WordPress vs. Blogger

After a whole year of writing here, I’d almost forgotten that when I started out with this challenge, I had a self-hosted WordPress blog over at wordpress.ORG.  I even wrote a post about it … the pros and cons of wp.COM vs. wp.ORG, back in February. Eventually I moved over to free WordPress, in order better to take advantage of the postaday2011-challenge.

Last night, I was reminded of the times I had a blog here at WordPress … long before this challenge came about … and it was a rather lonely experience. Never made any contacts or had any interaction with other bloggers. Same thing with Blogger — nothing! I do remember I used to check out other blogs in WP, but that was mainly the FreshlyPressed ones, that got hundreds, if not thousands, of comments, which must have been an overwhelming experience for the blogger in question.

In any event, hats off to the WordPress team that started the challenge to encourage bloggers! That’s really something that the Blogger.com-team should take after.

Now, some, very personal thoughts too … I’m writing this post also to sort out my own thoughts on this.

I wanted the domain name [colderweather].

Could have signed up for that here at WordPress for $12/year or possibly $17 [not sure]. Then I’d have my name and this blog … the regular, free WordPress blog as it is now.

Buying a domain name at Blogger [Google] costs $10. With that you get something called Google Apps. It’s a whole slough of features and functions, like for example, you can set up accounts with email addresses like whoever@colderweather.net. That’s not important … I already have email, it was just an example.

What’s important to me — it might sound silly to you — is that I have full freedom to customize the looks of my blog. I know, I know … it’s the content that counts, but I’m a visual person and I want also the looks of the blog to be appealing — both to me and to others. For example, a pitch black navigation bar can ruin, an otherwise nice, theme totally for me.

Here, in WordPress, it would cost me $30/year just for the pleasure of being able to change that colour or whatever font.  And on top of that; Were I able to make my own themes … which I’m NOT … I still wouldn’t be able to do that for those thirty bucks a year.

I guess they figure that if you’re that knowledgeable, you should go for the self-hosted version of WP, which is at least $50/year and then you’re already outside of the WP-community. There, you have total freedom to do whatever you want.

There were two aspects of WP.com that I really appreciated, and still do, of course: the global tagging system, and that I’m able to reply to comments by email. The latter is also a very personal thing; I do most things from my email … my inbox is my hub on the web! Now … I can do that just as smoothly from Blogger, thanks to a comment system called Disqus. Easy as a breeze.  All my pictures are either already stored in Picasa, or get stored there when I upload them in my blog. When I upload them via Google+, I also have unlimited storage in Picasa.

The choice might seem easy, so why am I writing all this, you might ask. Well, there have been some trouble with the email subscription in Blogger, and that irks me to no end. The interaction is such an important part of the whole blogging experience … the part that makes it really fun, so that has to work! I must say, they have a stupid system there, if people choose to subscribe by email, it gets posted via Feedburner, and it doesn’t fly right away as you publish — you have to set a time. It’s totally beyond me why they have it like that … if I write a post, I want it to fly right away, huh?!

There’s always the option to subscribe in an RSS-reader, but I doubt many people use that, if they even know what it is in the first place.

I’m writing all this because I feel a little doubtful … if I made the right choice … [if there even are any ‘right’ choices?!]. Now that I have my new blog all set up nicely there, I’m going to keep it, but if it doesn’t post properly … then I don’t know what to do. There’s always a way of  ‘cross-posting’ to a wordpress blog, but then it feels like I’ve lost the whole purpose of it.

I think I have, either too much time to think about all this stuff, or too many hang-ups, because I just wrote 790 words about it! LOL

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commitments

Lots of ‘summing-up’ now at the end of the year! When I read about the WP-challenge Post-a-Day, one year ago, I thought; «Yay!!! This is something I can do!», and apparently, I could. I thought [and still think] it was a brilliant idea of WordPress, especially with their project page, where other bloggers could hook up with one another. One of the first bloggers I met there was Marge. I read some of her postings and found them refreshing. Glad I did! But I remember, she and I were in contact with each other … I think we were likewise, overly enthusiastic about the project and said that we’d both read and interact with a certain number of bloggers each day, so that we at the end of the year would have at least 365 subscribers!!! LOL … big LOL. Imagine that … what an undertaking; to read 365 blogs every day, and comment on them.

This leads me to another thing I’ve learnt about myself during this year: When I click «follow/subscribe» on a blog, I feel like I’ve made a commitment … that I have to comment each time they post. At times, Ive almost forgotten that I actually can just click the little Like-button. Those have been the times when I’ve felt overwhelmed just by looking at my own inbox.

Then there have been other posts, that I’ve found so engaging so that the comments have almost turned into blog posts of their own. Feels great when you find one of those.

Recently, I’ve come across many ponderings about what to do next year … a new project, not necessarily one-post-a-day, but other types of commitments. Yesterday I read one from WordPress themselves that really threw me off … or perhaps not! It made me make a commitment NOT to commit!

I will most likely blog more or less every day, like I’ve done long before this started, but there’s no way I will commit to do any more project. I know myself better now — to me, it gets intrusive … I remember the photo-a-day with dread and it didn’t do anything good to my photography either. It just made me post photos that I normally wouldn’t have posted, just to keep up with the challenge. At times, the same thing has happened with this blog, but in general I’m pretty much happy with it and it really has been a lot of fun!

ColderWeather’s new home has had some quirks about the email delivery, hopefully I’ll get them sorted out before the new year starts. I hope I won’t lose you guys…you mean a lot to me!

Challenges

This year is coming to an end … twelve days left now. This WordPress challenge was a great idea and it has meant a lot on many levels. I’ve connected with people I wouldn’t have met without it. It’s been tough, at times, to come up with topics, hence there have been many crappy posts here.

As I’ve written about before here, December 31st will be my last post in this blog. January 1 I’ll go back to Blogger and my newly set up blog Colder Weather. I will not take part in Post-a-Day 2012. I will go on posting the same way as I’ve done here, but without the pressure of posting once a day.

I will probably lose readers, and that’s sad, but I really like it over there.

This post is inspired by Marge, over at Inside Out Café. She wrote today about a few other challenges that are out there, and a few more appear in the comments section. There’s a lot of fun stuff to take part in if you’re up for it.

The year before this WP-challenge, I took part in Photo-a-Day, and failed miserably … twice, even, so I doubt I’ll do any challenge at all next year. I’ll just keep purring along to the beat of my own drum.

A friend back home has started to take daily walks around town …basically to feel better, I think. Anyway, he sent me those lovely pictures of my town and I’m sharing them here with his permission.

topics

When I exported this blog to the new place, everything came with it — meaning, comments and tags too, not only the posts. Noticed that I had more than six hundred tags. I knew that they were numerous but not that many. Very few tags with many posts [except the postaday2011-tag, of course]. I made a point of it, from the very beginning, to tag them thoroughly as it makes it so much easier to find an old post, and also to be found. The only ones that had a few posts were ‘rockwoodpark‘ (9 posts) and ducks‘ (10 posts). Oh, and I see now that ‘blogging’ appears thirteen times also. Apart from that, there’s pretty much one post for each tag.

Tagging is an excellent system, perhaps even moreso for photos. My system, for storing pictures, isn’t very good; I must always make sure to tag them properly otherwise I never find them again.

I admire a guy like Quotidian Hudson River, who started out with a topic and stuck with it, even though he’s sometimes strayed away from it just a little bit, but always managed to keep the blog interesting.

 

…just love the blog

The other day, the blogger RANDOMACTSOFWRITING, was brought to my attention by TOUCH2TOUCH. This is one part of the whole blogging concept that I truly enjoy — the networking, the way we learn about one another’s likes and dislikes. Jen, over at RANDOMACTSOFWRITING, and I certainly have a thing in common about our feelings towards Summer! (All links here will open in a new tab/window, so don’t worry…) Yesterday, she’d posted a list entitled «Summer Top Ten» … a beautiful post about things she loves about summer in spite of the fact that she really loathes it. I may or may not take her up on that, but her blog is definitely worth a visit — really entertaining.

Even though I may write that kind of top-ten post at a later date, one thing I can say right away though: I do love those occasional, cooler days that after all DO occur… because they remind me of how much I love life! Also the overcast days — in my opinion, nothing beats taking flower photos on a cloudy day! The colours seem to really pop. Yesterday was such a day!

Butter-and-Eggs, is one of my many favourite wild flowers! Now is the time of year when they’re beginning to come out again.

Today’s looking really promising too, so I’ll just get myself off this chair and get on with my day.

june wish

So … I’ve made it through six months of blogging every day. Feels good! This is something I can do. Two times I’ve attempted ‘photo-a-day’ challenges, last time I quit after number 173.  I had no excuse for quitting, but merely an explanation: I don’t do much indoor shooting. Still need to learn more about lighting. There are so many days in a year that are too lousy, weather-wise, to go out with the camera. There were other aspects of it too but that’s not important.

I’ve blogged for years — on and off — but this is a little more … ‘structured’. It’s still fun — if this ever starts to feel like a chore, I’ll let go of it.

Moved my blog in mid-stream, so to speak, from the paid version to free WordPress. Luckily for me, I’m not into statistics, because that move of course screwed up the whole thing. I did it mainly because of this blogging challenge … to be able to take advantage of the ‘global tagging’. The thing that makes it possible to click on a tag — like «postaday2011» — and see all the latest posts from all around WordPress with that tag.

This is day #152 of this year, but I have 166 posts tagged with postaday2011. The reason for that is that I’ve done the photo blogs that they post on Fridays separate from the regular posts but still tagged them with postaday. Also, I think there has been a few days with multiple posts.

June is upon us, and it’s beautiful! After all the soggy weather we experienced in May … with the warmth came all the lush greenery and blooming trees. It’s like a green explosion took place. All the lawn mowers are out in full force … I must say they start early in the mornings! Yesterday, there was a commercial lawn mower next door … the sound of it made me wonder if a chopper had landed outside on the parking lot, and I was very thankful I had not worked night at the hospital or something like that. Trying to sleep in that noise would have been impossible.

I wish for moderate temperatures, but I fear this is going to be a long, hot summer. Our apartment … or the whole building, rather … is very hot all year round. It’s something about the heating system that they can’t change. Fortunately, our apartment faces north — we don’t get the sun until late afternoon/evening. The ones with a view of the harbour have sun from when it rises in the morning … they must get cooked in there. We live on the top floor of the building so the blazing sun on the roof certainly contributes to the whole thing.

With the ocean and the rivers here in Saint John we get very humid heat and I guess I’m just not used to it … yet. The last, two, summers, we’ve been out a lot in the evenings … swimming.

Goals

In all the posts I’ve read about ‘better blogging’ they tell you that you must ask yourself what the goal with your blog is, and that it must have content. I’ve talked about the goal part before … deep down I think I want to re-create what we had in Yahoo 360 … a sense of community, and bunch of online buddies communicating. Now, in hindsight, that seems to be really unique, what happened there, and Yahoo will never know what they missed by shutting it down.

I understand that people seem to be obsessing over blog traffic and statistics, but I don’t get it … what fun is traffic if they don’t say anything? In the other place, while I had the self-hosted wordpress, I had this gadget where you could see where the visitors came from — I don’t have that now, I have the flag counter instead… but I kept looking at that thing and found it very intriguing. They came from all corners of the world, never said a word, and I kept wondering what they thought and how they ended up at my page.

This isn’t just about goals for blogging. A friend of mine … here in Saint John, has a great blog and there she has posted a 101 list … 101 things she wants to do in 1001 days. I don’t have anything like that … I have one thing though: I want to see NYC before I die. That’s not totally out of reach. In a future post, I’ll explain the URL for this blog … i95ride.wordpress, that’s also something that I could have put on my list.

If I’d had a list like that earlier in life, I would have put in something that had to do with self-esteem. Used to have some issues with that and twelve years ago, or so, I doubt I would have had a blog like this online. It took a long time, and a lot of pondering and self-doubt before I even showed my newly won, online buddies a picture of myself. I used to feel that everyone was so much better/smarter than I. There were times when I was really down in the drains …when I could walk in to, for example, a convenience store … some young girl working there, and I would think: ‘I could never be able do a job like that!’ This was until I came to some kind of insight that I’m not better than anyone else, but I’m not any worse either, and I can do anything if I really want to. And more importantly: «You can’t please them all!» It’s still very fragile, though … and there are still times when I have to remind myself of those statements.

Now I sense that I’m getting closer to that thin, red line for how personal I want this to be. I could easily write two thousand words about this and bore people to death, but McDuff is sitting here with a demanding look on his face … wanting me to get off the couch. This is where I found him yesterday and he didn’t even look up at me 🙂