Meta Article: The State Of Linux Tips?

I like to do a meta article once in a while, a bit of a break from the normal writing and the chance to just speak about whatever is going on with the site itself. Today, today is one of those meta articles.

More than a year ago, I set out to put my notes online. More than a year later, I’m not even close to complete – and I’ve consistently published an article every other day for just about a year. I still have tons of notes.

The site started off on a .gq domain – a free domain – that was universally hated by every search engine on the planet. On top of that, getting a .gq TLD email through spam filters was pretty much impossible.

At one point, I decided I’d take the project a little more seriously and moved to a .us domain name. You could say that that’s when Linux Tips was truly born. I also decided to reset the clock and to start the year over again. I figured the new site would be motivation and that I could probably keep it going without missing too many days. (Note: I’ve so far missed no days!)

And, like all good things, that year is coming to an end. The very first article on the new domain was Welcome To Our New Home! – on April 16th, 2021. For those who can’t use a calendar, or use a different calendar, that means we’re just about 2 weeks from the official end of this project.

Many of you will have read the comments in my “Closure” sections and already have guessed what I’m going to say next.

The Future: 

I plan on keeping the site going. I plan on continuing to put my notes online and the interesting things I discover.

You might ask why, and I think I’d point to a few reasons (among the many).

  1. I am learning so much.
  2. I am still having fun.
  3. The results have been amazing.

Not a day goes by these days without at least a couple hundred unique visitors. It’s not unique to get twice that many – enough so that I’m now crossing into a position where I am just going to pay for CDN services. (I’m happy with the company I’m currently using and their rates are reasonable.)

Technically, assuming my cost for my time was zero, the site has made a few bucks with the Google Ads. It’s reaching the point where it’s likely to cover expenses – including covering the CDN. I’ve long since come to grips with the fact that it’ll never pay me for my time – and I’m okay with that.

By the way, the CDN isn’t because I worry about bandwidth, it’s because it makes the site faster to load. Google loves a site that loads quickly and this site now ranks pretty high for a bunch of keywords and phrases. Making sure the site is responsive is a definite part of modern SEO. (These are things I’ve mostly had to learn on the fly. Like I said, it has been pretty educational.)

Actually, for the month of March, the site averaged ~250 unique visitors per day. It chewed through about 10 GB (not much) bandwidth – but most of that was CDN bandwidth. The CDN company lets me pay for what I use and not some flat rate, which is nice.

So, you can assume I’ll still keep the site going. Granted, I still have a couple of weeks to decide and may change the publication schedule – but the site’ll remain here and get additional content.

Some Meta Stuff:

Seeing as I’m here, I might just as well give you some other numbers. It seems like the thing to do, and I’ve done something like this in past meta articles. Traffic has steadily increased. Traffic has steadily improved by every metric, with people spending more and more time on the site. Truth be told, I’m quite amazed at the success. At one point, I was legitimately happy when I’d get 25 visitors in a single day.

The three busiest articles this month were:

  1. Disable Hibernation/Sleep On Ubuntu Server
  2. Screenfetch vs. Neofecth
  3. Quickly Reset Ubuntu’s Repositories

I mentioned search engine traffic above and, like the most recent norms, the vast majority of unique visitors came from search engines. Google alone sent me ~5200 visitors – surprisingly some of them were repeat visitors.

A much smaller number of visitors – but still the most from any site other than a search engine – was (of course) Linux.org. It’d be nice to get some more traffic from other places (while not losing traffic from Linux.org). You can help with that!

You Can Help!

I know y’all have social media accounts. Well, some of you… You can easily share to the major social media sites. I made it really, really easy. There are quick links to do so at the top of every article. If your favorite social media site isn’t there immediately – it might be in the menu under the plus arrow –  pointed to in the following image.

Help out Linux-Tips.us by sharing the articles on social media!
The big ones are listed (I can add more at request) and the rest are hidden.

There are literally like 100 social media sites hidden under the arrow and by clicking on the more option. When they say ‘more’, they aren’t kidding. There are sites in there I’ve never even heard of before!

If you participate on Reddit, you can share it in the Linux subredits without making me look like a spammer! I’d do it myself, but that’s just bad form. Actually, I have done it myself – and had some solid results – but it felt kinda icky and one subreddit banned me without warning.

There are still other ways to help… You can donate, you can write articles, you can just vote on the articles, you can leave comments with additional information, and you can sign up for the newsletter – that only sends messages when new articles are published.

If you want to help in some way, just let me know. I hate proofreading but I do it anyhow. A skilled editor would be pretty sweet. Some more guest articles would be fun. Oddly, I get emails asking me if they can pay me for a guest article (and the nofollow links in it), but I decline those offers.

I’d accept the articles if they were topical, but I just can’t seem to figure out how investing strategy would be topical on this site. So, I don’t get to charge for those. I’m told they pay pretty well for a site such as this – like a few digit sum worth of money. I just really don’t want to sully the site with guest articles that don’t fit the subject.

Closure:

So, yeah… The site’s almost certainly going to keep going. I might relax a little and take a day off now and then, but that’s fine. Heck, I still have articles on the original site that haven’t migrated to this site. I suspect I have many articles left in me and I’m not yet bored to tears with the project.

It hasn’t always been easy. But, I’ve not missed a single day, even with a pandemic and internet outages. Even when sicker than a dog, you’ve had an article every other day. A couple of ’em weren’t all that good – but there were articles. I’ve even made a few mistakes along the way, but I love all the feedback I get that tells me when I messed up.

If the site is missing features, let me know. I might be able to do something. I’d toss up a forum, but I don’t want to be seen as competing with other forums. I have thought about chatting and setting up a few chat rooms. All the acceptable scripts are a bit more than I feel like paying, so I’ve never done much with it other than research it.

Anyways… One year is pretty much done. I don’t know what the future holds, but you can help shape that future. All you gotta do is step up and opine or offer to help.

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 Post: The State of Linux-Tips.us

It has been a while since I’ve done a meta post, a post about how the site is doing and some general commentary. I try to do one every couple of months, as it’s nice to be transparent and they’re relaxed articles to write. They’re handy articles when you have time constraints!

Man… So much has changed. Once upon a time, I was stoked when the site would get 20 or 25 unique visitors in a single day. Then, I decided the site should get more visitors and changed the domain from .gq to .us – where search engines wouldn’t penalize me. (Though, weirdly, Bing despises this site and actually liked the one on the old .gq domain. I’d keep them both going, but then they’d penalize me for duplicate content.)

Anyhow, my point was that I was excited by just those few visitors. These days, it’s not uncommon for the site to see a few hundred visitors in a single day. In fact, this month’s traffic is (if it remains as it is) going to be pretty close to averaging 300 unique visitors per day. That excludes the many bots that visit. That’s just real humans.

I’ve mentioned this before, but few seem interested! If you have a social media account, you can help by sharing the articles. At the top of each article is a very, very easy way to share. I post to a single sub (automatically) on Reddit and sometimes remember to add it to Twitter – but my Twitter account has like zero followers and I’ve not had time to add new ones.

Umm… Speaking of which, this site’s Twitter is @TheRealKGIII – you should add me! Even if you no longer use Twitter, you should add me. I’m tempted to create a Facebook account for this site. I’ve never had a Twitter account before, and I’ve certainly never had a Facebook account before. But, they’d be good tools to promote the site. Or so I’m told…

But… That all depends…

See, my project was ‘for a year’. Way back on day one, I made it clear that it was a year-long project. It has been fun, but I’ve actually been at it for more like a year and  a half. The original site was up and running for quite a while, but I made the choice to reset the clock when I started this site. (That was on 04/18/2021.)

I still have many articles left to write, but the project ends. I’ll have to make a choice – and feedback would be awesome. Should I continue? Should I continue at the same rate? Maybe I should I shutter the site? Should I make the site a static site and save on hosting costs? Should I find someone to take the site over? There is a trivial amount of ad revenue (which could probably be improved), so the site might actually be able to be sold to someone for a few bucks – but I really don’t want to go that route.

What do you think I should do? LOL Maybe I should set up some sort of poll and get some real insight from others. Truth be told, I don’t even mind the publishing schedule. If I do keep going, I’m very likely to keep up the same publishing schedule. There have also been some guest articles and that’d be awesome if those still had a place to be published.

So far, the hosting is more expensive than the ad revenue and nobody donates. That’s okay too. ‘Snot like I’m gonna go broke. At this point, I’m dubious that it’ll even break even. Meh… It is what it is… 

The site has outgrown the free CDN that it was on. I found another way to ensure it’s quick in loading and responsiveness. It does include another CDN, but relies on it less and I can drop that aspect and still get just about the same results from the various site speed tests.

We get an A+ all around for loading speed, which is quite a feat when you see the backend and how bloated it is exactly. I have installed all the plugins! All of them! I might just have to move the site to a VPN if it gets more traffic. Yay! That’ll make it even more expensive! Still, I hate slow sites.

Moving on…

More about the site! As I mentioned, traffic has increased. 

The most popular page used to be about screenfetch vs neofetch. That has recently been usurped by a page about disabling sleep and hibernation in Ubuntu server. Oddly, that’s followed by a page about how to create a directory.

No, I do not know why that article is in third place, but it’s awesome that the site is legitimately helping people become more adept with Linux. That was the goal. Reaching your goals is pretty awesome!

As mentioned above, we’ll be averaging about 300 unique visitors per day. I’m not quite sure which is the most accurate, but it looks like this month has already displayed about 21k pages. The bandwidth? Well, I don’t want to talk about that.

The disk space used is just over 4 GB, which isn’t too bad and a lot of that is my fascination with backups. That’s really not all that much space and disk space is relatively inexpensive these days. I’m well within my account on that count.

This article will be the 156th article published on this site. That’s a whole lot of work. It’s over 126,000 words and, at an average reading rate, would take about 8.5 hours to read.

Not too many people signed up for the newsletter. There are over 30 people who subscribe to the newsletter – and actually confirmed their email address. That’s not a lot, but it’s like 30 more than I ever expected! I also don’t stress it. I’ve been thinking of doing that whole popup thing to try to get more people to sign up for the newsletter, but the options to do that aren’t as refined as I’d like. It’ll ask like once a visit, instead of like once a month. I really don’t want to be too obnoxious, though I suppose I could try it for a while.

The gist of it is, the site’s growing nicely – and much more than I ever dreamed of. I never expected anything even remotely like this. I get thousands of visitors just from search engines. Just this month, I’ve had about 2000 people arrive by search engine – mostly Google.

The Future…

I really haven’t decided yet. There’s more to write, so that’s not a problem if the site continues to get new and regular content. I’m not the kind of person to half-ass things, so I’d likely keep the same publication schedule. I guess the traffic is its own reward? Seriously, it would be nice to get some opinions on this. Some help would also be nice! 

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: Happy Holidays!

This is a meta-article from Linux Tips. I figured many folks will be celebrating the holidays and that this was a good time to take it easy. Oddly, my family tends to do everything the evening before Christmas, so I’ll be around today.

It’s this time of the year that many people are celebrating various holidays and we here at Linux Tips can do some celebrating as well. It’s amazing how well the site has done. I figure I’ll share some quick stats with you.

We’re up to 128 articles on L-T.
This month we’ve had an average of 290 daily visitors.
There’s about 118 unique visitors per day.
The site is chewing through ~8 GB of traffic per month.
Google supplies the most unique visitors.
Linux.org supplies the most repeat visitors, Reddit is a close second.
Neofetch vs. Screenfetch is the most popular article.
The second most popular disables sleep and hibernation.
Third most popular is about BalenaEtcher.

Ads and donations don’t even begin to cover the cost of hosting, never mind covering my time. That’s okay. I’ll continue to write and the hosting will keep getting get paid. Someone did donate $5. I will probably apply it to the hosting costs, or maybe just donate it to the animal shelter.

If you’re not wanting to donate or click ads, you could share the links elsewhere so that the site gains in popularity. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc… There are even links at the top of each article that make sharing the articles even easier. 

More Meta – About The Community:

I often speak about appreciating the Linux community. It truly is special. 

The other day, I lost a near-and-dear to me online friend. They’re someone I had known for a long time. The older you get, the more you experience death (two in about a week). At least they went peacefully in their sleep. However, I felt a real loss and had real grief.

Anyhow, it reminds me of the Linux community. Pretty much every day, my online friend and I would exchange at least greetings. More often, we’d exchange a ton of messages in between our other activities. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone this way. It’s also amazing how close you can become.

But, again, it reminds me of the Linux community. We often spend time with each other and develop true friendships. I mention this because I think it’s important to realize that there’s a real person behind each account. 

Yes, behind each account is a real person. They have hopes and dreams. All of them have accomplishments and faults. Yet they are dedicated to the same things we’re all dedicated to – making Linux more accessible and getting you up to speed with Linux.

So, while we’re celebrating holidays, let’s take a few minutes to thank those who give to the community. Let’s keep in mind that those people helping are real humans and appreciate their efforts. They put in hours and hours just trying to help a project they’re passionate about. Without them, we’d have no Linux. Without them, there would be no Linux community. They deserve our thanks and our kindness.

If you’re one of those people, we thank you. Thank you for the hours, thank you for the consistency, thank you for the passion, and thank you for your additions to said community.

You know who you are… Give yourself a hearty thanks and know that you’re appreciated.

Then again, if you’re on the outskirts of the community, it doesn’t take much to get involved. You don’t have to dedicate all your free time. Help where you can. Contribute what you can. But, most importantly, don’t be afraid to get involved.

More Meta:

I’d like to take a minute to point back to the first section and make sure you realize how much more this is than I expected. I never expected the site to grow this much. I never expected this much traffic, and I never expected the feedback.

Not so many of you comment here – but many of you comment elsewhere. That’s okay, as I know where to find you. It’d be just fine if more folks replied here to ensure future readers got the benefit of their wisdom, but that’s just fine.

I want to thank you for this. You made this as much as I did. Your encouragement, readership, and feedback are all motivations for me to continue. So, go back up to the first section and realize that those numbers are because of you. Without you, those would be meaningless numbers. To me, those numbers indicate value – and I appreciate it.

I never expected readership levels to be this high. Nor did I expect the site to be of value to so many people. While I did the writing, it’s you the visitor that has made it so. 

I’ll try to put it into perspective with just one image. This image isn’t what I’ve done, it’s what other people have done. This is just the search results from Google – but it’s a good example of growth:

Google search performance.
Those are just the Linux-Tips.us Google Search Performance numbers.

That’s right, there are now thousands of impressions and dozens of clicks every day. All I did was write the articles. Y’all are the ones providing the growth. The growth in traffic overall is rather amazing. I expected maybe a dozen daily users and used to be stoked when I had 20 visits per day!

I used to have to manually submit my new links to Google. These days, the habit remains but more often than not Google already added the new link to their index. For some reason Bing hates the site, but it is what it is and I can’t figure out why. Still, Google sends an excellent amount of daily traffic.

So, thank you my kind readers. Thank you very much. The site’s success is a great motivator to keep on going. My official ‘year’ will be ending in just a few more months, but it seems likely that the site will keep on going – simply because of the success it has had.

Closure:

Well, there’s another article. This one isn’t very technical, but it is important. Well, I (for one) think it’s important to thank people. It’s also a fine time to remind us all of the community behind this and a fine time to suggest folks have a happy holiday. (My birthday is coming up in a few days, but there should be articles aplenty.)

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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The State of Linux-Tips.us, a Meta Post

Wait a minute… There was an article yesterday! There shouldn’t be an article today! Indeed, there shouldn’t. This is a meta post, letting folks know the state of the site.

Linux-Tips is a personal project, though one I encourage folks to join. The goal has been, and will continue to be, to write an article every other day. I figure that I’ll do this for a year and see where things are at before deciding if I should keep it up.

The feedback has been awesome. The participation is not much but it’s actually better than I’d expected – especially considering how new the site is and how little promotion I do. Most of the feedback seems to be at the sites where I link this site, and not here on this site. It is what it is…

Speaking of which, if you want to help you could help by sharing the articles on social media. It’s just a few minutes every other day! I should also point out that each article is published with a permissive license. You can use ’em for anything you want, with attribution.

I think things are coming along just nicely. I increased the available bandwidth due to some hammering on the server, but that didn’t happen last month. I’m okay with that. I’d prefer a steady growth. It’s less pressure, I think. I figure I’ll share the meta information with you now and again. I’m not sure how often I’ll do this.

So, how about some meta?

By the time you read this, there should be 39 articles published. That’s keeping with my schedule. I still have tons of notes, old articles on the old site, and ideas for articles. Don’t let that stop you from making suggestions or writing the article yourself!

The stats are all over the place. Every analytics software does it differently. There’s Google’s Analytics that doesn’t count anyone blocking ads, and Awstats that counts everything under the sun. We only used about 4 GB of traffic this month but we did average ~140 unique visitors per day.

Most of June’s referred traffic came from Reddit. This was followed by Linux.org. Only a small amount of traffic comes from search engines (so far), and most of that was from Google. Perhaps due to some SEO efforts, some of the articles rank fairly well at Google.

Not a whole lot of people are signed up for the newsletter. You should sign up for that! I promise, there won’t be any spam. There may also come a time when I stop sharing the links at the various sites, and this will be your way to keep up with when new articles are published.

In June, 688 people visited my article about will your hardware work with Linux. Most of those visitors came from r/linux on Reddit. The page counter is horrible and I should probably disable it. I have more accurate stats from the server itself.

More Info!

Site-wise, I’ve invested about 250 hours according to a plugin that monitors this stuff. Sadly, I didn’t install the plugin at first, so that doesn’t include most of the time I spent building the site’s architecture.

I did remove the adblock nag. I figured that was just annoying people. Alas, nobody clicks on the ads and Google prohibits asking people to do so. They’re pretty strict about the rules. So far, there has been a single donation. To them, I say thanks! The site will (almost certainly) stay up and running even without donations. You can help cover the server expenses if you want. If not, I’ll just cover the costs. I ain’t scared!

I dare say the site is feature-complete. Everything is running as it should. The site updates itself. It backs itself up both locally and remotely, each with duplication for a truly robust backup strategy. It does this daily, so the odds of losing much data are pretty low. If you can think of a feature you want, let me know.

The site’s security is quite robust. There have been no breaches as far as I know. Then again, I don’t ask for much in the way of personal information. I figure if I don’t collect your information then I’m not obligated to protect it. Still, everything is reasonably secure, using multiple layers of defense that I’ll avoid detailing here.

Closure:

And, I guess that’s it. That’s the state of things at Linux-Tips.us. That’s about all the meta I can come up with. Things are going fine and I look forward to saying the same thing a month from now, though some more activity would be nice. I guess I’ll include my standard closure text…

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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