Friday, August 12, 2011

STATE OF THE BACK ROOM - An update on why no new posts here....

Last night I attended a local gaming group that some of my friends frequent and host. My blog came up for some reason and my friend Chris said he hadn't seen anything in over a month. I mentioned that I'd only been posting my blog entries to BGG recently ( ). Apparently he wasn't subscribed to me there, just here. My friend Robert said the same thing - apparently both are using the RSS feeds here. Now, BGG has RSS feeds as well, BUT, I much prefer some of the OTHER features here on blogger, in particular the statistics that tell me how many people are visiting.

Well, I admit it, I have been neglecting my blog HERE for the past few weeks. I haven't even been checking the stats or anything.

Here's what you've missed from July:

After the discussion last night I was feeling kind of guilty when driving home. And torn. I definitely wasn't getting much traffic here until I started plugging my posts into BGG using the new blogging feature that was added there in February. The thing is, I was only posting the first couple of paragraphs of each entry and then linking here. Some people did NOT like that. And, I admit, it seemed a bit....unsavory to me.

SO, I then tried posting the full posts to BOTH locations. The problem with that is that it took a lot of extra time to reformat everything to look good in both locations. And, I already take too much time writing things up as it is as I am a perfectionist and want to 'get it right' so I tend to write and re-write until I'm happy, then add the re-formatting on top and it was almost too much.

I eventually caved and went JUST with posting on BGG. I actually held a contest there for everyone that thumbed my posts. The reason I did that was because it was very difficult to tell how many people were actually reading my posts - there just aren't stats for that other than the thumbs really. I found that when I did the short posts that pointed to my blog here my hits here would be fairly sizeable but I wouldn't get any thumbs on BGG. So, posts that were actually popular didn't show as popular on BGG. Also, full posts that I only posted to BGG didn't get that many thumbs. But I KNEW people had to be reading least I was pretty sure....well, I just wasn't sure at all.

With the thumbing contest my thumbs went way up. So, at least I knew I was getting people reading it (the contest was always posted innocuously at the bottom of the post). But, I was then neglecting the site here.

Why is this all important to me? Well, here's why: I want to know what I write about that interests people so that I can do more posts in the same vein. If I keep writing stuff that no one cares about then it does a disservice to those that WANT to read.

Of course, I'll still write stuff no one cares about, but it's nice to know what people find interesting and what people don't find interesting.

MOST interesting to me is the month that I didn't post one single item here, I got over 1200 hits! (EDIT: Just realized that's not true, I posted an article about Navegador, but it only accounts for part of the hits) That's just to stuff I already posted. Granted, a good number of hits were still coming from BGG, but many are coming from google searches. I've been getting some good hits from Iran for instance! I would never have known this if I didn't have the stats that I can get from blogger and from statcounter (which doesn't work well with BGG)

I suppose it's perhaps a little selfish to want these stats - knowing that people are reading what I'm writing and apparently liking it enough to keep coming back keeps me motivated to try to write more (I had 114 return visitors in July, even without new postings). Not that I NEED the motivation because I really do enjoy the writing by itself, but it certainly helps keep me WANTING to.

Well, I discussed some of this with another of my friends today and he thinks I should still post to both locations. And, that it what I WANT to do and have all along. But the extra work is sometimes unbearable because the formatting is not straight copy and paste - it requires a bunch of work to get it to come across. He suggested finding/writing some sort of tool that will convert one post into the other. Well, duh, I'm a programmer! Except, now I have to spend some time doing that. I think what I'll need to do is come up with a semi-manual method first then try to re-create that method with code to hopefully cut the time down and minimize manual conversion.

So, that's where I'm at now. I'm not going to abandon this site - it has a lot of posts that I've been very happy with and seem to get some interest from others out there as well. But I also like being tied to the BGG community since I spend so much time there as it is.

Hopefully I can come up with a solution in the near future.

Well, thanks for listening - I needed to clear my head of what I've been thinking. I'm interested to hear what you have to say about all of this if you so desire. You don't have to sign up to post or anything so don't be afraid to tell me what you think!

I hope to see you back here soon!