Sunday, 23 March 2008

Blogs....and blogging

Well I spectacularly failed to notice that I had been blogging for a year over on Itchy Feet At Forty so thought I might as well use my missed blogoversary as the starter for this post. In that year I have seen blogs that I read come and go. Dog blogs, people blogs, food blogs, political blogs, photo blogs, whatever. Keeping up to a blog is not difficult. Keeping it focused is. So when I started Itchy Feet - it was with the intention basically of writing about anything and everything since I left the UK. There is no way when you reach 40 years of age that you can kid yourself you are still a 20-something-year-old. Much as you might like to and hard as you try. The first 40 years of my life were pretty good and I achieved more than some people - less than others. Good enough for me. But I had a serious fear of the next 40 years (depending on how long I lived but using 80 as a proxy for life expectancy) being boring as hell. How could I say I did a, b, c, d and e before I got to 40 - and then I did nothing of any note afterwards? Lived in the same boring street in the same nice middle-class suburb and went to the same boring office every day? No. While I may have moments (sometimes longer than others) of madness, the thought of 40 years of nothingness was enough to send me absolutely off it. So the job got chucked, the house got sold, and we set off with the Landy, the trailer, the tents, and the two dogs. Somewhat later, when I reluctantly dragged myself back to civilisation and reconnected to the Internet, I started blogging. And thought the start of my travels at 40 was a suitable cut-off point for my blog. Nothing before 40 would be allowed on, anything after was fair game. But of course it doesn't work like that. People who want to look at dog pictures don't want to look at Land Rover pictures. People who look at Land Rover blogs don't want to read about queuing at the bank in Spain. People who read about life as an ex-pat don't want to read my rants about why homeless people shouldn't be treated like garbage. And so it goes on. There are a few people who do read my different blogs - I know this because they have told me. So thanks for that. But generally the target audiences are different. One of my blogging "colleagues" (does one have blogging colleagues?) radically changed her blogs and her urls because her audiences were hitting on the wrong blogs. The political ones were hitting on her fashion blog. The religious ones were hitting on her dog blog. After the change around she ended up with more comments on her blogs. It's a crude indicator but one that shows she took the right approach. It didn't take me long to work out the dog needed his own blog. I thought I could keep the Land Rover stuff on Itchy Feet, as it is part of our life here in Spain. But it is such a specialised interest and gets so many hits from search engines, that it is actually better off being totally separate. And this blog is just pure self-indulgence for when I want to rant about something. Or someone. So after a year with Itchy Feet, I think it is more or less on track. It's basically a news blog, and this is maybe the leader column when something provokes me enough to write a few acid words or a few thoughts. Just Land Rovers provides the motoring pages, and Pippadogblog provides - well - the dog pages I suppose. I don't blog every day. I try and do at least a post a week on each blog and maybe more some weeks. I enjoy doing it. Why would I not? I haven't spent years being paid to write not to enjoy it - and on my blogs I can choose my own subjects, I have total editorial control, and I can publish for free. I don't do it to get 20 or 30 or 40 comments on every post. It's nice to get a few and as one (dog) blogger said: at least you don't feel you are barking in the wilderness. In more than a year I think I have had two or three spam comments. They were nothing offensive, but I don't want my work to generate hits for something that is nothing to do with my blog. Just like I haven't bothered with advertising. I think it spoils the appearance of blogs and, I can hardly claim to hold the moral high ground with my principles and then succomb to google ads. But I was mildly amused the other day when I skimmed a relatively new blog. It was nothing outstanding. Average photos. Average text. I thought the print was too small but that is always a pet phobia I have. I've had plenty of battles with irritating designers who never consider that the content of the text is important and just look at the overall impression of block text in the whole scheme of things. And there are still far too many people who don't realise not everyone can read 10pt. Anyway, we all have to start somewhere with our blogs so I thought I would leave a comment (so they weren't barking in the wilderness). This proved difficult. No. It proved impossible. Then I read later that they weren't accepting comments. They didn't have the time to moderate all the spam they would attract. To anyone who is thinking of starting a blog - and those of you who already have them - I think it is really considerate to accept comments. There are plenty of options for restricting them, including full-blown moderation only, pesky word verification strings, and a whole raft of choices for who you are prepared to accept comments from. The blog I read has literally a handful of posts. The subject matter is not exactly hard-core porn. It's not even an animal blog which would be far more likely to attract comments. I can understand a blog like the Daily Coyote stopping accepting comments because it was just receiving too many every day. It had absolutely loads. There aren't that many coyote blogs around. It has novelty value, good photographs - and above all, cuteness. A couple of average-looking guys, without much hair, and without the backdrop of the Wyoming bush are hardly in the same league. Even if they think they are. So it strikes me as being remarkably precious that someone thinks they are going to get bucketloads of spam on their mediocre blog after a few weeks and five or six posts. I can't even rant about it. I think they are so far up themselves that it is just laughable. And, that's one blog I won't be going back to read again.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet more food for thought from you today.

I agree keeping a blog focused is difficult, hence my difficulties on my own now defunct one.

I never blogged to get comments, I blogged because I liked to write about our life. I was always surprised to be totally honest, the interest my blogs received. (please do not think I am being big headed there!)......not me at all I hope you know that.

I also agree it is considerate to accept comments, if people take the time to read and then comment in their busy lives, on something I have written about then I was really pleased they did so.

However, I know the spam comments got to me though. Perhaps I am not so tough as I thought I was or something; and my blog enthusiasm waned.

I am also hoping that because we still live in suburbia, our next 40 or so years are not going to be as glum as you are painting......!LOL!

We both still have plenty of dreams to realise and things we want to achieve, but we were not able to up sticks because of kids etc. and the stuff which all that brings with it.

I have such good memories and experiences of those times however. The next years we have marked out as being "our time", health, wealth and good fortune permitting.

And no, we won't be going on an "oldie cruise" .....my idea of hell.

I think blogging should be a positive experience and it was for me, for a very long time. But when it stops being enjoyable, then it must stop.

I am glad I have finished, but I will still look in on my favourites, yours being one of them of course.

You know I like your rants!

oh and speaking of rants, my pet hate is word verification and adverts on blogs.

Muddy Person - BOS.

dog lover said...

Thank you for accepting comments! Your consideration is very much appreciated.

Like you, I have come across mid-size blogs where comments were not accepted. It felt like some strange one-sided relationship and I did not return many more times to that blog.

Love your blogs and PippaDoggy!
Keep up the great work!

Blue said...

Hi!

Haven't talked to you for ages.
Sorry!
I'm actually 'quoting' you today re blogging, as, as usual I'm in a 'mess' - lol!

Best wishes
Blue