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

Why I left Squarespace

I’ve been blogging since 2008 across several different platforms and here in 2017 I’m back where I started – WordPress.

For about 5 years I’ve been a satisfied Squarespace user but over the last few months they have not catered for my needs so decided to leave.

Here’s why I left Squarespace

  • Lack of attention on iOS apps; slow to update to the latest technologies of the latest iOS version and hardware (such as new screen resolutions)
  • They cater to photography; a very heavy focus on promoting and providing templates to photographers, it’s not a blogging friendly platform
  • Integration; more integration options on WordPress thanks to the development community
  • Polished iOS blogging experience on WordPress ; I prefer using the app than the site

So as a blogger focusing on text rather than images and is also iOS first I feel that Squarespace is leaving me behind. WordPress fulfils all of my iOS and template needs as a text based blogger.

WordPress vs Squarespace (iOS)

If you have been following me you’ll know that this week I made the switch to WordPress from Squarespace. I wanted to start to share my experience of doing this, especially coming from an already established blog and platform.

One of the reasons I switched was Squarespace’s lack of commitment to iOS. The site editing didn’t work well in Safari and their iOS apps were slow to update.

The first thing I noticed switching over was the iOS app was supported on the latest hardware. So they look great on both my 10.5″ iPad Pro and iPhone X.

At the time of writing the Squarespace app still doesn’t support the new screen on the X.

Next thing I noticed was how well laid out the iPhone app was. It’s easy to see stats, separate drafts, scheduled and published and adding images works every time (unlike the Squarespace app).

So if like me you are an iOS first user then for me WordPress is the only choice.

Starting something new…

I’ve decided to leave my old blog at Squarespace and start something new over here on WordPress. ¬†There are several reasons for this

  • WordPress is more iOS friendly and shows commitment to keeping their apps updated (especially as I go more iOS native)
  • Blogging is better, yes there are more templates and options for a mainly text blogger like me
  • It’s good to make a fresh start sometimes

I’ve gotten to a point where I cannot support myself on my writing alone so finding a more affordable, more expansive platform was a must for me

In conjunction with stopping over at LJPUK.COM I am planning on a few more creative projects that I’ll share on here when the time is right. In short this new blog is going to be more than just tech, I’ll talk more on my workflows etc.. but also sharing my thoughts on movies and my photography.

Thanks to those that have followed me on my journey and continue to follow me on this new project.