Touring - What do you look for in a touring blog/website?
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I'm trying to gather some idea's for a website on my next project.
I was just wondering, what do you look for in a touring related blog or website? I know from experience the attention span of an internet person is ultra short, so I was wondering;
What type of content do you look for first? Route map? Pictures? Latest blog entry? Project description? What other things do you expect?
I'm interested in any good (or bad) examples of blogging services for touring, or other websites. And what about technical issues, such as updating your website when on a crappy connection somewhere remote? Do you have a special way to deal with those? (other than wasting hours in an internet cafe)
Are you happy with your current blogging service? Or would you change if something came up that made things easier?
I'm curious :)
05-26-11, 08:10 AM
I love reading the logs/websites of touring cyclists to help give me pointers. For me, the unusual/funny stories are the ones that grab my attention, esp. if there are photos. You can never have too many photos! (with captions) I like reading about interesting people that are met along the way. Tell about what you brought and what you didn't need (and what you did). What unusual things did you see? Have any suggestions for anyone who may be following your route?
The absolute worst site I ever read was one guy who had to make snarky comments about everything. I'm sure he thought he was being funny, but his comments bordered on cruel. It was the only site that I couldn't finish.
The type of tour is important to me. I like to read about folks who solo tour and stealth camp a lot. Good to get ideas from :)
While I realize that these people are just being honest about their experiences and shouldn't gloss over bad days and upsets just to entertain their readers, I have a hard time reading tour blogs full of complaints. RVers are lame and should be mocked. People are harleys are noisy morons, ect. You know the type. Personally, I think motorcycles and RVs are both awesome, just not quite for me. Especially year round RV traveling types. I've run into some fantastic folks.
Lots of pictures are important, too, and I like details or even reviews on gear. As for blogging services, I used to use wordpress and found it very restrictive. They try to nickle and dime you for everything - need to pay to edit CSS, need to pay to add google ads. I use blogger now and have a blast with it. Just learn a bit of basic CSS and you can modify all their templates.
Good stuff! Any particular comments on a good layout? What is your preferable way to browse photo's? Would you rather watch photo's attached to each separate blog post or browse by country? Or browse by a timeline?
Also, what are the preferred methods to updating a website? Do you just go online and edit through an admin panel? Or do you write HTML pages locally and then upload through FTP once you have a connection.
Both methods are so cumbersome for me.
I'm not quite sure what you're asking for, wiim.
If you're looking for what makes a good read, it starts with a good writer, someone who updates regularly, and integrates pictures with his writing. (Using "his" in the generic his/her sense, of course!) Helps if they're writing about a place I'm interested in, but the real jewels are those who can make me interested in the place they're riding. Using CGOAB as a reference, I'll only read about a third of the journals past the first 2-3 pages, and there's usually 2-3 writers I'll follow through their journey.
Content? The classic who, what, when, where, why. It doesn't need to be terribly formal (Purpose. Route. Ininerary. blerg). The first few pages I look for how well the author writes, to tell the truth. If they don't interest me, there's more journals in the water. I'll admit I like some pictures, but when somebody dumps two dozen pictures on a site without bothering to label them, or talk about them, it looks more like fodder for a scrapbook than something I want to waste my time on.
As an author? Get out of my way. Give me a structure I can live with, and a way to upload/compose/edit without too much hassle. Using CGOAB as the touchstone, I figured out in a day and a half of occasionally trying everything I cared about; daily title, check; paragraphs, check; pictures (inline, please!), check; captions for those blasted pictures, check. I was able to write and save files offline, then cut and paste into the site, upload the pictures (and captions) quite easily. (Never didi figure out how to use email to update and upload, but then, I had web access any time I had email access, so it didn't bother me.) My daughter was disturbed that I couldn't put a video on crazyguy, but given the storage and download requirements for a video, and the editorial quality of most videos (moving snapshots), I don't care too much about it.
I guess, at root, I'm pretty conservative about an online journal or blog. Tell me a story. I really don't give a flip as to whether you've figured out how to invert a line of text, make it dance across the page, or sing and dance. Guess that's why I don't like most Flash sites.
05-26-11, 12:10 PM
I've only blogged through Crazyguyonabike. Although I haven't used it yet, I like the feature that lets you update the blog via just sending an e-mail. The first journal I wrote there was strictly via my phone, which was easier than I had originally expected it to be. My only regret about that was the only camera I had was the phone's, which was pretty dismal.
As far as reading blogs, I too really enjoy the stories about people met along the way. If the writer has a sense of humor it greatly improves the blog, especially if they are somewhat self-deprecating, and can laugh about some of the things that inevitably go wrong. I don't care for those who complain a lot or talk down about others in a general sense - such as Tansy already mentioned. But I do like to hear about specific incidents that might not be positive, just to know what others are experiencing out there. I also like to see how people handle breakdowns, and like to hear about how they are treated on the road by others.
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