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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Monday, July 22, 2013

An Over Zealous Commentor

There are days I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I open up the comments awaiting moderation on my blogs.  Today was priceless.  A reader had left a comment on one of my blogs, actually more of a question to which I had given the appropriate response.  The blog post, comment and response are about five years old so I was surprised to even get another comment on it.  At any rate this commentor went to great lengths to compose a response that in all honesty could have been used as an actual blog post itself.  The person used their Blogger ID so the link went to their profile that was established in 2011.  The only oddity was he or she did not author a blog and only followed one blog but really neither surprise me.  Quite often someone will start a Blogger account, set up a blog and later set the blog to private or delete it for whatever reason.  They still have the account but no associated blog until if and when they set up another blog.  At any rate it was a good effort on the part of the commentor even though I did not allow it to be posted.  My main concern was the comment was actually lifted from someone's blog and with copyright infringement issues you can't be too careful these days.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oh That Sinking Feeling!

Since I have been blogging less, I have not been as attentive to my blogs' stats.  I was applying for a sponsorship today that asked for the number of unique visitors per month on that particular blog.  I opened Statcounter and my heart dropped!  There was an unbelievable dip in traffic on my most popular blog that is still seeing for the most part daily posts.  I immediately panicked thinking that perhaps my blog had been dropped from one or more search engines.  After I started breathing again, I started checking.  I opened Google Analytics.   My traffic was right where it should be.  In fact, according to Google Analytics, my traffic is increasing.  What a relief!  So, I went back to Statcounter and noticed a couple of changes.  There is now an 'i' in a blue circle by the browser if it is a search engine bot which means they were doing a bit of tweaking at Statcounter.  You can click on the 'i' to block these visits from showing in your stats now.  This is a new feature.  I'll leave it so I can see when the search engine bots visit to give me a quick visual and reassurance they are still indexing my blog.  Now that I've had my bit of excitement, back to blogging...


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Creativity Run Amuck

Back in the hay day of my blog hopping, I would visit over three hundred blogs a day.  That meant I had the great pleasure to see a lot of different blogging designs and styles.  Most blogs were utilitarian to cutesy with easy to read font.  Then there were the for lack of a better word, borderline bizarre.  These blogs featured dark in colour and/or meaning backdrops often with neon colour fonts and then some.  Some of these blogs liberally used the eff bomb as a form of expression, pretty much in every sentences and you really had to give them credit for some of the creative derivatives of the eff bomb they were capable of coming up with.  Others displayed graphic images or videos, while others yet made a point of telling in graphic detail every aspect of their bodily functions sprinkled with their somewhat strange but almost non-existent lifestyle.  In short, these blogs were not pleasing on the eye or calming to the soul, and they certainly were not a pleasure to read.  There is a fine line between freedom of expression and being obnoxious.  These blogs were downright obnoxious. 

I don't do near the blog hopping I used to.  Still, it has been a couple of years since I ran into one of the obnoxious blogs.  Perhaps they realized their style was turning away readers or it became too much of a burden to continue in that style.  Perhaps they changed their style in the hope of attracting more advertisers.  At any rate, I've noticed their absence. 


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Regularly Featured Posts

Shortly after starting my blogs, I began running regularly featured posts (eg. Wordless Wednesday, Blog Your Blessings Sunday, Frugal Kitchens 101, Kitchen Quick Tips).  These posts are scheduled to run on the same day of the week, each week.  For example, Wordless Wednesday appears each Wednesday on my personal blog.  Both Wordless Wednesday and Blog Your Blessings Sunday were regularly featured posts started by other bloggers and at one time bloggers participating would visit others to see their posts.  I started the Frugal Kitchens 101 and Kitchen Quick Tips as two regularly featured posts unique to my cooking blog. 

To me, regularly featured posts make a lot of sense.  If you notice most magazines and newspapers have regularly appearing articles or columns in each publication (eg. editorial, letters to the editor, lifestyle, and etc).  Quite often a reader will buy a magazine or newspaper just for that particular article or knowing that feature will appear each week, can make them a loyal reader.  So it is with blogging.  I know some of my readers only visit on the days they know a particular featured post is scheduled but other readers went from visiting only on those days to becoming daily or almost daily readers.  Using regularly featured posts can, in my experience, increase the number of subscribers to your blog.

The biggest thing I have found with regularly featured posts is readers expect them.  So if they come to my cooking blog on Monday they know the topic will be Frugal Kitchens 101 - [sub-topic].  I have a FYI section before the posts so make any special announcements there.  This is where I announced the begining of this particular regularly featured post.  I've been doing the Frugal Kitchens 101 posts for quite some time every Monday so now I want to inject a bit of freshness into that particular blog by reducing the Frugal Kitchen 101 posts to run only on the first Monday of each month and introduce one, possibly two new regularly featured posts.  I will make the appropriate announcement in the FYI section.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Changing...

Shortly after starting to blog I came across memes.  They were kind of cute so I started participating in Wordless Wednesday and Blog Your Blessings Sunday on my personal blog.  I started two regular features on my cooking blog, Frugal Kitchens 101(Mondays) and Kitchen Quick Tips (Thursdays).  These types of regular features really helped to organize my blogging and ensure that new content appeared on two of my blogs each week without much effort.  The reason being, the topics were very focused so writing posts were fairly easy.  If I was on a roll, I could easily write a couple months worth of the Kitchen Quick Tips or Wordless Wednesday posts in an afternoon then schedule them to go live on the desired days.  The nice thing about using these types of posts is I could easily keep new content appearing on my blogs on a regular basis without a lot of effort.

I have been in a funk mentally and physically since the end of 2012 which really has affected the amount of blogging I have been doing.  However, I think a big part of the blogging funk has been blogging burn-out combined with a bit of disillusionment.  I greatly reduced posting on my personal blog including the regular posts and it became a struggle to even keep up with the regular featured posts on my cooking blog.  Yesterday, I realized part of the problem was getting into a rut with the regular featured posts.  I've been doing the same themed featured posts for so long that they have become almost boring to write and a challenge to find a new spin on the same topic.  So, it's time to make a few changes!

First, I am going to bring back the Wordless Wednesday posts on my personal blog.  I'm going to reduce the Frugal Kitchens 101 to the first Monday of each month on my cooking blog.  I'll keep the Kitchen Quick Tips on Thursdays.  The challenge now is to come up with a couple of ideas for regular features for my cooking blog to cover the three Mondays that would have had Frugal Kitchens 101 posts and I may possibly introduce another regular featured post, something like Sunday Delights or On the Grill.  I'm excited at the prospect of change.  I think it will be a bit of a boost for my cooking blog.  At the same time, hopefully I can get back into more routine posting on my personal blog.  Then there are the other blogs to consider...