Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rant/Ramble: Talking about Blogging

So, I have three blogs. I enjoy blogging. It's become a hobby. And I'm the kind of person who can't just enjoy a hobby, I have to talk about it.

I can talk about my other hobbies - I talk about perfume by blogging about it and participating in forums, and other blogs. I talk about cooking and gardening by blogging about them and participating in forums, and other blogs.

But I don't really blog about blogging. And while I've tried to participate in forums, the effort has been frustrating.

This is because the focus of blogging forums is seldom what I consider blogging. Instead, it's about setting up templates and comment systems, and the best SEO strategies, and whether AdWords produces more income than SomeOtherAdSystem. Content? Wait, content? Well, yes, they suppose that you have to write posts. Make them unique and valuable and compelling, yep. Content is king, yep yep. Now, about that SEO strategy...

So I have a pent-up urge to talk about blogging. The important part - the writing. And I just wondered, since many of you blog, do any of you have the same urge and the same frustration?

(Edited to clarify my complaint.)

Photo: By Guyon Moree. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Hmm, interesting question. I consider talking about stuff that I have problems with when I write, talking about blogging, so yes, I guess I do feel the need. :)

  2. I don't even know what SEO is...

    Nope, no real serious need to talk about blogging here. *However*, I'm just getting back into writing after a, gosh, 18 year hiatus. Just doing it is exciting.

  3. I'd like to hear what you have to say-- Ramble away!! (To be honest, I didn't quite get what the crux of your frustration was-- is it that you want a forum to discuss the writing process and what it means to you? Because that's the part that I'm interested in, not all that other techno mumbo-jumbo...)

  4. The burning questions I have about blogging are: how does one insert pictures half way down the text as opposed to only at the top, which is the only way I have figured out how to do!, and what is the optimum frequency TO blog from everyone's point of view, including the blogger?

    When I visit other people's sites I don't mind if the content hasn't changed for a couple of days - it is tricky enough keeping up with all the perfume ones I would like to, never mind sites to do with other interests. Yet there must come a point where a decent interlude to allow readers to catch their breath becomes wanton neglect. And I know you tend to post every day, CF, but I can usually keep up with you for some days your posts are quite short and may just say you are still wearing Cristalle, or still on a gluttonous weekend etc. : - )

    Oh, and my third worry is what will happen when I return full time to work! Eek - I have let so many leisure interests fill the void, and as Bloody Frida found, job + blog is not an easy equation.

  5. Thanks for responding, everybody. Yep, the frustration is that nobody wants to talk about the writing/content part of blogging - they seem to think that that's just a given and the interesting part is the technical stuff, especially the moneymaking technical stuff. Bleah.

    Now, there are plenty of people talking about _writing_ on various forums and stuff, so maybe I should just give up on talking about it in the context of blogging. But, well, I still want to. :)

  6. flittersniffer (I responded before I saw your response), when I want to insert a picture inside the text, I put the blinking insertion point at the desired point, and then click the picture insert icon. And then if it's still not quite where I want it, I seem to be able to drag it. I could probably also insert it using HTML, but I blog to escape technology, so I tend to ignore the HTML view as much as possible. :) I'm not sure if that answers the question?

    My goal has been to not only post every day, but post something substantial every day, even though I don't make it. I'll keep in mind that that may be overkill. :)

    Yeah, the blogging takes up a surprising amount of time. Originally, that was part of the goal - I wasn't spending any time on anything remotely creative, so the blogging filled that space. But it does threaten to overfill it. :)

  7. Thanks for the tip about picture insertion - I think I may have tried that, but the photo defaulted to the top of the post again. A bit of judicious dragging may be called for. Don't feel you have to post something substantial every day on our account - the shorter goofball ones are a lot of fun too!
    : - )

    Flaubert famously said the writer's skill lies in turning mud into gold, and you can turn even a non-event into a tasty nugget...and those days are very few anyway.

  8. CF-- I'm interested in your experiences in blogging every day because I'm gearing up to start an every-day blog. Right now I write every day and check other people's blog most days, but I only post twice a week. So far, the that posting schedule has kept me sane.

    The writing part of it, though? That can often be a roller-coaster. I've never put so much out about myself out into the Great Whatever before, and I experience Writer's Fright (akin to Stage Fright, I'm guessing) all the time. Writing is a very exposing activity.

    In fact, not unlike stage fright, I find that I often have to write as though I'm writing to a single friendly person-- if I think about all those folks out there, stumbling through my website and thinking/judging, whatever, I'll never type another word.

    ~FS Try clicking while dragging the mouse over the image which turns it blue to select it. Then cut it using the keyboard (Hold "Command" down while you hit "X" on a Mac; hold "Control" down while hitting "X" on a PC.) That will make it disappear. But you still have it in memory.

    Put the curser where you want the photo, and paste it in there. ("Control/Command" + "V") (Note: Whatever default alignment you upload it as, (Left, Center, or Right) it will remain-- that you can't change with the cut-and-pasting.)

    In Blogger, it's still glitchy and doesn't always wrap the text nicely the first time-- I often have to reposition it several times to make it look nice-- but that way, you can insert the photo further down.

  9. Thanks, flittersniffer - I'll feel better about the short ones then. :)

  10. LCN, yep, I definitely get the Writer's Fright. I've been writing on forums and things forever, but essentialy always with a layer or three between my forum identity and myself, so it wasn't as if everybody would know that that was _me_. This, for the first time, is me, even if I do use a chicken photo rather than let people actually see me. :)

    I'm rather boggled at one or two of the earlier things I posted, back when hardly anybody was reading the blog, and that I was probably willing to post _because_ hardly anybody was reading. While I haven't deleted them, I don't know if I'll be going quite that far again, either. Perfume and gardening and food are subjects that I enjoy very much, but they don't go too terribly deep, so they're not as scarey to write about.

  11. Re-contemplating the "how often to post" question, I'd say that as a reader I'm perfectly happy with a blog that's updated once a week. I want more, but I don't whine for more until the eighth day. :)

  12. Wow! There is some great conversation going on here! My own blog niche relates to coffee & Starbucks, and not perfume, but I believe the principles about blogging still stand.

    I've struggled with the issue about how often to update the blog. My goal has been to update at least 3x a week but that is hard to do, though I've maintained that pretty much. I don't have enough content to write daily, as ChickenFreak does. I think the short "scent of the day" posts work well for her niche.

    You're right that people get hung up about talking about everything other than content. And content is everything. I'm finding that there is a cycle where the more visitors that come to the blog, the more I feel this pressue to produce great content on a very regular basis. I'd like to maintain close to 4 blog updates per week but wow is that difficult. I have had about just under 16,000 unique visitors since I've been blogging since mid-Sept-2009. I'd like to maintain that!

    Chicken_Freak, do you worry that you will just run out of content?

    And as to identity ... About an hour ago I had the strangest thing happen to me... I was at a Starbucks chatting with a store manager & 2 Starbucks employees. We were off to the side, away from the baristas work at the register. Later, a barista told me that while I was chatting with the Store Manager, he was telling a customer (pointing at me, though I was completely unaware...) "there's the Starbucks blogger ... " and had mentioned my blog to the customer who, very oddly, was already a reader of the blog. It was really strange, and the barista said to me, "Melody, I pointed you out to one of your fans."

    Chicken_Freak, you too someday may be a "micro celebrity"!

  13. Howdy, Melody!

    I don't worry about running out of content - the perfumers are going to keep putting out perfumes, so there will always be something to talk about. I may run out of inspiration, or a way to put a fresh take on anything, but I'm early enough in the effort not to worry much about that.

    And, hey, if Starbucks gets a little hard to find a fresh take on, you could branch out into side topics without a direct Starbuck link. History of Coffee. Great Coffee Literature. Great Coffee Moments In Film. Melody's Great Coffee Memories. A Cup For Your Thoughts - brief random philosophizing by coffee drinkers. Or even coffee perfumes. :)

    LCN had a similar recent "she's that blogger!" moment at Barney's, if I remember correctly. Somehow being famous for fried chicken seems more appropriate for me, though I have no idea how I'll achieve that either. :)

  14. I just saw this thread is still going, hurrah!

    I sorted out my multiple pic posting problems, so thanks to you both, CF and LCN. Why did I never think to cut and paste - doh!

    I try to post 2-3 times a week, but that could go out of the window when I return to full time work, which is imminent. It is good to know that once a week is a minimum threshold to hold people's attention, but I agree that the traffic does seem to increase the more often I put up content.

    I love Melody's "she's that blogger" moment and I do recall LCN having a similar one on her sniffathon! I am the proud owner of a "vintage" Starbucks mug purchased in a branch in LA in 1994, where they have all the cinemas - West something. Anyway, it is a souvenir that is dear to me from that trip.

  15. Yeah, more frequent posting seems to bring more readers _and_ to please Google. A brand new post can be reasonably high in the Google listings minutes after I post it, then within days or even hours it sinks below the surface.

    (In fact... oh, dear. I was wondering why my traffic stats were much higher a day or so ago. I think that that was a day that I posted twice. I could increase my traffic by posting more than once a day? Geesh.)

    But, yes, I think that for a reader who already knows about you - bookmark, follow, RSS feed, whatever - posting once a week is enough to keep them interested.

  16. I too have found blogging forums to be not exactly what I was looking for...I find the hardest part of blogging is actually writting the first sentence of the post...I also have noticed on the days I post I have almost double the views compared to days I don't post...but posting everyday would drive me insane...but I'm not too worried about how many people look...I'm more concerned with if the people who are looking like what they see.

  17. Hey, Bo! Well, your posts are a good deal more substantial than mine, so a daily post does seem impractical, unless you had some briefer-subject series. And, yep, yours is a really good blog, so what you're doing is working.

    I have very little trouble starting a post; I don't know why. Maybe from years and years of text-based roleplaying, where you have about two minutes to write a pose. Generally only a couple of dozen people would see the pose, at most, but it's still an audience.