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The Relationship between (Travel)blogs and Reading.

How important is the written part of a blog?
12 years ago, March 9th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #29511  
I've been wondering for months how much, in terms of success, a (travel)blog owes to its photos and how much to its prose. I kept a watchful eye on the general statistics page during the past year and my conclusion is that pictures count as much as 90% or more. Bloggers with great quality entries and poor quality (and quantity) photos (i.e. Bedreddin) never make it into the chart while great photographers with really obvious, boring written material are usually on top of it.

I personally prefer to stick on those well written ones regardless of their pics. After all blogging should be about stories, possibly interesting and hopefully well written. I know, reading takes far longer than just browse through photos but, still, what's all this rush for?

I'd love to hear my fellow bloggers opinion about it.

Marco Reply to this

12 years ago, March 10th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #29539  
I'm with you on this: I also prefer to read smthg with no pictures but well written and I think that, as a general rule, this are more focused on the place and its people, while the "poor quality" ones are just to tell family and friends that they're ok and having a great time, so pictures help a lot to do that...

I'm afraid I'm one of the latter, 1st, because, since I'm an Spanish living in England, I can tell my family what I'm up to with only one text at the time, and 2nd, because English is not my mother tongue so I find it quite dificult to say what I want to in a nice way...I think my the Spanish version of my blogs are a bit better (or so I want to think!!).

So, because not everybody is a great writter, or have the time to think what they going to write, its' just easier to stick some pictures to the blog since "an image is worth more than a thousand words" (I'm sorry!! I just translated the Spanish saying, I hope it makes sense!! :D )

Deni Reply to this

12 years ago, March 10th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #29572  
Can't speak for blog success in general, but I can speak for my own personal viewing habits. Once I find a blogger I like, I will continue to read their blogs, good photos or not, however I do think a good first photo (or even a half-decent one of something other than the smiling author) helps potential viewers find a well written blog amongst others. When scanning down recently posted blogs the ones with a photo catch my eye easier than one with just text. Of course a catching first-sentence does the same but those are usually much harder to find (in terms of frequency, not actually more difficult on my part).

Blogs with great photos likely get more hits because of the various avenues people can find them. Often when I'm looking through the highly rated photos I see something amazing and want to know the story behind it. Sometime this leads me to a really great blog, but just as often not. Either way, the photo led me to it, rather like judging a book by it's cover. There's really no equivalent way of scanning through great written blogs with no photos, or unrated photos, unless of course through recommendations by other bloggers.

Still, I don't know if "success" is really all about hits. If all bloggers were looking for was attention than all blogs would have the same popular Google search terms in them. One thoughtful comment and I feel that blog has been a success.

(Oh and Deni, we have the same saying in English, so it makes perfect sense!) Reply to this

12 years ago, March 10th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #29584  
B Posts: 109
would it really be 90%? I think many people know bedriddens blogs... I have read all of them. it is ok to do a few blogs with no photos - but really it is nice to have some, even if it isnt every entry, but it needs to be most. I read alot of blogs - 100's every week.... and there are some VERY boring ones with just prose. Some people are just writing diary entries with no photos which are nothing really,

so you cant judge blogs by photos or by blogs lacking photos - some blogs are boring and some are great - with or without photo's

often it is a photo that draws your attention - so if you want big readership you have to think of that - though I am sure that this is far from bedridden intentions. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 11th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #29593  
I would agree with both assessments. I have read blogs with great photos and bland writing, good writing and no photos, good writing and good photos and then, of course, not so good writing with not so good photos.
As a personal preference I would say I generally want both a good "story" and good photos. Cumberland Sausage comes to mind for this category. Again this is a generalization, but I read books for quality prose and no photos. When I read a blog I want them both, and I have different standards for the writing in a blog which is generally done by us amateurs versus books and journals which is done by professionals.
Just my opinion, but for me, the technology of the internet makes having both seem more to the point. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 11th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #29599  
B Posts: 580

One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures

George W. Bush Reply to this

12 years ago, March 11th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #29601  
B Posts: 460
If by "success" you mean hits then I would agree that, search engine traffic aside (and that is a massive component of the total hits), photos are what draw people into a blog (there's a thread about increasing blog hits that touches on this). This isn't too surprising - people know instantly when they see a photo whether or not they like it, and hence may be tempted to read its parent blog, whereas it can take several paragraphs to determine whether a blogger's writing style appeals, which is more effort than most page-skimmers can be bothered to put in.

Even if you are willing to put in the effort, I would say that the number of people producing interesting photos vastly exceeds the number producing interesting writing - again, not that surprising as there's much more chance of someone producing a decent picture with little effort (courtesy of modern camera technology) than of someone producing some decent writing off the top of their head. Which means you're already at a statistical disadvantage if you're trying to find good writers, and if they also can't operate a camera then you're really going to have to dig deep.

I love Travelblog for idle browsing and for trip research but, as someone who also prefers text over photos, I've found it's easier to get a satisfactory prose fix by visiting travel sites that either don't have photos or at least don't make them so prominent. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 11th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #29607  
B Posts: 109
another thought

some of my favourite blogs are written by people living in a country not their own. I think even if it is for a short amount of time (but longer than a holidayer) such as bedridden then the chances of better writing are increased

So often people who are on holiday take fantastic photos ( ie all the things a tourist should take photos of) but if they are only in a country for a short time what earthshattering stuff could they really write? Whereas those that stay longer have humourous stories, anectdotes etc, which might help their prose more than the typical backpacker/holidayer.

Whilst there are plenty of round the world blogs that are great, this is just a suggestion for why people look at photos versus prose blogs. Photos are great for having a moment of escapeism dreaming of that beach/snow/country/city destination while stuck at home. I personally read alot of travel memoir type books, so that would be a fix of prose for me... I have read nearly the whole section at my library...

so come on some of you... get your fantastic stories published!! Reply to this

12 years ago, March 11th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #29626  
Hello Marco 😊

What I like most is a good story about a travelling exprience. If it is well written and comes with good photos that is a bonus. But having said that I think photos that capture the atmosphere and make me feel something can stand alone.

Reply to this

12 years ago, March 12th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #29706  
B Posts: 151

A Picture is worth a thousand words

- a single image alone that captured a moment in time and essence of a place can convey a complex story behind it. It can stir up a wave of emotions, move and touch people, inspire and educate.

Famous Pictures that changed mankind:

Reply to this

12 years ago, March 16th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #30010  
B Posts: 5,195
Complex question - good writing requires more effort on the part of the viewer to appreciate than good pictures.

What´s better a book or a movie - one can be appreciated passively the other requires participation and imagination.

Travelblog has a biasis towards pictures on the front page - trying to make as much as an impact as possible when new visitors come to the site - Bedreddin for example does appear on the front page when he features pictures - but he rarely chooses or is able to add them.

I personally have bloggers that I have been following for years now - making time to read as much as I can from them - I tend to scan quickly the blog entries from bloggers that I discover browsing - sometimes something draws me in and I will follow more closely.

How do you discover blogs that you will make the time to read carefully? Reply to this

12 years ago, March 16th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #30015  
I hate to say it, but being a visual person I'm all about the pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, and they're also open to interpretation. I like reading blog entries, and if the written word isn't that great it is duly noted-but it doesn't really detract from my overall opinion of the blog like a lack of photos does. I don't want incredibly juicy glamour photos either- I just want to see what the person saw. I feel like a written account of a SCUBA dive trip would be worth practically nothing compared to 30 pictures of the incredible creatures that live in the sea- words just don't do them justice.

I think some travelbloggers have the advantage of a tag team- one takes the pictures(usually the guy) and one writes the blogs(usually the girl). Granted there is some overlap and exceptions with the genders.... But I feel someone who is working alone and makes a good blog entry and good pictures has done at least twice the work as someone working as a team.

Other travelbloggers I have seen write incredible stories, but then post pictures of themselves doing nothing short of getting wasted, partying nightly, hanging out with nobody but gringos, perhaps some day trips to some waterfalls... I just can't bring myself to admire someones excellent critique or an experience in a country when it seems their sole purpose of visiting is to get drunk and sip Mai tai's on the beach with other 'round the world' travellers while making short-sighted commentary on the locals and their customs. I feel like they have exposed their true motivations for travelling, making their opinions moot.

Ultimately I feel if you are posting excellent pictures, there's a ton of work behind that- capturing the shots, downloading to the computer, sorting them, selecting the best ones, color correcting them, resizing, uploading, arranging their order.
If you post excellent blogs, there's a ton of work behind that- researching history and science, having your own opinion, writing the entry, editing your story.

If the written word is so much more rich than the photos, why did television replace the radio so quickly? Pictures facilitate the story. By the same token the sale of travel memoirs and novels probably far outpaces the sale of all those bargain basement photography books we can see on sale at the bookstore("Visions of Ireland-80%!O(MISSING)FF!").

For a travelblog I believe its synergy- A good story is worth 1. Good pictures are worth 1. Put them together and they are worth 3!

Finally, I would like this image described in 500 words or less:

Reply to this

12 years ago, March 16th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #30017  
Call me a nostalgic and an old-fashioned, but a well written story makes me dream 'cause I have to use my imagination to see it. An image just slides away. Sometimes it might reach deep into my soul but it does it quickly and everything earned fast disappears at a proportionally fast pace. Don't give me wrong: I love photos but they can just show reality. Words can "make" one.

Marco Reply to this

12 years ago, March 16th 2008 No: 14 Msg: #30018  
Marco you are Nostalgic and Old Fashioned. 😊 Kidding! I think you just highlighted the core issue- Do we want to see what someone experienced or imagine what it was like? Reply to this

12 years ago, March 16th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #30022  
How do you discover blogs that you will make the time to read carefully?

Sometimes when somebody tells of a particularly interesting experience in a blog I want to see if they have other interesting stories so I read more of their blogs.
Sometimes I read the blogs written about a place I am planning to go to so I can find out more about it. Sometimes I am looking for new interesting destinations so I search for blogs about unusual places to find out how possible it is to go to those places.

Reply to this

12 years ago, May 30th 2008 No: 16 Msg: #36841  
B Posts: 38
I look for synergy, where the photographs enhance the text, and the text support the photographs. Reply to this

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