Why I Started this Site: After writing almost 1200 posts for Toolmonger, I would like to break out of the narrow column format and explore how to bring projects and other cool tool related posts to the web in some different ways. I still plan to write for Toolmonger, where I’ll continue to concentrate on new and cool tools, but here in the workshop I’ll show more of the projects that I work on in my shop and how I get them done. Update 1: After a parting of the ways in 2011, I no longer write for Toolmonger, but you can still find all of my tool finds there — all 1200+. Update 2: Since December of 2014 I’ve been writing for ToolGuyd. The reviews and endorsements policy for this site remains the same, but I have adopted ToolGuyd’s review policy for posts written on that site.
I plan on keeping a clean website design, clear of clutter in the margins, only displaying what’s relevant to the topic at hand. I’ve divided the site into two sections:
- The front page is a blog featuring posts in reverse-chronological order (last post first). In the blog I post videos I’ve made in my shop, when I’ve posted new projects in the projects section, what I’m currently working on, and sometimes thoughts on woodworking, tools, or life in general.
- (I haven’t implemented this on the new site yet, I’m still working on getting all my old posts over) The projects section consists of projects I’ve completed. The projects are laid out in the form of a hierarchical book. Each page of the book has a picture that can be annotated and a description of whats going on in that picture. I don’t mean for the books to be a step by step guide on how to complete the project, rather a sampling of the steps that I found interesting or challenging when building the project (or more likely the ones I remembered to photograph!)
Why Do I Use workshop.electronsmith.com as the URL: The URL for Ben’s Workshop is workshop.electronsmith.com. Rather than manage yet another domain for this site, I’ve decided to keep all of my web activity under one roof, at least for now. My personal blog is already located at blog.electronsmith.com. I’d like to think that somewhere a politician named Ron Smith is frustrated that he can’t get the domain name he wants, but the real reason I registered the name is that I think of an “Electron Smith” as somebody who makes electrons do his bidding.
Advertising Policy: Since I’m running the website on the same host that runs my family and my personal blog, my expenses are minimal. If the site grows large enough where bandwidth is a problem, I might consider some advertising or affiliate linking. Until then this site is 100% advertisement free.
Policy for Reviews and Endorsements I’d like to make my position clear.
I do not accept any products for use or review. I do not accept any product for use or review on this site. I only use products that I purchase myself or that are gifts from my family or friends. I do not begrudge people who do accept products for review, it is just not my style. I feel to get the least biased review possible, you actually have to spend your own money. I’m not naive enough to think that this doesn’t introduce other types of bias, but I’d like to think on a whole it minimizes it. I will never do a review where I’m paid by a product manufacturer or its agents. I understand that people have to make a living, but I do not like this practice. I must disclose that I did get paid to review products by Toolmonger, but I was paid a flat rate per post no matter what I wrote. The guys at Toolmonger did not tell me what products to review and again I only reviewed products I’d purchased myself. At no point did I have contact with the manufacturer or their agents, except possibly in the role of a consumer with questions, not as a reviewer. I don’t officially endorse products, but any I do recommend are because I or somebody I trust has found them to be useful. Update: I also must disclose that I get paid to write posts for ToolGuyd. When I write for ToolGuyd, I abide by the policy there, which basically is only to accept samples unconditionally, never in return for payment, promotion, or review.
I use Google Analytics to collect anonymized data; I use it as a tool to tailor the site to my readers. For example if nobody is using IE5 to view my site, I cross it off the list of browsers I use to check how the site renders. Plus watching the number of visitors to my site rise motivates me to write more. As far as I’m aware, WordPress stores three cookies if you comment on the blog
Looking back on my posts I’m finding that I’ve been inconsistent in title capitalization, punctuation spacing, etc. In order to make the posts look more consistent, I’m implementing a personal style guide that I can look to when I’m not sure how I should format a post.
- All words in the title should be capitalized. It’s too hard to remember the rules for capitalizing articles and helping verbs, so screw it, I’m capitalizing everything.
- All words in category names should be capitalized
- One space after periods and colons. I was taught that there should be two spaces following periods and colons, but a few years ago I discovered that I’ve fallen behind the times. Now it’s common to only use one space — especially on the web where two spaces screws up HTML.
- Slideshow photos will be in 8×10 landscape format so the controls don’t jump around and users don’t have to scroll. I’m also trying to make every other photo on the blog conform to this aspect ratio and orientation because it makes layout so much easier.
- Other rules as I think of them….