ARTICLE

Summer heat dissolves writer's brain – takes time off to re-gel

Syrup & Tang has been in existence for about 10 months now. I've been buoyed by the enthusiasm of my readers and encouraged to continue this project. Most of it has been fun, though it hasn't all been roses — there were three abusive commenters this year (one slapped down, one edited, one completely censored)… the downside of the internet's lack of social constraint. And there were all those miscracked eggs and macawrongs to deal with late at night! :D

Technical

For much of the year the site attracted rather a lot of search engine attention for the phrase 'women showing undies'… An unintended consequence of one of my early en passant pieces. I'm also perplexed by the number of hits I get for the search term 't'. Yes, 't'. Go figure.

Most visitors are in Australia — I've yet to break into the international scene, alas — and the type of browser you guys and gals use is interesting: about 30% Firefox, 32% IE6 and 23% IE7. That middle figure frustrates me because Internet Explorer 6 is both aesthetically unfulfilling (it doesn't do some of the fancier visual elements of my site) and also a security risk for the user (IE6 has had more security patches than a quilt, and if you haven't automatically been upgraded to IE7, the likelihood is that many of those patches have never been applied either).

About 65% of you use a fairly standard screen (approx 4:3 ratio), with 1024*768 pixels being the most popular. 27% are using a wider screen format (probably laptop, 1280*800, etc), and then there are some lucky people with enooooormous screens: (2560*1600!). I'm relieved that less than 2% of visitors use small screens (800*600).

Reading

The most commented article was my brief mention of the Bloggers' Banquet — no surprise, as I think most Melburnian bloggers found it generated a big buzz. Readers' favourites seem to have been the book reviews (Botanical, Secrets of the Red Lantern, Maggie's Harvest, but not the one for Fast Food Nation).

I was surprised at how little traffic/comment was generated by the travel or restaurant articles. And not a single person clicked on one of my links to Amazon, so no income for me! (Not that I expect any food site in Australia earns much/anything from Amazon affiliate links.)

And my favourite article (the one I most enjoyed writing) languished, unloved but for one comment by my friend Harry: Amazon tastes bad. Meanwhile, the article series La Macaronicité was possibly one of the most interactive, nagging, complaining, encouraging, swearing-inducing, happiness-evoking, egg-cracking affairs around! Waiter, I want more!

So what comes next?

Syrup & Tang will go into hiatus for the rest of January. I've been working through some ideas for a modified design and need time to work on that. Naturally, I still encourage comments everywhere and will respond as usual. In fact, I'd also like your comments right here:

  1. What would you like to see more of?
  2. Is there anything about the site that doesn't work for you (technically, visually or conceptually)?
  3. What new stuff would interest you?
  4. Do you use the RSS feed, the email subscription, or just pop by when you remember to?

I'll certainly be exploring new types of content, expanding the link list (a weak point so far, sorry) and testing some new layouts.

Comment away o readers, regulars and lurkers. (Private comments can also be sent via the contact page if you feel the need.)

And remember, no-one has yet guessed the flavour of the macaron in the final macaron article!

Prosit!

- DM

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COMMENTS

15 responses to “Summer heat dissolves writer's brain – takes time off to re-gel”

  1. grocer

    who could be abusive to the lovely duncan? what's their name? where do they live? let me at them!!!

    happy new year and all that!!!

  2. Thanh

    Isn't it strange some of the search terms that people use to get to your site. Most of the search terms in my food blog aren't too wild. But in my personal blog, I write on much more varied topics. Some of my favourite search terms is things like "cure for bald head" in relation to when I shaved my head for charity. The most used term is "Asian women bad drivers" in relation to an article I wrote about that exact topic.

    I too have given up on the dream of making money from my blog. I just do it now because I enjoy it.

    As for content, I would like to see recipes of course, with the macaron series being my favourite. I would like to read more anedoctal stories, opinions and observations.

    I actually don't like the background photo. It's really colourful and drags my eyes every which way.

    I have you blog on RSS and it's so convenient that way.

  3. Manggy

    Hi lamington, jumanggy of eG Pastry & Baking here. Obviously, I love seeing how professionals do what they do. So I quite liked the macaroon series and the experimentation that went with it. All the best for your site this 2008!

  4. Amelita (Squishy)

    I subscribe, of course, how could I not? I would like to see more articles about chocolate and I loved your movie review, so more of those please. I think your doing a great job. I read all your articles, I don't comment on all of them because I am not as educated as you are and I feel that I might not make sense if I comment. You do use alot of big words sometimes that I would need a dictionary for, but that it stimulates my lazy brain. I like you just the way you are. Keep up the fantastic work!

  5. pg

    I don't subscribe, but I drop by every morning as I do "the 'rounds"

    I too, get odd hits…the most celebrated being a Google search for "hot italian women" from Saudi Arabia, that linked to my Eurolec Oven post.

    Go figure.

    Have a good one Duncan, hopefully we can all catch up again in the NY.

    pg

  6. Y

    I use RSS. I like your site visually, because it looks different to most other blogs. As for content, have enjoyed reading everything so far.

  7. Duncan

    Helpful comments, thanks. The new look will be unusual as well (putting the finishing touches to it at the moment), and hopefully most people will like it.

  8. Y

    Can't wait to see it!

  9. Duncan

    One of the reasons I don't write much about what I cook is because I eat it too fast to take photos! But just for you, Y, I took a breath and left the last slice for a photoshoot…

  10. Y

    Excellent! I just came home with a bag of cherries and longans – but won't be doing anything more complicated then rinsing them and popping them into a bowl to be consumed as soon as possible.

    That's one of the reasons why I don't write MORE about what I cook. By the end of it, I just want to eat it, and can't be bothered getting the camera out. Also, it's usually dinner time by then and the light isn't so good for photos.

  11. Lucy

    Hope you've enjoyed your break, Duncan. Happy new year!

    Perhaps people don't comment so much on restaurant articles as there are so damn many to wade through on other sites out there. So many…never mind, I've always found yours to be rather enlightening…and, of course, your book reviews are always enjoyable.

    Here's to a good year.

  12. Lucy

    Looking forward to it!

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