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6 years on, MANFACE is now in your hands

In June it’ll be 6 years of MANFACE. I don’t know about you but that seems an incredibly long time.

I started this blog when there were almost no others and blogging was something novel for brands and PR. I hate the phrase but I have to agree, this was the ‘Golden Age of Blogging’.

I don’t need to tell you how much everything has changed in the digital world. Many bloggers from when I started have given up and gone home as the world gave rise to the birth of the ‘Influencer’. Blogs became less favourible to YouTube and Instagram. But you know this and so there’s no point me bitching and moaning

MANFACE has whethered YouTube and the rise of the Instaclones; flourished even! 158,000 clicks per month, for what I’d still class as a niche blog, is wonderful and I thank my incredible readers, brands, PRs and other bloggers. MANFACE continues to rank as the UK’s number 1 men’s skincare blog (I believe it’s the English speaking world but not 100% certain)

But I’m wanting something new. Something different…

A great book my step father quoted from for the duration of my childhood – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A great read. One of the lessons is that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Sounds glib but is unfathomably true.

MANFACE is my baby and always has been. There are over 1,000 articles and despite last year being much quieter for a few personal reasons, the site has continued to grow. So where can we go?

Now I’m not going to do YouTube; I tried it and hated it. I criticize YouTubers and come on all sarcy but there’s an unspeakable amount of work involved. For those who don’t have management and a production team, I am in awe.

I’m not Instagram pretty (or currently asthin enough I as I once was) and that horrid little app has become anything but Instant (it’s in the bloody name!). I wear head to toe black and don’t have a fancy photographer-friend.

I don’t think I’m you’re lifestyle blogging expert. Watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on and eternal loop or sitting on the loo for an hour flicking through Tumblr is hardly the sort of aspirational go-getting motivation people need.

I didn’t make MANFACE to be all about me (I can hear the gasps and shock of those who know me closely and to you I raise an eyebrow). 

MANFACE was about helping people with their skin and talking about products I liked whilst being brash, tongue-in-cheek and truthful whilst I did it. But I believe I’ve done that, there’s very little information you could need about your skin that isn’t here, categorised and labelled.

So what to do? I’m wanting to know what you’d like (or not). Has this project run its course or is this only the beginning?

A few things worth considering:

  • Layout. Is it a pain to read? Too much info or not enough. Do you enjoy the physical reading of the website. I’ve NEVER been happy with it despite creating many websites for clients I’ve loved – I think I lack and objective POV.
  • Reviews. What do you want to know about a product? I can’t test everything for weeks on end but I can give insight and breakdowns but what specifics do you want to know about a product?
  • Content. More skin, less skin, more fragrance? As well as skin, my background is in digital and web/software development – fancy a bit of that or does that water it down for you?
  • Frequency. British Beauty Blogger is the queen of frequency posting at least 2/3 times per day. Would you rather shorter more frequent capsule reviews or not as frequent as that and more in depth?

I’m putting myself in your hands. I know people have and continue to read but not particularly comment which can make it a little more difficult to plan the content you’d like, so if you’ve been sat reading quietly all these years, now’s your time…

Comments
Harvey Specter
Posted at 19:32 April 4, 2017
Adam Walker
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Author

Hi Thom,

Your blog was one that inspired me to get into blogging and your honesty is pretty much unrivalled within the industry.

I think you’re right in saying that it is changing but I think that your knowledge and authority will remain invaluable to readers, followers and new/old brands as the years come and go.

Keep doing what you’re doing (if you still enjoy it) regardless of what happens, you will always be the Founder of MANFACE and that will always be an incredible achievement.

Adam

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 10:44 April 5, 2017
    Thom Watson
    Author

    Hi Adam,

    That seriously means a lot and thanks so much for the encouragement. Don’t make me cry, I’m ugly when I cry!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:45 March 31, 2017
Jay Wicks
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Author

Honestly, I feel that Manface (and you Thom) has the ability to more than just skincare. Your writing is fantastic and you’ve become a RESOURCE to many; this is because you’ve gained the trust of your readers and I think you can be open in about making a change in what you write about.

On a selfish note, I’ve seen more gadget based posts from you and I’m glad for this. You may need to take a step back and do a business plan for Manface.

Keep up the great work, but only if you want to.

JW

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 12:52 March 31, 2017
    Thomas Watson
    Author

    Thanks so much Jay, that’s really, really kind of you. It’s just not knowing where to go because when you please one person, you always disappoint another. It’s really funny you mentioned business plans – I have written so many and had to abandon them after a few months because of how volatile the industry is, but I will undoubtedly give it another go!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:45 March 31, 2017
Man For Himself
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Author

Hey Thom,
I have always looked to you as a true expert and source of credible information and advice.
I really wouldn’t change anything, just build on what you have.
You have weathered all of this and will continue to do so.
You are everything that is good about this space: creative, committed, honest and experienced.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 12:50 March 31, 2017
    Thomas Watson
    Author

    Thank you so much Robin. In fear of sounding like we’re back slapping, I said the same regarding you during a PR meeting yesterday and what you continue to bring to YouTube, Instagram and blogging!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 08:35 March 31, 2017
Lee Ryan
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Author

Thom i have been leaving comments for yrs. only once have ypu actually responded to my comments. For ages i have said what i personally feel has gone wrong with this blog from the blogging of items from mbl phones to tvs. Also for the last yr or two it felt as if it was not you speaking but either someone else was blogging for you or ypu was reading a poorly written script. Your blogs for A vast amount of the products feel as if you have been paid to say something positive about them even tho most are utter rubbish( my veiw) if i want info on phones , tv etc i buy stuff magazine but i read your blog for straigjt talking honest indepth info on mens facial products. Of which i am still waiting two yrs on from when you said you was going to do more on face serums/ moisturisers etc I started reading ypu about 3-4 yrs ago and you was a brilliant bloger who i trusted enough to purchase many of the items you mentioned. But now i do not really trust what your saying as i feel you are paid to say ” its good “etc you just dont seem to come off as honest or direct anymore. Since your website went through its changes. So did your blogs. I truly hope ypu continue but i get it that you may have had enough, i also get that you earn a living from blogging etc but that should not influence your veiws. So for my preference i want you to go back to basics and do what you do better than anyone. Honest veiws in depth blogs on mens new facial products. Once a week is fine but more if you want. Look back at your old stuff to see what i mean.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 10:31 March 31, 2017
    Thomas Watson
    Author

    Hi Lee,

    Thanks for your comment, it’s clearly been well thought out and I always appreciate honesty. I agree with quite a few of the points you’ve raised.

    I am immensely proud of a lot of my content over the last few years and in order to mix things up for myself, I like throwing in the odd bit of tech here and there; this has also done really well on social media – but I understand that you come here for skincare advice and that’s kept in mind.

    Any content I’m paid to write about has and will always be clearly signposted – I do not take sponsorship to write good things about products; that’s not how I work. In regards to not coming off honest or direct, in the past people have mentioned that sometimes things can come off a bit harsh, or overly critical and unnecessary – I’ve therefore been mindful in my writing to make sure I appear fair and balanced.

    There’s also a balance that after 6 years is still hard to strike. I review products I like and avoid those I don’t – this is because I want to bring you the latest launches and products, but if a brand feels I just slag them off, they won’t send product or want to feature on MANFACE, meaning you won’t get the information you want and need. This isn’t to do with being paid I must add; brands who send products for review usually don’t pay for it as I don’t believe in that model of blogging – but if I don’t receive the latest products, I can’t write about them.

    But getting back to basics I think is great advice and your comment has been well read and well received. I hope you continue to read for years to come and keep my on my toes ;)

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 13:14 March 31, 2017
    Lee Ryan
    Author

    Thanks thom. I just re read what i wrote and it was more harsh than i intended it to be. ( woke up to new emails etc before i had my coffee) you are superb at what you do mate and i used to trust wjat you said so much i must have spent thousands of pounds since i started reading your blogs. Even gone over to some of zelons skin care because of you. I have learnt more about my skin than even i thought i knew again all because of you. Mine is just a veiw mate. Yes i do prefer the older stuff but maybe im just old. I would like to see more reveiws on wider products ie murad and refinery for men to name but two however i just noted your comments that many companys may not let you blog about them or send products so hey ho. Maybe in your blogs a section for gagets etc and scents and one for products this way everyone is happy

Harvey Specter
Posted at 04:20 March 31, 2017
olivia
Reply
Author

Congrats on 6 years! I like your blog, just blog and don’t spread yourself thinly. Blogging is hard enough!

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 10:32 March 31, 2017
    Thomas Watson
    Author

    Thanks Olivia, I really appreciate that and I think not spreading too thin and as another reader has mentioned, getting back to basics, is the way forward.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 23:16 March 30, 2017
Robert
Reply
Author

Hi Thom,
Three years ago as a 48 year old SSM I saw my blotchy gray face staring back at me and knew I needed to find out about male skin care. I dug all around and with out comparisons your site was the best! I read your reviews and tried some products. I even bought the Clinique men’s face scrubber thing. I really like your writing and ethic. I hope you’ll find some way you like to stay around…

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 10:33 March 31, 2017
    Thomas Watson
    Author

    Hi Robert,

    You really don’t know how much your comment meant to me; genuinely made me a little teary. Thank you so much for that and reading it has undoubtedly given me a boost to keep going.

    Also really, really glad you like the Clinique Sonic; still one of my favourites!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 23:05 March 30, 2017
brentsmith2013
Reply
Author

Carry on doing what you’re doing. All will be well as long as you believe in yourself. You have a good site, and no-one’s thinking otherwise.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 10:34 March 31, 2017
    Thomas Watson
    Author

    Hi Brent,

    I actually thought of you for a moment when writing this post as you’ve been one of the longest standing commenters and readers of MANFACE over the years. I really appreciate your comment and thank you so much for the support.

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