Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Links and Changes

hiking grand canyon
Hiker @ South Kaibab Trail, Early Morning

Life is a continuous process of learning, and so is keeping a site. From a simple blogging format when I started this blog last April 2009, I am slowly making changes and applying what I am learning in the process. Some of them, painful ( well, in my blogger's view, haha!), and most of them, JOYFUL!

JOYFUL because I have met several blogging friends really worth keeping because I felt a connection to them after years of reading each others thoughts. Blogging is such a powerful vehicle of connecting with those who share your passion, in my case, my passion of exploring the wonders and healing gifts of nature. I could feel the strong sense of CARE for some. When something is wrong with blogger sometimes, I get email from some friends about what needs to be done. When I neglect this blog sometimes, I get thoughtful messages of being missed, and a concern that hope all is okay. JOYFUL because finding others are using your site for information on their travel planning brings a certain joy that is just hard to explain. Whenever I get email through my contact form thanking me about how the details in my post has helped them a lot in planning for their trip, I feel thankful and joyful because it was for that reason that I took time in sharing them because I love to bring more people in finding the healing treasures in our natural world.
Pictures from my all time most popular posts: 

2. Hiking Mt. Woodson

To make my site more user friendly to the majority of my visitors, who I found out from data are people searching for hiking details or more travel details about certain places, I spent some time changing content of some of the posts giving more information that I missed before, and also, changing my top tabs. Before, when you click "hikes" in the picture above, it will lead to all posts about hiking, but there was no summary of the links to the hikes. Now, if you click the above tabs, they will now lead to a page that summarizes the links to all the hikes.

In doing it, I found out I haven't written about so many trails we did in National Parks and even here in San Diego. I found out I have so many assignments to do, in order for this site to become more helpful.

In a way, I am thankful for google analytics for giving me an idea of what is the most searched posts and keywords in this site. I also thank some travelers who would send me sometime private email either thanking me for helping them have an enjoyable outdoor vacation through this blog, or asking for more information because those information they need I forgot to write about.

Google analytics, and visitors comments and emails had helped me direct some changes to this site. I know I have to improve more on San Diego hikes and Sierra Nevada hikes + trips for they are the most searched keywords in my site. It is hard for me to believe that I have forgotten to write about a lot of trails from Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, when they are in my home state.
Nevada Fall, Yosemite National Park

I also have cleared my site from some site wide links that I placed before that had hurt my site terribly. Back then, I had little idea about putting some site wide links can damage a site's online reputation. By all means, I do not want to have an online reputation of feeding spammy links. I guess, learning technical aspects of SEO and online reputation management come more slowly for me. I also have cleared my site wide links from blogs or sites that no longer exist or has not been updated for years! I kept them for long, always wishing they will be revived because they are special to me, being some of my early blogosphere friends!

But I guess, my friend before who brought it to my attention was right all along, "you can just keep them in the blogs you are following in your bloggers account so that you will know if one day, they have updated or have been resurrected, but the more links you put in your side bar, especially those which are no longer working, slow down your site's uploading page, and that is part of your online reputation too that can hurt your site. People don't have the patience to wait for your site to load." I finally saw it and had a painful ( yes, for me it was painful to delete some of the links in my blogroll) time deleting the links which had not been updated for  years, because I saw several times, my blog has difficulty loading because it was waiting for the response from the sites that they have trouble communicating anymore or no longer existing!

I also had to delete some of the links in my blog that caused for my site not to open in others' browsers because the sites I have linked contain some phising information. Ahhh, it is hard, because we don't often see this, especially if we are more focused on the writing part, but I am glad for some friends who brought it to my attention right away when they could not open my site because some of my links were giving my site trouble.

But of course, despite making some slow changes in this site, I will not stop myself from writing some of my spontaneous joy or some of the lessons I have learned, such as you saw me most recently writing about puffins :) or even this post ( my blog does not have a reputation in technology, and this sounds more like technology than hiking or traveling).

There is so much to learn, even in blogging and keeping a website, there's so much to do, there's little time!

~ Got to stop this post here to enjoy the wonderful world outside now! ~
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  1. Ooh I do so much love reading your blog, and keeping up with you and your family. We have been blogging buddies for a good four years now, and I would miss you much if you were not here in the blogging world anymore.

  2. Learned so many things here that I wish I could apply to my blog but have no time yet...missing you friend :-)

  3. You're doing a great job in maintaining your blog Ms Beth and of course, each visitor won't leave your site unhappy, it's full of information and well-thought articles :-)

    keep bloggin'

  4. Oh yeah so much to learn and do, but so little time!! I agree on this completely!