Importance of photos • Blogging Insights#6

cost of blogging

Importance of photos • Blogging Insights#6

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the 6th set, in which the good Dr is looking for insights/answers to questions such as
1.How important are images to a blog post?
2.What is the role of images in blog traffic and reader engagement?
3.How many images on average do you use in a blog post?

Q: How important are images to a blog post?

For me, this depends on the type of post. When it comes to photo challenges I like to select my favorite photo and just stick with the one. For other posts I show a few, but I try to always stick with what I think should be the minimum. I don’t like to give my readers that much of a choice. Instead, I like to make clear my choice for that specific challenge.

In posts like this one, I refrain from pictures as much as possible, in the hope my writing will do the talking.

Q: What is the role of images in blog traffic and reader engagement?

The importance of photos is huge! It has struck me before that my photo-centered posts score a lot more views, likes (and comments) than my written pages and posts with no photos. This, of course, can be attributable to a great many things:
• quality of my writing (aww…stop nodding please)
• the subject at hand, which can be found less interesting => less viewers => less likes
• people/’readers’ like to spend a minimum of time and effort when ‘consuming’ a post
• the most likely: a combination of these things

I like to think however that a well-written (head-)line should be able to draw the same amount of traffic & engagement than a well-chosen photo. Or is this just one of my misguidings when it comes to blogging. Can I ask you to please share your views in the comment box? I welcome even the brutest of comments. As a novice-blogger my toes aren’t that long yet…

Q: How many images on average do you use in a blog post?

Despite, or should I say ‘because of’ the huge importance of photos, I generally post as few of them as I think I can get way with. Which is most of the time just 1, sometimes as much as 12. I average out at roughly 2 or 3, if an average is any indication. (An old French doctor in Phnom Penh once told my ex-wife ‘Honey, if you were average, you would have one tit and one testicle.’

If this hasn’t bored you, you can find links in the sidebar to Dr Tanya’s first five question area’s. If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s (#11), click here.

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Blogging habits • Blogging Insights#5

cost of blogging

Blogging habits • Blogging Insights#5

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the 5th set, in which the good Dr is looking for insights/answers to questions such as
1. Do you follow a blogging schedule or do you post ‘freestyle’?
2. Where do you do most of your writing / blogging ?
3. Have you dedicated a particular time for blogging?

Q: Do you follow a blogging schedule or do you post ‘freestyle’?

I’m not nearly disciplined enough to blog, or do anything for that matter, according to a schedule. Now that I’m sort of retired I simply love the freedom of being liberated from schedules. The only thing I try to carefully manage is my sleep. But my usual 8 hours of sleep every night has been a luxury that I can only faintly remember (I average around 5 hours of solid sleep every night).

So when it comes to blogging I write and ‘post freestyle’ as you call it. Whenever I feel like it during the day. Sometimes it’s early morning, sometimes late in the evening, most of the time anywhere in between those two. The only rule I’ve set for myself is to post, on average, at least one post a day.

Q: Where do you do most of your writing?

Paradoxically as it may seem, I do all of my writing behind my desk and iMac. This whole PD thing is fast killing my fine-motor-skills and the only thing I can type on (at a snail’s pace) is my keyboard. No way I can type anything on the fly on my iPhone. Writing by hand has become an impossibility years ago. Another consequence of this PD thing is that my speech has become too blurred to be perfectly recognizable by all of the apps I’ve tried.
This desk fixation applies to ym writing only. Other blogging habits are just as haphazard as can be.

Q: Have you dedicated a particular time for blogging?

Absolutely not. I do it because I enjoy it. The minute it starts to feel like a chore is the minute I bail.
So sometimes writing and posting takes up about an hour or less, sometimes I can spend a few hours on it.

What I do try to spend at least a couple of hours on everyday is reading. But again, this is far from organized. I try to read a bit more than my fair share of posts.
And fof course books. Currently I’m into 4 of them simultaneously. Everyday I just pick up the one that I fancy. Which might be another one entirely.

So, there you have it, some of my blogging habits.

If this hasn’t bored you, you can find links in the sidebar to my answers to Dr Tanya’s first four question area’s in the sidebar. If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s (#11), click here.

Favorite Photos of 2019 • Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #77

Favorite Photos of 2019 • Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #77

A round-up of my favorite photos of 2019 proved harder than I initially thought. I hate killing my babies. Hope you appreciate the survivors.

Looking at it as a gallery, one thing becomes clear: it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I don’t have settled on one specific style (yet). The way each of these photos turned out has for the largest part to do with a challenge in mind. Obviously.
The only other thing I’d like to mention is that all photos were taken with an iPhone. Either an iPhone 6 or an iPhone XR.

Favorite Photos of 2019 • 6 word story
One of my favorite 6 word stories
Favorite Photos of 2019 • Peace
Peace
Favorite Photos of 2019
Alternatively
Favorite Photos of 2019
Korean Doors
Favorite Photos of 2019
Signage Volkshotel
Favorite Photos of 2019
Red
Light
Mist
Atomic winter
No trespassing
G L O W
Favorite Photos 2019 12
Peacefully quiet

Dealing with writer’s block • Blogging Insights#4

cost of blogging

Dealing with writer’s block • Blogging Insights#4

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the 4th one, in which the good Dr only asks one brutal question:

Q: What do you think is the best way of dealing with writer’s block?

Ooh, to be answering this as a newbie, a rookie (some might even say a wannabe) writer immediately puts me for that damned thing writer’s block. But ‘analyzing’ where it comes from does wonders…for me.

Insecurity!

Are people bored with what I have to say? Do they think it’s utter nonsense? And will they tell me so in that thing called the comment-box? Is it interesting enough to write down, let alone share? And these are only some of what I call my superficial fears, anxieties etc.

Do I have more fundamental ones than that then? Oh yes, don’t you worry. Try ‘do I still have what it takes to build an argument?’ Or ‘even so, can I build it in a short and concise manner that used to be one of my trademarks many lifetimes ago?’ Or this one for good measure: ‘do other people – bloggers – care about the same issues I care about?’ And there are plenty more where these came from but I won’t bore you with (I’m doing it again I know). Like ‘stories’ about my PD…

Dealing with writer’s block then

But then my girlfriend gave me this…

writer's block • cover of 'the subtle art of not giving a f*ck'

A line from the back cover that caught my attention and put it on top of my ever growing pile of books to read over the holidays is:
‘In life, we have a limited amount of fucks to give. So you must choose your fucks wisely’.

While reading the first chapter only of it (so far) it at least gave me some valuable pointers to overcoming my writer’s block…

When most people envision giving no fucks whatsoever, they imagine a kind of serene indifference to everything…
There’s a name for a person who finds no emotion or meaning in anything: a psychopath. Why you would want to emulate a psychopath, I have no fucking clue.

Mark Manson

Manson then gives three ‘subtleties’ that should help clarify the matter:

Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

…here’s a sneaky truth about life. There’s no thing as not giving a fuck.You must give a fuck about something.

Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

If you find yourself consistently giving too many fucks about trivial shit that bothers you…chances are you don’t have much going on in your life to give a legitimate fuck about.

Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about.

Essentially, (as we grow older) we become more selective about the fuck’s we’re willing to give. This is something called maturity. It’s nice; you should try it sometime. Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy.

Mark Manson

So, to cut to the chase, my way of overcoming writer’s block is not giving a fuck. But bearing these three subtleties in mind.

If this hasn’t bored you, you can find links in the sidebar to my answers to Dr Tanya’s first three question area’s in the sidebar. If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s, click here.

Opinion on ‘Question Posts’ • Blogging Insights#3

cost of blogging

Opinion on ‘Question Posts’ • Blogging Insights#3

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the 3rd series.

Q: Do you respond to question posts?

Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights series is the first time I engaged with this sort of thing.

Q: What kind do you prefer, the single “long form” question or the “questionnaire ” type with several questions?

Don’t know (yet) really. I haven’t come across either of them that I liked before…with the exception of this one. Having typed this I saw Dr Tanya’s links to some other question-based posts, which I will check out.

Q: Do you feel such posts add value to your blog?

This one certainly does in my mind, as it gives my readers an insight in who I am and what drives me, bothers me or compels me to write about.

Q: When faced with insightful questions how much of your personality are you willing to reveal?

Again, I’m not sure yet. As said in one of my previous posts my personality, due to my Parkinson’s Disease, appears to be somewhat ‘fluid’. Furthermore, I’m trying to sort of balance this whole personality thing out a bit. On the one hand, yes, I’m a person with PD with all its nasty sides, so why not let it shine through? On the other hand, I do so not want to remind everybody, least of all myself, about it either. So, for the time being, it is kind of a careful balancing act.

Q: Do you think people answer question posts truthfully?

I’m inclined to say ‘yes, what’s the bloody point otherwise?’
If you want to have a continuing stream of ‘happy, clappy’ nonsense, Facebook and Instagram seem much better suited for this. Or if you’d like the opposite, try Donald Trump’s continuously ill-tempered, often foul-mouthed, and generally not (completely) truthfully rants on Twitter.

If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s, click here.

Cost of blogging • Blogging Insights#2

cost of blogging

Cost of blogging • Blogging Insights#2

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the second series. A word in advance, as will become clear when we talk about the cost of blogging, we won’t be talking about the financial costs.

Q: Does it infringe upon your leisure time?

Yes, most certainly. But in a positive way since I had too much leisure time…

Q: Worse still, does it distract you from your work/studies ?

No, not really. My Parkinson’s Disease has put me on a sort of permanent sabbatical. It does distract me from my writing from time to time. But then it seems I’ve got all the time in the world to catch up on that.

Q: Is it taking a toll on your personal relationships ?

Not really. I do honour the social commitments that I have quite carefully. Beggars can’t be choosers is an age-old cliché but it there is a certain truth in it (so I have found out…)

Q: Has your health suffered?

Nope. My health is suffering from other things. Not blogging. Quite the opposite I’m inclined to say, it keeps me on the path of sanity.

Q: Have you gained weight ?

If only… No. I’ve got am inverse weight problem so to speak. Since my Deep Brain Stimulation almost two years ago I’ve lost a good 20 pounds. Despite that fact that I eat like a horse and graze like a proverbial cow.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?

‘All the time’ I’m inclined to say, but it’s fast getting less. Where in my professional life as a strategist in an ad agency I relished a blank sheet, now I feel more or less intimidated by it. But as I say, this is fast becoming less with a growing sense of confidence.

Q: Have you ever suffered from blog related stress or blogger burn out?

Absolutely not. The minute I encounter something remotely similar I’ll quit blogging all together. That”s a firm promise to myself, my partner and now to you.

If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s, click here.

Why do you blog? • Blogging Insights#1

logo #blogging insights

Why do you blog? • Blogging Insights#1

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the first salvo.

Q: Do you blog to promote your business?

No, I don’t. Primarily because I don’t own my own set up any longer. Although I find hardly any joy in the so-called professional blogs. These seem to be (well-written in some instances, bordering to the hilarious) answers to specific issues. Too limiting in my mind.

Q: Or is your blog a launching pad for your social life?

Yes and no is my cryptic answer here. To my surprise (or is it really) my blog has very little traction from my real life friends and family. Instead, the vast majority of my visitors are people who I have never physically met. Welcome to those digital new ‘relationships’.

Does it exist only to complement your business or your Instagram/Facebook/Twitter accounts?

As far as my other social accounts go, it is quite the opposite. I hate Instagram, and am hardly present anymore on Facebook and Twitter other than to draw attention to my blog posts.

Is your blog making you real money (if so please let me into your secret)?

Nope. I did not start a blog to earn an extra source of income.

Are you blogging because you are so adept at this craft that you want to teach it to others?

If only… No. To say the opposite would be quite preposterous. I started it as a writing exercise, but got distracted by many of the photo challenges. Now, just shy of six months of blogging, I’m slowly returning more to the writing part of it.

So I’m learning every day, from every post I write and certainly from most of the bloggers that I follow and read everyday.

Or are you like me : blogging just due to the urge to write?

That is exactly how it all started for me. Two things happened though. Firstly, most of my ‘writings’ are just to blow off steam and a way to come to grips with things. Just to name one of a few: I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease roughly 15 years ago (I’m just 60 now, so 15 years ago I was one of the youngest PD-patients…just my luck) and coming to grips with this new reality has been (and still is) an arduous journey. Which, so far, I have largely kept to myself and the loving ‘rock’ in my life. While I slowly start posting some of my PD-infused experiences (let’s not exaggerate this, 2 posts as of yet), most of my writing are an outlet to prevent me slipping into self-pity. Therefor strictly personal rants. For now…

What are your reasons why you put the proverbial blood sweat tears into your blog posts?

Main reason number one is listed above. Main reason number 2 is that I needed something to keep me ‘off the streets’ so to speak. After a long career in advertising, more than 30 years or so, I was finally laid off. My PD had made work impossible and to some extent irresponsible. Not that it wasn’t good work that I was still capable of producing. Some of my finest and most awarded work – two times winner of a Film Grand Prix at the International Cannes Advertising Festival (sorry, but I think I did earn these bragging rights) – was at a stage when my PD really started to kick in to an extent I couldn’t hide it anymore.

So I was suddenly faced with that question that had been troubling me for almost a decade ‘is there life after advertising?’ Is there hope for a one-trick-only-pony who’s too old (the official version) or too ill to still perform?
Only now, with the support of my girlfriend, I can answer this question with a resounding Y E S !

Blogging gives me a sounding board, something where I can ventilate, rant, comment and write without being lambasted or shot down. I find posting, and reading blog posts fun and inspiring and motivating. So thank you all for putting up with me.

If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s, click here.

Monday Window 23.12 • St. Mary of the Sea

Monday Windows 23.12 St. Mary of the Sea

Monday Window 23.12 • St. Mary of the Sea, Barcelona is my entry in Ludwig Keck’s challenge.

Monday Windows 23.12, St. Mary of the Sea, Barcelona
Monday Windows 23.12 St. Mary of the Sea, Barcelona

Noteworthy in this picture, apart from the Southern European Ambiance, is the reflection of the window in the building across the street. Which is clearly visible in the balcony doors on the 2nd floor.
This picture was taken in a little Barcelona area which probably used to be a fishing village before being gobbled up by the metropolis.

For more of my entries in photo challenges click here, or simply use the side bar.