What do you want from me?

The salt pans at Tavira, with an unusual pink tint

Maybe this is a question I should have asked long ago.  But to ask it, you first have to think of it.  Browsing in WordPress Discover I found lots of articles dedicated to improving your blog.  The suggestion that your focus be more on the reader than on yourself was one that made me think.  I tend to think of myself as someone who likes the sound of her own voice, and this is certainly true of my blog.  My scribbles are mostly anecdotal and in diary form, and they help to keep my travels alive for me.  They are my ‘unique voice’.  But is that enough?

The marshes come alive with colour in the summer

Is this really what the readership wants?  Is it too much of me, and not enough about them and what they want to read about?  It’s quiet around the blogs at the moment, and I start to wonder if I’ve become boring.  Have I assumed that my style of writing will carry me through, when people are hoping for more facts/more fantasy/more information?  Do I give enough?

I look at the bloggers I admire and it’s true that many of them have a more factual basis to their blog.  I can protest that I’m an individual and that this is my space, but is that sufficient for you?  I am sometimes approached to work with marketing companies.  Would this result in a loss of identity, or might it benefit the reader?  Am I right to stick to doing things my way?

I love this light over Tavira

So, what do you think?  Now is a good time to ask, because I’m not sure that this blog will continue after I move to Tavira.  Most certainly there will be changes to be made, but I would like to take you along with me.

209 comments

  1. I’m just catching up on blog reading Jo! Apologies for my lengthy absence – had nothing to do with not being interested!! Wifi has been very intermittent on the road and then I had the flu, a family bereavement (my uncle) and suddenly I’ve missed a few weeks. I personally love the authenticity of your blog and how you put your heart and soul into it. Your photos and descriptions are wonderful and must take up a lot of time! I realised early on then I didn’t want to do a commercial blog – it’s really a journal of my travels and activities and some photos that may give people some ideas of their own. I do hope you continue blogging after your move to Portugal but you could always change the format a bit and tinker around with the number of posts you do if you’d rather have time to do other things. I certainly love your blog just the way it is though! xx 🙂

    1. Bless you, darlin- that’s kind. 🙂 🙂 My yearly subscription runs out in a couple of weeks and I had thought to stop there, and start a new blog when I’m ‘settled’. But I may never be settled. The house hasn’t sold and we will be in flux for a while, so I’ll probably keep going for now. 🙂

      1. It must be hard living a bit in limbo Jo – do hope you get things sorted out 🙂 The blog would surely still be relevant in Portugal just more Portuguese walks and you’ll be roaming abroad when you’re visiting the UK? Or you could start up a blog just on Portugal but you’ve done such a wonderful amount of work on the current blog so might be a pity to shut it down – obviously it’s entirely your decision!! 🙂

  2. Hi Jo, I read your blog assidiously. You write well, and your snaps of Tavira are lovely. I certainly hope to run into you after Sept 17th in Tavira, when my wife and I will be visiting for a month; if the sentiment is shared, please do email me (my email is in the About section of my blog — if not, no worries). Re the question posed in your post’s title, I think most good writers are usually known to be good noticers. You, too, notice things that happen to be off the beaten track, and I think that it is this, above all, that people want or enjoy most when they read your posts. Cheers.

    1. Many thanks, Alibey. I would like to say that I write for myself, but of course, that’s only ever part of the truth. I doubt that you and I would have much in common, and when I arrive in Tavira, late on 30th September, I will have a life to resume. I hope that you enjoy your stay, and it is always possible that our paths will cross. 🙂

  3. Hell Jo, when you see how few words I write and how infrequently I post by comparison – it proves you are doing something very well. I have always felt you blog for yourself and like minded people will read it enjoy and connect or move on to the next blog… Lets face it if you didnt enjoy it – or get something from it – I am sure your interest would waine – so like Gunta said just keep enjoying it.

  4. I’m with the others here – I follow your blog because you make me feel like I’m walking beside you experiencing the stroll (or sweaty accidentally too long hike). I like that you take the time to experience the surroundings, not just show up at a set time, do the expected jog (as in sunrise post), and head back home again.

  5. After reading this, I quickly flipped through the handful of WordPress blogs I follow. They are all hedonistic (in the sense they revolve around topics that the author finds particularly pleasurable) and are followed by readers that, for one reason or the other, also find those topics appealing. In your blog, for instance, I love the mash-up of experiences in Portugal and the British countryside. The former sounds familiar, while the latter entices me to visit new places. I can’t recall a single post where I though “Phew, Jo sure likes the sound of her own voice”.

    For my own very selfish reasons, I hope you don’t concede to the wishes of the Discover editors and the marketing companies, as there are plenty of other blogs that already do that. 🙂

    – Verne

  6. So glad your plea has resulted in you discovering just how much you are loved, and how amazing you are. I hope you stay with us blogging, but who knows what your new life in Tavira will bring. Continue to enjoy life to the full Jo xxx

    1. I’m doing my very best Becky! Feet up for an hour after a 6 mile walk of beach and castle. It’s beautiful here. Thanks so much hon. Your support has always been amazing xx

  7. I chuckled when you mentioned your number of visitors were down. If I come close to twenty likes I consider it a good post (but my security is set higher than most would need). I too started my blog to chronicle my trips and it turned into a deeper journey on life itself. I stopped trying to figure out what my readers would like due to it never going as I predict. A post that is simple will see more visitors. My rat trap story is the best example of a post that sees thousands of visits a year but has only a handful of actual likes. Posts that I pour soul into will create comments from those who are long-term friends or followers of my blog but generate very little traffic. I find it more fun to post what I see as interesting, or inspirational, than doing it for the numbers (if it was about numbers I would have stopped long ago). I’ve seen many bloggers start out strong with large numbers and then they disappear. It is the writer’s who, like yourself, keep a steady pace that I continue to enjoy reading about the latest adventures. I follow one blogger who had a huge following but when she converted her blog to promote her books, the numbers of likes and comments plummeted to a much smaller number. I say follow your heart. But that is just me.

    1. I agree with Patrick, follow your heart. I think blogs should be about what the writer wants to get out of it, so if you love just sharing your beautiful prose and photos then continue to share, but if you are after financial returns and zillions of followers then try something new. Whatever you do I will be here . . . .. and now off to discover what Patrick does!

  8. you will surely receive lots of positive feedback! my life would be ‘less’ if i couldn’t be a cyber voyeur and join you on those lovely walks. your images (and energy) are a comfort! am at a park w/o much time but wanted to reply!!!!!!

  9. Wish I had time to
    Read the many comments here.
    And I say “eh….” to the Discover suggestion about thinking of the reader.
    That is fine and all but when we overthink things we might lose our voice and our essence.
    My favorite bloggers are those that have their voice and original essence in their posting –
    And you seem to always do that! Especially with your two staples – the six word and the walk.

    I also want to add that the REAL question should always be
    What do you want?
    What does restless jo want and need?
    If you want to make a little money on some posts – and you have the readership to support it – well give it a try. Maybe on a few posts –

    What does restless jo want and need – ?
    Many blog for the social connection and support system we find by interacting.
    But sometimes a problem occurs when we have certain expectations about what should unfold or when we compare (not saying you are or do) but in my view the question should be what does jo want to give her readers and what does she need to get from blogging –

    For me – my pauses help a lot.
    It is kind of like when I miss yoga or working out for a whole week – I come back with strong arms and a daily routine that is fresh.
    And when I take a well or two off from blogging –
    It can be a hard thing at times – but now these pauses have become natural even though they do slow down some interacting – just how it is –
    But the fasting or short breaks have made return time come alive.
    And I soak up blog posts and join in in ways that meets my needs – and when my needs are getting met it results in freshness –
    If that makes sense –
    That is all
    Peace

  10. I totally like your writing style and voice, Jo. It is very unique. When you hear less of me, it’s because I have a full life – these days on the road even more so without much data and internet time – where I have to prioritize. Even before, it was tough to keep up with all the bloggers I like to read, because I’m not retired and my computer time is often “better” spend attempting to make money. I also have to admit that when someone posts three blogs a week, it is hard to keep up. Also, it might be quieter around the blogs (yours, mine, other people’s) this time of the year, because it is summer, and I would assume people rather spend their time outdoors than reading inside. All that being said: please, keep doing what you are doing! I will certainly enjoy any post about Tavira and Portugal!

    I think many of us struggle about the purpose or popularity of our blogs. You have a huge following, so you must be doing something right. I’m often told that you need a niche to make your writing and blog work, but, I have too many hobbies and topics I’d like to share. I’m sure there is lots of room for improvement on Roaming About, but, we all need to enjoy what we are writing about and what we post. For now, I’m keeping mine the way it is, because, honestly, my brain is fried about all this blogging and such… 🙂

    1. I’ve got into the 3 a week rhythm, Liesbet, and in the main it suits me, but I don’t think I’ll be able to continue it in the Algarve. Thank you so much for the support and your kind comments. I don’t expect anybody to be here all the time. We all have lives, retired or not. I’m just grateful that so many people do spend time with me. 🙂 🙂

    2. Liesbet- had to chime in – I have varied topics too and enjoyed your comment – and once I was about to start another blog for some of the topics and then I thought wait – if a blog cannot be varied that is missing the point! For some of us this is the exact place to globe all over the place – ya know?
      And good post Jo

  11. I suppose it depends on what your purpose is. Your blog is unique to you and it seems that quite a few folks enjoy it (as do I). I can’t help but look at your 99 ‘likes’ and wonder just how many it might take to satisfy you? Frankly, I can’t imagine how you keep up with all of this and manage to travel, too. Personally, I blog for the enjoyment of sharing with folks who seem to enjoy what I post. The numbers and comments are frosting. I’ve gotten to know quite a few really great people through these exchanges, even met some in the flesh.

    The WP suggestions (including the ubiquitous ‘awards’) strike me as a way to increase THEIR traffic, much like their annoying upgrades that aren’t always helpful. Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon, but chasing after statistics seems a bit hollow to me.

    1. I don’t check the stats much, Gunta. I’ve never been a numbers person. I think it’ll sound vain if I say that I shouId be doing something more with my life, and this is enormously time consuming. I’m at the waning edge of it and there’s no time to waste. But it would be impossible not to respond to the love and warmth I receive on here, and that’s why I keep doing it. 🙂 🙂

  12. Oh Jo, I’m a bit late to the party here, having only returned from Canada yesterday but my heart sinks at the thought of not having you in my inbox every few days. I love this blog just the way it is, with your personal anecdotes and beautiful photography complemented by the delightful comments you receive and give in return. Don’t believe what WP says, we like hearing about you! Perhaps you won’t be quite so restless once you’ve settled in your new home but I would be sad to see you disappear, especially your Monday walks. I’m sure you’ll be able to make it work in a way that suits your new lifestyle.

    1. The response has been incredible, Carol, and even if I really wanted to stop I’d struggle to leave all these lovely people behind. Yourself included! Thanks a lot 🙂 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.