Roots 'n' Shoots: Roots 'n' Shoots Birthday (Blogiversary) Post #3

Why is RnS Moving to

Google had brought out an algorithm update in May 2017. With previous updates like Panda or Penguin, Mr G had penalized blogs or websites with low quality content and those more focused on aggressive adverts (including multiple ads or pop-up ads in articles). However, many blogs/websites that weren't shady got penalized beyond recovery too and a lot of people lost their income. The May 2017 update has had wide-scale effect on blogs and websites, but without any explanation from Mr G as to why or what it does. RnS has been hit by it too and hard. RnS organic search stats (i.e. users from Google) have dropped by 75% since. Even though RnS is not a source of income, I tried to figure out why RnS is being culled. It seems that it doesn't really have anything to do with RnS per se, but likely because RnS is FREE and not paying for page ranking (via AdWords or Ad Ranking). Now it is likely being aggressively shoved to lower page rankings to accommodate the paid ads.

I cannot rely on Mr G anymore to get RnS' content where it is needed. So I am busy moving RnS to Wordpress where you can find me as Whisker Flowers @

I am also imposing 301 redirects from already moved posts and pages!

- The Shroom - (AKA Whisker Flowers)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Roots 'n' Shoots Birthday (Blogiversary) Post #3

It has been three years since the start of Roots 'n' Shoots in August 2011 - WOW - that is about as long as a undergraduate degree in Science or longer than most peoples' relationships ... LOL! Anyways, this is the annual B-day post (apparently a blog's birthday is a blogiversary! At least B-day works either way!). This is a post where I allow myself to go off on a tangent, write about crazy unrelated stuff and if it ends up being an entire post without anything informative, then... *meh*

First off I would like to send a shout-out to Blooming Blogs! I love the new magazine format for blog display and that it updates automatically when I post - very convenient which means I can spend more time on post writing than updating third-party sites :)  Also Blooming Blogs has helped Roots 'n' Shoots grow a lot more than my first sign-up to a social garden site, Blotanical.

I have booted Blotanical from my site since they had decided to abandon their users and not respond to their problems - for instance - Google feedburner stopped working for my blog back in 2012 (as it did for most other Blogs as well). I did not notice until 6 months later when my Blotanical profile wasn't updating. I tried all kinds of ways to re-activate my account there (becuz they shut you down after 3 months if no posts update) but to no avail... I emailed Blotanical sometime last year (exactly on 28 June 2013!) and they did not respond. So after 6 months of not replying I removed them from Roots 'n' Shoots considering that they have forgotten to care about their members, who are the foundations of any blog or website! I have had more visitors and support from Blooming Blogs than Blotanical ever did! Thanx Blooming Blogs!

Tiny time capsules
Rose moss seeds

OK, so that is off my chest, now second rant - or not really a rant, more like an observation. Many other gardening blogs become ghosts round about their 3-4 year mark, mostly due to their writers suffering from what is known as "Blogger Burnout". I have seen this happen to gardening blog the same age as mine! Blogger Burnout occurs when blogging is no longer a source of relaxation or entertainment and merely becomes another chore on your to-do list. This is quite sad as most of these writers never take up their blogs again, and those who rarely do find that by that time they return to their blogs that all of their readers have left as well... I really do feel for these fellow bloggers, since maintaining a blog is a lot of work;

(1) decide on what to write about [this is not always readily apparent!],
(2) research, research and more research,
(3) get some good quality, free photos or diagrams [Hah! As if!] - else take/make your own,
(4) *wait for screen loading*
(5) write the post,
(6) edit the post [fix all those blatantly obvious grammar/spelling errors you missed the first time],
(7) get the pictures in the correct format and size [this can be the most time robbing stage, but it needs to be done and I will stay strong!],
(8) upload pictures,
(9) *more loading* - *sigh*
(10) add any attributions or references,
(11) double check links and
(12) publish! [Woo-pee! Made it! Now over-zealously check blog every 5 minutes to see who is reading the new material by hitting the refresh button multiple times]...  ;-P

Here is my hypothesis to the cause of Blogger Burnout: blogging too much!!! Yes, you won't think that it is a bad thing to do so many posts as it generates traffic to your blog, but posting too often leads to writer fatigue, inspiration loss and de-motivation... and sadly the associated blog becomes a ghost...

This is one of the reasons why Roots 'n' Shoots features at most 2 posts every month, which is usually 1 Profile post (How to Grow) and 1 Extra post (Different Garden Topics). I am very committed to these two posts each month and additional posts do creep in when something exciting happens (such as the Earthquake earlier this month!) then it goes over the 2 post limit. The 2 post limit does not only keep me sane and prevents all my time going into blogging, but keeps me inspired and motivated to write.

Yes I have my Blogger Blues, where I find myself staring at the screen not sure where to start or what to write, but I tediously manage something informative. Then before I know it I have found my writing mo-jo and I am slamming posts out on the keyboard like no body's business! This is when I have to be well disciplined not to post them all in one go cause I think they're sooo cool, but to put them away and schedule them to come out every 2 weeks for the next few months. This means Roots 'n' Shoots is pumping out informative, well written (hopefully; seeing that I got all those blatantly obvious mistakes) and picture jammed posts while I can get on with my day job and with life in general  :) So, I am sure that my Sanity-Saving-Post-Scheduling-Method shall exile any Blogger Burnout from spoiling Roots 'n' Shoots in the future... I found a lovely post relating to the topic and agree with many of the items listed there. Hopefully Roots 'n' Shoots will also see its 10 year mark and beyond by virtue of being a Generous Blogger.

Honey bee on Garden Heliotrope

Staying with blogging; here comes the ranting section specifically about the Blogger format that Google developed but stopped improving. *Sigh* I sometimes admire at Wordpress sites or 'own' domain websites and see all the cool functionality there and I think to myself, now why did I not do that instead of a blog? Don't get me wrong - blogging, post writing and sharing my discoveries I really enjoy, but I would like my blog to be a bit more pretty and functional. For instance, I love the Wordpress layouts and themes, they always seem so professional and I have tried on various occasions to get a similar effect on Blogger - but I end up with a huge mess and colours/fonts clash the heck out of one another! So Roots 'n' Shoots has its original colour/font scheme since its initiation as this is the most eye pleasing and easy reading combination that I also like... Bah! Then there is the layout problems, especially INDEXING!!! I am OCD and fanatic about filing: Everything needs to be neatly organised and filed under topics for easy reference and time efficiency (reason why I like Pinterest!), but that 'Blog Archive' widget thing on the left hand side does not represent this in the least. It is the most un-user-friendly and tedious device ever! Go ahead, try it! Grrrr.. So my attempt at making it easier for you guys was to place the Index & Info Page at the top, which has resolved some of my filing issues as well given all the restrictions of Blogger... If any of you fellow Bloggers have come up with another solution, please share! J

Anyways, something very exiting is that my research project is more aligned with my vegetable gardening endeavours than before, which means I will be able to maximise my research for both my project and my blog - Kazam!, which means working smarter and not harder. Bwah ha ha!

I have noticed the large appreciation for my 'Sustainable, Productive and Economical Veg Garden' related blog post and shall be writing more on that topic in the near future. I want to emphasise the need to grow your vegetables economically, so that you can save money (even make money, by selling produce maybe?) by having one and that this is not an ornamental garden where heaps of money is thrown at aesthetic appeal - it is a working home unit and I will share with you how to maximise production and minimise costs in a well managed vegetable garden. Of course is should be neat, tidy and pretty, but that is all achievable on a shoestring budget and some creative savvy! (Like, did you notice my shroom rock that I painted up top? - Free garden ornaments seeing that I had the paint on hand anyways... tee hee!).

My attempt at a Garfield inspired bird deterrent painted rock!

All in all Roots 'n' Shoots is here to stay and I am moving my gardening practices into an even more organic and sustainable direction - so, keep on dropping by for informative how-to's, creative projects and join me on my vegetable gardening journey!

BTW - I have expanded my 'social networking' (me being impaired in that area and such)... So, I have set up several accounts. Most function as news reels for blog posts and will make it easier for those of you already on those platforms to get my updates there, this would be: My Twitter Account. Others I am more active on an will include additional garden related info beyond that on Roots 'n' Shoots such as MyFolia Account and Pinterest Boards. You can also sign up directly as a follower to my blog given you already have a Google, Yahoo or Twitter account. If those don't do it for you; I have a RSS Feed with which allows email subscriptions and accommodates other feed readers. My ProjectNoah account is purely for wildlife spottings.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog as a follower or to a feed reader/social networking site:

Direct Blog Subscription: Check out my Blog Follower or Follow Posts Your Way! widgets (left hand side at the top).
RSS Feed: Feed Reader at
Email: Use the Follow Posts Your Way! widget with email subscription (left hand side at the top).

Twitter Account:
Pinterest Account:
MyFolia Account
Wildlife spottings in our area: My Project Noah account @

Also, if you like my content I have a myriad of ways to share them (below each post or page) with your friends and family. Else you can simply 'vote' for them using the reactions supplied at the end of the posts.

A last THANK YOU to all my readers, even though many of you don't comment or follow I can see your continuous presence and support on my blog stats! I would like to make a special mention of Dani @ Eco Footprint ~ South Africa for the shout out on her blog earlier this month; it was fully appreciated, thanx! Over at Dani's you will find many ways to as well as tips and tricks on how to do off the grid living!

Thank you to all my readers once again, as I enjoy posting informative articles for your delight!

P.S: On the 24th of August is World Kitchen Garden Day! Head over to Kitchen Garden International to check out some ideas on how to celebrate this day!

World Kitchen Garden Day

TTFN - Ta-Ta For Now!

The Shroom

Posts mentioned in the article:

Starting a Productive and Economical Vegetable Garden: vegetables worth growing

If you enjoy the content please share with fellow gardening enthusiasts via the various sharing buttons at the end of posts/pages! Else you can vote for posts through the Google reactions bar at the end of articles. To stay up to date I have provided several reader and social networking platforms with which to subscribe: Twitter, Pinterest, RSS Feed Reader or Email/Follow directly using the Blog Followers or Follow Your Way widget on the left hand side toolbar. Thank you for reading and please feel free to ask if questions arise - I appreciate comments and ideas too! J

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