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Old 18-07-2013, 19:19   #31
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Re: To blog or not to blog ?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
I think that is a rather harsh requirement! Have you been on the internet much?

I agreed with it. Much on the internet should be ignored and skipped entirely. In an environment where any person can say anything they want about anything, you'd better find a way to make yours interesting.
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Old 18-07-2013, 19:30   #32
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Originally Posted by gettinthere View Post
Blogging should be like any other communication. Know who you are talking to and what they would like to hear. Will Aunt Mildred want to know your budget? Unlikely. But wannabe cruisers will eat it up.
Our audience is family and friends. So I make sure not to get too techie. I try to give a slice of our very unique (to them) life. I don't have a ton of followers but those who do are quite disappointed when we haven't posted in a while. They're fascinated by something they would never do and it is much more real when they know the person out there doing it.

Whatever your audience, please try to keep your posts short! I've seen some blogs that get quarterly entries that are 10 pages long. NO NO NO! You will loose your reader asap.
If you have a lot to catch up on, break it up into a series of short postings. Most blog software allows you to schedule postings into the future. So instead of one long boring story, write 10 short stories and schedule them to publish every 2 or 3 or 5 days. Keep them coming back for more. I created a series of sailing quotes and scheduled them once a month for the next year.
Pictures are very important. So get good at shooting pictures and take your camera everywhere.
+1, about the pictures and taking the camera everywhere.

Also good advise to keep it short. I don't have the ability to schedule in the future, but I write them in WordPerfect and then cut and Paste them in each day.
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Old 18-07-2013, 19:32   #33
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

I started a forum 2 1/2 years ago hoping that others would build the content with their contributions. Others have added over 12,000 posts and pictures. I started it for the goofy little hot rod called the T-bucket in hopes it would attract the motorheads that are into the performance aspect of high horsepower, low weight instead of the "show & shine" crowd. As it grew I added a care givers set of topics and sailing set of topics that include electric propulsion for sailboats. If I get back out cruising I'll probably just post to the forum because feedback, links, videos, and pictures are easy for other users to include when responding to my posts. It is good that it is a two way exchange.
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Old 18-07-2013, 23:32   #34
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

I'm relatively new blogging but enjoy it. I wouldn't say it will be life long but for today, I'm into boats and want to share the enjoyment I get in refurbishing her and my upcoming trips on it.
I like reading other blogs as long as the person writing it is literate, a fairly good sentence structure, interesting topics and not too much of their ego in it. Which by the way is difficult to find. I find many of these blogs informative especially practical ones rather than the armchair opinions I find here on occasion.
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Old 19-07-2013, 04:13   #35
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

The VALIS blog is really for the families of those who are aboard. I occasionally update the blog if I am in the middle of the prep for a big trip or race, but it's usually untouched unless we are on the water. I've had friends and family sincerely tell me how much they appreciate the daily updates, so that's good enough for me. After one passage the wife of a crewmember presented me with a printed version of the blog, with extra photos added. I really treasure that!

I also enjoy reading the blog from time to time. It's basically a daily journal, and it brings back good memories.

I use Wordpress, and have my own domain, but this isn't necessary.
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Old 19-07-2013, 04:53   #36
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

As bad a rep as round robin letters may have, they served a purpose in that everybody expects you to write to them, and yet they all want a personal letter. That was fine when I was ten, and lived near to most of my relatives, so the only letters I had to write were to my Nana. Now I have WAY more relatives spread over WAY more countries, and not enough time. Keeping a blog serves to keep them informed - and with pictures, if they are interested enough to read it!

Some people like my blog and my style of writing. If they don't, that's fine - they don't have to read it.

I personally write my blog for me when I get older and want to reflect on what I have done (I love reading back through my letters and diaries I wrote when I was a kid but diaries would only ever last till January 7th) so I blog about things which I want to remember... AT least with my blog, I can just post when I want, and there aren't masses of empty pages in the middle!
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Old 19-07-2013, 11:28   #37
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Re: To blog or not to blog ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
I agreed with it. Much on the internet should be ignored and skipped entirely. In an environment where any person can say anything they want about anything, you'd better find a way to make yours interesting.
The beauty of the internet is that things do not have to be interesting to everyone. or indeed anyone else!.........if "you" don't like it then don't read it, odds are that "you" were not the target market anyway.

Of course if someone wants to attract an audience then different rules apply - gotta find out what the punters want and then give it to them well, likely the best bloggers are those who do so pretty naturally (by accident?!).
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Old 21-07-2013, 06:24   #38
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Re: To blog or not to blog ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
I agreed with it. Much on the internet should be ignored and skipped entirely. In an environment where any person can say anything they want about anything, you'd better find a way to make yours interesting.
That made perfect sense back in the days when we had 5 TV channels, 10 radio stations and a library for all our media needs. If you wanted success, you made something that was tollerable for 90% of people.

In the modern world, media is all about niches. I would much rather watch/read something that is directly of interest to me than something that has been sanitized for the masses.
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Old 21-07-2013, 06:55   #39
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

Except for a rare few, most Blogs are clearly written for the user and their friends and family. This is a great way to keep people informed of your travels. It also helps for staying in touch with fellow cruisers you meet along the way. Many have business cards and will have their blog address on them. Others try to share what they have learned as well. There are some poorly written blogs I follow because I am friends with the writers and a few well written ones I follow because they are entertaining and I may learn something. Personally I think the next thing to come along will be video blogs, or a regular blog with videos attached. It takes a lot of work to do a really good blog so before you start just figure out your goals and work with that. If you are just doing it for a few keep it very simple and try to post when you can. if you are looking for a bigger audience you are going to have to post high quality material and do it often like at least once a week.
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Old 21-07-2013, 07:23   #40
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

If you decide to blog, open a GMail account and use their blogware ... it used to be Blogspot but it is now Google's blog product. Free unlimited space, you can update the blog by email and you can either open it to the public or just to family and friends. Very user friendly.

We maintained a blog when we were cruising mainly because it's easier than manually maintaining a logbook. We recorded a lot more info than we ever would doing a log by hand. You can also designate 'authors' so your whole crew can make log entries or comment on yours. of course we recorded the usual lat/long wind and boat speeds, headings, weather notes, intended courses and the like.

The downside is that you probably will reveal more about yourself, your family and your boat than you ever intended. To me, there's a lot of stuff I should have kept private especially boat repairs and problems because it can affect your resale value negatively.

However, I think some of the more interesting stuff is how you deal with boat problems when you can't just pay someone to fix-it. The other point is that if you blog about great anchorages, the anchorage will soon become so crowded that it's not great anymore. Of course word gets around the cruising community pretty fast anyway.

I've taken down our cruising blog now but I still have copies of all of our postings and it is interesting reading ... triggers many memories.

Currently I use the GMail blog as a web page for our senior softball club ... works great and it's FREE!
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Old 23-07-2013, 10:17   #41
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

We have had a website since 2008, a year after we started traveling full-time in an RV. I love writing and both my husband and I love photography. So it is the perfect outlet for both of these passions.

It takes a lot of time and commitment. The internet keeps changing and we ended up moving our website from one platform to another. Plus we started sharing our posts on social media. I love the new platform (Wordpress), so it was super worthwhile to make the move, and I love meeting new folks in the social media world and learning/sharing.

Almost every cruising boat we meet has a blog. In the RVing world it's not quite as common.

Before we left in 2007, we scoured every website we could find to learn all we could and to inspire us to get going. Hopefully by posting whatever tips we've learned and telling our adventure stories we can do the same for other cruisers...
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Old 23-07-2013, 13:46   #42
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

There is quite a pool of experience on this thread and I have a few questions.

When I was setting things up I looked for free and easy, like sailing

I came across Weebly and it fitted those criteria very well. It was also nice to get compliments on the presentation of our site... it was so easy I almost felt guilty.

But I do have a couple of frustrations and would like to know if they are common to all platforms:

1) I have to be online to type posts. I would love to be able to do all the work, add photos etc offline while we're over the horizon somewhere, and just be able to hit "Publish" when we're online again.
At the moment I have to type posts in WordPad, and then cut and paste and doctor when online again.

2) Uploading photos takes forever. A platform that lets you drag and drop would be heaven. Are there any out there, and can you do it offline?

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Old 24-07-2013, 04:59   #43
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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
But I do have a couple of frustrations and would like to know if they are common to all platforms:

1) I have to be online to type posts. I would love to be able to do all the work, add photos etc offline while we're over the horizon somewhere, and just be able to hit "Publish" when we're online again.
At the moment I have to type posts in WordPad, and then cut and paste and doctor when online again.

2) Uploading photos takes forever. A platform that lets you drag and drop would be heaven. Are there any out there, and can you do it offline?

Vic
I use SailBlogs and have the same frustrations. I write my posts in WordPerfect then cut and paste. I do this even when I have Internet because SailBlogs has a timeout function and if you are composing too slow you get a 3-minute warning to either submit your post or copy it -- talk about frustrating!

In SailBlogs, adding the first photo (to topic photo) is really easy. However, if you want to add photos to the body of the post it is very time consuming, and frankly, a very retarded way of doing it. It is a very complicated process that involves going back and forth between two posts, the one you are writing and a non-public one where you first upload the photo into the topic photo, place then post it, then re-open it and copy the link, then back to the post you are writing and paste the link in where you want the picture. I can only have one post open at a time so it is a lot of back and forth. We do have a gallery option and putting photos there is easier, but I want them with my posts and not have to navigate away from the page.

Of course, maybe I am the retarded one. If there is a better way to do it, I would sure appreciate the help.

Thanks, Robyn
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Old 24-07-2013, 06:18   #44
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Re: To Blog or not to Blog?

Robyn, I don't know how to do it in Sailblogs, but several of the other platforms like Blogger and Wordpress let you set up a unique email address and any email you send to that address shows up as a blog post. Great way to update while you're underway with limited internet. Here's a quick how-to for this technique for Blogger: MoFi Writers: Useful Tidbits
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Old 24-07-2013, 06:33   #45
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I feel my generation (I'm 30) and younger have become obsessed with documenting every aspect of their lives. Its like if we can take a picture of it, film it, make a status update about it, or blog it, it'll become a material posession we can take with us and own. I have seen friends of mine experiencing something fun or new but the whole time they were preoccupied with getting a picture of it so they could post it on facebook. I've noticed this so many times when I walk down the street to watch the sun set behind the ocean. People aren't looking at the the sunset, they are staring at their cameras or phones trying to get a good shot.

I think sometimes experiencing stuff without having the documentation or proof can make an experience a little purer.

One time when I was a kid I walked down to our pond where my dad was fishing. When I got to him he had a huge grin on his face. He reached into a bucket and pulled out the biggest largemouth bass I had ever seen. He had just caught it. I wanted to run up to the house to snap a picture and weigh it but before I could, he took it and gently placed it back in the pond. He would always decline to take a picture when he'd shoot a big buck as well. He wasn't hunting and fishing to brag about it later.
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