Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Blogging styles

Autumn skies (turquoise)
Pastel on board, 10x10cm

I am still in surveillance mode - seeing that a fair part of visitors to my blog come to it by looking for painting instructions - like how to paint in pastel? how to paint clouds/skies? Etc. Yet - not many of them stay very long on the site. There are plenty of sites which are in a much better position to offer painting instructions and demonstrations - many of them are on the excellent WetCanvas! forum and its many subject and medium specific subforums.

When I started blogging, the main motivation really lay in a rather selfish wish to create a series of personal prompts to keep working with my artwork and to keep developing it. Quite quickly the interactive abilities of a quickly changing, expanding and communicating website became an important addition - reading other people's blogs, finding out about their work process, ideas and change has proved an important source to move on my own thoughts, ideas and work process.

An interesting post I came across a week back was one by Kirsty Hall, a UK artist and curator who's blog Up all night again has a whole number of interesting and insightful posts on art and the internet - here is the link the post I am referring to:

Opening with the observation that
One of the golden rules of blogging is that ‘content is king’. All the articles about improving your readership numbers will tell you to ‘write great content’ and ‘post regularly’. But how do you do that? Where to start? It can all seem a little daunting at first.

Kirsty lists eight different blog styles and gives a numer of links as examples.
These styles range from the blog as art, via tutorial and process blogs to news and opinion blogs.

Not surprisingly, I felt that in different posts Paint & Pastel fits into different categories at different times. Much easier than identifying what this blog resembles is to see what it doesn't do - it doesn't intend to be a piece of art in its own right, nor does it post many artworks without commentary. As said above, there's too little on actual instruction to qualify for a tutorial-based blog. I quite happily concede these points and don't feel too disappointed for not belonging into those. Similarly, the blog doesn't cover extensive news of the art world to make it a news blog.

So, let's see what remains:

The subject blog - Paint & Pastel in itself as a title makes the subject and appropriate content of the blog rather wide and not narrowly focussed on one subject. My intention to write on my art and work process is a subject in the sense that I'm trying to leave much other things outside the blog, but they do, of course, come in at one point or another.

The article-based blog - a more extensive and detailed version to the tutorial-based one, Kirsty see this type of blog as one which generates a lot of traffic and commentary. Yet - and here's the problem, it requires a lot of detailed research, background work and commitment to keep producing extensive, well-written articles (which I know all too well from my day work which is largely based on writing, oops... see above)

Which leaves two types - the process blog and the opinion blog - both of which, the latter probably more strongly - seem to be what much of this blog is about...

Reading the post by Kirsty, and some of the more recent ones where she follows up the importance of a web-based strategy for artist has offered some insights into my own views and motivations on blogging - but also provides some routes that could be pursued if I'd like to move towards other styles and develop the blog. Most attractive for that is a stronger article-based style.


Casey Klahn said...

Good stuff, here, Gesa. I look forward to studying this. I am a technology imbecile, even though I did save Bill Gates' life once! Some day I'll post on that brush with fame, but I digress.

I just wanted to say don't trust the visit length stats too much. I have noticed that posters of comments to my blog are represented as only having visited for 1 second. I have literally met, in person, readers to my blog, who never show up on the counter. I am no expert, but I have the feeling that one shouldn't put too much credence in certain parts of the stats.

As we speak, I am hitting the 10,000 visitors stat. Ho hum, I don't believe it, anyway!

Gesa said...

Hi Casey - yes, I picked up on the visit length at some points too - people where leaving comments but in 0.01 seconds - so I think - thankfully - a lot is being missed out/picked up wrongly etc with all this surveillance stuff. Just as well, says my academic half :)

But my impression was that, if anything, some visits are being left out (rather than ones being wrongly counted too often)... so, you're probably already well beyong 10,000? Great news, nonetheless, congratulations!