Successful bloggers, and indeed writers in most fields, will tell you that the key to success is to pick your target market and stick to it.  No surprise, then, that the most read blogs are ones where their authors talk religiously about their chosen topic, whether that be a blog about programming methods or a blog about one man’s journey to become a vintage bus driver.

In spite of this well-acknowledged fact, you’ll notice that my blog is still littered with a whole plethora of categories, covering all sorts of topics and areas of life.  I have chosen not to focus on one target audience, but to write infrequently about everything instead.

Now, finally, I’ve got round to introducing a way for you, the reader, to take control of my blog and only show the articles you’re actually interested in.

On the left hand side of the home page, third box down, you should see a nice little list of categories about which I write.  By default, all of these should be ticked, indicating that you’ll see absolutely everything when you first visit.  You can un-check any topics you’re not interested in, click the ‘Save preferences’ button, and you’ll never be bothered by those boring articles again.  So if you’re really not interested in my Technology or Internet articles, or if Twitter rubs you up the wrong way and you’d rather not read my tweets, feel free to un-check those boxes and revel in the bliss of your new-found power…

This clever little system actually isn’t all that revolutionary, for those of you in the know, and only took me half an hour or so to put in place.  It uses cookies to store your preferences, and tweaks the WordPress query depending on what categories you want to see.  If no cookie is found (i.e. you’ve not been here before, or with this browser) it automatically assumes you want to see everything, which I guess is fairly optimistic but at least it gives you the option.  And of course if your browser doesn’t accept cookies you’ll see everything, just as you did before.

So take a peek (go back to the home page, it won’t show anywhere else) and let me know what you think.  I also have plans to give the same sort of customisability to RSS feeds.


Stephen Morley · 22 August 2010 at 4:20 pm

I think there’s a slight bug Matthew – if you don’t yet have the cookie, each category name is preceded by an error message saying:

Warning: in_array() []: Wrong datatype for second argument in /home/minipix/public_html/wp-content/themes/somethingspecial/sidebar.php on line 60

Phill · 22 August 2010 at 6:26 pm

Well, at the moment mine is coming up with a PHP error, so I’m afraid I can’t filter out all your Mac-related articles 😉

Dad · 23 August 2010 at 9:22 am

Thanks for the link, Matthew! BTW, I get the same error as Phill.

Matthew · 23 August 2010 at 10:13 am

Sorry folks, my mistake. Should be fixed now. It was a problem with the initialisation of the cookie, so if you had refreshed the page it would have sorted itself out. As it happens I had fixed that problem before, I’d just forgotten to upload the file! So try again, please…

Phill · 24 August 2010 at 6:19 pm

Yep, works now. If I’m honest the only thing I really use it for is removing your tweets, as I already follow you in Twitter! But still, good stuff 😉

Phill · 24 August 2010 at 6:20 pm

By the way, randomly noticed that your site footer says “2005-2008”. I guess you might want to update that a bit.

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