James Mayes

Posts Tagged ‘WordPress’

Moving to a self-hosted blog?

In Blogging, Personal Development, Social Media on November 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

So this almost happened as a tweet – but then I figured I had more than 140 characters of questions, and likely as not, some of you have similarly lengthy opinions – so I’m putting it here instead!

Been running this site since February 2010. It was a quick launch to begin with, just a standard theme on a WordPress-hosted account. It’s served me well enough and while it’s due a refresh on theme, I’ve loved the service provision from WordPress.  More though, I’m seeing plug-ins I’d like to use to evolve what I do with the site.  I’d like to experiment more… and I think self-hosted is the next step.

First up… for those who’ve made this transition before, what’re the scary parts? What screwed you over? Do the benefits outweigh things like maintenance and cost overheads?

Second… any recommendations on hosting? Not up for running my own box, so I’ll be purchasing a service somewhere – and as with most things, peer recommendation will count heavily!

All contributions gratefully received!


Blog: When not to blog is just as important

In Blogging, Social Media, Social Recruiting on February 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

when to shut upI see regular posts on why blogging is good, how to get best results, why you should blog often and so on. Thought it might be fun to run through some opposing thoughts I have.

Consider it the art of knowing when to shut up (and yes, I know, I’m aware of the irony of such a post coming from me!).

If it’s PURELY self-promotion/sales

That’s not to say you can’t talk about what your firm does though. I follow a number of blogs from tech companies where the blog is a product-focussed update – what got fixed, what’s being worked on, what ideas they’re testing. I love that – but I don’t want to see “buy my stuff, it’s awesome because…”

If you can’t say it nicely…

Don’t say it at all. Sometimes criticism is valid. Sometimes a blog post is a great way to give feedback. Just remember that what you post will most likely stay out there forever, with your name attached. You want to work with that company or person in five years’ time? Chances are, they’ll have no problem with constructive, well-formed criticism, but may view a hatchet job somewhat differently.

If you don’t care, don’t blog

I hear many people talk about the need to blog regularly, to maintain a link with your readers, meet their expectations. Balls, in my humble opinion. I don’t want to read the stuff you felt you had to write in order to meet your own self-imposed production schedule. I want to read the stuff you care about. Something you believe in, something you think is game-changing, something you’re passionate about, a service you think is worth shouting about. I know you want the same too. I know this because the off-the-cuff posts about something that’s really got me riled or excited? They’re the ones that fly.

Take care when you’re under the influence!

I know many who blog later in the evening, lacking the time during the working day. I’ve been known to write whilst enjoying a quiet glass of wine or two. As with point two though, remember this stuff could stay out there and haunt you. Weigh up whether that post needs to go live right now… or whether it should wait till morning for a quick re-read.

Finally, a caveat and a question. First, I reserve the right to completely ignore my own advice at any time! Second, what did I miss?


Blog: Top ten apps & sites of 2011

In Gadgets, Guest post, Mobile, Social Media, Social Recruiting, Start-ups on January 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

Originally written as a guest post for Ed Scrivener, now here for my archives.

I’ve followed Ed on Twitter for some time – and he recently responded to an invite for a guest post with a cracker on LinkedIn LIONS, which you’ll find here.  He’s kindly offered me the opportunity to reciprocate.

If we’ve not met before, I sit mostly on the intersection of recruitment and technology.  I’m a geek, I admit it.  I jump in on new apps and tools whenever I see them and I try to blog reviews of those I really like.  As we wind in to the year-end though, it seems appropriate to look back over the year and see what actually had staying power.  What delivered on-going value.  What’s still in use? So, in no particularly order, I offer you my geeklist for 2011.

  1. Ifttt – Sets up social rules. Too many different profiles to manage? Ifttt can help. Blogged a review of this one here.
  2. CoTweet – I use this as a desktop client for Twitter.  Most of the functions are not dissimilar to other players in the market, but there’s one differentiator I love – the conversations. I bring up Ed’s profile, I can see our Twitter history. That conversation we had about keyword spam back in May. What other app for Twitter gives you that?
  3. Xydo – news curation and delivery service. Part automated, but influenced by the networks you build as an individual. Best personalised news service I’ve found, blogged here!
  4. Evernote – The ultimate note taker.  I use it to hoard favourite tweets (delivered here automatically by Ifttt), to make meeting notes, to hold photos as part of a mobile project stream. Brilliant.
  5. Buffer – rather than flood your followers with all the articles you read on the train each morning, space them through the day. Combine with Xydo for excellent results! Review here.
  6. WordPress – my blog platform of choice. My needs are simple, so I stay with the hosted version – I’ve checked out others and not yet seen a reason to consider moving.
  7. DropBox – My files, anywhere. Backed up in the cloud, backed up to each machine I install it on, deletion controls (which I only found after this episode!!). Ace service.
  8. Zovo – bigger cloud backup. I use DropBox for working files, Zovo for long-term cloud synchronised automatic backups.
  9. Bit.ly – always was good, but the enhancements this year allow for custom short-links. Instructions here.
  10. Aerolatte – just because I’m working at home, doesn’t mean I put up with crap coffee. This helps. A lot.

I hope you see something new to enjoy. Likewise, if you want to offer up suggestions of your own, please do! Personal recommendation is my favourite form of discovery.  If you have questions for me, or just want to see what I find next, Twitter’s best. You’ll find me here.

Blog: Renaming the… er… blog!

In Blogging, Personal, Social Media on August 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I’ve contributed to a number of blogs over the past year or two, but this has always been my main home.  Originally, it was a thinking space. It was here for me to play with, test thoughts, rant, share the odd personal tale. No real plan or strategy for it. It was for personal Musings, I’m based in Sussex, the rest is history.

renaming a blogSome things change.  The blog still has no commercial agenda.  I write about what I want – sometimes that gets a great audience, sometimes it dies without trace. However, I’ve found I particularly enjoy poking around with new software tools, platforms or apps and writing about what I find.  It’s also fair to say I now get invited to a few product beta tests precisely because of this.

As a result, I’ve naturally written more on those topics than personal tales or things that relate specifically to Sussex.

Should I recognise this in the title?

Arguments for:

  • I’ve had more than one person say things like “musings from Sussex? It’s a little bit jam sandwiches at the WI isn’t it?” – yeah, OK, it’s provincial. C’est moi!
  • The SEO would be better with a URL title relating more closely to the topics written about – it’s not all about reader numbers and marketing though
  • I’d likely get more referred traffic / back links if the subject matter were clearer – see above!
  • It would better support my personal brand if my name were more prominent – if people like what I write, they’ll come find out who I am. If they know me, the blog is easy to trace.

Arguments against:

  • I like the name. Social media is about transparency and honesty. The current name feels like it has that sorted.
  • Current articles already have a bunch of back links and referred traffic. Will I irritate owners of friendly blogs if I go break all those links?
  • It’s currently on a WordPress-hosted platform precisely because I don’t want technical aggravation in my life. This feels like creating tasks for no good reason!

I’m not looking to crowd-source new blog names here.  I would, though, welcome opinions on my reasoning. Did I miss something? Am I misleading myself with the arguments for the sake of sentimentality? Am I kidding myself, as per Bill Boorman‘s assertion that EVERY  blog has an agenda?

Let me know. I really do appreciate it.

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