For those of you familiar with the update newsletters for any of my Bradt Guides – and for those that aren’t – the main purpose of this blog/website is to provide a more maintainable and interactive update service for Bradt readers and other travellers, volunteers and service providers in the relevant countries.
I’ve started with Ghana to set things rolling, and hope to do something similar for Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and maybe a few other countries once I see how it works. The principle is simple enough. As we all know, one of the biggest flaws with print travel guides is that their every word is set in stone once any given edition is published, so they are unable to reflect changes until the next edition comes out. Websites and blogs are more responsive to change, but generally lack the solidity, structure and compactness of a ‘one stop shop’ guidebook.
Hence this blog. As with the old update newsletter, it will provide regular interim reports between editions of the Bradt guide, culled from other reader’s emails and people in the local tourist industry. But it will be far more responsive in two respects. The first is that anybody can post up-to-date comments to the relevant chapter web page at any time, and these will show up almost immediately. Secondly, I can also post new info from readers online as it lands in my in-tray, creating a near instant turnaround rather than the delay of several months that often occurred between the old style newsletters.
I should add that 48 hours ago I knew nothing about the mechanics of blogging or website construction, so it’s been quite a learning curve. Overall, I’m really excited at the possibilities this type of site creates for a more interactive relationship between guidebook writers and users, and as a channel for getting fresh travel information out to travellers who want it. As with the newsletter, this website is a free service, and all prospective travellers to Ghana are welcome to make use of the information. But equally, the more travellers who contribute update info – whether they post comments directly, or email me the feedback to post myself – the more useful the website will be.
OK, enough for now, I’ll do a real blog in a few days, but for now please take a look at the Ghana update (follow the ‘Bradt Guide Updates’ link or just click here) and feel free to let me know what you think. It’s still early days, and all a bit rough at the edges (I’ll put up more relevant pics etc at a later stage, and also make facilities to link to other blogs about Ghana, and please note the other links for Rwanda etc are just dummies at this point), so all feedback welcomed…