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 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.