Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Future of Chris Townsend Outdoors


Writer at work

My website has a new look, as many of you will have noticed.  Along with the update I’ve finally got round to revising some of the pages too. The new design, not yet complete, has been done by Kieran Baxter – I don’t have the skills to do this myself. Comments on the new look and content are welcome. 

The site has changed before but not for a few years. My first website was launched eighteen years ago. It was a fairly static affair. Blogging software didn’t exist and editing the site was a slow awkward process so I rarely made any changes. Nine years ago this changed and I added a blog to the site, which has been running ever since (1043 posts before this one – all still available). 

Revising the site has made me think about the future and what I’d like to do here. I have many ideas but not enough time. I’d like to give the site more attention and put some of these into practice. To do that I need to find a way to make some income from the site as it means taking time away from other work that pays now. I write and take photographs for a living and need to go on doing that.  I’ve been pondering how to do this for quite a long time. I don’t want to take advertisements (companies ask if they can advertise every so often) or host paid-for click-bait articles (I’m offered those too). I don’t want to go down the subscriptions route either. I want my work to be free to all without any extraneous material. One of the pleasures of the web is coming across sites that are interesting and exciting and also being able to return to sites you like without having to pay. I wouldn’t want my site to be hidden behind a paywall. 

This leaves one option. Pay As You Feel, aka Pay What You Want. There are many sites with this now and I’m joining them. It means that if you wish you can donate whatever you think my work is worth. There’s no obligation, no requirements, no commitment. The site will remain free to all. How it develops will depend on how much money I can raise however. 

Please let me know what you think of this idea and also what you’d like to see on the site. 


13 comments:

  1. Blues music never hurts.

    ;)

    Good luck with the new approach!

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    1. Thanks Scott. Blues music will certainly be appearing on Facebook & Twitter and maybe even here :-)

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  2. Hi, not sure why you object to adverts. Site visitors are so well used to seeing adverts on webpages. Most understand that an advert on your page does not imply endorsement.
    You could have adverts PLUS pay as you like.
    Bottom line as a visitor I am interested in good and informative content and anything you as a content provider have to do to to facilitate that within reason is fine by me.
    Hope that helps your deliberations

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    1. Thanks. I'll see how this goes and maybe reconsider adverts - strictly selected!

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  3. What about support from the MCS, BMC, outdoors publications to advertise? I can see why sponsorship from gear manufacturers could be a conflict of interest.

    Ive bought your books in both hard copy and on my Kindle app after reading about them featured on your blog, so maybe you could publish more excerpts to maybe boost sales even more? Ive always thought an audio podcast of your trips and photography would make a great bonus from time to time.

    Anyway, good luck with whatever you go with!

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    1. Thanks Jay. Ads from non-gear companies could be worth considering.

      Excerpts from books is a good idea - maybe from out of print ones too.

      Audio and video are both in my plans. I just need to practise!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I always enjoy reading your blog and take great store from your gear reviews. Have you seen Alistair Humprey's blog where he invites you to 'buy him a coffee for £2.50' Perhaps you could charge a nominal fee to read your gear reviews. I'd be happy to pay as it saves me paying for an Outdoor magazine that perhaps I didn't really want other than the review.

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    1. Thanks for that idea Sue. Another one to consider!

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  6. Hi there, I'm here because I've just finished your lovely book "Out There" which reminded me that I'd always enjoyed your gear reviews when I was a more active magazine buyer than I am presently. Enjoying your writing brought me to look for your website on this drizzly afternoon.

    I too like the "buy me a coffee" idea, (or cup of tea), as it's friendly, it's the sort of thing you'd do when you bump into an old friend and sit down for a chat, which is what reading your blog feels like.

    I don't like sites that are peppered with ads however I don't mind the moderate use of them. I know that it requires a little monitoring at the beginning to ensure that the ads are not for gambling emporiums or the like, it's worth taking the time to ensure that the ads are in line with your own values.

    Have you thought about how your website is hosted? Green hosting would reinforce the values you write you write about and hold dear. It's not something that many of us give much consideration to however since my partner and I have lived off grid for some years now we do think about these things more, about changing the little things (disclosure: we offer green hosting).

    Anyway, thanks for sharing all that you do, it's wonderful to find such good information and thorough reviews. I'm even thinking of shaking the dust of my 25 year old tent now and going camping again. You've inspired me once again :)

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  7. Hi Miriam, thanks for your comments. More to think about! I must admit I've never heard of green hosting. I'll look into it.

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  8. I am a self-confessed luddite and therefore not qualified to advise or comment on topics such as advertising or marketing generally. The reason I check in frequently with your blog is that you are honest and upfront with your views and very clearly care deeply about the fate of wild land. In the current climate - no pun intended - that matters enormously to someone like me. Personally I would prefer that you remain 100% per cent independent, though others may question how that should be defined.

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  9. Hi Chris, I'm finally going down this route as well. It can be quite time consuming to keep blogs fresh and interesting so I agree with you that this is the way to go (when I can work out how to add the paypal button to my site!)

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