Introduce yourself, why did you start blogging?
I started creating websites in 1996, and by 1998 I had landed a job in IT. For many years, I created websites in HTML using a variety of software suits. As time went on, my sites grew to massive sizes, making maintenance and organization a nightmare. Eventually, I migrated the content to a modern content management system, which is now referred to as a blog.
How did you come up with your blog name?
I just used my name, Tom Slatin. I wanted something that would be easily identifiable as being mine, and something that nobody could ever reasonably claim as their own trademark.
What type of content do you generally post on your blog?
I went to college for information technology, then I changed my major to English and
Literature, then I decided to pursue medicine. Eventually, I gave up on college and went on to work a series of random unrelated jobs. I eventually landed a job as an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter, a job which I kept for just short of 18 years.
The majority of my blog posts are long-form written narratives and original photography. There are about a hundred free WordPress themes available for download on my blog as well, many of them have been used as themes for other peoples blogs.
What are your main struggles as a blogger?
My only complaint is that very few people comment on my blog. This has been my main struggle since the very beginning. I have well over 500,000 followers collectively, across the main social media sites, including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, though very few people comments. I get an enormous amount of visitors and traffic, and even advertising revenue, but very few comments.
What are your favourite tools for blogging?
I absolutely love WordPress. I love the way it works, the way in which posts are organized, and written, and the extensive amount of plugins which extend the functionality of the platform.
As far as photography is concerned, I am absolutely in love with my Canon 5D Mark IV camera, and the multitude of lenses. I also photograph with medium and large format film cameras, though it has proven slow and impractical for everyday blogging. But on occasion, I will post film based photography on my blog.
What is your favourite social media site for interacting with your readers?
There exists a tie between Twitter and Instagram, the reason for my decision is based solely on the number of followers and interaction on those two platforms.
What is your favourite post that you have written? And why?
I have been writing and taking pictures with an SLR since the young age of 8, so to select a favourite post from over 30 years worth of work would be exceedingly difficult, so I have narrowed my scope to the past few years. In recent times, my favourite blog post is Thomas Slatin, On Writing. I was inspired to write this post as an answer to all of the questions that people have been asking me about my writing since I started.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a blogger?
Be sure to sign up for paid web hosting if you are planning on blogging long term. Stay away from free hosting services, especially those which will advertise on your content. I have been hosting with DreamHost since the very beginning, and they provide outstanding service, in my opinion.
Ideally, you will want to publish at least two posts a week, more is better. I post every single day at 9 AM here in New York, which has worked well. After a year or so, you will want to start looking for opportunities to promote your blog. If at any time someone offers you a means to promote your blog, take it. Don’t think twice. I am one of the lucky ones who has been featured in the news and given radio station interviews. Seize every single opportunity to promote your blog, even if it is commenting and posting links on other peoples blogs.
Everyone is welcome to comment on my blog and include relevant links; please tell a friend.
In addition to posting content, you will also need to moderate and respond to blog comments. Always keep comments open on your blog, and always respond to comments in a timely and thoughtful manner. If you want to maintain a good blog, you will need to communicate with your readers. It is also a very good idea to include your email address in the footer of your blog for press and media inquiries.
Thank you so much, Thomas, for participating in my ‘Meet the Blogger’ series. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you’re new here, be sure to check out his social media and blog with a little comment saying you found them via BryoniBurnsBlog.com.