Along the path of blogging

UPDATE: I wrote this post on my Blogger blog before coming to this WordPress website a year later so its contents are not relevant to what I have now. Yet I decided to keep the post here as it shows the history of my blogging and where it took me and also for the inspiring comments it got.

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I started my first blog about fifteen years ago on the Yahoo platform for the sole purpose of learning English and keeping in touch with my online teacher. Slowly but continuously the blog was getting a new face and finally I was sharing photos I took and thoughts I was pondering over. Then Yahoo came with the announcement that it would discontinue their service as a blog provider and I had to move. Most of my friends on Yahoo moved to the Multiply platform so I started my new blog there and continued with my blogging habits. Well, nothing lasts forever and when things started not to work properly on Multiply, I decided to leave it. I tried an Opera blog and then in 2008 I moved here to Blogger where I started my “sharingmyreflections” blog and later in 2014 my second “petpavphotography” blog.

I don’t remember the names of the previous blogs but as you can see, I had some experience with choosing blog’s names before naming the current blogs. Yet I’m not much satisfied with the current names… or rather with their links to be precise. You can change the name of the blog how many times you want but unfortunately, you can’t change its web address as easily…

Why “sharing my reflections”? I know, it doesn’t sound original at all, but I thought that I would share my reflections and thoughts, which I did at first, and the name seemed the best I was able to come up with in English. Nowadays my posts are different, I share especially my photos from the places I visit and accompanying information about the places, so I added “as well as photographs, experiences and memories” to the title of the blog. Recently I’ve decided to get back to those reflections and thoughts and make my blog more personal, so I’ve changed that addition a tiny bit and now it is “based on my photography, experience and memories”. It’s just a little change but to me it feels much better.

What about that weird “petpavphotography” for the other blog? Well, it’s just a link based on my name which was supposed to express briefly the contents of the blog. At the moment I call the blog “Enhancing my photography skills” which hopefully somewhat improves the link.

The question is, why two blogs? When I started my 52-week-photography project last year, I thought it would be better to start a new blog for that purpose. This year I’ve been participating in a be still course and use the new blog for posting my be-still images. On the one hand I like the separation, on the other hand I wish I could combine the blogs into one. They are connected via my Google+ account but that’s not enough. Was it a mistake to separate the posts? Should I start an entirely new blog and follow that path? Should I start the new blog at WordPress which seems to have so many more options than Blogger but doesn’t seem easy to be mastered? I find it difficult to decide, I’d need to have more free time in my hands.

I run both of my blogs on the free blogspot platform. I’d like to have my own domain yet I’m not sure it would be worth it to buy (or rather rent) one. My blogs are not much frequented and for the sake of my needs this seems enough at the moment.

As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t been satisfied with the recent contents and looks of this blog as sharing just photos of the places I visit is not something I want to restrict my blogging to. I need to dress my blog into new attire, unworn and freshly laundered, smelling good and feeling nice. To feel unsatisfied is easy, to actively want and work on a change is so much more challenging.

I’ve made first steps in this direction:

  • I’ve changed the header to make it better connected with the name of this blog and also to highlight the polysemous character of reflections. You can understand the word in so many ways.
  • You might have noticed that in my previous post I used a slightly larger format of photos – 800 pixels instead of the original 640 – which you can see when you click on a photo, it will enlarge.
  • I’ve added social media icons showing the way to my other accounts.
  • I’ve changed the home page of this blog – the posts are shortened by the “read more” reference so there are more posts displayed, each just with one photo. It’s faster to upload the page and I think it’s more interesting to see the variety.

Next, I intend to change the system of my labels and make them categories, they will not be so many and the system will be much simpler.

Well, I don’t have much time for blogging but the reason for creating my first blog hasn’t faded. I love to practise my English here. Combined with sharing what I find interesting and with meeting those many inspiring bloggers, it makes a tempting cocktail motivating me to keep going. I welcome the necessary changes that take place at last. Wish me luck…

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26 Comments

  1. I always appreciate when people take care of their blogs, if I go to check out a new one and the first sentence is about how long it's been since they've posted, that isn't a great start for me. I've been lucky and have never wanted to change the name of mine since I first set it up with Blogger more than five years ago and still keeping it mainly about sharing art. But I do think it's important to be fresh, I like how you said new attire and smelling good! Your images look wonderful.
    Something I'm curious about is how you back up all of your posts.

    1. Susan, thank you for the praise. Once I read somewhere that a blogger should never start their post saying they are sorry for not posting that long and I heartily agree with that. I also used to think I should apologise when posting after longer time than usually but I’ve changed my attitude. Firstly, I would have to apologise all the time, and secondly, it’s really annoying when you read these apologies on other blogs, exactly as you’ve mentioned. We all have our lives, not just the blogging, right?

      I’ve backed up my published posts in Word documents, each post in a separate document, including the date, title and photos. I’ve decided not to back up comments though sometimes there might be additional information, I just want to keep the posts themselves. I use the same arrangement in all the documents so that they look compatible (font size, alignment etc.). I make the photos in the documents smaller as I keep the originals separately in my photo collection and the posted photos in separate files. I just need to know which photos I used and where they were positioned in the text. As it is described here, my backing up sounds clumsy in comparison with what I’ve read recently that you can also backup your posts by exporting them which leaves the blog intact but backs up the posts so that in case of any difficulties with your blog you can import the posts back or you can import them into another blog. Even comments and dates are said to be saved in this way. I’ve never tried that but it seems as an interesting alternative.

  2. It was interesting to hear your blog(s) creation story. I often forget that English is your second language since you write so fluently and eloquently. My daughter is working on a horse farm in France and I struggled to write her a letter in my schoolgirl French. It's your blog so if you wanted to merge the two together, photography and reflections, you could without changing the name or host. Do keep blogging. I'd miss you if you stopped. I'm also curious about how you back up your posts. I just back up photos and post smaller versions on my blog.

    1. Sarah, thank you so much, you’re very kind. I felt 10 inches higher and happier after reading your comment! I didn’t know the blogs could be merged, thanks for the tip, it could be really useful. I’ve even found a detailed description of the merging process on the Internet and saved it. The thing is that I’m not sure enough which way to go so I intend to improve what I can now and will see. Please read about the backing up in my reply to Susan’s comment above.

  3. How interesting to read this right now, Petra. I am pondering about my blog as well – for a few weeks now actually, thinking where I want to take it. I just know that I'm not happy with it anymore and I want to take it somewhere else – somewhere more genuine and deeper.

    1. Carola, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. In my opinion, it’s quite natural and even necessary to stop from time to time and think about where we are going, blogging is no exception. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you to find your new direction and destination and will be looking forward to visiting you there.

  4. Red

    Congratulations on changing your blog. It sounds interesting. I've been thinking of making changes and of course, your story encourages me. Good going on your English!

    1. Red, thank you so much! I’m pleased that this post sounds interesting to you and I love to hear that my story has encouraged you. I think this is the right purpose of blogging – not just posting something we like but inspiring, motivating and encouraging one another, that’s perfect.

  5. I agree–very good work on your English, I think it is excellent. I believe that the more personal and authentic we can make our blogs, the more that will be communicated to people. It's also hard. I struggle to do the same thing and am not always successful. The very best of luck with your process Petra. (Also very important to back up every month at least…)

    1. Susie, thank you for the praise of my English, I was so happy to read it. I utterly agree with you on that personal aspect when it comes to our blogs. This blog of mine has become quite impersonal, more like a travel guide which it’s not supposed to be, I don’t like that. I want to post photos from our travelling further but also I want to spice the blog and the posts with more personal attitude. It’s quite a challenge!

  6. I've been on Blogger since 2005, Petra, starting out with stuff that made me tick and then evolving into my travels and exploits, just to keep record of it all. In 2006 I joined a small group of worldwide photographers, headquartered in the UK, to practice photo manipulation on the handful of images that stand out to me from the travel blog. I like having both because they meet separate needs.

    What I especially like about your Blogger option here is the separate tabs you have at the top. It's a good idea and one I'm playing around with. Right now I have no need to change from Blogspot because they keep making it better and better…and the "free" part is good for me. But it's true that I could work on "cleaning up" or freshening up many things, which I started to do awhile back. I might look into the "read more" option. So thanks for the ideas. You are always inspiring me. And who can fault your English!!!!

    1. Ginnie, thank you for sharing your point of view. As we develop, our blogging should develop too, right, not to stay frozen in certain moment in history. It makes nobody happy. You’re right, Blogger has been improving and that’s what makes me stick to it, the idea that it’s not dead and forgotten but there is still hope of further improvements. You’ve mentioned that you like having both of your blogs because they meet separate needs, that’s similar in my case. They do meet separate needs and I like it but somewhat it’s a two-headed dragon. Is it a beast or pet? That’s the question…

  7. My blog started out primarily as something I wanted to do for myself and for my few friends and family members who might find some interesting stories and memories there. I started to lose sight of that original goal and, last year, began to find blogging tedious. At the same time, my husband and I were caught up in a time-consuming family situation, so I decided to discontinue blogging altogether. When that family situation settled down, though, I found that I missed the blogging. I decided to return to it, but with my original goal of doing it for myself and for those few who might find it interesting. I love the people I've met in the blogging community, but it's not my goal to grow my readership.

    Probably most of us wish we'd have chosen a more clever blog name, so you're not alone there. But, once people have found your blog, it's not the name that keeps them coming back.

    My main objection to multiple blogs comes when I click on a comment link on a blog and it takes me to the commenter's blog profile page where I'm confronted with multiple blogs by that person. Since I'm not familiar with that blogger, I have to check out the different links to see which is the main blog or which I might be most interested in. Usually, I'm not willing to take the time to do that. (I know…that's probably why I don't have many followers of my own.) 🙂

    Anyway, that's just one person's opinion. And it doesn't apply to you because we're friends already and I love both of your blogs.

    1. Linda, thank you for sharing your blogging history. There certainly are ups and downs along the blogging path. We need to reassess our blogging intentions from time to time and decide whether continuing is worth the effort. I was really pleased to see you back on your blog, I missed your posts. I’d like to grow my readership but that’s not primarily my goal either, individuals are more important to me than numbers. I agree, it’s confusing when you click on a profile and there is a list of blogs, usually just some of them updated. I don’t like it as well yet I put myself into the same position. When I read comments on Barb’s post, I was quite surprised how many bloggers didn’t like names of their blogs, perhaps it’s the fact that as we develop and our views change, we’d want to express that change, what was good once won’t be enough forever.

  8. Hi Petra! Well I found your post very interesting indeed – 20 years of blogging! That's amazing and wonderful – you certainly have a lot of experience in both blogging and running a blog – bravo! I really like how you thought hard about your header, and came up with a new and improved byline that you are better able to relate to. I'm intrigued about Blogger and how you say it's improving all the time – I may have to take a look at it. I'm thrilled to have you on this journey with me and thank you very much for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Barb, thank you so much. We had a discussion about those twenty years with my husband yesterday and came to a conclusion that it was something between fifteen and twenty years but rather those fifteen so I corrected it in the post and apologise for the confusion. It was rather inconvenient to change the platforms but taught me to be flexible which made it a good experience. As for Blogger, just yesterday I read an article of an avid WordPress supporter who thinks that Google isn’t interested enough in developing its Blogger platform so its future is thus quite unsure… Blogger has been developing but slowly and from time to time. It’s easier to be used but its settings are limited, especially if you can’t work with HTML and CSS codes.

  9. I didn't realize there was a link for our post prompts until I read the second newsletter so am glad I landed on your blog Petra. You have been at this a long time and your written English is better than a few fellow Canadians.
    My interest began to decline mainly for the time it was taking me to visit every single participant from a meme I host and I've overcome this obstacle but still need to find my own rhythm. The name you chose for this blog can open many doors and I hope you are inspired to continue.

    1. Judith, thank you for your comment and kind words. It’s great to hear that you don’t find the name of this blog silly but rather promising. I feel motivated to continue and I’d love to make this blog a better place to come and stay for a while.

      If I’m not mistaken, Barb added the link for our post prompts just before sending the second newsletter so you hadn’t missed anything. I hope other participants will be adding their posts as well, I’d love to read what all will come up with.

  10. I started blogging in 2005/2007 as a kind of self.treatment after serious illness. After a while it expanded into at least five (and a homepage), but some years ago I felt that one was more than enough. I didn't need them any more. I have kept one, though I have moved it around. The exterior is simple, but I think it works so I don't "mess" much with. I concentrate on the occasional photos – and am never satisfied 🙂

  11. It was wonderful to hear your 'blogging story'. Your quote 'to feel unsatisfied is easy, to actively want and work on a change is so much more challenging', hit home with me today…on so many levels. I too wish I had more time for blogging. Your English sounds good to me. 🙂

    1. Michelle, thank you for your kind words. I believe that we need that drive to pull us forward and if it’s not there, we are somewhat responsible for finding it. For some people it’s easier than for other but we all have the chance.

  12. I have really enjoyed reading this post and learning more about you and your blogging history. Blogging is time consuming so I really appreciate all the time it took to redo your heading and to think about the image you wanted your blog to reflect. I think all of us are in the learning mode with our blogs and we all keep trying to new ways to make it better…..

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