I think it is fair to say that the quantity, quality and direction of the posts on the blog have declined in recent months. That is evidenced by the reduced number of comments, but funnily enough not by any significant reduction in readers or revenues.
It is something that I need to sort out, and in reality I have two choices;
- Call It A Day
- Improve The Quality Of The Blog
If I look back on my original reasons for setting up the blog (then called MyAppleStuff) it was primarily as a means of getting me to use my new Mac, a G4 17″ PowerBook, which was my first Mac and is still doing a grand job for my father! I wanted to set up a blog to learn about blogging. I wanted to review applications so I could learn about the Mac. I wanted to create some structure and focus during a period when I wasn’t working and was deciding what I wanted to do next. In fact I had hopes (or maybe just desires) of earning some money through blogging.
Looking back it is fair to say that I achieved all those objectives:
- I am now the ‘proud’ owner of 3 Macs (and Sands has 2)
- I use a Mac pretty much all day and every day
- I have found and settled on some great applications that serve my means really well
- Through blogging I have gained contracts to write reviews for other blogs, got a contract to write posts for other blogs, got a contract to set up and manage a corporate blog, and established Almerimar Life which is making a reasonable amount of money and has great potential
- I have also got a sponsored segment on The MacReviewCast with Tim that has just been ‘extended’ for a further 12 months
- The various product offers on the site more than cover the cost of maintaining the blog
I list these not to boast, but to demonstrate that as far as objectives go I think the blog has dome very well, and if you believe in the philosophy of ‘quitting while you are ahead’ then surely now would be as good a time as any to call it a day?
But the blog has achieved more, much more than any of the above feats. I have met, both in person and ‘virtually’ some great people. I have set up a business with Tom and done a lot of work with him (and even got round to meeting him last time I was in the UK). I have met up with Danny (twice) and Dunks once. I have established a project for one of my clients (Miglia) with Dunks, and arranged for Don McAllister to do some screen cast work for them. I have had numerous tips, advice and guidance on purchases, and help (from Wayne and Mac in particular) in getting stuff shipped from the US, and I am excited at the fact that Mac is coming over from Canada in October to spend a week with us.
To be honest if you asked me when I set out blogging if I would achieve the initial objectives I would have said yes. Call it arrogance, self-belief, or a successful track record but I usually succeed at what I set out to do. As for the ‘other’ benefits, I would have looked at you as if you were from Mars if you had predicted they would happen.
So stopping the blog isn’t attractive.
To be honest writing reviews isn’t the way forward either. They are very time consuming in terms of getting hold of the applications, installing, using, communicating with the developers, writing and then more often than not removing them. The end result? A couple of comments if you are lucky. On the other hand I can put up a 5 line post on a book that I read and get 20+ comments, some great banter with ‘friends’ and a suggestion or three for other books to read. Bizarre? In a way yes, but that is the way that it is!
Personally I just don’t have time to do the reviews anymore and if I did why wouldn’t I do them for the sites that are willing to pay me? So no more reviews – but never say never, as I will still do the odd ‘special’ for Tim, and I will always share with you anything that I pick up and use personally (am using a few new apps now that I will write about soon). Another reason why I got a got disheartened with reviews is that I got blacklisted by a company some time ago!!!
No names (but you will probably be able to guess), but it appears that this company didn’t like the fact that I was less than complimentary about a product I was sent to review. They never contacted me, nor did they take the opportunity to challenge what I said on the blog. In fact the PR agency didn’t get involved in the thread either (which was pretty big), but did email to ‘explain’ a few reasons behind the events. I didn’t hear about my blacklisting for 4 months though, during which time I actually alluded to the fact the PR agency in question weren’t sending me stuff that they had promised to send me. Eventually someone plucked up courage to tell me that their client had banned me from getting any more of their products to review! I actually don’t care about this, BUT it sucks!!! That a company would be so churlish and immature to take its ball home just because it got a bad review rather than embrace the issues and engage in a debate ……..
The end result? I would rather do no reviews than feel that I had to do a positive review in order to ensure future products came my way! I wonder how many other reviews are compromising their integrity to get their hands on some new swag every now and again?
Another issue I have to address or ‘overcome’ is that fact that I am pretty compulsive about things. If I read a book I want to blog about it straight away, ditto a film or picture that I have taken (yes I still do take photographs!), and to be honest that isn’t doing me any favours as I am now incredibly busy with a wide range of commercial projects.
So what does all this mean? I wish I knew *kidding*!
First up I need to ensure that the blog becomes maintenance free – no more tinkering, or worrying that things are out of date, not updated quickly enough, or that the blog hasn’t been updated for a while. That means a bot of tinkering is required (see the way it works!) to strip out some stuff that is fueling my compulsive tendencies, both in terms of the structure of the blog, and the type of content. I will give you an example ….
I run two Pro Flickr accounts, one associated to this site and one to Almerimar Life. Why? Well originally so that this one could have Mac photos and maybe some of my ‘better’ photographs. That hasn’t worked. I hardly get time to take any photos at the moment that aren’t related to the Almerimar Life blog, which in reality is all about our life anyway. So I can close down the Flickr account associated with this site, replace with the feed from the Almerimar Life site, and give myself one less thing to be compulsive about. Ditto the Photo Gallery. I can remove that and not worry about it and just post and discuss individual photos as and when it feels appropriate.
I think that is the way forward. I still want the blog to reflect my life, but not take over my life. It needs to reflect my interests, not become my interest. I want to spend more time on the Harley, taking photographs, getting fit, watching movies, reading books and not worrying about ‘getting the blog updated’. I will still write about these things, but in more depth and less frequently. I really want the banter and comments (shouts) to continue so I intend to filter out the stuff that doesn’t generate much comment and concentrate on more depth for those that do.
It will take me a week or so as I am really busy catching up after the last Dubai trip (more work to do), optimising the Almerimar Life potential, sorting out the last issues relating to the server move (have gone to a dedicated server), getting fit, and looking after the cats (Sands is in the UK next week for a couple of weeks).
So for now, thanks for your patience and support to date – it has been great. Hopefully the future will be equally as good, if not even better!!!
In the meantime I am off to de twitter myself! I am going to un-follow (or whatever the phrase is) about 80% of the people that I currently follow!