06 May 2008

Time-eating websites


I started reading other gardeners' blogs a few months ago and was led by one of them (Earthwoman's) to the Blotanical site. It's a social networking community for gardeners and a way of promoting your own garden-related blog. I'd already followed a lot of these blogs using Netvibes, my feed-reader, but Blotanical brings other benefits, like being able to pick posts that you like, send short, friendly messages to other bloggers and see where in the world they are. Blotanical was launched by garden blogger Stuart Robinson (who's based in Western Australia) last December.

I was a bit dubious about the points system at first (the more use you make of the site, the more points you get), but even that gets a bit addictive after a while. The only suggestion I have for improving the site is to make it possible to add a blog as a favourite when you're viewing it in the 'picks' section. At the moment it seems to take a while to find the blog and add it (although I may have missed an easier way of doing this). Also the flashing adverts are annoying. And while I appreciate that setting a cookie means that I don't have to log in every time I visit, this does mean that I don't gain a point for logging in, which seems a disadvantage of doing this (though I'm trying not to get too hung up on the points thing, honestly!).

Traffic to this blog has certainly increased since I joined and I've found a lot of other interesting blogs from all over the world to read and learn from. You don't have to be a blogger to join - anyone can sign up.


Another online community I've joined since moving here. I don't spend as much time on it as I do on Blotanical, but I am diligently adding and reviewing the books I read. I use it a lot to find new books or authors, as its suggestions are based on books people have actually read, unlike Amazon's, which are based on books that I've bought (often for other people).


Anonymous said...

Great feedback and suggestions Amanda. I shall have to look into the flashing ads as a few people have commented on seeing them - I have yet to see one but that could be because I live in the nether regions of the planet.

I'm glad you're enjoying the site and cheers for the shout-out.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it can be flippin tricky trying to track down the add to favourites button.

I'm going to check out the library link as well, I love getting relevant new recommendations.

A Larrapin Garden said...

Hi Amanda,
Great blog you have! Your explantion of Blotanical helped a lot. I'd visited the site (and received quite a few visitors from it) but still wasn't sure how it worked. Thanks!

Esther Montgomery said...

You mention not getting points when you sign in automatically.

I read many blogs through Google Reader - and click onto the sites themselves if I want to see the pictures better or leave a comment.

I'm wondering if you know whether the stat-counters of various kinds register these 'readings' as 'visits' or whether they go under the radar?


Amanda said...

Hi Esther

I think it probably depends on the stats counter you're using. Many will only count web pages and what you're looking at with Google Reader are the RSS or Atom feeds that the blogs produce (which aren't web pages). So when you click through to the site, your visit will be counted, but it may not be if you just read the site through a feed reader. I think some do count the times that the feeds are downloaded too: WordPress offers this, for example, but other stats packages don't: Google Analytics relies on people looking at the web pages only.

So I suppose what I'm saying is - it depends!