Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bonnie's Mailbag

It's been a month since we last dipped into the old mailbag and I can see that there are plenty of messages in there. Here's a sample (some messages are edited or paraphrased for brevity).

Comment: Thank you for linking my blog!

Response: You're very welcome. One of the genuine pleasures of publishing this blog is the opportunity I have to assist other spanko bloggers as they begin their own journeys. These folks enrich our community and I want them to succeed and thrive. I am aware that when I post a new link, it generates a good stream of traffic. When I can both show my readers an interesting new destination and aid a growing blog, that's a win for everyone.

Comment: That picture of your butt gives me the hotts. My kind of butt to worship!

Response: I get this sort of message fairly frequently. I feel ambivalent about it. On one hand, this fellow is trying to pay me a compliment and I should probably accept it in that spirit.

On the other hand, I wonder if it ever occurred to him that this butt is attached to a real breathing three dimensional human? I am more than an assemblage of body parts, and talk of worshiping seems a little creepy. As I've said many times, this blog is really about my writing. The photos serve more or less as promotion.

Then I think that if I didn't want socially immature guys drooling over the pictures, I shouldn't post them. But that would shortchange the civil, respectful gentlemen who also express their appreciation.

So, I guess that leaves me back where I began. Thank you, sir. I'm glad you like it.

Question: I wrote a spanking story. Will you read it and give me your thoughts?

Response: I receive this request regularly and my response is always the same. Between work, home, Randy, and this blog, my free time is pretty limited. I seek to help, but it may take me a while to get back to you. I simply have to set priorities and that means that I cannot be as responsive as I would like to be.

Question(s): Do you ever wear jean skirts? If you have, have you ever been spanked over it?

Response: Yes and yes.

Question: i am ajapanese boy. i would like to get spanked. will you spank me?

Response: You're still a boy and I'm a grandmother, we're 12,000 kilometers apart, I don't spank, and I play exclusively with my husband. Other than that, I see no problem at all.

Question: I know you've never heard of me before, but will you help promote my worthy charity on your blog?

Response: I'm not cold hearted, but we have to draw the line somewhere. I've never asked readers for money. Nor will I allow someone else to do that. There are plenty of opportunities for people to solicit. Just not here.

The sole exception is a very infrequent link to a friend's cause. Such is the case with Luna's Blog-a-thon to stop domestic abuse.

Question: You linked my blog. I'm glad you like it, but I didn't intend to share it with the world. How did you find it?

Response: I'm genuinely sorry this happened. My intent was to provide some exposure to a great young blog. I had no idea.

If you place something on the Internet, no matter how obscure you think the location may be, people will inevitably find it. In this instance, I used a search engine, but the details are inconsequential. Blogger, WordPress, and LiveJournal all have a method for setting up a blog that is open by invitation only. If you don't want the public inside, I suggest this type of approach.

This episode breaks my heart. My correspondent is a nice person, a very skilled diarist, and a dedicated spanko. She ultimately deleted her blog because I linked it. She says she may create another blog someday. I hope that comes to pass.

Question: wear short skirts?

Response: This was the complete text of the e-mail. I will sometimes wear a short skirt for Randy when we're playing. The rest of the time, my skirts are generally appropriate for the setting or activity.

Question: How can I optimize my blog for search engine performance?

Response: There are people who make a profession of tuning web sites for search engine optimization (SEO). At the same time, the big search engine firms tune their software to avoid being fooled by such tricks. Some of this is over my head, but I believe there are a number of fairly simple measures that can help.
  • I have recorded a lot of thoughts on enhancing your blog in my Blogging Smarts articles.

  • A good starting point is the meta tags near the top of your template. You can "view source" on popular blogs and web sites and see how they present themselves to search engines.

  • The keywords you select are at least as important as how you market them. I try to strike a balance between words that uniquely describe my blog and those that are likely to bring in a lot of traffic.

  • The words you use within the blog are also relevant. There are several words that are only mildly related to my topic that drag in hoards of readers. For example, anytime I reference any sort of women's undergarment in any context, readers arrive in droves. Once they get here, many find my spanking content to their liking as well.

  • You can also go around and submit your blog to all of the common search engines. I don't think this is as necessary as it once was, but it can't hurt, especially with some of the blog-oriented search engines like Technorati and Sphere.
Search engine optimization is a worthy effort, but the majority of my hits come from links on other blogs. Your blogroll can and should provide an excellent opportunity for cross-promotion.

Question: Do you like tight thongs?

Response: No, I much prefer to wear the correct size.

Comment: I wanted to let you know that I deleted my blog. Despite having hundreds of visitors per day, almost no one ever commented.

Response: I am sorry to hear that you're giving up the blog, but if the time is right, I certainly can't find fault. I hope you backed up of all of your hard work before deleting it. Regardless of what you might think today, someday you will likely want those stories.

As for the comments, I can't tell you that my experience is much different. My ratio of visits to comments is usually several hundred to one. That's simply the way it works. The vast majority of readers don't comment. The tiny fraction who do comment do so only occasionally.

These numbers are indisputable. However, we choose how to interpret them. I believe that the thousands of people who visit this blog every day like what they find here and keep coming back because they want more. All bloggers love comments, but even in their absence, I know those silent readers are out there. For their presence, I am humbly grateful.

Question: I'm having trouble posting comments using my Blogger ID. Have you any suggestions?

Response: Yes. The problem I've seen happens when you enter a comment, then type in the magic word, and then login at the bottom. When you try to submit the comment, the magic word and password are rejected for some reason and you have to type them again. If you're not paying close attention, you might think that your comment was accepted when it wasn't. The second time, it almost always works.

The work-around is to login to Blogger before you enter any comments. This seems to eliminate the problem.

Question: I would like to know the esposide name of the Flinstones where Wilma and Betty recieved a paddling from Fred and Barney and their buddies at the Water Buffalo Lodge.

Response: That was "Ladies Night at the Lodge." Yes, I had to look it up!

Qustion: rad bych videl vas zadek po vyprasku a nebo se ho zu�

Response: Czech-mate!

Question: Is it good to be a girl?

Response: It is for me, but I was born this way. I haven't anything with which to compare.

Question: When are you going to post another poll? Ditto a spankologue?

Response: We'll probably have a poll later this week.

I discontinued the spankologue series last year. Quite honestly, it got to be more trouble than it was worth. The American Spanking Society blog now has a similar feature they call the Wink.

Comment: I'm worried that I'm literally obsessed with spanking.

Response: We joke sometimes about having a kink obsession, but it's certainly possible to take an intense interest beyond the point where it's healthy and productive. If you feel as though it's interfering with your life and you want to make a change, I suggest that you seek out a kink-aware therapist. The goal would not be to eliminate the kink, but rather to restore a comfortable balance.

Question: The concept behind my blog is no longer valid, so I am thinking about deleting it. Is there anything I should know?

Response: Yes. In Blogger, it's notoriously simple to wipe out months or years of work. I know a couple of bloggers who have done precisely this and later regretted it. As I mentioned previously, at very least, you should back up all of your text. Even if you don't want it today, you may find yourself blogging again in the future.

I think there is a better alternative to deleting a blog. If you simply delete it, there is a good change that spammers will take over the URL and annoy your loyal readers. However, if you instead clear out all of the posts and leave only a simple goodbye, people will know you're gone (and why, if you choose to share that information). Should you elect to resume blogging in the future, your name and template are ready to go. As an added bonus, you can keep all your links in a handy location.

However, the best option, unless you have a strong reason to do otherwise, is to post a message explaining your absence and leave the blog as it is. When you're ready to return, everything will be in place. In the meantime, readers can still enjoy all of your great posts. (Thank you T&S for your comment)

I guess that's enough for now. May all of your spankings be good ones!


Tim said...

You are 99.999% right about most things, but I think a little obsession makes life fun. I mean...ceiling fans! And Home Depot outings! And McLintock! And...

Ofia said...

We were at the grocery store the other day and I was looking at chopsticks. Right beside the chopsticks were some really pretty bamboo kitchen utensils. You should have seen me grimace when I saw the curve on one of them. (chuckle) I never thought of using them in the kitchen.

Michael said...

Hello Bonnie,

Enjoyed your mailbag, and stopped by this evening to see how the blog is going. Everything looks good and thanks for the tips on SEO.

I also agree with your thoughts on people who leave comments as opposed to those who lurk. Either is fine with me, but I am trying to post more interactive comments to get people involved.

Keep up the great work!



Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful answers... well, besides the humorous responses (which were very funny!). Great advice about not deleting a blog. It really is a shame, because like you say... spammers are likely to pick it up. Hate to see that happen.

A real nice option is to simply quit blogging, but leave what you've posted up. A great blog... The Collar Purple... did this. We still find ourselves reading old posts there that we find on search engines... and they still have a lot to offer. A heck of a lot more than a spammer site has to offer, that's for sure!

Understand too about the lack of comments being frustrating. We've put several hours of time into a single post... and not received word one about it. It does help to ASK for comments though. Also helps, like you say, to realize that it's rare for any reader to comment. 1 in 100 would be a great rate.

~Todd & Suzy

Anonymous said...

You are a dear Bonnie, giving your advice to other bolggers in such a thoughtful and sometimes amusing way.

I appreciate the huge effort it must be for bloggers to produce a post, and do feel a bit guilty sometimes from the other side of the screen when I read and haven't anything interesting to add.

1 in 100 is an interesting statistic, which I am sure will help those who feel all their work is for little return, including myself.

I sometimes post stories I have written on a (spanking) web site, and am always disappointed when the amount of comment traffic is low - say 2 comments when the work has taken about 10 hours. I admit to getting a little paranoid about this. I have to keep telling myself that I write for my own interest (and education) and that the other ninety and nine are safely laying in the shelter of the anonymous.



New Beginnings said...

I know the thing that got me commenting regular around the blogs is when the blogger responds to the comment. The first time you did that I was thrilled! And I wanted to talk more. I am still like that. If I comment on a blog a couple of times and there is no response I usually stop, assuming they are not really wanting a back and forth. I also found that the more I commented on other blogs I liked the more likely they were to come by and speak to me. I have made a lot of good friends that way!

good mail bag Bonnie!


Anonymous said...

I always look forward to your wit and wisdom. I only comment if I believe I can offer something worth reading. My Bottom Smarts is a daily touchstone in my blogging experience. Thank you.

LynLass said...

For your reader who was concerned about being obsessed with spanking:

Doc Tsai (linked from here) has an excellent article under About Spanking, Fundamentals, Sexual Addiction (just follow his links). I work in the mental health field and find his ideas most useful.

Paul said...

Bonnie, thanks for the Mail Bag, your answers sometimes have me in stitches.
About your delightful rear end which I appreciate but certainly don't worship. I note that apart from your button and the end of each page, the last time it appeared was heading the post of May the 21st. Now strangely enough I have not noticed any fall in quality or variety in your blog.
As a connoisseur and indeed lover of a beautiful hiney, yours ranks high in my estimation, but has very little to do with the quality of your blog.
Would you say that I'm an obsessive commenter, Chuckles!!!
Warm hugs,

Paige Tyler said...

Great answers, Bonnie! And I so remember watching that episode of the Flinstones! Loved it!

Paige (Tigger)

luna said...

Thank you Bonnie for making an exception for the Blogathon. I appreciate every mention I can get.


Sarahdog said...

When I was a child my mother once asked if I liked the meal she had prepaired and why I never said anything about her cooking. Being considerably inexperienced in the finer points of diplomacy, I responded that eating her meals eagerly was the best compliment that I could pay her.

I almost never comment on any of the blogs I visit because I rairly have anything useful to contribute even though I stop by almost every day.

So let me say thank you for your hospitality and suggest that most of the 99% of us who remain silent are giving you a message support and encouragement each time we visit.

Best Regards

Bonnie said...

Tim - I provided only one small snippet of a longer e-mail exchange. I had the impression that the author was somewhat uncomfortable with his situation. That was the context of my advice.

It's fun sometimes to kid about being obsessed, but for some people, this is a real affliction with potentially dire consequences. My read of this situation was that I should treat it seriously.

Ofia - It's no different for me. I see the world through spanko glasses.

Michael - Thank you! I find that it's fairly easy to get people involved, but far more challenging to keep them engaged over time. There are simply too many other distractions in our world.

As I say, comments or not, as an author, I am always grateful for an audience.

Todd and Suzy - I like your suggestion so much that I just changed the post to incorporate it! Leaving the blog in place is definitely the preferred solution.

I haven't seen a 1:100 ratio very often. Perhaps on Love Our Lurkers day (stay tuned for more information about the 2007 event). 500:1 is more typical around here.

OPB - It isn't you, or my correspondent either. This is simply the nature of blogging. The only way we can fix it is to adjust our own expectations. On the other hand, when a nice comment arrives, it's all that much more worthy of savoring.

PK - That's great advice for any blogger. Thanks!

Self - You're very welcome!

LynLass - That's very helpful. Thank you.

BTW, I hope you get the opportunity to drop by on Sunday...

Paul - Wow. May 21st? Really? I guess I need to do something about that.

No, I wouldn't consider you to be obsessive. You simply know what you like!

Paige - Thanks. I remember wondering how that paddling might feel and wishing I could get initiated.

Luna - I'm glad to be able to help.

Sarah - I think many readers remain silent because they feel they have nothing to contribute. In truth, most of us have thoughts, experiences, and perceptions from which others can learn.

When you feel like speaking, your voice will be welcome. Should you wish to remain silent, I'll know you're here and rejoice.

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