May 28, 2009

Paul James Is Garden Blogging

I'm sure that by now everyone knows that HGTV has stopped production on Gardening by the Yard. What may be a surprise to some of us is that you can get your fix of Paul James on the internet. Paul James has set his own personal website at GardenerGuy.Com & has even has his own garden blog at GardenerGuy.TypePad.com.

While I'm no Paul James groupie,*cough* Monica *cough*, I appreciate his work. You see, back in the late '90s when I was just getting serious about learning about plants I used to watch a lot of HGTV. During these formative gardening years of mine I had lush curly hair, great skin and Paul James to look up to on TV. Paul James made it OK for me to tell people that I liked plants. He was the first male gardening personality that didn't give me the creeps. Besides not being creepy, another trait I admired about him was his knowledge and his ability to make horticulture A) fun B) interesting C) accessible to everyone. Before Paul James, I thought gardening was for rich people and old ladies with big straw hats and aprons.

Fast forward to 2009 and I no longer have lush curly hair, great skin or Paul James on the TV--but at least he's bringing the "everyone's funny gardening uncle" routine to the internet. Over on Marie's gardening blog & on Twitter I've said that the future of gardening was on the internet. I don't see the point of gardeners crying over what HGTV has done to their network. The way I see it; the time and energy spent on "campaigns" to get HGTV to bring back the 'G' is time better spent in the garden or spent persuading your favorite gardening personalities to take to the internet, where they can create content and interact with gardeners.

Reading the Gardener Guy blog I learned that HGTV has allowed him to publish "vignettes" of various topics he covered on his show on his website. Part of the post reads:

So in effect I've created my own web-based network, which I've decided to call GGTV.


That's exactly what I said these garden celebs & garden bloggers should do! It is like he's reading my mind and the minds of all the other gardeners who now get most of their information & entertainment on the internet. I've done some snooping around and noticed that Paul James has registered GardenerGuy.TV and the domain forwards to GardenerGuy.com. Paul James, or whomever is handling his web presence is pretty forward thinking, but isn't thinking ahead enough. Paul James has the chance to be a gardening pioneer on the internet. Instead of just rehashing clips from the show he could record new "shows" with a camcorder or even a simple digital camera with video capabilities, and sell his own ads or do product placements within his show.

I don't understand the need for the separate .com when he is already blogging on TypePad and only a few of his fans have found the blog. Instead of paying to host GardenerGuy.com, which has very little content, he could advantage of the domain mapping TypePad offers like Kate did with KateSmudges.com.

Looking at GardenerGuy.com I can't get over the use of the black background. Colors have meaning and you can choose colors for your garden blog that communicate with your readers in a way that compliments the words you type & the pictures you post. But it isn't the black background alone that makes me cringe, it is the abundant banner ads that say: "internet rookie looking to turn a profit, ASAP!" Many of us make the mistake of filling a new blog or website with ads quickly--who can resist the idea of potentially making easy money? I know I've been there.

There is very little content on GardenerGuy.com to make all of those ads effective. If I wasn't visiting the site because it belonged to Paul James, I would have closed the window the moment I saw all of those ads. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-monetized garden blogs and if I were Paul James I'd sell links to some of those sponsors and image ads to others to minimize the clutter. Just make sure to clearly label the links as ads or you'll get a visit from the garden blog ethics police.

Paul James even has a gardening forum of his own but it is located at GardenerGuy.madmooseforum.com. Paul James is a "brand" and there isn't any excuse for hosting a forum on an off-brand domain. It is bad webmastering to send your visitors/readers to another domain to visit your forum.

The Paul James website sucks so much I think the only fix to it would be to nuke it and start over. I'd go with the GardenerGuy.TV domain and the custom domain blogging option that blogging platforms offer and make it a video garden blog. I'd lose the forums until the comments section of the blogs are so crowded with fans that it becomes a necessity to spin off the forum. Since he's paying for hosting at GardenerGuy.com I'd host a content management system that's scalable and current for the video garden blog. Of course the chances of Paul James ever reading this are very slim, but if you find yourself in a position where you want to turn your garden blog into a .com I hope that these thoughts help you avoid some of these common mistakes.

If you're a Paul James fan you can visit: GardenerGuy.com & GardenerGuy.TypePad.com.

Remember folks: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised--so catch it on YouTube.

3 comments:

  1. I do hope Paul James will drop by because you've offered some topnotch info here;-) It all makes sense to me...but, I think I'd need a manager to help me if it were me. And that's the point-Paul James may already have one. So what's up, Manager of P.J.? I hope he (they) do get their act together, because I agree with your assessment--the possibilities seem many and varied.

    I, too, enjoyed Paul James on HGTV several years back...about when I started taking a greater interest in gardening, as well. I enjoyed what he chose as his topics, and his warped humor amused me and tempted me to go back for more the next time. I hope your suggestions reach him;-)

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  2. Hi Jan,

    Sorry for the really late reply I forgot to check messages at this blog. It will be interesting to keep an eye on James' website to see how it develops.

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  3. You should check out my website:

    http://www.gardengirltv.com

    ReplyDelete

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