Monday, November 11, 2019

Blogtyrant site is back and redesigned, but has advice similar to before

The Blogtyrant site has recently redesigned, under its new owners.  Ramsay sold the site in early June, 2018.  (The site did stay up continuously but was left unchanged for over a year.)

Like Ramsay, the site generally encourages niche blogging, which actually works best when the writer already has a real-world business with a product or service to sell.  The “product” may however be charity, or social or political activism.  In terms of attracting visitors and revenue, the narrower the better (although this may not be the best thing ethically).

The role of blogging may seem controversial in that it seems overshadowed by vlogging or running video channels.  Some of the advice for bloggers may apply to video channels.  But politically-oriented video has become controversial since Donald Trump was elected and since many people began to fear the alt-right (and then likewise the far Left) after Charlottesville. Deplatformings without much explanation or due process have occurred, sometimes after underground pressure from activists.  On the other hand, video blogs that are commercial and emphasize products or services outside of politics have done well.

The same general observations could apply to blogs, but generally they have been less affected by political controversy (despite some predictions to the contrary).  Social media (especially Twitter and Facebook) have tended to capture traffic by algorithms and divert many potential visitors from reading blogs (and looking for them on search engines) the way they did in the past.

One thing to bear in mind that political issues and recent changes in copyright law in Europe (the Copyright Directive) will hit video blogging particularly hard overseas, and that seems to be affecting the US now indirectly. Other adverse political developments (like FOSTA in the US,  affecting downstream liability and Section 230, and the proposed CASE Act, emboldening trolls, and pressure on the tech industry particularly about hate speech and white supremacy threats and radicalization, have all cast a darkening cloud on user-generated content in general, but these may affect major social media more than traditional websites and blog with narrower focus (especially if they can pay their own ways).

The site still gives a lot of technical advice on Wordpress and web hosts.  Blogger has never chosen to make itself as high-end as Wordpress, which does make me wonder about its long term future (see posts in previous days).

Much of the basic advice is similar to what it was before.  Here is a typical link, “How to Write a Good Blog Post”.  Ramsay used to emphasize long posts with detail. The new guidelines suggest eye appeal, bullet points, shorter sentences, and particularly a definite apple to “take action” (sign up, buy, join, donate) at the end. I don’t do this very often, because in my individualism and circumstances (I had some discussions with Ramsay about this maybe three years ago) I don’t like to push people.

The site describes how to use Adsense in a Wordpress blog, which appears to be either a manual script placement or a third-party plugin, since Google deprecated its original Adsense plugin for Wordpress in the spring of 2017.  You need to use a reputable plugin to be sure you are complying with the rules (which now could include tightened enforcement of COPPA).  It's not recommended for a new blog until you have at least 100 distinct visitors. 
Ramsay Taplan started a site called “The Outsidely” and was planting trees and fighting climate change in Australia.  But he dropped off Twitter (he used to show himself with his huge cat) and lately I haven’t been able to tell how he is doing.
I’ve embedded a video from Ramsay from early 2018, which has been left up. 

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