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Featured Writer Friday — Thomas Slatin

  • June 4, 2018

The following article was adapted from an interview on May 4, 2018 with with Dan Swords.

This week’s Featured Writer Friday guest is Tom Slatin.

My name is Thomas Slatin, and I am an American writer, photographer, and website designer.  I run a hugely successful blog, TomSlatin.com, which is part photo gallery, part online writing magazine, and part web design resource.  Somehow I manage to incorporate the greater part of two decades of web design, writing, and photography into my massive blog, which I update on a daily basis.

1. How long have you been blogging?
I started using WordPress about 12 years ago, though I first started blogging in 2003 using Blogger.com.  I have been proficient with computers since a very early age.

2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?
I originally attended college for Computer Science with a focus on Information Technology and Internet, with a minor in English. Halfway through college I changed my major to Emergency Medicine and later trained to become a Paramedic. Realizing my ultimate dream was to become self-employed, I left college and pursued my own path.

Prior to pursuing a career as a writer and photographer, I worked full time as an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter for a little over 17 years. At age 18, I was already a New York State Emergency Medical Technician; I later earned certification as a Firefighter shortly thereafter.

My very first website was created using Notepad and HTML in 1994. By 1998 I was self employed as a website designer and had been hired as an independent contractor for a municipality to work as their webmaster and head of IT department.

I have been writing and taking photographs using SLR and manual cameras since the age of 8. Today I create my images using a variety of vintage film cameras as well as the latest cutting-edge digital SLR cameras. I photograph mostly professional grade digital, through sometimes medium or large format film, specifically 120mm and 4×5 inches.

The Eagle’s Nest

3. What got you started into blogging?
Blogging was a spin-off from designing layouts and pages using HTML and tables. I had already made websites using Microsoft FrontPage, along with hand-coded CSS and style sheets, etc. Later on, NetObjects Fusion became my go-to application to manage the large amount of information I was putting online.

Once blogs became vogue, it was much easier and more efficient to create a series of templates and have the information stored in a database, which was scalable, searchable, and well organized.

4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?
My blog chronicalizes my creative career, specifically writing, photography, and website design.  The goal of my blog, and the way in which my blog helps others is by informing, educating, and inspiring my audience.  Specifically, a couple of years ago, an otherwise abandoned property was saved by a commercial developer after I posted photographs of it on my blog.  Additionally, my original 80 Journal Writing Prompts went viral several years ago, reaching a peak of 21,000 views in a single day; it continues to perform well to this day.

5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?
I get a lot of traffic to my blog, the overwhelming majority of my traffic comes from StumbleUpon, a lot of my traffic comes from Twitter, and LinkedIn. A small amount of traffic comes from other blogs, and Facebook but it isn’t much.

Blogging tips and more from Tom Slatin.

6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?
Facebook, for sure. I get little or no traffic or visits from Facebook. I have well over 20,000 followers on my Facebook page, though rarely, if ever, does that equate to any more than a small handful of visits to my blog. Additionally, I have had very limited success with sponsored posts on various social media platforms.

7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to?
I use WordPress exclusively for my blog.  I also generate a lot of my visuals using Canva (canva.com).  My blog would never have been successful without the addition of a lot of visual effects, graphic art, and of course, my original photography.

8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?
Several pieces of advice are applicable here.

First, if you have any plans to monetize your blog, either immediately or in the future, or if there is any possibility that monetization may be something you would one day look into, I suggest spending a little extra money and paying for your blog to be hosted commercially.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is signing up for free blog hosts only to realize later on that they are restricted from making money from their blog and/or are restricted from posting various types of content. Find a web host that is right for you at the very beginning. I have uses DreamHost (DreamHost.com) since 2005, and their policy is the most lenient one I have ever encountered; basically, if it’s legal in the United States, then it’s okay to host with them.

Second, do not post pictures taken with your cell phone. They may look good on Facebook or Instagram, but anyone who knows anything at all about photography will see your photography as amatuer. You certainly do not need to purchase an expensive camera similar to the ones I use, but you will still need to use quality images on your blog. There are many places to buy photography, often for very little money. A quick search for stock photography will likely bring up an exhaustive list of resources, far and beyond the scope of this article.

Finally, network! Network with anyone and everyone who shares your interests, specifically any topics covered on your blog. And as far as topics are concerned, never have more than three topics covered on any single blog. You should be spending as much time writing and creating and publishing on your own blog as you do commenting and engaging with other bloggers. My blog has an open comment policy, so feel free to drop in and post a couple of comments on my blog.

9. Where can everyone find you?
blog URL – TomSlatin.com
Twitter – Twitter.com/twps
Facebook – Facebook.com/thomasslatin
Instagram – Instagram.com/tomslatin
And other social media accounts
IMDB – imdb.com/name/nm9435204/
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/tomslatin/
Flickr – www.flickr.com/photos/twps/
500px – 500px.com/twps

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26 Comments on Featured Writer Friday — Thomas Slatin

  • Sylvia says:
    June 21, 2020 at 11:25 AM

    New bloggers can learn a lot from your blog. I just like how well designed it is.

    Reply

  • Storm says:
    June 21, 2020 at 11:24 AM

    Wow, I had no idea that you have 20,000 followers on Facebook. That’s a lot of followers.

    Reply

  • Anderson says:
    June 21, 2020 at 11:23 AM

    Your blog has so much content. You have done really well for yourself.

    Reply

  • Shantel says:
    June 21, 2020 at 11:22 AM

    I have always wanted to know hot to code in HTML. Unfortunately I haven’t got time to do it.

    Reply

  • Louis says:
    June 21, 2020 at 11:21 AM

    25 years of blogging! You have done this for a long time Tom!!

    Reply

  • Teddy says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:36 AM

    I like how you can be found on practically every platform out there. That’s very impressive to be honest.

    Reply

  • Daphne says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:35 AM

    From a paramedic to a photographer. You sure have been through many careers.

    Reply

  • Oliver says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:34 AM

    It’s surprising that you don’t get much traffic from Facebook. One would think that would be the biggest source of traffic.

    Reply

  • Patricia says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:32 AM

    Wow, you have been blogging for a very long time. The quality of the work speaks for itself.

    Reply

  • Meg W says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:31 AM

    Thanks for pointing out the importance of paying for hosting. I learnt the hard way.

    Reply

  • Roy says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:30 AM

    Thanks for the great insight on blogging. There is a lot to learn here.

    Reply

  • Rickard says:
    June 21, 2020 at 10:29 AM

    There is so much to learn about blogging from this. As an aspiring blogger this is a treasure of information for me.

    Reply

  • David Tjoe says:
    June 21, 2020 at 3:53 AM

    Good post, so people can get to know and understand you better here. Wow, a big decision must be made in pursuit of a big dream.

    Reply

  • Oyeyipo Oladele says:
    June 21, 2020 at 3:14 AM

    This is so nice and good writeup from your desk. I am glad you did share it.

    Reply

  • Meldred Judith says:
    June 20, 2020 at 11:33 PM

    Thank you for this write up, Thomas. You have inspired a million for sure.

    Reply

  • Alex says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:52 PM

    I have been following you for a while now and I had always learned things from you.Now that you are dropping your biography, I admire you even more. Good job!!!

    Reply

  • Janine Bocateja says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:22 PM

    Keep on doing what you love man! It really shows that you’re enjoying your passion. Thank you for sharing your bio and inspiring aspiring asrtists out there!

    Reply

  • Maury Cheskes says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:01 PM

    Great advice for aspiring artists from someone with lived in experience. I think your story is a great reminder how you don’t have to have everything figured out early on and that having background in different fields can benefit your overall success. I agree that networking is hugely important along with the right foundation for blogging and sharing ideas. Your photography is always beautifully shot and open to interpretation with various stylistic elements. Thank you for being diligent in posting your work and always offering helpful insights.

    Reply

  • claryui19 says:
    June 20, 2020 at 8:51 PM

    Thank you for reflecting your journey as a writer, photographer, and website designer to us, you’re really amazing. You are a great inspiration to everyone who wants to start following your directions.This tips will surely help those who wants to start a blog.

    Reply

  • Danielle M says:
    June 20, 2020 at 7:33 PM

    Iadmire your job Tom, you take amazing pictures and manage your own blog, I tried to have a blog but i gave up 3 months later.

    Reply

  • David Mureithi says:
    June 20, 2020 at 2:37 PM

    You have been a great photograher, especially noting that you started at 8 years. Amazing! And again, you also coded back then. It is great to learn a lot from you. I also need to monitize my site and considering starting late this year. I will follow all of your directions. Thanks Tom!

    Reply

  • Prince says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:37 AM

    “I have been writing and taking photographs using SLR and manual cameras since the age of 8”, I see why you talk with authorities and produces great works. Lovely write up. I love you story

    Reply

  • Sharon Stone says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:25 AM

    One needs to spend ample time on creative writing and in publishing the blog. I believe that will increase the vocabulary and writing skills.

    Reply

  • Wilson Jake says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:01 AM

    Leaving college and pursued my own path was a big move and I am happy it paid off Thomas. And your advice on new bloggers, I’m sure i will sign up for commercial hosting because surely i will monetize

    Reply

  • conrad villas says:
    June 20, 2020 at 8:57 AM

    I am just impressed with your biography. Nowadays, people tend to do the things that they think are easy and things that can generate money. They forgot that they need to pursue their happiness in there own way.

    Reply

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