Leaving Work Behind

How to Take Perfect Screenshots for Blog Posts

Written by Tom Ewer on May 26, 2015. 23 Comments

As a WordPress writer, I tend to take a lot of screenshots.

But I’m no graphic designer – far from it. So how do I go about taking top quality screenshots?

It turns out that this is more complicated than one might think. You want to offer up a beautiful screenshot, but you don’t want the file to be so big that it takes an age for the image to download.

My solution serves up crystal clear screenshots that are far less resource-intensive than you might imagine. In this post I’ll show you the difference between my process and a ‘standard’ JPEG image, then give you instructions to achieve the same effect.

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The Untold Reality of Successful Blogging (For Genuine People Only)

Written by Tom Ewer on February 3, 2015. 88 Comments

How can I help?When I first set out on this road back in May 2011, I had aspirations to be a “big” blogger.

I wanted to be up there with the Pro Bloggers and Smart Passive Incomes of the blogosphere. I wanted to attract huge number of visitors and accrue subscribers at an exponential rate.

I gobbled up stories of bloggers who had amassed thousands (or tens of thousands) of subscribers in days, or even hours. I dreamt of publishing that one piece that went ‘viral’.

Why? Partly because of ego, but mainly because I assumed that the above achievements were prerequisites to success in the blogosphere. Based on what most ‘make money online’ bloggers say, I believed that you need to attract huge numbers of visitors and build an email list in the mid five figures (or more) to make big bucks.

How wrong I was.

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Why You Shouldn’t Automate Blog Outreach (And What You Should Do Instead)

Written by Tom Ewer on January 29, 2015. 44 Comments

RobotI received an email the other day from someone I know in the blogosphere.

He is a popular and successful blogger, earning well into five figures per month. I’ve featured him on Leaving Work Behind more than once and he has done the same in reverse. A quick Gmail search shows that we have exchanged well over a 100 emails since February 2013. So it’s fair to say that we have a bit of history.

Here’s the email in full, with identifying words obfuscated to protect the blogger’s anonymity:

Email 1

Not exactly what I was expecting from someone I know quite well in the blogosphere.

Actually, this email didn’t come as a total surprise, because I had received something similar back in December from him:

Email 2

I sent a playfully sarcastic response to this email “Hi [name], nice to meet you ;-)” but received no response.

This blogger is not alone in his automated outreach efforts though. Far from it.

For example, I’ve received so many emails recently from another blogger who interviewed me last year that it’s practically tantamount to harassment (four unsolicited emails this month without me actually replying to any of them). Each of these emails is a template with personalized touches added. More thoughtful than our above blogger’s emails, for sure, but it’s still clear that the purpose of each email (and the correspondence as a whole) is to get something from me. He wants me to promote his book, he wants to get a guest post published on my site (with a link, natch) and so on.

It’s gotten pretty tedious.

I used to feel bad about ignoring emails, but time and experience have led me to having no problem with it all these days. Don’t get me wrong – I still reply to all my readers and people who seem genuine – but I have no issue in hitting Delete whenever I see a form email, tweaked or not.

As someone who approaches blogging (and business) from a genuine “how can I help people” angle, I’ve gotten really sick of automated emails. It’s something I dabbled with in the past but backed out of pretty quickly. It’s just not something I feel comfortable with.

I’m sure that leveraging automation in the way that the above bloggers have done has led to some (perhaps a lot) of success, but it’s just not something I would ever want to put my name to. If you feel the same way, keep reading, because I want to show you that there is another way. Keep Reading

Introducing the Leaving Work Behind Blogging Mentorship Program

Written by Tom Ewer on January 21, 2015. 23 Comments

Blogging Mentorship ProgramI’m always looking for ways in which I can help you better.

That’s my modus operandi these days. I make enough money to pay the bills and put something aside for a rainy day, so rather that continuing to focus on making more simply for the sake of making more, why not instead focus on (a) doing things I love, and (b) helping people in the process?

That’s where this latest idea comes from. It’s actually an idea I’ve put into practice before, but now I want to bring it into the mainstream, as it were, here on Leaving Work Behind.

In a nutshell, if you want to blog but you don’t have the faintest idea of where to start, I want to help you every step of the way. Not only that, I want to do it completely free of charge.

Read on to discover more! Keep Reading

The New Leaving Work Behind Design: Success or Failure?

Written by Tom Ewer on December 2, 2014. 25 Comments

LWB BirdI launched a new design here on Leaving Work Behind a few weeks ago.

Most bloggers launch a new design in the hope that it will boost key metrics like average page views and bounce rate, with a view to ultimately boosting their bottom line. I took a contrarian approach based upon a vision of what I wanted the site to be. As I said when I announced the new design, “Sometimes you just need to do something because it feels right.”

It feels as right today as it did back then, but I know that some of you were interested in how the new design would perform. It’s a question I was keen to answer too – after all, it’s not every day that you get to observe the effects of such a radical design change.

In this post I’ll reveal just how the design has affected key metrics and then ask you for your comments and/or suggestions as to what I can do to make the site even more effective! Keep Reading