Sooner or later it seems that every blogger blogs about blogging – the ultimate in navel-gazing really. One day I’m going to blog about blogging about blogging, but in the meantime I just want to chart how this blog develops.
6 Nov 2013 – Decide I need to keep a diary of this trip. I’ve travelled a lot over the last 40 years and it saddens me that many of the details have faded from my memory. I don’t want to forget this trip, so I need to start writing it all down. I create a document and write up the first couple of days.
8 Nov 2013 – It occurs to me that our families might like to read what I’m writing. We post on Facebook as a way to reassure them that we’re alive and well, but there’s not much detail. So I investigate blogging. I’ve never really seen the point of blogs before – never read one, and certainly never considered creating one. But it seems an appropriate vehicle, so I sign up to Blogger. Mr V creates a site on Tumblr for his photos.
December 2013 – I realise that I’m not posting often enough and as a result my posts are way too long – 2500 words sometimes. I enjoy writing so it’s not hard to do, but they’re so long they bore even me. Resolve to create shorter, more frequent posts.
April 2014 – In the course of researching destinations I read a few posts from other people’s blogs. They all include more photos than I do – they break up the text and make it more readable. I will aim to do likewise. If nothing else it will give me a reason to look through all Mr V’s photos – they’re all on his laptop which I never use (I’m not taking any, didn’t even bring a camera), so I don’t get to see them.
Early May 2015 – I’m getting annoyed with Blogger. Correction – I’ve always been annoyed by the difficulty of getting the formatting right, but now I’m also annoyed by the inflexibility of the layout (just a long roll of whole blogs and a monthly archive widget). There are too many posts and I want to be able to sort by location. I only want to see excerpts unless I open a specific post. I google the subject, find wordpress.com, and create a site on there called Workshywanderers, importing all my posts from Blogger.
WordPress immediately suspends my account for breaching their terms & conditions. WTF? There is nothing in my blog that anyone could possibly take exception to. I contact WordPress but it’s the weekend and I’m 12 hours ahead of them, so email exchange is frustratingly slow. It takes several days for them to restore my account – days when I was all enthusiastic and wanting to explore the various things I could do. I never get an explanation better than “our software flagged it”.
Late May 2015 – I’ve played around with the free wordpress.com themes, but I can’t find one that looks the way I want it to and does the things I want it to. Now that the possibility of creating a proper site has been dangled before me I’ve suddenly become very fussy (I’m one of those “If I’m going to do it I have to do it well or I don’t enjoy it” people). And I’m still annoyed about them suspending my site – I don’t like the idea that someone else has that control. I talk to Mr V about switching to wordpress.org and hosting the site on the host that he uses for a website that he set up some years ago. He sets up Workshywanders as a subsidiary site to his.
The trouble is, it takes up too much space. Either I’m going to have to cut down on the number of photos I post, or he will have to upgrade and pay more for his hosting. We research other hosts and discover that Bluehost offers a better deal than Mr V’s host. The site is transferred to Bluehost under the name Vintagevagabonds – it occurred to me that I might want to work again at some point in the future, and having a website that labelled me as workshy (when I’m really not) might not be helpful.
June 2015 – With superb wifi in our Bangkok apartment I crack on with structuring my site. I find a theme I like from catchthemes.com but there are still one or two niggles – Catchtheme’s forum guy is amazingly helpful and I start to learn about custom CSS. Then I discover that for new posts my theme does something that I really hate. Catchtheme’s guy guides me through installing a child theme that can be tweaked to stop this happening.
Early July 2015 – Having spent so much time on the format of the site I’m now way behind with my diary posts. I didn’t have time to post while in Japan and Taiwan, I just kept notes in a document – I struggle to catch up. In one or two instances Mr V doesn’t have quite the photo I want, so I get them from Flickr, learning about creative commons and correct attribution in the process.
Late July 2015 – I start working through my early posts to make them look the same as my recent ones – the formatting on some needs tidying, I break some into several shorter posts, and insert more photos. The transfer to Bluehost inspired Mr V to create a photoblog on wordpress, and as part of that he installed software that puts a copyright watermark on his photos. From now on he wants me to use only watermarked photos.
The wifi at our house in Ubud is terrible – fast enough when it works, but I can’t usually connect during the day. With uploading new diary posts and amending past posts impossible I work offline on creating “non-diary” content. Needing generic photos to enliven the text, I discover copyright free photo sites such as pixabay.com, and work out how to insert a table.
Early August 2015 – It’s come to my attention that there are people out there who make a living from travel blogging, or at least get some perks like sponsored travel or free stuff. I don’t want to be a professional blogger – it appears to take a lot of time and effort, rather like one of those things I used to have…what was it called…oh, yes, a JOB!
But freebies would be cool. Or even just having more readers. I start to research how to increase my audience and realise that my blog is actually now 1) a hobby in its own right and 2) a great learning experience (I think I’m a bit of a learnoholic). I learn about SEO and instal a plugin that tells me how optimised my post is – but I’m not going to compromise my content for a better SEO score. I start commenting on other blogs occasionally.
Mid August 2015 – disaster! We lose all our IT kit in a burglary. Almost everything was backed up so we didn’t lose data, but it takes almost a month to get new laptop and tablet and get things back to where they were.
Late September 2015 – I’ve realised that some of the articles that I have as pages would be better as posts, so that they can have a category, so I start replacing them.