Monday, June 24, 2013

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question...

Even though I've been blogging around for five years now, somedays it feels like I don't know my arse from my alt tags.

Happily blogging away?!?
Apple iPad launch advertising
Ever since the New Year when Google introduced yet another algorithm, my organic search traffic has substantially diminished across all three of my blogs (dropping 40-60% in some cases) and in the last few days Jason in Hollywood has tumbled even further down the rabbit hole, and seems to be at the moment on the way over the cliff plummeting into internet limbo.

In all honesty I haven't been devoting as much time to this blog these days, as my Daily Billboard Blog and Hollywood Movie Costumes and Props Blog are much more successful and targeted to their niche genres.

Jason in Hollywood was always meant to be more of a journal that chronicled my adventures in LA-LA land, with our adorable Yellow Labrador Cooper as my muse and events like West Hollywood's Halloween Carnaval, L.A. Pride Parade and local outdoor art providing inspiration on a daily basis.

The other blogs sprung from this one and just the sheer effort of photographing all the billboards, movie costumes and local happenings is a full time job in itself. Add to that promoting via social media and trying to master SEO best practices and it's a never-ending cycle.

These blogs have brought me such joy and focus these past five years, but also a whole shedload of frustration and headaches.

I constantly have people stealing my images and literally lifting years worth of copy and pictures to set up their own spam sites, no doubt harming my own traffic and search engine optimisation in the process.

For some reason even though I follow the 'rules' it feels like I'm constantly being penalised by the big search engines (even though I use Google's blogger platform, embed only YouTube videos, display AdSense ads and utilise Google Analytics.

The goal posts of the web seem to shift on a daily basis these days and the advent of twitter, tumblr and pinterest have also made people interact with websites in a much different, maybe more superficial way, in the past few years.

I know I'm also at fault for having done things in a not very web-friendly at times too. I'm a much more visual person, I think having worked in glossy consumer magazines for over ten years didn't help, but I feel that an image can say a thousand words, so I have lots of them. Sadly, in the web world, unless you surround those images with loads of supporting (unnecessary?) text it can harm you website.

I do find it strange in a world where you can now search the web by images and there's technology like facial recognition software, we're still relying on accompanying text (and I'm not talking about alt tags here, which I'm very adept at including) to act as a measure of relevance.

I have to admit, I still get a buzz when I have an increase n visitors or someone posts a comment or asks a question. It's nice to know I'm not publishing out into a void and it's all worthwhile.

In recent days I've been scouring the help forums and any of my contacts who knows their web stuff for answers, deliberating the joys of NoFollow and DoFollow links, page load times and domain names, and basically wondering if it would just be easier to walk away from it all and do something much more off the grid (like relaxing on a beach with a Mai Tai cocktail).

To blog, or not to blog. That really is the question of the day.

Maybe Jason in Hollywood has had its day, but my worry is that if this blog stumbles and fails, will my other blogs follow?

I feel like I still have so much SEO best practices to learn, but by the time I learn it, time will have passed and Google will release yet another algorithm that changes the playing field yet again.

There's only so much time in the day and you can only fret about things so much. I watch a lot of shows and movies set in post-apocalyptic worlds (zombies, nuclear holocausts, alien invasions and the like) and I always rationalise things by thinking that in a world without electricity and the internet, all my web skills and blogs would be for naught.

Cooper is as confused by it all as I am
Dozy Yellow Labrador Cooper
I'm not ready to throw in the towel quite yet, but if things don't improve soon, I fear the end may be nigh.

And that's the blogging truth...

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