inappropriate images/content without warning, happened to me. Label it. Do your great idea of password protection. As for me personally, my writing will be clean with a touch of heat to appeal to a wider audience. If I were to expand into 18+ territory I would submit to fellow 18+ writers for feedback or submit to publishers of the genre. But that’s just me. If you post content, labelled or password protected I will be on board for reading it. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to consider that at any given time there are kids walking around me. I don’t have a home office, just an island in an open concept house, and this endless pandemic has people around at home all the time.

      If you email me I’ll continue this chat with you. And yes, I’ll be experimenting with this type of blogging soon (I hope).

      Thanks Holly for dropping by and commenting. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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