Blogging: Tidying up the blog.

I currently follow 86 other sites. Most of these are on WordPress, with a few .com sites that are accessible via the WP platform. On most days, it takes at least 2 hours to catch up on all the posts published by my followed sites, as well as making comments, and dealing with the email notifications too. Not a problem for me. I have time on my hands, and blogging is my hobby.

It recently occurred to me that some of those sites have not published anything in a long time. Many of them do not follow my own blog anyway, so not receiving any feedback is normal. I decided to have a trawl through those dormant sites, to see if there was still any point following them. I looked first at the sites that had not published anything for over a year, then down to six months. If you haven’t published anything for that long, chances are you are no longer blogging, as I see it. I last did this exercise in February, so you may recall a similar post from then.

I sent a few comments to some bloggers, asking politely if they were OK, and still active as bloggers. I received replies from some, but not others. After going through the list of all 86 bloggers very carefully, and checking out each site for activity, I arrived at this result.

1 site is permanently deleted by the blogger.
1 site has posted nothing for seven months.
2 sites have posted nothing for over a year.
1 site replied that they had been busy, but will be posting again in the future.
2 sites made no reply to my comment, and have nothing on their blogs since late 2016.

So, I un-followed six sites this morning, by clicking the check box on WP.
I now follow 80 sites, all of which are satisfyingly active. I think that is about the most I can manage, to be honest. Any more than that, and I would never have time to engage with them all, especially as some of them post up to seven times a day, most days of the week.

Something for all those new bloggers to think about, before you follow umpteen sites, in the excitement of the early days of blogging. If you are to be a real follower, and intend to be a part of a blogging community, you have to choose carefully.

(And A, if you are reading this, where have YOU gone? x)

Magazine Photoshoot: Part Two

As promised, the second part of the photoshoot of my copies of Longshot Island magazine.
It was time to get the copies off of the bookshelf, and give them some much-needed fresh air and exercise. The local children’s playground seemed to me to be the ideal spot.
(All photos can be enlarged for detail)

Unfortunately, these two copies were just not heavy enough for the see-saw!

All very well getting in the swings, but who’s going to push you?

The slide proved to be very popular.

Although the copies at the front had trouble with the log chain, those at the back did well on the rope ladder.

After all that exercise, time to chill out on the netting swing.

Just to let you all know, the recent non-fiction article published on the Longshot Island website has made it into print! It has been chosen for inclusion in the the next issue, out soon!

Jamiroquai: Back with a bang!

At the start of last month, I wrote about how my most-read post, ‘Whatever happened to?: Jamiroquai’ was no longer getting any views. After all that time of being my top post, it seemed to have dropped off the blogging radar, and had received zero views for a while.

Well, no longer. I am happy to report that the post is back in favour, and already getting into the weekly ‘top three’, with regular views once again.

I know that this is very boring, when it’s not your blog.
But after all, so many of you love to know what’s happening, as far as Jamiroquai is concerned. 🙂

And here is their latest record, to celebrate their reappearance. It’s not a patch on the old stuff, but Jay Kay has a funky new hat!

WordPress: Living with the glitches

This will hopefully be the last time I post about the frustrating glitches I am experiencing with WordPress. I have decided just to live with them, and accept that they are not going to be put right, anytime soon.

Currently, I am still not receiving post notifications of around 30% of posts from sites I follow. This is very random, as some bloggers always ‘get through’, whilst some never do. On blogs with one or more posts in a day, I might get one, and miss two. They do seem to all be getting onto the Reader, but I have no way of knowing if this is all of them, of course.

I have contacted WordPress, and done as they ask, by allowing their emails through my email provider. I added the WordPress addresses as contacts, and that improved things a little. But many notifications are up to three days old when they arrive, whilst others are notified immediately. This generally leaves me playing ‘catch up’ with posts from blogs I follow, and arriving late to the party. It also means that I am oblivious to many posts that I don’t ever see.

I have re-followed the blogs that are most affected, and that made no difference whatsoever, so I am now at the mercy of The Reader, to find any posts from sites I follow. It seems to me that there is a real deep-down problem in WordPress, and they are either unaware of it, or can’t be bothered to address it. But enough of all this. No more frustrations over missed posts, and wondering why.

I will do my best to keep following everyone through The Reader. If I have missed one of your posts, then don’t think I have ignored it. I’m still here, and will continue to do my utmost to keep in touch.

WordPress glitches: Their reply

WordPress have got back to me about the issue of not receiving notifications. They say it is an email problem, not a WordPress one. My jury is still out on that one…
Here’s the message.

“We’re sending you a lot of emails, including notifications from sites you follow, but also notifications about likes and comment, but a large number of these are bouncing back, meaning they cannot be delivered. This points to a problem on Yahoo’s end. Either they’re blocking some emails from us, or there’s something wrong with your mailbox with them which prevents the email from being delivered.

Please try adding comment-reply @ wordpress.com and donotreply @ wordpress.com (without the spaces) to your Yahoo address book and see if more emails start coming through. If that doesn’t help, you’ll need to contact Yahoo support to find out why they’re not letting our emails come through.”

I will do as they suggest, and let you know if that cures the problem.

Best wishes, Pete.

Followed sites and WP glitches

Despite a thorough reset of all my settings for followed sites, I am still not getting the correct notifications from wordpress.

Just to let you know that I am not ignoring any of your recent posts, but I now have to search for them by going to your sites directly, or hoping that they appear on the Reader.

I had hoped that WP would have sorted out all these glitches by now, but they seem to have put me into some sort of naughty box, where nothing is as it was.

I will do my best to keep up with all your latest posts, but bear with me if I seem to have disappeared.

Blogging: More opinions

After spending much of last month ‘lost’ in my A-Z Film Challenge, I am back to normal blogging with yet more thoughts and opinions about the state of blogging in 2017. This is hardly a scientific process of course. I am only basing it on my own small blog, and those that I follow, but I hope that this will be of interest to new bloggers in particular, and those thinking of starting out on the blogging road.

1) Unless you have posted something yourself, don’t follow other blogs just using your blogging name, or WordPress title. This is now reaching epidemic proportions, with apparently non-existent blogs following mine on a daily basis. Most of you seem to be real people, so why do you do this? If you want to follow a blog without writing anything yourself, then just follow by email. It couldn’t be easier. Nobody is going to follow your blog back based on a Gravatar symbol, believe me.

2) Please don’t seek to promote your latest book by serialising it disguised as a number of blog posts. Use other social media instead; perhaps send it to publishers, or set up a newsletter promotion. This is not really blogging, is it?

3) If you write a poetry blog, try to remember that poetry is very personal. Something that is hugely important to you may not have been experienced by others. Please try to make your poetry universal in appeal, and to touch the hearts and minds of readers all over the world.

4) As I have said before, if someone takes the time to comment on one of your posts, give them the respect of acknowledging that with a reply. Even if their comment was not to your taste, the least you can do is to engage in debate. If a comment is offensive to you, then don’t approve it, or move it to your trash folder. It’s very simple.

5) Please do not be a ‘serial follower’ of communities. It is very transparent to a blogger when you just click on their blogroll or hovercards, then follow everyone who follows them, and so on…
Just following hundreds of people for the sake of it is not blogging, and is unlikely to get you followed back.

6) Something else that warrants further mention. If you are VERY religious, and feel the need to spread the word of your religion, blogging is not really the place for that. You are unlikely to convert someone on the other side of the world, especially if that person is irritated by the fact that you call your blog something like ‘Sweet Rosie’, instead of ‘I love God’.

7) If you have a company that sells things, don’t assume that because someone has written about a ladder incident or their love of cats, then that means that it is OK for you to follow their blog with a link to your ladder company, or cat food shop. It is just plain annoying.

8) Stop asking for money and contributions for ‘continuing’ your blog. It is free to blog, and we all know that. So, ‘begging by blogging’ is not acceptable. (I exclude bona-fide charities here)

9) Another repeat request. Stop copying other bloggers. By all means take on board the best aspects of certain blogs, and get inspiration from them. But using the same theme, the same set-up, and pretty much copying the style of that blog is just plain lazy.

10) Ask for help. if you are struggling with something, or cannot get your head around WordPress, ask other bloggers for help and advice. Email them directly, or put up a general post about your problems, and link it to savvy bloggers. Or just cast it out into the world of WordPress. I have done it, and so have many others. Remember, above all it is a community, and we all know how they work, don’t we?

Ten more thoughts on blogging. My intention is not to upset anyone, I assure you. Just to help.