Reader Mailbag is back 09222019
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Hi Readers. It’s SWM here with an update on what’s going on our site, some reader comments, and also a little big of what’s been going on behind the scenes in our daily lives. Hope you don’t mind we’ve been away enjoying the summer and trying to get away from being cooped up in front of a terminal.
When we first launched many things were different and looking up. Our site launched right around when the U.S. was at the beginning of its 35 day historical gov shutdown. Our friends had persuaded us to launch around then to cover the fast breaking news and what a better time to launch a site about financials, unrest, turmoil and desire for change. If you have read our articles and kept up to date and grown with us you can see we change and evolve articles and content over time. But it’s not easy to stay up on all the fast paced things happen. We operate light in crew and staff and have a guerilla style reporting to capture bare essentials. We figure you can find news all over the place on the net! So don’t take our word for it. DYOR or do your own research and then come back and get a summary of our thoughts to help you develop your own views if you so desire.
Our site runs on a few principles:
- Most people would have a better life if they could just have a little more cash to get them stable.
- Most people would be okay as long as they don’t have too much cash that it would bore them and they can’t do anything (paraphrasing Warren Buffet)
- You’ve got to be healthy to be happy.
- Don’t let money and work stand in the way of happiness.
- Cherish the time and connections with those you have because time is fleeting and …
- Life is always changing.
A little bit about principle #2. Most people that are living paycheck will be in a harder financial position when there’s adversity. But it does get them lean and help people hustle. Those who have never had to hustle aren’t always scrappy and aware of the resourcefulness that “making it” may require. So basically we’re saying having excess can corrupt a person to bad thinking and the other extreme can cause a scarcity mindset. So we want people to always be hustling and learning and battling the good fight.
MINIMALISM & FOCUS
We have cut down our articles and often hesitant on what to post for a few reasons:
1) We really amped up our security site. If you ever run your own site be it blogging or news, don’t make it so difficult to log in that you just start the process and then go, “Forget this, I’ll go play with my phone instead!” Ha-ha. But seriously it is not as easy to edit and change things as it was before.
2) Coming up with fresh articles day in and day out on a skeleton staff is not easy without annoying and offering too much online drivel. Most people don’t like to “read” or text and are in the YouTube generation now. So we want to offer fresh good content, not try to compete and also let our “staff” run their day to day lives.
3) We’re not really heavily monetizing the site yet and just gauging this project. We love the content we offer and hope some readers will get something useful to inspire and rock their world to be better in some way some how. Part of what makes us different is that we don’t want to run big banner ads, pop ups, and unrelated pay content or spam, or useless e-book material that you could easily find elsewhere. We’ve worked in customer service before and been on the both sides of customer service and as a customer and don’t feel it’s right to charge for easily gatherable info. Minimalism and focus is good. So if we do run some content that’s especially good we hope you will agree it’s worth it. But that’s later down the road. And no spammy popups!
4) We’ve got to spend time thinking about how to roll out content. It does take time to get pictures, text and words out. We are not really competing with date streaming apps and social media and YouTube and all that. Even though it’s all vying for attention. You have to take care of your own and “fam” and people around you and take a little break from production to reevaluate life every now and then. Touch base with relatives, talk to your bf/gf, or S.O. or feed the dog every now and then, check the soup pot on the stove. (ha ha) So if you don’t see daily articles either it’s been slow or we just are a bit daunted and experiencing writer’s block. We are around though. And we appreciate you readers that spend time on our site immensely.
Okay so let’s get to a few letters we got from our readers. The first thing is that some of our comments that had been coming through weren’t really readers it seemed so if you ever run a blogging site be sure to screen out spam and comments. There is great software out there that does that. It takes a load off doing it by hand. Luckily you can use plugins and other things depending on what site settings are set up on your server. We won’t go into specifics. Nice try guys, but that’s also security 101. Don’t give up site proprietary knowledge and your secret sauce.
- So we got some ads on September 22, 2019 and also one that said they will come back to our site. Return readers! Alright! We got one person reading our site! Lol.
- We also have some international readers. Thanks for dropping by! It’s always good if you’re running a site even if it is spam to acknowledge that you have people across the world with interest enough that they would take the time to want to spam bot your site or comment. Hopefully our site gives you an idea how hard it is to run a site. Here we thought money would be flowing into our pockets and millionaires from blogging. Alas, no luck, not yet at least.
- On September 19th we got a comment that we had an “Amazing” post in our Photography tips article and if we have any other “tips” we could drop. We will take that into consideration and consider writing other helpful articles for sure. Our site is really a mix of useful life advice. Originally we started off in a blogging format but quickly sought to differentiate ourselves and our platform by being semi-news, blogs, tips, fashion etc. It has been hard trying to do that again with our staff during our spare time. It’s not easy folks despite what those sites say and make you think you’re going to be millionaires overnight! Hard work it is. And we have to personally research these things ourselves to provide good decent content. So it does take time. Thanks for enjoying our “super” article.
- And lastly, we have one more comment from a reader on our Pho article. The person wanted to remain anonymous but left some contact info. They asked us if we “ever considered changing the layout” of our site? You “love” what we have to say. And the person said “we have an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures” and perhaps we could “space it out better”? Excellent point! I think I finally have two legitimate readers in the whole 9 months we’ve been online! Yay! But seriously we appreciate the comments to make our site better. I have actually spent the equivalent of about $150 or so equivalent to overhaul and revamp my site. We adjusted the footers on the page and have a widget type thing that rotates articles and other things in our site to make it look the way it does. It’s not all aligned because that would require a dedicated editor and graphics layout specialist and the last time we got some friends to time how long to do an article it was about an hour to do a single page. And so it’s a trade off of pushing out content, not really a monetary thing. Just we prefer pushing out info and leaving it a bit raw. Maybe if you use a text browser like Lynx or like Reddit’s format then our site is kind of wonky. We hope to gradually improve and will try to incorporate more pictures. Pictures also take up quite a bit of site storage space to make it pretty and we have to recompress pictures to a certain size to make it align with the rest of text. And then we also have to transfer from phone cam to our computers and reupload after recompressing and editing photo colors and filters. And adding alt text. And also approve which photos to use. So there’s a little bit of a process there. We have reviewed many sites and it’s not easy. Maybe we should start pushing out podcasts or videos instead.
SUMMARY of above
So we wanted to go to a “blog” and “writer’s” meetup at the end of last year. They held weekly meetings in our city. But now they are no longer doing the meeting and they have it in another city on a weekday. There are coder workshops but since our site is a “side hustle” all that takes too much time as compared to cost. Remember we want to be an example to help people make money, save money, live a better life? So you have to balance and trade off time and money if you’re going to go into this as a business. I think having other people with the same mindset to help push you is an important thing and it’s essential to have a good support peer group and mentors who help guide you through life.
If you’re not dedicated to the craft of writing or pushing out content then you have to:
1) Reset priorities
– Why are you running the site?
– Who is your audience
– What message do you want to convey and reach your readers or people. I see people on Instagram, Skout dating apps streaming and earning followers and diamonds, and people on YouTube and people on the Twitter platform. I see people on MeetMe apps. They all have a target demographic and audience that they reach and most of them are to entertain. Are you there to tease, play, entertain or earn money? And do you care about your audience because it will show if you don’t care about your audience and come through.
2) Take a break from writing or blogging or content and reconnect with nature, your family and friends and loved ones.
– When we first got into blogging one of our people that inspired us was Michelle Shroeder-Gardner. Look her up. We have been meaning to write an article or feature her for some time but will have to do it in passing for today. She’s amazing and made a lot of money at a ripe young age and was featured on CNBC and blogs about money and finance and has made a lot of money, but said that it took a toll on her health in that she was spending insane unhealthy amounts of time in front of a computer. To paraphrase: What good is all the world’s health if you lose your soul or your health or sanity? So reset, get away. Your site will still be there folks.
3) Learn to delegate duties
– We didn’t want to take the time to do the heavy programming on our site. Sure it would save money but we just wanted to concentrate on pushing out content, and you might want to figure out what you will settle for and what not when dealing with creating a site. You may have to get someone to deal with security and patches and articles and taking pictures. Sure there are people that talk about blogging and all the benefits. But there’s also a lot of things you have to consider. And it won’t come over night.
– Don’t delegate duties to your S.O. or friends. They won’t feel the same you do. Remember that friends are friends and some will be more passionate about somethings than others and you want to remember that your passions might not be their passions so drop it and find someone that really has the same mindset as you. On that note, you’re gonna have roadblocks and stumbling blocks and get tunnel vision and setbacks because … well life. Don’t let that get in your way and take time to regroup and refocus your message. May the wind be at your back, friends.
4) Find the best time of day to push content
– I’m not a fan of sitting in front of terminal sometimes until it’s really late and the sun goes down. Don’t know why but it seems when it’s nightfall and cold and winter that’s the best time to be productive. There’s nothing out there to do and it’s just silence and me and my thoughts. And I’m not focusing on podcasting yet because I just like the sound of typing keys and the anonymity of it. But I realize people have to digest your content or it’s not worth anything. Get comfy, eat just enough and the right foods. Get your exercise out of the way and take bathroom breaks and then get down to it and start working.
– Don’t forget ergonomics of your typing or workstation. I’ve had neck issues for the last few years (part of why I started this platform due to dissatisfaction with daily commute but now I’m healing a bit). Make your screen dimmer or turn it to invert on black possibly to put less strain on your eyes. Whatever you can do to make it easier to push content will make it faster and quicker.
– I’ve tried using audio recorders and dictation but then end up spending a lot of time rereading and retyping corrections and typos. I like typing on the fly. Sometimes I will work during lunch or on my commutes that way I have something by the evening ready to post.
– Don’t spend too much time surfing and reading and distracted that you forget about your site, but also do spend time researching what matters to you and what inspires you.
– If you are a typer a BIG lifesaver is Notepad++ for instance. It automatically saves text files or you can configure it to save documents easily and simply and type a quick script out. You can also go to Settings… Style Configurator and select a Theme of “Deep Black” to make it easier to read at night and the glow from your laptop or PC isn’t as harsh. I remember one time I typed up a really nice article and changed positions and yanked out one of the cords out of the computer and swore up and down. The good thing about the write typing program is it will autosave a good portion of your work rather than typing it in regular Notepad. Note the difference Notepad++ vs Notepad in Windows.
– If you have a lot of similar files consider getting a text comparison tool like Meld or KDiff to help you compare text files. Had an incident long story short where a programmer was helping out on a site but his server files differed from the package he gave me and I was having issues uploading and making the necessary patches. We logged into his server downloaded files as a zip file using a plugin off his server and compared the active ones on the server with the ones I had he provided me and it saved time trying to debug where the problem was. Get a text comparison tool especially if you’re working with server files.
– Write down and keep logs of everything you learn. Another example is that we had an update fail to go through on our site one time and had to go to our hosting platform and remove directories and then reset and download a plugin again. It was quick and simple. Thank goodness for site how-tos and search engines now where you can find answers quickly. Life is good with knowledge at your finger tips.
Alright I think that’s it for this article. Time for another article. We have some great stuff coming but as always it will take time.
Keep smart and protect your computer, back up and live healthy.