This is going to be another meta article, where we cover the state of Linux-Tips. This is the 10th such installment, I do believe. I did go back and count at one point, but not all that well or that deeply. Not all meta articles have been the state of Linux-Tips. So, this is #10, even if it’s not #10.
I think the big news is that we’re out of the doghouse with Google. Last month we averaged a few hundred unique visitors every day. This month looks like it’s going to be even better. I dare say I learned my lesson.
The site still chews through a bunch of bandwidth, for a site like this. We chew through the CDN data pretty quick. Fortunately, I can cover it when it inevitably goes over the current level.
I actually got a donation! It was for $5.00. PayPal decided I’m a business account, so they happily took their fees from it. I no longer have access to ‘Friends and Family’ payments. Damn it, PayPal! Though, in their defense, I am a business – and conducted quite a bit of fee-free business through them in the past. For the services they provide, it’s really not that expensive. Sign up to be a credit card processor and check out those fees!
I was pretty pleased with the donation. I don’t need the money, but it gave me a sense of purpose – of value. It felt good to know I was appreciated. That makes TWO donations! I’m gonna be rich!
Some Meta Stuff For Linux-Tips:
In the past 28 days the site has shown up in Google searches 180,000 times. Only a little over 3000 people clicked. That was improving from my days in the Google penalty box.
(Keep in mind that Google actually sucks at some of these numbers. I have the raw server logs. They really, really suck with some of them. We’ve actually shown 55,000 pages so far this month alone.)
Most of my traffic comes from Google. They tell me that the vast majority of people are on desktops. The vast majority of visitors arrive from organic search.
The most popular pages have changed. Here are the three most popular pages:
Since I’ve was let out of the Google penalty box, I haven’t had a day with less than 200 unique visitors. (That’s a good amount for a fairly new site that doesn’t do a lot of SEO and does no paid promotion.)
We’re sitting at 260 articles, with one being hidden. We’ve had a new article every day since the site first started. Obviously, we’re well past the year I originally set aside for the project.
There are ads here on Linux-Tips and they get the occasional click. Most of my readers are technical users and tend to block ads. It’d be pretty sweet if you’d whitelist this site in your ad blocker. They’re just Google ads. They won’t hurt you. If you were really trying to hide from Google, you’d block their analytics. Meh… Or not… It’s up to you. I’ve long since decided that finances aren’t that important. ‘Snot like I’m going to stop paying in the near future.
Anything else? No? It had been a while since I last did a meta article. I should do them once a month or so. They’re easy enough to write, but they don’t really contain any useful information.
I’ve done a few meta articles over the past year and a half. Not all of them have really been ‘meta’, meaning having to do specifically with the site Linux-Tips.us and what’s specifically going on here. I want to say this is the 9th one? Something like that? Either way, we’re going to call it #9 and keep using that number as our starting base. I’ll make a point out of remembering it, and the next will be #10.
So, I figured I’d write one now… Why? Meh… I want a day off. I have an article I could edit and publish, a nice guest article that looks pretty solid, but I’m saving that for a few more days. I have a plan for that one – meaning I plan on enjoying my day off!
Like I mentioned the other day, it’s sometimes starting to seem like work. I publish every other day and that’s effort. If it’s work, I wanna get paid – and not the pittance Google AdSense provides. It’s never going to happen, so this needs to firmly remain in the hobby category.
So, what to write about?
I learned something new… It turns out that interactive websites have less activity during summer (northern hemisphere) months, though that doesn’t quite cover the decrease in traffic. No, that was something else – and appears to be on the upside.
Allow me to explain…
So Meta It’s Meta Meta!
You all may recall an article that made no sense. It stood out like a sore thumb and was so distantly related to Linux that it might not be Linux-related at all. It was even factually ‘questionable’.
Well, I’d be more than happy to give them their money back – ’cause that’s the only thing that really changed and I can cite it to the exact day.
I didn’t make much in the way of compensation, but thought it’d be a great way to help fund the site when I received an email asking if I’d accept paid guest posts that included a link or two. (They’re used for SEO purposes, as links from sites with good authority make Google like you.)
They paid me a pittance and I agreed to not mention (in the article) that it was a paid article. I also agreed to not disclose much, but they can have their 30 talons of silver back if they want it.
It was pretty much the very next day that traffic from Google slowed down.
Even though it’s automated, Google is not as mentally handicapped as we might think. No, no they are not…
There’s absolutely nothing else that can explain the drop in traffic – ’cause nothing else changed. So, I accepted my bribe money and Google spanked me. They spanked me like they’re dressed up like a nun, except I didn’t pay extra for it.
My time in the penalty box appears to be over. Traffic from Google is once again climbing up. I’d share exact numbers with you, but this is an ‘easy’ article and I’m not gonna go taking screenshots and getting exact numbers.
If you have a website and someone contacts you wanting to pay you for a guest article, run away. They paid me a paltry sum. Sure, they paid more more than I’d have made in ads, but it still wasn’t worth it to see the traffic slow down.
Yeah, that’s right… The ads pay so little that I still made more money from accepting the guest article.
However, that’s now the site’s goal. Remember, it’s a hobby and not a job. At least that’s the goal. Any money made goes right back into the site. Currently, the ads are paying enough for me to pay for hosting and to pay for the CDN on a very low level. (It shouldn’t need much in the way of payment in the near future, so that’s fine.)
But, yeah… I accept the article and published it. In response, Google trashed the search engine traffic, sending less than half the traffic they had been sending.
If you’re interested in short-term money, go ahead and take their offer for a guest article. If you’re interested in a long-term relationship with the people who frequent your site, or you’re interested in a higher calling (like educating new Linux users), then run away. If they ask for a guest article, run away and never speak to them again – even if it does pay better than AdSense.
I think I’m barely going to proofread this one. If you found errors, let me know. I’ll fix ’em when time allows.
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.
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.
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.
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).
I am learning so much.
I am still having fun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More about the site! As I mentioned, traffic has increased.
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.
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!