A Message From the Headboy – April 2017

The observant of you, if there are any people left, will have noticed that I’ve been rather quiet recently. There have been a number of reasons for this and none are by any means excuses. I realise that my overall traffic has taken a gradual dip as I go along. As of late I’ve only been posting one article per month. Unfortunately I missed March altogether.

This article goes some way to explain what has been going on. The proverbial ‘skinny’.

 

Book Writing

The 515 Lost World Saga (Working Title)

I have been very busy with book writing behind the scenes. My novel has been taking shape since 2019. Since finishing my Open University degree last year, it has opened the flood gates of time available. My goal is to finish this novel this year and in order to do that I need to be committed. The novel is getting there but I am concerned that it might be considered amateurish and I would find that a crushing blow. The only way to know for sure is to press on.

To see my continuing progress head on over to www.jackowrites.com for more details.

This neatly segways into:

WWW.JACKOWRITES.COM

The website/blog that hosts more on the writing side of my endeavours has been receiving a much-needed dose of branding. I think anybody who had viewed the site over a year ago would have been disappointed at how little personality the site had. I am still developing the site at this time and working out what shines best in this area. This blog differs to BlogPrefect because it serves a different purpose.

Part of my ongoing ideas are to assert myself more into writing, as such I felt that JackoWrites would receive the first true piece of valuable content that is not a blog post.

 

Writer’s Block Guide

This guide is perhaps one of the largest free elements of a site I’ve ever given away and I’ve been developing the guide over a long period. It grows with every edition and I am trying to incorporate a wealth of healthy tips from all over the web. You can download it for free here at www.jackowrites.com

This guide as yet is just a white paper and requires a considerable amount of graphical improvement. At the moment I am refining the textual content so please mind the work in progress.

 

WWW.MEDIUM.COM

I’ve been active over on Medium for a while now, both writing and making responses. Medium, I have decided, is not going to be a regular gig. Reason being is that it simply takes too long to put together a post for exactly no audience. I am going to be re-posting more of my content on medium in hopes that it will entice more audience to check out my work on my various platforms.

I seem to be far more popular for responses than articles.

There will be a feature on more about my Medium experience in a future article at blogprefect.com. If you are considering the experiment you can hopefully learn from my toe dip in the water.

I can be found here.

As a point of note, I do talk politically on Medium where I don’t here on my master blog or on JackoWrites.com. I have no set plan for what my Medium content should be, I just write about whatever I like. For those of you who are disappointed with my views I can only offer my apologies but I don’t cede to changing my views without a serious look at the facts.

The reason I started writing on Medium was because I often had an urge to write about something that I would throw up on BlogPrefect but which had very little relevance to the niche. Any good blogger knows that the natural process of a person finding you through a search engine depends on you staying on topic.

 

General Minutiae (the boring stuff)

I have had a glut of projects to catch up on and a lot are still unfinished.

I must note that because my degree took such a prime focus and that I went through a painful end of a relationship, the house I moved into is not finished to the level I’m happy with. This has been true since 2013. My parents have nagged me on this front for the best part of 2 years but I’m still moving at my own pace.

One of my rooms is now decorated bar a few minor touches and a new carpet and it has lifted my mood no end since I finished it.

One of my key goals to make my blogging, writing and general enterprises more fun, is to fully realise my 2nd bedroom’s study potential and as it stands, the decoration is horrific. The tiny room should be easy to decorate but requires re-wiring. I am at a loss to understand how the previous owners made do with one socket in this room.

I believe that my productivity will skyrocket once my house is more presentable.

 

Weight Loss

Something else that was neglected was my slim trim self. Since the beginning of January to the end of March, I had lost a total of 20lbs and have recently rekindled my passion for cycling. I am getting towards my healthier weight where I am to be less than 14 stone by the end of the year at the very least. For the American readers that goal is less than 196 pounds and for Europeans that is less than 88.9KG. The weight is not so much important as reaching a trouser size of 34 inches. I am not happy at the current 36, it precludes me from purchasing trousers from certain shops where waistband sizes don’t often head into my current size. I am a short-legged fellow so am taller in the torso.

Getting back on my bike I realise just how out of condition I was so I am all the more determined to get back into the swing of things.

My goal with my cycling is to cycle to work on a more regular basis. This will help me keep fit and save me a lot in my weekly fuel bill.

My weight loss regime has also reduced:

  • Overall number of days sick that I’ve experienced in recent years
  • Alleviated pressure off my right knee which was causing me issues when walking long distances inner city, especially in the damp
  • Eliminated a sciatica issue that was extremely painful
  • Reduced my sugar and salt intake which has alleviated the frequency of my migraine to a rare event (alongside other managing techniques).
  • My waistband which makes wearing size ‘L’ clothing a lot more comfortable. I’m still a way off 34 at the moment but I’ve definitely noticed a thinning of the waistband. With more continued work on my core, I should reduce to the right level.

 

Writing for Blog Prefect

I must admit that my progress has slowed to a crawl and I can only apologise for that. Visitors do journey to the site on a regular basis but not in the number that I truly crave to make it all seem ‘worthwhile’. Regular posting will be restored in the not too distant future and there is a plan for a specific ‘burst month’ to see how I get on with some exposure. Stay tuned on that.

I have two posts in the works for launch in April and I do have a suitable window to work on these two items.

The first is on research. The second is on Commitment. I believe that the second of these two articles will have the bigger impact but as part of my series expanding on a core post, I have decided to write in more detail about how to start a blog and keep it running. I have decided on doing this not only to bring thoughts and ideas to you as the viewer but to remind myself of ‘the purpose’.

 

Distractions

I have been having a bit of a bad time as of late. Despite all the positive elements that can be picked out from the above.

My day job has become a tumultuous and unhappy relationship and I feel that I am coming to the end of my time there. This means that I’ve been actively searching to move elsewhere.  Job searching takes time unfortunately and it is not an activity I enjoy. It is the equivalent, to me at least, of choosing between two brands of spam, both tins are ultimately not the height of nutrition.

The lack of motivation with the same old same old has been making me less motivated in other corners of my life and I feel that the relationship with my company is no longer something I can service.

I’ve been an employee for 13.5 years and in that time, feel very under-appreciated. This has had a negative effect on bringing you timely posts and I apologise for that.

 

Habits

As part of feeling unsatisfied in general, I have fallen into some bad habits, rather than the proactive ones that I used to have. I realise that I’m going to have to modify these habits and eradicate them to put myself in a happy place again.

One of the ideas you might see banded around by bigwig bloggers is the notion of the right forms of habit-forming activity, a drill or a regime to organise the day for productivity. The only problem with this is that it can also squeeze fun out of your life. Spontaneity is thrown out of the window. I will have to create a regime that provides some rigidity and flexibility in equal measure.

 

Call to Action

If you follow this blog or not I’d welcome some quotes about motivation. So if you have a few minutes to spare, please email me at headboy@blogprefect.com and your words could be included in one of my upcoming articles.

Best wishes.

 

Jackson

Blog Prefect Situation Report January 2017

Firstly, Happy New Year, I hope you all had a great festive season however you celebrate! 2016 was a year of ups and downs (I’m not talking politically) so it is good to finally see a new year in.  They say you shouldn’t wish your life away and that is definitely true. I always like to think of a New Year starting as a prime time for a renewal of interest in all things.

On Blog Prefect I have stepped away from publishing purely seasonal articles mostly because they don’t have longevity. If Blog Prefect was a news site I would rely more on seasonality in my marketing mix. This is a little departure to inform you of what is going on with the blog. Undoubtedly this article will date so I will only be leaving it up until the end of March this year.

There are a number of elements to address in this report so without further ado, let’s get into it.

Traffic Reports

The Blog Prefect Traffic reports are my most fun element of writing for BlogPrefect.com. I have developed dashboards, get to interact with all of the analytic goodies and generally talk over the data. I enjoy stats a great deal, doesn’t have to be mine. I have always been a statistic fan.

These are officially on Hiatus for a number of reasons:

Anomalous Data

There was a period during the Trump election where data, especially on Google Analytics, became very unreliable due to an attack by, you guessed it, Russians. The Trump election wasn’t the only sign of dodgy dealings so lay down your Kalashnikov. There were some other unpleasant marketing ploys which have warped the analytical data. It will take me a while to sterilise the infected elements. When producing my dashboards I rely on two sources of data, one of those is compromised at this time.

Low Numbers

My readership of this blog has dropped to a whimper. Part of this is my own fault for not pushing more content and doing more to keep the tribe moving. Otherwise my competition is doing better so I am bound to take a hit.

My Concern

I often feel that my Traffic Reports, whilst informative, take out the wooden bat on myself and beat me. Also, as posts are in short supply at the moment they become the only post some months which doesn’t look great.

Blog Re-tuning

Last year I performed a mass effort to clear deadwood and non-performing posts. I’ve deleted a lot of content. Some of this content occasionally scored hits which provided me some inflow of visitors. They just happened to be the type that didn’t gel with my other content. Until I have more of the right material on the blog, I need to improve what I already have.

Until I feel that the traffic is making a positive bounce Traffic reports will be on hold until further notice. I will still continue to record data and generate monthly dashboards but they will not be on public view.

Image/Logo

I will be refreshing the logo this year to aid with branding efforts. I will be continuing to use the FIMO related picture logo but will create a new scheme for this year with some alternate colours.

Social branding will be uniform.

Watermarks will be applied to personally produced images. (I will be continuing to use Pixabay images.)

Theme

I am quite happy still with the Premium Clicky theme. It does everything I need it to beyond the defaults that were provided with the WordPress install.

Welcome Page

This area needs work as I feel by the data presented that it is a poor converter to viewings. I will be revealing more on this during 2017.

General Feel

I have grown a little distant from BlogPrefect.com over recent time owing to the fact that post-graduation I’ve had a lot to rekindle. I aim to return the sense of fun I initially had with this blog back when I started in June of 2013.

Part of my major plan going forwards is to complete my first science fiction novel. It is currently residing in a 3rd draft status and moving along well.

For BlogPrefect.com over the past year I had really enjoyed some participation between Ahmad Imran and Eli Seekins and want to make this flourish and hopefully carry this interaction on going forwards but with new faces also. I have also enjoyed Twitter immensely whilst Google+ has dwindled.

Current BP project

I’m putting together a toolkit for new bloggers at this time to cover off on a blog post I floated in December. This toolkit will feature in the Resources page and may replace the welcome page.

This was entitled 7 Steps to Take Before Launching a New Blog in January. I have one of these steps covered in detail so far and am not far off launching it. The next will follow.

 

A Callout to You the Viewer

This site is not intended for my own pleasure so if you have a burning desire for something to be covered in detail regards blogging (or any of its constituent activities) feel free to contact me.

headboy@blogprefect.com

Via twitter on @blogprefect

Even leave a message in the comments.

Day 501, The almost Monday Tuesday Post

I have been writing on my blog for 501 days on the date of publishing this post. It was only yesterday that I had a brain wave about my current strategy and it has been formed over the past month during October, one that has proved to be a disappointment on the same time last year.

This is a slight diversion to my philosophical adventures looking more at reasons why I’ve been struggling over the past year and a bit.

Day 501, The almost Monday Tuesday Post

501 days almost monday tuesday post

The truth is, I’m often my worst critic, I am often hard on myself with lofty expectations of what I want to achieve but without the necessary time spent performing that change.

There have also been a number of triggers to this forward decision.

  • I know I can do better

I feel super pumped about this blogging. I love and have always loved writing. It’s coming together.

  • I have to do better

Because upon reflection, the only way is up, baby. (Yes, that is a song lyric hidden in there)

  • I want to break myself out of a “comfortable uncomfortable” situation

This is the kind of work I want to do in future, period.

  • Now is the time

I’ve got no dependents, there is no restriction, the economy is as stable as it can be (touch wood).

  • Lack of the right feedback

Because if I have been doing it wrong, you audience haven’t been saying enough about it. Stop being so nice! Apart from that, there aren’t enough of you!

The core of my issue:

I’m busy. I work 9-5:30 weekdays with a job that already uses a lot of computer knowledge that drains my brain. I like to relax after work with certain shows. I watch Neighbours (an Australian soap) religiously, I am currently watching Defiance, Under the Dome, Gotham, Dr Who and The agents of shield at the moment. I have to cook my own dinner (and I enjoy cooking) but it takes time. I wash and iron my own clothes, go shopping for my groceries and do house related stuff. I often write on diversionary topics because I have come up with tons of great ideas for Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. I also enjoy playing Blood Bowl (a computer game adapted from a Games Workshop board game) and The Sims 4 (which has taken a bit of a sideline recently). Of my YouTube subscriptions, 3 of them involve people playing and reviewing video games (LGR, Angry Joe Show and JackSepticEye).

On top of that I have my study for DD309, the final module of my Honours Degree in Business Studies which I have been working on entirely from home since 2008. The third tier modules are harder, require considerable reading effort and have longer, more involved assignments. So I fit this in where I can and it normally forms a high priority.

Then, to make it more complicated I am the guy who sorts out all of the payments on a shared house. I live with my ex-girlfriend (but not through choice) in a fairly small terraced dwelling. We both have new partners and I tend to romp with my girlfriend to all sorts of places. I enjoy bowling and the cinema with my squeeze and she has quite a record of beating me at both pool and air hockey (grrr).

I also like to see my ma and pa who live 45 minutes away in a place that has one of the worst bottlenecks in the universe, worsened now by a certain supermarket beginning with “W” (not WalMart).

So, it becomes a great juggling act. Often times I am forced to compromise on something and much of the time that is Blog Prefect.

Over the past 2-3 months I have had a rather slim amount of time available. The time that I used to bathe in has been eroded by exam prep, more trips out with my girlfriend and some/most of the listed distractions.

What do I not have time for?

I don’t have time to write a lot of the articles to the depth and level of thought that I used to be able to. I note that my epic, well performing posts, were written when I had plenty of time. Whilst I have written some “Bobby Dazzlers” recently, they pale in comparison to my big guns, two of which were scribed at the very start of the year.

My Google+ Hegemony, the place I have been doing best in my Social Media entry to the site, has died down considerably. I need to improve my methods, my scope, my participators, my reciprocal sharing, my circle penetration, reinvigorate the blog prefect community page and otherwise kick ass.

Twitter is doing well at the moment, I have picked up a ton of new followers, all of them appear to be awesome and I have some of my fellow bloggers to thank for this. However, my Twitter critical mass is miniscule. I pull about as much weight as a sickly parrot. I need more time to be a boss and take over the world. The branding on my Twitter needs work.

Tumblr, despite my efforts, is not pulling its weight. It is not pulling in the punters. I need more time to discover what works better. I already know the answer is images but I don’t have frickin’ time for images!

Facebook is currently a dead loss. I currently feel that any time spent on this is a waste because with my limited time, I can’t sustain the required impact. Many have complained that Facebook is a bit Facebroke and I can’t afford the time to spend on this platform. I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook but many of the experts cry red, black and blue murder that Facebook is liquid platinum.

StumbledUpon was an experiment but I don’t have the high-end articles required to really shine there. I often look with envy at what is kicking about on SU because I need to have the time to craft that epic shiz too!

LinkedIn was started but I felt nervous in going further so it has gathered dust ever since. I could probably make this place work but don’t have the time.

Besides all that…

I actually hate adverts. This is why you may find my site contains nothing in the way of Adsense or Adwords. There aren’t even any affiliate links here. I did for a time run a Fiverr advert for my own service, the service idea was a flop and so I let the dust gather on Fiverr. I need to do better at presentation of my awesome.

Social Media Marketing & Networking are not areas I’ve mastered

I managed to get my followers (with some supreme help) in Google+ to 1,800+, very few of those interact with my stuff but it is mostly because I haven’t been a great participator myself. I’ve been taking a bit too much recently and not giving back which has led to a drop in my overall G+ activity. My community page for Blog Prefect never reached any mass so I stopped updating it a long time ago.

Twitter has some momentum but because I have tragically little time I can’t capitalise on it. In truth Twitter sat dead for almost a year because I had a brain freeze on how to use it effectively. It was only when one of my friendly bloggers and my sister added me that I started to get momentum, up until that point I had no movement at all.

There are lots of other areas I’ve partially explored with poor results including; StumbledUpon, Tumblr, Facebook & LinkedIn.

There are many more social time sinks that have not yet been explored but I realise will swallow my precious time if I even step foot near them.

So what does this all mean and where am I getting to?

Blog Prefect is one of my joys to write for and this is not some veiled announcement that I’m going to be shutting up shop. If anything, Blog Prefect has got me through some hard times because it is the one consistent element of my world that I feel in control of. Being the boss is ace!

However, I am going to take a period out of my standard schedule to work on an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). I make no earnings from Blog Prefect and at time of writing it has only turned in a loss (through the hosting, domain name and Market Samurai). I believe that at the crux of some of my issues is the lack of a product. This feeling has been galvanised by seeing so many of my compatriots make a better fist of the importance of sales.

I want to have a go at an eBook and have a strong lean towards this as the next piece of cement to my infrastructure. I want to be able to start learning about the marketing involved around my own product and actually make Blog Prefect pay for itself.

The most fun I’ve had in recent time is collaboration with other bloggers and this is something I will be concentrating on going forwards.