Since attending my first PUB 101 class, my view on publishing has been greatly expanded. Gone are my thoughts of if you write it someone will read it. After watching Julie and Julia, my expectation of blogging was that it would be easy and if you create a blog, there will be readers out there who want to read you content. That was a very mistaken view.
Since attending all the classes and reading the readings, I’ve come to realize, that competition is fierce in the online space. One’s site must be concise, targeted, and well designed. Never would I have though that “white space is just as important as user flow” (Gertz, 2015) This really shows how important it is to chose and audience and design a site that is targeted and valuable to readers.
When I created my publications, it was designed to be a lifestyle blog. I never thought that this would become a digital garden like the one described in the MIT paper. I was expecting it to be almost like a diary of what I do on a weekly basis and it somehow morphed into a construction blog. This was the point where I realized that my life was being overrun by my home construction projects. At this point, I changed the name of the blog, the layout, and the design. This plays into the idea of the digital garden because the whole idea of a digital garden is that it can “grow and change, and that various pages on the same topic can coexist” (Basu, 2020). I kept the design simple, easy to navigate, and clear of any crazy design elements. This is due to my imagined audience of people who are homeowners or DIY doers who are looking for people who have been crazy enough to tackle their own renovation projects. I designed my site to be a place where users can see what mistakes I’ve made, and what mistakes they shouldn’t make. I’ve included a vast majority of my lessons learned in the blog and mistakes made. I believe that once people see what I have done and how I’ve messed up, they do not make the same mistakes I do, or at the very least, they know what they are getting into before anything starts. What I have learned from my site thus far, is that a majority of my visitors are in the 25-35 age group, most of them are returning visitors, and there is a high bounce rate. I think this may be due to the overcrowded nature of the home page, but my theme does not allow me to reduce the clutter. Although the bounce rate may be high, I think I am succeeding in capturing my target audience. The age group is in line with what I was expecting as these are the people newly stepping into home ownership and making changes to their homes.
In terms of thinking about how my view of publication has changed, I never thought about how blogs could be monetized. I had always had an idea of sites having blogs to improve their SEO performance and what not, however, using blogs the other way for ads and links was not something I had considered. I am not a frequent reader of blogs, nor have I ever written any pieces, so I was not familiar with the idea of ads and blogs. However, since reading the Tumblr advertising paper, I noticed that not only have I read blogs, I have also fallen for the affiliate marketing in these blogs. I read food recipes all the time and when these sites link to ingredients or cookware, I almost always go to the store looking for these items as I do not cook often and I do not know what can be substituted and what tools are unnecessary. I find this form of advertising to be more effective, because not only do I not feel like I am being marketed to, display ads can created the connotation of the site not putting “the reader’s best interests first” (Bleymaier, 2013). With the teachings in this course, I feel like I am more aware of the internets uses and how businesses can monetize sites and exploit readers. I am more cautious of how I use the internet and I will think twice before making purchases or decisions. My blog will come to an end with the course, as I finish the course I am also coming to completion on my project. I will not have any new content to write about and I believe I am not the type of person who is cut out for blog writing.
- Basu, Tanya. September, 5 2020. “Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet” MIT Technology Review.
- Tom Bleymaier. 2013. On Advertising – Maria Popvova
- Gertz, Travis. 2015. “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” July 2015. Available from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines