Where have all the trading websites gone?

question-mark.jpgIn the introduction on Patch-L to his new blog, Matt Kirkland offered the following observations:

With a growing decline in people maintaining patch trading websites I found myself spending more time reading other scouting blogs than I do hunting for patches online. People are not updating their trading sites as they once did. I am guilty too as I only update every so often but I still put forth the effort.

Forums, clubs, and communities online struggle. The one thing that people seem to be updating is their own blogs and I have discovered it is actually quite fun…at least for right now. This probably because it is new for me but I cannot seem to stop posting in it.

Matt raises a few interesting points. There does seem to be fewer websites put up by individuals offering trades or containing on-line needs or dupe lists.

  • Websites can be hard to maintain

I think at least part of the reason, is the HTML skills needed to write and maintain a website. And if you add a significant amount of graphics, the time, energy and bandwidth needed to maintain an active site can be significant.

  • Information is ‘lost’ in Forums

The various on-line clubs and forums do seem to be less and less active. To be honest, while I do skim the posts in a few on-line groups, I rarely post myself. Part of the problem with these venues, I believe, is that virtually nobody reads the archives because there is no easy way to access information in old group posts. For this reason, no one holds extended conversations and few if any post significant information since it cannot easily be retrieved.

  • Archives?

I suspect most members of Patch-L don’t know there are archives or how to search them.

  • Blogging is (can be) Easy

Blogging and blogging software offer an attractive alternative to ‘traditional’ websites. Blogger, WordPress, TypePad and platforms offer the user with a minimum of HTML skills the ability to post their thoughts, information about their collections, trade offers and anything else that strikes their fancy including graphics and images.
Wordpress offers the ability to create pages as well as posts, giving your site the same look and feel without the need to understand CSS.

  • Blogging categorizes and preserves information

WordPress also offers the ability to categorize your posts under various topics to allow the user to easier find the types of information they need. Categorizing posts can be a powerful tool in providing a frame work for the information you provide.

  • Blogging is Free

One further benefit is that, at the basic levels, the your blog is free. Blogger and WordPressboth offer free hosting. We have all seen the 404 Error messages; Site not Found. Typically it occurs when someone neglects to renew their hosting fees or have changed ISP’s and did not copy there web sites to move to a new host. With blogging software you never have to worry that your old ISP will delete your site once you change providers.

While I converted to my own domain over a year ago, my old blog on Blogspot still exists and even if I had not transferred the information to my new site, it would still exist for others to utilize.

If you have ever considered blogging whether on a Scouting or hobby related category, I’d recommend you give it a try.

All it costs is a little time.

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