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  1. #1
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    Started a blog, constructive criticism needed

    Hello everyone. Over the summer, I began to write my race reports in a blog to work on my writing skills in order to prepare for college. The past couple weeks, I began chronicling the start of college, my training for next season and a little bit of some of the pro races. I'd really like to get some feedback from other racers (friends are great, but they only know so much) about how my descriptions are, if I need to add in more images, talk about specific things more, etc.. Any feedback is appreciated. The website is here.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Looks pretty good. I started a blog myself just last week so I took particular interest. You can check mine out in my signature.

    Couple things:
    - Nice simple design. However, the background image makes it kind of busy. Not sure why but my head/eyes don't really like it.
    - Turn off the shares/likes/comments on the pages other than your posts to help clean up those pages a bit
    - Buy a domain and brand your blog. This is like $15.00 or less a year, but will be well worth it in the long run. Don't let wordpress get everything from people viewing your blog.
    - Good luck in your first year of school and enjoy riding!
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

  3. #3
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I'm an editor and writer, normally I get paid for this kind of advice, but you have a Ridley so I'll give you a freebie.

    If your blog is there to let your mom know what you're doing day to day in somewhat minute detail, and write merely to work on your structural skills, you've succeeded and read no further.

    If you're looking to entertain and engage folks outside of that circle read your entries and ask yourself "if I stumbled onto this blog, would I want to keep reading?"

    There are small nuggets that can be turned into gold. Your job is to pan for them. And in the age of Twitter and FB, less words. Actually that worked well for Hemmingway too.

    I could think of several ways to riff off of the lack of air conditioning. And getting chastised for drinking Gatorade on a stationary bike.

    I did not feel any emotional tug when I read about the new shade of pink on whatever it was, especially because there was no picture of the thing you barely described. Photo content should reflect the subject matter...be creative and have a bunch of people huddle around the one air conditioner. Start an online petition for leagalizing marijuana and getting a goddamn air conditioner in your room (put the air conditioner request in small print).

    The only thing that's OK to post photos of that's not content oriented is hot college girls, preferably having pillow fights in various stages of undress.

  4. #4
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Looks pretty good. I started a blog myself just last week so I took particular interest. You can check mine out in my signature.

    Couple things:
    - Nice simple design. However, the background image makes it kind of busy. Not sure why but my head/eyes don't really like it.
    - Turn off the shares/likes/comments on the pages other than your posts to help clean up those pages a bit
    - Buy a domain and brand your blog. This is like $15.00 or less a year, but will be well worth it in the long run. Don't let wordpress get everything from people viewing your blog.
    - Good luck in your first year of school and enjoy riding!
    * background image: I think it depends on your monitor's resolution - if the guy is behind the text, it works. If I maximize the browser (on a large screen), then yeah it's a bit busy. If you can, center the text. Maybe center the main text so the resolution doesn't matter.

    * domain: personally I don't think this is worth it unless you're really planning on "going big" and trying to make a profit from the blog. No reason to invest anything if you can throw some AdSense up there (if you were inclined) and actually pull in some dough from it. Or if it's mostly for your friends and family, just an easy-to-remember name is all you really need.

    Overall it looks clean, I like it.

    I think it's the content that really matters, not so much the design. As long as it's not neon green on neon orange, design doesn't matter too much. Then again I suck at design/web design, and my blog was a Blogger template, nothing fancy at all.

    One more thing to think about is SEO: when I google "radial spokes", I get a bunch of stuff about actual spokes. To be expected. When I google "radial spokes blog" I don't see your blog on the first page. This is bad. Of course, it takes time to get in to Google's index, and when you do, the title of the page/etc matters a great deal. Currently your title doesn't really say it's a cycle racing blog, in the Baltimore(?) area. People will be searching for "Baltimore race blog" etc and you want them to find your blog, so think about that; of course you don't want it to be a bunch of generic keywords, there is a balance.

    Over time you'll get into their index and show up in search results, so maybe you don't need to do anything. Just something else to think about.

    Reminds me I should start a new one.. my old one is a bit rusty, and tied to the Seattle area. I think the new one will be called "no name cat 2".
    cat 1.

    blog

  5. #5
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    There are small nuggets that can be turned into gold. Your job is to pan for them. And in the age of Twitter and FB, less words. Actually that worked well for Hemmingway too.
    When talking about racecars, Colin Chapman (founder/Chief Engineer of the original Lotus Motorcars) was quoted as saying, "Add lightness". He could have been commenting on writing as well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Looks pretty good. I started a blog myself just last week so I took particular interest. You can check mine out in my signature.

    Couple things:
    - Nice simple design. However, the background image makes it kind of busy. Not sure why but my head/eyes don't really like it.
    - Turn off the shares/likes/comments on the pages other than your posts to help clean up those pages a bit
    - Buy a domain and brand your blog. This is like $15.00 or less a year, but will be well worth it in the long run. Don't let wordpress get everything from people viewing your blog.
    - Good luck in your first year of school and enjoy riding!
    Ok, I've changed the background to be hopefully less cluttered and turned off comments on the right pages. Your website looks really good, I'll probably buy my domain in the coming year, but I'm pretty satisfied with the tools I have for now. Finally, thanks, I'm really enjoying it so far.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I'm an editor and writer, normally I get paid for this kind of advice, but you have a Ridley so I'll give you a freebie.

    If your blog is there to let your mom know what you're doing day to day in somewhat minute detail, and write merely to work on your structural skills, you've succeeded and read no further.

    If you're looking to entertain and engage folks outside of that circle read your entries and ask yourself "if I stumbled onto this blog, would I want to keep reading?"

    There are small nuggets that can be turned into gold. Your job is to pan for them. And in the age of Twitter and FB, less words. Actually that worked well for Hemmingway too.

    I could think of several ways to riff off of the lack of air conditioning. And getting chastised for drinking Gatorade on a stationary bike.

    I did not feel any emotional tug when I read about the new shade of pink on whatever it was, especially because there was no picture of the thing you barely described. Photo content should reflect the subject matter...be creative and have a bunch of people huddle around the one air conditioner. Start an online petition for leagalizing marijuana and getting a goddamn air conditioner in your room (put the air conditioner request in small print).

    The only thing that's OK to post photos of that's not content oriented is hot college girls, preferably having pillow fights in various stages of undress.

    Ok, so more going off the small stuff, pictures that are relevant and more pillow fights. Sounds good, I appreciate the Pro bono advice.

  8. #8
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Can you start a thread for destructive criticism?

    twitter.com/ygduf
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  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    * background image: I think it depends on your monitor's resolution - if the guy is behind the text, it works. If I maximize the browser (on a large screen), then yeah it's a bit busy. If you can, center the text. Maybe center the main text so the resolution doesn't matter.

    * domain: personally I don't think this is worth it unless you're really planning on "going big" and trying to make a profit from the blog. No reason to invest anything if you can throw some AdSense up there (if you were inclined) and actually pull in some dough from it. Or if it's mostly for your friends and family, just an easy-to-remember name is all you really need.

    Overall it looks clean, I like it.

    I think it's the content that really matters, not so much the design. As long as it's not neon green on neon orange, design doesn't matter too much. Then again I suck at design/web design, and my blog was a Blogger template, nothing fancy at all.

    One more thing to think about is SEO: when I google "radial spokes", I get a bunch of stuff about actual spokes. To be expected. When I google "radial spokes blog" I don't see your blog on the first page. This is bad. Of course, it takes time to get in to Google's index, and when you do, the title of the page/etc matters a great deal. Currently your title doesn't really say it's a cycle racing blog, in the Baltimore(?) area. People will be searching for "Baltimore race blog" etc and you want them to find your blog, so think about that; of course you don't want it to be a bunch of generic keywords, there is a balance.

    Over time you'll get into their index and show up in search results, so maybe you don't need to do anything. Just something else to think about.

    Reminds me I should start a new one.. my old one is a bit rusty, and tied to the Seattle area. I think the new one will be called "no name cat 2".
    I only started it at the beginning of august, so I'm not expecting fireworks quite yet but I will work on it, thank you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    Can you start a thread for destructive criticism?
    Just hit me with whatever you have, I can take it.

  11. #11
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I'm an editor and writer ... Hemmingway
    *Hemingway

    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  12. #12
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Ahh, I can't do it.

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  13. #13
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    Can you start a thread for destructive criticism?
    **** you beat me to it...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  14. #14
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    If you don't tell me what you think is wrong, it'll never get fixed. Also, I'm legally an adult, so I'll be fully charged for whatever crimes I may attempt against you, if that helps at all.

  15. #15
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    I used to follow hundreds of blogs with Google Reader. Now-a-days I follow posts/content, and not any blog. I get it via forums, reddit, facebook, wherever.

    I don't know if that's constructive criticism or just a bummer in that there's nothing you could write that would make me "tune in", but I would read your content if it's interesting enough to bob up to the surface every now and again.

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  16. #16
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Looks better to me!

    I didn't comment on the content because a blog is about whatever you want to blog about. Some people use it to get more attention/followers/etc, some people use it as a journal, some people use it as a race report location, etc. You'll get a feel for what you want over time, and I think you should just do whatever makes you happy there. Good luck!
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

  17. #17
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    People just don't read blogs anymore but I think Ex's thoughts are valid. Also you can show it to instructors (and future bosses?) as proof of writing skill.
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  18. #18
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    That's it? I was expecting you to completely tear my writing a new one. i'm well aware that blogs aren't that popular.

  19. #19
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    I work at a university in Student housing. I know how fragile college kids are. I couldn't bring myself to be even fake mean.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I work at a university in Student housing. I know how fragile college kids are. I couldn't bring myself to be even fake mean.
    Do you ever find yourself completing impossible equations that you find on chalk boards?

  21. #21
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    lol
    cat 1.

    blog

  22. #22
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    willing to bet he stops posting on the blog when he discovers basement parties, beer, and college girls.
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

  23. #23
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    Do you ever find yourself completing impossible equations that you find on chalk boards?
    No time for that. It all goes to Reddit and cycling forums.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I work at a university in Student housing. I know how fragile college kids are. I couldn't bring myself to be even fake mean.
    You're a RD?

  25. #25
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline516 View Post
    Hello everyone. Over the summer, I began to write my race reports in a blog to work on my writing skills in order to prepare for college. The past couple weeks, I began chronicling the start of college, my training for next season and a little bit of some of the pro races. I'd really like to get some feedback from other racers (friends are great, but they only know so much) about how my descriptions are, if I need to add in more images, talk about specific things more, etc.. Any feedback is appreciated. The website is here.
    Thanks!
    I hated Materials Science.

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