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Life In LoFi’s Los Angeles-area office

You may have noticed some changes and new things happening on Life In LoFi lately. Here’s what’s been going on and a peek at some of the plans we have in store, including our new writers, new content, and new look. It’s our State of the Blog post for May, 2015.

Life In LoFi’s New Writers

One of the things you may have noticed about the blog is the fact that we’re back writing it. Other than a few posts scattered over the previous year, LoFi had been mostly quiet. Things had picked up at my day job, Type A Design, and didn’t really let up for several months.

Not only are we back but we’re back with more voices. The catalyst was the sudden announcement that TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog was going dark. I contacted writer Mel Martin, whose reviews and posts on iPhone and Apple photography I’d followed for years on that blog. He liked what we’ve built here (and apparently he’d followed LoFi for a while as well). Mel is now an integral part of Life In LoFi and provides his unique perspective on iPhone and Mac photo apps, as well as approaching iPhoneography from a photographer’s standpoint. Mel’s reviews and insights have earned the trust of his readers over the years, myself included, and I’m happy that he’s sharing them here.

We are adding other writers and voices to LoFi as well. I’ve been in contact with others in the iPhoneography community for regular shingles here, not just guest posts or one-offs. As publisher, while I may not always agree with everything that gets written here, I trust the people who write this blog to cover an app or story objectively.

This means that you get trustworthy reviews and other content, updated regularly from writers who you may already know and trust. While I still post often here, I’m now off the hook for three posts a day. It’s a win for everyone.

LoFi’s New Look

We recently rolled out LoFi’s new makeover. What do you think?

Our new custom theme is still a magazine-style format, which I think works best for a site like this. I think it’s cleaner and less cluttered than our old theme, while still presenting content relevant to you. Visually, I’m not a huge fan of blog-style sites. And although they are sexy, I don’t think the photo-focused grid-style theme worked best for news and review focused content.

Our previous theme was old code, chewing up a lot of CPU clockcycles, too. The new theme is lightweight and has cleaner, newer code. LoFi now uses a CDN (Contnent Delivery Network) to better serve up files. Along with additional under-the-hood improvements, the site should now be noticeably faster for you with fewer errors. And I’m still making little tweaks to make the site work even better for you.

Also, our new theme is responsive and we’ll be flipping that switch soon.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of LoFi’s new theme — what you like and what you don’t like. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on the blog. And please let us know if you find anything that’s broken.

LoFi’s New Content, including new Events Calendar

We’ve now got an Events Calendar, a new feature to LoFi. It’s one place you can go for a quick overview of shows, exhibits and opportunities to show your works. As a reader and traveler, it’s where you can go to find any local iPhoneography/mobile photography gallery shows or exhibits, searchable by continent and region. We’ll also post Calls for Entries for shows and contests. It’s in the main menu up top.

If you have a show, exhibition, or contest coming up, use our Event Calendar submission form to let us know. The more content we have there, the more valuable the tool is for everyone.

Other new content includes our regular App of the Day feature. Rather than highlight every photo app that gets discounted (which can sometimes include a lot of iffy photo apps), this new regular feature spotlights one really good photo app that’s discounted. Some weeks, there are few, so this feature is run when there’s a good app. There’s no filler just to post about free stuff every day.

We’ve got some other unique new content and features in the works that we hope to roll out over the coming months, including a unique iPhoneography app, a Store and the return of Life In LoFi’s regular gallery feature.

Some of the features from years ago won’t be making it back in the foreseeable future. The time investment was too high for too little return, such as LoFi’s iPhone Apps Resolution Page. That was a huge time commitment to keep updated. Although it may return in a slightly edited form, right now that’s on the backburner.

Got any suggestions for new content you’d like to see? Let me know what features you like and what features you’d like for me to bring back.

Let’s Talk About Ads

Writing quality content takes time and I think writers deserve more than just a byline and a thank you for that time. LoFi now pays writers for their time and their content. Our new webhost (MDDHosting, who I highly recommend) is the fastest, most reliable, and most expensive LoFi has ever had. That means faster page loads and almost no down time (*cough cough* HostGator *cough cough*). This takes money and that means that LoFi needs to generate some.

So, yes, there are new and larger ads on the site. Yes, there will be new and bigger promotional ties ins. These are necessary to generate revenue. I check LoFi on my phone and MacBook regularly, so I promise that even though there may be increased ads on the site, we are implementing them better and less annoyingly than I’ve seen on a lot of other sites.

From time to time, there may be popup ads. These will be smaller and easily clicked through, not the annoying ones that cover up your entire screen forcing you to click the ad. Do you read I promise we will not be that website. The last thing I want to do is to risk hacking you off by making LoFi frustrating to navigate and read.

We are now accepting sponsored posts. For starters, they’ll be limited. If the demand is there, not more than two per month. They’ll be clearly marked as Sponsored posts. They’ll have to conform to LoFi’s editorial and content standards to be approved. I will not publish a sponsored post that I wouldn’t be willing to stand behind if I wrote it myself.

I really wish we didn’t have to expand our ad inventory. But in order to grow and publish the top-level content and features that I’ve mapped out, expenses will be greater than in the past. Here, I think I’ve hit the balance between serving relevant ad content with minimal reader pissed-offedness. Please let me know how we are doing at this.

In Conclusion

Life In LoFi started years ago as a way for me to share my own iPhoneography and that of others, as well as a platform for me to share cool iPhone photo apps I found and my thoughts on them. Thanks to the support of readers like you, over the years, it’s grown to be one of the go-to websites in an ever-growing field of mobile photography blogs.

I appreciate every time you visit this site. I never take for granted that you have plenty of quality options — more than ever now — to learn more about the art of iPhoneography. My goal is to make sure that you feel that every visit to LoFi is worthwhile and that you can take something helpful away from every visit.

There are some pretty cool things ahead for Life In LoFi! Thank you for your visit and thank you for reading this State of the Blog blog.

Marty Yawnick