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Old 03-03-10, 04:02 PM   #1
EriktheFish
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Crazyguy vs blog

I'm trying to decide where to create a journal of our bike tour. Crazyguyonabike is easy to find, posting your own blog seems to give you more control. I'd appreciate to hear why others chose to use either cgoab or post using a blog site.
Thanks!
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Old 03-03-10, 05:03 PM   #2
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It depends on your audience. If your audience is the touring community, CBOAB is the most likely place for touring folks seeking journals to look. They are more likely to find your journal there than anywhere else IMO.

If your target audience is not the touring community that is less true and a blog site or your own web page may be a better option.

Do I remember correctly that your ride is a charity ride? If so is there any chance the charity might host your story on their page?
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Old 03-03-10, 05:41 PM   #3
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If you have your own blog, no one else will be able to alter or recharacterize what you've written. If someone is disrespectful in a comment, you can delete it or you can defend yourself. Either way, you are the one with his finger on the delete key.
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Old 03-03-10, 09:09 PM   #4
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Do I remember correctly that your ride is a charity ride? If so is there any chance the charity might host your story on their page?
You remember correctly, kind sir. The charity is Children's Hospital Boston (where my son had successful heart surgery a while back) and they will host a personal fundraiser page, which will allow a brief description of our "event", a place to link our blog/journal/what-have-you, and a way for folks to make online donations. No, they don't offer blog site space, but they will report updates on our trip in their online newsletter.

I'm a dues paying member of CGOAB and enjoy the journals, but I'm wondering if there are other compelling reasons to do an independent blog. Whilst a lot of the blogs I've seen look great, I find them hard to find unless they are mentioned on a place like this forum.

Last edited by EriktheFish; 03-04-10 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 03-04-10, 07:57 AM   #5
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I find the format of CGOAB easier to read than that of blogs.
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Old 03-04-10, 08:39 AM   #6
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I think if your audience is accustomed to reading the CGOAB format, they'll find that easier. If not, it's an open question, since there are so many ways you could design your blog (or pick an existing design).

I'm enough of a control freak WRT this kind of thing that for my big ride I'll be setting up a separate blog with a different design from the one I've already got. I've contemplated cross-posting to CGOAB, and I might do that. I haven't decided.
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Old 03-04-10, 08:48 AM   #7
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For chronological tour blogs I think CGOAB is best and you have a built in audience...if that's what you want. But I don't think there's a need to choose, why not just do both. You can post to CGOAB and most blogs using email so it's just a case of sending 2 emails.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:34 AM   #8
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CGOAB is a facile tool, easy to post to from the road. Neil Gunton, the creator and moderator, is very, very judicious with control issues. I've never seen him step in unless something is genuinely way over the top. Because the target audience is already conditioned to go there, CGOAB is almost certain to gain you a wider audience. Since you're doing a charity ride, the hitcount should trump all other considerations, IMHO. That's what's likely to bring in more support.

Since I work in fund-raising and development, I've naturally got some opinions in this area. I'd contrive to get updates on the children's hospital site, as well as CGOAB. Twitter? Probably more trouble than it's worth.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:53 AM   #9
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Since I work in fund-raising and development, I've naturally got some opinions in this area. I'd contrive to get updates on the children's hospital site, as well as CGOAB. Twitter? Probably more trouble than it's worth.
Thanks for the "inside" advice. I'm not a twitter fan, but folks have suggested doing a facebook page, as well.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:56 AM   #10
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crazyguyonabike.com is a fine place and I have two hosted there. The only problem with it, is the url..... Hard for people to remember because it will be www.crazyguyonabike.com/whatever or longer ...... My suggestion. Host it at Crazyguyonabike but have a redirect url for it that is real simple for people to remember. Buy your own domain for just a few bucks and have it redirect to the crazyguyonabike website.
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Old 03-04-10, 12:22 PM   #11
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Here's my (unbiased, hah) opinion on the pros and cons of having your own blog site vs doing it on crazyguyonabike:

Crazyguyonabike:
+ Built-in audience interested in bicycle touring
+ Journals read naturally in sequence, rather than latest-first as most blogs
+ You can update the journal via email
+ You can download the journal in ISO format for burning to CD, or in static file format for browsing on your computer
+ You don't have to set up your own domain
+ Crazyguyonabike is already highly ranked on Google, so your journal is likely to be found
+ Website uses basic HTML and is fast on old computers and slow connections, and has options aimed at small screens
+ You have a programmer who runs the thing and is approachable if you have ideas for improvement
+ Journals won't disappear after a while if you go away
- The guy who runs it has his own ideas about what is appropriate, which rubs some people the wrong way at times
- It's run by one person, so if he gets run over by the proverbial bus then who takes over?
- Neil Gunton, the guy who runs it, is anti-religion, which is a huge negative for some people (that's a fact)
- Your journal risks getting lost amongst the crowd of other journals, i.e. you're one of many
- You don't have the same freedom to make your journal look how you want; you have to adhere to the template
- Promoting your own charities is discouraged (you can do it, but not on every page of the journal)
- You can't embed youtube videos (currently - I'll be doing that in future)
- You can't integrate other services like twitter and facebook quite as seamlessly as you could on your own site
- The guy just refuses to get with the times and write an iPhone app already

Blog:
+ You have your own website, possibly on your own domain, which gives you total freedom
+ You have the freedom to choose software that allows for integration of whatever features/services you want to have
+ You have complete control over your own work, i.e. Neil can't tell you to take it down because you love Jesus
+ You might feel more comfortable on a site run by a large company rather than just one guy
+ No sense of lingering guilt that you didn't donate - the blog site is either your own deal or else it's run by a company like Google who doesn't need your handouts
+ Possibly easier and more "up to date" interface for some people who have already used a blog and know the features
+ Possibly just generally more advanced "look and feel" than crazyguyonabike, which has a distinct "the 1990's called and they want their website design back" kind of vibe to it
- Most blogs are shown "latest first", so it can be difficult to get an overview or read in chronological sequence
- Most blog software is not designed around bicycle touring, so you lose some of the features of crazyguyonabike
- Your site is now just another website out there, which is less likely to be read by people looking for bicycle tour journals
- If you get your own domain, then you have to pay for that every year for the rest of your life, or else it will disappear
- Your blog will have ads on it, probably, unless you pay a fee, and if you don't update every so often or stay paid up then it could just disappear eventually due to inactivity
- Big companies can go away as well as little guys - remember geocities?

Maybe I missed some, that's just off the top of my head... there are real reasons for and against hosting a journal on crazyguyonabike, for sure. I won't get offended if someone sets up their own site, but I do honestly feel that often these sites end up more cluttered and not as easy to navigate or read as crazyguyonabike. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions...

Neil

Last edited by NeilGunton; 03-04-10 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 03-04-10, 02:43 PM   #12
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You can use a free redirect domain also...

My tour link: http://biketour.ne1.net

which is much easier to remember and write out than.....

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/poorguyonabike

You get the benefits of crazyguyonabike plus something that is easier to remember and print on business cards. Lots of free domain redirects out there.
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Old 03-04-10, 03:07 PM   #13
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I use blog.



A black berry can publish your blogs in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 03-04-10, 06:17 PM   #14
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What is your objective for a blog? Shouldn't that be the starting point.
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Old 03-04-10, 09:50 PM   #15
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crazyguyonabike, which has a distinct "the 1990's called and they want their website design back" kind of vibe to it

Neil


To me this is one of the best things about the site! It is as if someone took Jakob Nielsen's ideas and implemented it. Easy navigation, saving bandwidth for content that matters, etc etc.

I suppose I am one of those anti-Flash grouches.
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Old 03-05-10, 05:58 AM   #16
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To me this is one of the best things about the site! It is as if someone took Jakob Nielsen's ideas and implemented it. Easy navigation, saving bandwidth for content that matters, etc etc.

I suppose I am one of those anti-Flash grouches.
Me too. I like the look and feel of the cgoab site quite well. If coding my own I would follow the same principles, but would probably make it a bit prettier (to my eye at least).
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Old 03-05-10, 08:44 AM   #17
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With your own blog, you'll be free to emphasize the charitable aspects of your ride as much and in as many ways as you wish. Include a hit counter in the blog and a donations meter. Think up ride related contests to run on the blog. Have a bunch of cards along for handing out to as many people as you can. Leave them just laying around. Place ride notifications on as many web sites as you can.

CG is the world's premier bicycle touring site, but IMO, not particularly suitable for serious charity rides.
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Old 03-05-10, 09:01 AM   #18
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With a WordPress blog you can post by email and also automatically have the blog up date your Facebook wall, So there's 2 for the price of 1. Send the same email to CGOAB and now you're in 3 places. There's also a simple "microblogging" app for the iPhone called trackmytour. It uses Google maps waypoint. Simply take a picture add some text and tags and it tracks your tour on a Google Map. Pretty cool and all this can be done from the iPhone. WordPress also has a pretty good iPhone app.
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Old 03-05-10, 09:22 AM   #19
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Wow, many great suggestions! Thanks, everyone!
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Old 03-05-10, 10:10 AM   #20
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Folks have pretty much nailed the pros and cons of the blog vs. CGOAB options. One thing I would add is that regardless of how the material is presented the result will only be as appealing as the quality of the content. I'm not a fan of the CGOAB "look", but I would much rather read an excellent journal on CGOAB than an average journal on Wordpress. A lot of people create bike tour journals that aren't really worth reading or are hard to read.

I'd suggest you find 3 or 4 journals you really enjoy and pay attention to what makes them so interesting. You'll be ready to record the sorts of details you'll need for a high quality journal entry at the end of your day on the bike as well as what sorts of pictures to take.
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Old 03-05-10, 12:13 PM   #21
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I'd suggest you find 3 or 4 journals you really enjoy and pay attention to what makes them so interesting. You'll be ready to record the sorts of details you'll need for a high quality journal entry at the end of your day on the bike as well as what sorts of pictures to take.
+1. Impressions of ppl you ride with and meet along the way. Accounts of how you interact with your riding partners and strangers. Characterizations. Quotes of interesting conversations you have. Personal angst, trials and tribulations. The highs and lows of the ride.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:03 PM   #22
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+1. Impressions of ppl you ride with and meet along the way. Accounts of how you interact with your riding partners and strangers. Characterizations. Quotes of interesting conversations you have. Personal angst, trials and tribulations. The highs and lows of the ride.
Hmmm, best journaling suggestions should be its own topic. Thanks, Cyclebum.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:15 PM   #23
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I usually do a small intro on my blog and link it to crazyguy. Best of both as they say.
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Old 03-05-10, 05:59 PM   #24
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A blog speaks to the individual experience, but Crazyguy is, for me anyway, an expression of a rather powerful shared collective experience. Each journal there adds to the experience that is spending way too much time on a bicycle. An individual blog can't compete with the inspirational and communal expression of all those journals.

I spend lots of time at individual blogs for information and such, but spend way too much time at CGOAB to reconnect with that, yikes am I gonna say it?, metaphysical experience that is bike touring.

P.S.: More 90's Internet, less Flash/youtube/"viral"...
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Old 03-05-10, 07:05 PM   #25
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Twitter? Probably more trouble than it's worth.
Twitter has a lower barrier to entry than CGOAB or writing a blog. I used on my ride from SF to LA and found it perfect for what I needed...
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