Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Does Allowing Comments Increase Blog Readership?

Back when I first started blogging, I knew enough that if I wanted to allow comments to turn comment moderation on.  Fast forward to the heyday (2007 to 2010) of blogging when the blog advertising networks were all the rage, allowing comments on blogs was stressed.  Comments were viewed as a way to engage the reader.  Some felt that comment moderation stifled the course of this natural interaction even though this made blogs not using comment moderation a mecca for spam comments.  The real question is, does allowing comments increase blog readership?  In my opinion, the answer is no.

I had comments turned on with comment moderation and I've had comments turned off.  The traffic remained the same regardless of the comments.  Comments really are just a touchy, goody feel thing for the readers.  As long as your blog(s) gets the attention of the search engines, you will get readers.  They may not stop and read for long and they may not visit often, but the readers will come.  The fact is the majority of readers don't care about whether or not they can leave comments, only that they get the information they are after.  These are the readers that will continue to visit whether or not comments are allowed providing they can find good, well presented information they are looking for.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is Blogging Dead?

I came across a recent post by Rebecca Mecomber, author of The Older Geek asking 'Is the Blog Dead?'  She brings up a couple of good points especially the decline of blogs after the blogging networks folded.  Rebecca is quite correct that blogging seems to be on the downward spiral.  Like Rebecca, I have been blogging for quite some time.  She started blogging in 2007 while I started in early 2006.  I used to visit Rebecca's blogs on a regular basis when I was a member of the blog advertising networks but now I follow her on Twitter, visiting only when a topic of interest catches my eye. 

Blogging started out as an individual activity that grew to a social one via the blog advertising networks.  These networks were a wonderful way to get exposure for your blog, meet new bloggers and earn a bit of income.  The problem is, by design the blog advertising networks quickly took the fun out of blogging.  It was no longer simply about blogging.  It became more about how many clicks you could make in a day, how many posts you could pump out, consistently participating in social networks like Digg, Stumbleupon and Twitter, and networking.  The networks took blogging from fun to work.  In a world where little money was being made via blogging this quickly led to blogger burnout as bloggers tried to juggle jobs with the non-paid demands of blogging just in the hopes that at sometime their blog would make enough money they could give up their real jobs. 

I don't think blogging is dead but rather evolving.  Blogging has been evolving since its inception of basically an online diary of sorts.  If fact, many blogs bear little resemblance to what blogs started out as.  Design is very much a part of blogs today as much as the writing is.  I'm not even sure if the original blog ideal featured comments although most blogs allow comments of some type now.  Those like myself who have been blogging for a number of years making little if any income off their blogs are more than likely going to continue blogging until if and when they lose interest.  Twitter and Facebook have their benefits but don't offer the creativity that blogging affords.  Blogging has also become rather fashionable for businesses to touch base with their customers.  Main stream media is using blogging as a way to extend what they already offer to their subscribers likely as a way to drawn in new subscribers.  So, I don't see blogging drying up any time soon... 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Updating Blog Labels

This morning I did a quick search through my blog posts on one of my blogs looking for a particular post.  After finding the desired post, it dawned on me that adding a couple of new labels might be beneficial.  Folks interests change and a post that fit one label when originally written, could easily fit one to two more labels.  Adding a label may increase the chances of that post being read while making it easier for readers searching your blog for a certain term.  Come to think about it, adding new labels or modifying existing labels is a part of blog maintenance that is easily overlooked.  This is not something I have done on a regular basis but I think I will go through all my blog posts adding additional labels if necessary. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shutting Down A Blog

No, I'm not shutting down any of my blogs although the thought does cross my mind from time to time.  There are numerous reasons why a blogger may want to shut down a blog as well as several ways to do so.  I'm not sure whether any one method is better than another.  Most experts agree that simply leaving a blog as is in limbo and still assessable to search engines is the best policy.   A blog that has been monetized then left in limbo can still generate a small income although eventually that will likely dwindle to almost nothing but you never know.  Some bloggers simply delete the blog in its entirety.  This method is permanent with respect to losing the former blog url and guarantees no possibility of earning an income.  If there is a chance you want to keep the blog url, then simply setting the blog to private or password access only works well allowing you to resume the blog with its same url at a later date if desired.  A private blog can still generate money and it will show in search results but only those with the password will be able to view the actual blog.  So if you have 40 loyal readers that you have perhaps developed a friendship with, you could give them the password for them to still enjoy your blog even though it is not being updated on a regular basis.  Another method that was popular for awhile for bloggers with several blogs was to amalgamate them into one large blog.  This really only worked well if the blogs were along the same general themes but not so well if they were different themes.  For example, I could merge my cooking, gardening and homemaking blogs into one large blog but my other three blogs really wouldn't fit in well with that general theme. 

So there you have it.  Regardless of the method you choose to shut down your blog(s), I highly recommend keeping a back-up copy (XML) file or you can keep the HTML of parts of your blog(s).  I still have all the HTML for each page of my first website which could easily be used to create a new blog.  You never know when it will come in handy.  Of course, it goes without saying that any images you used on your blog should be kept as well in the event you want to restore the blog or use the pictures for other purposes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

No Explanation Needed!

I've been blogging now for over seven years and in the blogosphere, that is a fairly long time.  From the beginning with the exception of a brief period of time where I turned off comments, the comments have been moderated for all of my blogs.  This has been a challenging year for my blogging so perhaps I am just noticing the comments more or perhaps the fact that spammers aside some folk are just plain rude. 

My blogs are an extension of me.  They are my creation and I will do with them as I choose.  My philosophy is my blog, my rules.  I do not feel a need to explain to anyone why I have a particular policy in place or why I did not approve their comment.  That should be a fairly easy concept but apparently it is not one some demanding readers understand.  Seriously, who do these folks think they are?