I’ve received a few replies to one of my recent posts regarding my blog update announcements. They stated that they preferred that all content be resident on the Lumberjocks site, and did not wish to go offsite. First, let me say that no offense is taken at your comments and suggestions. Diversity in viewpoints is what makes this site such a great community. In that spirit, let me explain my intentions.
I started on Lumberjocks over three years ago, when we were more like a small town of 2-3,000 rather than the city of 21,000 that we’ve become. At that time, blogging was not in the mature state that it has now reached, and Lumberjocks was an excellent alternative to hosting your own site—it STILL is. Martin has created a wonderfully diverse environment that allows people of all skill levels to interact on a level playing field.
I, however, had reached a point where I wanted to take things to the next level—I was looking for a new challenge. My reasons for creating my own blog were threefold:
1. To create a more complex environment where I could display multiple types of content simultaneously. This would eventually include multiple-page formats and possibly even integrated video.
2. To allow me to provide lists of links to other blogs and other excellent content that I had personally found helpful (a blogroll).
3. To take my show on the road, so to speak, and see if I could sail the waters outside of the protected bay. Pardon my mixed metaphors, but this one is hard to put into words. In other words, was what I had to say good enough to attract attention out in the “real world”? I knew that I would be competing with people with years of experience and commercial backing, but wanted to give it a try.
Let me add that “Little Good Pieces” is completely noncommercial. I receive no revenues from any source whatsoever. It would be nice to pick up a couple of sponsors so that I could self-host instead of going through Wordpress.com, but that’s something for the future. If that WERE to happen, I would no longer post promos here on Lumberjocks. I firmly believe that such would violate the spirit of what we do here.
While “Little Good Pieces” is not commercial, there’s no question that it is my desire to build a readership base. This is one of the primary desires of bloggers of all sorts. This presents me with a quandry: If I post new material simultaneously on “Little Good Pieces” and Lumberjocks, many people will simply read the articles here and never come to visit me there, thus defeating the purpose. However, if I only post THERE, there are folks HERE that will miss out on articles that they might find helpful. After meditating on this all day, I have come up with the following proposed compromise:
If you are interested I will, from time-to-time, post articles from the “Little Good Pieces” archive. I will try to maintain a readable order on these (putting a part 1 before part 2), but postings will not be as frequent as on “Little Good Pieces”. While copying an article from one site to another can be almost copy-and-paste, there are invariably problems with some of the links. Those of you that work in HTML understand what I mean. These reposts will often require a bit of editing to keep them in their original form. I don’t have that big of an archive now, but I will work with what I have.
Some of you are reluctant to click on links, and I don’t blame you—you SHOULD be. However, links are an unavoidable part of the Internet. In the Lumberjocks spirit of helping each other, let me offer a few suggestions to verify links while remaining safe. If the Web-savvy among you have other suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments.
1. When you see a URL link (www.whatever) for a website, don’t click on the link. Rather, copy the text and then paste it into your favorite search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Look at the search results to see if the results make sense to you.
2. If the link is a name, do the same thing. Google it and see what sort of results you get. ALWAYS REMEMBER that the link doesn’t have to go where it says – the HTML code that drives the link can be for a completely different site. I use this technique to link a person that I write about to their website or a related article without cluttering up the screen. Like most things, this can be used for good or evil.
3. Be ESPECIALLY careful of pictures. Those of you that have visited “Little Good Pieces” and clicked on a picture have found that the image is actually a link to my Flickr account. This allows me to post a lot of great shots without eating up my space allowance. However, this same technique can be used to link to malicious sites.
In the end, common sense must prevail. With time, you’ll get a sense of what feels right, but it takes practice. I still get fooled from time to time. That’s what antiviral and antispyware software is for.
Above all, I want to remain attentive to my listeners while at the same time keep to my goal of growing my readership. I hope this compromise will be acceptable to everyone.
-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog: http://littlegoodpieces.wordpress.com