Current status:

Working on my ‘inspiration list’. 💭 A great idea from Colin Devroe’s personal blogging tips.

He kindly commented on my most recent post where I had unearthed an old list of ten things I had learned after a year of blogging.

Sharing his own list of tips, all of which rang true, the following one struck an instant chord:

“In your notebook or notes app write down some topics you’d like to write about someday. Make it long. Like, 50 items. Don’t worry too much about what should be on it just start writing the list down. When you can’t think of anything to write about look at that list and simply pick any one at all and check it off.”

This is a great idea which aligns perfectly with my goal to write more this year. ✍️

Thanks Colin. 🤝

More on blogging…

https://jamesmichie.com/blog/2011/02/10-things-ive-learned-in-a-year-of-blogging/

Ten years on and most of the points in the above post still hold up. Except for number nine, that is. If I were writing the post today, I would say forget about SEO and analytics. Instead double down on point number one. All that matters is what you write.

On blogging…

This…

“Blog posts can be edited, added to, improved upon.

If you missed something, you can fix it.”

~ Kleon, Austin, Blogging as a forgiving medium, 2021

Reminded me of this…

“It’s foolish to wait until you’ve made something that’s perfect, because you never will. The alternative is to continue to move toward your imaginary ideal, shipping as you iterate.”

~ Godin, Seth, Toward Perfect, 2020

As Austin notes, blogging is the ‘forgiving medium’ because it affords you the opportunity to treat your writing iteratively; practising and learning in public. This can be a daunting notion but it can also be deeply rewarding.

No one is going to be upset if you go back and revise something you have already published. You will gain from it and so will your readers. After all, the more you ship, the more you push back against the resistance and improve as a writer.

Current status:

Appreciating how freeing it has been to write about more than education, technology and productivity on my blog over the last few years.

Setting constraints can help give a project focus but it is important to recognise if the restrictions you put in place are stifling your creativity.

Do not be afraid to liberate yourself from self-imposed limitations.

Do Not Track

Over the last four years, I have worked hard to make my blog as light, secure and privacy conscious as possible. ‘Https’ is forced across my entire domain; it is hosted on a European server; uses no analytics (Google and/or Jetpack); and the least amount of plugins1 possible.

When visiting my blog you should find that it is fast and, most importantly, not tracking you.

This is true most of the time but there are some exceptions where content has been embedded from external sites. The list of offenders is small (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram) but I am not happy that their presence allows them to intrude on my readers’ privacy none the less. It also meant, arguably, that I was not fully GDPR compliant.

Doing some research into this issue, I came across a post by Dries Buytaert discussing the ‘cookies’ that are installed from embedded YouTube videos. He discovered that YouTube provides a privacy-enhanced way to embed videos on your blog without leaving a cookie. Instead of using youtube.com you can use youtube-nocookie.com instead.

I finally got round to putting this into practice and spent a couple of hours this morning editing all of the YouTube videos embedded on my blog to use the following code:

<iframe src="https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/video-id" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Testing a post in Safari, it is clear that it has worked correctly. The YouTube video is embedded and plays as expected but no trackers were contacted.

No Trackers

While doing this, I also found a number of broken links and some embedded audio files that were no longer working. I fixed those along the way, making for a very productive morning. Winning! 😃

The next step is to see if I can achieve the same with the handful of tweets and Instagram posts that I have embedded on my blog.

  1. Currently seven; four of which are helping to keep different aspects of my blog secure.[]