Articles Tagged with Blogging

The Launch of TechEvents.Wales

TEW logoBack in 2015, I created a side-project website for my parents’ IT recruitment agency (Computer Recruiter) called CR 25, where we published 25 blog posts in one month to coincide with their 25th anniversary in business. It was a ton of fun, and I was chuffed that it earned me a couple of UK Search Awards shortlistings.

Since then (given that the main CR site doesn’t have its own blog – I know, I know…), I’ve been wondering what else we can do on the content front, beyond CR 25 and our occasional guest blogging efforts. On Twitter (@ComputerRecruit) we follow a lot of meetup/event organisers (check out our Twitter list!) and also RT a lot of their tweets about upcoming events, which got me thinking: what about a calendar of all the tech events in South Wales, all in one place…?

And voilà – TechEvents.Wales is born.

TEW homepage screenshot
Its homepage features a list of upcoming events from a ton of different meetups covering a ton of different topics: AWS South Wales User Group, South Wales Agile Group, Swansea Software Development Meetup, Digital Tuesday, PyDiff, South Wales Cyber Security Cluster and Cardiff Blogs, to name a few… even the horrendously run, joke-of-a-meetup that is Cardiff SEO Meet is on there. 😉

Its blog is going to include:

  • Interviews with local meetup organisers,
  • An analysis of 2017’s meetups in the area,
  • Writeups and reviews of local meetups, etc. etc.

Find out more in our intro post.

Got any ideas? Want to get involved? Feel free to drop me a comment below or tweet me. I live off feedback (so long as it’s constructive, obvs!) and would welcome people’s opinions on the direction of the site and its blog.

Also, a quick thank you to Peter of Xanthe Studios for helping with a few frustrating WordPress issues when setting up the site.

Getting the Most from Yoast – My Cardiff WordPress Talk

Cardiff WordPress Prisma pic
Yesterday I did a talk at Cardiff WordPress, my first speaking gig in close to a year (you can see a list of all my past speaking gigs here).

Held at the fabulous Tramshed Tech (where Cardiff SEO Meet is also held!), I presented in front of 20+ WordPress designers & developers as well as fellow digital marketers.

My talk? Getting the Most from Yoast, giving details and insight into the Yoast SEO plugin, showcasing its features and settings, explaining how and why certain parts of it affect your website’s SEO, and how to make sure you’re setting it up to get the most out of it.

It was a good, attentive group, who were a pleasure to present to. After my talk, there was a general roundtable Q&A session where individuals could field their WordPress problems to the group, which was pretty cool. We also talked about SEO a bit more (something that I ain’t complaining about)!

Here are the slides, which I submitted to Speaker Deck (because they looked terrible when uploaded to SlideShare):

[Image credit – Davey Brown via Twitter (and then run through Prisma)]

4 (Unusual) Alternative Image Ideas for Blog Posts

Ahh, the age-old question: what image should I use to accompany a blog post? A stock image? A screenshot? Any old thing you find from Google Image Search…? (No, definitely don’t do that last one.)

When people ask me, I usually send them down the Flickr Creative Commons route, as I hate stock imagery and Flickr images often feel more genuine. But sometimes there are some good alternatives you can use that you mightn’t have thought of…

Let’s start with the really obvious one, and work our way to the more… odd.

1) Take your own photo

Ok ok, so this one’s not that unusual (going by the title of this post), but with Google Image Search, Flickr, etc. being so ingrained in our minds as the go-to resources for images, it’s easy to forget that you can always just do it yourself…

Even if you’re not a professional photographer (and if you’ve ever seen any photo I’ve ever taken, you’ll definitely know that I’m not a professional photographer), with smartphones it’s easy to take a good, high quality photo by yourself that can be decent enough to go with a blog post. The question however: what do you take a photo of?

I’ve gone down this route when Flickr Creative Commons – and other avenues – have come up short. Obviously it’s topic-dependent, but I’ve often found something lying around on my desk that I can turn into a half-decent image. When I struggled to find a good photo to go with a post talking about my thoughts on DA (Domain Authority) for example, I grabbed my Roger Mozbot bobblehead figure and artfully positioned it in front of a computer monitor displaying Open Site Explorer data.

Roger Mozbot (before Prisma) photo
…Meh

Of course, that photo looks dreadful, so I took it one step further…

2) Take your own photo (and run it through Prisma)

Prisma examples
The iPhone app Prisma ‘artifies’ photos. I’ve blogged about it before and used it a stupid amount of times on this blog:

And even guest posts:

Click to read more!

(Don’t Be) Blogging for the Sake of It

When I set up this blog over five years ago, my personal goal was to aim to publish at least one post per month. With the exception of one month early on (February 2012, when I took a brief hiatus), I have met that goal. But a few days ago, while combating a busy workload and a sort of form of writer’s block, I found myself clambering around, trying desperately to think of something to blog about.

Which is why I typed (and have published) this.

In the end, I came up with goods, and it’s a semi-decent post by all accounts (or at least I like to think so!), but otherwise I was thinking of publishing this post – in order to ‘fill the gap.’

But you know what? Aside from the fact that there would’ve been a month missing if someone looks at my blog’s Archives, it really doesn’t matter. It’s much more important to write something of quality rather than to write because you have a quota to meet / a box to tick.

I mean just look at this post. Look at it. It’s looking so sorry for itself. It’s barely a couple of hundred words. It doesn’t even have an image to go with it. Pah. It’s certainly not my best, but by publishing it, I would’ve been able to say that I’d published a post during the month of August 2016. Huzzah…? No. No huzzah.

But you could argue that this post shouldn’t – or doesn’t need to – exist at all… Although I decided to publish it anyway, to make a point.

Don’t get me wrong… Deadlines are a good thing. Since I started writing for State of Digital, my writing style and overall blogging game has increased significantly: I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline of providing a post every five weeks – in addition to doing one once a month for SEOno – but I have done, and it’s been going well. Really well.

But at the end of the day, I have a new rule: from now on, when it comes to SEOno at least, I will write new posts when I damn well please, not necessarily once a month. I’d much rather publish a killer post after a three-month gap rather than publish three smaller, underwhelming posts each a month apart.

Would you agree? Yes? Good. Thanks for reading.