A Year In Review – 2018 – Must Contain Minis

I found 2018 extremely busy. So many things pulled on my time. I had courses, work, and a move all pulling me away from the hobby. Regardless, I still kept Must Contain Minis up and running and gamed whenever I could. Today’s post is a year in review of 2018 and what to expect from MCM in 2019.

School Work and a New House

Outside of Must Contain Minis, I took a CompTIA Network+ course through my local college and moved to a new house. The move happened to be a major disruption to MCM that still pulls upon my time. That said, the move is for the absolute best. I have a great new house and we have a few projects planned that will improve our lives for both our hobby and living space.

The first project is a conversion of the office. We plan to transform the office into a painting and craft room (with some office functionality). This will be a dedicated space for me to paint, assemble and take showcase pictures of miniatures for Must Contain Minis. It will also remain the space where I type articles up for Must Contain Minis and Bell of Lost Souls.

The second big project that affects this site is that we plan to finish our basement. The basement will contain my gaming space.

I plan to buy portable photography lights and make the space into a gaming studio. I might get into YouTube down there, but my primary goal is to keep up with the written and photographic content instead. Originally, I was looking at a lighting set at Henry’s that would run me around $600, but now I see Canadian Amazon finally has options for more affordable lighting kits. Do any of my American or Canadian readers have experience with the $60 to $250 kits available from Amazon? If so, please let me know in the comments below what you thought of those lights.

Below are the equivalents of the lights I am looking at (it looks like they are sold by a different company in Canada, but the product pictures are the same).

For this month and the year ahead, the schooling will continue outside of the site. Right now, I am taking CompTIA A+ Computer Training through PluralSight and an AV Installation course through AVIXA. My full-time work outside of Must Contain Minis is as an Audio Visual Technician that takes care of (and provides end-user support for) the AV gear in a large office building. After those courses, there are more in the same vein that I would like to take. I guess it is good to be busy.

Website Migration

Back in January, I started a website migration from Blogger over to WordPress. This was a huge project. Initially, the migration went fairly smoothly, but there were a number of smaller items that I had to wrestle with over a longer period of time.

Two of those challenges, were to re-establish my connection to AdSense and to change over my Affiliate Amazon Links over to a different system and methodology of linking. Being that MCM relies on Affiliate Sales and Advertising to help cover costs, it was kind of a big deal that these items were out for an extended duration of time.

Another more tedious task that I had to deal with was the changing of image links to over 2000 images. Over the course of the year, I went through every single past post and manually changed the link attached to every individual image from Google Photos to my new WordPress server. That task took a long time to complete and is something that then end user would likely not even notice. Whether you noticed or not, it was something that I had to do to complete the migration. I am so happy to be done that job!!!

A Change in Social Media

Early in 2018, I wrote a post about my Social Media Strategy. In all honesty, it came across as more of a laundry list on what platforms I planned to use with a little of what I wanted to do with them. The distribution of my links and generation of traffic that I hoped from Social Media did not work out, but it did become a great way to interact with the fans of MCM and share pictures.

For those that don’t know, the way Facebook displays links to potential readers has changed. When I started the site, shares of links to Facebook Groups could generate 200 to 2000 page-views per article. That is no longer the case. I have more followers (and still share to the same groups), but now I can expect 60 to 200 page-views from Facebook per post. Fortunately I get a good amount of visitors from Google to make up for the lost traffic. I also had good success in returning to Forum Groups like The Miniatures Page to bring readers over to the site. Overall, my page-view numbers are up despite fewer visitors from Social Media.

In the year to come, I still plan to be very active on Social Media as I enjoy the interactions. I also plan to post more frequently on Must Contain Minis in hopes to draw back more direct visitors. Remember to bookmark this site and check back often (or at-least on a regular basis)!  🙂

Drastic Improvements

Over the past year, I drastically improved a few things. The most notable of which is likely my writing style and the quality of photography.

For my writing, I started to write in a fashion better tuned for the web. I use an active voice, more headings and shorter paragraphs. This makes the content easier to scan over and focus in on the stuff that you like.

Likewise, my photos are so much better. This is best demonstrated through my Showcase Articles. Below are two pictures. The first from a recent Showcase post and the other from one much earlier in the year. Check out the difference in quality. My friend, Dave, gave me an old DSLR camera to use for the site, and I learned to make better use of my existing utility lights for better photographs. Thanks Dave so much for the camera! The pictures are so much better and that is a big part of the reason!

German Forward Observer with a Radio for Bolt Action Minaitures by Warlord Games
An image from my German Forward Observer Showcase Article. Beautiful!
The Infantry Gun Platoon
An image of a Flames of War Showcase from January of 2018. The distance and framing of this shot is not as good as my current work and the colours are a little too muted. A better camera and better use of lighting are responsible for the change.

Quick Plans for the Future

Must Contain Minis publishes many long articles of good quality. I plan to maintain the high quality, but 2019 will likely see more Showcase Articles than years past. The reason is that Showcase Articles are shorter and quicker to write. You will still see Battle Reports and Reviews, but I see the Showcase pieces as an easy way to up the number of posts on the site per month.

I also plan to showcase the miniatures of others a little more often. The photographs will be my own, but more will be of other people’s miniatures. Coming in January, we will have a number of posts featuring miniatures of A Song of Ice and Fire painted by Uller’s Table. Those photographs look absolutely fantastic!

Finally, the Top 5 Lists will continue into the new year with the Top 5 Most Popular Posts of each month and random one-off posts here and there of Top 5 Countdowns. There will also be more Round Up Articles linking together larger numbers of related posts. This is my way of keeping the related content of smaller posts together and accessible. One example of this type of article would be the Huron / Wendat Article that I recently posted. Likewise, I have already been doing Round Up articles for event coverage such as the post for Broadsword 7 and Hotlead 2018. These Round Up Articles do not yet have their own section, but that might change.

Wrapping it up…

2018 has been a good, but very busy year. Outside of all the personal stuff, I also completed a lot of work behind the scenes on Must Contain Minis related to the website migration.

On top of writing a good number of posts, we also greatly improved the quality of our content. These improvements will continue into the new year and we have some really nice Showcases coming starting with A Song of Fire and Ice.

Finally, we hope to increase the quantity of content on the site in the new year while maintaining quality. Make sure you add this site to your list of favourites and keep coming back.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

 

Help Support Must Contain Minis

If you know me and live in the Kitchener / Waterloo area, let me know if you want to showcase your miniatures on this site. Perhaps we can work something out. I will do the writing and photograph work, but the focus will be on your miniatures and credit will be given where it is due. Let me know if that thought appeals to you.

As a reminder, Must Contain Minis uses affiliate links with Amazon, DriveThruRPG and The Wargame Vault. If you use the links in this site to get there and make a purchase, roughly 5% of the purchase value goes back to supporting Must Contain Minis. This support is greatly appreciated as we have web-hosting and other fees to cover to keep this site up and running.

Finally, if you have review products that you would like us to take a look at, please check out our Review and Sponsorship Products Submission Page.

4 thoughts on “A Year In Review – 2018 – Must Contain Minis

  • December 31, 2018 at 8:48 am
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    Good to see things are improving.

    Migrations are never quick, nor easy, not when you get down to it. That being said, I could have given you a few tools to use for the image issue. Still, you got it done, and while “we” may not know, Google does, and that’s what matters.

    I may not comment here much, but I do watch your progress, and I look forward to seeing how you do in 2019.

    Reply
  • December 31, 2018 at 12:01 pm
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    This is one of my reference websites. Thanks for your hard work!
    I also have “come back to the future” and I installed a rss app in my phone to make easier to follow blogs news. I think, although it is an old technology, it is something to encourage. Create your own facebook! xD

    Happy new year!

    Reply
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