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Old 14-04-2014, 20:33   #16
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Lin,

An interesting question as I consider writing a blog.

1. What makes you choose to read and follow a particular blog

There are several things that will capture my interest, first and foremost is decent writing and an interesting story. An interesting story poorly told is not entertaining. This begs the question, what is an interesting story? I like stories that I can relate to. It maybe because of a personal connection, the blogger owns a similar boat, or is traveling to a place that I would like to know more about. Some experience to which I can connect.

The second big issue, is can I learn something from the story? Not necessarily big ideas, but little ideas that make life easier or harder afloat. Makes me think about what I'm doing and how to do it.

I like reflective pieces. Not the narcissistic, look at what we're doing kind, but the kind of writing that Beth Leonard did in Blue Horizons: Dispatches from Distant Seas or the kind of articles that Wendy Mittman Clarke has written for Cruising World (Thank you Wendy for the tip about the vacuum sealer and the The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
book) What is it about you that makes you want to go cruising? What does that tell me about your life and my life. Let me consider things from a different perspective. When a writer skillfully mixes refection on bigger issues and the informative, but some trivial, day to day problems like dirty laundry, I'm hooked.

2. How often do you want to see a posting

Depends on the blog. Every week or two is good. I like the blogs that have email notifications of new blog postings. Reminds me of what I might want to read.

3. Are you interested in the comments others post to the blog?

Occasionally, if they are relevant and expand on the blog. Too often the comments are trivial and add little except that I am not the only one reading the blog.

4. Would you continue to read a blog if it did not have a comments button?

Yes.

5. What would make you stop following a blog?

Updates become too infrequent or irrelevant. Frequency is especially relevant if an email subscription option is not available.

The character of the blog is too commercial. I don't mind a few ads on a page or Amazon links and I do like bloggers recommendations (I bought the Bread book) especially if I have gained some trust in blogger and have a sense of who the blogger is and how reliable that person is.

It is a big turn off to see a highly commercial blog, i.e., the sole purpose of the blog is to market products that support the author's cruising. Those blogs, and I am thinking of one in particular, are superficial and commercial. I'm not particularly interested in how perfect your life is and how I can support it.

FWIW, my favorite blog is The Marine Installers Rant Funny and very informative.

Hope this helps!

Dave
sv-secondstar.net (a blog very much under construction)
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Old 14-04-2014, 21:50   #17
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

1. What makes you choose to read and follow a particular blog
I like sailing blogs because I find I learn quite a bit about cruising. Might be cruising in general, weather, repairs, experiences, etc. I choose the ones that are well written, entertaining and interesting. Some don't flow well and soon I stop reading those.

2. How often do you want to see a posting
Anywhere from daily to weekly. It maintains the flow of the blog.

3. Are you interested in the comments others post to the blog?
Sometimes they are interesting and provide a counter view or some details the blogger hasn't considered.

4. Would you continue to read a blog if it did not have a comments button?
Yes.

5. What would make you stop following a blog?
If the author stops updating the blog or they move to an area I'm not particularly interested in reading about.
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Old 15-04-2014, 07:41   #18
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

1. It's realted to a particular interest I have. I don't plan on rounding cape horn. It just doesn't interest me to do so, so I tend not to follow related blogs. On the other hand, I am interested in driving the pan-american highway so the subject of driving to cape horn is interesting (I realize, you can't drive all the way to the tip). Once I am interested in a blog I will sometimes continue to follow when they move on to another adventure.

I like a blog that is a nice combination of text and pictures. For 3 pages of text with no pictures, you better be a darn good writer. A bunch of pictures with no explaination will quickly lose interest. With the data limits assoicated with internet access while traveling, I tend to avoid video intensive sites.

2-3 pictures with a paragraph or two on something interesting is a nice post. Occasionaly if you have something good, a longer post is OK.

2. I like to see a post or two a week as a nice sweet spot. More than that and it becomes what you had for dinner and the consistency of your bowel movements. If it stretches out too far, I tend to move on and not check back.

3&4. Generally could care less about comments. Most are at-a-boys. Most won't challenge the authors statments and even if they do, the author typically has control over what comments get posted, so you rarely see interesting exchanges.

5. I usually stop following if they stop posting regularly.

Too commercial and I usually don't start following regulalry.

I also dislike the beggar buttons. It's not a guarantee I won't read it but if you want to charge for reading your site, charge. Don't try to guilt me into giving you money for reading your free blog.
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Old 15-04-2014, 08:01   #19
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pirate Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Absolutely nothing... I've tried but after 2 pages I've had enough.. however threads on CF...
A whole different ball park..
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Old 15-04-2014, 08:27   #20
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

I am not a big reader of blogs, and dont think I have ever followed one.

I have a website, and that is distinct from a blog. It allows me to use a site to put things in the way I like it, and to add bits of software to make it different if I so desire.
Its a bit more difficult and complicated than ubiquitous blogging software. But it give me total control.

Mine isnt very professional looking, but it is must more accessible to Google, and lets me have a simple domain name and gives me control over multiple email addresses and advanced features... For instance I can have password protected areas that only family can read.

The content of mine is mainly photos and a few lines of text. However in important subjects I sometimes write a longer essay linked into the page.

Video is used a bit too... However that is becoming a little difficult to use with multiple video formats and various html scripts for each different format, and devices to view them - ita become much easier to put it on YouTube... But that reduces my independence of hosting, and opens up Like and Comment boxes.

Oh.... And I dont have comment boxes or Likes on my website. If you dont like my content thats not my problem! Comments are for forums LOLOL.

I recommend cruisers buy a domain name and learn to make their own website.




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Old 15-04-2014, 08:29   #21
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lin Pardey View Post
I am currently working on an article about blogging. Want to make sure folks consider why they are blogging, remind them of the highly public nature and talk about what folks want to read. Appreciate some thoughts on the following:
I have a bit of a blog obsession. I am currently following 41 blogs. All are related to sailing, cruising, living aboard and/or boating in general.

Quote:
1. What makes you choose to read and follow a particular blog
Blogs that I see on sailing/boating/living aboard/cruising usually are either travel blogs that just involve boats or travel blogs combined with boat maintenance/improvement blogs. I generally look for the combination blogs. Straight travel blogs get to be a little boring to me.

I use blogs to help me prepare for going cruising. So I like to see what problems cruisers are having and how they addressed it. Also, reviews of equipment are useful in helping me decide what to purchase.

Quote:
2. How often do you want to see a posting
Weekly seem to be a good frequency but since most blogs are not done professionally I don't expect any real set schedule. When a blog is posted it shows up in my reader on Word Press.

Quote:
3. Are you interested in the comments others post to the blog?
Definitely. I have read a lot of good advice in the comments. It definitely helps the process and makes it more of an interaction.

Quote:
4. Would you continue to read a blog if it did not have a comments button?
Yes but I think the comments add to the blog typically.

Quote:
5. What would make you stop following a blog?
Because I like blogs for very specific content, I usually stop following them when they change from that content. Like the Bumfuzzles for instance. I followed them when they were on sailboats but not in the van or RV.
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Old 15-04-2014, 08:32   #22
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Geeze Mark, this is the second time in a week where I agree with you. Must be due to close approach of Mars. I'm feeling more war-like ;-)


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Old 15-04-2014, 08:45   #23
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Geeze Mark, this is the second time in a week where I agree with you. Must be due to close approach of Mars. I'm feeling more war-like ;-)
Its that lunar eclipse: the end of the world is nigh.

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Old 15-04-2014, 09:10   #24
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

I am a 70 year old boat builder and have NEVER read a blog. Though I enjoy reading novels and have a nautical library approaching 200 volumes (I've read). Membership in a number of forums of widely varied interests provides me lots more reading and opportunities to dip my oar in.
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Old 15-04-2014, 09:26   #25
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

You can use Wordpress package to setup any kind of site you like. It doesn't have to be a blog, and enough plugins exist to perform whatever your heart desires. That opens up the possibility for drop in templates that can be more easily customized to give a professional appearance.
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Old 15-04-2014, 10:40   #26
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
You can use Wordpress package to setup any kind of site you like. It doesn't have to be a blog, and enough plugins exist to perform whatever your heart desires. That opens up the possibility for drop in templates that can be more easily customized to give a professional appearance.

I wish that everyone who maintains a blog understood this. Wordpress has evolved far beyond the simple blogging tool that it originated as. It is rapidly becoming the most popular web design and site management tool available. As such, here are a couple things that I think every serious blogger should consider...

1. Have your own dedicated domain. I don't want to find you on typepad, blogspot, etc.

2. It takes very little effort to learn how to use free Wordpress themes and create a legit website. It doesn't have to be (and arguably shouldn't be) a constant unending flow of paragraphs with a few pics scattered through it.

3. The tired old blog format is annoying and cumbersome. Few people want to scroll through never-ending drivel. Use the available Wordpress plugins to organize your blog into more of a searchable book format. Add things like table of contents, keyword tags, hot topics, etc...

4. Present the most recent post on the front page by itself, identifying it as such. This is to accommodate consistent followers. Other than the most recent post, the blog SHOULD NOT read from newest to oldest. Formatting it this way requires the reader to jump as the end of one post doesn't line up chronologically with the beginning of the next. This is by far the most annoying thing about the 99% of bloggers who don't know how to properly format a page.

5. Underneath the most recent post, provide a button that says something like "previous month", which when clicked takes me to a previous discrete time period that reads oldest to newest.

6. In the sidebar (preferably the left as that is most familiar to people), provide a table of contents that breaks things up by date or topic depending on the type of blog. If it is a cruising blog it would be even better to do something like;
Aug 2012
"Pigs on the Beach"
"200 miles to windward"
"blah blah blah"
Sep 2012
Even better if it is a long blog when you hover over one of the topics in the contents, a brief description pops up.

7. If you opt for a comments section, it doesn't have to be completely open. You are required to moderate the comments as without moderation it will be similar to what happens to forums without moderation. Nobody wants to be reading a family friendly blog with their kids and suddenly there are comments just below the post calling each other the "biggest *&%$ losers on the planet". It is very difficult to read through all the comments and filter them. But it is much easier to require people to become approved as a commenter. If you opt to leave it open, at least use a profanity/spam filter plugin.

All of these things are very easy, and make the blog much more pleasurable to read for the widest audience.
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Old 15-04-2014, 13:06   #27
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Lin,
First all let me thank you for all the books you have written, which like blogs, have let me share in your sailing adventures. Anything I can do to give back is just gravy on the biscuits.
Being still just a working stiff who sails on his time off, I don't read many blogs or do I make one. That will change in the future. The blogs I do read handle a process that I need to do on my boat (ie refrigeration done correctly) or they tell of a challenge and how these people figured out and met the challenge. The classic in this case is your getting through the hurricane in the Indian Ocean. I like when people first show the warning signs of a problem, the problem, what resources they threw at the problem, and what worked and what did not for them. Then if they are really sharp, they tell of what happened to others around them that faced the same problem. Love that stuff- because seafaring wisdom comes from such episodes.
I have mixed feelings about comments. Sometimes it allows you to discuss a particular episode and gain greater insight. Sometimes the rants that go on just tick me off and I wish they weren't there. I would still read a good blog without comments- because it is the quality of the literature that matters!
Now I got an idea for you- what if there was a central website which "published" blogs from sailors- kinda kept a library of them and helped them as they tried to write things that would be of worth to other sailors. Kinda a combination an editor and a publisher, where one could go to get sound information about cruising and maintenance. In other words- blogs that had been looked over by experienced sailors so we (the reading public) could trust the information. That would be work $$ in my book!
Thanks for listening.
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Old 15-04-2014, 13:24   #28
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

The only blogs I've read are that of a close friend who also has a sailboat and a blog about a repair to a boat similar to mine. I don't have a blog and I don't even read my wife's blog. I'm also not on facebook and don't tweet but then again I'm a dinosaur.
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Old 15-04-2014, 14:05   #29
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lin Pardey View Post
I am currently working on an article about blogging. Want to make sure folks consider why they are blogging, remind them of the highly public nature and talk about what folks want to read. Appreciate some thoughts on the following:

1. What makes you choose to read and follow a particular blog
projects/how to
2. How often do you want to see a posting
weekly to biweekly
3. Are you interested in the comments others post to the blog?
not really
4. Would you continue to read a blog if it did not have a comments button?
yes
5. What would make you stop following a blog?
hmmm..inactivity

Thanks for your help.
Hope all is well with you. We recently combined our library (husband, mom, and mine). We all had just about every one of your sailing books . Thanks for all the great writing you have done over the years.
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Old 15-04-2014, 15:04   #30
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Re: What makes you want to read a blog?

Dear Lin,
We have a blog so that our family and close friends may follow us while we cruise. We don'y really do it for anyone else. It's public but we're careful with what we post. We find ourselves getting emails asking for updates especially when we've not posted anything for a little while.
I find myself following cruising friends who are also blogging or have websites because I have an interest to do so.
Hope this helps
George P
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