Traffic update

I’m really pleased with the performance of the blog since moving to WordPress.

The traffic has built steadily and after a record December I’m already seeing growth in the first week of January. One of my goals this year is focus, so I’m going to be more consistent on the blog and other creative outlets. If you build it they will come, right?

Blogging in 2019

Every year I ask myself about the state of blogging. In this age of social media it’s often forgotten about that people still have them. Personally I’d rather put my content (that I value) somewhere that’s mine and share from social rather than build up content on someone else’s platform. Throw away comments are fine on Twitter but a post like this one will always be put on my blog.

I don’t think blogging is anywhere near dead and will come back around once the social media frustrations are drawn out. I’m already seeing a decline in people using social media, especially FB and before I deleted my account saw hardly anything from friends.

My focus for 2019 might shift a little towards podcast or video but a blog will always be the backbone of my content, somewhere everything hangs off.

LJPUK Stats 2018 roundup

Although I’m not setting the world alight with my content I’ve seen a steady increase in traffic since launching the new site on WordPress. I’m not talking hundreds of thousands but I’m in the tens of thousands now, which I’m pleased with. I’ve not marketed at all really just put out content that I’ve wanted to share.

So, my top post:

This won by a considerable margin and shows writing how to’s for small creators is a good way to bring some traffic your way.

Next up the top ten countries that visit my site.

Not a surprise given I’m based in the UK and write mainly about technology. I’m surprised that Switzerland made it in there, thanks to whoever is visiting my site from there.

Lastly here are my top referrers.

Surprise for me is seeing a lot of readers coming from other WordPress users. I have a steady number of them being added every week and something I didn’t expect. If you have a WordPress site consider using the reader to follow sites within the app.

So, good to see an upward trend on my viewers and hopefully blogging makes a comeback in this age of toxic social media.

Thanks to everyone that’s contributed to these stats this year.

Writing about your passions

When I started blogging back in 2008 I wrote about my main passion – guitars and music. I enjoyed doing this for a while then my interest shifted back towards covering more technology subjects, in particular iOS. This was just after I got my first iPhone and I saw the potential in it changing how we go about our day to day lives. It’s quite a few years on and although I have settled on covering iOS I want to branch out and write about my other passions. This is why I started to write in the first place, sharing my views on what I’m interested in.

I’m becoming a bit jaded with covering Apple all of the time and although I do write about movies here occasionally it’s where my passion is. I sat down and wrote out some blog ideas and most of them were non technology.

So, I wanted to give everyone a heads up that I’ll be writing about more of my passions – not just iOS. It’ll be F1, Comics, Movies (Marvel/Star Wars mostly), music and photography – I’ll most probably also write about comings and goings in my personal life.

I hope you join me on this, I understand if you stop following me if you want to see just tech.

Cheers…

The WordPress iOS app needs some attention

I’ve been using the WordPress for iOS app for a while but lately it seems to be neglected. I’ve had these bugs for a while and the more I use it the more I’m getting frustrated.

Here’s one example, if you embed images and try to type afterwards quite often you’ll not be able to see what you’re typing.

Here’s another that’s been there for a while. If you start to type a tag and then pick one from the picker it’ll totally mess up the selection as you can see above. I tapped iOS but it displays ‘I OS’.

I’m going to start to look at alternatives to using the native app. iA Writer can publish directly so I think I’ll be using that for now.

Increase your blog traffic by stepping back from social media

Guess which day I deleted Twitter and Instagram from my iPhone…

Yup, no surprise but deleting social media from my devices meant I shared on my blog more. What I used to microblog I was now giving to Twitter. Well coming off it has meant I’m back microblogging here – on my own domain.

if you have your own blog give it a go for a week and let me know what happens to your traffic.

Picking a WordPress theme to use with Micro.blog

Since I started playing with Micro.blog today it became quickly evident that not all themes support it properly. They let you see your posts but if you embed an image for example it won’t let you see it in your WordPress blog.

After reading this it seemed to indicate that only WordPress default themes would properly support it. After testing it I settled on one called Twenty Seventeen that now allows me to see anything I post to Micro.blog appear on my WordPress one.

I’ll need to tweak it but for now I’m happy that my posts are visible.

How to move your blog to WordPress

I switched to WordPress in December 2017 having previously been using Squarespace. On checking my admin I realised that I’d never really shared my experience of switching over.

I left Squarespace for a few reasons.

  • Slow iOS app development
  • Lack of support to edit your design in iOS Safari
  • The price

Moving the blog for me was easy, it also gave me a chance to rethink what my blog was about. I’d gotten so caught up in trying to compete with bigger sites I’d lost track of what the purpose of a blog was and stopped enjoying posting.

The first thing I did was look at my existing content and copied anything I wanted to keep into a text file. This took a little while but I’m glad I did it manually.

Now I headed over to WordPress and created a basic paid hosted account. I’d never had a server so it made sense to use theirs. It also worked out at a quarter of the price I paid at Squarespace. This was a massive win as I’d gotten to the point I was ready to stop blogging.

Now I had my domain etc sorted I got into editing my design. I was delighted to see that the WordPress site works on iOS Safari just as well as Mac. As iOS is my platform of choice this was a must. I edited it all on my iPad.

When it came to posting I used the WordPress official app. The only place it’s let down is embedding photo galleries. With Safari if you add multiple images it offers to build a mosaic so it looks nice in your post. On the iOS app you don’t get this option so the images are just inserted one after the other. I’m hoping this gets addressed in a future update.

I took all of my favourite posts that I’d copied into text and created posts on my new blog.

One major thing I’ve noticed compared to Squarespace is that WordPress appear to be committed to investing in their iOS presence. The app gets frequent updates and whist there are a few niggles (like the photo insert one mentioned) I get the feeling people are working on it. I never got the feeling that Squarespace was invested in iOS at all.

So almost a year in WordPress and I haven’t looked back!

What I learned from blogging on Medium

Trying to make it as an independent blogger is hard, especially in 2018 where the landscape is slowly but surely moving to video and social. I truly believe blogging is not dead and if you find your voice (and more importantly an audience) it is possible to make a go at it. I found that on my previous provider, Squarespace I just couldn’t afford to run my site (at £20 a month) so I looked at making the switch to another platform.

I explored all of the options available to me and went for Medium. It’s a platform that I used on and off since launch but it was a free option that looked like it had potential. Well, the short story is that am now completely off the platform (due to lack of confidence that they would continue long term) but I did take away a few lessons.

Write about what you are passionate about

On my previous site I focussed a lot on technology and found that over time it wore me down just writing about one of my passions. When I moved to Medium I found that I had a good response to a variety of subjects I wrote about, anything from games to movies.This was my main lesson, I am now going to be writing about what I’m passionate about.

Medium is full of startups

I found a heavy bias towards life coaches and startups on Medium. Writing about technology, movies and more traditional subjects aren’t popular enough to gain traction on the platform. Everything that rises up or is picked by their editors is all around the startup scene, if you don’t write these kinds of posts I wouldn’t invest in using the platform.

Make use of tags

It’s something I’ll be doing going forward on this blog, make sure of tagging to make sure that you are discovered by new audiences.

Own your content

My biggest takeaway, it’s better to build your own content on your own blog than build someone else’s platform. I have zero confidence in Medium, I give it 3-5 years before it goes out of business. I’d rather build it somewhere else.

Have you used Medium?

Let me know in the comments.

Write about what gets you excited

I’ve been blogging and freelance writing since 2008 and over the years I’ve gone through phases of trying to “make it” as a journalist and realising there’s no future in it as a career and take it as a hobby.

I’ve moved platforms several times and tried to branch out to a newsletter.

I’ve come to the realisation that unless you enjoy what you want to share you won’t write. Even as a hobbyist I’ve put pressure on myself to put my writing out there and try my best to compete with large publishers.

Well, I’ve stopped.

I started this new blog to take a more relaxed approach to my writing, sharing what I’m passionate about and not focusing on trying to build a viable business.

There is a lot competition and the majority of people won’t pay or support independent publishers.

So

  • Write about what gets you going, what enthuses you
  • Remember it’s a hobby first, do it for the enjoyment of writing and not the money (it won’t come unless you are very lucky)
  • Share