Thursday, September 22, 2016

Blog Decisions: Please Read!

The occasional note appears: "I finally got my comment through after four tries...."

Not for the first time…

With a recent reminder that some of my readers can only comment on my blog with difficuty, if at all, I am once more considering what I should do to remedy the situation.

I have tried altering my settings; I have tried to peer within the workings of things.  What I find is an apparent failure point betweeen Blogger and WordPress.  Blogspot and Google users never seem to have trouble getting through.  And I know from sad experience that it works both ways.  There are a number of WordPress blogs that I have given up following because there seems little to no chance of my ever being able to get my comments past the WordPress spam dragon.  This has improved slightly since I registered with Gravatar, but even that has not completely eliminated the problem.  (Many thanks to those of you who have gone to the trouble of ensuring that I can comment on your blogs!)

Which is one reason I am not switching to WordPress.  It seems a “damned if you do, damned if you don't” situation where one half of my readers can comment and the other half cannot, whichever of the two main blogging platforms I would choose.  And it really is roughly half and half, so far as I can tell.

So I have been looking at a third alternative, namely, building a blog from the blog-friendly website-maker platform Jimdo.  (This is the program I have used for my artist website www.worksofmyers.com.)  I love working with their templates and features, so there is no difficulty there.  In fact, many's the time I've wished I could access their design features for my blog!  Still, it is not a dedicated blogging platform, and I am wondering how far this will be an issue to readers/followers.

Most of the widgets I currently use on my blog can be duplicated, some with a bit of elbow-grease, perhaps, but I believe I can see my way clear to a satisfactorily working blog.  To be honest, I'm quite excited about the possibilities for design and extension; for instance, building my little plant encyclopdedia will become much easier.  But there are a few issues I would like some feedback on before I decide to make such a switch.

Please, please, please… do let me know your thoughts on this!

Mainly the issues involve the follow mechanisms, the labels widget, and the reply mode.  The new blog could be followed by either RSS or email.  I suppose it could also be followed directly via Blogger (the way I follow most of your blogs) or WordPress, but I'm not certain.  Tags are available, but they may not be as ample as in the current mode.  And threaded responses can only be had via a third-party widget, which carries its own drawbacks.

So, I am asking…

1. How (or whether) you actually “follow” my blog?
2.  How do you keep up with posts, e.g. notifications, other blogs, or just "think I'll check", etc.?
3. Do you search for my blog online?  If so, how (keywords etc.), and how hard is it to find initially?
4. Do you ever search within the blog using labels/tags?
5.  Are there any other widgets on this blog that you would consider indispensable?
6. Do you use reply notification when leaving comments?  Will the lack of that option, and of threaded replies generally, make a lot of trouble for you as a reader/commenter?

And anything else that strikes you as an issue!  Like I say, I would love to have as much feedback as possible on this since it's a big decision so far as the blog goes.

Obviously, some of you can't leave comments, or I wouldn't be posting this!  Please feel free to leave your notes at amy dot mmxii at gmail dot com, or on my Facebook post.

And a big thank you to everyone for reading and participating!





16 comments:

  1. I've never signed up to follow a blog. I bookmark blogs I come across that I like and, if I decide I want to make a regular practice of checking in, I include the link on the blogs list posted in the right-hand column of my blog. I've set that link to identify the most recent posting date of each blog shown and Blogger shows posts I haven't yet read in a different color font. Until recently, I had Blogger sort my blog list by the most recent new entries but something went amiss with that function and all non-Blogger blogs dropped to the bottom of the list (apparently because Blogger was not reliably capturing the posting dates) so my sort is currently alphabetical. I periodically search blogs using labels but I no longer use reply notification to track follow-up comments as it was clogging up my e-mail box. (Some blogs seem to automatically notify of all blog comments rather than only those directed to specific commentators.) I check back on responses to comments in what is admittedly a haphazard manner.

    Good luck with your changes! Although I've had problems with the Blogger-Wordpress interface too, I've found they usually resolve on their own in time. I suspect updates on one platform or the other cause most of the breakdowns.

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    1. Thanks a million for the detailed reply, Kris! I've actually used your blog list to keep abreast of new posts on other blogs ;-) It scans so much more easily than my Blogger feed. I never seem to check the few blogs I've followed via email; they get lost in the stack. I wonder how many of us have developed alternative methods of doing most of these things...!

      You're probably right about the updates; I'm getting impatient, I guess!

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  2. I use Netvibes to track the blogs I read. It notifies me whenever they have a new post, although lately it seems to occasionally throw up an old post as though it's new, which is a bit confusing. My method for tracking replies to comments is the same as Kris, including the part about "Some blogs seem to automatically notify of all blog comments rather than only those directed to specific commentators". I never have searched within your blog...when I have on others its been because I remember, and want to find, a certain post. Good luck with whatever decision you make!

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    1. Thanks so much for helping, Loree! It seems we all use about the same mode for tracking replies ;-) I'll definitely be able to archive in the new mode, which is probably the most important search function overall; and I'll have to investigate the options on tagging... Getting revved to do it though!

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  3. I use Feedly to follow the blogs I want to read.
    My blogroll is sorted by date (and seems glitch free ... dare I say)

    Commenting problems from Wordpress seem to to show up when they have an uncooperative update - which resolves itself in time. I in turn have to login to WP .com AND .org every day.

    Recently I discovered that if you paste your own blog URL into that Open ID option ... ta da ... it works.

    I don't subscribe to comments, but I will come back to a particular post, for a question and answer, or to follow a lively conversation.

    To search within your blog I could always use Google's search box.

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    1. That's a good thumbs-up for Feedly; I'll have to select which RSS to use with the new format. I tend to blame Blogger for my difficulties, but it does seem to cut both ways! And thanks for the comment about the Google search box - an excellent suggestion which I should have no trouble implementing :)

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  4. I get email notifications for blogs that I follow. I have tried Feedly and other aggregating sites, but they are just an extra thing for me to go to, so I prefer the email. If I don't feel like reading, I just delete. I have not needed to search your blog, so I am no help there. When I do comment on blogs I have gone back and forth about being notified of responses. I find it pretty easy to remember to check back because I was engaged enough to comment in the first place, so am thinking that NOT being notified makes for a slightly less bulging inbox. I am thinking of beginning a gardening blog, so I first decided to follow a bunch of them to see what is out there and see if there is anything I can add. I low over 100 right now and some of them are amazing! Best of luck with your re-design. Regards, Astrid

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    1. I know what you mean about something extra to go to! There should be no difficulty about following the new format by email, so far as posts are concerned. Only comment notifications would be affected, and it seems many of us rely on memory to one degree or another for that ;-) Curiously, I have used comment notification most often when commenting on blogs I don't actually follow, as it's harder for me to remember to check back. Thanks for commenting here :) I hope you will go ahead with your blog!

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  5. Like Diana I follow through Feedly. As I understand it Feedly is not just for traditional blog formats but any website which updates regularly. But that would have to work because I don't use any other method of following. I like to have all the sites I follow in one place, otherwise it all gets too time consuming.
    The other thing I have noticed about non Blogger/WP sites, such as Weebly, is the inability to click on 'previous' or some such to go back to an earlier post. This is how I follow up on comment responses. It's also annoying to have to fill out personal details each and every time, but as some people mention they have to do that on my blog I'd better not say too much! I wish I could find out why that is, so I can sort it out.

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    1. Will definitely need to check Feedly then. I think I am using Feedburner, almost by default, for RSS on the current blog.
      That's an interesting point about navigating back through posts; I'll have to see whether I can arrange for that. It would be awkward not to have it! I would think Chrome users at least should be able to use auto-fill for the comment forms, but I haven't tested that.

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  6. Blogger is the only one with a user-friendly archive - which I use on my own and the blogs I read.
    WP just opens ALL the posts for that month. Not helpful - I want to skim the titles.

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    1. Yes, always better to see the titles! What I don't like about my blog's "newer post", "older post" layout!

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  7. I don't follow blogs anymore, rather I use the Blog List gadget set to show titles of most recent posts (you can see this--"Blogs I read"--on the right side of my blog). I pretty much totally rely on this for blog reading. I use "Notify me" frequently, especially if I have a question, so omitting that would be a bit problematic but wouldn't keep me from reading.

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    1. The Blog List sorted by date is very useful! I've never figured out how to get that setting for it (info much appreciated!). I'm thinking I might be able to include that in the new format. I'll continue to look into options for comment notification too! Thanks for the input, Hollis! :)

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    2. The edit (configure) window for the Blog List Gadget includes a Sort pull-down menu with two choices: Most recently updated and Alphabetical. I'm using Chrome on a Mac--maybe that makes a difference, who knows!

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  8. A very interesting blog and comments Amy. I use WP reader to read comments left on WP blogs which is very good but frustratingly it doesn't seem to work with blogger sites. Blogger as far as I know doesn't have a follow comments system like WP which is equally frustrating. I follow blogs by a email address used just for that to avoid filling up my other email address. It is a pity there isn't one good system to do this. Reading above the jury is out on Feedly.

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