I’m Back

After many months away from all my sites, after many months of combining work with campaigning, after many months of doing no writing except for campaign blurbs and publicity pieces, I am very pleased and excited to share this important news:

I’m back.

After the election was over, I took some time away by doing one of my “custom Bruce Maples trips” (point the car in some direction, in this case Northeast, and take off). After that trip was over, I had to do some campaign clean-up tasks, and get some music things ready at church, and catch up some things around the house. But now, almost exactly a month after the election, I am ready and eager to begin writing again.

I am cross-posting this to all four sites, so if you follow me in more than one venue you will see it multiple times. After this, though, I should be back to keeping different content on each site.

Thanks for hanging in there while I was away. Thanks for coming back and reading this. And thanks for your encouragements, your friendships, and your willingness to see what I have to say.

Let’s get to writing.

Two Updates: Schedule and Possible Platform Change

I’m currently on a two-day writing vacation, doing some organizing and outlining and such. Two quick notes about this site:

(1) I have created an overall blogging schedule, and this site will get two regular features:

  • Monday Morning Quarterback, posted on (what else?) Mondays
  • Weekend Techie, posted on Saturdays

There will be other blog posts as well, of course, but I aim to do those on a regular basis.

(2) I’m thinking about moving this site to a WordPress platform, from its current Squarespace platform. I’m not unhappy with Squarespace — far from it. I think it’s a great platform. It’s just that I’ve got a number of other sites on WordPress, and I’m thinking that it might be easier to keep everything on one platform. But, there’s no rush, so at this point I’m just pondering.

Any and all comments welcome, on both items.

Back on Schedule

So, here I was, exercising regularly, losing weight, getting that blood pressure under control. And writing regularly, both in morning pages and on here.

And then the holidays hit, and an intense period of music-making at church*, and Christmas, and time off. Then the laptop died right before Christmas, so I had to get a new one, and get it set up. And then the first-of-the-year panic at work, and 2011 planning, and lots of new initiatives, and annual reviews, and …

Well, you get the idea. December was three weeks of panic, followed by a week of vacation and setting up a new laptop. January has been sorta back to panic.

Today, finally, I’m getting back on schedule. Went to the gym again, got back on the food plan, and getting back into my GTD system. So, look for some new stuff coming soon.

And if, after all this time away, you’re still checking in to see if I’ve posted: bless you, dear reader, for your loyalty. I’ll try to reward it with something worth reading.

*Who in the world decided to put the banquet on the same weekend as the Lessons and Carols, since orchestra and choir were doing both? Oh yeah — me.

Site Traffic Sometimes a Puzzle

Squarespace, the hosting/CMS behind this site, has good traffic tracking tools, including tracking the source of visitors to the site. Most traffic comes from Facebook, Twitter, and certain common searches. Occasionally, though, the sources of traffic cause me to scratch my head.

Yesterday I had a traffic bump. Why? I wrote a couple of stories, but nothing mentioned anywhere else. When I look at the sources, though, I got some hits from jamespot.com and extrabot.com. Who?

Jamespot is a site for marking and sharing content. I’d never heard of it, but I guess someone is using it. Did they mark something I wrote? Who knows — their search engine didn’t turn up anything.

Extrabot is some sort of site aggregator, and it looks pretty much like a site devoted to getting rich and/or getting laid. “How to have an affair while still married” is one of their more popular links, for example. Couldn’t find my site listed there — for which I am grateful.

Glad to have the traffic, I guess, but not sure who is coming from those places. If it’s you, drop me a comment or a note so I know. Otherwise, I’ll assume it was some sort of random thing. And, of course, I’ll continue to promote via FB and Twitter. Maybe some day the site will be so popular I can retire. (Not!)

New Site User Guide (Really!)

I know it sounds silly, but I’ve built a one-page user guide to the site, that is linked at the top of the Site Tools section on the right.

Why? Mainly because I was afraid that some newcomers were missing things like the category filters, the Share This link, and the poems and such.

So, take a moment and scan it. You may find something you didn’t know about.

Cheap, Cheesy Pre-Post Advertisement

This is not a real blog post — it’s a blog post announcing a coming blog post. In other words, an advertisement. (And I think I’m too honorable to use those cheesy Google ads everywhere. Hmm.)

Anyway — I’m working on a post on some new geek tools I’ve discovered, including TweetDeck, a number of iPhone apps, and some new utilities for your computer. Watch for it on Wednesday.

Meta Question: Would You Like Icons?

As you may have noticed, I occasionally throw in the school icon if the blog post is about sports. So, if the story is about Tennessee, you get the UT logo in the upper left corner of the story.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for ALL the blog posts. That way, you could scan the posts for the ones with the policy icon, for example, if that was all you wanted to read. Of course, you can use the category filter on the right — but perhaps that’s too hard to find.

If you are reading this, and have an opinion on icons to identify the category of the post for easy scanning, leave it in the comments. And if you’re not reading this, just leave a comment with suggestions on how to attract more readers.  :–)

Readers and Comments

It’s interesting — since I moved to Squarespace, I know there are people reading this blog, because I can check the stats each day through SS itself. It’s not a lot of people, but it’s steady.

What I don’t understand is the lack of comments. Either people are just skimming and moving on, or my writing is so complete and finished that there just aren’t any good comments to make. I wonder …  <g>

Oh well — at least you’re reading. Thanks for doing that. But if you want to throw a comment in, please do; dialogue is so much more fun.  :–)

A Single Blog?

I’m debating with myself about changing the format of the site, and moving to a single blog. Keep the writing pages (but make them easier to use, perhaps), but only have one blog and just use tags and such. More confusing for readers, perhaps, but a single place to scan each day.

Anyway, this is a test entry to see what I think about that.

[…later…] Well, I’ve decided: single blog. Moved almost all the entries from the other blogs into this one. (Threw a few away.) Most of them probably aren’t tagged and categorized, so at some point I ought to go back and do that. For now, though, I think this is a better deal.

Also moved the poems and essays (only one at this point) up to the top, where they will also get more play. I’d like to figure out a way to let people comment on the writings; but if they’re not blogs, then they don’t have comments. Have to look at that.

So … ready to get back at it. ‘Bout damn time, wouldn’t you say?

Not Happy with the Site Layout

This is more of a conversation with myself than anything. But, I’m doing it as a blog entry so if any of you readers out there (all three of you) want to make a comment or suggestion, you can do so through the comment section.

I redesigned the site about six months ago to have the following sections:

  • A front page
  • Four blogs — Politics, Sports, Faith and Church, and Whatever. I did this so people could subscribe to a single blog via RSS, or read a single blog, without having to wade through the other stuff.
  • A section for poetry
  • A section for other writing

An all-purpose site, in other words. And, for the most part I’ve been okay with it. Except, I get the feeling that it’s hard for people to find stuff, especially stuff on the blogs.

So, I’ve taken to putting blog entries that I really like on the front page, mixed in with the regular front-page items. (I use the FP for stuff from other sites, mostly.) This seems okay, until you realize that the blog things take up room and scroll to the bottom pretty quickly.

So, I’m sorta stumped. I put a “Recent Entries” thing in the first side-bar, and maybe that is helping. I feel, though, like there’s got to be a better way. I’m open to suggestions, so feel free to comment if you have an idea — or any feedback on the current layout.