Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blogito ergo sum -- revisited

Back again -- with about fifteen spare minutes to get in here and give a coherent answer to the same question that's been asked several times in the last week or so ... by different readers. It's a good question, deserving of serious answer.

I have a major website, yet this blog looks like being a permanent thing. Why would I blog, when I have a major website?

Simply stated, it's a hell of a lot easier to blog. They're free to set up; you don't have to worry about registering domain names and then re-re-resubscribing to keep your domain name (forget it for a few weeks when re-up time comes around, and it's gone, and your search engine presence with it); you can "publish" a paragraph, a diatribe, a photo ... the next chapter of a book ... at a click. No need to write code; no FTP to do. Nothing (much) to learn. You don't get outages at companies like Blogger, which belongs to Google. You don't even have to bother registering a blog with the search engines: give them ten days and a few posts, and they come find you -- which is something they don't do for websites! Blogs are indexed by Google & Co. fast. Within ten minutes of hitting the "publish" button, a well-crafted post can be listed on page one of the search results at The Big G. This doesn't happen with webpages. Blog posts are also content-focused, because the overall design of the blog has been laid down with the template. You get to fiddle at whim with the color scheme, without having to write code, and it's easy to upload or link to anything.

Webpages are fine, too, but the code is a right royal pain, even for the people who speak this gibberish like a second language. You have html, javascript, css and ... stuff. Some wonderful treat called "dot syntax." You have php, jsp, shtml, dhtml ... gak. It'd be a full-time job learning this stuff and then writing it, and here's the rub: web surfers these days have come to expect all the bells and whistles associated with "Web 2" sites. Virtually everything you see online these days is an interactive page driven by some kind of engine. Like --

The new one is Joomla!. I kid you not. If you stumble into the code of some of the Wiki type sites, you'll see meta tags like this:

< meta content="Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management" name="generator" >

Here's more about the language: http://www.joomla.org/, and here's a site that demonstrates Joomal! in operation: http://www.playshakespeare.com/. So...

FaceBook, MySpace, Wikipedia, Blogger, Wordpress, Dreamstime, Shelfari, GoodReads, Amazon, Imdb, Payloadz, Lulu, CreateSpace, ... on and on. These sites are so ubiquitous, we've reached a point where the simple old webpage won't do anymore. The simple, functional old page that we all thought was sooooo kewl, ten years ago, is now a dinosaur: borrrrring.

Yet the bloody things are just as hard to write, even though web surfers scorn them!

The handy alternative to the dilemma is: The Blog.

The only drawback to Blogger that I've ever found is that the templates are incredibly boring, and it's extremely difficult to find third party add-ons that actually work. I searched a log way before I found a studio that has its act in gear: http://www.ourblogtemplates.com/2008/03/browse-all-blogger-templates.html.

Put "Our Blog Templates" on the top of your list, if you're deciding to blog rather than get into websites, yet you can't stay awake for the old blogger templates!

So there's your answer, more or less. I blog because it's easy, quick, and visitors get what they expect to see these days: Web 2, interactivity, the ability to participate. All these things can be done on a webpage ... but writing the code is another question! I'd rather write fiction and leave the coding to other folks who find that stuff amusing.


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