Tag Archives: blogging

WordPress Takes Another Unfortunate Page From Facebook

frustration, computer annoyance. changing sites, website frustration

Thanks, WordPress, for doing it again, with no instructions. Creative Commons attribute.

It’s amazing how various companies feel the need to constantly refresh and rearrange their look, their feel, their software. Every new version of Microsoft seems worse than the one before but uses way more memory so you have to constantly upgrade your hardware. It’s a make-work project. How do you employ thousands of people if you create something so awesomely efficient that someone never needs to buy another piece? Planned obsolescence and inefficiencies are part of the market model, which in the long run, is unsustainable, uses up resources and burdens landfills.

While I’m not surprised by this, I am constantly annoyed. I hate Facebook for its unending changes, and  sneaky tweakings of policies so that while you have never intended to sell your soul to the devil, a legal spindoctor has suddenly changed it so that if you didn’t say, I don’t want to sell my soul to the devil, then you’re automatically in hell. Oh wait, Facebook is hell. Google has done similar tricky business.

 

Wordpress, blogging, Fresh Pressed,

Fresh Pressed was dynamic, colorful and right there for easy access.

And WordPress, alas! Why oh why? Let’s see, what was once good, and what changes have appeared, without any instruction or direction to the new design? Remember Fresh Pressed? You’d sign in and get a page of highlighted “pressed” blogs for the week. The page was colorful and interesting, dynamic because it always changed. (Hey WordPress, one of the first rules of websites is to make them dynamic. What have you done?) I found blogs that I follow because of Fresh Pressed. Now, it’s tucked away in some spider-infested corner and I never see a new blog anymore unless I go hunting.

Then there was that change a year or two ago. Ooh, sleek, ooh, simple. So simple in fact that I couldn’t find my way into my blog, to making posts and to checking stats. Why? Because WordPress decided to make a teeny tiny W icon that you have to click on, like the secret hidden pathway behind a bookcase, but way not as much fun. And let me tell you, when I tried using WordPress help it was like talking to a robot that said the same things but never read my question. It was another blogger who finally pointed out the miniscule icon.

One good thing was more developed stats. I could scroll over the graph and see what day I had posted, how many people visited one page and how many people looked at multiple pages. Now. Well, I have good old-fashioned retro bars that just show how many people in a day have visited. Yeah simple. Boring. The maps are still there and that’s a good thing but Wordpess, bring back the old way.

Wordpress annoyance, blog page

Soon you will need to follow a trail of breadcrumbs to find WordPress.

And of course with the new year, presto! Yet another new freaking look and no way to find my blog. Sure, I can find blogs I follow, and I can find my profile. I can’t find comments from readers. I can’t find the useful sidebar and all the tools to write a post. I can find a blog window to write in and only by going back to the CLASSIC design have I been able to do what I’ve always done. Post pictures, highlight text, add tags, approve comments. Really, WordPress, that’s why it’s classic. It works.

I was going to post about the unfortunate array of what classifies as dating, or about my work on the Viking longboat. And yes, I will be posting about both of those, and a long list of writing achievements. But right now, I’m expressing my annoyance at WordPress thinking they’ll be one of the cool kids if they just continue to mix things up. Don’t follow Facebook’s example. Don’t be like Microsoft, which has increased the sales of Apple products. WordPress won’t listen to me. I guess this is just a cautionary tale. :/

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Filed under internet, Writing

Demographics of My Blog

Since I’m on a demographics kick I thought I’d post about the countries that have viewed my blog. While I’ve been writing for about 5 years, WordPress only started doing the country demographics in February of 2012. So who reads my blog? The top ten countries might be who you would expect. After all, I write in English, so the Engligh speaking nations are at the top. Plus, I’m Canadian but Canada isn’t number one. This might be because we have a relatively small population for a rather larger land mass. Of course, we modern, pampered people tend to live more toward the southern border because it’s just much nicer than freezing your ass off. And to all the Inuit, I admire the ancestral hardiness that let you survive and prosper in the Arctic, but it’s not for me.

So yes, the US is my number one reading country. We have that close proximity and the masses to bolster the readers. Canada is in second place with the Brits not far behind. Sorry, Scotland, you guys are considered part of Great Britain, but the Republic of Ireland is separate. Fourth most populous readers is India. Not only do India and China have about a third of the world’s population but one of my more popular posts was Betel Nut Adventures.

Fifth place goes to the Ozzies. Hello, Down Under. If you haven’t done so, check out the blogger from New Zealand, Ms Bunny.Eats.Design. Great fun. Next come the Philippines and Brazil. I’m not sure what draws readers to my site but I’ve written about many things so something catches the eye.

The last three spots in the top ten readers fall to Germany, the Netherlands and France. I was in the Netherlands two years ago and loved it, especially Delft and Den Bosch. Germany and France, I’ll be visiting you in about a month and I hope to post about my travels.

From polgeonow.com

From polgeonow.com

As fascinating, at the other end of the demographics are all those countries where one lone soul found me: New Caledonia, Mauritania, Togo, Anguilla, Djibouti, Congo, Malawi, Faeroe Islands, Andorra, Somalia, Swaziland, Palau, Solomon Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Cuba. What’s fascinating is that I haven’t even heard of some of these places:  Marshal Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Kiribati, Gabon. I’ve learned something new about the world.

In fact, I can say almost all of the world has seen my blog. Here are the countries who haven’t found me yet: Greenland, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Then there is a strip in Africa: Zambia, Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Madagascar. I would hazard a guess that Greenland might have issues of connectivity. Whereas the other nations might be too impoverished or in political unrest (or they don’t speak English). It’s just a guess because I’m certainly not up on all the African nations but it’s my best surmise.

I can’t say how accurate WordPress’s map is in showing all countries but it’s interesting to think that we can reach most of the world these days. Even if most of the world doesn’t speak English, there are smatterings everywhere.  I’d be interested in some of the less frequent visiting countries to hear what drew you to my blog. In the meantime, it was fun to see what countries have stopped by. Keep on dropping in.

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Filed under Culture, internet, people

WordPress Bushwhacked Me

The other day, as I was inserting images into my posts, I noticed I had multiples of the same image. You know, the books, the quills, and all those specific images for my posts over the years.

And I saw, with the new way WordPress brings up media files that I can now click and insert an image from a previous post, hence I only needed one version of the quill or the book. So I had a cleanup day, and I deleted and deleted and deleted. I won’t need that picture of the food from the Apocalypse Diet again, so away it goes. I won’t need the image of the genital bleaching graphic, so it went too. Wholesale purge of the image files, because, you know, there is only limited space that WordPress gives you for those images.

Today, I was writing a comment onto another list and wanted to include a link to a previous post. I googled my post and it came up, but no pictures. What? Is the internet acting up? Is there a wordpress glitch? Search back and forth and then the horrible realization hits. I wasn’t just deleting multiple images from my media files; I was deleting the links to the images. WAH!

Dear WordPress, why not have a warning for those of us that don’t understand that we must always always always keep the image in our files or it goes bye-bye from our posts? Why not have something so that when I click “Delete Image” a little note comes up and says, “Deleting this image will remove it from your blog post. Are you sure you want to continue?” Sob* I’m really cranky now and will possibly replace some of the images. But… Geeze. The grief. So I’m sorry if you find a post of mine and it’s blah with missing pictures. Send me a message and I’ll try to erect another image or a big sad face because it’s gone forever.

Grrrr.

I should add, that if this happens to you, you can get some of them back. The pictures won’t show in your post but if you happened to put a caption and alternate text tag words, you can highlight the spot in the post, copy it and do a google search for your caption. Add in the name of your blog and you can narrow down the images. Your image will show in Google. You can then upload it again to the blog. Paste in your copied caption and you won’t have to rewrite it. Still a pain but it’s not completely lost. I’m going to slowly put the pics back, when my posts come up on the stats pages as the most look at. So Starbucks and the Censored Mermaid, and How to Wear Skirts and Manskirts now have their pictures back.

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Filed under life, Writing

WordPress Creates a Bomb

wordpress, hidden dashbar, frustrating changes, blogging, writing, designing blog

Is WordPress owned by Microsoft because this latest change smacked of the annoyance that every Microsoft upgrade has.

If you recently logged into your WordPress blog, you might notice that things changed, and change drastically they did with no warning. It seems WordPress decided to study Facebook and take a page from the book of annoying.  Normally, they’ve done a few changes and they seemed okay and intuitive. The dropdown menu was great. So this morning when I logged in I couldn’t find where to get to my posts, nor how to find my dashboard, which is where the other aspects of designing the blog are, such as managing comments, placing widgets, changing themes, edit and adding posts, reviewing old ones, etc. The dropdown menu had been simplified but nothing seemed to indicate where the dashboard was. So I thought I’d find feedback, which they used to have and which I didn’t even have to use very much. I found the support section and posted a comment (my comments are in regular font, blue italics for the volunteer who was driven as crazy as me, other colors for other commenters. There are a few more comments in the actual thread but they were only spinning off or commenting on what they disliked as well. Full thread is here:

What the hell? You guys have changed everything, even on how to contact anyone or leave feedback. Now I have to hunt to find a way to make a new post and view my previous posts. Not to mention, where did my dashboard go? This is not one of your better tinkerings. Please put back the dropdown menu and make it easy again.

The blog I need help with is colleenanderson.wordpress.com.

No changes are going to be reverted. If your have specific issues please list them and we will deal with them.

where did my dashboard go?

https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin is where you l;of-in and logging in results in being on your own blog’s dashboard.

Now I have to hunt to find a way to make a new post and view my previous posts.

new post link > https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php
all posts link > https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php
sticky post at the head of the forum > Changes to Media Handling > http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/changes-to-media-handling?replies=1

It’s fine to have a bunch of links listed but that doesn’t help me when I sign in. When I log in, I cannot find the dashboard that lists themes, posts, etc. I can hit new post, sure. But I often have some in the works and want to go back to my list.

Other changes in the past have made sense, made accessibility easier. This one falls into the realm of annoying Facebook changes. If it takes me longer to hunt, it certainly isn’t intuitive.

Oh, and why is it even harder to contact WordPress. I had to really really hunt for a place to post. What happened to “Feedback?”

@collenanderson
re: the links I provided
You’re welcome. Please fee free to bookmark them as I have done so you can access them quickly and easily.

Unfortunately bookmarking is a stop-gap and doesn’t make ease of accessibility from the wordpress page better. I use different computers and bookmarking is not the best option. I hope wordpress will think about these changes. I agree with the above person too on inserting media. There are now more steps to do the same thing.

We’re devolving here. I understand you’re a volunteer and thank you for your prompt answers but they don’t let us navigate wordpress any better.

@collenanderson
This is a peer support forum where Volunteers answer most questions and tag threads with issues we technical issues that we cannot assist with resolving. We don’t provide emotional support for adaptation to unwelcome changes (please note that we are probably just as unhappy as you are and we don’t get any prior warning of any changes either), but we are happy to assist with technical issues and tag threads when Staff assistance is required.

If I needed emotional support I would go cry on a friend’s shoulder or have a drink. I’m talking about feedback here. As in, where do I click on the wordpress page to get to my list of past posts and my drafts? Why is it so hidden now? Do I now need a map of links to get there? Isn’t that rather old fashioned?

If wordpress is so uninterested in how their changes affect their users that would explain why there is no longer a section for leaving feedback. And likewise, the dropdown menu was useful and quick. It is no longer there and no longer quick.

Like the person above, where can we leave feedback?

As in, where do I click on the wordpress page to get to my list of past posts and my drafts

Your dashboard is here > https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin

Dashboard > Posts > All Posts
https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php

Dashboard > Posts > All Posts (Drafts)
https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_status=draft&post_type=post

Like the person above, where can we leave feedback?

There is no specific forum for feedback.

I know what to do when I have the dashboard. What I’m talking about, again, is that when I log in I see no place to bring up the dashboard. If I have to have a host of links, then wordpress has just gone backwards in time.
Step 1. Log in
Step 2. Go to dashboard (what do I click on?)

This has yet to be answered. Don’t give me a link, tell me what I’m looking for to find the dashboard.

Dashboard > Posts > All Posts
Dashboard > Posts > All Posts > (Drafts)

Sigh. There is nothing that indicates the dashboard. Where did you find the dashboard? It is the dashboard that I’m still looking for. I’m sure once I find the dashboard I’ll find the posts and drafts and widgets and themes and all the other things that are there once you have the dashboard.

There is no dashboard. I AM TRYING TO FIND THE DASHBOARD, PLEASE.

This is the link to your own blog’s dashboard https://colleenanderson.wordpress.com/wp-admin

Read more here > http://en.support.wordpress.com/dashboard/

For clarity the link to every wordpress.com dashboard is the URL of the blog followed by /wp-admin/

You’ve said that there is no forum, but that isn’t really what we asked. We are asking for any way that we can leave feedback. Is there an email address or a form (not a forum) we can fill out anywhere?

I understand you want to provide feedback re: the changes and that’s why I tagged this thread for Staff attention long ago.

There is not phone support. The email address is only for technical issues and using it places you in a queue with those who have technical issues being addressed to Support Staff, not to developers who make these changes. When we create a support ticket by contacting Staff or by flagging a thread here in the forums for their assistance it’s important to understand Support Staff have a backlog. They deal with the support tickets and threads with the earliest dates first. So if we contact them more than once on the same issue or bump threads the date moves forward and it takes longer to get help. This thread is flagged for Staff attention. What’s required is your patience please.

I didn’t think this was a hard question You could even send me a screen shot showing what you click on, but giving me a link again and again does not answer my question. After I log in, what do I click on, that is not a link, that will let me get to the dashboard?

It seems I cannot include a screenshot but once I log in there is nowhere that the word dashboard shows. No where. Not in the minimized dropdown menu, not when I click the blue tabs. No where, no dashboard. Sure, once I get the dashboard, I have all my usual choices, I presume, but where, without sending me another link, is the dashboard? Describe the steps to get to it by clicking. Or is it gone and that’s why we’re playing out this fiasco?

Please wait patiently for Staff to assist you.

Colleen, you can open the Stats tab, and then click on the little blue W logo above the graph on the right-hand side.

Pictures of how to log in:
search for wordpress.com login on Google, then click on “log in”
http://1tess.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/log-in-1.jpg
screen to put in username and password
http://1tess.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/log-in-2.jpg
click on your gravatar
http://1tess.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/log-in-3.jpg
manage blogs—>choose blog—>(fly-out menu) choose—>dashboard
http://1tess.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/log-in-4.jpg  (I guess they didn’t get that thing about not giving links but tell me where to click, but this time the links were relevant, even if red circled in case I couldn’t read “Manage My Blogs.” Yeegods, that used to be where you went if you had more than one blog or wanted to add other writers. I never thought the dashboard would be hidden there.)

@gio162,
OMG, now why was it so hard to get to this point? Thanks. I didn’t even see that tiny hidden logo and didn’t think it linked anywhere.

And @1tess, thank you also. It was nice of wordpress to hide things and make this a hunt. Maybe next time wordpress does a wholesale switcheroo a little sidebar for a month that explains where everything has moved to would help. But that’s right, there is no feedback area, like there used to be. Instead we got to play back and forth all day. Sigh.

For future queries:
1. Log in.
2.Scroll over gravatar image
3. Click on “Manage Blogs”
4. Click on “Dashboard.”
5. Tadaa!

At this point the thread continued for a day or two but I haven’t included everything. WordPress answer my question…eventually. I really hope they didn’t take a page from Facebook (but even as I write this the formattting for the block posts has now been screwy for days.) Oh, and let’s not dwell on the demise of the Freshly Pressed… no longer easy to find.

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Filed under Culture, internet

Interesting Blog Demographics

blogging, writing, clicks, posting, blogs, internet searches, culture

Creative Commons: Kristina B flickr

You know all those fun stats that WordPress gives you if you write a blog; number of clicks per day, week, month and year, search items, posts clicked on, etc.?  Well, it’s really interesting to see trends or what people are interested in, though repeating it doesn’t always work. My first year or two I tried to write 5 days a week. Then I knocked it down to about 3 days a week. Sometimes what I write about may be topical, or just something I’ve been thinking about, but it’s not what others are reading about. Then suddenly, weeks or months later, the post takes off and gets a lot of views. I doubt I could predict what would have been the more popular posts.

If I had to guess I would have said sex, or what my government is doing to me and you. But like the Facebook cartoon that went around (it shows a person posting on serious things, government, political stuff and the post gets three “likes”, then they post on something inane, such as “I like frothy pink milkshakes” and they get 1,000 “likes”) it’s never what you think will be the hit.

My all-time top post is Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend, which just beats out the up-till-recent top post: Traveling in India: Betel Nut Adventures. When I look at the search criteria, people have been searching for “rape” and “betel nut.” I’m always a bit disturbed that so many people are searching out rape, and I wonder why. Is it to be informed, or worse, for some form of warped titillation? In a way I could possibly understand why betel nut might be my top post. After all, the population of India equals 17% of the world’s population.

Weekly totals tend to range but usually these two posts come out on top. This last week it switched to my recent The Skinny on Models, with anorexia being the search term. I’d like to think that this is because people are concerned about an eating disorder that’s being found in younger and younger children and is spreading too far in a society obsessed by looks.

Creative Commons: thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

I’m no big 15,000 hits a day blogger (yet) but it’s fascinating to see what hits the reader is attracted to immediately and what seems to gain interest over time, such as Starbucks and the Censored Mermaid and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Superhero Fashion. When The Only Good Thing About Snow was freshly pressed, it gained the most views in a single day to this date, but that tapered down.  I do find whenever I write about transit or the fact that people in greater Vancouver pay 33% taxes every time they park, whether in a parkade or on the street, or about Big Brother watching us, that no one seems to care. Alas. That also disturbs me because it indicates that we live in an age of complicity as well as hyper sexualization. While I’m not a prude, I’m still bothered by these connotations, at least as shown by internet searches.

My other top posts follow. You will see that many of them have to do with sex or sexualization in some way. But not all. I’m happy that people liked The Stones of Ireland: I as well. Oh, and I expect this post to not be popular because it’s dealing with statistics, not breasts or betel nut. 😉

TOP 13 POSTS

Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend

Traveling in India: Betel Nut Adventures

Home page (It’s hard to tell which posts these would be as it’s a daily change, every time I post.)

Starbucks and the Censored Mermaid (How did the Starbucks logo evolve and devolve?)

Incest, Betrayal and Genetic Sexual Attraction

The Only Good Thing About Snow (This one was freshly pressed.)

My Religion’s Better Than Yours

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Superhero Fashion

About Colleen (Yes, the about me page, which probably needs updating)

The Disturbing Trend of Sexifying Children (The creepy world of child beauty pageants.)

Tonsil Tales (My adventures on getting rid of my tonisls.)

The Stones of Ireland: I

Sexy Cartoons: the Cutesifying of Society

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Filed under Culture, internet, sex, Writing

Guest Blogging: Confessions of a Technophobe

writing, blogging, editor, stories, being busy, busyness

Creative Commons

Today, I’m a guest blogger at Steve Lockley’s blog: Confessions of a Technophobe.

You will notice that yesterday’s post and today’s start on similar topics and then veer. That’s because as I was writing about busyness yesterday I took off on a tangent. Then I tried to pull it back together for Steve’s blog. Steve is a writer of speculative fiction and lives in England. Cross-pollination happens through conventions and of course social media.

I’ll be attending Britain’s Fantasycon this fall in Brighton and look forward to meeting more compatriots of writing.

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Blog Award

I thank Deirdra Coppel for taking the time to stop by my blog and read it, and award me the powerful woman writer award. She is the artist of the award as well.

Deirdra Coppel

It’s a lovely gesture and part of her way of sharing. I’ve found that giving people complements doesn’t hurt and often makes you and the other person feel good. So, thanks, Deirdra. http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/

As it is, it’s late, I’ve been editing all day and packing. I’m on the road tomorrow and still have to finish up a few things tonight so this is all I’ll be posting.

I guess I should mention that I hope to do a site update in the next while, change the them around and maybe start linking to more blogs. But that’s a couple of months from now.

See you all in a few days.

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On Being Freshly Pressed

This week, my blog post made it to the WordPress front pages and I was freshly pressed or featured. And thanks to everyone who came by to read my post and congratulate me. I’d been bumping along on my posts, getting modest readership and it was really interesting to see how the readership soared.

Creative Commons: http://dancurtis.ca/2010/07/

I’ve read the page on being Freshly Pressed and the five things to do: original content, no profanity, a picture that’s not stolen or credited correctly (I’ve started using Creative Commons images if not my own), using tags and categories, proofreading, etc. So I posted about “The Only Good Thing About Snow” on Tuesday and popped it up quickly. I’m a writer, an editor so I tend to always proofread but I was on my way for dental surgery and had to run. So I didn’t proofread (until later and there were only a couple of typos/grammar issues), I forgot to post any tags, and I only had the default category of culture listed. And I was freshly pressed.

I went and read the page again and really wondered because this beasty didn’t fit some of those categories, so I emailed WordPress. They told me that it helps to a degree but too many tags or categories can make it so that the pages don’t show at all. Interesting. I asked how many and they said five to ten is good but don’t sweat it. Okay, I’m not sweating it. I’m not making money on my blog, just posting to air my opinion, to inform, to let people know I exist, but if I was depending on it for income, I’d sweat it big time. And that is how I was freshly pressed, by not following some of the rules. A true mystery I guess, or a seasonally appropriate blog with a picture of the right width to fit into the Freshly Pressed

format.

Still it was fun but I wonder what I would have done with a format that went viral. I was hard pressed (pun intended) to keep up with and approve all the comments. There were about 50 and I have it set for pre-approval on a person’s first comment. I was at work so my mailbox filled quickly.

I’m curious to see how my blog will progress now. Will it go back to the normal number of readers or increase. I noticed that some people have subscribed and I thank you for that. Continue to give me feedback.

If nothing else, this gives me a place to write regularly when I have a writing block in the fiction world. That’s not the case right now. I’m about 30 pages from the end of my novel rewrite, with a bit of backtracking to fix a few areas. But I will hit the goal of having it done before the end of the year. Then I can get to two stories percolating fully in my brain. The steampunk one has a fully laid out plot and I just have to write it and clear up  a few things about engines and flight. Another one is getting there, very dark and about a quest for power. And of course I still have manuscript submissions to read. It’ll slow down over the holidays.

I’ve also been reading through the anthology Horror Library Vol. 4 in which my story “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” is featured. There are about 30 stories and while I don’t normally do a review on an anthology in which I have a story I do have to say that overall these very dark stories and well written, thought provoking and disturbing. (Okay, I don’t really like the cover–sorry, guys–there have just been too many scary skulls.) Catherine MacLeod’s story “Stone” stands out as being very disturbing. The best stories often touch on social mores, morals and taboos. Catherine’s does all this and makes one really think of what is acceptable and whether it should be. People often poo-poo speculative fiction (encompassing horror, SF, fantasy, etc.) as not being really but it is a place to look at morality and social commentary in a very strong image. Don’t discount supposed genre fiction because you think it’s like a trite movie. It’s often much deeper than you think.

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Filed under Culture, entertainment, fantasy, horror, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

How a Blog is Different Than an Article:By Me Anyways

Last year I researched and wrote a blog for a marketing company. They knew they wanted a blog but they didn’t know really what a blog was or what the different types were. So I did up a paper and printed off different blog sites to show them. I wrote a blog for the length of the contract where, because of what they marketed, they found the blog wasn’t really helping them a lot. It was also very specific and I warned them that there was a limited life on what could be written about.

Blogs can serve several purposes. There are the dear diary, hello my friend styles that are personal, chatty and set for people who know the writer. There are blogs done by companies, which can be troubleshooting or informative, advertise and raise sales. These might be in an informal style or have a particular voice. There are blogs that are for entertainment (gossip of the stars, humor, trivia) and blogs that are opinion pieces (or rants). Of course, you can have a blend of entertaining and informative, or opinion and chatty, or whatever.

I write a blog for several reasons. As a writer, when I can’t get to writing fiction every day, it gives me some exercise in writing. With a keen interest and opinion on many things I like to write about them and share my knowledge or insights, sometimes see if there are like minded people out there or if I’m just off the wall. Sometimes it’s to inform and sometimes to entertain. I also post some previously written articles that had a limited exposure on sites long gone.

What I don’t do with a blog is research very long. These are often personal interest, comments on current events or informative pieces. But the way I see it, I don’t have time to do a lot of research, unless I’m being paid. When I write an article for a magazine I do more in-depth research that might include interviews, going to the library, and some good ole fashioned legwork on top of internet research.

An interesting observation that I’ve noticed in general with my blog pieces. Since I started this blog in April, the entry “A Whole Rainbow of Possibilities” (on gay pride) probably had the most hits in a day. The “Fuel Efficient…” article had a lot of interest at first. The “Stones of Ireland” has been my most consistently read piece and the “Teenage Sex and Teachers” has skyrocketed over the weeks since I wrote it. I can conclude only that if you have sex in the title, especially coupled with teenagers, you’ll get many hits. Maybe I should title everything with sex. Sex Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sex Looking for a New Car. Sex Shopping for Clothes. Etc. I wonder how that would skew the views from those just looking for sex.

But in general, when I’m writing a blog entry I’m going on my memory and knowledge and some internet searching. Usually some Wiki and a few other sources, such as reliable newspapers or specific sites to do with the topic. So a blog satisfies my need that people will read it. Maybe not a thousand hits per day (yet! Unless I put sex everywhere) but still I’m one small voice in the cave. And of course I write because it’s fun.

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Blog Blog Blog: A Comparison

In the blog world I have tried three different ones: Live Journal, Blogspot and WordPress.

I began Live Journal first as a way to keep track of people I knew and what they were doing, and likewise so they could see what I was doing. Some people have many people on their lists, over fifty or more. If you friend someone, they can read all of your blogs, not just the public ones. This means you can put locks on some of your posts so that no one can read them but yourself (the personal diary format) to certain groups of friended people being able to see them.

When you put someone on your friend list you can also read their posts daily as they come up. So, if you do have many many friends, it could get time consuming. Supposedly there are filters on who you want to read but I never figured them out.

A paid account gives more user account pictures that you can upload, as well as a wider range of templates to use. There is a fair amount of versatility there. You can also screen, block or allow all comments. Some people use it to invite people to teas, parties, etc. However, I didn’t always read my LJ every day and wouldn’t find out about something until after the fact. As a form of communication, when I actually asked for feedback, I would receive few to no answers. I decided it didn’t serve the purpose I wanted (email is still the better form of communication and people really didn’t care about what I posted) and in the end it became quite a time sink for reading endless blogs, often on things I wasn’t interested in either.

I started up Blogspot next and ran them concurrent. Blogspot, I saw as the more public and writerly blog. This was to inform, entertain and just write. LJ had always been the more personal stuff. When I talked to other writers, many use Blogspot/Blogger. Blogger allows some adjustment of some basic templates. LJ has the greatest number of templates, but I’ve seen a fair number of online magazines using Blogspot. Blogger also shows how many hits you’ve had. Searches do not bring up anything from LJ so if you’re looking for posts related to editors, authors or magazines, the only way you’ll find them is through word of mouth or a link on a site.

I wasn’t happy with the limited hits Blogspot received and as a writer wanted my name to be found more easily through internet search engines. I don’t have a website so I needed to somehow bring some traffic in. I had used WordPress when doing a contract blog writing job and thought it would serve that purpose. The templates are fairly basic, like Blogspot. But the traffic is naturally higher.

Blogspot has a limit on the number of tags you can enter for a post, whereas WordPress does not. With the addition of WordPress’s categories, it gives a greater range of ways that people can search topics. I am basically a writer and not that savvy on how all search engines and tags work. If I google my own name, the first two spots are for another Colleen Anderson, a musician and writer. The third spot is Mermaid Tales, which is my Blogspot blog. Fourth spot goes to the “linkedin” website of professionals by any name you search for. And fifth spot is WordPress.

I write five days a week on WordPress and post about once a week on Blogspot (or less), yet WordPress never overtakes the other in the rankings. However, I’ve run Blogger since April of 2007 and the number of hits now equals what I achieved on WordPress in just over three months. So WordPress gets more hits but when I search a topic, often Blogspot comes up first. Are there more WordPress viewers or are there more searches coming in? I’m not sure.

For this reason I’ll continue to blog on both Blogspot and WordPress. I think WordPress’s templates are more limiting but then I have checked out both recently to do a true comparison. WordPress still lets me think that people read my posts, whereas Blogspot might just be a few of my friends. Really what I should do is daily copy my posts from her to the Blogspot forum but I often can’t be bothered. When I do get a web page, I’ll incorporate my blog. LJ however, I’ve pretty much dropped altogether.

And since WordPress has just added the new feature of the poll button, here is one on the blogs.

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