Meta: The State Of Linux Tips #13

Today’s article is just a quick one, a meta article. I try to write one of these every month, at the most, or when things happen around the site that I think folks would be interested in.

So, for a while, there were no Google ads. It turned out a site I added to my AdSense account was considered ‘invalid traffic’, which is a vague term that seems to mean it’s whatever Google says it is when they say it. I resolved that issue.

At that point, ads were being shown again – and I know folks clicked on ’em. My readers are kinda creatures of habit, so I’m positive there were clicks. For whatever reason, Google gave me no credit for those clicks.

Then, the pay period ended… 

It could be coincidence, but the site started generating ad revenue when the pay period ended and a new one began. The site has since been getting credit for your clicks. While I like your clicks, I want to remind folks:

Do not click ads to make me happy. Only click ads if you’re truly interested.

If you’re legitimately interested, feel free to click an ad or two… Otherwise, just don’t click. Thanks for both!

Also, I’ve tried to enable a new feature. It’s provided by Google and it’s a nag for those who block ads. This should be EASILY dismissed and not nag you all that often, like once a month or something like that. If the nag in any way interferes with the functioning of the site, please let me know.

For whatever reason, I can’t seem to trigger the ad block nag screen. This makes it difficult to debug.

Meta Stuff:

So, I originally thought the ‘invalid traffic’ was because this site, Linux-Tips, was getting massive increases in traffic. After all, nobody would define ‘invalid traffic’ well enough for me and the site was definitely growing at a good clip. I figured this was the problem, but I was wrong. It was the other site that I added.

What is this massive traffic? Well, it’s not massive when compared to the big sites, but it’s definitely pretty respectable. Last month we had more than 10,000 unique visitors, and those people visited more than 18,000 times. 

My stats are kinda wonky and I’m thinking it’s counting some bot traffic when it’s counting the pages displayed, because in November it claims we displayed more than 1.3 million pages. That’s a whole lot of pages for those visitor numbers, so I think it’s just not accurate.

The bandwidth has gone up accordingly. I now regularly exceed the free tier at the CDN (quic.cloud). Last month, but seemingly not this month, I had to make another deposit to pay for ‘page optimizations’. So, expenses pile up! You don’t have to donate, but you could if you wanted. I will not complain!

I pay for the CDN so that the site is pretty much always available no matter where you are on the globe, and so that it loads quickly from servers that are closer to your location than my actual server. A quick loading site with high availability seems to be a good idea to me.

Some Data:

The three articles that got the most traffic in the past 28 days is:

Find Out Which Display-Manager You’re Using
How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server
How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal

I am not sure why those are the most popular articles. They’re not the pages I’d think would be the most popular, but I don’t actually have a clue what I’m doing with this whole SEO thing. I just smash buttons and hope something good comes out the other end.

The three most used search terms to find this site via Google, again for the past 28 days, would be:

screenfetch vs neofetch
permitrootlogin prohibit-password
restart teamviewer command line

That’s technically three out of the top four, as the first one is pretty much the same as what’s listed – it’s just in reverse. Lots of people wanna learn about the differences between the two (screenfetch and neofetch) via Google. Again, don’t ask me why. 

So far this month:

The busiest day is Monday, by a good margin.
The vast majority of my traffic is from the United States.
The average person spends 199 seconds (3 min 19 sec) per visit.
96.1% of my visitors are using Linux.
85.5% are using a browser that identifies as Google Chrome.
Google search accounts for most of my traffic.
Linux.org accounts for the second most, but it’s truly dwarfed by Google results.
Last month we used ~25 GB of bandwidth.

Got any other numbers you’re interested in? If so, leave a comment. I’ll be happy to let you know – if I actually have those numbers. It’s also important to realize that every single stat application (especially ones like Google Analytics) is horribly inaccurate. I rely on AWStat the most, because it’s the closest to accurate for some of these numbers. Google Analytics should not be even remotely trusted – but still has some useful information, useful for spotting trends.

Closure:

And there you have it, you have another nice meta article. I’d actually planned on another article, but I decided I’d watch American football and just write a meta article. It seemed like the thing to do. The next article will be published on Christmas day, so we’ll see if we can do something festive for the holiday.

Thanks for reading my meta article! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #11

Today’s article is yet another meta article, in which I discuss the state of Linux-Tips. It’s basically an easy day for me and an article that lets you know how the site is progressing. It’s generally an easy article to write and I appreciate that.

This is a pretty long article. Longer than most. I do encourage folks to read it all, but I doubt that’ll change anything. 🙂 

As folks may know, I pay a lot of attention to the site’s statistics and those statistics influence how I do things. I try to optimize the site, as best as I can, for the viewer. For example, the day this article will be published is on a Saturday. That’s the day I consistently get the least amount of traffic. So, that’s the day I’ll cover the state of Linux tips.

I’ve actually been wanting to write this article for a while. I’m really excited about some of the changes going on, especially now that Google has taken me out of the dog house for accepting a paid article. Yes, Google, I learned a lesson!

While you might not like that I optimize for Google, that’s where I get the majority of my traffic. I don’t get squat from other search engines, but Google loves my site! For a blog, I’m doing VERY WELL in the traffic growth department. We’ll give you some details below.

So, let’s just jump into the meta stuff and see where that goes.

The State Of Linux-Tips #11:

Let’s just get this started by sharing this:

Oh my! The site’s traffic is increasing rapidly. For example, in the past 28 days (the easiest stats for this), the site has shown up in 227,000 searches. Out of all those, nearly 4,000 people have clicked on those search results and visited Linux-Tips! (That’s actually a good percentage.)

Last month, the month of September, was the first time I’ve exceeded 10 GB of traffic. Now, the site’s mostly text with almost no images and almost no videos. That’s a lot of traffic, and it took  over 9,000 unique visitors to reach that level.

To put that into some contrast, in January of this year I had a total of 6,400 unique visitors. 

Also, in May I hit 7,800 visitors – but then Google threw me into the doghouse for the paid article. In June and July, I got about 7,200 unique visitors. In September, those visitors would visit 14,900 times! It’s amazing how fast the site is growing now that it’s out of the doghouse.

I should also mention that I was getting, in the previous 28 days as a running total, no more than 3,200 visits from Google. In less than the past month, that running total is what is represented by the 4,000 clicks mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. Google considers this a ‘high traffic site’.

My most popular pages are:

How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server
How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal
Let’s Learn How To Change The Default Terminal

Previously, the ScreenFetch vs Neofetch was the most popular article, and today it continues to get the most search results. Direct visits can sometimes outnumber that, so that’s why the stat might look a little weird.

I still use a CDN, a Content Delivery Network, for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is that it means the site loads faster for people around the globe. When you load the site, you’re getting a cached result from a server somewhere near you, instead of needing to access my server directly.

The CDN recently stopped a DDoS attack. There was a CDN free tier but I am no longer in a position where the site fits the free tier, so it costs me even more money. As far as I know, it’s only useful for WordPress sites that use LiteSpeed as the server. That fits this site, so I use it. It works brilliantly, but I now use enough traffic to also have to pay for the CDN service.

It’s worth every penny, given how the site didn’t stumble in the slightest during the attacks. So far, donations only add up to like $10 USD. I do appreciate them and put the money towards hosting and the CDN. There aren’t any other real expenses. Ad revenue does help.

attempted DDoS attack
They gave up not long after, or so that’s what it appears to be. Good… It wasn’t working.

The site’s busiest days are Tuesday through Thursday. I’m not sure why Monday isn’t all that busy? Maybe folks encounter the problem on Monday  and finally find my site on Tuesday? I really don’t know. I do know that I get a lot of traffic from within corporate networks, so that’s professionals searching the site – or entertaining themselves while they should be working.

There really aren’t that many newsletter subscribers. I’m thinking about making it pop up a notice when people visit, but that seems like it might be annoying. On the other hand, it’d likely result in more folks subscribing. Do you find those newsletter popups annoying? Do you sometimes see them and decide to enter your email? I know I do, but I’m sympathetic to others running websites.

From watching the way people work through the site, few scroll down far enough to actually see the newsletter. Putting it at the top seems like a worse idea than a popup. If you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment. I could use some input.

Anyhow…

Closure:

As you can tell, I’m pretty happy about the growth. Not a whole lot of folks click ads, so the site really isn’t making much of anything for ad revenue, but it does make a little. Then again, money wasn’t really the point. I do want the site to at least break even, but I dunno if it’ll ever do that. That’s all I really care about. I don’t want to make money, I have enough. I do want the site to break even, just as a matter of principle. 

Either way, this is the most excited I’ve ever been about a meta article. Things are going great, according to all the stats I keep. As for the stats, don’t worry, I couldn’t single anyone out if I tried. I don’t store any personal information because it just seems like the right thing to do. Your privacy is reasonably assured when you visit. I too value my online privacy – sometimes. Other times I’m an open book, but I like to pick when and where that happens!

Also, in case anyone is confused… I do store any information you give me. But, I only keep what I need to make the site work. I figure if I don’t store information, I can’t lose the information. I obviously store your email address if you sign up for the newsletter or register for the site. It’d be pretty hard for those things to function without that.

The rest of it is information I really don’t care about and don’t care to keep. If you give me your address so that I can send you something, you can be certain that I deleted it afterwards ’cause I don’t want to be in charge of securing that securely.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: I Should Have Numbered These

It’s time for another meta article. These are just articles where I take a bit of a break and write about the site itself. Some of them have been a little tough to write, but this one promises to be pretty darned easy. (I try to avoid swearing on the site, but sometimes I notice I did when I get to the editing phase. In real life, I swear like a trooper, depending on the company I keep.)

You won’t learn anything major from this article, and none of what you learn will be about Linux! You have been warned!

Well, I haven’t written the article yet – but that stands to reason! I don’t plan on writing anything even remotely educational in this article. I won’t even have to use the code blocks for anything – and you won’t even need to open a terminal! That’s right, it’s an article where you do not have to crack open your terminal. (I cut and paste that instructional ext, mixing it up a little from time to time.)

So, well, I do kinda wish I’d started these meta articles off by numbering them. Then I could kinda keep track of how many I’ve written. I suppose I could still filter it and figure that out. Lemme check…

I’ve used the meta tag for some pretty silly stuff – perhaps by accident. This would be like the 8th one that’s really about the site itself. Maybe I’ll remember to call the next one “#9”. There are a couple of other ‘meta’ articles where I’m not quite sure why I used the tag or title. Ah well… It was probably wine.

The State Of Linux-Tips #8:

So, not that long ago there was an article that I posted without disclosing any details. Let’s just say lessons have been learned. I think even Google noticed, ’cause my traffic hasn’t really grown any since the last time I wrote one of these.

In fact, pretty much all the same data from the last one would apply to this one. In a few areas, my traffic actually decreased a little – not much, but a little. The gains made with keywords like ‘apt purge‘ ranking pretty high seem to be countered by fewer clicks on the other articles.

Basically, it’s a wash… I think Google punished me for about a month, because traffic seems to be increasing again. You can help with that, you know. Share the articles on your favorite social media sites and that’ll help a great deal – more than donating or unblocking ads.

Speaking of ads, I got some money from AdSense and I see no reason to suspect the bills won’t get paid. Well, they’re gonna get paid regardless. So, there’s that, which is nice! 

Literally, the same popular content from last time is the same popular content from this time. It’s almost as if Google put me into stasis, or something. So, I do believe I’ve learned a lesson regarding publishing content from other people with different objectives.

Speaking of which, you can also help by writing an article. I’ll clean it up and make it suitable for publication, including formatting and digging for links as needed. That’d be great. It’s summer and I’m pressed for time. So, that’d really help. You might want to make sure that it’s not something I’ve already covered! We’ve got a ton of content already.

Closure:

That’s it, really! I just wanted to touch base with an easy meta article. Normally, they’re a bit more complicated than this. This time, nothing major has changed. Even my drop in traffic is closer to just staying the same and not increasing in traffic as I have been. It’s down like 1.3% – or pretty much a rounding error. However, the site has been experiencing linear growth – which, mixed with other numbers, makes me think we won’t be seeing a repeat of the article shared a month or so ago.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Running Away From Windows

There are many new Linux users, people interested in Linux, that are running away from Windows. Instead, what they should be doing, is running towards Linux. When asked ‘who should use Linux’, my answer would be ‘anyone that wants to’. But, in all the years I’ve been involved in the community, I’ve learned a few things about who is most likely to have more success. 

Today’s article won’t be tech or jargon, or even a how-to… It’s just a bit of a short essay about some observations made over the years. As I said above, I’ve learned a few things. Let me try to explain them as best as I can. (Besides, it’s a nice day to not do a how-to article. A change of pace is always a good idea.)

Important: I don’t want to seem elitist. This is not about elitism – it’s about your point of view and your reasons for the actions you take.

In fact, I figure pretty much anyone can learn to use Linux if they want to and they’re sufficiently motivated to do so. But, I find those that ask the most questions and need the most help are those who are running away from Windows instead of running towards Linux. The folks that are running towards Linux are the ones that read the documentation, search before asking questions, study the books, troubleshoot effectively, etc…

Let me try to distill this into easy to grasp concepts:

A person who is running away from Windows says, “I hate Windows! I’m switching to Linux!” 

A person who is running towards Linux says, “I’m curious about how Linux works, and I want to make it work for me.”

They’re two very different mentalities and, as one might expect, often have very different results. No, not always will the results be different – I’m speaking about averages and observations. It’s very much possible to run away from Windows while becoming a very proficient Linux user. The opposite is also true, you can run towards Linux and fail. This post just speaks to generalities. Outliers exist.

Running Away From Windows:

These folks tend to ask questions that can be easily answered. They rely on you to do the work for them, and expect to be spoon-fed the help they need. I saw a good example thread today where someone was asking about Python and when they were fed all the information they needed, they responded with “… Now what?”

These people fight with Linux rather than embrace it. They never take the time to understand that Linux is not Windows. They’re not that interested in actually learning to use Linux, they’re interested in not using Windows.

Six months later, they’re still  making the same mistakes only now they’re convinced that Linux is broken – and they have the answers about how to ‘fix’ Linux. When they wear out the welcome mat at one support forum, they’ll move to another. Odds are very good that they won’t use Linux for a full year before they quit. They’ll go back to Windows for various reasons, but mostly because they refused to learn. They’ll say things like how Linux is too hard, not ready for mainstream, or fundamentally flawed to the point where it’s not useful as a desktop operating system (even though many, many millions of us do so every day).

Think of it like a zombie movie… The people who are running away are the ones that get captured and eaten. They spend half their time looking back to see what’s chasing them. Their fear leads them to irrational decision making. They lack purpose, confidence, and cognition simply because of their mindset. It doesn’t have to be that way. What they could have been doing was running towards something – like a weapon and higher elevation.

Running Towards Linux:

Now these are the folks I prefer – and for obvious reasons. They’re hungry for knowledge and really eager to learn as much as they can. They’ll burn out, of course, but quite a few will make it through and maybe become proficient forum helpers themselves some day. You can spot ’em pretty easily. They have laser focus. That is, they have clear goals that can be articulated, and the drive needed to reach those goals.

They ask precise questions – questions that can actually be answered. If you want, you can just give them a few keywords and send them out searching on their own, knowing that they’ll do just that. They’re the types of people who try, try, and try again – and then ask for help about the specific area where they got stuck.

They don’t want to be spoon fed, unless they ask for a detailed answer. They don’t need to be spoon fed, because after reading your answer they either understand or they’ll go searching to find more information. They are ‘self-starters‘ with ample motivation.

I don’t want to say that these are the kinds of people who should be using Linux. After all, I think everyone can use Linux – provided they put the effort into learning. (I think people also tend to overlook how long it took them to become truly proficient with Windows, Apple, or whatever OS it was they have been using. They seem to expect their prior knowledge to be some sort of shortcut, even though it’s not that applicable ’cause Linux ain’t Windows!)

But, I will say that those people running towards Linux are more likely to have a better time of it, and remain a Linux user longer, than those who use Linux because they’re running away from Windows. If you’re going to decide to use Linux, make sure you have good reasons to do so. Run towards the goal, not away from a fear. The motivation behind switching to Linux matters.

Final Thoughts:

When you’re running away from something, you’re not making good choices. You’re not looking where you’re going. You stumble and fall and the zombies chasing you end up cracking open your skull to dine on the delicious gushy bits within. 

When you’re running towards something, you’re focused. You don’t just want success, you want to get there as rapidly and as best as you can. You want to know everything you need to know to win the race and you’re motivated to pull yourself up over and over again.

So, before you decide to give Linux a try, you should stop and think about why you’re doing so. Are you running away from something? If you are, maybe think about it a while longer and try Linux when you’re running towards it as a goal – and not when running away from something else as your priority.

The goals and priorities are very different for each mentality and you’ll have a far better time if you’re running towards Linux than you’ll have if you’re running away from Windows (or Apple, or Chrome, or whatever else you might be using).

Just some food for thought.

Me? I ran towards Linux because I wanted something new. I wanted new challenges – and a familiarity of the old (I was a Unix user for part of my life). Additionally, I wanted the comfort that comes from knowing my operating system is gonna be just fine and that I don’t have to worry about it. Plus, I wanted to experience Linux on the desktop as my sole operating system.

Learning new ways of computation was a goal, as was understanding my computer better. I’m happy for those choices and goals and every time I sit down at my computer, I’m still running to meet those objectives. Every day, I make certain to learn more about Linux than I knew the day before.

For the record, I don’t mind Windows users. They don’t concern me. If it works for them, it works for them. ‘Snot my job to change their views. If they want to run towards Linux, we’ll be here to help them. Use the tools you need to get the job done. If that’s Windows, it’s no skin off my back. My ego isn’t so frail that I need people to agree with me about desktop operating system choices. But, don’t switch because you’re mad at Windows, switch because you want to love Linux.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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A Meta Post: The State Of Linux Tips

There was one site before this one and we’ll just ignore that in favor of the current site that contains various Linux tips, tweaks, and tutorials. This is an article about the state of this site, linux-tips.us, and is a measure of progress. This is an article about where we started, where we are now, and where we’ll be in the future. Something like that… I should also disclose that this post was authored under the influence of rum.

I think it’s important to first mention what the goal is. It’s not a lofty nor noble goal. I set out to get some of my Linux notes online. My plan has been to write an article for every other day. So far, so good. I’ve even had some help along the way, for which I am forever grateful.

(Don’t worry, we’ll cover some ways you personally can help elsewhere!)

When I think of about a summary of how the site is doing, it’s just “Holy crap!” I didn’t expect the site to do as well as it has. I really didn’t. For example, the site already has an Alexa ranking. Many sites never achieve that level of use. I get a ton of traffic (to me) from search engines, so the site is legitimately answering questions and helping people solve their Linux problems. To me, that’s pretty sweet!

Some Linux Tips metrics:

  • About 400 of my hours have been invested.
  • We chew through 4 to 5 GB of bandwidth per month.
  • We average about 120, and growing, unique visitors a day.
  • 93 articles have been published.
  • That’s about 75,000 words.
  • Which would take almost 5 hours to read.
  • Some 207 tags exist.
  • Only 44 people have commented so far.
  • The longest article is about should you use Linux.
  • The highest ranking article is Screenfetch vs Neofetch.

If you recall, one of the reasons from moving from the old site was that Google hated the .gq domain name (it’s a ‘free’ or paid domain) and those domains are so full of crap content that no reputable email provider would let the email notifications though its filters.

On this site, Google straight up loves us, as do email providers. The ads are doing better than I expected, but not great. Then again, I have no frame of reference, so maybe the ads are doing great. Speaking of which, maybe you could opt to show ads on this site. They’re just Google ads. They’re mostly harmless.

Beyond that, in the past few months Google has shown this site in the results (not very high) like 40,000 times. Only 600 have clicked through, but that’s actually a pretty respectable click-through-rate. 

Bing, of course, is the exact opposite. They mostly refuse to index the site, regardless of what changes I make. I have no idea what I’m missing. To make it even more confusing, Bing kinda liked the previous site.

Linux Tips’ Future:

We’ve come a long ways since the first article six months ago. People keep participating, signing up for the newsletter, registering for the site, and writing articles.

When I started this, I said I’d keep it up for a year. At this point, I can say that’s pretty likely. In fact, if I were to speculate, I’d be inclined to say I’ll keep going even after the year is over.

As far as my notes go, we’ve just barely scratched the surface. Beyond that, there’s always new stuff to learn and share. So, it seems pretty likely that I’ll keep going. After the year is up, I may change the publication schedule a bit. 

I won’t make any commitments until I get there, but I’m enjoying the project and having fun with the hobby. The every other day publishing thing is a bit much, but it hasn’t made me burn out yet. I think a part of that is the lovely feedback that I get.

You can help:

How can  you help? Above every article are some links where you can easily share the articles on your favorite social media platform. It’s nice and easy. You can do that without investing much effort, just share with your friends and groups who are also tech-minded.

There is the donations thing, but I don’t really need donations. The site’s going to stay online regardless. Still, it’s there if you want. If you do donate, I’d consider it more a motivator than a source of income. Who knows, maybe I’ll save all the donations and we can decide on something fun to do with them?

You too can participate. Go ahead, register. It won’t hurt. Leave a comment now and again. A small number of you are coming in from Linux.org, but you can still comment here. You can even write an article. It’s not that hard. If I can do it, you can figure it out. Heck, you don’t even have to register to write an article. I’ll even do the proofreading, formatting, and scheduling.

Most of those ways mentioned above are things that motivate me, things that make me more inclined to keep going. If nothing else, I’ll certainly finish the year – but it’d be nice to be motivated the whole way. It’d be nice to keep going and stay motivated even after the year has ended. For whatever reason, the interactions and climbing metrics make me enjoy it more.

As I mentioned above, you can still do that whole whitelisting this site in your ad blocking extension. 😉

Closure:

Yup. It has really been a full fix months already. It has probably been a full year if you count the previous site. I’ve invested a ton of hours into this hobby. It is pretty fun, as well. I encourage you to hop in and get involved. If you don’t want to do so here, start your own site with Linux tips. The more the merrier. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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