I’m immensely proud to say my MacTips website is a finalist in the category for Best content (personal) in the 2010 ONYAs – a celebration of New Zealand’s web industry:
Website: Mac Tips
Judges’ comment: “Clean, clear and to the point, Miraz’s site is an exemplar of utility, consistency and longevity. If you own a Mac (and who doesn’t?) subscribe.”
I started writing Eudora Tips way back in 1999, mainly to help out the clients I worked with. I set it up as a mailing list, and finally ceased the Eudora Tips around 5 years later, after about 237 Tips.
Meanwhile, my clients kept asking me the same questions over and over again about using their Macs, so in about 2001 I started a similar mailing list with general tips about using Macs.
The emphasis has always been on highly practical Tips suitable for beginners or intermediate users.
After a while I set up a website as an archive of all the Tips, and then a couple of years ago cancelled the mailing list. Subscribers can receive Tips by RSS, email (via Feedburner), or just by visiting the site.
The Tips have always been free, and no-one pays me for my work. Nor, sadly, do I receive freebies or discounts from Apple or anyone else. Ads on the site do cover hosting and domain name costs these days, and pay me around $0.02 per hour of time spent on the Tips and the site.
Now I add Tips about Macs, iPods, iPads, iPhones or software that runs on them at least weekly to the site, and have started an occasional Weekend Tip too. [I’d love guest posts, by the way. Contact me for details.]
In the last 10 years I’ve written the equivalent of around 6 novels.
The help I’ve had
Initially the Eudora Tips mailing list was kindly hosted by Glenn Anderson of the Eudora Internet Mail Server. That support was much appreciated. Eventually though the list moved elsewhere.
In around January of 2009 Tips reader James of PerformanceLogo created a wonderful logo for MacTips as a thanks for the help the Tips had given him. His logo helped me give MacTips a new, professional look, and more important, gave me a real boost of energy and enthusiasm.
The visitor surge
In fact, I think his generous gift directly sparked an increase in visitors, as I renewed my efforts to improve the site, improve the Tips and offer more variety. In July 2009 I started adding videos of some Tips to a YouTube channel, while a Facebook account and Twitter account both help the Tips reach a wider audience.
In May 2008 MacTips had around 2,000 views per month. 21/2 years later, in November 2010 that number was 62,000. That’s views rather than visitors. Google Analytics puts the visitors at 50,000 (Sept 08 was around 5,000, with no real data before then).
The first jump came just after I installed the new logo and started improving the look of the site.
To the point
I work very hard on writing my Tips, and am thrilled the judges commented that the site is:
Clean, clear and to the point. While these KnowIT blog posts are a place where I can ramble a bit, my writing has always leaned to the concise.
In fact it reminded me of a comment a lecturer once made on an essay I wrote for a 1st year paper in German at University:
Kurz wie immer (brief as always). I’ve always been proud of that one. 🙂
I’d hope the standout comment for MacTips would be:
useful as always. Here’s hoping.
I earn my living by writing. My paid work supports MacTips. If you have a writing job for me, please contact me through KnowIT. I’d love to hear from you and will be available from early January.