Unite the China Blogs!

Travel | by Sascha Matuszak
Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Updated: July 25th, 2012 | Comments
Ever stumble across a China blog that had stunning pics, great writing and a dedicated webmaster? Ever wonder how in the heck that blog only had 2 comments over 10 years—all from family? Well a lot of that has to do with the exploding number of China-related blogs and content sites out there run by people savvy enough to navigate a Wordpress backend but clueless when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Some of it is just because a lot of these blogs are created and maintained by exiles out in the hinterlands who have little or no access to Facebook, don't know what Freedur is and just aren't able to get their voices heard. Maybe they just aren't that interested. Whatever the case may be, Chengdu, Sichuan Province hopes to unite the blogs and overthrow the oppressors... or just make it easier to see everything China bloggers are up to. Charlie runs the popular blog Chengdu Living (a site we started together in January of this year) and his new project, an index of China-related blogs, is at www.chinabloggers.info. I talked with Charlie the other day about blogs in China and his new project. Here's what he had to say.>>> China Travel: When did you come to China? Charlie: In the winter of 2005. China Travel: Why did you come? Charlie: To experience something totally different. Due to living a life of routine for 4 years previous, I was seeking a place as culturally and geographically far from where I came from as possible. China Travel: Why have you stayed? Charlie: At the beginning it was to explore another side of the world and of myself, and that hasn’t really changed. After the first few weeks though I found that I really enjoyed engaging the culture and language of China. After attaining proficiency in Chinese, it’s hard to give up the access that you have in China. It’s easy to find work, make friends, and there’s still that element of discovery. No day is boring, and it’s a constant learning experience. More than anything else, that has kept me in China. China Travel: What do you do? Charlie: I’m a graphic designer, web developer and musician. I’ve produced music with Chinese artists, toured everywhere from Tibet to Beijing as a DJ and I’m currently a UI designer for an iPhone / iPad application developer. Before that, I was a freelance web developer and designer when I wasn’t touring or doing gigs as a DJ. China Travel: Any other sites you are involved in? Charlie: In total I’ve developed 80+ websites although I’ve passed most of them onto other people already. My main site is Chengdu Living although I’m actively developing some others. China Travel: What made you decide to start ChinaBloggers.info? Charlie: I read a lot of blogs, so I noticed the lack of a high quality China blog index. What I wanted to create, for myself and others, was an updated list of the best blogs about China. Whether you’re looking for language, culture, politics or another aspect of China, have a place where people can be connected to the best sites with that information. China Travel: Why do you think this is needed? Charlie: Getting introduced to high quality new sites in a niche can be tough. China blogs are a niche and China photo blogs a sub-niche - finding high quality sites like that though a Google search doesn’t always work out.
China Travel: How do you choose your blogs, based on what criteria?
Charlie: Content quality, relevance, duration (how long the site has been published), frequency of updates, and so forth. There are other considerations as well, like interaction, design of the site and whether or not there’s a relatively established readership. There is no hard and fast formula though since every blog is unique. China Travel: Can anyone submit? Charlie: Absolutely. China Travel: Will you deny anyone? Charlie: If they post original content that’s relevant to anyone else, almost certainly not.
China Travel: What are some of your favorite blogs?
Charlie: China blogs: Danwei, ChinaHush and the Nciku Blog Others: Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Lifehacker China Travel: Who is your target audience? Charlie: There are two audiences: foreigners in China engaging their environment and people overseas interested in Chinese culture, language and happenings.
China Travel: What do you hope to achieve?
Charlie: I hope to connect new people to blogs they love but haven’t even heard of. A bonus side effect would be for this to bring the China blogging community a little closer together and have something that connects them more closely.
Visit ChinaBloggers at www.chinabloggers.info
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