Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ten Year Anniversary



I’m coming up on my ten year anniversary of writing articles for the web. We started publishing April of 2004 with a site called Outdoorpainting.com.  I started the actual writing that March. The site was owned by friend and fellow painter Stefan Baumann. Stefan had secured the domain but was busy with his PBS show The Grand View and wanted someone to write content for the site.
 
I had wanted to write about artists I admired and about the painting process. I agreed to monthly articles and limit the focus of them to outdoor painting and painting from life. I would retain the rights to all of my creative content and Stefan keep all other rights  to  the site.

We invited other notable painters to join the site and  we created free content on historical artists and articles for people looking for information about painting.  It was one of the first sites of its kind.  As the way people used the net changed the site started to show its age as a newsletter. Blogs had become popular and allowed people like me to forgo the need of a hosted domain. At the end of 2008 I had been talking to Jim Gurney about blogging and he suggested I start my own blog. I started the Art and Influence blog as a continuation of the writing I started on Outdoorpainting.com.  I expanded my focus to include all of my interests which included illustration and studio painting not just painting from life.

It has been an interesting ten years but I feel I need to change things up some more. I am not the same artist I was ten years ago and my focus has changed along with my abilities. Social media has replaced a lot of interest that blogs and newsletters once held. There are many people doing what I do now, some better some worse; some even reusing my content, sometimes without my permission and appropriate credit. One of the side effects of success I guess.

This is where I would like some feedback. The blog still gets a substantial number of unique visitors a month, so I know people still read it. What I would like to know is what kind of content are you the reader most interested in?  As much as I have changed over the years, I assume my readership demographic has also changed.  I have some ideas where I would like to go with this but this is a very labor intensive for me. Writing does not come easy to me so if I am going to focus my efforts somewhere I would like it to have maximum impact.  So what would keep you reading the blog for another ten years? I would like to hear your comments.  You can either comment below or if you are shy you can write privately to me with suggestions.