TWT Newsletter says goodbye – This is the last ever issue
It has not been an easy decision but we feel that the the time has come for us to end the TWT Newsletter. We apologise for any disappointment this might cause.
We’ve been producing the TWT newsletter since June 2007, nearly 13 years! In that time we’ve seen some huge changes. Our first ever issue asked “do you need to upgrade to Windows Vista?”, now, Vista is a distant memory and even its successor, Windows 7 has been retired.
Many of you will be wondering why we’re retiring the newsletter. Astute visitors cannot fail to notice that there hasn’t been a site content update, other than the newsletter, for quite some time. There are several reasons for this, but mainly it simply boils down to a question of priorities for us. Top-Windows-Tutorials has always been a pleasure to work on, but unfortunately it hasn’t been financially viable for some time now.
TWT started back in 2007, at this time PCs were most peoples primary (and many peoples only) computing platform. During this time, like many PC enthusiasts, we were regularly providing technical support, virus removal and other services to friends, family and other clients. While other companies gladly welcomed this trickle of income from hapless home users, we felt that it was unfair that our friends should suffer while we used our PCs relatively trouble free. Just a little, easy education could help millions of people avoid malware, scams and other internet nasties and enjoy happy, stress free computing.
With that philosophy, TWT was born, bringing easy, beginner friendly video tutorials to the masses. The site was instantly successful, attracting audiences from all around the world. At the height of our popularity we attracted thousands of visitors daily and we were ranked in the top 100,000 websites worldwide.
The site went from strength to strength. in June 2009 we introduced our first TWT Superguide, a professionally written and edited suite of tutorials for OpenOffice, with guides for Windows 7, 8 and 10 following afterwards. We launched more and more useful free tutorials on tricky subjects like security, backup and other often complex topics and helped users worldwide go from beginner to expert.
However, over the last five years or so, while we were reaching new visitors every day, behind the scenes the site was starting to struggle. Despite growing our audience, our advertising revenue was dwindling, how could this be? It’s all due to a little browser extension called “ad block”.
Blocking of website adverts has gone from something only a relatively niche audience did to something that’s mainstream. In the heyday of the web, websites got greedy with advertising and splashed adverts all over their sites. What started as simple text banners grew to adverts within content, then to videos, sometimes with automatically playing audio. It’s hardly a wonder many users said enough is enough and decided to block adverts. Unfortunately, even sites like us, who always placed adverts considerately, without ruining the content of the site, had to suffer the same loss of revenue.
We dabbled with videos on other platforms to try to reach a wider audience, but the likes of Youtube never really suited us. The big disadvantage of Youtube is that content is extremely poorly curated. You could be watching a tutorial by a professor of computer science one minute, then be directed to a video made by a call centre scammer the next. Multiple times we were offered lucrative deals to lace our content with spyware and offer it for download to unsuspecting visitors, but we always refused.
Our “Super Guide” discs and downloads were very successful, but when Windows 10 hit, things changed. With Windows 7 and all versions of Windows before it, the OS was relatively static. You bought Windows XP, Vista or 7 and Windows stayed the same for most of its life. Occasionally, there would be a big “service pack” update, that introduced new features, but that was all. Windows 10 has turned out to be totally different. Every six months there’s a major upgrade that changes things around significantly enough that dozens of our tutorials are out of date.
Writing our Superguide content to the highly professional standards we strived for takes time, several months of intensive work usually. To illustrate just how bad this issue now is, we had started working on an update to the Windows 10 Superguide, but had to abandon it before it was finished as Windows was updated and changed AGAIN while we were working on the guide. Our content was obsolete before we could even launch it!
With this rapid pace of change, there simply isn’t a way that a small team like us can keep up, so regrettably we have come to the decision to end the TWT newsletter and axe any planned updates to the site or the Superguides.
What a run we’ve had though, from a bedroom in Lincoln, UK we grew to thousands of subscribers and our content has been used everywhere, from schools and colleges to local government to the wonderful Seniornet New Zealand who used it all across the country in their learning centres. We really can’t thank you readers and customers enough for your support over the years.
The newsletter is ending but the website is staying up for the foreseeable future, although it will most likely receive only security updates. Our intention is to keep the site alive as long as it is cost effective to do so. Right now, enough people find us useful that the hosting costs are covered by advertising, but if any major upgrades were required we may simply have to close. We’re looking at ways we can provide the Superguide content for free, though this is proving more challenging than expected (hosting large files for download at no cost to ourselves is difficult!).
Well that’s just great, now where can I get friendly PC tips and advice, without the techno babble? – There are a lot of good technology sites on the web and not all of them designed for geeks We particularly like HowToGeek.com for its user friendly content. Several of our readers also recommend BbleepingComputer.com. GCF Global also have a good selection of beginner tutorials.