Version 4.0

Welcome to Version 4.0 of the site. As I mentioned previously the main objective was to make the site a little less cluttered, and more focussed in terms of what I want to concentrate on.

Before I explain the changes to the site, let me explain a few changes that have happened over here in our life as they have a significant impact on the direction of the site.

First off, I seem to be going back to work! I haven’t taken on a job as such, but a number of contracts have come along that I really fancy, and a bit like London Buses you wait for one and the next thing you know four come along.

Individually they aren’t particularly time consuming, but combined they are going to add up to pretty much a full time job.

First up I have signed a contract with Miglia to set up and run their corporate blog for them.

Second up I have signed a contract with to do some corporate blogging, and some IT and business consultancy.

Third I am still writing for Gadgetell and Appletell, and in addition to the regular posts am looking at the option of writing a regular column for Appletell.

Fourth, we have taken on more sponsors in order that Sands can focus pretty much full time on Almerimar Life, which of course will involve me in terms of blogging, but mainly for the podcast, videocast and photography. I have also picked up more consultancy and technical work locally than I wanted to, but as it is all through the blog I want to find a way of doing it all.

If I were to put % on each of the above I would estimate:

  • Miglia 30%
  • 30%
  • Gadgetell and Appletell 10%
  • Almerimar Life 10%

I want to split the remaining 20% of my time equally between this blog and associated activities (segment with Tim, developing a few ideas, applications, initiatives etc) and developing my photography.

As all of the above pretty much involve sitting in front of a Mac most of the day, so I also need to make sure that I get better at ‘switching off’ and enjoying a few other priorities:

  • Sands
  • Moreno
  • Movies
  • Harleys
  • Keeping Fit

It isn’t an overnight change, I have slowly been making some adjustments but as from tomorrow the new era kicks in, and so that brings me to the changes to the site.

I guess the most obvious change is that I have gone from three columns to two, so only have the one sidebar now. The main post area is bigger so that I can get more per page without it looking cluttered, and with very few exceptions I will continue the style that I have adopted recently of showing a couple of short paragraphs for each post on the front page, with images and photos included in the body of the post. As far as the sidebar goes you will note that I have moved the Flickr pictures down to the Footer, where you will also find the top 5 most popular posts of all time and links to five Photo Galleries that I have on .mac. I have removed the About section as I reckon you can find out about me from the site in general or from reading my Bio in the Personal pages (more about these later). I have removed the contact section as it had grown too cluttered and I have added the details on a new Contact page. The plugins and personal information (books, movies, For Sale etc) have all moved over to the pages as well, as have the links to the Featured posts that I write from time to time.

So what is it with the pages? Basically I have set them up more like web pages so that there are links to other pages underneath them. Hover over them and take a look. There is now a lot more information on the pages and they will be easier to keep updated, so try and get in the habit of checking them out from time to time.

The two additions that really excite me though are Quick Bits in the sidebar and the Photos page.

Quick Bits is where I will post short, brief news type items, possibly cross posts from my other writing, links to items that I think may be of interest but haven’t got time to write about. Think of it as a Journal, Diary, Gossip Column or whatever name you care to give it. I think it will be a great addition as it will enable me to keep the content flowing when I don’t have the time for full posts.

The Photo page is effectively a PhotoBlog within the site. It is where I will post the pictures that I am most proud of, want advice on etc. I will be setting up a Guest Gallery as well if you want me to post and share some of your stuff.

Finally you will notice that I have done away with the Sponsors. The simple reason for this is that they don’t work on a blog like this, and I don’t want to feel ‘restricted’ by what I post and when I post. The space that they take up really isn’t worth the amount of money you can get for them, and the same goes for Google Ads and even targeted adverts (although to a lesser extent). As far as Sponsors and Adverts go am I really going to show you anything that you don’t already know? I intend to retain the promotions as they are a way of me offering you a discount on things you may want, so I see that as being useful for you in a direct way. Text Link Ads have been working really well so I will be exploring that more, and I have been approached about banner adverts before for specific projects and period of time so I will do those as and when they seem appropriate.

So what does all this mean for the actual content of the blog?

Since I started the blog I have done in the region of 200 reviews and although I will still post reviews they will only be on applications that I am actually interested in and use. It is my intention to only review applications where the developer will provide a interview for the site, as I think that is a great way of differentiating between all the other reviews that are around. To be honest if I wanted to write reviews I could do them for a number of sites that would pay me, so unless the application is of personal interest I wont be reviewing it. There is one exception to this and that is if you want a particular application reviewing then I will do the best I can to get a copy and review it.

I have said before but I will say it again. While I am big fan of Apple and a huge Mac user, I have other things in life that I am as (if not more) interested in, so this site shouldn’t be seen a a Mac site. I have absolutely no intention of just chasing the statistics, or striving to become a FanBoy sounding board. For those of you that have got to know me beyond what you see on the site you will know that I have developed a significant income from blogging from a standing start 20 months ago and I am very proud of that fact.

The main consequence of that is that I do not need to look at this site as anything other than a personal blog. I have been really pleased and humbled by the quality of the comments and readers, and collectively you have made this blog everything that I could have ever hoped for.

So the future is simple – more of the same! I want to write some more detailed posts, hopefully increase the number of regular shouters, and basically continue to enjoy it.

So I hope you like the alterations and I hope you continue to enjoy and participate in the blog. If you have been shy about shouting out before now please don’t be – there are some really great readers of the blog who will be as interested and appreciative of your comments as I will be.

I know you will, but let me have your thoughts and suggestion on the alterations and anything that you would like to covered on the blog

There are a couple of minor glitches to be sorted out that I am aware of. Basically the Books Read and Movies Watched plugin isn’t working properly yet.

12 thoughts on “Version 4.0

  1. Danny

    Like the new design chris, very tidy.
    Definitely an improvment without alienating the look.
    As for the personal stuff Im glad your getting more offeres etc. but are still looking to improve content here great stuff. Keep it up!!
    I dont know what Dunks would do if you went offline 😉

  2. Adam Ramshaw

    Hi Chris,

    Must say that the new site is very pleasing on the eye. It feels very focused. The sidebar frames the main body of the page nicely but without making the it feel tacked on.

    Just more reasons for me to try make sure I shout more often as you’ve probably noticed.

    Keep up the good work, Adam.

  3. darren rolfe

    Yeah, I must say I am liking the new site look and feel. I’m glad to see my header design hasn’t changed.

    Defintely feels less cluttered and more focussed on content.

    Good luck in all your new ventures I am sure you will be a big success.


  4. Chris Marshall Post author

    Cheers, appreciate the comments and hope it does entice you to contribute more 🙂 And thanks for the good wishes.

    @Darren – how could I change the work you did? I have it on my business cards after all now 🙂

  5. darren rolfe

    Oh yeah, doh!

    Will try and make an effort with the commments. It’s nothing personal, no one else is getting my comment quota.


  6. Mac Sokulski

    This is definately much nicer. I like the 2 column view. One thing I would possibly change, is to put quick bits right under the search, and make them display less. Just a thought.

  7. Chris Marshall Post author

    I think it is important to have the Currently Popular at the top so that newe readers get a good flavour.

    So have come up with a comprimise 🙂

  8. Mac Sokulski

    It feels good when some one actually listens :). Thanks Chris.

  9. Dunks

    Really like the idea of the quickbits vs longer posts. Works really well. Also much prefer the 2 column – as you say less cluttered etc.

  10. Chris Marshall Post author

    Cheers, I think they are working well. They are a great way for me to just provide links and stuff so if anyone ever come across anything that they would like to share just email it over.

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