Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogspot Banter: Post Card A Day

Our final installment of Blogspot Banter (and, I add parenthetically, the final installment of this blog all together) comes from Post Card A Day, a blog that is exactly how it sounds: A site that displays a post card each day. We wanted to get a bit if international flare into the equation, and there really couldn't have been a better blog to center such a thing around. To see what all this is about, we encourage you to click here.

Much like each of our other Blogspot Banter subjects, this particular blog was named a Blog Of Note. And, much like each of our other Blogspot Banter subjects, the blog has hundreds of followers, something we, even on our way out, will never be able to claim. The Los Angeles Times has given the blog coverage, and, more important than any of this, it's simply a neat idea for a blog. Really. It is.

Below, you will find answers to how important a comments section can actually be for a blog that doesn't lend itself to commenters because of its simple nature, the nature of networking and the entire notion of making a career out of blogging (not the best idea, she says). We sincerely hope you've had as much fun reading these things as much as we've had putting them together, and again, if there is one last thing you do before navigating your way away from this particular site forever, be sure to check out Post Card A Day. You won't regret it!

Q: How long have you had the A Post Card A Day blog? Can you explain what the main focus of your blog is and what inspired you to begin this particular blog? We think it's a really neat idea for a blog, but is there a particular audience you are trying to reach with the topics you cover on your blog?

A: I've had the blog since March 2008, or thereabouts, but I can't for the life of me remember my thought processes at the time. Postcards, that's all it is, postcards. Some old, some new. Some from home, some from far away. All I was doing was making a record of the postcards I had, maybe to share them but that was a side issue. Looking back at the earlier entries, it seems to me they're all or almost all ones my father collected. Originally my audience was myself. When I realised other people did appear to be interested, I started to write a bit more and to make some attempt to widen the appeal by covering as many countries as possible, especially beyond Europe. People are on the whole more interested in seeing places they know and those aren't necessarily the ones I'm interested in.

Q: A Post Card A Day was recently named a Blog of Note by Blogspot. How did it feel to be recognized like that? Did you ever know or think it was coming? What can you attribute to obtaining such status within the Blogspot world?

A: It was both an honour and a shock to be named as a Blog of Note. Of course I was very happy about it, then as I watched my stats I was amazed, then stunned. I was nearly overwhelmed with all the comments and related spam. I had no idea it was coming but I can only assume someone read the LA Times coverage of my blog the weekend before. Or maybe it was the Creative Prose article naming A Postcard a Day as "Wacky Website of the Week" (I was less enthusiastic about that!) All that happened within the space of a few days.

Q: Your blog has over 800 followers, and you seem to have a reach that extends all the way around the world. What advice would you give to a blogger starting out in regards to how to gain readership? Were there any struggles you had to begin with, and how did you overcome them?

A: Gaining readership is slow when you're starting out. Networking is the best way to find readers, but it's a long and slow process. You have to read a lot of blogs and join forums, find some that interest you and hope the interest is returned. I've noticed the vast majority of people who've left comments since APAD became a Blog of Note have just started blogging, so that's obviously one way. I will visit their blogs at least once, and follow if they seem interesting. I can't really say that I've had too many struggles. I had no great expectations when I started out. Now though, I feel I have some sort of standard to maintain though I've no idea what that is. My struggles may be about to start.

Q: This blog appears to be something you enjoy doing for fun. What is it you do as a profession (if you don't mind us asking), and how do you balance a career and blogging - especially with the demand of posting a postcard a day can bring? Would you ever consider trying to make blogging an entire career, or just a hobby? If just a hobby - why just a hobby? If a career - what extra steps would you take?

A: I do enjoy blogging and it is for fun. I'm not formally employed now, though I was when I started. It isn't so difficult to appear to post every day because I schedule the posts. I generally do at least a week's worth at a time. Make a career out of it? I don't think so, I don't think it's possible these days.

Q: How important is the comments section/rea-dership numbers to you? Is this something that you only find gratification in when you know other people are reading? That said, have you become discouraged and have you ever considered giving up your blog because you thought no one cared/read? If so, how did you overcome those feelings?

A: The comments section is an interesting thing. his blog doesn't really lend itself to commenting very much. What can people say? Mostly just "nice card" or variations on that, but just occasionally I get something great and it makes it all worthwhile. I had a comment on one of my early cards, the Mark Twain Clopper, from someone who had been in the picture 23 years ago. That was exceptional but there have been others. Readers are a different matter and I've become accustomed to watching my stats. It's a great boost to see follower and reader numbers climbing.

Q: How important do you think a name can be when beginning one’s own blog? Did you have designed-minded ideas when you came up with the name of your blog or was it something that all fell together in place? That said, how important do you think a blog’s design is? Is the use of things such as videos and photos essentials to the success of a blog, or do you believe good writing is the key?

A: I think the blog's name is a useful indicator of what to expect but not all-important. The design is more so, because I can't tell you the number of blogs I close as soon as I open if they offend my eyes or even my ears. That said, I'm using a very old basic template and I know it could and should be improved. If I ever do earn any money from it, that will be the first thing I do - pay a designer. Obviously a picture per post is inevitable with my subject matter. I try to strike a balance between the writing and the picture. I don't like a string of postcards with little to say about them but at the same time I don't think people want to read huge chunks of text, no matter how fascinating I think it is.

Quick 5:
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: Educating Rita
Q: Favorite food?
A: Chocolate cake
Q: Favorite television show?
A: Masterchef, UK edition
Q: When you are not working or blogging, what do you enjoy doing the most?
A: Walking, photography, reading
Q: What’s your favorite blog?
A: How can I possibly say? I've made some excellent friends over the years and they are all my favourites.

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