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Response to Catherine's 10 questions

Catherine Jan posed a few questions to find out about other bloggers’ practices.

Here are my attempts at answering her questions:

1. Do you correct grammar and spelling in people’s comments?

This is going to sound odd because I will correct you if you’re speaking to me or writing to me otherwise but in comments I will leave it be. Even in comments on my site where I profess to be an editor/journalist/grammar and spelling nazi in disguise.

But no, in comments, I leave it be because I feel it’s being a bit too mean. Generally I correct people only when I can pick up on the fact that I can do it in a way where it doesn’t come across as a harsh criticism. You can do it in a private conversation but not on the internet in a public forum while singling one person out.

I also suspect that most people who do comment on my site, do double check their spelling & grammar anyway prior to commenting just because they know “OMG I am on Marisa’s/a writer’s site and I will not hear the end of it if I get it wrong.”

2. Do you get generic praise so that people can link to their own sites?

Yes. A lot of the sort of spam stuff – “I really like your article on this topic” type thing when it’s just a random post saying “Go look at this!”. Anything like that or with random strings of letters and numbers in any of the fields tends to get put into the spam pile.

Otherwise I am fine with people putting in links and things so long as their comment is relevant, makes sense and adds to any sort of debate that goes on.

3. Do you get emails from weirdos?

Yes. All the time. Gmail’s spam filter gets advanced classes from me in filtering this stuff out, I swear.

4. Do you have an editorial calendar?

Yes. I attempt to. I often also fail miserably. So it’s not set in stone. My readers tend to come back anyway and get excited. Which is lovely of them.

5. Do you get plagiarized?

Yes, I do. And I do keep an eye on this.

6. Do you ever run out of ideas?

Yes and no. Part of my problem is having my site(s) keep up with the different turns my life and career tend to take. So it’s not so much getting ideas but organising them in a fashion that remains somewhat static despite other things changing so at least my readers aren’t totally confused as to where to find what.

7. Do you accept guest posts and/or write guest posts on other blogs?

I do and am always up for writing guest posts on other blogs. At the moment I am not up for accepting guest posts on my blog unless it’s an absolutely stellar piece of writing on writing, editing, journalism or the bits behind science journalism for my science blog.

8. Do you write with SEO in mind?

My blog is set up with SEO in mind which means I just have to remember to drop in keywords about whatever my post is about in a particular field when I write it out before I hit “publish”. After that, it’s pretty much a no brainer. I find that if you do the work at the start when you set things up, it’s pretty easy to maintain afterwards.

9. Do you buy your images from stock photo websites?

No, I don’t buy images. I try to use my own or I use images from Flickr’s Creative Commons and sites such as there and make sure I credit the photographer and caption them right and link to them. Sometimes I prefer to link to the photographer’s profile on Flickr because sometimes they take down/upload/rotate their pictures.

I have just inherited a new camera so using my own is now becoming much easier to do.

10. Do you think blogging is worthwhile investment?

I think so. I started in 1998. I have learnt a lot about technology and website design, creation and promotion along the way that puts me far ahead of a lot of other people in my field. I had an online readership of 1000 people and offline of 100,000 per week before 2008 when I switched to this website. My readers moved with me and on a good day I get 400 to 700 hits per post provided that it’s a good post.

It’s also a good way of showing employers that you are all thing internet savvy (hi, potential employers!).

I hope this answered your questions Catherine. Thank you for the questionnaire!

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