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A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts from the Admin Category

It’s my blog anniversary (blogiversary?) and today, this blog is…

14.

Yes, fourteen years old. Terrifying. 14 years since I published this drivel. I’m one of the longest-running bloggers I know of now, just through sheer bloody perseverance. Once you get past the decade, it’s hard to see exactly what would stop me, short of serious illness or death. I’ve now been blogging here longer than I’ve lived in a single house. The blog is older than my marriage – if only by a few months. It’s certainly a lot older than the work I do now – but it might be responsible for it.

I’m not quite sure why I feel the need to make this a part of my week pretty much every – but I do.

So, here’s to 14 years of bloody-mindedly writing for internet. I’ll probably carry on doing it for years to come. Don’t moan. Nobody’s forcing you to read…

14 image by Deb Etheredge, and used under a Creative Commons licence

Commonplace Reading on the iPhone

Would you like a selection of great online journalism to read at your leisure over the weekend? Well, that’s exactly what I’m now offering you via Commonplace Reading, a new weekly newsletter I’m pushing out every Saturday morning.

It’s a little more eclectic than the material I share here on One Man & His Blog. This is highly focused on the intersection of media, tech and journalism. Commonplace Reading will be anything interesting that caught my attention over the week. It’s curated to be an indulgent, long-form reading experience, when you have time to sit back and enjoy on your phone or tablet.

Like the sound of it?

Issue 1 is available to browse online, and if you like what you see – please subscribe.

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Over the last four years, journalism training has become a core part of how I make my living. Feedback on my course has always been very positive, and I have many repeat clients, happily. However, there’s always scope for more – especially with two growing daughters… 🙂

I’ve finally got around to building a page outlining the training courses that I’m offering right now.

Take a look. Let me know what you think. And if I can help you with consulting or training – just let me know.

It started with a tweet.

Actually, that’s not quite true, but it makes a good opening line, so what the hell.

And the tweet looked like this:

One of my New Year “to-do”s – I don’t do resolutions – was to sort out and professionalise some aspects of my business. Now that it looks like I’m staying self-employed for the foreseeable future, I need to both upgrade my business admin (tax return done today!) and my online persona. For example, a set of pages on here describing the services I offer would be a good idea, wouldn’t they?

And I really, really wanted some decent headshots of myself. I’ve been shot by professionals twice, and I’ve not liked the results either time. The whole process was too “production line”. There was no attempt to express me. I was just corporate drone #1138. And that phase of my life is done.

I’ve been using what are, in essence, a succession of jumped-up selfies. But that couldn’t – shouldn’t – last. But I was a little stumped as to where to find the right photographer to get me some images.

Now, my friends over at Brilliant Noise had some excellent headshots done by lomokev in Brighton, which I’d always quietly envied. His work is great – but not quite what I wanted. And everyone else I saw was doing the standard corporate headshot.

So, basically, I took the easiest option. I procrastinated.

Mounting the stairs, in search of headshots

And then I saw Kristina’s tweet. She’s an ex-student; I did a few workshops with her and her cohort on their online presence. Her website blew me away – for someone who’d been seriously into photography for less than a year, her command of light and form was remarkable. £60 seemed like a reasonable gamble for some decent headshots. And, honestly, I was curious to see how her work had come along in the 9 months or so since I last saw her.

And so, last Monday I found myself climbing some narrow, offensively carpeted steps above a shop, a short walk from Clapham Junction station, to have my portrait made in a studio converted out of a kitchen/diner area. And, as I stared at a serious piece of glass, hearing about her commission to go to Sri Lanka, while desperately trying to remember to keep my chin down, I came to the conclusion I had made the right decision.

And far from the only one to notice her talent. The Guardian ran a spread of her images recently.

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The results? They are… pleasing.

Adam Tinworth - pensive mood

Adam Tinworth headshot

I’m busy rolling them out across my social presences – Facebook, Twitter, this site, Linkedin and Gravatar are done, and I’ll deal with others as I encounter them.

I’ve never really had a set of images I’ve been happy to send off for speaking gigs, or to go on course descriptions, or to accompany the occasion bits of writing elsewhere I do.

But now I do, and I’m very happy with them.

Thanks, Kristina.

So, how was 2015 for One Man & His Blog? Pretty good, all things considered. I had much less time than usual to devote to the blog, due to a very successful working year, but I still managed a 15% increase on 2014’s traffic. I hope (and have plans) to significantly better that in 2016. Much of that gain was down to a handful of very successful posts, which you’ll find out more about below.

I really hope to write much more – and do different forms of journalism – through 2016. While training and helping others to do journalism is gratifying (and lucrative), I have a real urge to write more myself. If I get to this time next year without doing so, I’ll be very disappointed indeed.

On the back end, I finally migrated from an ageing Movable Type install to a brand spanking new WordPress install on WP-Engine, considerably upping the server power behind it. Downtime has been minimal this year, which is gratifying.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the top 10 OM&HB posts in 2015:


 

1. Bookerly: Amazon’s new Kindle font

bookerly-eink

The top post of the year was huge in terms of traffic for me. And I’m very smug about that. For a while I’d been slightly concerned about the disconnect between teaching SEO for journalists – and the fact that I rarely work hard on SEO for this blog. I write it for the regular readers, not the “drive-bys”. When my Fire Tablet got an update adding a new font to the kindle app, and I couldn’t find anything good online about it, I saw the opportunity to write something heavily SEO optimised about it – and reaped the rewards. A couple of links from big sites when the font hit the e-ink readers added to the success. Nice to know that I can do it when I want to.

2. Want to read your iPad in the bath?

2014’s SEO test is still doing the business. And I do, in fact, do this, on the rare occasions I have a bath.

(I shower every day, before you go getting any ideas…)

3. Why your big custom CMS project is doomed

A short, link-based post hitting number three? It’s the content. Too many people out there who have been badly burned by disastrous CMS projects.

(more…)

I’ve finally got around to restoring the link to get One Man & His Blog by e-mail. (It’s via MailChimp, so you get lots of control, and can unsub in seconds).

And if you’re thinking “hell, yes, sign me up!”, well, here’s the form:

If you’re reading this, I’ve pulled off a technical challenge I’ve been putting off for years – literally years – now. This blog is now running on WordPress, rather than Movable Type.

It’s not been an easy move – and I’ll outline the process in another post – but it’s now complete, and this site is living on a new host, running new software in the background. And I’m excited to get blogging with the new setup.

Here’s why I moved.

Movable Type: big in Japan

Movable Type, contrary to popular belief, is not dead. It’s alive, well and still being developed by Six Apart – which is now a Japanese company. However, in the English-language world it’s largely being targeted at the corporate and professional market, with a price tag to match:

Movable Type price

So, I’m not moving because it’s dead. But I am partially moving because I don’t want to pay more than £300 every couple of years for a new version of the software. The advantages MT offers don’t outweigh the price difference between free and £300.

The need to experiment

I’m also moving because my web host was getting more and more grumpy about me running it on their servers, and I came to the conclusion that if I was going to go to the bother of shifting hosts, I might as well shift platforms as well. Because, as alive as MT might be, it’s not well-supported. Try finding themes for it. Or new plugins. Or even other web services that support talking to its API. They’re becoming vanishingly rare.

Increasingly, being tied to MT was stopping me experimenting with new tools, and I don’t like that feeling. Part of the joy of blogging for me has always been in the experimental aspects of it – playing with new pieces of software, and figuring out how they might help me publish better. To keep that feeling, I needed to move on from the comfy familiarity of a blog platform I’d been using for over a decade.

Five years ago, much of my working life centered around MT. No more. I have no clients using it, and a whole bunch of them working on WordPress. I really need to understand it much more deeply than I do – which is why my most-used blog needs to be on it. If nothing else, that will force me to explore its quirks and advantages.

And I’m just one of many sites making the move.

My Ghost-ly future

That, incidentally, is why I’m on WordPress rather than the platform I suspect I’ll move to next – Ghost. Ghost is still very young, and needs some more development before I can switch. But I value this time getting to know WordPress, too.

So, there we are. New One Man & His Blog, living in WordPress and hosted on WPEngine.

What do you think?

Light on the Christmas tree

A very merry Christmas to the readers who have stuck with me through this year – and a welcome to those who have joined me along the way. I hope you all have a great time with those you hold dear, and you get what you want, but not what you deserve… 😉

I’ll see you tomorrow for the beginning of my look back on the year just gone.