This week marks the publication of issue #500 (Five Hundred!) of The Ask Leo Newsletter.
I’m taking the occurrence of this fairly random round number as an opportunity to make a few tweaks to the newsletter and what I do here at Ask Leo!.
Things are a’hoppin here at Ask Leo! world headquarters, that I can tell you.
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The Ask Leo! Answercast
With last week’s edition #160 I’ve decided to put The Ask Leo! Answercast on hiatus for a while.
As simple as it was in concept – I talk for 45 minutes or so and crack team of assistants and editors1 turn that into half a dozen published articles each week.
The original goal was to be able to answer more questions than if I had to write each one by hand. The problem is that not all questions can be answered just by talking. In fact, more and more questions really called for showing you the answer rather than just talking at you. That typically means articles written to include screen shots, and occasionally also step-by-step videos.
You may have noticed a couple of videos already making their way onto the site as a result.
So while I might not be able to get quite as many questions answered each week, the hope is that those I do answer will be answered more completely and clearly.
One of the other reasons the Answercast is on hiatus is to try and free up more time for publishing books. As I mentioned earlier this year, due to declining advertising revenue, it really is a key component to Ask Leo!’s survival.
The Ask Leo! Website
I’ve made a not-so-subtle change to the Ask Leo! web site; in part to make it more mobile friendly (the number of visitors coming to Ask Leo! from mobile devices has slowly been growing), and in part to make it simpler and easier to read.
There’s a trend in website design to do away with columns. And I have to admit that I really like the feel of visiting a site that simply shows you content. So that’s what I’ve done. Ask Leo! article pages are now single-column. The right hand column that included a newsletter subscription form, as well as an ad or two, is history.
Now, I can’t promise that they’ll stay this way. Newsletter subscriptions are an incredibly important part of what keeps Ask Leo! viable, and I’ve removed one of the ways that people can sign up. However the pop-up subscription form that you should only see once every 180 days, (though this may change to once a month) is, by far, the most effective way that I get subscriptions; so we’ll see if I can survive on that alone.
The same holds true for the lost ad revenue for the ads that had been displayed to the right. I’m hoping that the cleaner design will bring more visitors, and that the increased book efforts will help compensate for the loss.
Hopefully you’ll appreciate what feels like a cleaner and lighter feel to the pages.
The Ask Leo! Newsletter
When I changed the website design last year I didn’t follow through completely on the look-and-feel of the newsletter, so I’ve made a couple of simple tweaks that make the newsletter resemble the site a little more.
In addition to the departure of Answercasts from the newsletter, I’ve re-instated the featured glossary item. Be sure and let me know if you have a word that you’d like to see defined.
This last week I had a non-tech, non-Ask Leo! opportunity made available to me. I’m not ready to be more specific just yet, but I’ll absolutely be announcing it here when it’s more fleshed out. I think that many of you will appreciate what might be happening.
I’m also investigating making askleo.com an https site, in part to support your privacy and in part to simply make a statement. No, there’s nothing particularly sensitive about the data presented and exchanged on Ask Leo!, but https thwarts a certain level of snooping nonetheless. It also makes administration of my site just a tiny bit more secure when I’m out and about.
The bottom line resulting from this weeks changes simply boils down to this:
- More in-depth, how-to and illustrative articles
- A cleaner look and feel
- More books
- Continued Ask Leo!
Thanks, as always, for your continued interest and support. It’s truly appreciated.
And yes, I’m looking forward to hitting newsletter #1,000 some day. 🙂
Next week: survey results – some of which actually factored in to this week’s changes.