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Blog re-launched today

Welcome to my new-look blog.

It’s not too different from before, but there are one or two changes. The most significant of which is the inclusion of advertisements in the header.

I was recently approached by Guardian Select who invited me to join their list of selected social care websites. The deal is that I put some of their advertisements on my website in return for increased web traffic coming from a link on their website.

I thought carefully about this before agreeing to it as I think ads can spoil websites and I didn’t want to buy in to the whole commercial side of web publishing. I ultimately agreed, though, because I am able to place the ads in the header so that they are not too intrusive; I am able to veto any ad campaigns which the Guardian wishes to run via my website; and if there is an increase in web traffic to my site, it will help to engage more people in the research I am undertaking and will disseminate new findings to a larger audience.

What I didn’t realise when I made this decision, though, was that I would have to move my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org to facilitate this. WordPress.com is for hobby bloggers like me who don’t know much about websites, but can follow instructions to create blogs and pages. WordPress.org is for professional techies who can read and write html, know their way around CSS stylesheets and customise websites in their sleep. As you could imagine, it has been a steep learning curve for me and I still only know enough to get started.

Last week I spent an evening with a friend who is an administrator of domino email servers. In spite of his complaints that he was an administrator and not a designer, he helped me to find a web host (Hostgator) and, a few beers later, I was a fully paid up member of the web designer community.

However, I didn’t really know what to do next. WordPress.org has lots of really helpful advice on setting up your own website. They even have a guide to install wordpress in 5 minutes. Well, it took me 5 days. I followed all the instructions, but it just didn’t work. It was only solved when early this morning I did a live chat with a lovely Hostgator technician in Houston, where it must have been some ungodly hour of the night, who pointed me in the right direction. A few mishaps later and I worked out what I needed to do.

So, here we are. It’s got the same content, albeit with a different look and some broken links which need mending. (Please bear with me over the next week or so as I tidy up the site and get it working again.)

I aim to gradually incorporate the additional functionality which wordpress.org brings to the site. Although this will take time, I hope that this website can grow into a useful source of information for social workers. In addition to engaging students and practitioners in research which I’m undertaking, I will also endeavour to feature other research projects which have implications for social work practice. Above all, I aim to use this website to bridge the gap between research and practice in social work. If a few ads in the header helps me to achieve this goal, then so be it.

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