Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wandering and Pondering


Our friend Greenwoman said the other day that MBS sends her 15-20% of her traffic. Those numbers surprised me. She has been a successful blogger for a long time and has built a loyal following. Beyond including her link in my blogroll and welcoming her to brunch, I really haven't done much to promote her blog.

I am reminded of the early days of this blog when even a passing mention by a luminary like Dan or Aunty would result in a tenfold increase in traffic and a flood of new friends. I will forever be sincerely grateful for their help in getting out the word about MBS. Even today, a feature in one of these top blogs generates an attractive bump in my numbers.

I think perhaps I should do more to promote excellent spanking blogs. I try to give new spanko bloggers a push off from the shore with the "In with the New" posts, but that still doesn't necessarily get them out of the harbor.

I am always disappointed when a quality blogger decides to quit, especially when it's due to a perceived lack of readership or, more frequently, a lack of comments. I can't be everywhere and it's simply not possible for me to comment on every post that deserves it. But maybe if I occasionally directed MBS readers to some excellent, but under-appreciated blogs, we could create a situation that is beneficial for both readers and bloggers.

Long time readers may recall that I once posted weekly descriptions of spanking-related blogs I liked. I think many readers and bloggers enjoyed it. It was an opportunity to introduce a blog and describe its author and content in more than just a sentence or two. I eventually gave up after a few bloggers complained about the way I summarized their blog or the sequence in which I chose to present them. I suppose I could have taken a tough line and said something like "I'll write my blog as I choose and if you don't like it, then don't read it." But that's not my style. I decided instead to move on to other pursuits.

Now I find myself at this crossroads again. I feel honored by the level of readership we have achieved, but with that, I believe, comes a certain responsibility to the community.

So, let me ask you, dear friends. What do you think I should do?

19 comments :

RPT said...

We all appreciate your efforts Bonnie. And each time you mention my blog the hits have gone up ten fold, so thanks for all your help and encouragement.

I have been tempted to stop blogging a couple of times but have been persuaded to continue.

I don't think you have a real responsibility to the community, it's only your perception. Many folk come to you for advice and help, myself included, but ultimately it's your choice what you do.

I like to read reviews of other blogs, I make my own choices, a bad review will not stop me looking, indeed I am more likely to look just to see if it is as dire as the reviewer claims!. We are all different and what one likes another may hate.

Regards

RPT and MP

Constance said...

Dear Bonnie,

you mentioned my blog last summer, and boy oh boy did I see my numbers jump! It was so exciting, and I'm indebted to you. Even now, many, many people come to me from you, despite the fact that my blog is not really even a spanking blog (the emphasis is on Domestic Discipline.)

Frankly, I agree that you don't have an obligation to anyone, you just happen to be a generous, thoughful person, and you want to help people out. Anyone who complains about that is an ingrate.

Please continue sharing your thoughts about other blogs. You have worked hard to establish a reputation as someone who knows what she's talking about, and personally i think it's wonderful that you want to use that influence to help bloggers who are just starting out.

Well done!

Affectionately and with gratitude,
Constance

Sara said...

Bonnie, I agree that you don't "owe" us, but your referrals and reviews are really appreciated. I always look for your list of new bloggers and have made a point to try to comment, since I so appreciated your mention of mine when I started.
I would love to have you do reviews. And again, thank you for everything you do!

Hermione said...

Bonnie, you are loved and respected by many. I like the idea of you mentioning a worthy blog now and again. While it was unfortunate that some were disappointed with the way you summarized their blogs, I have rarely seen you write in other than a positive way. You can't please all the people all the time.

Personally, if I hear a blog mentioned that I have not visited before, I usually go and check it out. Often, it gets added to my reader. While I don't comment as often as I should, because I use a reader, I try.

I saw MBS referred to as the Queen of Blogs yesterday. Long may you reign!

Hugs,
Hermione

Paul said...

Bonnie, I have followed a lot of the links that you so kindly provide.
Some have proved worth it, some never answer a comment and some stop posting.
Now I don't require an answer to every comment, just occasionally I'd like to know that I'm not shouting in the wind.
I think that that your, in with the new is very good and no-one can take exception.
You also have a life outside of blogging, and to write reviews takes time, and careful and thoughtful as you are, it's a pound to a penny you will put someones back out.
So I would suggest that you continue as is.
I find I get my best referrals from comments, when someone makes an intelligent and interesting comment, that fires my interest and I go and look.
You are doing a great job and it's much appreciated.
Warm hugs,
Paul.

Head of House said...

Bonnie,

I appreciate when you give new blogs a shout out! I don't always have the time to search new ones. Keep up the good work. Your one of the best!

Pagan said...

Bonnie, I'm not surprised that many get their hits through you. Apart from reading your own fine posts, I use your site as a portal. I access all spanking related blogs through your site, even the ones I visit regularly. :)

As for reviews, it's rare that I bother to read them (on other sites, I don't recall reading any of yours). If it's on your list or your periodic new blogger announcements, I'll check it out myself at least once. :)

Indiana said...

Bonnie, I'm always interested in your opinion about such things, but I agree with the other comments that you don't owe your readers or other bloggers this service. When I raised this issue on the comment page a while ago, part of your response was that MBS isn't about controversy. That's certainly true, and MBS wouldn't be such a wonderful place for such a diverse readership were it not true. But it's your blog. You should be able to express your opinion when you want to, and your readers should respect that right even if we disagree.

So I'd say, don't make blog review columns a regular feature unless you think you'd have a lot of fun with it. But if you want to plug a good blog every once in a while, then go for it. The blogger you feature has to realize that this is your opinion, not free advertising. A gentle reminder to check the stat counter ought to sort out any whining!

I agree with Paul that your comment section is a good place to find new blogs, too.

Hugs,
Indiana

Lele said...

I like the idea of reviews for blogs, but why write them yourself? Why not invite interested bloggers to write a short description of their own blog and when you have enough, post them?
I'm always interested in new blogs, but I don't have the time to visit and skim/read every one to figure out which ones I want to read regularly.
Hope this helps,
Lele

Dragon & Tiger said...

I completely agree with everything everyone has said above. If you enjoy writing a review or plugging another site then by all means go for it. Being a new blogger myself, I can attest to how difficult it is to get readers to come to your blog as well as the difficulty in finding quality blogs to read and comment to. My husband and I both tried doing searches on here to find blogs to read and share comments with and ended up pretty much empty handed. I came to your blog through a blog of a member of the spanking forum I belong to. It's not always that easy! I know I have already considered giving up on blogging because in a month our blog has only recieved like 4 comments (the ones from my husband don't count lol). It's hard to pour your heart out and share such an intimate journey when it feels like it's all for nothing. As the other said, you don't owe anyone's blogs anything but if you do decide to do reviews, I know people like me would definitely appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I can only echo what others have said. You already have a regular feature that highlights new blogs, and you have us all linked so people can check us out. It's not your responsibility and you don't "owe" the community a thing. We are already blessed with your contributions.

If you have times when you don't know what to write about, and want to highlight a blog here and there, then by all means, go for it. But I wouldn't make a regular feature out of it. -- Erica

dixiedarling said...

I know that I am one that was thankful to see my name posted on such a respectable blog as yours Bonnie. I still get at least 8 percent of my traffic from your site alone...which may not seem alot but I don't get that much traffic at all so in the scheme of things it is a huge number for just your site to contribute.

I think your blog spotlights are a wonderful and vital part of your blog. Not only did it help me get a foot in the door...I have since bookmarked and read daily alot of the "newbie" blogs that you wrote about or featured.

Oh Gee said...

Lele's idea is a very good one. As a brand-new blogger, I get inspired by the things that you and others in this community do, and by the kindness and sense of welcome you put out there. Having others describe their blogs is a good way to feature their voice, and perhaps you could add a comment about what you personally liked about their blog, instead of a summery which before earned you criticism (undeserved, I'm sure).

Greenwoman said...

Well this explains why my stats suddenly jumped to 1/3 coming from MBS...*smiles* Thanks for the link!

Bonny, I think you do indeed have a really great opportunity to help other blogs and their writers.

I hesitate to tell anyone how they should use their popularity to support others efforts.

I hesitate to suggest how you should go about that....especially given the disappointment you've had in the past.

Since you asked though, I guess I'd suggest you just do this when you have the time , since it will be a bit time consuming to look at other blogs you may not normally read all the time, but still find important to point folks to. I always hesitate to suggest anything that's going to cause a blogger to spend alot of time.

I suggest that you just pick a post or two from a blog that you liked especially and which was written in the prior two weeks and maybe say why you liked it or why you particularly like that blog's regular offerings.

I think that you'll just run in to people wanting to advertise and getting picky about what you wrote if you get all descriptive about this. Personally, I think that's rude...but that's just me. I think that you'll have fun with the investigation of these blogs if you do that and it makes it fun for the readers too, because they'll get to see what you like about other blogs too. I would personally, really enjoy that process.

And I think that remarks about the comment numbers on the posts you picked and what you noticed were the usual comment counts during the time frame you pick to do a search, with some of these blogs you recommend would likely really help new bloggers relax too.

I don't get nearly the number of comments on my blog you do, but I always get two or three comments. My posts average 4 to 8. When I first began blogging, I'd do five or six posts without even one comment. I think people need to hear that this can still be true a year after starting blogging and that commenting themselves on other blogs tends to cure that in time.

Indiana said...

I like Lele's suggestion. A similar strategy would be to have a brunch in which readers were asked for a short description of their favorite spanking blogs.

Sub Nouveau said...

Bonnie you haven't mentioned my blog in ages & guess what you're always one of my top 5 referers & I love your for it.

Anyone who bitches about a link is a complete and utter moron! For those of us who blog, Traffic is precious as is a link. Hell there are morons who buy links.

You rock!

Terpsichore said...

...I think it has all been said... so I will just say follow your own heart of what you would like to do...

A.S.S. said...

We always liked your reviews. And we know for a fact that your review of our blog shortly after we started put us on the map. It was a huge help!

We try to review one blog a week...and we hope that helps spread the blogging love that you gave us. But, you're still the queen! And we know that 99% of new bloggers would be grinning ear to ear to have a review from you.

That 1% find something to complain about... pffft... can't please all the people. In the end though, you gotta please yourself... right?

We say spread the love like only you can though. That's our vote, for what it is worth.

:)
Todd & Suzy

Bonnie said...

Everyone - I knew you guys would come through for me. Thank you for the great advice and golden ideas.

RPT - Right or wrong, I do feel a certain pull to give back to this community. I feel as though the time and effort I invested has been repaid twice over in friendship and kindness.

I will never post a negative review of a blog. If I truly dislike a blog for whatever reason, I won't link it and certainly wouldn't review it.

The thing about kinks is that we all have our own tastes and desires. Something you love might seem gross to me or vice versa. It's not a question of good or bad, right or wrong, cool or uncool. I have no desire to pass judgment on anyone's kink, especially if it's different than my own.

Constance - Thank you. I aim to please.

Sara - You're very welcome. I'm confident that we can find some way to both help bloggers and satisfy readers.

Hermione - No, I cannot please all of the people all of the time. But I'd sure like to be able to please some of them. At least that's my hope.

As for the QoB, I saw that reference too. After the last individual who came around here claiming to be royalty, I'm not about to go anywhere near that title.

Paul - "In with the New" will definitely continue. The question is whether to augment it with something more, and if so, how might it operate.

Your point are, of course, completely valid. My time is fixed. If I am writing reviews, then I am probably not writing stories.

Thank you, as always, for sharing your wisdom and your perspective.

HOH - Thank you. That's very sweet.

Pagan - Several readers have told me that they like my blog roll as much as my content. I freely admit that part of its purpose is to draw readers who will hopefully enjoy my writing while they're here.

Indiana - I have no intention of stirring up a lot of controversy. I acknowledge, accept, embrace, and celebrate our differences. I can be right without you having to be wrong. That is the spirit I seek to infuse in this blog.

Anything I do with regard to reviews will be positive and supportive.

Lele - That's an excellent idea. Thank you!

Dragon and Tiger - The new blogger dilemma you describe is precisely the one I'd love to be able to address.

Erica - Thank you for your well reasoned counsel. After reading everyone's thoughts, I doubt I will bring back something like the spankologue. If I add a new feature, it will have to be a significantly different formula.

Dixie - Thank you. I'm pleased to be able to assist.

I promise that the "In with New" series will continue. Everyone likes it and I think those articles help to introduce new bloggers into our community.

Oh Gee - Welcome and hello! That's a very good idea. I'll bet lots of bloggers would write a short overview if I asked nicely. And if they don't want to be featured, that would be OK as well.

Greenwoman - That opportunity is precisely my point. I have the ability to help bloggers. If I do this correctly, it can benefit both readers and bloggers.

As for my time, I already spend a lot of now. The only discussion left is *how* I spend it.

I like your formulation. If I do choose to review blogs, the format will be something similar to what you describe.

Indiana - I *love* that idea. We'll definitely do it. In fact, it could even be a recurring brunch theme. Thank you!

Sub Nouveau - I guess I ought to mention you more often! :D

In retrospect, I have to admit that there might be a kernel of truth in their criticism of my reviews. I probably could have been more sensitive. But the reviews in question were definitely positive.

I am quite aware that people buy links. They hit me up several times every week to accept their advertising. That model doesn't fit with my concept of this blog. I want readers to know that on the rare occasions when I endorse a product, it's because I believe in it and the people who offer it.

Terpsichore - Thank you for your loyal support!

Todd and Suzy - The fact that you picked up slack with your Wink series made me feel a lot better about abandoning my own reviews.

Of all of the ideas, I think my favorite is Indiana's variation of Lele's suggestion. We should each bring a favorite blog to show at brunch.

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