Asking for your opinion

As we are planning to go public soon, co-admin Elliot and me have realized that we first have to determine the general direction that this blog is going to take.
We would be glad if you participate in this discussion in the comment section below.

There are two major options:

The first would be that there is a kind of editorial staff that provides content (posts) to the viewers/followers.

On this blog, we have now 2 admins (Elliot and me), 14 authors and 3 viewers. Here is again the link from the wordpress support site about the different user roles.
But I will just explain what an author and viewer/follower can do on a blog, because this is important for the discussion.
Authors can “write, upload photos to, edit, and publish their own posts”. And they can comment on other people’s posts. But they can’t change or delete the posts of others, or change any settings of the blog. For example, in the Commons of our Blogging201 class every participant was an author and could post their questions or tips in the Commons and comment on other people’s posts.
Whereas a viewer (that is the same as a follower, only on a private blog) can just read the posts and comment on them. It’s just the same that you do when you follow a blog.

At the start of this blog, I added everyone who demanded access to this site as an author. At a certain point, some of you said that we should stop adding authors, and just add people as viewers/followers. So I did this. So there are now 16 bloggers who can publish their own posts on this blog (14 authors plus 2 admins).

The problem that I see now with this concept is as follows:
If we are only 16 people who can publish posts here, we are like an editorial staff which has to deliver content regularly to its viewers/followers. But most of our authors (me included) have already said that they are very busy and can’t publish posts here on a regular basis. I think most of us can only make time to post here every now and then.
So I think as good as this option sounds, it is not very realistic and this blog will become wasteland soon if we do it this way.
If you disagree, this is the right time and place now to come forward and say that you will take the responsibility to post regularly on this blog.

Having said this, my suggestion is the second option:

All followers can become authors by filling in a simple contact form and sending it to the admins (we can then add them as authors).
But before implementing this option, we would have to set up some blog rules. For example, that commercial tourism organizations are not allowed to post here (so this blog will not become a site for professional advertisers). Or that we don’t want these hi-here-is-a-link-to-my-blog-bye posts that don’t publish any real content. The admins will then make sure that bloggers stick to those rules including the right to delete inappropriate posts.

This option would enable this blog to become a more interactive site. And there doesn’t need to be an editorial staff then that has to carry the burden of producing content all the time. Come to think of it, this was the idea that I had in mind as I set up this blog: followers can easily become authors and publish their own questions, tips or articles as a way to connect with other travel bloggers.

And this could be more than just an agony-aunt-style blog. We could include a more magazine-y scope in the categories.
Besides an About and Blog rules page, my suggestions as to the categories would be:

The Commons: all the questions and ideas about the design of your travel blog and travel blogging in general, like How to attract followers, Which is the best theme for a travel blog, or How to create an appealing design and so on.

Magazine: everything that doesn’t fit the other categories. For example, Elliot said he would like to do daily prompts for travel bloggers, Or posts that are not related to a special travel destination like 10 things to pack when you go on travel, or How to survive a hostel.

Travel destinations: If you want to do posts about a specific travel destination (but it should not only be a simple re-post from your blog). This way, you could introduce yourself to the travel blogging community, and it could be a good promotion for your blog.

Accomodation: The same, if you want to recommend a nice hostel or hotel.
Maybe later, we could even implement an apartment-swapping subcategorie, or accomodation offers (from travel bloggers for travel bloggers).

Of course, all these categories could be refined or even changed (now or along the way).

So these are the two major options we have now. And we have to make a decision about it, otherwise we can’t prepare this blog for opening day.
We are hoping for lots of comments.
take care, KleesButterfly

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23 thoughts on “Asking for your opinion

  1. I prefer option 2, at least for the moment – if this gains momentum it could become an edited magazine later but only IF someone has the time to curate it! Most of the suggestions for ‘magazine’ actually fit in Option 1.

    I was thinking of using this site to share hints, travel sites and whatnot, such as http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/12-types-of-blog-posts/ . And also helping each other out with graphics, critiques etc. such as an post that asks the others bloggers in the commons to check out each other’s sites and note the first thing they clicked on – that way we could find out about what catches people’s eyes. (I put a ‘feature’ page on mine but checking the stats I don’t think I’m getting any traffic from it).
    Cheers,
    Albatz

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    • Hi Albatz, you’re right that my suggestions for the categorie ‘magazine’ fit in option 1. I was trying to add a forum to those of us who want to use this blog in a more editorial way. But we will see at the end of this discussion if this is desired in the first place.
      If I get you right, you want to use this blog as we did in the Commons of our Blogging201 challenge?

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  2. I agree, Option 2 seems to be the way to go for the moment, although I am not sure on the categories yet to be honest, but that’s something we can all work on together, I’m sure. If this blog site takes off and we find ourselves with lots of people blogging etc we could eventually think about moving it to Option 1 with a more regulated publishing calendar.
    I also agree that we should have a space where we can ask for feedback or ask for help.

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    • Hi Storki, yes, my suggested categories aren’t fully thought through and we should work on this together. In the categories, I was trying to strike a balance between option 1 and 2, while opening this blog to a greater community by adding more people as authors. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
      What would your suggestions for the categories be? Do you think we should focus on the self-help aspect and leave the editorial option out?

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  3. I agree with Albatz & Storki, option 2 seems to me the best way to initiate this as group effort. I am still rather new to blogging and I feel much more comfortable putting a toe in the water than diving in headfirst, so to speak.
    I think in the beginning, I was looking at this as a place for sharing resources, tools, ideas and support rather than an additional blog. It wasn’t until the discussion about going public came up that I even considered it as a place to contribute original material.

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    • Hi, justanotherdayintheworld! It is interesting for me to see that a lot of our authors want more this self-help aspect of the Commons in our Blogging201 challenge. I initially thought that it is the other way round and people want to publish original material here. By my suggestions for the categories, I was trying to deliver to both groups.
      What are your suggestions for the categories: do you think we should leave out the items ‘magazine, travel destinations and accomodation’?

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      • I would really need to think about that. I guess I’m not 100% clear on where we are trying to go with these pages. Are we looking to become a blog written by travel writers for travelers, or a blog written by travel writers for other travel writers? In my opinion, trying to combine these two audiences too much might take this in so many directions that it would prove difficult to maintain a central focus. I think the categories would also depend ultimately on who the audience is, and what the purpose of the blog is.
        Many thanks to you & Elliot for tackling this project!

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        • Yes, you’re right, Al also drew my attention to this point that we have to decide if we are a blog for travel writers or travelers. I think the reason why the focus seems unclear is that travel writers are also travelers. For me, the blog is meant at first for travel bloggers (travel bloggers write for other travel bloggers). What I had in mind with adding categories like accomodation or travel destinations, was that travel bloggers can advise other travel bloggers about a good hostel or hotel, or some hidden gems in a city that aren’t discovered easily. Do you know what I mean? Maybe we have to specify what the focus of the blog is. But the categories have to be worked on.

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  4. I’m still not getting a clear feeling on the audience for this blog.

    Initially I thought it would be a place for travel bloggers to share local knowledge, contacts like commissioning editors & tourist organisations, information sources etc.

    It now ‘feels’ as though there is a split and there is a secondary channel of creating content for end users, the travellers we actually write for on our own blogs.

    It is almost as though there is front of house, a public facing side to the concept, and back stage where the authors talk amongst themselves.

    I think working co-operatively to create public facing content is a great idea, but I’d not be too keen to share contacts etc. with the whole world. It would be great if we could keep the discussion between authors, private to our group, but I cannot work out how to do that.

    Have I got the wrong impression?

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    • Hi Al! Do I get you right that you would like to focus more on the self-help aspect like the Commons did in our Blogging201 challenge, and that you feel uncomfortable with going public? Would you prefer this blog to remain a private blog?
      The problem is that there are daily access requests for this blog, and I think it is a wasted opportunity to leave all those people out. But it actually means that if we go public, we would necessarily share everything that we publish here with the whole community of followers/authors.

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      • I think we need to make a decision whether this blog is to focus on providing people travel content (travellers rather than bloggers), or a restricted Commons 201 (Tips for travel bloggers) type blog.

        By trying to do both, I think it may lose focus.

        I understand the disadvantage of the access requests which must be causing yourself and Elliot headaches as it will generate a large admin overhead.

        I happy to go public or private as long as we have a clear vision / direction we can make our own decisions on what we share here.

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        • All your suggestions really help, I am getting a clearer idea of what we could do with this blog.
          The initial idea was focused on this self-help aspect, then I thought that some authors would like do more than this. But maybe I was mistaken about that.
          If we focus on the Commons aspect, all categories should be readjusted to serve this purpose. We could leave out the ‘Travel destinations” categorie, and redefine ‘Accomodation’ in that way that is is a rubric to give other travel bloggers tips where is a good or reasonably priced place to stay.

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  5. Klees thanks for all your work and suggestions. I am happy either way.

    Sharing our articles for feedback and comment could be useful. By this I mean if we re-blogged an article or feature into the shared space for constructive criticism it could help us to perfect our art in a friendly private space.

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    • Hi hazshar, as to the re-blogging of our own posts on the TravelBloggers.on.WordPress site: I’m just a little bit worried about a potential misuse of this tool. It is okay if people ask for real advice if they have a problem with a post or their blog, but I think we should be careful with these hey-here-is-my-latest-post links, it could result in an endless row of just-link-dropping posts.

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      • Hi Klees, that makes sense. I wasn’t aware of that potential problem. What a shame but I agree it could be abused. The travel blog sector is mature market and an incredibly cluttered space. Would there be an editor who would review the submissions before they are published on the blog? Or will it be open to anyone who wishes to post regardless of the quality of idea and content?

        I don’t really have a preference as I’m really interested in gaining support and sharing ideas within a group of specialists with an interest in travel and discovery.

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        • I think this will be one of the tasks of the admins or editors to have an eye on potential misuse. We should also implement a possibility for other users to report misuse. I think we must strike a balance between giving travel bloggers an opportunity to advertise themselves BY posting substantial content. It is ok when someone drops or indicates a link to a post or his website as long as this link is related to a post or question on this blog. But we will have to see how this is working out, maybe we have to refine the blog rules along the road.

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  6. It is clear that most people prefer option 2, me included. It provides us with a means of not only gaining a readership, but also in gaining promotion for our own sites whilst gaining advice from other travel bloggers. The only problem with it being more of an interactive site is the large overhaul of work for Klees and I, butI see no real issue with that. I think that if we go with option 2, the site would go more in the direction of the writing courses or sites such as the daily prompt, so we woul have to be careful with how we brand it.

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  7. Hi! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you all, I just wanted a sufficient amount of time for reading and adding my opinion.
    I like the option for number 2, and providing content for travelers (from travelers). I like the idea if this being more of a magazine style blog, a place to share information and receive information. I think I am not entirely sure of “the commons” section, for the blog in general. This would be an area to receive tips for personal (travel) blogs, but the rest would be general travel information? It seems like 2 separate ideas…
    I might be agreeing with Al here where the focus seems a bit confused to me. I think, like the one of the blogging201 assignments was, let’s define our goals. What do we want to accomplish with the blog and its content.

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    • Hi Jennifer, thanks for your reply. I understand the idea that there should be a focus, but the more I discuss with you all, the more difficult it seems to me. Last but not least because some want more a self-help focus like the Commons was, and others want more a magazine with information for travelers.
      I have to do some more thinking about it and concentrate on the basic idea that led to this blog: an opportunity for travel bloggers to connect. And I still think that this is a good idea. And maybe the solution is that travel bloggers actually can connect on different levels: Some want advice and tips on how to make a travel blog appealing and successful, some others want to share their favorite travel and accomodation experiences with other travel bloggers.
      So maybe the initial idea to offer both options on this blog was a good one.
      I hope time will show 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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