Do you know who you are? We do! Should you ever have an identity crisis please do come back to this post for some reasurance regarding your identity. Now, before you get all excited and ask where you can join our new cult group I should probably qualify that: we do not know who you personally might be, but we know a little something about you collectively. And that is because we Wine Ramblers, like many others who run websites, do occasionally analyse visitor statistics.
If today you came here to find inspiration about German (or other) wine I must disappoint you, but if you are curious about who else came to us for ramblings in 2012 please do read on.
Wine travel writing has to feature passionate winemakers, gorgeous vineyards and fabulous wine. I will get to these in future posts on my recent visit to the German wine country around Mainz, but today is about looking at wine writing from the other side. It is about wine writers and communicators, about introducing the press trip and - most importantly to me personally - it is about a man holding up a piece of cardboard. Or rather: his absence.
Ever since I stepped off my first airplane as a child, this man held the key for my ascendancy to a higher level of human existence. Looking at this man, waiting with his piece of cardboard at arrivals, the young Torsten concluded that there are two types of travellers: those who just pass through, and those who, as a person or through their mission, have been deemed worthy enough to by picked up by that man. I travel a lot for work, but the highest appreciation I have been shown so far is being walked from Coventry train station to the university. Walked. And there was no sign with my name on it. Now imagine my joy when the invitation from the German Wine Institute to participate in an "international press trip for bloggers" contained the magic words: "arrivals", "driver" and "sign". On 6th October I would finally meet that man at Frankfurt Airport, and his name would be Mr Würzburger.
Every once in a while, people ask me who else is blogging about German wine. In English. There are a few others, I say, but not many. Obviously, there are German wine bloggers - but most write in German - and then there are many wine bloggers who occasionally write about German wine - among many other topics. But bloggers dedicated to the topic of German wine? Not many, as far as I can see. Or perhaps there are, but we don't know them. To end this dreadful state of uncertainty, I have decided that the world needs another list: English language blogs on German wine. And I would like to ask for your help in expanding it and keeping it up-to-date. [read the full post...]
Two years ago the Wine Rambler saw the light of day with a short review on a German Pinot Blanc and a posting on a wine merchant who had no idea about their own catalogue. What started out as a means for two geograpically separated friends to stay in touch about their respective wine adventures has taken on a dynamic we have not quite forseen. The Wine Rambler has changed our lives in more than one way, and I am fairly certain it will continue to do so.
As one of two proud fathers, it falls to me today to say a few words on the occasion of our baby's second birthday. And also to explain what this old newspaper has to do with the Wine Rambler.
Once upon a time people drank their wine in peace, relying on word of mouth to find what they liked. Then the forces of darkness struck. Inventing powerful spells such as marketing, advertising and sponsored wine journalism they took control of the innocent wine world. But behold, a small army of light stood up to the forces of darkness. Writing truthfully, unbiased wine bloggers would save wine lovers from evil.
Some may believe this, but a closer look at the wine blogging world will tell you it is not that simple. In fact, bloggers are now targeted by the forces of evil in the ways not too dissimilar to journalism before them. Are we aware enough to resist?
This second, sadly wine-free, instalment of the series on how to fight comment spam (read the first here) is looking into identifying and fighting spammers in a slightly different way. While the method I describe in this posting is not for everyone, the information may still be of interest to you, especially if you want to understand how many visitors your website has, what Google Analytics does, what server logfiles are and how to interpret these numbers through software such as Webalizer or AWStats.
Like most bloggers we are curious to know who is reading our blog. Some of our readers we know through the comments they leave, emails that they send, through Twitter or even personal contacts - which, I hasten to add, makes them more than just 'readers' but partners in a conversation. Even so, as a blogger you also want to know about those who just read your blog and do not directly engage with you – maybe to boost your ego ('Hundred people visit my blog every day.') or because you want to know if you are doing a good job engaging the visitors, i.e.: do they return? do they spend much time on the site? what proportion of your readers leave comments? where are they from?
Basically, there are three ways of finding out about this. [read the full post...]
As you will have gathered from the heading, I am not writing about wine today. Instead I deal with an unpleasant topic that most bloggers struggle with: comment or blog spam and how to fight it. Like most blogs, the Wine Rambler is targeted by a spammers who aim to get as many links to their websites distributed across the Internet so that they can make more money from selling rubbish products. Comment forms on blogs are an easy target as they were designed to make it easy for people to leave comments with links attached to them. To make their dirty work easier, spammers use more or less sophisticated software, the so called spambots (spam robots), to trawl the Internet for any comment or mail form they can find and then bombard it with spam. We get dozens, sometimes hundreds of these visitors per day and eventually decided it was time to do something about it.