Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Blog About Blogging

Our two month blog anniversary is right around the corner (Friday the 9th if you want to send a gift) so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about the blog itself. If you are reading this you must know what a blog is and how it works...or do you. I thought I did until I started getting involved in the nuts and bolts of this blog.

See, blogs are easy to set up. The trick is in getting readers and in keeping them. As much as we enjoy talking about our research, it takes a bit of time and coordination to make sure we get a post up everyday. (Despite what Jim thinks, we didn't miss a post last week.) What makes this effort worth while is knowing that people are reading. (You are still reading, aren't you?).

If you haven't noticed already, the left hand side of the blog has some features that I added to help us keep track of site traffic and to help us improve the blog. The stats are fun to look at. I was thrilled when someone in Moscow spent 3.5 hours reading here but that doesn't tell me much about why that visitor came here or stayed so long. That is the purpose of the poll, also in the left hand column. Every 6 weeks or so I put up some of my new ideas for the blog and let the visitors vote so I know what you want to see...or don't want to see. Of course you can always leave a message after one of the posts or send one of us a message. Our e-mails are listed on our profile pages, also on the left hand column.

To get the word out about this blog I have added us to a slew of blog directories. These sites list us for free if we provide a link back to them, hence the long list of buttons near the bottom of the left column. Some of these sites allow visitors to vote for their favorite blogs or even rank the blogs. The more votes or the higher rank we get, the easier it is for people to find us.

Another way to spread the word about our blog is to become part of a blog carnival (who knew?). A blog carnival is like a magazine of blogs about a specific topic. There is only one archaeology blog carnival that I know of, it is called Four Stone Hearth, and we are featured in the latest issue. You can catch up on back issues of Four Stone Hearth here or read the most recent at the Sorting Out Science blog which is here.

For those of you who are dedicated readers, you might be interested in our feed. Since we do not post a blog at the same time every day, it may be easier to keep track of us through our Atom Feed, also in the left column. By subscribing to the feed you will be notified every time a new post is made. Most browsers (like Safari or Firefox) allow you to subscribe to feeds by clicking on the atom link and then bookmarking that page in the browser. Then when a new post is made here, your browser will show the number one next to our name in your bookmarks.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us. We would like to see more comments being left here, after posts, just so everyone can feel like there is a community here. But, readers have been e-mailing Jim on a regular basis and that is fine too. We have to keep Jim busy.

That's all for now. Tomorrow's blog should be a lab update from the boys.


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